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"Codes will be updated as story progresses"

red61544

What's the purpose of this statement? Is it saying: "I don't want you to know so you don't squick too soon"? At best it says: "I don't want to give too much of the plot away". I guess what I am asking is, "Does the reader have a right to know what he's getting into before he starts a story"? And if he doesn't have a right to know that, why bother with codes or a story description at all?

robberhands
Updated:

@red61544


"Does the reader have a right to know what he's getting into before he starts a story"?


What he definately has, is the right not to read a story.

That aside, it's in the best interest of an author, as well as his readers, to inform and warn them as completely as possible about the contents of his story. The one caveat might be the premature disclosure of the plot. So I think a warning that "Codes will be updated as story progresses" should be allowable in this case, instead of regardlessly demanding full disclosure. As reader you can take the risk, or simply don't read it.

Replies:   red61544  Switch Blayde
red61544

@robberhands

The one caveat might be the premature disclosure of the plot.

So why bother with codes or a story description at all? Isn't the intent of the codes to warn readers off what may squick them?

Ernest Bywater

@red61544

"Does the reader have a right to know what he's getting into before he starts a story"?


The purpose of the codes is to give the reader an idea of what type of story they're about to read is going to cover and include. If you don't tell them all the expected codes right up front you're telling the reader to totally ignore your story until after you finish posting it.

Some people say putting the codes in at the start may give the plot away, but by the end you're required to have all the codes up anyway, and the story will be there to read as a completed story a lot longer than while it's being posted, so there's no real support for the big concern it may give something away.

Replies:   robberhands  red61544  Safe_Bet
Dominions Son

@red61544

What's the purpose of this statement?


One possibility is that the author is posting as he writes and is only coding the story for what has already been written.

robberhands

@Ernest Bywater

Some people say putting the codes in at the start may give the plot away, but by the end you're required to have all the codes up anyway, and the story will be there to read as a completed story a lot longer than while it's being posted, so there's no real support for the big concern it may give something away.

True, I didn't think of that. So I'd warn the readers that some codes are missing and why, and leave the story code in question out of the listed tags permanently.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@robberhands

leave the story code in question out of the listed tags permanently.


You can do that, but don't get upset when people don't like it jumping out at them and vote 1s. A few other authors have done this and then got angry when a lot of people voted the story down because of it.

red61544

@Ernest Bywater

you're telling the reader to totally ignore your story until after you finish posting it.

You're exactly right, Ernest! I can't help but believe that when an author has posted five chapters and only has ten downloads, he would get very discouraged! But, by not posting the codes and a decent story description, he's almost asking readers to ignore his story. Thus the question: "What's the purpose of this statement?"

robberhands

@Ernest Bywater

You can do that, but don't get upset when people don't like it jumping out at them and vote 1s.

I won't get upset about it should I ever come across that issue. If I'm stupid enough to let my MC suddenly out himself as snuff loving rapist, with a deep seated affection for butcher hooks, meat cleaver and chainsaws, then I'll deserve the reaction I'll get.

Replies:   Ross at Play
sejintenej

I like to be able and willing to read a story right up to the author's finale.
OTOH there are some codes which put me off; I would absolutely hate to be up to chapter 15 and suddenly find a previously unpublished change into subjects I dislike.

Replies:   robberhands
Ross at Play

@Dominions Son

One possibility is that the author is posting as he writes and is only coding the story for what has already been written.

If so, I conclude the author has no plot for the story.
Alternatively, if they think revealing codes will be a spoiler, I conclude the story's plot is trivial.
Either way, I'm grateful for the warning to avoid the author like a ... code will be revealed later.

robberhands

@sejintenej

I would absolutely hate to be up to chapter 15 and suddenly find a previously unpublished change into subjects I dislike.

That happens to me all the time, with or without story tags.

Ross at Play

@robberhands

If I'm stupid enough to let my MC suddenly out himself as snuff loving rapist, with a deep seated affection for butcher hooks, meat cleaver and chainsaws, then I'll deserve the reaction I'll get.

But sadly, it only requires an MC to have some affection for "meat" for that to happen.

Replies:   robberhands
docholladay

@red61544

I think it can be allowed for those writers who post the chapters as they write and edit them. Sure they need to list all the codes that apply to their story idea. But how many times have writers who only post completed stories found that the original codes needed to be changed because something went different in the story. Its easy to have the correct codes for a finished story. A story that is being posted has a greater risk of needing to adjust the codes as the story develops. I admit those changes can be frustrating but they are understandable. What is not understandable is not to include all the applicable codes for a finished story with updates to codes only being done as new codes are added.

Replies:   Ross at Play
robberhands

@Ross at Play

I conclude the story's plot is trivial.

I'll just mention in this context that John Snow is actually Daenerys Targaryen's nephew. Admittedly though, R. R. Martin should have listed the incest code already.

Ross at Play
Updated:

@docholladay

A story that is being posted has a greater risk of needing to adjust the codes as the story develops.

What would be your reaction be as a reader if you are following a serial and this prominent note appears before a chapter?

WARNING: NEW STORY CODE ADDED
I apologise to readers who this may upset, but my story has taken an unexpected turn and I have had to add ... code to the story's description.

I would forgive that author if the added code was an unacceptable squick for me.
I would 1-bomb the story if they'd known about it all along.

robberhands

@Ross at Play

But sadly, it only requires an MC to have some affection for "meat" for that to happen.

It's not too sad. What it boils down to is, that's it the author's decision. If his goal is to mislead his readers for pure shock value, or if he's too stupid to predict their reaction to a particular revelation late in the story, he'll get what he deserves. At the same time it's the readers decision if they want to take the risk, aware of the fact that some stories codes are missing.

awnlee jawking

@Dominions Son

Either way, I'm grateful for the warning to avoid the author like a ... code will be revealed later.


I've just submitted the prologue to a new story. Because of this topic, I've added the line to my own description.

The story involves witchcraft. Magic is listed as a 'Level of Consent' but it plays absolutely no part in the level of consent in my story so I felt I couldn't use the code. I've used 'Paranormal' instead. Have any other authors encountered this problem and, if so, what did they do about it?

AJ

docholladay

@Ross at Play

I would probably at least try the chapter. Like I stated, it is easy to properly code a finished story. While one that is still being both written and developed. The codes are probably the planned ones which should be included, but sometimes characters and/or stories take a different path than the original idea called for. Easily covered up for finished stories which are only coded after the story is written. But while one is being written changes can affect the codes. On one extreme codes are added, while on the other a planned code never happens so it needs to be removed. I am not saying the removal happens but that is also a case of adjusting the codes to fit the story. Either case HONESTY is the key factor. I have more respect for that writer who admits the codes may change than one who doesn't admit to needed changes. Heck sometimes the added code is recommended by the readers and the writer just adds the recommended code or codes.

docholladay

@awnlee jawking

Basically I think its being honest both with your readers and yourself.

Like I noted in the previous reply, sometimes it will be feedback from your readers which will cause you to add a code to the story listing. There are many possible reasons an ongoing story's codes can be changed.

robberhands

@awnlee jawking

Magic is listed as a 'Level of Consent' but it plays absolutely no part in the level of consent in my story so I felt I couldn't use the code.

Since Harry Pottert became so popular, you don't have to warn readers of the magic content in your story. OTOH, if you want to use the tag to advertise your story, you may disappoint some readers who will expect a sexual correlation.

Personally I did not tag everything I could have tagged, simply because I found some of the tags utterly insignificant to the story, and didn't want to raise their importance by adding a special tag.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Switch Blayde

@red61544

What's the purpose of this statement?


My guess is it means the author has no idea where the story will go so he will add appropriate story codes if necessary.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Dominions Son

@Ross at Play

If so, I conclude the author has no plot for the story.


Consider that it's also possible that the author has a basic plot with a well defined start and conclusion but no specific plan for how to get from A to B.

Switch Blayde

@robberhands

The one caveat might be the premature disclosure of the plot.


I left out a story code in one of my stories because to put it in would ruin the surprise (twist). My memory sucks, but I think it was mother/son incest. If that squicked some readers, so be it. I didn't want to ruin it for the other readers.

Replies:   robberhands
Dominions Son

@awnlee jawking

The story involves witchcraft. Magic is listed as a 'Level of Consent'


Yes, it's basically intended for magic based mind control/coercion.

