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Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Writing Wibbles

Greetings to all y’all…

It’s been a strange week for writing. The three-day weekend at Mom’s didn’t let me do much more than nibble at the edges of things, although I did finish up a third segment of On the Georgia Road that may become my #FridayFlash this week if another idea doesn't strike me tomorrow. But I’ve mostly been trying to get some momentum on Pickups and Pestilence — filling in holes here and there, trying to get rolling on the last half of the story. Some time in the last week, an important detail finally became clear: I’ve known for a long time what’s behind the pickups, but not why they’re white pickups instead of a Maserati or Ford Expedition. Only 140,000 words in before I figured it out.

Mom says, “needs more nasties!” There’s a group that fits the description in Pickups and Pestilence, but I also have a feeling our heroes will run into Perry Adams

Meanwhile, I’m not neglecting White Pickups. I’ve begun tackling the dreaded “blurb,” the summary on the back cover of printed books. The White Pickups page has the first attempt; Mari Juniper (my April Fool’s Blog Swap partner) gave me some suggested fixes that I’m working on now. I never realized how difficult it could be to condense a 95,000-word story into a single paragraph of promotional come-on. But I’ve summarized 500-page technical manuals with a haiku. I can do this.

A week ago, I said I was going to change the blog template because of several deficiencies: the “contact me” link went nowhere, and not having the Share buttons, were the two big ones. But I also wanted the “comment” link at the bottom of each post, where it’s more likely to get clicked by someone who just finished reading. I figured I should check the Deluxe Templates site for an update before doing anything drastic — there wasn’t an update, but there were instructions for adding the Share buttons! That didn’t include the +1 button, but a little poking around on the Blogger site led me to a fix for that too. Fixing the “contact me” link was trivial by comparison; I pointed it at my profile for now. For whatever reason, I figured out how to copy the “comment” link to the bottom this time, when I couldn’t when I first started using Abrasive.

So now I have almost everything I wanted. The last part, making the sidebar wider (from 180px to 240px), involves widening the background graphics as well. I have Photoshop Elements, so I don’t expect that to be a huge problem. Speaking of the sidebar, I put a small copy of the White Pickups cover in there.

Then when I was reading Tony Noland’s #FridayFlash last week, I noticed he had a “LinkWithin” widget at the bottom of his posts that links to related posts on his blog. The widget also had a link to its home site, so I followed that and found easy instructions for adding one to TFM… so I did. It’s kind of fun, seeing what posts come up and sometimes following them. It was a little random at first; it said it could take a few hours to index the blog. Given that TFM is approaching 1,300 posts, it might have taken a few days.

So I have all these new features bolted onto the blog, and once I get the sidebar widened that’s going to be all the changes for a while. Feel free to click them to see what else is lurking here — or share it around with your friends, of course. Smack that +1 button if you like a post. Don’t forget to leave a comment…


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