I'm James Maxey, the author of numerous novels of fantasy and science fiction. I use this site to discuss a wide range of topics, with a heavy emphasis on cranky, uninformed rants about politics and religion and other topics that polite people attempt to avoid. For anyone just wanting to read about my books, I maintain a second blog, The Prophet and the Dragon, where I keep the focus solely on my fiction. I also have a webpage where both blogs stream, with more information about all my books, at jamesmaxey.net.


Saturday, April 12, 2008

A Blogger's Question

Some no doubt wonder
Why's he stuck on these hiaku?
A blow to the head?

Well, no. To be honest, was writing an email last Sunday morning and noticed that a sentence I had just written had a hiaku rhythm,* starting and ending with a 5 syllable phrase. I went ahead an altered it to be a hiaku in that email, then wrote a hiaku about writing that hiaku to post on my blog. Since that hiaku ended with the line "I should put on pants," I had several people over at the Codex board write humorous hiaku responses about the horror and/or inspiration of me sitting around naked writing poetry. I would like to state that, for the record, I wasn't naked. I was in my underwear.

At a Starbucks.

Anyway, the hiaku have helped me set a personal record for this blog: I actually have at least one post a day. Admittedly, they aren't long posts. But, hopefully one or two raised a grin, and they fit into one of the topics I frequently blog about, musing about the writing life.

If I could, I'd write 1000 word articles every day. I like meaty, though-provoking posts. But, I really don't know that I have seven meaty, thought-provoking ideas a week. Probably I have something closer to one per week.

So, as a blogger, I have a question: Do readers actually enjoy these frequent mini-posts? Something fresh every day even if it's little more words than a fortune cookie fortune? Or do you mind waiting waiting a week for the longer, more chunky posts?

Also, does anyone have any strong opinions about the content? I would say that over the years, I've drifted into writing three main types of articles.

1. Practical writing advice.
2. Political rants and/or religious rants.
3. Stories of my personal history.

I also write articles about writing and promoting Bitterwood, Dragonforge, and Dragonseed, but I post these over at Bitterwoodnovel.blogspot.com.

So, does anyone absolutely hate that I waste my time writing one of the categories of articles listed above? Is there a type of article that you browse over here hoping to find? I seem to get the most links from other blogs when I write about writing. I get the most comments on a post when I write about my personal history. And I get the most emails when I write about religion and politics.

Currently, I write about just about anything that interest me. Even then, I edit the material I post here. The lives of my friends interest me more than politics, but I wouldn't post an article about them because I respect other people's privacy. Griping about my day job produces most of my verbal rants in real life, but I don't gripe about work here because I suspect most people would find it whiney and boring... and whiney and boring is something I only inflict on my closest friends! And, as a man, I would say that sex is right up at the top of the list of things that interest me, but I don't talk about sex here because it would be crass.

The point is, I already select the sort of stuff I write about from a much larger pool of things that interest me. Should I narrow my selection further? Or just carry one with the current mish-mash of topics?

*Rhythm is, like, the ultimate weapon if you're playing Hangman against an unsuspecting foe. They burn through all five vowels instantly, and are left with only two strikes. Really proficient players will instantly deduce rhythm once the vowels are gone, but less experienced players usually guess the "y" next, then strike again by guessing an "s", and then usually crash and burn guessing something really random, like a "w."


rastronomicals said...

Just a quick opinion from a fairly regular reader, and that opinion would be that there's no need to change anything.

I found this blog after being positively blown away by "To the East, A Bright Star," and after thinking that I might like to know more about the author of such an intense tale.

My thinking had been that the interesting story had been written by an interesting person, a fairly safe, though not foolproof, assumption.

Although you are quite right to edit your topics for taste and prviacy reasons, it seems to me that the purpose of the blog--the only reason a person, whether he be a professional author or not, would keep a weblog at all--is to provide the reader as transparent a window as is seemly. It is of course your blog and your choice, but making that window more opaque seems to defeat the purpose.

As long as you keep it refreshing--which you do, I assure you--you should post about whatever the hell you want.

As far as more or less frequent posts, I personally am not bothered by larger intervals between posts. I check in from time to time; if there's something to read, I read it. If not, I move on to CNN or ESPN baseball or George RR Martin's site or Alastair Reynolds' or Pat's Fantasy Hotlist or ilxor or Wikipedia or whatever other sites I habitually visit.

Since you don't charge admission, I figure that my asking for any more than I already get would be ungracious. . . .

Mr. Cavin said...

I'll second that first guy. At present count, I open twenty-seven blogs every day. Even highly proficient bloggers average about three posts a week. Normal bloggers about three or four a month. If there is nothing new at blog A, I can always go on to blogs B through AA, and usually end up reading about seven posts, of varying length, each morning. Just so long as you manage to put something up occasionally, I am satisfied.

Of course, the real question here is whether it's my satisfaction that's paramount here. Release yourself from the workshop, James. Do what you like. A happy blogger is going to the most entertaining one, and I will spend my minutes reading daily funny haiku--or my half-hours on lengthy political musings--with equal appreciation (though I might benefit more from the latter). I am reading a log of your interest, not mine.

So don't worry at all about me. Or that first guy, either. It's your blog. Do what thou wilt.

James Maxey said...

Thanks guys. I've also had people respond via email that they like the odd mix of topics. Which is good... since my brain is an odd mix of topics. My life has no grand over-arching theme, so why should my blog?

Loren Eaton said...

I'll keep the mishmash ...