Not sure how to name it to keep it separate from the magic(consent) tag, but perhaps it's time for a more general magic tag under the Paranormal group.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Switch Blayde

@Ernest Bywater

You can do that, but don't get upset when people don't like it jumping out at them and vote 1s


They can give me all the 1s they want. I don't pay much attention to the score. My goal is to write a story my readership will enjoy. Not giving away the plot or twist trumps anyone who would be squicked.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
robberhands

@Switch Blayde

If that squicked some readers, so be it. I didn't want to ruin it for the other readers.

That would be fine with me. Sadly most of my personal squicks don't have any tags authors could apply to their stories to warn me of.

Replies:   Duke_Mantee
Crumbly Writer

@Ross at Play

I would forgive that author if the added code was an unacceptable squick for me.
I would 1-bomb the story if they'd known about it all along.

I can think of a couple stories which included an extremely short passage, which the author felt necessary to explore to present a complete story, that involved a brief Mm passage. He provided just such a warning, but his scores permanently tanked, even though he made it clear that readers upset by it could simply bypass the entire chapter. Yet because he included that single squick chapter (1 out of 120+) his scores never recovered from that one-time hit.

That strikes me, not as much as squick avoidance, as a hate crime against authors voicing alternative opinions. In short, it's akin to someone writing about the lives of slaves before the Civil War (remember, Uncle Tom's Cabin was, when it was written, one of the most most HATED stories in America, even as it hit record sales at the time).

There are 'sensible' solutions, but there are no perfect solutions, and in general, it doesn't pay to avoid squicks entirely simply out of a fear of individual reader's displeasure. An author's entire role in life is to make readers think. If he only post pablum which no one ever objects to, then he's merely wasting everyone's time. Even if you don't agree with the author who posts something controversial, it's worth the time if it gets people talking about it, even if he never convinces anyone to his particular point of view.

By the way, the scene in question focused on one of the story's main characters trying to help heal a young man victimized by the story antagonist early in the story, thus the author it was necessary to help balance out the story and help resolve the harm done, and show the extents the characters would go to in reaching out to the underprivileged.

In short, every time you 1-bomb a story, you're telling an entire contingent of potential readers for the site "Fuck off and Die, we don't want your kind here, no matter how well you write or what you may have to offer."

You don't have to agree with them, but refusing to allow them a seat at the table seems inherently unfair for any minority.

Crumbly Writer

@awnlee jawking

The story involves witchcraft. Magic is listed as a 'Level of Consent' but it plays absolutely no part in the level of consent in my story so I felt I couldn't use the code. I've used 'Paranormal' instead. Have any other authors encountered this problem and, if so, what did they do about it?

Why would "witchcraft" affect the level of consent? If you included "rape" or "slavery" I could see it, but I would never assume a story about "witchcraft" dealt with mind-control issues unless that was specifically posted as an element in the story.

Ernest Bywater

@Switch Blayde

My goal is to write a story my readership will enjoy.


and not warning about something that will squick a reader will ensure they don't enjoy that story, and may stop them from reading any more of your stories because you broke your trust with them and they walk away.

It's your right (as an author) to hide anything you wish, but please be aware of the pitfalls that await such actions.

Crumbly Writer

@robberhands

Personally I did not tag everything I could have tagged, simply because I found some of the tags utterly insignificant to the story, and didn't want to raise their importance by adding a special tag.

Again, on SOL in particular, many of the tags have a particular sexual component which makes them irrelevant for the majority of stories. You'd NEVER list "black" unless your story features BBM raping a sexually charged young white slut, nor would you include Oriental, just because you have Asian characters. Those codes are exclusively for stereotypical sexual scenarios that the majority of people would find insulting and demeaning.

Just because a code exists is no reason why you should ever include it.

Replies:   robberhands
Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

My guess is it means the author has no idea where the story will go so he will add appropriate story codes if necessary.

It seems to be that both you (Switch) and Ernest have included 'hidden' codes in your stories because you were afraid it would reveal story elements you'd wanted to keep concealed until the 'big reveal' moment.

In one story of mine, I never revealed the (inc) code because I was never sure whether the characters would continue merely teasing each other, or whether it might evolved into actual sex (it did, but only in a later book). Leaving it off of the initial story helped include readers, who ultimately enjoyed the story, who may have been put off the story if I'd included it. For those who did, the eventual reveal didn't upset nearly as many who'd have avoided the story entirely. (I got NO complaints about the sequence, so I'm guessing that those enjoyed the story considered it to ultimately be a minor story element).

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Crumbly Writer

@Dominions Son

Yes, it's basically intended for magic based mind control/coercion.

Not sure how to name it to keep it separate from the magic(consent) tag, but perhaps it's time for a more general magic tag under the Paranormal group.

Rather than "paranormal", I'd list is as (witchcraft, MC), so it's clear what's involved from the get go. That way, no one has any complaints with how the story turns out when they eventually reach the specific story element.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Ernest Bywater

@Crumbly Writer

It seems to be that both you (Switch) and Ernest have included 'hidden' codes in your stories because you were afraid it would reveal story elements you'd wanted to keep concealed until the 'big reveal' moment.


Sorry, CW, Switch may have hidden codes, but always code for every code that's relevant and on the list at the time of posting. I have had to go back and add codes which were added to the list after I posted the story, but that's all.

Crumbly Writer

@Ernest Bywater

and not warning about something that will squick a reader will ensure they don't enjoy that story, and may stop them from reading any more of your stories because you broke your trust with them and they walk away.

It's your right (as an author) to hide anything you wish, but please be aware of the pitfalls that await such actions.

Despite my other protests, I agree with this. Trust between an author and reader are vitally important. It's better to have readers trust your stories (i.e. not pulling the rug out from under them) than it is to hide story elements for their 'surprise' element.

robberhands
Updated:

@Crumbly Writer


You'd NEVER list "black" unless your story features BBM raping a sexually charged young white slut, nor would you include Oriental, just because you have Asian characters. Those codes are exclusively for stereotypical sexual scenarios that the majority of people would find insulting and demeaning.


I totally agree, but consistent to the demand of absolute disclosure I still could feel the need to warn my readers that some of the people having sexual intercourse in my story, might not be as lilly white as others. And there is a host of other codes like that. Insignificant if your story doesn't mainly revolve around it, but still they could be listed.

Dominions Son

@Crumbly Writer

Rather than "paranormal", I'd list is as (witchcraft, MC),


You have it backwards. The existing magic tag is for magical mind control. We are discussing adding a tag for magic that does not involve mind control.

Switch Blayde

@Ernest Bywater

and not warning about something that will squick a reader will ensure they don't enjoy that story, and may stop them from reading any more of your stories because you broke your trust with them and they walk away.


They're not my readership. I write for open-minded readers who can enjoy a story even if they don't like something in it. Maybe not liking something in it is done purposefully to get them to dislike a character more.

When I watch a movie where someone is sewing someone up (like after removing a bullet or a knife wound), I close my eyes and turn away. I may still love the story even if that scene squicked me.

In other threads, people say they skim over or bypass sex scenes. So if something comes up that squicks you, skip it. If it's critical to the plot, you end up missing something important just like skipping a significant sex scene would.

Replies:   Capt. Zapp
awnlee jawking

@Dominions Son

We are discussing adding a tag for magic that does not involve mind control.


Oops, there is an element of mind-control involved but it doesn't affect the protagonist.

I'd probably better proof-read the proper Chapter 1 and submit it so that, if people are interested, they can see where the story is heading.

AJ

Ross at Play

@Crumbly Writer

post pablum

I cannot find that word anywhere.
Did you mean postbellum, meaning after a war?

red61544

@Ross at Play

What would be your reaction be as a reader if you are following a serial and this prominent note appears before a chapter?

WARNING: NEW STORY CODE ADDED
I apologise to readers who this may upset, but my story has taken an unexpected turn and I have had to add ... code to the story's description.

Those "unexpected turn(s)" tell me that the author has no idea how his story line is going to progress. Don't ever expect to be published if that is the case. An editor wants to know exactly where the story is going before he will accept a manuscript. That's why most editors demand an outline before they agree to read a manuscript.

Replies:   Switch Blayde  REP
awnlee jawking

@Ross at Play

No, he meant to write 'posts pablum', ie posts bland stories.

AJ

Capt. Zapp

@Switch Blayde

In other threads, people say they skim over or bypass sex scenes. So if something comes up that squicks you, skip it.


That is exactly what I would do if I were reading a dead-tree book, so why wouldn't I do it here? When was the last time anyone went to a bookstore and found codes/tags listed in the book?

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@awnlee jawking

ie posts bland stories.


