Thursday, May 2, 2013

A-Z Blog Challenge Reflections

First, many, many thanks to Arlee Bird and everyone with the A-Z Blog Challenge team.  What a wonderful experience this has been, and all of you made it special!

I’m writing a novel, one I refer to as an old-fashioned ghost story, but the industry would call everything from paranormal romance to gothic romance with a mystery tie-in.

I finished draft three just before the A-Z Blog Challenge.

I intended to set draft three aside for a few weeks and let it stew and work on something else.  I thought of adopting one of my short stories to a ghost story. 

My friend Dawn suggested the A-Z Blog Challenge.

I mentioned it to a couple of folks, but demurred.

My friend Jodie offered the convincer by participating herself.

My topic then became… Ghosts: Real, Imaginary, and Metaphorical.

So how did I find the experience?

Fun, in that I had to come up with ghost topics from A-Z.  Some, admittedly were a stretch, but always enjoyable

Social, in that my blog had 2 followers before the challenge began.  It now has 30.  Thank you all for that.  And I found a number of wonderful blogs to follow that I had no idea existed before this challenge, and will continue to follow.

Painful, in that a number of posts required me to sit in front of my laptop and bleed.  That, however, was my choice, not a fault of the challenge.

Overall, I’m so happy to have made it through.  I’m exhausted, but am filled with accomplishment.  I also feel as though I’ve been molded by a blacksmith into a better writer.

I read many incredible blogs.  Here are some amazing ones I came to through the challenge.

And this is just a sample. 

If you’ll notice, a number of the bloggers here are writers.

And here are some individual posts that grabbed me and held on tight, one even staunching some emotional bleeding.

I’m now ready to start draft four of my ghost story.  It’s good.  I know how to make it better.

The challenge has helped.

I’m such a newbie that I hesitate to offer suggestions to make the A-Z Blog Challenge better.  But I do agree with fellow blogger Mina that one should have to choose a category, even if that category is (PP) Potpourri for those who want to mix things up a little.

To that end, offering more categories, and allow a blogger to choose more than one.   One of my favs involved both travel and food.  (TR) (FD) or whatever the acronym will be.

Choosing a category might make the blog hop a little more focused and purposeful.  Like if I’m walking into a bar for a drink and they don’t serve wine, I’m outta there.  I’m not interested in straight liquor, not that there’s anything wrong with that or folks who prefer it.  It’s just not my thing.

Requiring a category (and offering more choices) would, I think, enhance the hopping experience.

I'll check out as many of the reflections as I can, and will return next year.

In the meantime, with my regular posts, I'll keep y'all up with what I learn about writing, storytelling, provide a story here and there, and keep everyone posted on how draft four is coming along.  I have three agents interested in seeing it on its completion.

Until then, happy blogging everyone!


  1. What a cool looking blog, the mood is perfect in keeping with how you described your novel! I didn't make it through as many blogs as I had hoped, but hey, there's always May - Dec to do that! :) At the time I signed up, I wasn't sure of my theme, but after I had decided on music (MU) I wish I had had a chance to go and label. Congrats on making it through!
    Jess/Blogging on the Brink

  2. I liked the labeling too and hope they keep that for next year. I didn't get to visit you during the challenge but it's great to reflect with you.

  3. Thoroughly enjoyed your A to Z postings and am looking forward to following along on your journey.

    1. Thanks so much, Delores. I appreciate all of the comments!

  4. This is the kind of Reflections post that makes me feel good. And not just because you mentioned my blog--thank you! I like how you came out of April. It's as we would hope.
    The labeling thing is still a work in progress. We'll come up with a better solution as time goes by as we keep learning new things. I think we're kind of on the right track though.

    Thanks for succumbing to the lure and joining us in April. I wish you well with the novel

    An A to Z Co-Host
    Tossing It Out

    1. Thanks so much, Lee. It has been a joy!

  5. I am impressed at how well you have reflected on the past one month and how the challenge went for you. Also, big congratulations that there are agents interested in your book. All the very best.

