Friday, December 4, 2009

Organized Chaos or Clutter?

I’ve added a few things to my blog and am hoping those who stop by will let me know what think of them - should they stay or should they go (talking about the new additions).

First let me say I’ve added a Christmas play list (on the right) to help me get into the spirit of Christmas. The volume on the play list is a little loud, but I wasn’t able to lower it so I place it at the top of the column so visitors to the blog can either turn it off or lower the sound to suit their mood.

I’ve selected a few old favorites to entertain you while you read. I hope you enjoy, if not let me know. The majority will rule either way.

Next, I received an award (my first and quite unexpected) Tuesday from fellow blogger Michele Emrath at

In listing the award on her site she wrote, “beautifully formatted and chock-full of yummy links” describing this blog. Thank you Michele for such kind words and the award. You can click the play list off and just enjoy soaking up the pictures and words, like we discussed.

I’ve also added a button for ReBooWee which is a topic I will get into on Monday. This is a challenge from fellow blogger Patricia Stoltey at that I’m going to try to attempt. She recommended this challenge in her Tuesday, Dec. 1, post. Check it out and join.

In addition, I’ve still got the various book giveaway deadlines posted and tomorrow I hope to include a section telling what is needed to enter the contest. Thought that might be handy for any new dropping by that hadn’t seen the earlier post.

Another new button is “I’m Buying Books for the Holidays 2009.” This is an attempt to help promote books. They make wonderful gifts, especially at Christmas.

There is also a button for “Animal Rescue Site” where you click daily to help animal shelters. This click (like the one for Breast Cancer Awareness) is free and only take a few seconds. In fact, when you click on one, if you look at the top of the page there will be tabs for several other causes. This came as a reminder from fellow blogger Carol Kilgore at

With these new additions, I hope I’m not cluttering the blog down too much. These are just items I want to share. But at the same time, I don’t want to over do it either.

I know a number of these items will soon come off (the giveaways) and then there won’t be as much.

I’ve read books where the author has tried to organize the chaos, but it still read like clutter. Have you ever read a book where the author put far too many tiny, tiny details into the storyline that weren’t needed to make the plot flow smooth?

Or have you read a book where the author has way too many characters in the story and they have no bearing on the plot whatsoever?

After a half dozen or so of  these type characters show up, you being to wonder if the author is just trying to reach a certain word count. Don’t get me wrong, I love a few extra character thrown into the mix, just to tip you off balance when you’re trying to figure out who the killer is.

As a reader do you prefer organized chaos or clutter when it comes to characters and details in a mystery? As a writer how do you balance between organized chaos and clutter and at the same time give the readers enough details?


  1. Oh, you're so right about the clutter thing in books. I feel that if an author has named a character, then they should play a major part in the book--in other words, if I come across a name, I'm expecting to have to remember it again. Don't name the busboy at the restaurant if we're not going to run into him again...just call him the busboy. Good point!

    My only suggestion (and I know there's a way to do this on Blogger but it's been so long that I've forgotten how) is to have your links open in a separate window--that way I won't leave your site when I click on the Rescue Site.

    I think it all looks great! I love the way your blog looks.

    Mystery Writing is Murder

  2. Mason - I know exactly what you mean about too much clutter in some books. When the author includes too many irrelevant details, or too much description, etc., it takes the reader's attention away from the plot, which is supposed to be the central point of the story. I like the analogy, too, that you draw between a "cluttered" novel and a "cluttered" web site. Very interesting and appropriate.

    I don't think your blog is too cluttered; you've got some interesting things here : ). And thanks for adding the Animal Rescue Site. I'm a big fan of that particular site.

  3. All suggestions are welcomed Elizabeth. I like the idea of the link opening in a separate window. I will do some checking and see what I can find. It hadn't even occurred to me.
    As always, thanks for the kind words about the blog.

    Margot, thank you as well for the kind words.
    As for the Animal Rescue Site, I feel every little bit helps.

    I have a soft spot when it comes to animals.

  4. Oh Margot, if you'll check the comments from yesterday's post I got an answer on how to schedule post. It came from Journaling Woman.

  5. Thanks, Mason - I'll check that out : )

  6. Thanks for the mention and link, Mason. I'm so happy to have a good excuse to linger a little longer over a good book before I start working in the morning.

    As for clutter in books, whether characters or details, I don't like it. Keep it simple, but give me a great plot twist or two to keep me on my toes.

    The music was a wonderful surprise. I don't usually like music at websites and blogs, but the Christmas music is nice.

  7. Congratulations on your award!

    I love the look of your blog - even though there's a lot going on, it still has a peaceful, serene feel to it. And the Christmas music was a lovely surprise!

  8. Thanks for the shout out and for posting the button for the Animal Rescue Site. I tried to put it on my site, but I couldn't figure out how to do it from the ones the site offers. If you have time, would you please email me directions for dummies?

  9. Congratulations, Mason! You deserve the award.

    As a reader, I like enough chaos that I cannot figure out who did it (if it's a mystery), but I don't like too much.

    As a writer I am often too tidy with words and description and need to add more chaos if that makes sense.

    I want my links to open in a separate window as Elizabeth suggested to you, if they don't already. I must investigate.

    Nice music.

  10. Thanks ladies for stopping by. Sorry for the delay in replying, but work took longer than usual today. Plus, town was a mad house with talk of snow coming in tonight.

    Patricia, I think the ReBooWee challenge will be fun. I only hope I can keep up. Glad you like the music. I wasn't sure about adding it.

    Thank you Ingrid. I was surprised to receive the award. It was very thoughtful of Michele. Thank you for the kind words. I'm always afraid I've got too much on the blog.

    Carol, thank you for reminding about the shelter. I hadn't thought about putting it on here, even though I click on it myself every morning. I'll try to remember what I did to get the button and send it to you.

    JW, I'm with you. Mysteries need just a touch of chaos otherwise there would be no mystery as to who did it. I was hoping you would know about the separate windows since you were so helpful with the scheduling post problem. Hopefully we'll find something.

    As for the music, if anyone has suggestions for different songs just let me know. I don't want the songs to get old and boring so we'll change them up from time to time until Christmas.


I'd love to hear your thoughts on today's post. Thanks for dropping by.