| February 13, 2001
How To Write Your Own *FootNotes* Entry!
[in one easy lesson]
Snappy one-line opener goes here!
Examples: "When the phone rings at 1 a.m., it can't be good news" ... "If I'd known he was laying in my driveway, I probably wouldn't have backed the Subaru over him" ... "Is three-days overdue technically considered 'late?' "
Equally-snappy follow-up paragraph here. Short sentences. Lots of short sentences. Lots and LOTS of short sentences. One short sentence right after another. See how short my sentences are? But pay attention: the sentences are about to get a little bit longer now. Slowly but surely, the sentences are going to gradually increase in length. They're going to increase in detail, too, and in wordiness, and I'm going to get a sort of singsongy 'rhythm' thing going here ... and I'm going to start using the word "and" a little more than is strictly grammatical, probably ... and finally I'm going to end this paragraph with ...
(Followed by a parenthetical comment.)
And then one more short snappy sentence, just for fun.
Meanwhile, off to the right of the page somewhere is a groovy graphic ... either hand-drawn by you, the author (and then ineptly scanned so that the .jpg file is about the size of your average operating system and takes four and a half days to upload) ... or else lifted, royalty-free, from ArtToday and cleverly colorized in *FootNotes* colors blue/green, light gray, dark gray so that it looks like you drew it. Note: The graphic may or may not actually have anything at all to do with the day's journal topic. But that's irrelevant. Graphics are decorative, and they take up important white space and help pull the page together, and readers seem to like them a lot. Plus, an interesting graphic can draw attention away from a subpar journal entry, once in a while.
(Another parenthetical comment here.)
A couple more paragraphs' worth of narrative go here. Note: It's important to rotate your journal topics! Limit yourself to one journal entry per week about alcohol recovery, for example ... one entry per week about your incredibly perfect fiance/your fabulous engagement ring/your upcoming wedding ... one entry per week about the Totem Pole Company ... one entry per week about the Tots ... ad nauseum. Obvious exceptions to the rule: 1.) when you're threatening to quit your job again, 2.) when you're lobbying shamelessly for that *surprise* marriage proposal, 3.) when the Tots are in town and you've been pointing the Polaroid at them again, or 4.) when there absolutely isn't anything else to write about, short of PMS or meatloaf.
By the way, at this point it's OK to use the gimmicky *asterisk*-as-emphasis thing, as long as it isn't overdone. (*Try* not to *use* it *enough* to be *irritating,* in other words.)
Likewise, it's OK to begin inserting the occasional key FootNotes words: stoopid, fudking, groovy, bazillion, molecules ...
... or phrases: "That's another story for another day" ... "Offset Barrier Type-Y Crossings With Signalized Crosswalk Indicators" ... "forcryingoutloud" ...
... or to mention pivotal *FootNotes* characters: Cranky Denver Lady, Matt Lauer, Franz, Upstairs Neighbor Guy, The Other 50% of the Population, The Human Resources Director Person, EdmundKaz, Colonel Sanders ...
... but again, only as long as none of this stuff is overdone. One "fudk" or "forcryingoutloud" or Car Alarm Guy reference per entry is plenty. The story is what's important here. The story is what counts. It's all about the story.
The story, the story, the story.
Of course, when you're sick to death of focusing on the story -- or when the story is beginning to sag a little bit in the middle -- here are some other interesting writing techniques you might want to try, to jazz things up. (Those of us here in the 'Internet journaling community' <-- meta-reference refer to this technique as "stunt-writing." There's teeny tiny text, for instance ... ENORMOUS TEXT ... BOLD and Italic text ... runningwordstogetherforcomiceffect ... sdrawkcab gnitirW ... COLORED TEXT ... itingwray inay igPay atinLay ... randomly adding links to previous FootNotes entries to hook the new readers ... deliberately mispelling words ... casually mentioning the Notify List every once in a while, in a transparent ploy to jack up membership ...
... or Secra could suddenly, inexplicably begin to write about herself in the pretentious third-person again, for no reason, until her readers stop reading her journal altogether! ...
... but the key is to not overdo the stunt-writing. It dilutes the narrative. It weakens the credibility of the writer. And it opens the door to all kinds of other bad journaling practices ... like animated .gifs. Or like name-dropping. (Hiya, Bev!) Or like gratuitous product endorsement.
Or like flashbacks ... flashbacks ... flashbacks ...
Segue now into pointless gray *Flashback Paragraph* ...
Now that we've spent several paragraphs establishing topic, creating narrative structure, inserting the requisite slow-loading graphic, and adding the marginally-relevant flashback sequence, it's time to move on to ...
Here is some of the stuff we love about bullet points: