Monday, January 31, 2011

Reader Feedback Time - With Prizes!


I've deleted about four blog posts that I feel unprepared to actually write tonight, as much as the topics are weighing on my mind.

But I've been thinking about asking some questions anyway, so I figured that this would be as good a time as any to ask for feedback on a few different questions.  And, to make it even more fun, I'm offering prizes.  Two prizes, in fact: one, an item from the CafePress store; the other, a custom printed and autographed story, Nevetsizing the Aesop's Fable of your choice.

Here are my questions -- one entry counted for each question you answer in the comments here, on Twitter, or on Facebook.

1) White writing on a black background, as I have it on the blog: how is it for you as a reader?

2) Most of the people who follow the blog are writers.  I'd love to get some ideas from non-writing readers on what might encourage them to follow a writer's blog.

3) Right now, I know I have followers who visit my Blog from the US, Canada, the UK, Denmark, Australia, South Africa, and India.  There are probably a few others I know that aren't coming to mind.  But my stats also show pretty respectable number of hits from a few other countries like South Korea, Brazil, Netherlands, and France.  My instinct is to think those others are bots or spam trolls.  But if you're checking my blog from somewhere other than one of the countries in bold, I'd love to hear from you!  Even if you want to stay anonymous, a quick shout-out would be awesome.

4) Which of the flash fiction pieces posted on is your favorite -- and why?

Yes, that's up to four entries!

Yes, I said I will Nevetsize an Aesop's fable of your choice if you win.

And, yes, that is the Mandarin chorus version of Avril Lavigne's "Girlfriend" that you hear playing in the background.



  1. 1) White writing on a black background, as I have it on the blog: how is it for you as a reader?

    Honestly, it makes my eyes go buggy. If I didn't like you as much as I do, I'd probably avoid your blog. Yeah, I don't like it that much. Sometimes I highlight the text so it's opposite. :)

    4) Which of the flash fiction pieces posted on is your favorite -- and why?

    "Beau-ti-fy" because I have long hair and I've faced some beauticians who seemed terrified to chop off my hair before. Quite clever, Nevets. :)

  2. Honestly, I hate the black background. Bothers my eyes.
    If you figure out the whole author vs reader thing, let me know.

  3. I used a black background for a few months, I tried making the words bigger so they would be easier on the readers, but ultimately the black and white on my blog started hurting my eyes, so I changed it. I have to admit even thought the black is appealing- the white words over it are not so much. But I love your blog, so I read through anyways.

  4. Hi Nevets - love the blog, but hate the black background. It's far harder to read. Change, please?

    I haven't read enough of your flash fiction to answer that question, but keep writing, and I'll tell you

  5. Hey Nevets, I'd have to agree about the black background, gives me a nasty headache :( Hope you share some of the answers you get, that would be most interesting to read!



  6. Wow, that's a lot of hate for the black background. haha Unless the vote swings dramatically, I see a change coming...

    @Michelle - Glad you liked that one! Yeah, my wife's hair is long, too. For a while it was almost all the way down her back. Oh my, the guff she'd get from hair dressers when she wanted it cut.

    @Amber - Thanks for stopping by, sorry it bothered your eyes to do so. I do have a couple of ideas, but I'm hoping to get some of my readers-only to chime in. I know some are there, but they are a quiet bunch. :)

    @Summer - Yeah, I went with the black partly because it seemed appropriate, but honestly partly because for me reading on a white background is so just much worse. I'll have to find a middle ground.

    @Frances - Seems like change is quite likely. I appreciate everyone's sticking it out to read my blog, but I don't really want my blog to be a trial by fire.

    The flash stories at are really, really short, by the way. Probably read the lot of them in under 15 minutes.

    @Rachael - Sorry for the headache, Rach!

  7. The white is a bit harsh, but I love pale script on a dark background. - have you tried setting the script to grey instead??

  8. Oh, I don't need any prizes, I'll be happy to answer your questions.

    1) White writing on a black background, as I have it on the blog: how is it for you as a reader? (I don't like it. I read your posts because they are fascinating but in all honesty, it's difficult on my poor eyes. Especially where the black meets the gray.)

    2) Most of the people who follow the blog are writers. I'd love to get some ideas from non-writing readers on what might encourage them to follow a writer's blog.(Hmm, great question. I've been wondering that myself because ultimately, I want to attract readers to my site as well. I've considered doing posts other than writing posts. I like your posts on psychological and medical issues.)

