Reflections on the 2017 A to Z Challenge #atozchallenge @AprilA2Z #atozchallenge2017

As part of the 2017 A to Z Challenge, participants are asked to provide their “Reflections” on their experience.

This is a quick post to share mine and to provide my humble suggestions to the A to Z Challenge organizers for 2018.

Let’s talk about my experience…

I started off strong and ahead of the game with “A”, “B”, “C” and “D”, using a flash fiction piece “Living To Die”, as a base for 26 posts to serialize the story. When I first posted “Living To Die – An Intro to Kate”, it was a one-time stand-alone piece. But after a trip to Hawaii, I thought it would be cool to incorporate little Hawaiian details into a story and so I picked on “Kate”. I had no set storyline and/or ideas except wanting to tackle a more “serious” topic and explore someone’s regrets when death is banging at the door. I took countless hours perfecting those first four posts to my liking but I didn’t mind being behind the schedule I had set for myself because I was proud of my work.

But life took a turn and a health scare forced me to truly think about some of the same questions I was throwing at Kate. I got stuck and my pen became very, very heavy. I found myself struggling to write because in the back of my mind, I was thinking, “Could I be writing certain things into my own existence?”

Is that crazy or what?

Somewhere in the midst of it all and to distract myself, I came up with the idea of introducing “Kate” to “Galen”.  While I waited to find out if things were okay health-wise (they were), the distracting of having to think through Galen’s “purpose” gave the story an unexpected “spin”, one that I had not planned on.

And if you read the Epilogue, you know what I mean. 🙂

All in all, the A to Z Challenge started out smoothly, hit a few bumps but ended well with content I can revise into a novella. I’m exhausted and happy it’s over but I do look forward to next year. Now, it’s time to revise and edit!

Thank you to all who followed the story and became so invested! I truly appreciated your ongoing feedback and commentary.

Let’s talk about the technicalities of the A to Z Challenge…

Kudos to the A to Z Challenge organizers! And congratulations to all those who survived and won!

I can’t even begin to imagine the amount of hours and work that they put in to ensure that everything runs smoothly. This year, the organizers decided to make a big change to the “link posting” process as a way to make the administrative side of things easier for them – which is totally understandable.

If you don’t try new approaches, there can be no progress, right?

I’ll try my best to avoid pointing out what I felt worked/didn’t work during this year’s challenge.

Instead I’m posting what my ideal wish list would look like for the 2018 A to Z Challenge:

  • Limiting links to the A to Z Challenge Facebook Group ONLY.
    • Having to post links on FB + the A to Z Challenge website + the A to Z Challenge WordPress site, more than once I was tempted to simply post my link in the FB Group and call it a day…well, it was more like call it a night.
  • Time Zone Confusion Equality
    • Initially, I was confused when I saw the official “letter drop” the day before it was due at 3PM. Then, I realized that it was because I am in Eastern Standard Time but still often found myself forgetting and posting “early” thinking that I was behind! 🙂 I would love to see the letter drop more  “in the middle” of the road for all so that it is late for some, on time for others and early for the rest of the participants.
  • A return to Category Codes.
    • “Category codes” would make it easier to focus on blogs that truly pique our interest. For example, I write a lot of fiction and also have an interest in reading other people’s fiction so by placing a “category” next to our linky, it would be easier for others to know right away if they want to read or not. As an example, here is the introduction I used and what I added in bold is only as an illustration of what I propose:

There were even a few blogger-writers who took the initiative to list “fiction” participants on their own blogs as a way to make the differentiation. I’ll be doubling back to give all of those a read…

Generalized categories like “Fiction/Poetry”, “Blogging/Writing”, “Travel”, etc. would help me with my “blog follow” choices. Sure, I like to read the occasional post about pets and mommy blogs but not necessarily 26 posts in a row about them.

Sorry… uh, not sorry.

  • A Call to Action to all A to Z Survivors on Facebook
    • In addition to the “Reflections” post, I would love to see the A to Z organizers ask all “survivors” who completed all letters on time to say it on a specific FB post. Besides bragging rights, it would be a place where participants like me who plan on “doubling back” to read “completed” challenges. I’ll be honest, I find it frustrating when I start following a blog, look forward to more and then the blogger/writer goes MIA…

Those are my thoughts in a nutshell on a rainy Sunday morning!

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

M  xoxo

 

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A To Z Challenge 2017 Update #atozchallenge @AprilA2Z #atozchallenge2017

Happy Sunday Folks!

This quick post is to update you on the A to Z Challenge that I’ve embarked on again.

With the subject matter I chose for “Living To Die“, my brain is working overtime to gather my thoughts on how to unfold the story so that it is not too depressing and a little thought-provoking all at the same time.

I’m not as advanced as I would like to be and that is mainly because I spent wayyyyy too much time revising A, B, C and D to get them to my liking.

Yeah, #writersproblems. 🙂

I already know that I’ll be spending most of my April writing trying to keep up with my own posts.

C’est la vie, n’est-ce pas?

So…

  • To all my fellow A to Z Challenge participants whose blogs I recently followed and/or visited, I will be back when I can. I created a special WP list just for those A To Z’ers and will be dedicating the month of May to catching up on your posts if I missed any;
  • To all my fellow A to Z Challenge participants who have started following me, I realize that my posts are longer than suggested so feel free to come back and visit me when you have time;
  • To all my fellow bloggers who I regularly follow on WP, Twitter, IG, I’ll catch up with you next month.

Oh yeah…I’ll be posting my A to Z posts the evening before they are really due.

No, it’s not because I’m an eager beaver. It’s simply because I need to copy and paste a clickable link on the A to Z Challenge website and A To Z Challenge Facebook Group forum since the organizers are using a different approach this year.

Have a great week and I hope that you enjoy Kate’s story!

©2017 Marquessa Matthews. All Rights Reserved.

 

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The A To Z Challenge 2017 Reveal #atozchallenge @AprilA2Z

On April 1, 2017, I’m participating in the 2017 A to Z Challenge.

A theme isn’t mandatory for the Challenge but having one lets readers know what to expect. It also helps participants like me to create posts that line up neatly from A to Z with the alphabet.

And as part of the challenge, participants must reveal their theme TODAY!

What did I chose?

“Hawaii”

Since my trip, I’ve wanted to weave elements of Hawaii into a series of posts so for each day of the challenge, my blog posts will have hints of Hawaii weaved into each post.

But the base of each post will be based on “Kate” from a fiction piece I posted earlier this month.

My challenge is to show the fragility of life and how Kate tries to seize each day of new journey. An even bigger challenge will be to write each piece as a stand-alone  so that they make sense to a new reader!

If you haven’t read “Living To Die“,  click on the link below.

Kate’s time is running out…

Living To Die

*Please leave all comments for “Living To Die” on its Page.*

Disclaimer: I have no copyrights to the song and/or video and/or hyperlinks to songs and/or videos and/or gifs above. No copyright infringement intended.

If you liked this piece and want to see more like it, please click on “Like” and/or “Comment” below and share with others who would also enjoy it. You can also sign up for my mailing list here to get the latest news from me. 

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