This is a comment I recently posted in the SOL Forum, but it occurs to me that it might get a wider audience if I put it in my blog. Here it is:
I guess that I just learned a lesson from my last story. It was a Western that ended with a minor down-beat result for the main character instead of my usual up-beat ending. My scores have tumbled since I posted what I considered a reasonable resolution for the protagonist. He was wounded by a Comanche arrow and no longer able to get around without pain; therefore, he was going to have to give up being an Indian fighter.
This was just too much, apparently, for my readers, and they have expressed their dismay with votes in the 7s, instead of the 9s and 10s that the story had been earning. At least, I hope that was the reason for the fall in score from what I had been getting.
Even though I was looking for a little more realism in the story, I guess that I will have to give up on that and always go for an up-beat ending if I can't throw in a happy ending.
On second thought, I wonder how long I can stick to this resolution!?