Ghostly WordPress goings-on

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Am I the only one who is being haunted by the Ghostly ‘like’?

The ghostly like

This little orange ‘tease’ hangs in the corner of my toolbar like a candle, drawing my eye away from whatever I was writing and…

Eh…

Sorry, I lost my thread there for a moment. What was I saying? Right, so I click on the ‘like’ only to find that there is nothing new there.

Worse, if I change pages in WordPress, it reappears! I click on it

As if that wasn’t bad enough, it has been joined by a ghostly ‘comment’ that does exactly the same.

The ghostly comment

There’s nothing there.

I know it’s not my computer because I’ve seen this whilst using four different units (not all at the same time, obviously. This isn’t ‘Swordfish’).

Please tell me that I’m not the only one who is being teased and mocked by technology.

WordPress, if you are reading this, please come up with a ‘fix’ for this.

If you don’t, I may need to seek out a ‘fix’ of my own…

S’okay, I’m only talking about caffeine.

Without the sugar.

And the milk.

And water.

*crunch*

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How to accept editing feedback

8 Comments

Professor at work

Within the last few weeks I have been on both sides of the editing fence, in a non-professional capacity, and it’s been a fascinating and emotional experience.

It’s surprising how much this editing lark tugs at the heartstrings…probably because I was working with friends’ MSs, not an ‘author unknown’ whose work I could have viewed more dispassionately.

At first. there’s the realisation that I am holding someone’s hard work in my hands. I handle it like fine china whilst wearing thin white cotton gloves. Eventually, once I have carefully tip-toed through the copyright page and the dedication page – pages that look uncannily similar to my own – I get down to reading the actual story.

Fairly quickly, I begin to read it as an editor, albeit an amateur one. I discover small errors. There are the obvious typos, misplaced words that the spell checker skimmed past, stray aspostrophe’s 🙂 Those are all straightforward and easy to highlight. At this stage, I feel no guilt for messing with someone’s hard work.

But then there are the ‘clumsy’ sentences; the ones that find you circling the same spot on the page like a buzzard as you consider rephrasing; ‘The stars appeared in a velvet sky along with the shining object that as a child, the cow had jumped over – the Moon – just before the clouds began to roll in.’

I should emphasise that no-one actually committed that sentence to ePaper. It’s just an example…but it’s awkward, right?

But I’ve stared at many similar sentences, wondering if I’m just being mean, picky or plain British-awkward by even considering the idea of changing them. If I correct it, will it then jar with the rest of the MS? Will I have ruined the artistry that the writer sought to inject into the words?

Will it change the mood if I type it up as; ‘Clouds mushroomed along the horizon, building quickly, threatening to swallow the moon – my childhood inspiration – and spoil the cobalt, star-spotted beauty of the late evening sky.’ That’s more my style – but do I have the right to impose it on another writer?

Guilty questions begin to rattle my brain;

‘Do I leave that alone?’

‘Is it actually wrong – or do I just not like it personally?’

It’s the same thing when I read ‘Phil pushed himself off of the table.’  Brits hate this – but it seems to be normal in the US.

With some phrases, I wonder;

‘Is that how an American would phrase it – or is it wrong?’

Take; ‘He dropped the tailgate of the pickup and drug out the fishing nets.’ Brits would throw up their hands in horror – but in the US? I honestly don’t know if drug is an acceptable past tense form of drag.

If it’s speech, then I leave it well alone. Characters can talk exactly as they want to – unless I stumble across someone suddenly saying ‘I did not want to…’ or ‘I shall not do…’ when they would normally contract their speech.

Then we have; ‘The teenagers hung around the park most of the day, but one by one they began to slope off home.’

‘Would American readers understand that term? Is it too British? Should it be international-ised?’

It’s been pointed out to me that I use a lot of British English. Yes, that’s probably true, but short of avoiding all words that end in ‘-ised’ or changing them to ‘-ized’ and cutting out the letter ‘u’ from words ending with ‘-our’, I’m not sure of the best way around that issue. I am (mostly) English, my story is set in York, my main characters are (for the most part) English and at no point do they leave the country. If I was to convert my MS to American English, I would then be turning my back on the very ‘Britishness’ of my story. It’s a no win, no win situation.

I find myself thoroughly quandried, plus I feel a growing respect for editors who must straddle these intenational conundrua.

On the receiving end;

The edited MS arrives as an attachment – I download it and crack it open, wondering how much red I will see.  The first comment pops up, and I instantly feel (in turn and within the space of a few seconds) the following;

Irritation

Annoyance

Anger

Resignation

Acceptance

Determination

Purpose

Is it just me? Am I unique in that I see red because someone has dared to question my writing? I mean – how dare they?

