I write stuff for kids...and muse on writing, children's books, and the publishing industry in general

Monday, February 27, 2012

Of shoes and ships and sealing wax-- Of captcha and kings (who stand on platforms)

Guys, I'm not planning a huge post today. Rather, I thought I would catch up with you all. How are you going? We're two months into 2012 now - is everyone meeting their writing goals? I must confess that I've been struggling a bit, though that's starting to turn around now. I've been trying to re-plot FROM THE OTHER SIDE, which I've renamed REVENGE, ahead of a giant re-write. You know the feeling, when you've got such a huge task ahead of you that it all seems too daunting...

But I've been taking inspiration from this passage of Mary Kole's:
So if you feel like you’re just tinkering, shoveling text like a kid pushing peas around his plate, be brave and try starting over completely. You know what you want to accomplish with the section, so just take a brand new run at it. Or maybe you’ll realize that the section wasn’t working and trash it entirely, or find another, better part that fits. Change is tough, especially when you’ve been working on something for years and are eager to see it in print. But it’s once you kick the ladder out from under yourself completely, I’ve found, that you discover resources and ideas you never could’ve imagined.
If you're facing the thought of big revisions ahead, Mary's post might give you some helpful insights - it did me :)

Talking about motivational posts, did you catch this post by the legendary Angela Ackerman of The Bookshelf Muse (in a guest post at Write to Done)? It gives a number of practical ways in which you can turn your writing weaknesses into strength, and is a must-read for all writers. And Angela was kind enough to mention me and my Beta Matches in her point about finding critique partners to help identify your weak areas and offer strategies to improve.


It used to be bad enough, but the word verification (now commonly known as captcha - "Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart," according to Wikipedia) at the bottom of many bloggers' comments boxes is causing all of us huge headaches! In their quest to trick spammers, the writing has become almost indecipherable to us mere mortal humans. So we're forced to squint, guess, re-enter words over and over again, all of which is a waste of time. Many bloggers refuse to comment if they know you use captcha, so you might even be missing out on comments if you use it!

Did you know you can turn word verification off? While I can't speak for other blogging platforms, Blogger does a pretty good job of filtering spammers. True, you receive an email telling you exactly what the spam message is, but the message isn't seen on your blog. So I guess it's worth considering. Anything to make things easier, right? Here's a recent post by Siv Maria, who's definitely not feeling the love. She tells you how to turn word verification off, with step by step instructions for those of us who are more technologically challenged :)

Writers' Platforms

You know I'm all about platforms, right? Well, it's important to build one, of course. But have you thought about what happens then? And what a platform is anyway? Sher A Hart has written an awesome post about what exactly a writers' platform is, and more importantly, how not to fall off once you've built one. Check it out - I think you might find it useful.

Well, my not-so-huge post has gone on a little longer than I planned. So that's it me for today :)

How about you, any thoughts or helpful links you'd like to share? Do you just want to tear captcha to shreds? Have you got the philosophy *behind* your writers' platform in place?


Michael Horvath said...

I used to be someone who refused to comment with captcha turned on. Now I just put up with it.

Mark Koopmans said...

Hey Rach,

I'm just impressed that you have the time to do a *normal* post.

And, don't get me started on the Capcha-thingy. I'm so mad that I'm going enter a contest and post about it:)

Miranda Hardy said...

So glad you mentioned turning off the captcha.

Good luck with the rewrite. I'm putting off some rewrites in favor of a new novel. Sometimes it's best to step back for a while.

Meradeth Houston said...

Captcha is so frustrating! Thanks for noting it. I think I may have to blog about it at some point. Thanks for the other great links, too!

Jess said...

Captcha is so annoying! I'm glad you know how to turn it off! I turned mine off when I first got my blog :)
And good luck with your rewrites!!

Savannah Chase said...

First off I hope you get back on track with your work..As for captcha, it is a pain esp when they make it hard to read...Sometimes I visit site after site and have to keep putting it in and even though I know it is right it tells me no I am wrong and can't post.

Anonymous said...

I do my best to decipher the captchas, but I'm getting frustrated with the ones on blogger.com - especially something that I'm not sure if anybody else has noticed.

My blog home is on wordpress, and I don't really like to leave blogger comments on the 'Google Account' option, because I don't have much of interest on my google-blogger profile other than the link to 'My home page' and I'm never sure if people will bother clicking through.

However, when I use the 'Wordpress OpenID' option, and the blog owner has captchas turned on, I never even see the captcha, I just get redirected to submit my comment again. :( I'm not sure if this has to do with using Chrome or not.

So please do turn your captchas off, Blogspot Campaigners - or if not, at least make sure that you allow the 'Name/URL' option so that I can still link back directly to the Kelworth Files! Thank you.

Gwen Gardner said...

