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LOL. I hope you don't take that comment too much to heart, Sherry. Blogs are LOGS. Any narrative arc they may appear to have is either a) an illusion, i.e., a function of time passing as in any record of a life; or b) temporary, until the next illusion of narrative structure; or c) manufactured. Each has its benefits and costs, like anything else.

(Oh, and if you want to see a blog where the narrative arc has REALLY stalled, check out Plausible Story these days... I'll be back, I swear. Once I figure out the arc. :)

Bill Altreuter

It seems to me that a narrative arc is one of the surest ways to know that a weblog is contrived. It's how I spotted "Anonymous Lawyer", and there are other examples. It's fine to have an arc in a particular anecdotal post, but for the most part this is a public performance, and a great deal of what might constitute dramatic structure would require too much personal revelation. Parents, family, significant others, potential significant others-- what they each need to know varies too greatly to allow for that, I think.

Everybody's life has drama. The people who dwell on their personal drama are not, as a rule, people who I enjoy spending time with, and I'm not inclined to read what they write, either.


Real life is messy. Every person has numerous themes and subplots running in their life simultaneously. And no blogger writes about all of his or her personal themes though you cover more than most it seems. (I on the other hand mainly focus in the blog on only one aspect of my life, my sailing.) In any life some of the plots are progressing; some are stalled. That's the nature of life.


Your life's arc hasn't stalled - if anything it's speeded up. I think that the Stay posts are a bit more haphazard than they have been, but that may be related to your crowded life. The blog is worth reading to me, either way.


i read for the ostensible lack of narrative arc.


I would comment on this blog more often if you didn't have so many perceptive others commenting; when I get here everything I would say has already been said. :)

Anyone reading a blog for a narrative arc is bound to be perpetually frustrated. You're closer to having one than I tend to be, partly because you look at your life in a different way than I do.

But I actually posted a disclaimer back in September including the words, "This is not a narrative. I will mention developments in my life and leave them unresolved. I will discuss resolutions without setting the scene. I will present context without relating it to issues, and I will discuss situations devoid of context."

It's sort of like a shrink-wrapped software license.


Hahaha! This reader sounds like a PERFECT example of that weird tendency lawyers and assholes have of blaming EVERYTHING they do on the other person. It's bizarre. And it's a large part of the reason why, despite six-figures in loans and three years spent in law school, I will not be joining the legal community. LIfe is too short to spend all day with people who have to pretend that every choice they make is due to someone else's failing. Sheesh.


There's always a child who'll say, "I beat you!", when nobody had ever mentioned there was a race. Now you've failed to measure up to the narrative arc test in the same manner.

Proper etiquette demands a prior announcement of "Last one to the narrative arc is a rotten egg!"


My narrative arc has stalled, and I think that's what people like about my blog. I'm (so far) stuck in wishing I had a relationship and trying to date. People seem to like watching me in that mode. If I found someone as great as Mr. NBT and moved into a wonderful relationship, that would be a great advance in my life. But people would think that my blog, by moving out of that constant suspense, had stalled. I'm pulling the blog as soon as I meet someone.


I don't know if it's a matter of narrative arc, but I agree that there has been a different feel to your blog lately. I began reading back when you were first thinking about leaving law, and you were grappling with a different bunch of questions, and I think your way of going about things or talking about them was somewhat different.

And some questions will be of more interest to some, not others. For me, it aligned with a time when I too was looking at law and other alternatives, and trying to find out what I wanted to do and where I should be. Your focus, and that of the blog, feels different now. And sometimes it doesn't captivate me the same way some older posts do. But you aren't writing to captivate me.

I'm in a different place now, you're in a different place now, and it seems pretty reasonable that the stories don't line up the same way. Because we're blogger and reader, there isn't so much of a bonded friendship to keep us both engaged with each other. There aren't any mutual experiences - it's just me, reading. Some comments here and there, but not so much real interaction.

So, readers move on. They find a new blog with a new voice and new ways to consider and answer the new questions in their lives. And some readers stay - drawn in by whatever link there was initially (mine was studying for the bar, I think), even when that link is gone, because the underlying personality is still captivating, the stories still human, your voice still strong.

If this were a book, and not a blog, maybe it would seem very different from beginning to end. If it were a sitcom, one might even say "I liked the old episodes better, this new story line isn't working for me." But, it's not a sitcom or a book or a miniseries. It's a blog: it's your life and your writing tool and there will be readers that come and readers that go, and even those who go will surely have something wonderful to take with them.

[this was way too long and redundant, but somewhere in there is my point, i think.]


After keeping two blogs for 2+ years, and after having done a lot of research on this odd, odd genre of writing, I have come to the conclusion that I just don't care how my blog comes across. I use it as I please. As do you, which is why I have linked to you, Sherry. I like to read your stuff. I don't really care about any "arcing" or whatever.

I can't believe that person felt the need to tell you why they stopped reading. Like you were going to plea for them to not stop? Huh?


I noticed that comment and immediately thought to myself that it says more about the author of the comment than it says about this blog.


I was ready to post something on my blog about this....the comments from Rhea were equally "ouch". I believe that your blog is authentic and if people find the need to stop reading, then my response is: Go ahead, just leave quietly please. Arc or no Arc, life is what it is. Your question of "what have you given up...." was a good one - and my answer to that one is this: I have given up what others think of me. S, you are an inspiration to many - keep it up girl.


Bit of preaching to the choir here - presumably, the anonymous commenter is no longer here to read what S and all her commenters have to say to "Stalled Arc."