I wouldn't have thought there was much interest in bland stories about posts? Do they chronicle how they sit there and weather over time? Or are they about slow and boring military post activities?

robberhands

@Ross at Play

pablum

=uniform mush

Ernest Bywater

@Capt. Zapp

When was the last time anyone went to a bookstore and found codes/tags listed in the book?


Most book stores have book in categories that do much the same thing, also the book cover has a lot longer description than allowed here, and they also usually include comments by reviewers to help you judge.

Replies:   Capt. Zapp
Ross at Play

@Crumbly Writer

In short, every time you 1-bomb a story, you're telling an entire contingent of potential readers for the site "Fuck off and Die ...

My problem would not be the nature of my squick, and I have a few, but the author's failure to warn me. It would not be directed at any minority.
I have never done it, and I expect I'd also write to the author stating what my objection was.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
red61544

@red61544

"Does the reader have a right to know what he's getting into before he starts a story"? And if he doesn't have a right to know that, why bother with codes or a story description at all?

This was my original question and I'm really interested in hearing author's opinions on it.

docholladay

A writer has to be honest both with their readers but also themselves. The honesty might hurt some. But if the writer is caught lying to their readers. The potential harmful effects will be much greater and longer lasting.

richardshagrin

@awnlee jawking

Paranormal

This falls in one of the breast sizes, neither large nor small.

Ross at Play

@awnlee jawking

No, he meant to write 'posts pablum', ie posts bland stories.

Thanks. It's not in my Oxford Dictionary, but I found it when I looked harder in dictionary.com, and it was the correct word to use.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
robberhands
Updated:

@red61544


"Does the reader have a right to know what he's getting into before he starts a story"? And if he doesn't have a right to know that, why bother with codes or a story description at all?


I think that question was answered extensively, or to stay with the Latin theme, at nauseam. Yes he should be informed, except...and now we're discussing these exceptions, and if they exist at all.

Switch Blayde

@red61544

Don't ever expect to be published if that is the case. An editor wants to know exactly where the story is going before he will accept a manuscript. That's why most editors demand an outline before they agree to read a manuscript.


Not exactly true. Unless you're well-known author, no editor/publisher will consider your novel if it's not complete. For non-fiction, they want a chapter-by-chapter detailed outline before it's written (the outline can be 50 pages).

With fiction, the editor wants a synopsis simply because they don't want to spend the time reading the whole manuscript. They may ask for a few sample chapters to check out your writing, but it's the synopsis that tells them about the structure of your story.

So when you submit to a publisher, the novel is done and they have no idea how many changes and rewrites you made.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
awnlee jawking

@red61544

This was my original question and I'm really interested in hearing author's opinions on it.


The codes will be updated/added phrase is quite common on SOL. If there's one specific occurrence which is bothering you, why not e-mail the author and ask directly.

AJ

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Ross at Play

I have a completed first draft of a story. If I ever complete my rewrite of it I would probably post it with a comment like this before one chapter:

This chapter includes a scene which is technically a rape. I did not include that in the list of codes because I thought it would mislead readers.
The scene is included in the story for the humour of the situation, not because of the sex.

Would anyone consider that an inadequate warning for readers?

robberhands

@Ross at Play

Would anyone consider that an inadequate warning for readers?

That depends on the scene.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
awnlee jawking

@Ross at Play

Would anyone consider that an inadequate warning for readers?


Possibly. To some readers, any sort of rape is so repugnant that they'd want to be warned before they even started the story.

AJ

Ross at Play
Updated:

@awnlee jawking

Possibly. To some readers, any sort of rape is so repugnant that they'd want to be warned before they even started the story.

I accept that. Hypothetically when I finish it, I will include another warning at the end of Chapter 1.
Readers shouldn't feel entrapped after only reading a thousand words, but they'll know the style of the story by then.
I will reassure them the chapter concerned will have an explicit warning and say I believe few who had read the story up to that point would be offended by the scene.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
REP
Updated:

@red61544


Those "unexpected turn(s)" tell me that the author has no idea how his story line is going to progress. Don't ever expect to be published if that is the case.


Two things:

First, posting a story and publishing a book are different things and shouldn't be compared as if they are the same thing.

Posting a story is a marketing effort and is about gaining a reader's interest to the extent that they will at least start reading the story. That is done by providing a GOOD description of the story line and by providing story codes that signify the types of content in the story. If you check the New Story listing, almost a third of the descriptions don't address the storyline. Saying "a continuation of XYZ story" or "Just read it" is not enough. The author then provides 20+ story codes. My reading time is limited, so if the author doesn't let me know what the story is about, I'll select one of the other newly posted stories to add to my library. What that means is the Author's marketing effort failed.

Publishing a book is about gaining a publisher's interest, not the editors. The outline is used to determine if the time necessary to look at the manuscript is warranted. If all of that works out then the effort is expended to proceed toward publishing the book. The marketing effort starts after the book is ready for printing.

Does the reader have a right to know what he's getting into before he starts a story?


Yes he does. A GOOD description and appropriate story codes should provide that knowledge. Authors do not provide all the story codes upfront for at least 2 reasons:

1. Some Authors withhold story codes because they view them as 'spoilers' that ruin a surprise. Unfortunately, not all surprises are good surprises. This is true when the reader has a strong aversion to content the withheld codes signify. Authors pay the price when this happens - an upset reader.

Personally, I do not view codes as spoilers. All the codes say is certain types of content will appear in the story. Posting a code does not identify where in the story the content will appear or precisely what the scene will contain and how many similar scenes there will be in the story. If the code is provided upfront, then when the content appears, it should not be a total surprise. Too bad some readers don't check codes before they start reading a story, and end up complaining about the content the codes indicated would appear.

2. Authors who start posting before their story is complete, outline the story in their heads if not on paper. They understand where the story will go, but they usually do not have all of the scenes worked out in advance. Therefore the author tells the reader that codes may be added as the story and its scenes evolve.

Replies:   red61544  Geek of Ages
red61544

@REP

posting a story and publishing a book are different things and shouldn't be compared as if they are the same thing.

I absolutely agree. But we have many authors who have hopes that lightning will strike and someone will want to publish what they have written. But I agree with the points in your reply. The solution, I guess, is to write the story then post it. That not only avoids added codes, it also prevents incomplete and inactive stories.

Replies:   REP
docholladay
Updated:

@Ross at Play

To me that would be perfectly acceptable. Although you might want to add 2 lines to the chapter as well. A line to tell the reader where the scene begins and a line to let them know where the scene ends. The first line lets the reader know where they can begin to skip over the scene. It does help if the start and end are easily identified. Most browsers will let the reader scan for a given phrase. That scan can be utilized to skip to the end of the scene.

edited to add: Even the ebook readers might allow that kind of skip as well. I just don't know.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Geek of Ages
Updated:

@REP

Authors who start posting before their story is complete, outline the story in their heads if not on paper. They understand where the story will go, but they usually do not have all of the scenes worked out in advance. Therefore the author tells the reader that codes may be added as the story and its scenes evolve.


This is my main reason for doing this on The Runaway. I know where things are going, but I haven't finished writing it yet. I hope that my readers trust me not to go down the surprise-squick route (despite a couple of my old stories having squick), because I certainly have no desire to surprise them. I imagine it'll end up with similar tags to my more recent offerings, but I want to be sure.

Also, as a reader, one of the things I really hate is when a story advertises a code, but that refers to something that isn't posted yet. It's frustrating when I'm looking for a particular thing, and it's not actually there for me to find, despite what it says. I much prefer codes indicate what is there, not what will be there in the future. I suspect I'm in the minority on this.

Ernest Bywater

@Geek of Ages

I much prefer codes indicate what is there, not what will be there in the future. I suspect I'm in the minority on this.


And, thus, we move on to the realm of the two major types of authors.

1. One type writes and posts as they go.

2. The other type writes the whole story and posts it in instalments.

With the second type they already know all the codes that will apply, and code them when they start posting the story, and the reader need only wait until the relevant chapter appears.

One advantage I have with completing a story and posting all the codes is when I'm uploading all the other chapters I don't have to think about the codes and can just skip through that part of the Wizard, because it's already done.

Replies:   Geek of Ages
Geek of Ages

@Ernest Bywater

With the second type they already know all the codes that will apply, and code them when they start posting the story, and the reader need only wait until the relevant chapter appears.


I don't like waiting is the thing. Often if I'm looking for a particular thing on here, it's because I want that particular thing now, not in six months when it finally gets posted.

Maybe in six months I'll want it. But until then, it kind of bothers me as a reader to have it advertised, but not actually there.

