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Community Pool

The place for feedback, advice, and friendly blogging chatter.

Have you just published a new post and are dying for some feedback? Did you recently start your blog and could use some layout or design advice from your more seasoned peers?

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  1. Hi everyone,

    Happy Monday! For a number of reasons I’ve been away from blogging on WordPress for a while, but I’ve recently found a bit more balance to my time and am trying to get back into it.

    My first post back is a fictional confession letter from a failed novelist. I don’t want to say too much about his character because the feedback I want is, basically, does it work? What do you get from his words about him, and ultimately, is it believable?

    All comments greatly greatly appreciated as a writer struggling to get creativity flowing again! You can find the post here:

    https://bencnicholson.wordpress.com/2016/02/06/confessions-of-a-failed-novelist/

    Thanks, and as ever, happy to reciprocate!

    Ben

    Liked by 8 people

    1. Hey Ben, read it earlier today, and had a suspicion by the end of it that it was fictional, though I didn’t want to assume! Very well-written, but maybe changing one or two details would make it work better? Perhaps, him talking about actual drafts or stories, or personal details about maybe his wife or children. Something like that. Maybe talking about a published piece, or a letter from an editor that egged him on to do more.

      Liked by 4 people

    2. I really like the idea behind the story and most of the content.

      I became confused when reading double negatives and some of his language made him sound illiterate rather than a failed author. I think your story would be stronger if you took out that kind of language. I particularly liked your last two paragraphs.

      Liked by 3 people

    3. Hi Benedict!

      Thanks for sharing this. I just popped over to your site and read the post. As far as the content, I really enjoyed it. It was a nice little glimpse into a fictional character’s life. My only feedback would be regarding his voice/accent. At first the way he spoke sounded like a cockney English accent, then it began sounding like the sort of stereotypical old time southern accent out of a cartoon. I wasn’t clear if that was meant to be believable or humorous, so depending on what you were going for (a humorous caricature versus a realistic depiction of a common accent), I might tone down some of the phonetically written accent.

      Good work and thanks again for sharing!
      Charlotte
      http://www.girlygeekgirl.com

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Interesting, ok, thanks for the feedback. I was going for a southern accent, phonetically written, kind of treading a line between believability and him not caring about the rules of grammar, kind of tying in with him writing whatever he wanted and not caring too much about the rules, but if it came across as corny obviously it didn’t quite work! I am superbly British sounding though, so that may be why the accent wasn’t quite right! It was meant to be old-timey southern by the way, but thanks for the feedback either way 🙂

        Liked by 3 people

    4. Dude, that was awesome. I love it. It actually speaks to me on a personal level. I love writing stories, but I often feel the same way that this failed novelist does…. It makes you think….. Great work man!

      Liked by 1 person

    5. Your story was great–I really enjoyed it. The only thing I could say is that the way your character spoke was a little disconcerting, like he couldn’t decide between “posh, well-read, literary professor” and “poorly educated farm boy.” Otherwise, I loved how the story progressed and he was analyzing his actions.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Cool blog! You had me when you mentioned music! I’ll check it out in more detail and listen to some of the tracks you have posted. I think you were descriptive enough with everything. Too much detail would have been overwhelming.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. You have gained a follower out of me! I absolutely love your blog. I don’t get to go to concerts very often, but your blog made me feel that I was a part of the crowd. The whole concept of adding the artist’s music pieces is brilliant. I really do need to thank you for introducing me to new artists and I’m looking forward on reading more. 🙂
      If you have some spare time, do check out my blog, too! It’s an art blog, and I’m a beginner. Feedback will be highly appreciated. Here’s the link:
      http://www.mehrsartblog.wordpress.com
      Keep up the good work! x

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Thanks a lot for following! I’m glad you enjoyed the article, I put a lot of effort into the music favorites 🙂 I will check out your blog later tonight when I get the chance! Thanks again for the feedback.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. I love your title! Now I’m sitting here chuckling to myself about the rest of it. Your post seems to resonate nicely with your title. I imagine people who use both their visual/auditory senses a lot will enjoy your piece. That includes me!