    3) Right now, I know I have followers who visit my Blog from the US, Canada, the UK, Denmark, Australia, South Africa, and India. There are probably a few others I know that aren't coming to mind. But my stats also show pretty respectable number of hits from a few other countries like South Korea, Brazil, Netherlands, and France. My instinct is to think those others are bots or spam trolls. But if you're checking my blog from somewhere other than one of the countries in bold, I'd love to hear from you! Even if you want to stay anonymous, a quick shout-out would be awesome. (I'm from Mexico. But, I'm no bot. However, if you'd like me to learn how to spam you, I can.)

    4) Which of the flash fiction pieces posted on is your favorite -- and why?
    (I'm not sure, I haven't read them all.)

  9. Okay, I have to admit that I was apprehensive about reading your flash fiction--I get scared easily, and psychological thrillers test my sketchy nervous system...but I read them all anyway. Actually, after reading the first, Beau-ti-fy, I couldn't wait to read the others. I love irony, and I love an unexpected laugh, so it was hard to choose a favorite.

    You had my heart in my throat with Discipline, but for a favorite, I'd have to choose Change. I guess I love dark comedy, which was how I inferred it. Perhaps I do like psychological thrillers after all...

    As for the black background? I think it suits your blog, but it is harder reading.

    Question #2: I originally started blogging as a watercolorist, but because I also write, making the transition to following writers' blogs was easy. I think a good sense of humor attracts people with all sorts of interests...what was the question again?

  10. @Vanessa - I'll tinker with the grey, but I'm thinking my own eyes would have trouble with that. We shall see!

    @Clarissa - Apparently my eyes are the only pair out here for whom this current scheme works great, and that's no way to configure a blog so I'm going to have to change, I think.

    I think you've hit on one of the keys. I think I'm going to work toward something closer to a schedule that mixes up writing posts and general interest posts in a somewhat predictable way.

    Thanks for the offer on the spam. That could come in handy. I'll keep you posted. Wait by your phone.

    @Bridget - I'm glad that you enjoyed the stories. While my stuff is often dark and typically ironic, it's not usually terrifying in the traditional sense.

    There is a range throughout psychological thrillers. I suspect there is much you would like, and much you wouldn't.

    More points against the black-and-white presentation.

    That's great to know about how you got into blogging and is encouraging a pretty common sense idea on. Thanks for relating that!

  11. Hi! Will go and read your pieces as well, but just wanted to say that I find the black background and white text difficult to read. Although I do have terrible eyesight.

    As you know, I'm coming here from the US ... nowhere exotic, I'm afraid! x

  12. @Andrea - You bring the exotic with you wherever you go.

    And the trend is becoming pretty clear. I am a minority of one for whom the white on black is easier to read. hahaha

  13. Okay, all, I've updated my template. There's more tweaking I want to do, but the important question is -- for those of you previously made ill by reading my block, is the grey scheme gentler on your eyes?

    Don't hold back! A blog needs to be easy to read for visitors, not for the author himself. :)

  14. I like it less. But, I tend to read posts in my reader and only visit the blogs to comment, so take it for what you will.

  15. @B - I like it less, myself, but if some of us like this less but fewer people complain that my blog is giving them headaches it's probably the right trade-off.

    I think.

  16. I know black writing on a white ground is boring, but for me it's still the best. Which is presumably why books are printed that way! You can still do pretty things round the edges. (But the grey is an improvement - I think.)

  17. Nevets, I liked the look of the white writing on the black blog, but I'll admit that it was harder to look at your blog during the day because it was more obviously NOT work related. This gray blends in a little better. If you could put some bar graphs on the side and the word "photosynthesis" somewhere in your post, that would be even better.

    2 and 3 are not actually questions. I've always wondered what would get a reader to come to our blogs. I haven't the faintest clue. I'd say book reviews, but beyond that I don't know. Oh, perhaps if you became Neil Gaiman, that would work too. (Aren't I a delight in the morning?) 3 is impossible for me to answer, but if I was in Thailand, I'd answer and I bet you'd get a kick out of that, wouldn't you?

    As for 4, my favorite flash piece is probably "Master of the Game". For some reason that one sticks in my head more than any other. Each time I've read it, I remember some lines exactly. But, I'll say I like your short stories the mostest, and not just one, but all the ones I've read so far.

  18. @Domey - Hopefully the background image with rain forest plants helps. I'm sure they are engaging in photosynthesis, even if through a glass dome in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

    Two and three and not strictly questions in the grammatical sense, but rather in the sense of exam questions such us, "Please chart the annual changes in arsenic levels in the groundwater of Bangladesh. Choose one variable to relate this to, and diagram appropriately: deforestation, dam construction, or population density."

    Chai krap.