Again, this is as a reader, not as an author.

REP

@red61544

I guess, is to write the story then post it


That's what I do, but for different reasons. I don't have to meet a scheduled posting date and if I want to add, modify, or delete something in an earlier chapter I can do so.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Capt. Zapp

@Ernest Bywater

Most book stores have book in categories that do much the same thing, also the book cover has a lot longer description than allowed here, and they also usually include comments by reviewers to help you judge.


The bookstores I go to have them separated by genre, but not much more than that. I suppose that Adult themed stores probably have them broken down by more specific categories, but then again, almost every story on here is categorized as well. You would (probably) not find the same book in (for example) the watersports, cuckold, incest, and bdsm sections just because the story contains all of those elements and I doubt all the categories would be listed in the description either.

While the descriptions may be longer, I find they are just better written than those posted by most writers here.

Stories on here that have reviews help you judge as well, there are just not as many that have reviews.

Replies:   REP  Crumbly Writer
Ernest Bywater

@Geek of Ages

I don't like waiting is the thing.


I can understand that, and it's one of the reason why I post new stories every other day and not once a week. However, most stories end up being fully posted with it all on the site for a lot longer than the time it's initially posted over.

REP

@Capt. Zapp

While the descriptions may be longer, I find they are just better written than those posted by most writers here.


Yes, but it is also difficult to write a truly great description with a 500 character limit. But I do agree, many authors could do a lot better than they do.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Switch Blayde

@Geek of Ages

as a reader, one of the things I really hate is when a story advertises a code, but that refers to something that isn't posted yet.


That's hard for those of us who finish a story and then post chapters every few days. When the story is done, the codes are determined and all listed when the first chapter is posted. We'd have to keep track of codes by chapter.

docholladay

The question is how honest is the writer about their story with both themselves and the readers. The writers who only post a story after its completed can and should code tag a story as a finished work. Those writers who post a story as it is written by chapters or parts should code as much as possible based on the planned story. But all plans are subject to change. The beginning and end might go as planned. But the path between the two might be totally different. That holds true regardless of posting methods. The finished posters apply the codes and/or tags after finishing and before posting so those changes do not show up as much.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Ross at Play

@awnlee jawking

I've just submitted the prologue to a new story. Because of this topic, I've added the line to my own description.

I've just noticed your new post which includes this thread's title in its description.
While I disapprove of the practice in principle, the story's title, Gay!, seems like a perfectly adequate warning to readers who want to avoid certain squicks to wait until the posting is complete before deciding whether to read it. :-)

awnlee jawking

@Ross at Play

Actually I'm worried I haven't fully thought things through.

There is no mt/mt sexual content planned and your post has brought home to me that, based on the title and description, that's what readers might well be expecting :(

I have the first few (short) chapters written plus the ending. What's missing is the build-up to the climax.

When I checked the story stats I found 6 people had voted on the story. When I submitted the Prologue to the wizard, I deliberately switched off scoring because I wanted readers to get a feel for where the story was going first. I'm still wondering how scoring got enabled. I had to go back and edit one of the submission form pages but it wasn't the one that involved scoring. Has anyone else experienced something like this? I'm reluctant to raise a bug with no substantiating evidence.

And my humble apologies to the six readers whose votes were nuked when I disabled scoring.

AJ

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Dominions Son

You have it backwards. The existing magic tag is for magical mind control. We are discussing adding a tag for magic that does not involve mind control.

Sorry, never having written any 'magic' or witchcraft stories, I'd never examined the codes before. Given the widespread success and multiple imitations of Harry Potter, you'd think they'd add a non-sexual magic story code.

Crumbly Writer

@Ross at Play

Pablum: (noun) bland or insipid intellectual fare, entertainment, etc.; pap. The name derived from the word, strained baby foods unlikely to upset sensitive stomachs.

The term should have been "post[s] pablum".

Crumbly Writer

@Ross at Play

I have never done it, and I expect I'd also write to the author stating what my objection was.

Sorry, that comment wasn't specifically about your squick, but about a comment about squicks hurting the site (if I remember the context correctly).
It isn't the people who rate stories poorly that bug me, but those who post 1-bombs, because they almost always have a specific agenda (such as trying to eliminate a specific minority viewpoint from the site).

Crumbly Writer

@Ross at Play

Thanks. It's not in my Oxford Dictionary, but I found it when I looked harder in dictionary.com, and it was the correct word to use.

I suspect it's mainly an American term, based on an early brand of processed baby foods first marketed in the U.S..

Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

So when you submit to a publisher, the novel is done and they have no idea how many changes and rewrites you made.

As opposed to most of the stories we're discussing here, which are written and posted a single chapter at a time, and thus the authors are never quite sure of the final list of story codes.

It's hard being truthful about a story when you don't know where it's going to end up yourself.

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Crumbly Writer

@awnlee jawking

The codes will be updated/added phrase is quite common on SOL. If there's one specific occurrence which is bothering you, why not e-mail the author and ask directly.

The whole thing about 'adding codes' mid-story started from authors who began by writing for ASSTR, where the codes describe each chapter, not the story in general. Since I finish the entire story before posting, I list the codes for the entire story (though, as I've already stated, I held off on including the "incest" tag until the characters actually consummated their relationship, as it was an open-ended question (mostly teasing) before that. However, anyone squicked by incest would have abandoned ship long before them.

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Crumbly Writer

@robberhands

Would anyone consider that an inadequate warning for readers?

That depends on the scene.

Ditto. If the scene wasn't that detailed, simply handled humorously, then I wouldn't be bothered. However, if it was a full-blown graphic rape scene, I'd be plenty pissed.

Crumbly Writer

@awnlee jawking

Possibly. To some readers, any sort of rape is so repugnant that they'd want to be warned before they even started the story.

To give you an idea of the 'squick effect', when I was in college, in my first 'official' relationship, it effectively ended when my gf decided to stage a 'play rape' fantasy. I was so taken aback, having never imagined rape being a sexual turn-on, that I promptly lost all vestiges of an erection. She carries a grudge against me to this very day!

Ahh, those more 'innocent' days when we didn't all know each other's hidden darker sides.

Crumbly Writer

@Ross at Play

I will reassure them the chapter concerned will have an explicit warning and say I believe few who had read the story up to that point would be offended by the scene.

Rape is largely like the various racial codes. If it's not graphic, it's really not worth coding for, as those scenes are an attraction for certain readers, and a squick for others. But if you're merely describing a scenario, which you don't fully explore, I'd leave it as it. But again, that depends upon the scene/chapter itself, so it's hard for us to judge not having seen it.

Crumbly Writer

@docholladay

To me that would be perfectly acceptable. Although you might want to add 2 lines to the chapter as well. A line to tell the reader where the scene begins and a line to let them know where the scene ends. The first line lets the reader know where they can begin to skip over the scene. It does help if the start and end are easily identified. Most browsers will let the reader scan for a given phrase. That scan can be utilized to skip to the end of the scene.

That's when you start writing 'detachable' content. If a reader would lose nothing by skipping a particular scene (such as a sex scene with no actual dialogue other than moans) then why include it in the first place if it's not necessary to the story.

Either something is well-written, and therefore belongs in the story, or it doesn't. If someone skips an important scene, they can't legitimately complain when they lose track of what's happening in the story.

I've read too many stories where a relationship progresses in a story, and then the story stops cold, the character hump each other like mad, never showing any hint of their personalities, and once done, the story resumes as if no interruption had occurred. I have NO interest in such scenes.

Replies:   docholladay
Crumbly Writer

@Geek of Ages

I don't like waiting is the thing. Often if I'm looking for a particular thing on here, it's because I want that particular thing now, not in six months when it finally gets posted.

Maybe in six months I'll want it. But until then, it kind of bothers me as a reader to have it advertised, but not actually there.

Typically, those of us who write complete stories before posting don't write 100+ chapter stories. Instead, we break the story down into distinct books. Ernest's will unfold in weeks, while mine might take two or three months max. posting twice a week.

Crumbly Writer

@REP

That's what I do, but for different reasons. I don't have to meet a scheduled posting date and if I want to add, modify, or delete something in an earlier chapter I can do so.

Better yet, you can modify the earlier chapters so they can foreshadow, or emphasize what'll eventually happen later, while dropping abandoned story threads entirely (the things which never happened in the story).

Replies:   robberhands  REP
Crumbly Writer

@Capt. Zapp

While the descriptions may be longer, I find they are just better written than those posted by most writers here.