      Liked by 3 people

    2. I liked your post. As I said in my comment on the blog, I sure hope it was fiction. You described a very scary scenario. No one could sleep with that going on!

      My suggestion would be to put your widgets on one of the side bars. I looked at your about page and couldn’t find my way back to the home page. The second time I visited I saw that you have them located at the bottom.

      Liked by 3 people

    1. Yes! I love my name (Jennifer) because it was bestowed upon me by my sister. I’m named after her favorite black doll. Great post. Resonated beautifully!

      Liked by 3 people

      1. I don’t think my name has a meaning. When I try to Google it or search on a website it never recognizes it. But I love my name nonetheless. 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

    2. I don’t really like my name sometimes because it’s really common.My first and last name happens to be one of the most common combinations possible.But,I do love it most of the time because it makes me,me and I can’t dream of being called something else.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I believe everyone’s name is common to an extent but everyone wears his or her name differently. As long as you feel your name is yours to own, you can be yourself to the fullest. Thanks for sharing ☺

        Liked by 2 people

    3. I do like my name (Flávia), although people tend to mistake it with other names, I’m so used to it that I can’t imagine to have an other name. It’s not a common name where I live.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Well… I’m done editing the first draft of my debut psychological thriller novel ‘A Hole in Serenity’ so it’s almost time for me to send it to the gods that be! If you have the time to stop by my blog I would be forever grateful. I need as much support as possible and I am certain that each and every follower can have a huge part to play in the success of my book. Thank you for your time and happy Monday!! Take care, Mark.
    http://www.markdraycott.com

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Hi Mark! I visited your blog today. It appears you have more than schooled readers about the ins and outs of writing a novel. It also seems that you have adeptly tied other posts to your novel. Good. Good. Good.

      Actually, I was hoping to read a short excerpt of ‘A Hole in Serenity.’ I was hoping to meet a character. You’ve wet my appetite. Rough drafts wouldn’t put me off a bit. Please reward your readership with a taste…OK?!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Hi there, thank you for visiting! Your interest and support is very much appreciated. I shall shortly be releasing the blurb to ‘A Hole in Serenity’ so hopefully you will not have to wait too much longer. Do sign up to follow if you can! Thanks again, Mark.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. I just checked out your site and really like it! I’m new myself so I don’t have much advice to give, but I think you are doing an awesome job! The only think I wasn’t sure I followed you but I think I ended up liking the theme rather than you blog. But I figured it out. Keep up the great work!

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Your posts are really fun to read, I love how you write about lyrics that speak to you. One thing about your theme – all the way at the top of the page there is a big white space next to your logo (which is awesome, by the way). That space kind of looks out of place – I was actually waiting for something to load, haha. That’s all I have though!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Thanks for your thought out response! I am somewhat limited by the theme of my blog as to how big logos, titles and subtitles come across. My blog also changes appearance based upon whether or not you’re viewing it on a mobile device. I actually do all of my blogging via mobile. On my phone the posts and logo all appear the same size. I purposely tried to pick a simple, easy format since my blog is stories and not many images apart from the main image associated with each new post. Thanks for the advice bc I will look at on laptop now and see if I can rearrange a bit!

        Liked by 1 person

    1. I found the style to be engaging enough to read the full piece. I like you admitting to peer pressure from a 10 yr old. Truth always wins me over. Of course, I just experienced Jonas too not so far away from you and wrote about it, so I’m already biased towards interest in the subject.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Thanks for your feedback. I appreciate it. I just read your tribute to Jonas – brilliant. BTW – I don’t do small-talk either, but that is more related to social anxiety than anything else. If I have nothing important to say, I say nothing.

        Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Natalie – 2 of the 3 posts weren’t interesting to me, but the pescatarian one was right up my alley. I’d like to read more about *you* in the post. What prompted you to become a pescatarian? Did you make that word up? I’ve never seen it before and I love it. I’d like to see more than a list. Maybe some anecdotes about your misadventures in the carnivore world. Also, I’d probably make an exception for your mom’s lamb stew. That seems like torture to give that up.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Just setting up I see. No posts yet, or did I get lost in the transfer? Your design certainly has possibility. Don’t you just love that word? I suspect you’re going to start actually writing any day now. Today is as good as any. Anyways, I looked. Possibility!

