"I have a slight obsession with Asoiaf meta"
Don’t we all :)
I can try to give some tips, but A) I’m hardly the authority on meta, and B) I firmly believe that meta writing is kind of personal as I know my method is considered unusual.
Well, you should know a few things. I’m very insecure about my writing. I wrote a book and planned out a trilogy in great detail, thought about it so often and developed it meticulously, and wrote 70K in a month… and have since let it sit for like a year. I’m too insecure in my writing to show it to anyone (so I can’t get a second opinion) and too insecure to edit it myself (as just reading my own writing is so painful because I doubt myself.)
The point is, you may not feel 100% great with what you’ve written but that doesn’t mean other people won’t appreciate it. You just got to put yourself out there!
For me, I let my inspiration roll and crank out metas quickly. Most of my metas (even the 5K+ ones) are written in one sitting over the course of a couple hours max- oftentimes more like under one hour. I hear that’s unusual, but I never force anything. I don’t write anything for the sake of others or reactions, I write because I want to. I get this drive to write meta and nothing can stop me. All my blogs were created because I wanted to write my thoughts and had nowhere to put it.
- Tag it #asoiaf meta. That’s a tag a lot of people (like the asoiafuniversity mods and meta fans in general) follows. If you want feedback, that’s a good place to start.
- Use quotes. Don’t just make a statement and expect people to agree. Even if it seems obvious and commonly accepted, try to add the textual evidence.
- Use full quotes. I can’t tell you how often I see metas that quote excerpts but then leave out crucial parts on that part of the book. Like the “Littlefinger never lifted so much as his little finger for her” that then ignores how Sansa immediately states afterwards “Except to get her out…” and goes on to contradict herself.
- Be mindful of sensitive topics. If you make statements- especially about real life issues- just be aware of how they can be interpreted. It’s very easy online without the use of tone and expression to mistake the meaning of something. Just be clear in your intention, don’t be afraid to restate and reword your point.
- Don’t worry about the destination, enjoy the journey. By that I mean, sometimes I write meta about a topic and realize where I’m going with my writings as I write. I don’t plan what I’m going to say or outline necessarily, I decide based on what the quotes and sources are telling me. Don’t get boggled down with where you’re going and follow your instincts. Don’t just decide the endpoint without writing the beginning and middle. Let it flow and then see what the conclusion you came to is. (That’s only applicable on some things though.)
- Consider your length. The longer a meta is, the less likely people are to read it. It may be amazing and no one will ever know because all they saw was too long and kept scrolling. Established meta writers can get away with writing thousands and thousands of words, but normally it’s preferred if you keep it short and simple.
- Try not to let the haters get you down. Everyone’s a critic- but people on tumblr can be especially critical. Not necessarily in a bad way, but I mean that I rarely have posts that don’t get hijacked, criticized, ect. People who’ve followed me for a while probably remember how I got a lot of hateful messages and comments on my posts and almost gave up on writing despite wanting to. Not everyone is going to agree with you. While there are definitely things that are inarguable, while some assertions are just plain stupid/impossible, you’ll find that people can just see the same thing different ways. “We look up at the same stars and see such different things” and all.
- Be sure to assert your point clearly and immediately. What question are you answering? You should be asking yourself that. You have a thesis statement, stick to it. You’ll lose interest quickly if people don’t know what topic you’re addressing so state your thesis quickly and then go into detail and evidence. In the end, you should restate it, tie it all together with a nice conclusion to a cohesive argument.
- Try not to handle too many topics at once. You can always write another essay, don’t try to fit in every thought into one meta.
- Don’t let a lack of notes intimidate you. Especially if you’re just starting out. When I started writing asoiaf meta, I would be writing thousands of words for no one. Many of my first metas got something like 3-10 notes. Some didn’t even get one. What I consider my best metas normally do the worst note-wise, and many of my rambles do really well. You have to get traction in order to get feedback normally, so don’t let a lack of response hurt your confidence.
- Short, simple, sweet titles. What’s the meta about? Try to be very plain and attention-grabbing with a title that makes it clear you are going to be talking about so and so.
- Tag well. Like if it’s about Sansa Stark, don’t tag Arya, don’t tag House Stark, don’t tag gotedit, tag relevantly. People might just get in your face and not even respond to your meta.
- Don’t be afraid to use a “read more”. It’s far worse to just have that post that takes up someone’s entire dash forever. You just have to ensure that the beginning part that’s visible is enthralling so that someone is enticed to click the read more (and make sure your blog has legible font for that.)
- I never do this but I always regret not doing so, edit before you publish. There could be a lot of really glaring and easy mistakes.
- And last of all, if you ever want feedback, I’m (usually) totally eager to give it! I get a fair amount of messages and can get busy, but if you have a question or want an opinion, contact me! And not just me, any blog that you admire. I remember I asked for feedback from a big meta blog when I first started out and had maybe 20 followers. Try to be understanding though on whether or not they’re busy.
Okay, that’s all that came to mind. Remember, I’m just one meta writer, everyone has their own style. What works for me may not work for you. And I’m sure some other meta writers could look at this and wonder how the hell I write anything coherent haha.
Good luck with your writing! <3
thoughts from reading Arya’s ASOS chapters:
I’m not sure where Sandor gets his fandom reputation of being The Most Honest Ever.
I know one of his most famous lines is, "a dog will die for you and never lie to you" (and let’s be real that is a great great line). But… the thing is, the whole point is that he’s not a dog, he’s a human. And he does a lot of lying to survive the entire series. (just EXAMPLES off the top of my head: he helps Sansa lie to Joffrey, he lies to the ferryman about giving him money, he lies about being a peasant to get into the Red Wedding, he pragmatically robs the dead man, he lies to Arya to get her to try to kill him, his whole life philosophy is a big psyche-supporting lie…)
Like, obviously he’s not even close to the gross terrible liar level of say, Petyr Baelish. Not at all. I think at the core, it’s obvious that he has a fair-dealing heart, one that’s first instinct is to be fair to other people. He’s, to some extent, genuinely surprised whenever things don’t go the way they do in the songs, when people try to take advantage of him.
He’s surprised that the Brotherhood steals his money. He has a fair reputation to the point where Dondarrion tells his men they don’t have to fear Clegane killing them in their sleep. He goes out of his way to save Arya at the Red Wedding, and keeps her when he has no more use for her, he leaves the village in peace when they tell him to go…
But, especially in ASOS, he’s still a surprisingly tricky bugger, and he has a lot of sharp insights about other people. He doesn’t mind taking advantage of those insights to try to survive… I’m not sure what my point was… something about him having a heart of gold but not being the absolute apex of honesty. In a better world, this man would be the kind who never lied to anyone, but we see him as a broken man and in terrible survival situations.
Also he is sneaky quiet enough to sneak into Beric Dondarrion’s camp past his sentries, and that is A++