I saw so many complaints about Captcha that I turned mine off (plus, I was gettng frustrated, too!). I've only had a couple of spam but it's so much easier to hit delete than trying to decipher Captcha!

Theresa Small Sneed said...

I didn't even realize I had captcha on my author blog until a fellow campainer pointed it out ~ so, I was grumbling about other blogs with captcha and not even aware the dastardly thing was on my own! It's super easy to get rid of (which I did.) Anyhow, thanks for the words of encouragement about getting back to the task of writing - I have been so immersed in marketing that nearly an entire month without any writing has lapsed, so today, I will evaluate my daily schedule and readjust for actual writing (which I sorely miss!) Thanks Rachael!

Marta Szemik said...

I turned my captcha off because I don't get a log of spam and when I do, blogger always catches it.
I've been able to catch up on my writing goals for 2012 this month which makes me very happy and less stressed.

Janice said...

I keep meaning to turn off Captcha, I will do it as soon as I comment.

I was at the SCBWI Southern Breeze conference this weekend and Mary Kole was one of the speakers. She blew me away, she was incredibly funny and insightful. I was always a big fan of her blog, but now I have so much more respect for her and her knowledge.

Carol Riggs said...

YES, please, everyone turn off their captchas! They are insanely hard to read these days. Mine's been off for quite some time, though. Interesting that FTOS is now REVENGE! Best wishes on your replotting. :D

Melissa said...

Great post. Great links. Thanks. = )

Michael Offutt, Phantom Reader said...

The semi-final results are coming in. I've got one lagger on the original batch, but I should hear from them soon.

How many finalists do you want? I can basically assign a judge to pick three? First, Second, and Third?

Or do you want to do more than that to give out even more prizes?

Morgan said...

Just got back from reading Angela's post. Thanks for that. It was really helpful this morning ;)

Sue Ann Bowling said...

I've certainly had the same experience Chris has with trying to comment on blogger blogs--sometimes I just can't comment, as wordpress and name/URL are my only options. Anyone on the SF list who has not had a comment from me, it's because I can't! I didn't know that having captcha turned on was why sometimes I just got bounced out of commenting, though.

Johanna Garth said...

the captcha thing is horrific. Seriously, I feel like its making me go blind.

As far as spam, I find the blog's own filter puts most of those in a separate folder.

Ann Cory said...

This is too funny - I was just spouting off about captcha the other day. I kept clicking refresh so I could comment on stories for the challenge and I'm yelling at the screen "I am a human. I am a human." It was starting to make me wonder about that in the end, lol.

Thank you for sharing such great links, and good luck with rewrites. Not an easy task, but sometimes it's the way to move forward in a scene, chapter, or the novel. Rooting for you!!


Ann Cory said...

This is too funny - I was just spouting off about captcha the other day. I kept clicking refresh so I could comment on stories for the challenge and I'm yelling at the screen "I am a human. I am a human." It was starting to make me wonder about that in the end, lol.

Thank you for sharing such great links, and good luck with rewrites. Not an easy task, but sometimes it's the way to move forward in a scene, chapter, or the novel. Rooting for you!!


Sher A. Hart said...

Yeah, Rach! I told people how much I hate captchas in my last post but I don't get half the traffic you do. If I'm using my phone, it's even harder to guess what the letters are. So thanks for that as well as the plug for my platform post. Your blog is in my Market Yourself page for a platform building with social media class I teach to my local writers' group, Emerald Coast Writers.

Carrie Butler said...

Oh, don't get me started on Captcha. Sometimes I find myself talking back to it. "I just typed that! What's wrong with you?" ;)

Erin Kane Spock said...

Thank you for telling people to turn it off. I turned mine off for the A-Z last year and my comment count did increase -- and that's before the anti-robot technology became even more torturous.

Liza said...

Thank you for the tip on word verification. It really is a time thief...especially when trying to hop around to all the Campaigners' posts! By the way, thank you for hosting your fourth challenge. It is a neat concept and I am delighted not only with the new folks I've met, but because your writing prompt got me going. I've smiled all last week as a result.

Ruth Schiffmann said...

I agree, the captcha is hugely annoying. And after reading plenty of blog posts about how annoying they are, I've turned mine off.
Thanks for touching on so many great subjects with this post, Rachael. I look forward to clicking on the links. . .

Trisha said...

Yeah, word verification is really irritating, especially now!

I'm also facing a complete rewrite of a manuscript. I've never actually done that with a story before. I've always just 'tinkered' with what's there. But after getting some really good advice, I'm feeling quite positive!

Alleged Author said...

I hope your rewrites are going well!

Unknown said...

I used to have a captcha on my blog and realized that spam comments still made it through every now and then. I turned the captcha off, received more comments, and haven't had a spam comment make it through the filter ever since!

I still comment on blogs with captchas, but if I mess it up twice I don't bother and move on. It's fairly annoying.

bridget said...

