Monday, 8 May 2017

Dragon Diaries - Reflections - A to Z Challenge 2017 #AtoZChallenge #AtoZChallengeReflections

Dragon Diaries

elcome to my reflections on the Blogging from A to Z Challenge 2017:

Each day, I'm told you about a dragon - a dragon inspired by a name that I generated randomly using a name generator (I didn't look up the derivation of any of these names, I just ran with how they made me feel, their sound on the tongue).

I told you all about my Dragon of the Day, and shared some flash fic about their lives. Any genre, any character, any look - I hope folks were surprised and entertained by my dragonly inspirations :). And now I want so share a few thoughts about this year's A to Z Challenge, and honorary mentions of blogs I enjoyed.

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So, it was a big change this year, in that we did not have one list to sign up to, we, instead, were signing up each day to a post on the A to Z blog. This was designed to make the A to Z more sociable and ensure everyone on the list was taking part. Well, I suppose it achieved its second aim, because, logically speaking, if you had given up on the challenge, then you wouldn't be joining each day, but, I would say I don't think this new sign up method increased the social aspect of the challenge - not for me, anyway. I actually found a lot of the blogs I wanted to read during the challenge during the theme reveal posts and I had already made my own list of places I wanted to remember to visit. This really helped me during the challenge, because, since the daily sign ups were not in the same order every day, I wasn't always sure if I'd visited the blogs on the list. I did add a few people to my list throughout the challenge in one of two ways:

  1. When someone visited my blog who I hadn't visited and I then hopped on over to them.
  2. The people just above me on the sign up days.
I'm not sure what the key to making the A to Z more sociable is, maybe being a lot clearer on subject categories, so people can find the kind of things they are interested in - although I have to say, I did find myself reading the odd random blog (type 2 above) on subjects I would not have picked from a category list. What could be interesting might be a 'take me to a random blog' option, but, unhelpfully, I know of nothing that would offer that kind of functionality for a signup list :(.

Having said all that, thanks to all of you who work hard and run A to Z and make it possible, and you were brave to try something different. Thank you also to everyone who visited and commented on my blog, because it was great to get the feedback on my dragons and great to talk to you.

And, of course, I did enjoy visiting the blogs I found this year and there were quite a few I went back to regularly (though none everyday, I have to admit, because some days I struggled to get my post up, let alone visit anyone else, which was just down to mad things happening in real life). So. below are a few honourable mentions in no particular order :).  

ShaliniA to Z Indian Dishes to Die For
AJ VosseMusic & Memories
Patricia LynneStrange Feelings
Hilary Melton-ButcherRare Breeds
J Lenni DornerTelepathy and Misused Words
Sarah Zama40's Film Noir
Josie Two ShoesFull Circle (FF)
Jean D DavisEditing
Pamela WrightThe Scottish Highlands
Sara SniderMagical & Medicinal Herbs
Rae SquigglesAbbeys and Cathedrals of UK
Tamara NarayanConspiracies and Controversies
Zalka Csenge VirágWTF - Weird Things in Folktales
Mary BurrisBillboard Hits of 70's
CD Gallant-KingWeird Canandian Facts & History
Melissa AnnBook Reviews
Roland ClarkAlternative History of Kanata
Nick WilfordSnippets from Black and White
Laura ClipsonStorytelling
C R G GalvinLife on a farm in 50's and 60's
Books before the blog
David JessonMaterials Science in Fantasy and Sci FI
JodieFairytale Characters
DjinniaAnime Characters
Yolanda ReneeAlaska
Anna TanThe Princess and ...


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  1. I really enjoyed your theme this year. You created some amazing characters and stories to go with them. Will any of them end up as longer stories for sale?

    1. Thank you - and yes, I think so. Not sure which ones yet, but I might try my hand at Middle Grade with one of them, which will be an adventure! :)

  2. Hi Sophie - essentially I agree with you ... I didn't use the A-Z signup list .. probably should have done. Thanks for listing out many bloggers some of whom I need to visit .. useful to have those - cheers Hilary

    1. I'm not sure what the answer is to making us all more sociable :) I hope you find some more interesting blogs in the list.

  3. Thanks for the shout out! I loved your dragon stories, it was one of my favorite themes this year :) I hope you'll make a story collection out of them :)

    The Multicolored Diary: WTF - Weird Things in Folktales

    1. I hope to polish them and look at a collection :)

  4. i loved the stories that i could get to during the challenge. i wanted to read them all but adulting sort of killed my fun this year.

    thanks for the shout out! i appreciate it.

    1. Adulting is a real pain sometimes, isn't it! :)

  5. I'm not sure having no link list makes it more sociable, I just think this year, people seem more eager to participate and no one's being lazy about promoting their blog.

    I love themes, I do, I just can't do them but I like that other people can keep on going with the theme right towards the end.

    congrats on finishing. & have a lovely day.

  6. Hi Sophie, I've loved your dragon stories this year and some of them I so wanted to know more about their lives and started creating lives for them in my head. Your imagination is fabulous. Well done on completing the challenge and thanks for the mention in your reflection post.

    1. Now that is a compliment, to get someone else creating ideas from mine, thank you :)

  7. Your dragon stories were one of my favourite themes to come back to this year, such a great variety and I do hope we get to hear more from some of them. Yeah, I wasn't entirely sure about the daily list either - like you I found a lot of blogs before the Challenge started from the Theme Reveal. The A-Z hashtag is a good way of being more sociable, but I always forgot to visit Twitter!

    1. Maybe I'm a bit old-fashioned and forgot about the twitter hashtag too! ;P

  8. Congratulations on finishing out the month! I enjoyed reading about your dragons. It was interesting to see where each name led, and just generally what a world where dragons were rather like people, would be like as they go about their daily lives.

    I found my main blogs to follow from the theme reveal too. I think the best improvement in the new system would be some sort of category system or at least that people leave a line about what their posts are about with their links. So many were just links and I didn't visit many of those on the few occasions that I had the time to wander around on the daily lists.

    1. Categories, yes, something to make things easier to manage when it comes to searching the list.

  9. It was interesting this year without the usual list, wasn't it? ;) For me, I usually always find most of the blogs I want to visit during the theme reveal. And then, I end up not visiting a lot of them because of time restraints. It was worse than usual for me this year. I visited some people at random from the comments section, but not that many because, you know, time. ;) Congrats on finishing. Your theme was fantastic as were your stories. And thanks for the shout out!

  10. Well done for completing the challenge. I ran into similar issues with not knowing whether I'd visited blogs before along the way. I did find a few from the theme reveal which I returned to regularly through the challenge, and I'm finding a handful more through these Reflections posts too.

    Cait @ Click's Clan

  11. Thank you for sharing your Reflections on the 2017 A to Z Challenge. The new method was not so much for making A to Z more sociable, but to eliminate the tedious work of the Team in trying to keep a monster sign up list cleaned up from blog links that were not or no longer relevant to the A to Z participants. Not dealing with a list was a blessing to the A to Z Team, but I understand the problems of not having one. Maybe we'll find a better way next time around.

    Glad you could join us for this year's Challenge.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out


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