Thursday, September 27, 2012

Coming soon

 We have some big stuff in the works for this little blog. It is very exciting, or at least we are all super excited! For all this fun stuff we need you. So wont you come play with us?

We want to hear from each of you what you need as a writer. Want more information on freelancing? How to's for a blog? Grammar tips? Writing tips? Or just fun stuff to read. Let us know what you would like to see. Please leave a comment on this post.

Starting the first of October we will be hosting a monthly writing contest! There will be two winners, one blog and one more tradition work. We want everyone to participate and we realize there is a difference between the style, formatting, and length between traditional writing and blogging, thus the two winners.

The contest will run like this:

The first Tuesday of the month a writing prompt will be posted.

 All entries must be in by third Tuesday with winners announced at our Third Thursday meeting! 

Winners will be highlighted the following month on the Voices blog, with an interview and the winning piece posted during the month! 

All blog entries must have an active blog.

All writers must be apart of Voices, 
either in a critic group or participating in the Third Thursday meet ups. 

All entries must be emailed to voicescharleston(at)gmail
  Sorry bloggers no link-ups.

If you have any questions please email us at voicescharleston(at)gmail.

Make sure you come back on Tuesday the 2nd and check out the prompt!

Friday, September 21, 2012

How To: Build Followers

Every blog, and writer for that fact wants to build their platform. There are multiply ways to build your platform, but I believe the best way to do so is simply.

Follow Others!

Shocking I know. Writing, blogging, and all this social media falls back on one thing- relationships! The easiest things to do is things I am sure you are already doing.

Follow other bloggers. The best way to meet other blogger/writers is follower their blogs. Nothing says "hey I like you, lets me friends" like a follow. It takes a few seconds to follow on GFC, HelloCotton, Bloglovin, Rss Feed, or by email. 

Comment, Comment, Comment. Leaving someone a comment is just sweet. As a blogger it really makes my day when someone leaves me a comment. Many days blogging seems like I'm talking to my self, I question if anyone is listening, or if what I am saying even effects anyone. Just getting a comment that says "great post" is enough. Plus when you comment you are opening the door to communication. 

Chat with them on Twitter & Facebook. You know you are already on both of them, use them! I love when some one just tweets me "Hi!". It's fun to follow some ones life in 140 characters all day.  

Jump on our directory page and start following the blogs! 
We would love for you to comment on this post with your blog, so we can follow you back.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Fact or Fiction?

Photo/ Chris Greene

We all have a story to tell, some piece of our past, some experience that has molded and shaped us. But is it enough for a book? Or does it need some embellishment to really make it readable?

I recently read an article from The Writer magazine in which the author, Art Edwards, poses that question and wonders how far writers should go in manipulating experiences to create an engaging memoir.

We’re certainly familiar with authors who went too far (James Frey) in writing a “memoir” when maybe they would have been better off to have written a fiction piece or a book that was “based on” actual events.

A good story is a good story and people may love the work regardless of its label. But as Edwards points out in his column, “For writers, however, the difference between writing novels and writing a memoir is significant. The more you invent in your work, the less likely you can call it a memoir.”

For most of us the line may be very clear and we’re not tempted to invent entire experiences under the guise of a memoir. But what about adding a line of dialogue or what happens when you remember an incident, but you don’t remember every last detail? Do you make up the color of the walls? Do you insert something you think you said?

As Edwards closes the column, he notes, “It’s up to each writer to decide if her life informs her work, or is contrived for the sake of it.”

How do you handle these situations? Have you written a memoir and dealt with this issue?

Friday, September 14, 2012

How to: Format with Photos

I believe that a photo is a must in almost every post. Now not everyone agrees with me, but as we talked about last week with eye strain, and the fact you want your blog to stand out, a photo adds character and a sense of "knowing" the blogger.

But not every photo is a good blog photo. When adding a photo, just throwing some random shot up is not going to have a beneficial effect. Many times a photo can make the reader walk away from your post, not drawl them in. Every blogger has made the mistake of using a too dark photo, a blurry image, or an image that is just too small.

Here are some photo tips:

Edit your photos first:
This one is a huge pet peeve for me. It is amazing how a few tweaks in google photo, or on your iphone can change a image! Pretty pictures pull in readers.

 Here is an image I took of my youngest (you can ohh and ahh, he's adorable.).

Image taken on an iphone 4

This is the edited image, see the difference? Don't look at just the way it is edited, but the way it draws you in more than the first image did.

Image edited in instagram- Sierra filter, blur around face.

 Now look at a project I was working on. Just a quick shot.

Image taken with iphone 4

After a quick crop and edit, doesn't the image look more inviting?

Image edited in instagram, Sutro filter, blur around hoop.

A big photo is best:
Just like using a normal size font, a large photo is the easiest on your readers eyes. You don't want them to squint to see what your posting. Not only is the photo easier to read, but gives the readers a place to rest their eyes and really take in what you are writing about.

Center your photos:
Now this might be a personal belief, but I truly believe a centered photo is the best.  When you justify a photo to one side or another, and let the text wrap around the photo it becomes a distraction. Your words and images fight each other for the readers attention. Also typically if your photo can be justified and text is wrapped around it, your photo is too small.

I hope this helps you tweak your images, and see them as a way to add to what you are writing. Also please keep in mind you can not just take an image from any where you want! There are copyright laws! I just use my own images, that way I do not even have to think about copyrights.

Friday, September 7, 2012

How to: Format a Blog Post

Formatting 101:

As a writer we all know that format is very important. There is a very correct way to write, and a very incorrect way, not a lot of gray area. With blogging it is different. Now I know the "writers" out there might not agree with me but think about the differences between printed work, and screen work. In print your eyes can read page after page with out eye strain, on a computer screen it doesn't take long for eye strain to set in.

Take The Cannoli

Size matters.
Your blog post size does matter. Think of your blog as a conversation with your readers. Would you feel like you have a relationship with someone that post once a month and only a paragraph at a time? Now I am not saying every post has to be an epic, but keep a mixture of sizes. Constant super long post are just as annoying as a reader as constant super short post.

Add photos! 
Pictures are a great way to add depth to what your writing. They say pictures are worth a thousand words, and they are right. A blog post is limited to size so why not use a photo or two to help make your point or convey your emotions?

Mrs Pate Writes

Break up text.
By changing up fonts, colors, sizes,and adding photos, it gives your readers a place to rest their eyes. Blogs are read on computers, shocking I know, but with that you have to remember eye strain can set in every quickly. You know what a read to walk away from your blog with a headache.

Remember 12 point.
Keep your the main part of your font 12 point. Just like changing your font, changing your size can cause a reader problems. The last thing you want is your reader to squint to read your post! On the other side is you don't want your readers to be able to read a word a screen, because you chose such a huge font. Use larger (or smaller) fonts to break up a post or add emphases on your writing.

Rags to Stitches

Location, location, location.
Never forget your readers are reading on their phones, tablets, or computers, so make your post easy for those devices to load. Stop using those crazy fonts! I know they are cute and adorable, but a whole post in a crazy font is hard to read, and hard for the computer to load. Not every computer is created equal some will take longer to load those fonts! Want to use those cute fonts? Keep them for your blog title or to break up the text. The majority of your text should be in a readable font. Think the classics, Ariel, Times, Courier, even Verdana.

I hope you keep in these things in mind as your writing. Look at others blogs, make note what you like and implement that. Have fun, make your blog yours, and keep your readers in mind! 

photos used with permission.