That's a Major point. The story description is probably the most important thing you'll write, as no one will ever read the story is the description is crap. Yet, few authors spend much time on it, and even fewer submit the story description to their editors (though, being honest, it's hard to get editors to pay as much attention to a 2 paragraph description as it is a full chapter).

In my case, the first thing I write in a story is the story description, followed by the book title, as they provide an brief 'elevator speech' which helps me keep the story on target, addressing the central concerns, rather than going willy-nilly in every possible direction.

Crumbly Writer

@REP

Yes, but it is also difficult to write a truly great description with a 500 character limit. But I do agree, many authors could do a lot better than they do.

When you publish (self-publishing), most sites offer both long and short descriptions, and these typically vary between one site (say Amazon) and another (createspace, which is an Amazon company). Thus I'll write one longer version, then edit that basic description down for each different site. By addressing each separately, you make each description more complete, rather than simply on an ad-hock basis.

It's generally easier to cut something down to size than it is to write a 500 character description.

Replies:   REP
Crumbly Writer

@docholladay

Those writers who post a story as it is written by chapters or parts should code as much as possible based on the planned story. But all plans are subject to change. The beginning and end might go as planned. But the path between the two might be totally different.

What's more, if an author writes a chapter at a time in a 'never-ending' story, the story is more likely to venture into unplanned territory (see my example of the 150+ chapter story having to explore a Mm scene with an abused child from early in the story in the later chapters).

Thus, an 'unplanned' story is more likely to produce unexpected codes than one that's both planned and 'pruned'.

Replies:   docholladay
Crumbly Writer

@Ross at Play

I've just noticed your new post which includes this thread's title in its description.
While I disapprove of the practice in principle, the story's title, Gay!, seems like a perfectly adequate warning to readers who want to avoid certain squicks to wait until the posting is complete before deciding whether to read it. :-)

Alas, it's also a know phenomenon on SOL for homophobic readers to seek out anything listing MM codes just so they can 1-bomb it, without ever having any intention of reading it. (As opposed to the 1-bombers who vent about politics, who'll 1-bomb as story they read religiously each time a new chapter posts.)

That's why I've NEVER posted my one gay romance story to SOL, because I know it's guaranteed to be viciously attacked, rather than getting a fair (even if unfavorable) score. You'll also note how few stories have a black or Hispanic main character (and few black authors we've ever had abandoned the site a long, long time ago).

robberhands

@Crumbly Writer

Better yet, you can modify the earlier chapters so they can foreshadow, or emphasize what'll eventually happen later...

You don't need to have your story completed to be able to use foreshadowing in early chapters. I merrily did that years before I actually wrote the foreshadowed events.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@awnlee jawking

When I checked the story stats I found 6 people had voted on the story. When I submitted the Prologue to the wizard, I deliberately switched off scoring because I wanted readers to get a feel for where the story was going first. I'm still wondering how scoring got enabled. I had to go back and edit one of the submission form pages but it wasn't the one that involved scoring. Has anyone else experienced something like this? I'm reluctant to raise a bug with no substantiating evidence.

The default is to allow scoring (since the story won't count for a free upgrade if it isn't), thus if you didn't specify it, it'll automatically allow scoring. I haven't noticed any posts going against my wishes, but then I don't post non-scoring stories.

Replies:   awnlee jawking
Crumbly Writer

@robberhands

You don't need to have your story completed to be able to use foreshadowing in early chapters. I merrily did that years before I actually wrote the foreshadowed events.

That's true, as I often do that when I write the initial chapters, but as the story changes, I typically change many of the things I foreshadow, either adding new elements and modify or eliminate the elements that have changed.

awnlee jawking

@Crumbly Writer

As I said in my post, I switched off scoring.

Trying to upload the next part of 'Gay!', I got the submission wizard into a right tizzy. When I selected the pen name, it allowed voting. When I disallowed voting, it blanked out the pen name. When I selected the pen name, it re-enabled voting.

I abandoned the submission wizard and started again. Eventually I managed to get through it but some of the options weren't actively displayed to me (eg Moderator Notes) and I had to invoke the edit facility immediately before submission confirmation.

It will be interesting to see the consequences :(

AJ

docholladay

@Crumbly Writer

That's when you start writing 'detachable' content. If a reader would lose nothing by skipping a particular scene (such as a sex scene with no actual dialogue other than moans) then why include it in the first place if it's not necessary to the story.


I am not sure if detachable applies. I have major problems with some things, which I can handle as referenced actions but cause major flashback problems when the action is detailed.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
docholladay

@Crumbly Writer

I believe even you have stated that some things changed in your stories from the original plans. Yet you have an advantage as you only post FINISHED stories instead of posting as you write and/or edit the story. That lets you code the entire story without code changes being needed except for new codes which become available after posting a story.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
sejintenej

@Crumbly Writer

I would forgive that author if the added code was an unacceptable squick for me.

I would 1-bomb the story if they'd known about it all along.

I can think of a couple stories which included an extremely short passage, which the author felt necessary to explore to present a complete story, that involved a brief Mm passage. He provided just such a warning, but his scores permanently tanked, even though he made it clear that readers upset by it could simply bypass the entire chapter. Yet because he included that single squick chapter (1 out of 120+) his scores never recovered from that one-time hit.

One story (I conveniently don't remember which)has a chapter with a heading warning about the contents of that specific chapter and giving readers the specified option of skipping most of it to avoid what might cause offence. Having read both, the "alternative" clause kept the story on line without the extremities of the warned section

IMHO that was an excellent "get-out" which I applaud. In that specific case the section subject of the warning did not put me off but quite rightly the author gave the reader good warning. I don't know about the codes for that story - I didn;t read them because of the author.

Ross at Play

@sejintenej

Just a cautionary word ... You may unintentionally offend someone if you appear to be quoting them when the words were originally someone else's.
I would have made the effort to make the quote in your last post appear as follows:

@Ross at Play
I would forgive that author if the added code was an unacceptable squick for me.
I would 1-bomb the story if they'd known about it all along.

@Crumbly Writer
I can think of a couple stories ...

Replies:   sejintenej
sejintenej

@Ross at Play

Just a cautionary word ... You may unintentionally offend someone if you appear to be quoting them when the words were originally someone else's.


Apologies, Ross. I should have edited the quote but failed to notice that your name was omitted

Replies:   Ross at Play
REP

@Crumbly Writer

so they can foreshadow, or emphasize what'll eventually happen later, while dropping abandoned story threads entirely (the things which never happened in the story).


I try to avoid foreshadowing, and stay in the moment. However, I will have the MC, or another character, contemplate a set of possibilities that may occur and sometimes they consider their options, but I try to not focus on the possibility that will be followed, assuming of course I mention what will eventually happen.

My feelings about abandoned story threads is that when the reader encounters one, they try to integrate it into the main thread as they perceive it at that point. That leads to speculation as to where the story will go and that can enhance the reading experience. When I read a story that does not have these 'red-herrings' I find that the author is often predictable and the finale is not a surprise.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
REP

@Crumbly Writer

When such a limit is removed, the few added words can easily be the difference between a poor/average description and a really great description.

Ernest Bywater

@REP

When such a limit is removed, the few added words can easily be the difference between a poor/average description and a really great description.


and totally leaves for dead the ones that simply say something like 'I wrote this and hope you like it.' Some of the story descriptions say a hell of a lot more about the writer than the story.

REP

@awnlee jawking

Did you try completing the post and then editing the posted story's characteristics you had trouble setting, to what you wanted?

Replies:   awnlee jawking
Ernest Bywater

@awnlee jawking

When I selected the pen name, it allowed voting. When I disallowed voting, it blanked out the pen name. When I selected the pen name, it re-enabled voting.


Some settings you can make while in the Wizard, some you have to do from the main Author control panel. Also, while uploading a story you have to save each stage as you go, and any changes are best made when all the basic information is in and you can select and item via the 'change' link on the right.

awnlee jawking

@REP

Actually I tried quite a few more things than I listed. Trouble is, when you get to the confirmation stage, you can adjust the pen name but the form doesn't show the setting for voting, unlike the first pass through the wizard.

Fortunately the eventual result seems to be okay, although the vote count is now one more than I remember.

AJ

Replies:   REP
Switch Blayde

@Crumbly Writer

It's hard being truthful about a story when you don't know where it's going to end up yourself.


