Sunday, May 1, 2011

My Reflections on the April A to Z

It is wise to ask for feedback about a project once it is done and that is what the Tossing it Out blog has done, so I thought I would be helpful and provide some feedback.  I will copy this blog in its format of breaking down the aspects of the contest.

On my education.

Going through my gamebook collection and researching villains has been a great way for me to find out how to make a good villain for a story.  The different villains have different styles, but good villains make themselves known to the hero through henchmen, traps and diabolical schemes.  In a gamebook, you have to make the reader want to get this villain.  You want the villain to be the reader's nemesis and not some tough fight at the end of the gamebook.  The villain needs individuality.  They need something for the reader to remember them by.  The villain also needs to not pull any punches.  James Bond Villains have lost their X factor for me because you know that even when they capture Bond they will just have dinner with him for a bit before tryin to kill him and then they don't do it effectively like shooting him.  I think Dr Evil from the Austin Powers movies sums it up perfectly:

"No Scott, I have a better idea. I'm going to place him in an easily escapable situation involving an overly elaborate and exotic death."

Back to what the challenge did for me - it made me go out there and do a lot of research into an integral part of gamebooks.  Thanks for that.

On posting

I did all of the posts in advance, so this was OK.  This was also the first time I scheduled my posts, so I learnt to do that because of my challenge. 

In case you're wondering how to schedule posts, go to post options, then enter a time and a date, then click publish (I clicked save now at first which still saves it as a draft).  Your post will appear at the designated time and date.

On visiting

I visited a few blogs.  I visited the people who visited me and then clicked a few at random on the Tossing it Out list.  My efforts dropped off as the month went on though.

On following

I am now following more blogs that I like to keep up with.  Some are about gaming, some arene't but I find them all interesting.  Most of the blogs that I am following from the A to Z challenge belong to people who took the time and effort to comment on my blog.  I think following a blog is a lot about building relationships.

On comments

I'd like to thank all the people who commented on my blog, especially the ones who confessed to knowing very little about my posts.  I guess that gamebooks are quite a niche subject but I would like to open it up which is why I did a call for questions on my gamebooks for dummies post.  I would love to have a bigger audience (what blogger wouldn't) and I would love all of them to understand what I was writing about so that they can get as much from gamebooks as I have.

Overall, the challenge has been extremely beneficial for me.  April has provided me with a record number of viewings, thirteen extra followers, some more blogs for me to absorb knowledge from and a deeper understanding of gamebooks.  My only regret is not visiting many other blogs.  I started out with good intentions but it got tiring for me.  Of course I am planning a wedding and working a full time job at the moment so that may be the reason.  There is just too much good stuff out there and I'd like to thank Tossing it Out for providing a window into that.  

Finally, this post has three other challenges that you could take part in.  Due to the aforementioned wedding planning, I am not taking part in them.  However, a challenge is always good to test your limits so I recommend doing something of the kind.   

Here are all of the blogs that are doing a reflective post on the April A to Z:


  1. Congratulations on finishing the challenge. I know I am following a lot more blogs than I planned to and that doesn't even count the ones that I bookmarked because they are hosted on other platforms and don't have a follow button.

    Much like you planned out your posts, that's how I plan on visiting all of the blogs that I would like to continue reading. I'm going to set aside some time to visit a specific bath per day or per week depending on how often they post and then I'm going to rinse and repeat.

    The Madlab Post

  2. We did it! Congratulations! I have an award for you!!

  3. congrats on finsihing the challenge. Wish I had the forsight to plan my posts, its something I will do next year

  4. I dropped by your blog a few times during the challenge. It was fun. I liked your theme.

    Congrats on completing.

  5. You seem very meticulous in your approach to blogging and highly analytical much like myself. I think that kind of attitude allows you to understand more about the concepts involved in maintaining a blog even if you don't understand the specifics of all of it. I love the field that I have designated "Blog Science" because I like to know how things like this work.

    The gamers who entered A to Z added a dimension of topic that was very alien to many (myself included), but I think those of us who gave some of these blogs a chance were impressed by some of the great writing and clarity of thought that some of you guys have.

    From your assessment I think you got a pretty worthwhile benefit from Blogging from A to Z. Thanks for joining us and adding more color and variety to this eclectic group of bloggers.

    Don't forget to pick up your Winner's Badge at my site.
    Tossing It Out

  6. Congrats for completing the challenge AND for offering a niche that I know next to nothing about but after having read a bit of you, I'm intrigued to know more...

    Your organization throughout had to be a plus, Kudos for that :)

    Your reflection was fab and it would seem you did enjoy the challenge :) Good for you and for all of us who are getting to know you :)

    Cheers :)

  7. Thankyou everybody - congratulations to you too :).

    @Arlee - thanks for organising the A to Z challenge and visiting my blog - I look forward to next year's challenge.

  8. I have no idea what a gamebook I'll need to come back and let you teach me. I didn't get around to all the blogs, that's why Shannon @ The Warrior Muse and I are joining forces in another challenge. We're going to visit and comment at each of the participants, starting with the reflections post. We hope you'll join us, like maybe after the wedding? Congrats on that!
    Tina @ Life is Good