Ok Ok I have to step in and comment. I have to admit I never have really understood what a blog is or what the desire would be to actually read each day. I look at it like this.. This is a great way to talk outwardly and introspectively about yourself and things going on with your life. I am honestly confused why some post some of the comments that they do. Frankly, I think some should look at it as a privledge that you are even allowed to see what is going on within someones mind. The fact that we even get to comment still astonishes me. What astonishes me more is that other's can actually sit at their computers and type such words in response. Maybe it is my lack of knowledge regarding all this but the mere fact that someone can respond negatively and feel they have the power to tell the author that they are hitting the preverbial "high road"(and yes for the scholars in this post I may have incorrectly typed things here, I am sure you can comment on that too)then don't let the door hit you in the butt because who needs people like yourself being judgmental on her personal blog... Boy I got way too emotional in this post and I am sure none of it makes sense... go ahead take your best shot I promise it will not hurt. Oh my gosh I am being protective here and we have not even met sherry. Hope you do not hold my tongue lashings against me when we meet soon. :)

1:30 is right though. There is a different feel to the blog which probably reflects the changes in Sherry's life. Problem is those changes have changed the blog -- it has a rushed, quasi-obligatory feel to it now and while I genuinely wish S well in her new, ongoing adventures, its become too private/life, and less interested in the public sphere/law to offer much to this reader.


I'm not sure that real life has the sort of narrative arc that is found in good fiction writing. I know that my "narrative arc" (if I ever had such a thing) has definitely had stall-points in life, not just in blogging. It stalls every time I have a major life change. Perspective changes. Time for reflection is required. That causes a change in the supposed narrative arc of anything, especially personal writing. Life just isn't neat enough to have perfectly scripted character development.

If you're blogging primarily for you, don't worry about any arcs, or any readers, either. Write what makes you happy, when you want to write it. Post it or not. The last thing you should be worried about is whether or not you have a well-timed narrative arc, like something on HBO. It's not entertainment; it's life.


There are many very good points here (probably that are being read by the original commentor, as well!) but when I went and looked at the two blogs you metioned as having taken advantage of their lives' own narrative arcs, I'd have to say that it looks like the most interesting bloggers are those who have been through the most misery (and who are also willing to bare their souls about it.) Maybe that's why (as some have mentioned here) the tone of this blog has changed recently: you're simply happy. And there is not as much inherent drama and intrigue in happiness as there is in sorting through unhappiness outloud.

Congratulations on the newfound "loss of narrative arc". If this is what it means, may you never get it back. :)

I am not sure why anyone really cares what S writes. Find a blog out there that gives you what you're after if its not this one. She is under no obligation to do anything here and I find it amazing that she is willing to share her evolving and introspective self with us at all. Again, stop reading if you have a problem with it. But if you're going to stay show a little respect and appreciation that she is providing you with reading material at her own expense. Go S!! And thank you.


Fuck the arc, sister. Keep doing your thing.


Sherry, I doubt that the comment in question is actually about the quality of your blog. Most people who genuinely dislike someone's blog just simply stop reading...in this situation, it's almost a case of 'protesting too much'.It sounds like someone who for whatever reason has felt hurt or affronted at some point and who may be seeking to ellicit a response from you, to make you notice him/her.

Anonymous, if this is the case might I respectfully suggest that leaving a comment isn't the best format for addressing your hurt. For your own sake, figure out what's causing you to feel this strongly, work through it and then let it go.

If I misunderstand you and this isn't the issue, then recognize that Sherry has the right to craft her blog accordingly. Blogs are living things, and evolve along with the authors interests, experiences and needs. If you have ideas about what a blog should look like maybe this is the right time to consider developing one of your own?

But one caution: those of us who blog know how vulnerable we are when presenting bits of ourselves out there for public viewing...not to mention how difficult it can be to interpret or respond to a comment from someone we don't know. (Which is why I ask my readers to abandon the anonymous title!) Blogging isn't always easy, but from my experience the benefits far outweigh the risks.


Seems like Sherry's blogging becomes more interesting and generates much more heat/ commentary when she engages with anonymous commenter. Maybe they need each other creatively.

Carol Anne

Who says Sherry's obligated to provide a "narrative arc," anyway? If I want a narrative arc, I have a huge lot of other options, such as the television daytime drama I watch regularly.

Sherry's life isn't a soap opera, and anyone who wants it to be that kind of entertainment is really going to be disappointed. Those viewers should switch the channel.


Christ, now I need a narrative arc? If so, my life is absolutely bottom-tier. I flubbed the denouement about 9 years ago.

And if I wanted a narrative arc in reading, I'd pick up, oh, a NOVEL. Weblogs are like letters, which nobody gets or sends anymore: we have to share them over the web. Fills a niche that has nothing to do with narrative arc, and everything to do with the mundane from a unique perspective.

Not to mention that creating a narrative arc, when one seeks to do so, is only believably done (rather than contrived) when it is solidly rooted in the mundane and true to the voice and motivations of the character. THOSE you get on a blog.

But you know what WOULD be fun? Making up a narrative arc together. One of those collective writing games where nobody is in control, and the thing goes where the commenters send it. If you think about it, you might set a scene, and see where all of us would take it.


I can't believe that commentator gave up. Doesn't (s)he know November is sweeps month? There's some enormous shocker coming whose reverberations Sherry will deal with until resolution (and foreshadowing for next season) in mid-May. Then we'll get rerun blog posts all summer.

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