"We like camping better!" --Raymond Alexander Kukkee

view of the north shore Critter Pond, KOA Canandaigua NY [c] 2009 jcb

New York Outdoors: Campground closing alert

Here's an important campgrounds closing notice posted recently in Rich and Sue Freeman's New York Outdoors Blog - one of the very best Internet resources for all things outdoors in New York State.

DEC to Leave 6 Campgrounds Closed in 2009

Posted: 24 Feb 2009 08:32 AM CST

The state Department of Environmental Conservation says six campgrounds in the Adirondacks and Catskills won’t open in 2009 due to the state’s continuing financial crisis.

In the Adirondacks they are Poke-O-Moonshine in Keeseville, Sharp Bridge in North Hudson, Point Comfort in Piseco and Tioga Point in the town of Raquette Lake.

In the Catskills, the campgrounds are Beaverkill in Roscoe and Bear Spring Mountain in Walton.

The agency says the six often have occupancy rates of 20 percent or less and other DEC campgrounds are nearby. It manages 52 campgrounds and seven day-use areas in the Adirondack and Catskill forest preserves.

Click here for more info on the Adirondack closings.

Reprinted from New York Outdoors Blog

I subscribe to New York Outdoors to find out all about interesting hikes, camping ideas, outdoor excursions, nature events and outings of all sorts. If you live anywhere in New York State and love the outdoors, do sign up! ~Jim

4 Ways to Quickly Lose Blog Readers

Reprinted from the original guest posting by Jim Bessey

February 18, 2009 · Robust Writing

[Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Jim Bessey, who writes the Kitchens & Baths by D'Zyne blog: the online worksite home for D'Zyne Construction. You can learn more about Jim on his Helium page.]

guest post on Robust Writing The Internet is filled with advice for better blog writing. Robust Writing is just one fine example of the thousands of sources for blogging tips. If you take the best advice and mix it with creativity and effort, you just might attract an audience. Some of you, however, might prefer the freedom you enjoy by blogging in obscurity, unencumbered by bothersome comments from pesky readers.

As a veteran blogger, I’ve learned from experience and keen observation exactly how to get rid of those annoying readers. I can’t guarantee your success in this quest. These techniques require practice and patience.

You may want to experiment with just one or two in combination; using all four approaches at once might be too obvious and attract numerous comments. Let’s have a look at four proven methods you can use to achieve Internet Independence from blog readers... Read more...

Reprinted from the original hosted by Jesse Hines, of Robust Writing.
Copyright 2009 Jim Bessey - all rights reserved.

My sincere thanks to Jesse Hines, of Robust Writing - for the invitation and for sharing his valuable writing advice space with me for a day.

Read Jim's Profile on Helium.com

How about you? Do you have any writing advice you'd like to share? If you'd like to submit your article for consideration, you can reach me via Comments or by using the link at the top of this page.

Practical rules for writers

Let's talk about rules for creative writing, since the rules for more rigid styles are much too boring. First of all, there are no real rules! If you can engage your readers, and make them ache for more, then you have won the game fair and square. So let's just say, there are ways that work. Call them guidelines, if you wish.the author, Jim Bessey, at his desk in Upstate NY

Foremost of these: draw me in! Make me want to read whatever it is you've written. Maybe your title does the job. More often your first sentence provokes success or failure. If you can't bait the hook, you can't catch me as a reader. "Dan had just three weeks to live, but he didn't know that the day he won the Mega-Millions Jackpot." There, don't you want to keep reading?

Once you've snared a reader you must work your literary butt off to keep him (or her, of course). Keep your sentences reasonably short. Take your reader deeper into the story as quickly as possible. To continue the popular fishing metaphor, this is called 'setting the hook.' Make me care about "Dan" right away. Don't tell me the color of his hair or describe the jut of his chin! Tell me his flighty girlfriend left him waiting at a bus stop, so he went into a newsstand to kill time. (That's when he bought that fateful ticket, obviously.)

Here's a good "rule" no matter what: leave your fancy writing style at the door. Certainly, you have a 'voice' unique and wonderful. Just don't distract me with it, please. I want to find out why Dan will be dead soon; I don't particularly care about your astounding vocabulary. This always works: read some of what you've written aloud. Read it to a friend. Do you sound ridiculous, stilted, stodgy, or arrogant? A good friend will help you see that, before you get too heavily invested in your 'style.'

Rule number four is: okay, there are a couple of real rules after all. Let's lump them together so we can get it over with. (Yes, silly, you can end a sentence with a preposition if you want to. It's okay, really.) The two rules you must include are typically titled, "character" and "conflict."

Give me a character I can love or hate, or one I can relate to because he or she is so much like me. Then put your character (or characters; you can have more than one) in jeopardy. That's nuts-and-bolts stuff, not rocket science or anything earth-shaking. If you try to ignore this basic advice, very few readers will follow you to your final sentence.

This brings us to rule number five: the rest is up to you. You, and only you, can take me inside your imagined world. You may accomplish this with clever plotting, with vivid sensory detail, with careful use of foreshadowing, with humor, with fabulous insight into the human condition. Whatever. If you have followed the first four "rules" and if you can tell a tale at all, then you will reel in your readers almost effortlessly. The net with which you will land your big fish looks something like this: "I can't wait to read more!" There is no greater reward for a writer than that one priceless sentence. Now go cut some bait!

copyright 2007 - all rights reserved (reprinted by request 2009)

See this story as it appears on Helium.com

Want to dig a little deeper? Leave a comment here, or have a look at How to Analyze a Short Story for more ideas.

In a future installment I'll look closer at creating characters your readers will want to meet.