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Great read! I recently deleted my Facebook app because I’m tired of being nine friends with so many people. I find we make less attempts at face to face time because we get the false sense of keeping in touch via social media. So my focus is to make real memories with people I love. That narrows down to about 4 best friends, two of whom are my sisters, my mother and my husband! Two others I still consider best fiends but life is busy, so we’ll see each other eventually! Friendships are nothing like what we see on tv but you’re lucky if you have one.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. In a browser, open the article you want to feature.

        If you view your blog site in a web browser, not the app, you will see at the bottom of your article a button that says, “Press This”.

        Use your curser to highlight text you’d like to appear at the top of your new blog post. It may be the first few lines, or a point you made in the middle of the article. Then click on the Press This button.

        A window will pop up with text you highlighted and something like:

        Source: Community Pool

        With a hyperlink imbedded in the name of the article. You can save it as a draft or publish it now.

        I spent a couple of days choosing articles to feature and saved them each as a new draft. I changed “Source:…” to “Read more…”

        Then I spent time changing the titles, adding a new intro to some, and setting the date for publication and featured images. I also took time to set categories and tags. In just a few days, and maybe four hours, I had posts ready for the entire month!

        Liked by 2 people

  3. Hi Everyone!
    I just started blogging again! I hope you guys check out my blog and follow 🙂 I will definitely follow back and give my feedback! 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

  4. Hello!

    I just started a blog on my experiences with domestic violence and sexual assault. I really want to boost my following so I can reach more people and help others! I’m trying to be as level-headed and neutral or bad mouthed my ex or his family. Am I doing a good job at this? I still have a lot left of my story to share. Is what I’ve posted so far too detailed? Detailed enough? What can I do to get more followers?

    Thank you!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Very effective! I’m sorry you had to deal with this. It must have been frightening. This is part of your story so it’s not too detailed. My concern is any legal action from him. Not sure how to protect ourselves from this. As far as getting more followers, be sure and put Tags re: ‘abuse’ in your posts. Also, follow others with like focus in their blogs and make comments. Good Luck!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Go into Edit. You’ll see on the left side ‘categories and tags’. In the ‘tags’ type words that apply to your post, one at a time, and save. This way other bloggers can search for specific tags and come up with your post. 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

    2. Just had a quick glance at your posts and followed immediately, as I have recently left a toxic relationship. I hope reading your blog will help me in many many ways!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Mary Lou!

      If you want all 26 posts to be easily accessible to your readers in one spot, I would suggest adding a drop down parent menu with a child for each of the 26 posts. (Assuming your WP theme supports parent/child menus). If you want an example of what I mean, check out the “Short Story” parent button on my top menu, and you can see how I’m adding each chapter of my story as a child to that menu for ease of navigation.

      Good luck!
      Charlotte
      http://girlygeekgirl.com

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Thank you, Charlotte! I found a way to put A to Z Challenge on the Menu through categories. I did check out your ‘Short Story’ parent button and I think what I did is the same. Each new post will appear under that! Great! 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

  5. Hello, everyone! I’ve recently started a blog about my experiences working in human services direct care with children with special needs. I also wrote a short Kindle book for $.99. If you guys could check out the design and content of adayinhellmanifesto.wordpress.com I would greatly appreciate it! Thanks!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh, PS — any time you include a link to your blog, I would recommend including http:// at the beginning, so that your reader can simply click directly, rather than having to copy and paste into a new browser. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Hello fellow bloggers. I have been blogging for just over a month . my blog is a little different but I am sure there is something on there for everyone. Posts can range from political rants or talks about suicide to reviewing my favourite makeup. I would love if you could check it out, I am so close to 100 followers 💞

    Liked by 3 people

  7. I will apreciate you if you could give some feedback on my blog. I am a very beginer dont know if my blog is good one or will do great in future . One blog i have written about casteism (a social issue in india) another about when we see backward in our life. I know 1st blog will not be liked by anybody as it is a social matter and in 2nd one i tried much to put some literary style to my blog. My Qs is whether blogging about random topics will help or shouldn’t i write for any social or political issues .
    My blog address :
    https://blogofguru.wordpress.com/2016/02/04/when-we-see-in-retrospection/

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Guru Charan! Thanks for posting in the Community Pool. Regarding your first blog, I think you should definitely at least post a link to it. It sounds like you’re being too hard on yourself when you say you think nobody will like it. Let us be the judge 🙂

      As for your question, I think blogging about random topics is awesome on occasion, as long as there are general themes in your blog throughout time.