    Master of the Game was a fun one for me to write. That character actually influenced the development of Alec Smith in Sublimation to some extent, too. It's a long journey from one to the other, but...

    The 2-5K word short story is probably my favorite writing form. Long enough to allow development and apparent digression, but short enough that everything counts double. As it were.

  19. @Frances - I don't avoid black-on-white because it's boring. I avoid it because the field of white glares at me and makes me squint. But if the greys don't work well, I'll move more in that direction. The blog is for others to read, not me.

  20. @Chris - Hopefully you're not too disappointed with the new color scheme.

    It's interesting to me that, even though the complaint is about physical discomfort with the eyes, there is an almost perfect divide: women had a hard time reading the white-on-black, and men didn't.

    Any dissenters from that trend out there?

  21. I have only recently started reading your blog but I don't remember having problems (or atleast I am not conscious of having them). This white on grey seems easy enough to read.

    I didn't know you had fiction here somewhere *off to search*

    btw - loved your short story on nfu ( is it wrong that I read other stories instead of proofreading mine?)

  22. @Lavanya - I loved yours as well. And I also read several other stories last night and haven't started to copy-edit my own. haha

    Glad this presentation is easy to read. I think it's been gentler for most people.

    In the upper-right corner of the blog page, there are two links to short stories posted on the blog. Also, if you go to my author website ( there are host of other stories there, including some flash and the piece I wrote get into nfu.

  23. Thanks! found the link. read beautify- very funny! enjoyed it!..I've had both problems- 'the refusing to chopping it off' and ' the chopping off much more than I specified to donate to X organization' . don't know which is worse..:)

  24. @Lavanya - haha Glad you liked it! And I'm not sure which of those sounds worse either...

  25. 1. This works OK. It’s not too stark, and easy on the eyes - especially when there is a muted color added for emphasis. However, if you had more earthy colors - like what’s on my blog - I wouldn’t protest.

    2. Sorry, I’m a writer-reader. But when I haven’t written anything but blog posts/comments in a while I feel like I’m just an overly opinionated reader. Does that count?

    3. I have a day job that uses jargon that makes us sound like we’re from an alternate universe. Again; does that count. Sorry; I’m good ol’ US of A home grown California Girl. I may still have that string bikini somewhere to prove it.

    4. Pick a favorite? How? Each are powerful with their message of humanity.
    - Museum Piece made me think of my age and mortality, and how I hoped one day to be famous, to live the life. But yeah, seen through those eyes it makes me wonder if I REALLY want to be idolized, to have everything I touch entombed; especially if I’m not dead yet. God, I can just imagine the pressure poor Elvis was under every time he stepped outside his door. Even before, in his own museum like home. So sad.
    - Discipline; man, to be so frightened, so lost. The moral decisions of do or die, you or me. To be caught up in something so much bigger that yourself, bigger than right or wrong. So far outside your normal imaginings . .Mind boggling. Who can be judge in these matters; who can be the voice of reason. Is there really a single voice that can be adhered to?
    - But Change just made me laugh. Excellent writing, what vivid characters . .
    - Oh the horror of Beautify (LOL). Certainly puts things in perspective when you’re going against another’s instincts, or values.

    I lean more towards Discipline. I think. Or Museum Piece. No, it Discipline. How about: its sure no Master of the Game. While it was funny with vivid characterization (all had this awesome imagery and sense of place), it struck me as too arrogant. Maybe I’m just not into the dating woes of the young, and arrogant.

    Each piece evoked a different response in me as a reader (I did NOT let my own internal editor correct the typo’s/missing words). The descriptions of setting were so concise, yet encompassing; and the characters had life to them. I could picture myself in those situations, wondering what I would do, how I would react.

    In Discipline especially, I could see myself with those varying attitudes. Byron carried the moral conscious of the troop (yes, I’d like to think I would be this upstanding citizen); Rob was the fear and resolve to be proactive in ending the nightmare no matter the outcome. But the Sarge scared me the most; all that responsibility, and uncertainty. Doing nothing is a kind of decision in itself, and it frightens me that I could just let circumstances carry me along, accept whatever outcome manifests.

    Well, after all that, I guess the answer to #4 is Discipline.

    Is this too long? Sorry, I get carried away by good writing. I like stories that make me contemplate my own humanity.


  26. @Donna - Thank you so much for all your kind words about the flash stories. I can't tell you how much your thoughtful feedback and your deep understanding of the stories really means to me.

    "Museum Piece" is one of a few that hit a pretty strong emotional chord with me personally, and I love that you see the humanity in it.