Sometimes it's by accident. I have non-consent stories. Some people tell me I left out the "rape" story code. My answer is that the "rape" story code is reserved for the violent, knock-down rape, not just non-consent (or even consensual underage sex which is statutory rape). But in one of my stories the woman was dragged and maybe more (I don't remember) so when a reader said I was missing the "rape" story code he was right. It was an oversight.

However, I don't think I went back and added the "rape" code. Why? The physical part was a couple of lines of the story and then the woman gave in because of her being blackmailed or something. She simply had a moment of rebellion but quickly submitted again. So even though there was an instant of "rape," It wasn't part of the story.

Switch Blayde

@Crumbly Writer

The whole thing about 'adding codes' mid-story started from authors who began by writing for ASSTR


I believe the whole concept of story codes came from ASSTR. Even the original list of codes.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Ross at Play

@sejintenej

Apologies, Ross. I should have ...

No problem. It happens. It was intended more as a reminder to others than specifically directed at you. :-)

REP

@awnlee jawking

Actually I tried quite a few more things than I listed.


Just a guess, but on the Manage Stories Page, there is a Change Voting for All option. If you have that set to 'Allow' voting for all stories, then when you try to set voting to Off for just one story, there may be a conflict. The system default in resolving the conflict may be to not accept your penname.

Replies:   awnlee jawking
awnlee jawking

@REP

Since, by killing the wizard and starting again, I was eventually able to select my pen name and select voting to be disabled for the story, I don't think that's how the wizard is supposed to work.

I suspect that, since I'm not a proficient user of the wizard, my having to backtrack took it through a non-standard and untested path, following which it lost its way.

Still seven votes (including a 1-bomb) so it looks as though voting is still off. Perhaps someone voted in the time it took me to switch voting off after I discovered my original selection had been overruled.

AJ

Crumbly Writer

@awnlee jawking

I abandoned the submission wizard and started again. Eventually I managed to get through it but some of the options weren't actively displayed to me (eg Moderator Notes) and I had to invoke the edit facility immediately before submission confirmation.

In that case, I'm guessing you're trying to counter the default account settings (say, if your default setting is NOT to allow voting but you then choose to set them on an individual story). However, as far as I know, the voting is a per-story choice. Either way, I'd list in in the 'Bugs and New Features' forum.

Crumbly Writer

@docholladay

I am not sure if detachable applies. I have major problems with some things, which I can handle as referenced actions but cause major flashback problems when the action is detailed.

I use "detachable" because I have that specific problem. If it keep sex scenes focused exclusively on the sex acts, I lose interest quickly and end up deleting the entire passage as 'adding nothing to the basic story'.

It's not that I don't see the value in building character relations, or developing the characters, but if it's 'detached' from the rest of the story, it's difficult for me to keep it in the overall story at all.

Crumbly Writer

@docholladay

I believe even you have stated that some things changed in your stories from the original plans. Yet you have an advantage as you only post FINISHED stories instead of posting as you write and/or edit the story. That lets you code the entire story without code changes being needed except for new codes which become available after posting a story.

Exactly, which is precisely WHY I like finishing stories before I post anything. I get a chance to work out the 'rough edges' like that before I release the story.

That's also why it's often easy to 'pile on' about the writers of 'post as you go' stories, as they tend to have a specific subset of problems the rest of us typically don't face (as often). Since it saves us that aggravation, we tend to criticize anyone who encounters those problems, rather than helping them correct them when they do occur. :(

Crumbly Writer

@sejintenej

One story (I conveniently don't remember which)has a chapter with a heading warning about the contents of that specific chapter and giving readers the specified option of skipping most of it to avoid what might cause offence. Having read both, the "alternative" clause kept the story on line without the extremities of the warned section

I think I've done that before. If memory serves (it's been awhile) it was a warning about a particular incest theme because many readers were following the story after warning me that they didn't like incest stories. But I tried to supply a simple way of avoiding the sections where it occurred (even though it contained important dialogue, I summarized the dialogue in the next chapter so they wouldn't get lost if they skipped the chapter).

It does seem like a better option than changing codes, especially since, as has been observed, many readers don't pay attention to the codes for their particular squicks.

Crumbly Writer

@REP

I try to avoid foreshadowing, and stay in the moment. However, I will have the MC, or another character, contemplate a set of possibilities that may occur and sometimes they consider their options, but I try to not focus on the possibility that will be followed, assuming of course I mention what will eventually happen.

That's typically how I foreshadow. The characters will discuss different possible options, one will foreshadow what happens, possibly highlighting how it's likely to go wrong, while the others are red-herrings, so the readers won't guess which outcome is more likely.

I also so asides—often set-aside with em-dashes so the readers pay more attention to it—which highlight what's likely to happen. For example:

Someone should try that technique—though there's no telling what the response might be—as it may give us a substantial leg up.

That way, you never explicitly tell them what's going to happen, but you're emphasizing it so they'll remember it when it does happen.

My feelings about abandoned story threads is that when the reader encounters one, they try to integrate it into the main thread as they perceive it at that point. That leads to speculation as to where the story will go and that can enhance the reading experience. When I read a story that does not have these 'red-herrings' I find that the author is often predictable and the finale is not a surprise.

If you plan your red-herrings, then you don't need to rely on accidental red-herrings.

I typically put a lot of thought into my red-herrings (which might be why some don't feel there are enough of them). But then, I also place them where they're more essential (amidst the foreshadowed elements, so the readers don't know where the story is going in the first place).

Replies:   REP
Crumbly Writer

@REP

When such a limit is removed, the few added words can easily be the difference between a poor/average description and a really great description.

I agree, which is why I prefer the longer descriptions, and typically include them on the back of my paperback books. However, I also tend to write fairly consistent descriptions (almost always two paragraphs), so they aren't overly long and you lose quite a bit when I leave something out.

My SOL descriptions are never as good as my Amazon and SW descriptions.

Ross at Play
Updated:

FYI to Lazeez. I know you see copies of all posts mentioning your name.

AJ described some difficulties using the posting wizard in this thread, but he seems reluctant to conclude it's an error worth reporting as a bug.
It appears to me, at the very least, there's something counter-intuitive in what users need to do to set up a default of accepting voting, but turning that off for one story.
I know how much you love serving our every whim and desire. :-)

Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

The whole thing about 'adding codes' mid-story started from authors who began by writing for ASSTR

I believe the whole concept of story codes came from ASSTR. Even the original list of codes.

Which is where the whole idea of 'adding' codes as you go originally evolved. The entire of 'whole story codes' is a purely SOL phenomenon (though I can't remember how BtFH does it).

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Switch Blayde
Updated:

@Crumbly Writer


I said earller: I believe the whole concept of story codes came from ASSTR. Even the original list of codes.


Now that I think about it, I believe White Shadows (and their "anything goes" Black Spectre) had story codes and it predated ASSTR (at least I knew about it before ASSTR). But the list of story codes "borrowed" by SOL were the standard ASSTR ones some guy whose name starts with a "U" came up with.

REP

@Crumbly Writer

That's typically how I foreshadow.


I certainly wouldn't define that as foreshadowing. To me classic foreshadowing would be 'Little did John know that shortly XYZ would occur.

Evaluating a situation and attempting to predict possible outcome is totally different. You aren't telling the reader what will happen. For me, I often have an option I don't mention and that option is what happens. All my possibilities never happen and are just dead-ends. But they do make the reader think rather than just get carried along. Especially when I don't define those possibilities in detail.

Harold Wilson

@red61544

IMO, what it says is, "The codes, as shown, are accurate today."

I just recently found a story where the guy had a freaking paragraph of codes. Anal, BDSM, Big tits, small tits, hispanic transgendered flying nun fucking a robot hamster. You name it, it was coded.

And the story was Jamaican for 5 years, with one chapter. Prick.

Harold Wilson

@REP

I certainly wouldn't define that as foreshadowing. To me classic foreshadowing would be 'Little did John know that shortly XYZ would occur.


That's not foreshadowing, that's a spoiler!

Foreshadowing is when a female character mentions in chapter 1 that "Hey, funny thing. Both my mom and grandma died of breast cancer."

StarFleet Carl

@Harold Wilson

Foreshadowing is when a female character mentions in chapter 1 that "Hey, funny thing. Both my mom and grandma died of breast cancer."


That's when you tell her a joke that'll knock the tits off her. Oh, wait, she's already heard it ...

(Yeah, maybe harsh for the uninitiated - my wife is a 20 year survivor, so we've heard 'em all.)

Replies:   Joe Long
Joe Long

@Harold Wilson

Foreshadowing is when a female character mentions in chapter 1 that "Hey, funny thing. Both my mom and grandma died of breast cancer."


Much of my use of foreshadowing is by establishing precedents.

I frequently found myself creating pairs of events which are similar but different, so that after the second the reader can compare and contrast.

In my first chapter the MC does a looking out the window masturbation scene similar to Fast Times at Ridgemont High. Earlier in the chapter there's a description of how, being shy around girls, when he saw a hot one he knew he'd be going home to choke the chicken.

I also have, late in the book, it b discovered that two people are together. I've been carefully dropping clues that the readers, like the characters, are likely to not connect at the time (like one of those videos with things happening in the background) so when it all comes together you'll say "wow, how did I not see that?"

Joe Long

@StarFleet Carl

That's when you tell her a joke that'll knock the tits off her. Oh, wait, she's already heard it


First time I heard that was in 7th grade. The girl was flat but now, 45 years later, she's still pretty hot.

Crumbly Writer

@REP

Evaluating a situation and attempting to predict possible outcome is totally different. You aren't telling the reader what will happen. For me, I often have an option I don't mention and that option is what happens. All my possibilities never happen and are just dead-ends. But they do make the reader think rather than just get carried along. Especially when I don't define those possibilities in detail.

Part of the objective is to get readers involved in the story, so involving them in the story planning, as they guess what might happen helps to pull them into the story. False leads are therefore, not merely red-herrings, they're getting the readers to actively guess about the plot and curious about where it's likely to go.

Crumbly Writer

@Harold Wilson

I certainly wouldn't define that as foreshadowing. To me classic foreshadowing would be 'Little did John know that shortly XYZ would occur.

That's not foreshadowing, that's a spoiler!

It's not just a story spoiler, but it's author intrusion at it's worst. It's the author, jumping into the middle of the story to announce, ahead of time, what's going to happen. That's wrong on a whole variety of counts.

Foreshadowing is when a female character mentions in chapter 1 that "Hey, funny thing. Both my mom and grandma died of breast cancer."

That's the type that I use, I mention things that hint at what's going to happen without stating it explicitly. The idea isn't to TELL the reader what's going to happen, but to sprinkle subtle clues in the story so that, when the ending occurs, the reader says: "Gee, that all makes sense. I can see how it all developed and fits into place, even if I didn't see it developing."

Part of the effort is to prepare the reader for the conclusion, while still leaving it as a surprise rather than a letdown.

Replies:   Joe Long
REP

@Harold Wilson

That's not foreshadowing, that's a spoiler!


That is one of the reasons why foreshadowing is considered a poor practice.

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Switch Blayde

@REP

REP 8/10/2017, 10:32:19 AM

@Harold Wilson
That's not foreshadowing, that's a spoiler!

That is one of the reasons why foreshadowing is considered a poor practice.


I have a character, a cop, murdering people for revenge. As a cop, he believes you never get away with it (foreshadowing). He knows if he gets caught he will kill himself rather than endure the embarrassment (foreshadowing). He won't commit to a long-term relationship with his girlfriend because he doesn't expect to be around for the long-term (foreshadowing).

Why is that a spoiler?

robberhands

@Switch Blayde

Why is that a spoiler?

It isn't, the cop could be wrong. Unlike an omniscient narrator, he would need to lie to spoil the spoiler.

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Switch Blayde

@robberhands

It isn't, the cop could be wrong.


And if he's wrong, does the foreshadowing become a red-herring?

Replies:   robberhands
robberhands

@Switch Blayde

And if he's wrong, does the foreshadowing become a red-herring?

Nope, in that case it always was a red-herring.

Harold Wilson

@Switch Blayde

Why is that a spoiler?


It's not a spoiler, it's foreshadowing, which I don't believe is poor practice.

If you wrote "Little did he know he would eventually be trapped in a stairwell, forced to eat his service pistol to avoid capture for his crimes" then *that* would be a spoiler. And the kind of dreck that I totally agree is poor practice.

I've seen this in a couple of places, and not enjoyed it at all. I'd suggest that if you write "Little did (sh/h/w)e know/realize/suspect" without having them come from the mouth of an elderly secondary character, you're making a mistake and should delete that paragraph.

Switch Blayde

@Harold Wilson

I've seen this in a couple of places, and not enjoyed it at all. I'd suggest that if you write "Little did (sh/h/w)e know/realize/suspect" without having them come from the mouth of an elderly secondary character, you're making a mistake and should delete that paragraph.


Today that's called author intrusion, but it was acceptable in the past. Jane Austin would write: "Dear Reader, if only so-and-so had known that..."

Replies:   Harold Wilson
Harold Wilson

@Switch Blayde

Today that's called author intrusion, but it was acceptable in the past. Jane Austin would write: "Dear Reader, if only so-and-so had known that..."


Yeah, and I don't read her stuff, so ...

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Joe Long

@Crumbly Writer

Part of the effort is to prepare the reader for the conclusion, while still leaving it as a surprise rather than a letdown.


A good description

Joe Long

@Harold Wilson

It's not a spoiler, it's foreshadowing, which I don't believe is poor practice.


Besides being a pedant I'm also a deductionist. I watch shows like Elementary to pick up on the clues as to how did it (although I enjoy the character development more.) Often I know the identity of the murderer early on (something I could not do 30 years ago.) Either I'm getting better or the writers are getting worse.

When I write I want to leave those clues, the bread crumbs, that lead to the eventual conclusion. I envision story threads, where each one is a logical sequence of events that describe one particular story that may stretch the entire length of the book. The whole of the writing is then all these threads woven together, sometimes coming into contact with others, sometimes not.

A good example is Frasier where several apparently unrelated things will happen but by the end of the episode all converge.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
REP

@Switch Blayde

spoiler


I don't think it is a spoiler. Of course, I also don't consider it foreshadowing, but that is just me.

What you describe is the normal activity of a person planning what he might do if caught. People make plans all the time. Sometimes multiple conflicting plans, and sometimes unrealistic plans.

Now if you had said MC will be trapped killing Mr. X six months from now, then you would be telling the reader what will happen, which is what I consider foreshadowing.

Switch Blayde

@REP

I also don't consider it foreshadowing


What if it comes true? What if he doesn't live? Or what if gets caught and kills himself? Why wouldn't that be foreshadowing?

Now if he doesn't get caught and lives, that would be a red-herring. But when the reader is reading it, they would consider it foreshadowing.

Replies:   REP
REP
Updated:

@Switch Blayde


Why wouldn't that be foreshadowing?


I tried to find a good definition of foreshadowing. There seems to be 2 schools of thought.

The first school considers foreshadowing to be the revelation of what will happen before the event occurs. Your earlier example "Little did he know he would eventually be trapped in a stairwell, forced to eat his service pistol to avoid capture for his crimes" is what this school of thought considers foreshadowing. In other words, telling ther reader the essence of what will happen, even if all the details of that event are not provided.

The second school of thought says hinting at what will happen is foreshadowing. This school seems to feel that putting hints in the storyline even if they are not directly linked to what will happen are foreshadowing techniques. An example of this, using your comment as a foundation, would be "He considered his solution if he was ever trapped in a stairwell. Would he really eat his service pistol to avoid capture for his crimes?"

I hold with the first school of thought. Others in this thread belong to the second school of thought.

Telling the reader that a specific thing will happen is a spoiler. Suggesting things that might happen is building anticipation.

awnlee jawking

@REP

Would you consider a chapter ending with 'But little did he expect what was about to befall him.' to be foreshadowing?

AJ

robberhands

@REP

I hold with the first school of thought. Others in this thread belong to the second school of thought.

Telling the reader that a specific thing will happen is a spoiler. Suggesting things that might happen is building anticipation.

By that definition you should count yourself among 'the second school of thought'. A mistake?

Replies:   REP
robberhands

@awnlee jawking

Would you consider a chapter ending with 'But little did he expect what was about to befall him.' to be foreshadowing?

I would, but also as an example how not to do it! I really hope to never read a line like that in a story I chose to read.

REP

@awnlee jawking

Would you consider a chapter ending with 'But little did he expect what was about to befall him.' to be foreshadowing?


No, because the reader is not being provided any information about what will happen.

In a story, the reader knows that something will happen in the coming chapters, so I would consider it an attempt to create a dramatic ending so the reader's interest will carry over to the next chapter. Not necessary in my personal opinion if the story has a decent plot and is being presented in an interesting fashion. I recall us discussing eliminating unnecessary words in a passage as a good writing technique. Such a statement is a very good candidate for removal for it adds nothing to the story.

