We're getting to that point of the year where various sites will start to roll out their Best Of lists. These cover everything from movies and books to pop culture moments that captured the world's attention over the course of 2021.
This year, I've decided I wanted to do something of a similar nature here on the blog with the debut of the Avvy Awards, or Avvies!
The Avvies are intended to be my blog's version of the Dundees from The Office, celebrating a few standout articles in a range of categories.
It's also a great chance for you to catch up on the highlights of this year's posts and check out some of my favorites. Links to each featured article will be scattered throughout, and I invite you to give them a click and a read.
Without further ado, let's dive in.
Welcome to the 2021 Avvy Awards!
This is the post that garnered the most attention.
Without a doubt, the Avvy for most popular goes to Harsh Writing Advice And The Truth Behind The Viral Tweet
This opinion piece came on the heels of a soon-deleted tweet claiming, "Your writing friends are also your competition."
Twitter's writer's corner had a ton to say about this, and I couldn't not join in on the conversation.
My comparing (most of) Twitter's Writing Community to a scenario like The Great British Baking Show as opposed to Hell's Kitchen seemed to resonate with a ton of readers, and it became my most-read piece to date.
As such, Harsh Writing Advice And The Truth Behind The Viral Tweet easily wins the Avvy for my Most Popular post of 2021.
Harsh Writing Advice And The Truth Behind The Viral Tweet winning Most Popular is actually a great segue to the next category for these inaugural Avvy Awards: Best Advice
Periodically, I'll share a bit of advice for writers in the form of tips and tricks that have helped me as I continue to improve my writing and refine my style.
One tip I rely on quite heavily got its time in the blogging spotlight this year, and I think it's deserving of the Avvy for Best Advice.
The Mic Drop Theory isn't of my own making, but it is the thing that helped me develop stronger ending lines across the board. From academic essays in school to closing out a chapter in fiction, this visualization exercise has helped me so much.
To give a quick overview, the Mic Drop Theory tasks you with imagining yourself presenting your work to a crowd.
"You want to hold them until the very last second, leaving a fraction of intrigue to linger, giving way to a sense of finality. A remark that maintains its hold on those who hear it, leaving them with something to think about... then, you drop the microphone and simply walk away, leaving your audience alone with their thoughts."
This idea has been the key to the final impact of my writing and is one of the tips I've shared with others when reviewing work by my peers.
For that reason, Going Out With A Bang goes home with the Avvy for Best Advice.
Each year, I'll feature a few series of posts on a related topic. This allows me to go deeper into multiple aspects of the material and go more in-depth than I would be able to were I to lump it all together in one post.
2021 featured a four-part series on settings that went live in September, which I collectively referred to as Settingstember.
Worldbuilding is an essential part of the writing process, and it usually starts with deciding whether or not your story is going to take place in a real location, a fictional one of your own design, or a hybrid of the two like a re-imagined Salt Lake City.
Each kind of setting had a post devoted to assessing its pros and cons, what works and what doesn't always work, and why a writer might choose each over the others.
Additionally, there was a post on how to name fictional settings and what I'll think about when naming the fictional locations throughout my own WIPs.
Like any series, Settingstember was a lot of work and I'm especially proud of the outcome, so I'm giving it the Avvy for Best Series.
Here's every post of Settingstember
Titles are something I put a lot of thought into when it comes to blog posts. They need to be eye-catching and snappy while providing a glimpse into the post's content. I actually find it trickier to title a blog post than a novel!
There were a few contenders for this Avvy, but in the end, Best Title goes to A Toe Dipped In Stagnant Waters.
This was one of my first posts back after taking a hiatus for a few months and talking about what it was like trying to settle back into a groove after stepping away.
To me, A Toe Dipped In Stagnant Waters perfectly reflects that feeling of not being able to dive into writing again head-first, but instead needing to ease my way back in. There were times where I was feeling as overwhelmed as I had when I stepped back, that sensation of drowning in all the work I had left unfinished and piled up on the backburner. Even though taking a break was the best thing for me at the time, it was something that came with a few difficulties in returning and trying to find a new balance amid everything that was going on at the time (and still is).
A Toe Dipped In Stagnant Waters, in my honest opinion, ties up those feelings and makes it deserving of the Best Title Avvy Award for 2021.
As is the case with titles, I also put a lot of consideration into the images I use for each post's cover image. These are the ones you'll see on my site's homepage and when I post the link to social media, so I want to make sure they do their job of not only representing the content of each upload but must also be visually pleasing.
