Monday, May 09, 2016

A-Z Challenge 2016

Posted Monday May 9








Basing flash fiction around neglected, unused and obsolete words seemed a good idea at the outset. However I underestimated the amount time I would use and a sleep I would lose to carry it through! Don’t get me wrong though, I thoroughly enjoyed myself and judging by the amount of traffic on my site during April, quite a few readers did too. In fact, according to the stats, my page views increased fivefold. Then on May Day, it was as if somebody had turned off the tap and I was back to getting just a few comments each day, and then mainly reciprocal ones.

Something I discovered some time ago is that less is more. I try to keep within 200 words per piece because blog surfers – me included - have short attention spans and low boredom thresholds, and when faced with a lengthy tome tend to pass by. The shorter and more succinct the piece, the more comments I seem to attract – and make.

I have decided upon a totally different theme for next year and I am already busily making notes in preparation. At my age, I shouldn’t be wishing time away but I can hardly wait for April 2017!

May I make a suggestion? I would like to see a category FF for pieces of flash fiction or even FP for fiction plus poetry. As with last year, I found WR to be sparsely populated by writers actually writing, with the majority attempting to lecture me on how to write. I am a free spirit. I don’t stick to method and formula. The mark of a good author is surely individuality and uniqueness (is that a word? I’m sure there’s a WR out there who will tell me!) I also think  that all contributors should state a category after their name on the sign-up list. I’m sure I missed out on some excellent sites simply because I mainly visited those labeled WR.

Sorry if I’ve gone on a bit. This is by far the longest thing I’ve ever written for A-Z and I completely ignored my own advice!

Happy writing folks, 


Keith Hillman aka Keith’s Ramblings


You can check out my neglected words by clicking  on the letters
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z



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49 comments:

  1. I enjoyed your theme. It was fun. I think a FF tag would be a great idea because I always find a lot of blogs doing flash fiction and even do it myself for the challenge.

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    1. Goodo - that's two votes! Thanks so much Patricia

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  2. Saw you comment on A to Z "My theme is chosen and I even mentioned it on my Z-day post! Can't wait, although at my age I'm not sure I should be wishing time away!
    "
    Don't say that I love your posts & wish you a super long and healthy life.

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    1. No problem, they won't get rid of me just yet!

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  3. Hi Keith - better stick around for a while I see! Well done - and I enjoyed your obsolete words and the stories you created with them ...

    As you know I pulled out this year - felt deprived! But know I feel better now!! I am ready for next year ... posted and dated - if I got the schedule dates right ... but can correct.

    I visit whoever I wish .. and never go looking for categories - I guess if I had a particular interest then I would .. but I've always liked to mix and match ... cheers and enjoy a peaceful week back settling into 'normality' .. Hilary

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    1. Although you 'pulled out' you were certainly around when it came to reading and commenting, not just on my site but everywhere I went! Cheers Hilary.

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  4. I enjoyed your stories. I haven't thought of a theme for 2017 yet and I'm not sure I'll want to spend the time needed for the challenge for the seventh year running, but I agree that flash fiction posts are among the most interesting ones.

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    1. Oh, go on Miriam! We need you. Thanks so much for your loyal support this year.

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  5. Your tag idea is a good one - I like it. Good luck with next year's theme - it's never to early to start, it seems :)
    Tasha
    Tasha's Thinkings

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    1. The thing is, is haven't come up with anything for 2018 yet! must get a move on. Thanks Natasha.

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  6. I like your thoughts on tags. And I think I dislike being lectured on how to write as well :) This year I just visited blogs disregarding tags in general, and it worked for me.

    I enjoyed your posts, glad to hear that you have your theme and posts planned for next year. I'll be reading :)

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    1. Thanks Nilanjana. Hope to see something of you in the intervening 11 months too!

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  7. How about a QQ category?? Quintessentially Quaint for the likes of you and me! Like you, I'm already thinking about the 2017 edition. I have a plan but like you I think these one month challenges take much time!

    Thank you... I thoroughly enjoyed my visits to your site(s). The only problem I have is working out a way to easily get to non WordPress blogs. (I don't really want to resurrect a blog roll... I have enough on my plate.) I enjoyed meeting Rosey... I reckon she could teach many an older lady a trick or twenty!

