Blogging Principles: Picking and Choosing Blog Post Formats

I'm going to start this post off with a disclaimer. My goal with this post is not to give some special insight into how you should write posts. I don't have that kind of expertise. I'm just putting my thoughts on blog post formats out there. I hope it's helpful, but I'm also interested in how others approach this concept (to see what I could learn from it).

The Summary Post

When I was starting out, my style of posting was pretty simple. My entire post was devoted to talking about what actually happened in the episode. If I was feeling adventurous, I'd add the odd comment or quip. It's a pretty easy way to start out if you don't know what to write.

I think this style of post gets its fair share of criticism. Admittedly, it's probably well-deserved. I'm very aware that it's a pretty low amount of effort. I certainly made things worse by posting all of my summaries as large blocks of text. But even though I'd never go back to writing posts like these, I would argue that they still have their place.

I've always found that I tend to read Wikipedia summaries very often when I watch Western shows. Why only when I watch Western shows? It's just because anime episode summaries tend to be less available. I do this because I want to see how someone else interpreted the episode I just watched. Which parts did they think were important? Was there an obvious big picture piece that I missed? I'd say summary posts serve a similar role.

The "Analysis" Post

This style is probably my least favorite of the post formats that I've used, even if it's the one I used for the longest time. It was kind of a natural progression from my previous style. At a certain point, I decided that the reader probably doesn't need to be told what happened in the episode. I personally tend to avoid reading blog posts until after I've seen an episode, so it seemed like a reasonable conclusion. So, I just cut the summary from my post.

I think this change had the immediate upside of forcing me to think more about what I'd watched, rather than blindly repeating the content of the episode. It was a very slow process, but I believe that I came out of it with a better understanding of where my interests lie. I can better speak to what I actually like in a show.

The reason I hated this format was that I didn't really like what it became. As I wrote more posts, I started giving myself easy milestones to complete the post. For example, there was a long stretch of time during which I would declare a post to be finished if I managed to go over 150 or 200 words. The posts started to feel more formulaic and probably ended up being too concise to really say much.

The Reaction Post

For many of you, this style of posting may be the most familiar one. Admittedly, it's probably my favorite. After watching a particularly rough first episode, I realized that I had way more things to say than I normally would. More importantly, I realized that these comments were largely in reaction to very specific scenes. Rather than describing the scene, I thought it might be easier just to post a picture of the scene and make the comment directly below it. As such, my posts became a series of images followed by reactions to said images.

The reason I liked this post format was because I felt like it played to my strengths. I feel much more comfortable reacting to specific points than putting together some kind of analysis. The images in these posts acts as a reference point for a particular point in the series, allowing me to talk about it specifically.

Moving Forward

If I had to sum everything up in an overarching lesson, it would be that I aim to experiment and try new methods. Recently, I've attempted to trim my posts down to avoid an excessive wall of images. I noticed that I had a tendency to "fill space" in my reaction posts with one-liners in some series while others would have full paragraphs for a single image. I'm now trying to force myself to come up with a decent paragraph for every series (at the very least). One day, I may move away from only using screenshots in my posts.

So, I'll end on this: why do you prefer the style you use today for your blog posts? Is there a reason for your preference? The answer to that second question doesn't have to be "yes". It's just something I like to ponder myself.

  • Crimson613

    Sept. 29, 2017, 4:42 p.m.

    I guess the way I write my posts is a bit different depending on what I'm writing, but I always try to write out a summary. I used to post the summaries from places like goodreads and mal but found that i would kind of repeat myself afterwards so i started doing my own

    Sometimes I just write about what happens and I point out some of my favorite parts, things that stick out to me, and things I think could have worked out better/didn't like (and why). I guess I just format them like how we did critiques at school. We would say something we liked, something we thought could be improved upon, and then something nice again

    I always try to add images in my posts too to break up huge blocks of text

    For analysis posts (basically anything OWLS related), I try to be more in-depth and maybe write something smart but I'm always thinking I'm lacking something in those posts, like a point Orz

    I'm not a huge fan of reading posts where people only tell us a play by play of what happened in an episode or something because I could just watch it and see it. I like reading about what people liked and didn't like and then responding to that, esp if I've also seen what they're writing about and want to discuss/fangirl with them xD



    Sept. 29, 2017, 5:14 p.m.

    i can understand that approach when you're doing a a series review or basing a post around a series. it puts the series into context in the event that the reader isnt familiar with it or doesnt remember the relevant piece.

    i probably have the same general approach with pointing to parts that i liked or disliked. that's an interesting format that your school had, but i personally have always had a hard time with stuff like that. i think it took me a long time before i could really get to the point where i could even pick out the things i liked or didn't like.

    im trying to do more analysis-style posts too. like you, i always feel like im lacking something...though in my case, i tend to think it's a certain frame of thinking specifically.

    like i said, it's something i noticed more in western shows. i dont generally read reviews when watching western shows, but i will read summaries. for some reason, im the opposite when watching anime. i guess im asking myself "okay, what was i supposed to get from the episode from this person's perspective?"


  • Karandi

    Sept. 29, 2017, 4:45 p.m.

    I never really thought about whether I had a style or not. My episode reviews are very much my reaction to the episodes which means sometimes they end up just being a summary and othertimes become quite emotive. My goal is always to keep the episode posts short and save longer thoughts for features or series reviews, though some episode posts have ended up longer than reviews for entire series when I've just found I have a lot to say about it.
    I kind of enjoy reading pretty much all of the above formats. I like how other people summarise episodes, react to thm, analyse events and characters, and I just enjoy seeing how other people saw an episode of something.
    Thanks for sharing this.



    Sept. 29, 2017, 5:26 p.m.

    that's pretty cool. ive always had a harder time with consistently writing full series reviews or features, so ive never had this sense of balance in my posts. i can certainly see how it can help in your case.

    yeah, i think they all have their place. as long as im getting a sense of how someone is seeing the series, there's still something to gain.


  • Marina

    Sept. 29, 2017, 4:47 p.m.

    I tend towards more editorial/essay-type posts, where I take a topic of interest from a show (typically currently airing) and discuss it in a variety of ways. Sometimes I take a more traditional analysis role for whatever caught my interest; at other times I'll make it more personal by relating the topic to my own life experiences.

    Since I love food, I also try to do at least one or more recipe posts a season. I'll see a dish in an anime that inspires me to try making my own version of it. If I'm somewhat successful, I put together a post that discusses my personal feelings about the recipe and what it means to me, then the recipe itself along with pictures from both the anime and my own dish.

    If I watch an older show, I try to always do a review that follows a pretty standard format of very short summary followed by my thoughts on what did and didn't work story-wise, in art and animation, and for characters, among other areas.



    Sept. 29, 2017, 5:31 p.m.

    ive always envied that style of writing. never quite had the knack for it (though im working on it).

    that's a really cool post type. im just starting to get into cooking myself, so ill have to take a closer look at those.

    yeah, i try to follow a similar structure when im talking about an entire series. though i think i tend to focus more on music than art or animation because i feel less confident commenting on those areas.


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