    "Discipline" is in many ways my favorite and in many ways my least favorite. It's actually almost too close to home. The prompt that inspired it was a photograph that reminded me of my own great uncle whom I never knew. His experience of the war was a lot like Rob's. It's so hard for me to really think too much about that story; I'm not sure if that means I really like it or really hate it. lol

  27. I think it means that Discipline was a story that you needed to tell, and that it had a lot of meaning to you personally.

    That it resonated as deeply with a reader is just icing on the cake.

    Thanks for introducing me to these concepts.



Label Cloud

#DarkAndTwisted (5) a razor wrapped in silk (2) about me (5) absolute (1) acceptance (1) accountability (1) advice (54) aesop (2) agents (2) agony (1) aikido (6) alaska (2) alcohol (1) alex mackenzie (1) aliya whiteley (1) allegory (1) allergies (1) alone (1) amaretto (1) ambulance (17) anchors (1) andy dick (1) angel lost (1) anthology (4) anthony pacheco (1) anthropology (4) applesauce (1) approach (1) appropriateness (1) arashi (1) archaeology (1) archaeololgy (3) argyle (1) art (1) audio (3) author (11) award (1) background (1) bacon (2) bar (1) battlestar galactica (1) bbs (1) beauty (1) ben folds (1) bhangra (1) bioarchaeology (1) biography (2) birthday (1) blog tour (1) blogfest (9) blogging (5) blogosphere (2) blogsclusive (14) blurb (1) bones (2) book (4) boring (1) born to fly (1) boss (1) boundaries (1) braai (1) bravery (2) bridge flag (1) brutal (1) business (3) c + c music factory (1) c n nevets (108) c s lewis (1) cabin (1) cafepress (6) cantaloupe (1) career (2) cat (1) challenge (2) character (11) cheesy (1) cherry republic (1) christmas (4) chuck palahniuk (2) chumbawumba (1) cinderella (2) cinders (4) clarissa draper (2) classification (3) clive cussler (1) commentary (4) community (1) compelling (1) complete (1) confidence (4) conflict (1) conformity (1) confusion (1) congress (1) conspiracy (1) contest (31) conversation (1) cooking (1) cottage (1) courage (5) craft (4) creation (2) creep (2) crime (1) crime writing (36) criminal (2) criticism (2) critiques (2) crow (1) culture (2) cussler (1) cutting (1) dark (11) davin malasarn (3) death (1) deb markanton (4) deborah swift (1) deduction (1) definition (2) description (2) destruction (1) development (3) dialectic (1) dialogue (1) direction (1) discussion (2) dog of the north (2) domey malasarn (5) dr. who (1) drama (3) dramatic (1) dream (1) drugs (1) edit (2) editors (4) emotion (1) ems (8) emt (3) endings (1) ennui and malaise (4) entry (1) epiphany (1) escher (2) essay (2) ethics (3) everyday (1) evil (3) excerpt (3) exercise (1) existentialish (4) existianlism (2) experience (3) experimental (1) fables (1) facebook (3) failure (1) fairy tale (2) fallibility (1) fantasia (1) fantasy (2) fear (5) feedback (3) fiction (26) fit (1) flas (1) flash (22) flash fiction (8) flight (1) flying knee (1) food (2) forensic anthropology (3) forensics (5) frances garrood (2) frustration (1) fun (2) fwiww (1) game (1) gary corby (3) gawain (1) genre (29) germ (1) ghost (3) gideon (1) gift (4) give away (2) golden eagle (1) government (1) growing up (1) grumbling (3) gsa (1) guest post (13) hair metal (1) harry potter (1) health (4) heavy metal (1) hegel (6) help (3) historical fiction (3) history (3) holiday (1) home (3) hopeless (2) horror (3) hot dish (1) houseboat (2) humans (1) humor (1) idea (2) imagination (2) impressionism (1) indiana jones (2) induction (1) influences (1) information (5) insight (1) inspiration (2) intentionality (1) international (2) internet radio (1) interview (2) introduction (2) investigation (1) iticism (1) jabberwocky (1) jack higgins (2) japan (4) jc martin (1) jeffrey deaver (1) jennifer hillier (7) jon jones (1) journal (1) jpop (2) jurisdiction (1) jurisprudence (5) justice (1) justification (1) kanjani8 (1) kansai oniisan (5) kathy reichs (1) knowing (2) koontz (1) kung fu (1) law (5) learning (1) legacy (1) lies (2) life (8) light (1) limits (1) linear (2) lines (2) lite (1) literary (3) literary fiction (10) literary lab (4) literature (3) loren eaton (3) louis lamour (1) love (1) lt host (1) ludlum (1) lydia kang (1) lyrics (1) mandarin chinese (3) marilyn meredith (3) marketing (5) marriage (1) martial arts (3) marxism (1) mascota (1) meaning (1) melons (1) memories (2) mentoring (1) mercury rising (1) meta (1) michael crichton (1) michael malone (1) michelle davidson argyle (9) minnows (1) misha (1) mma (2) monday moment (1) monty python (1) mood (1) moplo (1) morality (4) motion (1) motivation (2) motive for murder (1) mr. saggy (1) mug (1) murder (5) muse (1) music (2) mutilation (1) myster (1) mystery (5) mystery men (1) narrative (1) neanderthal (1) neo-orthodox (1) nevetsize (15) nevetsosophy (1) news (38) nick diaz (1) non-linear (1) nonsense (1) northern michigan (1) nostalgia (3) not subtle (1) notes from underground (3) nothing changes (1) nothing happens (1) novel (9) novella (1) obfuscation (1) obsession (1) octopus (1) oetzi (1) on call (1) one point (2) oops (1) opinion (1) original (2) osaka (2) outline (3) p g wodehouse (1) pain (1) pancakes (1) paradox (3) paranormal (1) passion (1) perceval (1) persistence (1) person (1) personal (66) phil loring (1) philosophy (9) piano (1) pictures (1) pie (1) pink floyd (3) place (1) plot (5) plug (1) podcast (3) poetry (1) police (3) politics (2) poll (1) pomo (1) post modern (1) potential (1) pouland ann dvorjak (1) pov (6) power (1) practice (2) pre-writing (3) precision (1) pretty (1) priorities (2) prize (13) process (8) production (1) progress (3) projects (3) promotion (9) prompt (2) pscyhology (7) psychological suspense (27) public defender (1) publication (24) puffin (1) pun (1) querying (2) question (8) r n morris (5) rachel in the oc (1) rachel thompson (1) radio (1) rambling (2) random (3) rant (2) reader (4) readi (1) reading (10) real stakes (10) realism (2) reasoning (1) recommendations (1) redemption (1) rejection (6) relationship (1) release (2) religion (1) request (3) research (1) response (1) results (1) review (6) revision (2) riddles (1) rights (1) rj clarken (1) rj ellory (5) romance (3) rose (4) rules (2) russia (1) rusty nail (1) ryan david jahn (6) ryne douglas pearson (2) sample (2) scifi (1) scotch (1) scotland (1) scott bailey (1) scottish (1) second person (1) selfhelp (4) serial killer (1) serial murderers (1) setting (1) seuss (1) shirt (2) short (1) short story (28) shush (1) sisko (1) skills (1) skulls (1) sleepy (1) slice of life (1) smoke (1) smugness (1) smurfs (1) social (3) solitude (11) solomon matthews (1) soundtrack (1) specialization (1) speculative fiction (1) spiral (3) spirit (1) sports (1) star trek (3) stephen king (1) steven seagal (1) store (1) stories for sendai (9) story (42) strengths (1) structure (6) struggle (29) stuff (2) style (27) sublimation (19) submission (11) suffering (1) suicide (2) summer ross (2) surrealism (1) suspense (6) sweet (1) sword stained with royal blood (2) synonyms (1) system (1) tactless tuesday (10) taekwondo (1) takoyaki (1) taphonomy (1) tara maya (2) taste (1) tater tots (1) tea time with serial killers (2) teaser (3) technique (7) ted kennedy (1) teddy bear (1) teen (2) teilhard (1) telling (2) terminal instar (5) tesol (1) the dirty dozen (1) the girl with the dragon tattoo (1) the life of brian (1) the muppet show (1) the wild grass (1) theme (3) theory (1) therapy (2) thinking (2) threat (1) thriller (5) tim stretton (4) timeline (1) tips (20) tone (3) top gun (1) top ten (1) topic (1) trailer (6) transformation (1) translation (1) travel (1) tribute (1) trivia (1) trolls (1) twisted (3) twitter (5) ufc (1) update (26) uzziel (1) vacation (1) veggie tales (1) video (1) violence (2) vogon (1) voice (11) volunteer (1) vomit (1) vonda mcintyre (1) walgreens (2) website (2) western (2) whatif (1) whining (2) william faulkner (1) winner (2) wip (6) wisdom (3) word choice (2) writing (174) wu xia (1) ya (1) yamashita tomohisa (1) yin and yang (1) yuan chengzhi (1) zhao peng (1) zoe winters (1) zora neal hurston (1)