    As that fake tanned imported Californian was prone to say... I'll be back! (That's if you'll have me!!)

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    1. QQ - I like it! Thank you so much for your support and your witty comments. Rosey sends you a kiss by the way!WE'll definitely have you back.

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    2. I've just dropped in on Rosey... by the way... I suggested QQ to the A to Z powers that be! ;-)

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  8. I enjoyed your stories so much. They were the perfect length for me and I'm always amazed how much you pack into them. I too would like a FF tag and a little more than two letters as some of the titles of people's blogs are a little misleading hard to define.
    I'll be back next year.

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    1. Thanks so much. Glad you are coming back, hopefully we'll see a little of each other during the intervening months.

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  9. First-timer here, so I'm still tweaking my blog visiting strategy. I started out going down the list by number but had a duh! moment when I realized the folks at the bottom of the list were very likely to get any love if I kept that up. So I switched to visiting 30 blogs each day, doing 30 in order from a random spot within the participants list. I completely ignored the codes and visited anything that fell within that group of 30 for the day. Were they all my cup of tea? Nope, but I sure saw a lot of cool stuff I probably wouldn't have found if I had stayed within code boundaries.

    Congrats on finishing! I look forward to participating next time.

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    1. Hi Lisa - I like your lucky dip idea! Thanks for dropping by and I look forward to seeing your input next year.

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  10. That's an excellent suggestion on using labels like FF. I put WR on my link because I am a writer, but I didn't blog about writing or present stories this year or last. Is that an oops? Maybe not since at least ten of this years posts were linked to promoting a book. But more labels and a label for every blog is a good idea. Maybe even let people pick up to three labels for the animal-lovin'-poets-who-knit type of bloggers.

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    1. I think WR is too wide a remit. I'm glad you approve of my suggestion. Whether or not it will come to anything remains to be seen! Thanks for visits over the month. They were much appreciated.

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  11. Much of what you have said resonates with me. I enjoyed reading your challenge posts - succinct always gets my vote, and although I did try, I know I didn't always succeed with my own posts. I did feel a little unloved when my comment score plummeted from 56 on the last day of the challenge to 17 on my latest post. Anyway, I've added you to my 'blogs that I follow' list, Keith, and shall continue to do so. :)
    Oh - and yes - a Flash Fiction category would be good.

    Susan A Eames at
    Travel, Fiction and Photos


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    1. Thanks so much Susan, I'm pleased you enjoyed your visits. I too experienced a steady decline over the days even though I was doing the same number of visits throughout. Oh well!

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  12. Great that you are thinking ahead now for next year! Did enjoy your theme this year and learned quite a few new obscure words :)

    Totally agree with you too; keep it short and simple!

    betty

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    1. Thanks Betty. Glad you liked it. I needn't tell you how much I enjoyed my daily rest on your bench!

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  13. The challenge may be over Keith, but I'm just finding my way here now and I'm delighted I have. I just sampled one of your stories with neglected words and you've got me hooked. I'll be working my way through your posts. Here's to another great challenge next year, and plenty of wonderful posts in between.

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    1. Deborah, how great to have you aboard. I just dashed over to your place to find out what I was missing and I'm glad I did. See you around!

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  14. Hi, Keith,
    Keeping things short and sweet does help those who visit.
    Good suggestion on adding a FF category.

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    1. Thanks so much. I only hope it comes to the attention of the team, it's certainly getting a lot of support here.

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  15. Like the idea of a FF tag, I didn't read so many blogs this year but last year stumbled across a lot of Flash Fiction and really enjoyed them.

    Agree with you on the short and sweet, I found it really hard first time around but I'm definitely getting the hang of shorter, although I can still be quite verbose.

    I can't even begin to think of next year though, am still recovering from this year!

    Mars xx
    @TrollbeadBlog from
    Curling Stones for Lego People

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    1. Looks like we are in agreement then! Thanks Mars.

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  16. I have not read as many blogs as I would have liked... as someone said the world away from the PC has its own demands that often took priority in April. Enjoyed a few of your posts that I did read and I am impressed. Research and hard work always stands out. And you are already preparing for 2017! That's great. Guess I should put on a thinking cap too! Cheers!! :)

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    1. It certainly does require a lot of free time! Glad you liked what you read.

