Blogging 101 with Marc Polite

Here at Eat Your Serial we survey all kinds of serials in our efforts to offer you the best daily serving for your literary consumption. Serials, as defined by us here around the Eat Your Serial castle, come in a variety of shapes and flavors; they could be the fantastic stories we have available all week, or comic books, or video games, or movie series, or television—as long as the narrative is consistent and continued in installments. As such we are also big fans the blog.

The blog is a relatively new addition to both the serial genre and the larger creative writing genre. Many of you out there may be surprised to find out that there is, in fact, a craft to a proper and successful blog—rules of thumb, manuals of style, and generally good practices that separate a quality blog from an  “online article”, or a teenage girl’s unedited rants.

Recently, Eat Your Serial Creative Director Brandon Melendez had Marc Polite of Polite on Society speak to his creative writing class at Metropolitan College of New York on just those practices in a workshop entitled “Finding Your Voice in the Blogosphere”. Mr. Polite was kind enough to allow the Pompous (and Circumstantial) Professor to interview and record his lecture just for you, our Flakes.  So without further ado, we invite you to get some tips straight from the source of successful blogging; we invite you to watch another installment of Eat Your Serial’s Video Toast—Blogging 101 with Marc Polite.

Polite is National Black Press All Star’s Best Blogger of 2011 and is a strong voice in the blogosphere in progressive politics and matters concerning the African-American community in specific and America at large. For more on Marc Polite please visit his site Polite on Society or follow him on Twitter at @MarcPolite

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Serial Lunatic: National Grammar Day

by Nick Newert

March 4th is National Grammar Day. March 4th is also my birthday. I know that there has to be some sort of joke to be made about a copy editor’s birthday falling on National Grammar Day, but I’m not going to make it, because, frankly, enough of you make enough of a joke of grammar as it is.

Commas not being used, semi-colons being over-used(almost always incorrectly, I might add), the never ending parade of ellipses(After a while, it doesn’t make you sound mysterious, merely slow-witted), and people who feel that one exclamation point doesn’t punctuate a thought well enough, so they use three.

Now, some might argue that I’m merely being a rigid, unfeeling monster whose adherence to grammar rules and convention stifle creativity. That’s not entirely true, though. I mean, it’s certainly not completely false, but it’s also not entirely true. Just, y’know, mostly.

To be fair, I don’t expect everyone to keep the entirety of the rules of grammar for the English language memorized. Hell, as I’m sure this article will prove at one point or another, I certainly don’t have perfect recall of grammar rules. And really, a lot of English grammar is open to personal preference.

As an example, take the Oxford comma, also known as the Harvard comma, serial comma, and the Chicago comma. For those who are unfamiliar with the names, it’s the comma used immediately before a coordinating conjunction like and or or right before the last item in a list of three or more items. Some people use it, some people don’t. The Associate Press Stylebook actually advises against it in journalistic writing. I, personally, greatly prefer the serial comma. That is why, for the sake of in-house consistency, you’ll find that all Eat Your Serial stories have followed the Oxford comma rule. Really, it’s just another example of my ruling Eat Your Serial’s grammar with an iron fist.

Now, I try not to hold other people to grammar rules when it comes to social media like Facebook or Twitter. I try to use them myself, but I don’t expect others to. They’re informal settings with a limit on the number of characters that you can use, so I’ll go easy on you, then.

There is one thing I will demand of you in all forms of communication, though: get its and it’s right. Are you looking to use the contracted form of “it is”? Then use “it’s”. Any other time, use “its”. I will be watching, and I will correct you.