Oh, they’re editing it for me. Fair enough.

The ire quickly fades as my Muse nods sagely and persuades me (diplomatically) that the editor could well be right and that perhaps a small change would benefit the MS.  So I sigh, I change it, I move on to the next comment.

It’s a hard thing, to accept the critique of another. If you’ve a thin skin, it feels as if someone is simply telling you; ‘No, you’re done that wrong.’ If you’re thicker skinned – and writers need to be – then it should be seen as ‘fine tuning’, as necessary as – for example – a haircut. The hairdresser may not actually hate your hair, but they still need to take off a little bit here and tidy it up there. It’s not personal.

But it can sure feel like it. >.<

Just think of it as the next little step towards presenting your best possible work to the world. Grit your teeth, thicken your skin, go get that haircut and let it happen.

So easy to say…so tricky to accept.

😀

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Small tweaks for your posts

8 Comments

christiem bored

‘Leave a Reply..?’ That’s soooo last week!

If you’re bored with the ‘Leave a Reply’ box that appears at the bottom of your posts, have a little fun by changing it into a different language or replace it with a series of Lewis Carroll-esque Snarks and Boojums.  Leave a custom message that suits the mood of your blog – if you’re of the Emo persuasion you might say ‘Say something – or don’t.  I’m not really bothered.’  Or if you’re a fan of felines you could say;’ If you love cats, tell me all about it.’

Be frivolous and jokey or add different languages for overseas followers.   Whatever takes your fancy.  The sky is no longer the limit – just ask Buzz Aldrin!

.

To replace the ‘Leave a Reply’, go to your dashboard and select ‘Settings’, then ‘Discussion.’  Scroll down and you should find…

Comments box change

…the ‘Prompt’.  Here’s where you can tweak your comments box and be really creative!

Have fun!

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How to find more bloggers like you…

5 Comments

Female student outdoors with computer

If you’re short on followers or don’t have many interesting blog posts appearing in your feed, a simple way to search for others who are writing about your interests is to explore via the bloggers that you already follow.

By commenting on your (I’m assuming here) small circle of bloggers posts, others will see those comments and perhaps be intrigued enough to search for you – especially if your comments are witty and / or informative. The more often you comment, the better your chances.

The flip side of this is that when you see a useful comment on a blog site, you can visit that blogger in one of two ways;

Click on the blogger’s name (beside their gravatar) blank Gravatar

and that should route you directly to their site.  You can then browse to see if their content is of interest to you.  If it is, ‘follow’ them, ‘like’ their posts (if applicable – if not, why would you follow?) or even leave a nice comment…which might intrigue other visitors to seek you out.  See how it works?  Caution – if you leave a comment without following too, your comment will most likely be held in a moderation queue pending approval by that blogger.  This will not only delay the posting of your comment, but a busy blogger may miss it altogether.  I know because I’ve discovered pending comments days after they were posted. 😀

Another (sometimes less effective way) to find bloggers is to click on their gravatar.

blank Gravatar

This will route you to the bloggers gravatar page where you can read all about them – assuming they have posted anything.  Not everyone does and you can be left staring at nothing more than a larger version of their gravatar.

Note to other bloggers – please put some details on your gravatar!  Other bloggers are interested in you.

Here’s mine;

my gravatar

.

I’ve tried to include as much relevant information on my own gravatar page so that I can be located on WordPress, Twitter, Goodreads, Twitter and LinkedIn.  To find my WordPress site, you’d only need to click on the site name, andrewtoynbee.wordpress.com.

However, even if a blogger that you are desperately keen to follow hasn’t posted any details (and one has to wonder why), the mighty Google can come to the rescue.  Simply copy (or memorise it if you’re good) their blogging name, open the mighty Google (other search engines are available if you prefer) and type ‘WordPress’ followed by their name;

.

google wordpress

.

Voila!

You can then click to find the site and ‘follow’, comment or ‘like’ as before.  The blogger may be kind enough to follow you in return and hey presto! you have increased your feed and your following in one simple move!

For blog sites that are not hosted by WordPress, you may have to be a little more creative, omitting ‘WordPress’ from the search and perhaps adding spaces in their gravatar name.  If you know which host they are using, add that into the search box instead.  Then, if you wish to follow their feeds, copy their web address, go to your ‘Blogs I Follow’ page and paste their URL into the box at the top of the page.  I’ve covered this in slightly more detail on my How to follow non-Wordpress blogs post.

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Happy blogging!

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