Blogging Tips

Serial Blogger

22 Oct , 2017  

Once you’ve considered the pros and cons of blogging your NaNoWriMo novel – or, anything, really – and have decided to go for it, how do you tie all the chapters or related posts together on the blog? Building a table of contents is a bit tedious, and requires extensive cross-linking and updates to be really reader-friendly.

If you use self-hosted WordPress, you’re in luck. The Display Posts Shortcode plug-in by Bill Ericsson is ideal for that and more! The following list of links uses a shortcode with parameters for the tags “nanowrimo” and “nanowrimo2017” and specifies that the list should include excerpts, if defined in the posts.

  • When Life Hands You Lemons… (#NaNoWriMo2017) - Chapter Six Beau was waiting for me in the school’s lobby. High school teachers don’t have offices, and the lobby at nine o’clock in the morning was more private than the teachers’ lounge. “Let’s get out of here and grab a coffee,” I suggested. Lacey Flowers’ Bakery was just across the street and half a […]
  • It’s Not Gossip If It’s True, Right? (#NaNoWriMo2017) - Chapter Five The murmuring from the teachers’ lounge was little better than the breathless whispering in the halls. Principal Fricke strode into the room with his usual brusque efficiency, clapped his hands loudly, and called for attention. “Good morning, everyone. I’m sure by now you’ve heard that Mrs. Peters fell ill during fourth period, yesterday, […]
  • Rumor Mill (#NaNoWriMo2017) - Our Story So Far… If you’re just arriving, you may want to start with the first chapter. Here is a table of contents: Chapter Four The sun streaming through the curtains made my head throb. “Never drink wine on a Tuesday night,” I muttered, rolling out of bed and blindly feeling my way to the […]
  • Bats in the Belfry (#NaNoWriMo2017) - Our Story So Far… If you’re just arriving, you may want to start with the first chapter. Here is a table of contents: Chapter Three Stewart opened a bottle of Prosecco, filled both our glasses to the rim with golden bubbles, then lifted his in a gesture of salutation. “To best friends,” he said. “Now […]
  • Ridiculously Easy (#NaNoWriMo2017) - Our Story So Far… If you’re just arriving, you may want to start with the first chapter. Here is a table of contents: Chapter Two I drove up the winding road to my little rustic bungalow in Juniper Woods. The windows were aglow with a warm, amber light.  A shadow crossed behind the sheer curtain. […]
  • The Road to Hell (#NaNoWriMo2017) - Chapter One Joe Krebs and I stared at one another like two small dogs issuing a half-hearted challenge over an old ham bone buried too long in the mud. Neither of us could win, but it was a way to pass the time. I caught Scotty DeLuca cutting his eyes over at the clock, as […]
  • Countdown to NaNoWriMo! - Some of you have already started writing, but for those of us in the United States – where NaNoWriMo got its “Na” – we’re still a good 45 minutes to launch. Getting excited? For me, it’s tradition to stay up till midnight an write, at the very least, “In the beginning…” More can wait until […]
  • Serial Blogger - Once you've considered the pros and cons of blogging your NaNoWriMo novel - or, anything, really - and have decided to go for it, how do you tie all the chapters or related posts together on the blog? Building a table of contents is a bit tedious, and requires extensive cross-linking and updates to be really reader-friendly.
  • Should I Blog the Novel-in-Progress? #NaNoWriMo #WriteBravely - There are good reasons to blog the novel during #NaNoWriMo, and there are excellent reasons not to. It's entirely up to you, but you need to consider a few things before you commit to a decision: Copyright, Commitment, and Willingness to Fail.
  • Here, There Be Dragons – Plot Dragons! - My fellow Write Triber, Vinodini Iyer wrote, in a comment on my Plot Bunnies, Ninjas, and Tales of Derring-Do, “My plot bunnies sometimes start dragging a bit and I need to turn them into plot dragons to make worth a read.” Naturally, my plot dragons wanted to meet her plot dragons! Forever Friends My first plot dragon […]

See the documentation for the Display Posts Shortcode plug-in for all the supported parameters; this plug-in is very easy-to-use, but powerful and flexible. Once you set up the shortcode for your table of contents, all you need to do is copy it to all the posts where you want it to appear. The list of links will be updated as you post, provided the criteria you establish in the shortcode parameters is matched.

