Saturday, January 07, 2006

How To Write in Blogosphere

I once wrote a funny post about picking a style for a blog. But this one is meant to be more serious, what with the New Year and all, and a smidgen of sternness is called for. So imagine me typing away in my best bib-and-tucker, with a frozen look on my divine face.

The above paragraph is an example of the voice I picked for this blog. It's not the easiest of voices, and if I had known that I would have picked something else, something that requires less energy to manage, something that would allow me to use a little longer sentences and to be less snarky. Though I could have picked an even harder voice if I had decided to write pure comedy like Jesus's General or the gentle folks of Fafblog. Then there are the inimitable but immediately recognizable voices of Amanda at Pandagon and Jeanne d'Arc at Body and Soul.

The voices bloggers pick probably is not a topic of great interest to anyone but other bloggers. I started thinking about it because of the Koufax awards and the class of Best Writing. Because how well someone writes also depends on the voice that person chooses, and different voices are either easier or harder to do. Which is a long way of saying that everybody should have voted for my blog in that category because I'm in need of adulation. - See how I now keep falling into the Echidne-voice even when I try not to?

And that is the problem with a voice. It grows on you, and then it's hard to change into a different scale. I think I can still do it, but it's easier in my other writings than on the blog.

A voice is not an artificial add-on to blogging. Echidne's voice is one of my natural voices, and I'm not lying to you when I write in that voice. But I have other voices, too, and they clamor to be heard, especially the Weepy-Winifred one. I try to keep her under control because the last thing people want to read is more wailing and tooth-grinding. The wingnuts give us quite enough of that.

Probably the best voice to pick would be a neutral one, a journalistic type or a scientific one. These would be easier to write than snark, too. Snark is both fun and irritating at the same time, to write, at least. I'm not sure how it is to read.

But picking a snarky voice has a problem I didn't anticipate, and that is the problem of snark coming across as non-objective, even when the facts are neutrally expressed. It's hard to know how to correct that, though what I do is cut back on the snarkiness when I give numbers and stuff. But then the whole post comes across as boring. Decisions, decisions, and none of them of any interest to readers.