Blogs Are Fantastically Boring

Are blogs really that interesting? Imagine for a moment that your favourite personal blog (say, Dooce or Kamigoroshi) were transferred onto the printed page. Would it be as compelling as the blog itself? Would anyone stick around to read page 1000 (assuming it’s 1 post per page)?

The answer is no.

It was an article in the Sydney Morning herald that started me on this line of thought – in it a quote from Juliet Annan (publishing director of Penguin/Fig Tree) struck gold:

Most blogs are fantastically boring. What is exciting is that you can find people who don’t realise what great writers they are.

Yeah, so why would blogs being converted directly to print fail?

Let’s think about it: in a novel there’s an introduction, then rising action, a climax, and a falling action. This is of course a very basic idea of what a novel can be, but it underlines the fact that all novels have a proper ending – something that readers would look forward to and which every chapter points to.

In a blog this idea of a clear narrative is almost non-existent. Today I talk about my newly-dianosed cancer, tomorrow I go on a tyrade against George Bush and the next I tell you why I think Borat was a great movie.

Most blooks that get published will need to have a purpose: a beginning and an end. Julie and Julia (winner of the 2006 Blooker prize) was a cooking project by Julie Powell – 365 days, 524 recipes, one tiny apartment kitchen. Of which she says:

“My blog had an advantage because it was a project, so it had a beginning, a middle and a kind of end, but it was obvious to me from the beginning that I didn’t want to include everything I had written on the blog and put it on the page, because it would have been stiflingly dull,” she says. “I didn’t want it to be indulgent.”

Back to the two personal blogs I mentioned earlier: if by any chance their owners would like to turn them into books … a purpose would have to be found, and about half of the posts would have to be sliced out.

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Category: Writing Web Fiction