Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Keeping Track of Our Blogs and How to Use Bloglovin'

First off, I need to do some housekeeping. Tomorrow (June 26), an interview with me will be going up over at Clancy Tucker's blog, so you should keep your eyes open for that. I will come back and post the exact link when it is published. EDIT: Here's the link! For now, here's a sneak peek at one of the questions:

I’m working on a teen novel set in a fantasy world, about a girl, Gabrella, who works in a public library. Juggling the recent disappearance of her mobster father, and learning the ropes at the People’s Library is enough work, but then children start to go missing from the library. Gabrella and her boss start looking into the disappearances (with the help of a rookie city guard), which leads to a political scandal in a time of war. That’s the rough idea right now. Of course, it’s probably going to change, as it’s only in its first draft.

The other housekeeping matter: Check out my new blog A Splash of Photography! You can read the post about it here.

Now onto the real meat of this post:

As I'm sure you've heard, Google Friend Connect (the followers widget) may be leaving us. Now, I don't know anything too concrete about it, but I have heard that as of July 1st, we'll be losing the feed aspect of our blogger profiles. This is alarming.

My solution? I joined up with Bloglovin'. I got the idea from the Notebook Sister's post about GFC leaving. I don't like change, so I'm with you in not wanting to leave the traditional way of following a blog. However, I've been very satisfied with my Bloglovin' account. It literally took me five minutes to set it up and import all of the blogs that I'm currently following via GFC.

 I was pleasantly surprised when Bloglovin' allowed me to make an account with a different email than my Google account and still import my feed. When I first created my blogger account, I used one of those silly addresses that you make when you're ten years old. I obviously do not want that showing up everywhere, so I created sunny.smith@hotmail.ca, and have hidden my username email on my blogger profile. You were probably a lot more forward-thinking than I was, but if you did the same as I did, don't worry. You can use a different email to sign up for Bloglovin' than your Blogger account email. To find out how that works read the instructions below.

ANYWAYS, onto how Bloglovin' works.

First, you sign up:
1. Go to http://www.bloglovin.com/
2. Then you click Join Bloglovin' and then sign up with email.  I didn't use the Facebook sign up.

3. You fill out the info (name, username, email, password) and then they will send you a validation email. Open it and follow the given link.

Importing your blogs from from your Google Account:
1. It should automatically bring up this webpage where you will click import:

2. It will then bring up a page where you confirm your permission to let Bloglovin' import your blogs. Make sure that you are logged into the right Google account (you can see it in the top right corner), to get the right blogs. This step is why you can use different email addresses.

3. Then your blogs should all come in the reader like so:

If you don't automatically get asked to import your blogs, you can do so under settings (it's near the bottom of the settings page). Click on the blue heart to bring up a drop down menu where you can select settings. 

Claim your blog(s):

1. Click on the blue heart and then click on "my blog". It should bring up this page where you click claim blog:
2. A little screen should pop up, where you will type in the name of your blog. Type in the address if it's having trouble finding it. Then click on the blog that's yours:
3. It will ask you to post some html script onto your blog somewhere to prove that you own it. I just added an html/java script widget to my sidebar and copied it into that. You could also copy it into a blog post. Then click Claim Blog:
It will come up looking like this:

You can get rid of this afterwards if you'd like. 

There you have it! That's how easy it is to get set up on Bloglovin'. I haven't fully explored the site yet, but it seems to offer a lot of different, useful features. Fiddle around with the settings and see what works out best for you. Although, it is one more step to read the blogs you follow, it's fairly simple, and I'm warming up to it quite quickly. Let me know your experience with Bloglovin'. Do you use a different website for following blogs? What's your favourite feature of Bloglovin'? Let me know in the comments. 

What I'm reading: A Million Little Pieces by James Frey
What I'm listening to: OneRepublic
What I'm watching: Looper

P.S. Don't forget to check out my guest interview over at Clancy Tucker's blog

Saturday, June 22, 2013

A New Blog!

Don't worry, A Splash of Ink isn't going anywhere.

I have just started a new blog dedicated to my other love, photography. In addition to writing on this blog, I will be posting on the new one. I will be frequently posting pictures, tutorials and other photo-like things all centered around the theme:

"Photography for the Rich of Mind but Poor of Pocket"

Do you enjoy photography, but don't have a high end camera? Do you want to look at pictures? Do you want to improve your photography? Then this new blog is the place for you! Announcing:

A Splash of Photography

I would be very grateful if you could check it out, and if you like what you see, spread the word. As always, I'm so thankful for everyone who reads, comments and is supportive of my ideas.

What I'm reading: A Million Little Pieces by James Frey
What I'm listening to: One Republic's album Native
What I'm watching: Defiance

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Approaching a Short Story When You Have Writer's Block

As school winds down for me, assignments have been pouring in. I've been writing two short stories over the past few weeks for my Writer's Craft course. I've never had a problem with plot ideas, until now. I tried my usual techniques:

-Scrolling Pinterest inspiration boards like there was no tomorrow
-Going through old ideas that I wrote down in my writer's journal
-People watching
-Listening to music

But nothing was working. There just wasn't enough words in the short stories to use any ideas that were remotely interesting. Here's what I learned:

-Think of some different types of relationships (the stranger the better) and write about a scenario they go through
-At the root of a good story the MC's day doesn't go as planned
-Add subtle details about the characters throughout the story, avoid block descriptions
-Put the climax as close to the end as you can
-Juxtapositions make for good stories, especially in characters

I also found this article helpful in regards to the structure of short stories.

Maybe you're writing a short story for a contest, for school or maybe just for you own enjoyment. Whatever, the reason I hope these few tips that worked for me work for you. I'm going to finish this short post of with a writing prompt in the form of a picture:

Who is this? Who's toy is that? What's going on in this scene?

What I'm reading: The Mind's Eye by Henri Cartier-Bresson
What I'm listening to: City and Colour
What I'm watching: Mad Men
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