It can take a little time to find an image that works, but sometimes the perfect image leaps out at you.
That was the case for the winner of Best Dressed, Read This Post, Damn It! | An Uncensored Guide To Swearing, Profanity, And Expletives In Writing.
Covering ways to implement swearing in your writing and things to keep in mind when doing so, I wanted to find a cover image that popped while also bringing a bit of levity.
This was the obvious choice.
It still makes me chuckle when I see it and easily wins for Best Dressed.
If you haven't figured it out from previous posts, puns are very much my love language and I have a habit of slipping them in wherever possible.
Usually, they're fully intended.
But there was one pun in particular that I hadn't realized was there until the post went live.
That's why my post on Resident Evil: Village wins the Avvy Award for Best Pun of 2021!
Even though the title itself, A Tall Order, is a pun based on Lady Dimitrescu's height, that's not the bit that makes it deserving of the Avvy.
In reference to the internet's almost immediate fascination with Lady Dimitrescu, I describe the collective excitement across social media as, "abuzz with swarms of folks wanting the nine-foot-tall vampire lady to step all over them, among other acts."
The key word here is "abuzz."
If you haven't played Resident Evil: Village or need a quick recap, you play as Ethan Winters and eventually find yourself trapped in an old castle known as Castle Dimitrescu. Not only do you have Lady Dimitrescu to contend with, but her three daughters. All four of the Dimitrescu women stalk you as you explore, posing a constant, imminent threat that made for a gripping experience as you search for the masks needed to unlock the exit.
While Lady Dimitrescu will endeavor to slash Ethan to bits, her daughters have a different strategy. Because Cassandra, Bela, and Daniela were subjects of experiments with the Cadou parasite, each girl's body was consumed by imitation blowflies, merging their human DNA with that of the insects and allowing them to shift between human form and a swarm of flies.
It's these flies that not only signal the approach of a Dimitrescu daughter but are one of the ways they will attack Ethan. In such an instance, the screen with begin to grow mottled with flies until you're able to flee their reach.
Thus, "abuzz" was the perfect adjective to describe the internet's excitement over Lady Dimitrescu—and a pun that slipped under the radar.
Most Fun To Write
Even though there will occasionally be one or two posts that can feel more laborious to work on, perhaps because of how long I've been working on them or how much research is needed, I generally enjoy what I write for the blog.
Then there will be posts that are just a blast to work on. Whether it's a topic I've been wanting to tackle for a bit or something that's suddenly come up, these posts are a treat.
Throughout 2021, there were quite a few fun posts, but the only one to make me actually grin with delight was my entry into the discussion following Netflix's post announcing A Castle for Christmas as one of its holiday films for the year.
This one went live a bit after the initial Tweet from the streaming platform, before any trailers and well before the release of the film itself, so there wasn't much to go on, but many writers on Twitter expressed anywhere from amusement along the lines of Oh, you sweet summer child to mild vexation nearing You've got to be kidding because of the movie's premise. At the time, the only info we had was a description mentioning an author's intention of buying a Scottish castle despite the "prickly" duke's unwillingness to sell to a foreigner.
Wherever the reaction fell on this spectrum, it typically had something to do with the likelihood of being able to afford a castle on an author's salary.
It's a relatively common assumption that authors are either reasonably wealthy or at least make a sustainable income from the moment they sell a manuscript or the day their book is released, but that's not always true--and chances are they're not going to be in a position to buy a castle.
I'd been wanting to break down the ins and outs of how authors are paid for a while, and A Castle for Christmas (and its subsequent discourse online) presented the opportunity to talk about royalties, advances, and what "earning out" means.
But the truly fun part of this post was exploring the other half of the topic and looking into how much it would actually cost to buy a castle in Scotland. To my surprise, the average price tags on the lists I found online were in the £1.5 million to £3 million range, so not as expensive as I anticipated (but still pretty expensive when you look at how authors are paid).
Spending an afternoon browsing these listings was honestly a delight, so Can An Author Afford A Castle For Christmas wins the Avvy for Most Fun to Write!
That brings an end to the first-ever Avvy awards!
While this may not have been the most productive writing year for me (something I'll be talking more about next week), there were still quite a few blog posts I can be quite pleased with, including a few topics I'd been wanting to cover for a while that finally had their turn.
Join me next week for my end-of-year wrap-up!