I have had a really hard time commenting on this first challenge thanks to captcha. Several times I have just stopped reading because I couldn't face it anymore.

Richard Alan said...

I thought it was just me with my eyes going bad the older I get. I'm also having a terrible time trying to post to blogger. I've tried to comment on many of the campaign stories, but I don't get the Captcha screen and can't post. I think they don't want wordpress comments. We'll see if I can post this.

Misha Gerrick said...

I HATE captcha. Especially because I go without anything like that and still don't get a lot of spam on my blog. It's really not such a massive thing to let blogger's spam filter deal with it instead of your readers.

In fact, it's the smart way to go, because we want our readers to be happy.

And yet, people don't seem to get it. :-/

Sarah Tokeley said...

Interesting how you haven't had a single comment that's said, 'you know what? I really love captcha ...'

Kerri Cuev said...

Blogger is fantastic keeping out spam, so there is really no need for captcha. It drives me nutty, lol.

Betsy Love said...

I turned my captcha off!!! If I'd known it was there in the first place I'd have gotten rid of it sooner.

Writing goals? I've totally gotten side-tracked. But I just attended a great writing conference here in Arizona that was so motivational. And I got to pitch a book to my editor (which she loves). So I'm working on that one next trying to get it polished and sent in. So excited to be part of the platform.

Thanks, Rachael for your encouragement!

And I'll take that hug. They say for every hug you give on earth, you get two in heaven.

Unknown said...

I've used word verification for the 2 + years I've been blogging. Recently, I've been super annoyed when I have to type in the little words that are hard to interpret on other's blogs. That got me thinking... why the devil do I put people through that hell. haha I took it off promptly.

More power to those that still choose to use word verification. I don't mean to offend. Still love you lots

Anyway, I was super busy last week and missed the deadline for the First Campaigner Challenge. I still wrote my flash fiction and posted it on my blog today.

If you want to stop by and check it out guys, you are more than welcome. I've read some of the entrees already and love em. Darn for life happening last week.

Enjoy my flash fiction:


Southpaw said...

Thanks for the links and thanks for telling people about captcha. I have one today that was 17 letter long.

I started leaving a plea to remove captcha in my comments.

Unknown said...

Captcha drives me nuts when I am trying to comment on everyone's work, or trying to get to know you. It truly slows the process down.

Rek Sesh said...

In fact the best option is to moderate comments if you wish to avoid spammers even anonymous ones..the comments can also berouted to email if desired. I tend to avoid those blogs which have word verification unless I am following them or are part of a challenge/fest like this one.

Laura said...

I've never used captcha or moderation, because I was afraid it would deter people. Also, if someone leaves a spammy or nasty comment, it's very easy to delete. I find it funny how captcha has backfired in its attempt to make things safer, by making people so annoyed by it that they remove the safety feature altogether. HA.

As for writing goals? I'm doing pretty well. I'm also finding that some of my goals are changing, and I'm doing my best to roll with it. :)

Heather said...

My year has gotten off to a pretty good start. I wish my editing was going faster on my current project, but at least it's progressing. :)

k~ said...

Now I have to investigate what a writer's platform is. I love this kind of research ;-)

Just for the record, captchas are irritating, discourage comments, and other than that are annoying. I found that when I switched my blog from the old Blogger to the new improved version that the captchas auto-magically came with it though, so I have since reverted to the old format, which I like less, but not enough to invite the evil empire back in ;-)

Anonymous said...

It's scary but also liberating to ditch something completely....just like "take that you big pile of crap! I'm not going to try to make you better anymore! You're being deleted, ya big jerk." And then you can still use the idea, but go at it in a different way.

Arlee Bird said...

Thanks for letting more folks know about turning of Word Verification. The Blogger Captchas of late have become particularly nefarious. My spam filter gets rid of most of the garbage.

An A to Z Co-Host
Tossing It Out
Twitter: @AprilA2Z
Blogging from A to Z

Charmaine Clancy said...

Very welcome post. I've been wondering if Blogger hasn't recently reset the setting of blogs, seemed to be a huge increase in the number of people using captchas.

Sometimes I will persevere and leave a comment, but when there's a huge number to get through (I'm still reading through the flash fictions) I give up on any that have word verification. It's just too time consuming.

Wagging Tales

Anonymous said...

I am so glad that I found your website thanks to Betsy Schow. As a new writer, I certainly will be using it quite often. Thank you for the time and effort you put into it.

Unknown said...

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Cheap Shoes said...

Sometimes I will persevere and leave a comment, but when there's a huge number to get through (I'm still reading through the flash fictions) I give up on any that have word verification. It's just too time consuming.

aisyahputrisetiawan said...

Banned complain !! Complaining only causes life and mind become more severe. Enjoy the rhythm of the problems faced. No matter ga life, not a problem not learn, so enjoy it :)

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