terribleminds: Analysis

Overview

For this case study, I am analyzing the blog “terribleminds” by author Chuck Wendig. This blog typically covers writing advice and promotion of the author’s books. The blog’s URL is http://terribleminds.com/ramble/blog/

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Analysis

The header of the blog is the terribleminds logo with a short bio of who Chuck Wendig is and what he will write about on his blog (he is a writer who will talk about writing, pop culture, and family). He also notes that the site may be not safe for work because of language. The top left of the page has a button that pulls down Wendig’s detailed About Me page. This lists notable books he wrote, as well as some of his upcoming books. His bio also tells his work history in screenwriting and game writing. It then closes to show where he lives with his family, and some flavor about his character.

Above the logo and this bio is a menu section where you can select the pages for the blog, free stories he has written, merchandise, a bibliography of his work, a list of his upcoming appearances, and his comment policy. The right-hand side of the blog features a search box, a field to subscribe by email, and covers of his last three book releases where readers can click through to find more information about the books. The bottom of the page includes small links to his Twitter, Flickr, and Tumblr accounts. Wendig is very active on Twitter, and always links to his blog with tweets.

Many of Wendig’s articles are about writing advice, and this certainly includes his most popular posts. His site doesn’t list the most read posts, but googling “Chuck Wendig blog” shows two likely popular posts: “So, You Wanna be a Professional Writer? Some Considerations!” and “A Very Good List of Vital Writing Advice – Do Not Ignore.” His posts sometimes include a photo of himself or a close-up photo of an object like pens or toothbrushes. But usually the images used are of books he mentioned in the article.

His blog titles are generally compelling in the sense that he often seems like he is shouting at the reader, such as one post titled “A HOT STEAMING SACK OF BUSINESS ADVICE FOR WRITERS.”  He also posts flash fiction prompts, and those posts will always be structured by “Flash Fiction” and the prompt, such as one post titled “FLASH FICTION CHALLENGE: THE SUBGENRE SMASH-AND-GRAB.” Wendig also makes space for other writers to write advice articles and promote their books. These post titles will always be structured as “Author: Their Title” so you know it is a guest post. By including guest posts and this community content, Wendig has a new post almost every day.

Wendig’s writing style is conversational and peppered with swears and colorful euphemisms. Reading Wendig’s blog posts often feels like being a bartender asking the drunk customer for advice. Wendig is intelligent and funny, but I think sometimes his style goes over the top. I like Wendig’s Twitter presence, but I don’t read his blog regularly unless a post is trending and seems like a must-read. Reading his blog sometimes feels exhausting, and I often feel like his point is lost in the jokes.

On the other hand, a list of 25 tips for writers where tips number 12 and 13 are “Eat Bees” and “Don’t Eat Bees” helps to keep the post fresh and different from other advice blogs, and it helps to poke fun at the idea of there being a one-size-fits all list of instructions for writing success.

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Wendig’s blog reminds me of a film critic who blogs for Birth.Movies.Death who goes by Film Crit Hulk. His gimmick is that he’s the Incredible Hulk and writes very insightful film critique in ALL CAPS. It certainly makes his writing stand out, but it also makes it nearly impossible to read. Wendig’s style is similar – the constant barrage of swears and bizarre metaphors clutter the writing.

Wendig has a loyal audience and comment section. The community is active on every post, and he encourages community activity with his Flash Fiction Challenges. The fun atmosphere of his comments section is maintained through heavy moderation by Wendig. He has a comment policy page where he explains that he has a strict “no jerks” policy, and he has no hesitance to mark annoying or mean posts as a spam.

Conclusion

I think Chuck Wendig engages his audience well with his blog, and has clearly developed a following. His conversational and loose style allows him to speak directly to the reader and makes his advice more interesting than an old grammar textbook. However, this can also make his blog off-putting at times, and it may not be for everyone. His blog is also a successful platform for selling his books since readers satisfied with his writing advice would be interested in his work and fans of his work would be interested in his writing advice. His blog and social media presence has built up his brand well to make him a very popular writer.

 

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