      Charlotte
      http://girlygeekgirl.com/

      Liked by 2 people

    2. I think all three of your posts are good. I’m not sure why you think the first one would be a problem. You are speaking your mind and to me that is one of the major values of blogging. I think it is fine to write about random topics. Write about what you feel moved to write about.

      I was glad to see you added categories and tags to your most recent posts. I suggest you go back and add them to your first two. Tags are one of the major ways people will find your blog.

      Liked by 2 people

  8. Hi! I just made my blog and did my first post today.I would love love love to have some feedback and some tips on how to make my blogs more user friendly and get more traffic.I love writing and getting my views across.Any help on the matter would be appreciated. Thank you!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Looks like you are off to a good start. The key to user friendliness is to read lots of other blogs and get a feel for what works and does not on other people’s blogs. Keep your personality in your blog, keep your writing as yours..but use what others do as a guide. As to traffic, following other blogs also helps, but above all, make sure you are tagging your posts and across your social media, especially if you have unique content. By the way, I love the title of your blog

      Liked by 3 people

    2. Hi there!

      Welcome to WordPress! I just checked out your blog, and I really like your writing style and content. Definitely keep up the good work! As far as feedback on making it more user friendly and building more traffic, I would suggest adding more photos (there are plenty of stock photos you can use for free online legally). Also, I might have just missed it, but I didn’t see a comment box anywhere. I would definitely suggest opening your posts up for comments. It’s a great way to engage readers!

      Happy blogging!
      Charlotte
      http://girlygeekgirl.com/

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hmm it could have just been WP being wonky when I viewed your post — maybe that’s why I couldn’t see the comment box? Otherwise I’d recommend clicking on My Sites > Settings (at the very bottom) > Discussions. And there you should see a menu of options as far as how much you want to allow other people to comment.

        Hope this helps!

        Liked by 1 person

    3. I read through the other people’s comments. I don’t know whether it was there at the time she wrote, but it is there now. I just read your posts and made comments!

      You write so well.That will draw people and is the most important thing. I agree with the tags and pictures comments. The easiest way to deal with pictures is to take them yourself so you don’t have to think about copyright issues. (If your parents approved a photo of them would be a nice one for your Valentines post.) I use Wikimedia Commons to find free pictures. Then you photo credit to Wikimedia Commons and link it to the photo page. There are other places you can get free photos but I’ve never been very good at finding them.

      Other ways to get followers:

      Take Blogging 101 and participate in the discussions in the Commons. I still connect with people I met in that course. You will also learn a lot about blogging in that course…. and about how to make your blog look even better than it already does.

      Read other people’s blogs and comment.

      Read Community Pool and comment.

      Read the blogs from other people who have interests like yours and comment.

      As you can no doubt tell by now, I think commenting is the key!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. One more suggestion. Add two more widgets- Follow blog by email and the Follow Button. I’d probably put them at the top of your sidebar, or between the recent posts and recent comments. That makes it easy for people to sign up to follow you. (I realize you may not know about widgets yet. Blogging 101 will help with that too and there are probably tutorials available by goggling word press widgets.)

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Brittney! I just checked out your blog, and the content and layout looks great. My only suggestion is regarding your About button at the top. I clicked on it and noticed it took me away from WP to your Bloglovin’ profile. I would suggest to have a Bloglovin’ widget on the side, and to use the About page as an internal WP page with a description of who you are and what your blog is about.

      Happy blogging!
      Charlotte
      http://girlygeekgirl.com

      Liked by 1 person