  6. An excellent reflection of the challenge, and congrats in completing it.


  7. Well done on completing the A to Z. Your novel sounds intriguing and, since I have only just found your blog through the A to Z reflections post, I'll have to go back and take a look at your posts, because I am a really big ghost story fan :)

    Sophie's Thoughts & Fumbles
    Fantasy Boys XXX

  8. Great reflection, and I'm so glad you got out of it what you intended. And make that 31 followers. I like this blog! Will be back to check it out more. Gotta read ALL the reflections...
    Tina @ Life is Good
    Co-host, April 2013 A-Z Challenge Blog
    @TinaLifeisGood, #atozchallenge

  9. Hello, Rocky! Congrats on finishing the Challenge!! I'm glad you had such a positive experience. This Challenge really is a great way to write something other than fiction, to stretch our more technical writing muscles. Good luck with draft four of your novel!!

    Happy reading and writing! from Laura Marcella @ Wavy Lines

  10. Well done for completing the challenge, it is quite a daunting challenge. I look forward to your book, sounds pretty good.

  11. Thanks for the very nice wrap up and also for the links to some of the blogs that really impressed you. It was my 1st year too and now that it's done I'm looking forward to having time to read all the blogs I missed. I love paranormal so I'll be going back to catch up on all of your earlier entries. Congrats on your book!

  12. It's always nice to have a positive experience when you try something new. Your reflection post makes me smile. Congratulations on crossing the finish line and good luck with your book.

  13. I think if they changed it to require a category, I would need to wait until the last moment to sign up so I knew what I was going to be doing for the A-Z. Wouldn't be too bad, but it would mean I'd be right near the bottom of the list. But if everyone had the same requirement, it would be perfectly fair.

    Well done on completing the A to Z :)

  14. Congratulations on the agents interest and on finishing the A-Z.

    I don't believe in labeling, but that's just me. I feel eclectic. :)

    1. Totally understand. And thanks! To you, too.

  15. Congrats on the Agents! fantastic news

    1. Thank you, Jodie! I appreciate it.

  16. I enjoyed your posts. Congrats on the agents!! This was fun, I had a great time with the Challenge. Congratulations for finishing!
    Wooo hooo! We rock!

    Peanut Butter and Whine

  17. And now you have thirty-six, I am your newest follower from the challenge. I'm sorry I did not make it to your blog during the challenge, but it was so hard and I was just hitting as many as I could, randomly. You will continue to gain new followers, long after the challenge (from the challenge). Congratulations on finishing and thank you for sharing your experience. I hope to have my own reflection post up in a day or two.

  18. First, thank you for your very kind words about my blog. I'm humbled.

    Second, I dig your PP label - clever!

    Third, having gone through the Challenge, even once, puts you in the perfect position to make respectful suggestions, which is just what you did. Rock on, Dude! :-)
    Some Dark Romantic

  19. Glad you found the challenge a positive experience! I did one one entry that touched on my own view of ghosts "Visions & Dreams". - Barbara
    Life & Faith in Caneyhead

  20. The bleeding was good for you. ;) Keeps the soul alive.

    Yup, I think categories are good. More of them sounds great!

    Stopping by from the #atozchallenge . Congratulations my fellow reflector post maker!

  21. Thank you for participating in the challenge this year. I am glad to know that you enjoyed the experience and feel like you've been "molded" into a better writer. Although I'm not a fan of Ghost stories, I think your theme is GREAT because it helps to add some variety to the challenge, since the "writing tips" theme that are offered on many other blogs can tend to get stale after a while :)

    It is especially nice of you to highlight blogs, as well as specific blog posts that stood out during the challenge. It surely helps others, who may have missed those blogs, to get a glimpse of all the goodness that participants offered up during April. The category thing is very touch-and-go; we learned a lot about how people made use of it this year and, as Arlee mentioned, will continue to work out the kinks as best as we can to find out which solutions work best for those involved in the challenge.

    I'm happy to know that you plan to participate again in the next one. Be sure to invite your friends to join in when that happens!

    Cheers :)

    2013 #atozchallenge Co-Host

  22. Great feedback, thank you! Congratulations on finishing, and good luck with your next revision.

    Shannon at The Warrior Muse


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