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  17. Wow - you already have a theme for next year's challenge! I'm in awe :-)

    I think I missed you during the challenge, but I see all sorts of interesting countries that you've visited on your sidebar and I'm off to check out those blog posts now as I love travel.

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    1. Travel is my first love! There is so much out there to see. Thanks so much for popping by. It's much appreciated.

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  18. I missed so much great stuff this year, I am visiting those who made it and not the turkeys who didn't... thank you.

    We made it...Hope you had a great time, thank you for your Reflection!
    Jeremy [Retro]
    AtoZ Challenge Co-Host [2016]

    T-SHIRTS, MUGS, FREE MAGAZINE... OH MY!

    HOLLYWOOD NUTS!
    Come Visit: You know you want to know if me or Hollywood... is Nuts?

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    1. I missed loads too Jeremy, I've come across quite a few contributors during the reflections process that I really regret having missing out on.Thanks for dropping bu matey.

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  19. Hello Keith,
    I didn't sample your blog until the reflection stage, and have gone back to enjoy some of your stories. What fun! This would be a perfect writing exercise for young students--a playful way to learn new vocabulary. I do enjoy hearing from other writers about their writing process. My only complaint about the writing category is my dislike of hearing the same writing advice over and over again. We fiction writers are often at a loss, I think, about what to include in our writer blogs. Yours was a delight. @RhondaGilmour from
    Late Blooming Rose

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    1. Rhonda, thank you so much. I stick to what I said above - to set yourself apart from other writers you need to be different from them. Advice? Do the opposite!

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  20. I loved your stories for the A-Z, Keith! A great deal of thought and effort was put into them to make them work and not appear contrived just to fit the words in. I've always found it true that devoted readers for the month disappear quickly in May, which is why I don't follow very many new ones at the start, wait to see how it all sorts out. I'm betting you found a few new fans, and reconnected with a few old ones, like me! I agree with categories on the A-Z sign up, like you I discovered too many about writing and that was a waste of time because it wasn't what I was looking for. I think they need a category of their own. I also have a plan up my sleeve for next year, you and a couple others inspired me to put more into it! Now if I could convince my boss that I should have every other Friday off for the next 12 months so that I can prepare, I'll be ready on time for A-Z '17!

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    1. Josie, I know I can always rely on you to be lurking around - in the nicest possible way! During April we are mostly like so many ships that pass in the night; just a few lock anchors. Give me your boss's name and I'll sort it for you!

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  21. Keith, first up...CONGRATULATIONS on finishing the A2Z challenge! Second up...I'M sooooo sorry for not hoping over more often in April. At least you included all of your posts here for me to bookmark this page to find each one easier over the coming months. Although, I haven't used the WR category for myself, I have visited some of these in past years. The information is useful, but I usually lose interest fast. However, I do like reading poetry or short stories (a long story stretched over the alphabet is another that I shy away from, especially if I miss more than one post). That being said, a new categories such as the ones you suggested is needed. You might want to ask Lee, aka Arlee Bird to include these in 2017, if you haven't already. I'll pop back over to read through your A2Z posts. Enjoy the rest of the year. Happy writing!

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    1. We agree on so much Cathy, especially with continuing stories. I don't start to follow them just in case I miss an 'episode' and lose track. Short, sweet and varied is what I enjoy writing and reading. Thanks for the tip about contacting Lee - judging by the comments here, it seems a popular suggestion.

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  22. I wrote flash fiction too this year and I totally agree that short is better in the challenge. I didn't use a category tag because the guidelines stated that the tag should be your main blog niche, which I don't have, and my theme was fiction. I think the tags would be best used to describe the A to Z theme.
    Debbie

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    1. Looks like we are in agreement! Thanks for dropping by.

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  23. i for one enjoyed reading your stories, good luck for future writing

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    1. ...and I yours too! Didn't we have fun?

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  24. Very thoughtful! I agree with you about being pithy. As for uniqueness, it's absolutely a word as far as I know. I like to think there is a touch of uniqueness to all my best characteristics. ~grin~ Thank you for checking out my blog despite my wide ranging topics and typically sporadic posts. Have a lovely day!

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    1. Variety is the spice of life Darla and your varied posts are testament to it! Thank you for your loyal support and words of encouragement.

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