Every day, a handful of WordPress.com bloggers are featured on Freshly Pressed. And every day, many more wonder, “What do I have to do to get Freshly Pressed?”
Here on The Daily Post, we take a close look at posts that have been Freshly Pressed and explore why they were Press-worthy. We hope this series provides insight into the process and offers tips and tools to make your blog the best it can be.
As a child, I was always entranced by complexity.
The web is full of great reading, waiting to be discovered. But so much is out there, and if a post doesn’t grab my attention right from the beginning, I drift and click on something else. We’re lucky to read on the web in a time in which writers are crafting thoughtful, engaging longer reads each day. And I sensed, from James’ first sentence (above) in his recent post, “It’s All in the Details,” that it would be such a piece.
James immediately sets the tone and mood, and how fitting that his post on details — within the stories we tell, and in our own lives — is rich with details and layers. He ultimately creates a textured post that works on different levels.
Here are some specific reasons why we featured this post on Freshly Pressed:
He grounds us with personal experience before exploring larger ideas.
“It’s All in the Details” explores how details shape the worlds within fiction, from stories by James Joyce to Virginia Woolf. But before James dives into this literary discussion, he tells us about himself, and how he’s always paid attention to details since he was a child:
Details were important to me then, not because of the raw information itself, but because of the plan, the narrative, I was able to construct for myself because of them. I could plan out my sledding adventures now, and start calling friends. Our minds want details and information in order to help us build a more certain, predictable world, a world we can make sense out of. A narrative world.
In addition, he talks about a human’s innate desire to consume information and gather data — it’s an intriguing discussion, and it sets us up for his thoughts on using details in storytelling.
Writing about yourself may not always make sense in your own posts, but doing so humanizes you as a narrator and lets your reader know where you’re coming from.
He provides literary examples to illustrate his points.
James Joyce was probably the most exacting of all authors when it came to details. He famously asserted that he wished for a reader to be able to reconstruct Dublin, brick by brick from his descriptions in Ulysses. While he lived in France, he frequently wrote back to relatives living in Dublin, demanding the exact time it took to walk between different locations in the city, taking specific routes. The world seems real, because Joyce has put in so much effort to construct it.
He supports his post with concrete examples of books and authors that have built entire worlds with details — from A Song of Ice and Fire and Harry Potter to J.R.R. Tolkien and James Joyce. Without these specific references, it could be challenging for readers to follow his discussion. If it’s appropriate in your own posts, illustrate your ideas with examples in our culture to strengthen them.
The discussion is contemporary and relevant, too.
Too often, we’re very adept at paying attention to details in last night’s episode of The Walking Dead, than in our own lives. . . . People often seem more invested in fictional families, friends, and lovers, than their own.
In addition to using classic literature to inform his post, James keeps his discussion timely with references to current TV shows — The Walking Dead, Downton Abbey — to further his ideas: that our regular, run-of-the-mill lives are boring, and that the stories we watch and read about are hyperactive versions of normal life, but much more interesting.
Ultimately, he offers his own take: he loves the detailed narratives of books, TV, and movies, but fears that we, as a culture, don’t bring that same attention to detail back with us to the real world.
We increasingly wander through our days in a daze, head down, engrossed in our phones, coffee in hand.
We especially like how James takes the time to cover his points in detail and concludes with his own opinions and commentary on a much larger discussion on life — and the richness and complexity of it. “Life, real life, is the best written of all works,” writes James.
When concluding your own posts, offer your own commentary. Contribute to the existing discussion. Your reader has followed you this far on a journey — they want to read what you have to say. So, go for it.
What did you think of this Freshly Pressed pick from the blog James’ Room?