Holly Jahangiri

Holly Jahangiri is the author of Trockle; A Puppy, Not a Guppy; and A New Leaf for Lyle. She draws inspiration from her family, from her own childhood adventures (some of which only happened in her overactive imagination), and from readers both young and young at heart. She lives in Houston, Texas, with her husband, J.J., whose love and encouragement make writing books twice the fun.

Latest posts by Holly Jahangiri (see all)

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17 Responses

  1. Love the purple. How long have i been asleep?

  2. Alana says:

    I have “won” NaNoWriMo several times. My problem is that I don’t do anything with the manuscript. It languishes in my computer. Well, wait, that isn’t quite true. I tried to rewrite something last year as another NaNoWriMo attempt, but after November 8, I couldn’t bear to go back to the manuscript. It took place in a United States that had suffered through a second Civil War later in our century. It was suddenly too real.

    • I set my first in the aftermath of 9/11. Just two months afterwards, in 2001. I actually did finish it, but I don’t know that I could even find the manuscript now or bear to read it. I get it.

      No law says you HAVE to, either. You can ritually BURN it on December 1, if that’s what makes you feel good. Sometimes, there’s stuff in there that needs to get out. Sometimes, it gets out, and doesn’t need to go anywhere, ever again. 🙂 I’d hang onto that manuscript and read it again in a year or two. See if you feel the same way about it with a little time and distance.

  3. Ryan says:

    I definitely won’t blog my #NaNoWriMo. There’s enough pressure as it is to write 50,000 words. Can’t add the pressure of blogging it. I have been using the app Scrivener recently to write my stories. I think it’ll really come in handy for the challenge.

    • Whatever you do, do NOTHING to add to the “pressure” or “stress” surrounding NaNoWriMo. The whole point is to break free of that and unleash your creativity. ENJOY IT. 🙂 Doctor’s orders.

  4. Natasha says:

    Not for me this time for sure. But very interesting pointers here, Holly.

    Mine:

    https://natashamusing.com/2017/10/beyond-fears-lies-fun-writebravely-writetribeproblogger-mondaymusings/

  5. I need to start writing regularly first. But writing serial blogs is what i have done. Didn’t know how to link them to each other though. Thanks for this post.

    • I think that readers are more inclined to follow along if you provide them a roadmap to the other posts. We need to remember that new readers may be jumping into the middle of a series – not assume they know where the beginning is, or are going to expend the energy to look.

  6. vinodinii says:

    It is easier to write in serial blogs but sometimes it is difficult to maintain the same tone or flow of things. I however enjoy the task of piecing them together in the process.

    • See my reply to Sunita (just above this). Maintaining the same tone IS a challenge. Normally, a serialized work is written and edited FIRST, then broken into chunks and scheduled sequentially. IF you blog NaNoWriMo and post as you go, you don’t have that option – you’re letting readers watch the creative process unfold in all its awkward, clumsy, half-edited glory. You want to change something essential about a character halfway through? Readers may get confused, so it’s helpful if you also include notes about your process at the top of the post. This won’t be polished work, and may never become polished work, so readers need to understand that and you owe it to them to explain, somewhere, what you’re up to. Smooth tone and flow are almost always the result of good editing, later. 🙂

  7. mahekg says:

    I have never attempted to try NaNoWriMo as I get stressed with the numbers I guess but surely want to attempt it once. This post really is a motivation

    • Definitely do NOT stress out about the numbers.
      Try this: don’t look at the word count. DO write every chance you get. Learn to write in a notebook on the train or something. Write WHILE watching TV. Write in the kitchen. Write in the bathroom! (Sometimes it’s the only room in the house where you can get away for a little peace and quiet, am I right?) Stitch it all together later.
      Some of us, trying to lose weight, can look at the scales every day and take it as “just another metric.” Some can’t weigh in more than weekly, or they get so stressed they eat three times as much. Figure out what gives YOU the best shot at hitting 50K words by November 30, and try it. If that doesn’t work out, try a different approach next year (or furtively create your own personal NaNoWriMo in January!! Don’t tell anyone what you’re up to! See if you can write a novel IN SECRET in a month!) Do what works. The original point of NaNoWriMo was just to get people who don’t see themselves as “writers” or who live in paralytic fear of the blank page to outwrite their own inner critics – the word count thing is to FORCE you to write too fast to stop and edit and get stuck in some perfectionistic RUT. That’s all.

  8. That’s a great little plugin! It could work for building an index of posts on a particular category or tag on your blog too, I suppose?

  9. bumpymiracle says:

    Thanks Holly.. Very useful indeed.. Something I haven’t tried yet..

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