Ross at Play

@REP

I would consider 'foretelling' a better term for the first school of thought you described.

REP

@robberhands

A mistake?


No. The second school of thought is saying the mere suggestion of something that MIGHT happen is foreshadowing. I believe foreshadowing to be revealing what WILL happen, which places me in the first school of thought.

robberhands

@REP

I believe foreshadowing to be revealing what WILL happen, which places me in the first school of thought.

I see. Your use of "spoiler' instead of 'foreshadowing' seemed to imply to me that you didn't agree with that opinion. My fault.

In this case I agree with Ross, foretelling would be the better term. If the message is clear, there is no 'shadow'. 'Shadowing' implies a lack of clarity.

Replies:   REP
awnlee jawking

@REP

I believe foreshadowing to be revealing what WILL happen, which places me in the first school of thought.


I'm on the other side of the fence, if indeed it is a binary option. I think the operative word is shadow - IMO foreshadowing isn't explicitly informing of what is about to happen, it's casting a shadow of what's about to happen.

'Watch the second half, in which Manchester United triumph after making a miraculous comeback from 3-0 down' I'd class as a spoiler.

'Watch the second half, because you'll never believe your eyes' I'd class as foreshadowing.

AJ

REP

@robberhands

In this case I agree with Ross, foretelling would be the better term. If the message is clear, there is no 'shadow'. 'Shadowing' implies a lack of clarity.


Foretelling is another good term for the practice. But the conversation is about foreshadowing.

In this instance 'Fore' refers to 'before an event happens'. A shadow is a direct result of something between the sun and the ground or other surface. Shadows don't provide all of the details of what caused them. Combining those 2 concepts gives you - telling the reader an event will happen without providing the event's details. The fact that the event will occur is clear, but with no details, there is a lack of clarity about the lead-up to and scope of the event (i.e. who is involved, where it happens, how it happens, etc.)

Replies:   Joe Long
Ernest Bywater

And I thought fore shadow is what you got when you stood in a place where bright lights hit you from four directions to give you multiple shadows!

Replies:   REP
REP

@Ernest Bywater

That's four-shadowing. :)

Replies:   red61544
Ross at Play
Updated:

I do not want to use the same term for one thing that's generally considered an often-useful literary device (hinting at events to come) and another generally considered poor writing (telling what events will come).

If 'foreshadowing' is to mean both to us here we should toss the damn word away and find two new words for two very different concepts.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
red61544

@REP

That's four-shadowing. :)

Ernest, foreshadowing is when the light is behind you and causes your shadow to be in front. And foreplay is when your shadow is the only friend you have to play with. If you are really lucky, when you are playing, your foreshadow will be willing to give you a little forehead!!

Replies:   red61544  awnlee jawking
red61544

@red61544

Oops! I meant to reply to Ernest but missed! So be forewarned - my forearm sometimes slips and I reply to the fore-mentioned poster.

awnlee jawking

@red61544

Foreshadowing is when you whack the golf ball with your driver and you just know it's going to hit someone. :)

AJ

Replies:   red61544  REP
red61544

@awnlee jawking

Foreshadowing is when you whack the golf ball

I really thought foreshadowing is what the rodent did on February 2 - Groundhog Day. Awnlee, I know people in Barcelona are too intelligent to celebrate Groundhog Day, so if you need an explanation, ask.

awnlee jawking

@red61544

Okay, this is me asking...

AJ

Replies:   Dominions Son
Ernest Bywater

@red61544

Groundhog Day.


I thought ground hog day is the holiday where you use a meat grinder to turn all your excess hogs into mincemeat for making pork sausages and the like!

Replies:   red61544  Wheezer
Dominions Son

@awnlee jawking

A groundhog, also known as a woodchuck is a large rodent (4 to 9 pounds) native to North America.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Groundhog

There is an odd tradition in America that says that if a groundhog emerges from it's burrow on Feb 2nd, see's it's own shadow and retreats back into it's burrow then winter weather will persist for another 6 weeks.

If it does not see it's shadow and does not retreat into it's burrow, spring weather will arrive early.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Groundhog_Day

red61544

@Ernest Bywater

you use a meat grinder to turn all your excess hogs into mincemeat for making pork sausages and the like!

Ernest, my mother grew up in a dirt-poor farm family. For the most part, they ate what their kids (13 of them) could shoot. My grandmother always said that no matter how hungry the kids were, she would never feed them groundhog. Squirrels, rabbits, wild birds, yes! Groundhogs, never.

awnlee jawking

@Dominions Son

Thank you but I took it for granted that the poster would know that I was familiar with Groundhog Day and that I was asking for an explanation of why Barcelonans are too intelligent to celebrate it.

Perhaps it's me grasping the wrong end of the stick :(

AJ

Replies:   Dominions Son  REP
Dominions Son

@awnlee jawking

I was asking for an explanation of why Barcelonans are too intelligent to celebrate it.


It's a kitschy holiday based on A very old, strictly US superstition.

Most of the US population is too intelligent to really celebrate Groundhog day.

Ernest Bywater

@Dominions Son

A groundhog, also known as a woodchuck is a large rodent (4 to 9 pounds) native to North America.


Learn something new everyday.

Dominions Son

@Dominions Son

Note: Even in the US, "celebration" of Groundhog Day is largely confined to an extra, usually cheesy, segment on the morning run of the local TV news where the weather man is sent on location to a local zoo to observe the "emergence" of a captive groundhog.

The whole thing is usually a big bust, but they keep doing it anyway.

Replies:   Joe Long
Wheezer
Updated:

@Ernest Bywater


I thought ground hog day is the holiday where you use a meat grinder to turn all your excess hogs into mincemeat for making pork sausages and the like!


Nah. I make all my own sausage, bacon, etc. and I don't have a particular single day. Definitely not a holiday. That's work! (fun, but work.) http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/t/266583/lightbox/post/1738679/id/537592

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@Wheezer

Nah. I make all my own sausage, bacon, etc. and I don't have a particular single day.


Well, in the USA they have dedicated days for just about everything under the sun, I just thought this one was set aside for grinding up hogs, that's all.

Replies:   Wheezer
Grant

I never new about Groundhog day till the movie with Bill Murray and Andie MacDowell.
"Okay, campers, rise and shine, and don't forget your booties 'cause it's cold out there today."

Wheezer

@Ernest Bywater

;^P

Joe Long

@REP

The fact that the event will occur is clear, but with no details, there is a lack of clarity about the lead-up to and scope of the event (i.e. who is involved, where it happens, how it happens, etc.)


I define it as providing all the logical underpinnings to prepare the reader for what will come without explicitly telling them.

Joe Long

@Dominions Son

A groundhog, also known as a woodchuck is a large rodent (4 to 9 pounds) native to North America.


That seems small. I've had male cats go upwards of 15 pounds and look smaller than the groundhogs that are abundant around here. I would have guessed 15-25 pounds.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Joe Long

@Dominions Son

where the weather man is sent on location to a local zoo


The only official groundhog is in Punxsutawney, where they've been observing the tradition for at least 150 years. The rest are impostors.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@Joe Long

That seems small. I've had male cats go upwards of 15 pounds and look smaller than the groundhogs that are abundant around here. I would have guessed 15-25 pounds.


4 to 9 pounds is what's typical in most areas. They can get up to 30 pounds in areas with limited predation.

Dominions Son

@Joe Long

The rest are impostors.


Perhaps, but the imposters are not uncommon across the Northern states.

helmut_meukel

@awnlee jawking

'Watch the second half, in which Manchester United triumph after making a miraculous comeback from 3-0 down' I'd class as a spoiler.

'Watch the second half, because you'll never believe your eyes' I'd class as foreshadowing.


Hmm, the first half ends 3-0, right?
I wouldn't class the second example as foreshadowing, it's just saying 'stay looking at the game it's not over yet!'.
It might end 3-5 or 7-0, IMHO both cases would justify the warning.

You said,

foreshadowing isn't explicitly informing of what is about to happen, it's casting a shadow of what's about to happen.

I can't see the shadow of what's about to happen. It might be anything remarkable: end results like I suggested, a penalty shootout, fans of both clubs beating up the players, shooting down the referee, ...

HM.

Replies:   helmut_meukel
REP

@awnlee jawking

and you just know it's going to hit someone. :)


Nah. It is only foreshadowing if your prediction comes true. :)

REP

@awnlee jawking

why Barcelonans are too intelligent to celebrate it.


To most Americans, it is an annual event where we make fun of a ridiculous belief by turning it into an official event. Perhaps Barcelonans don't have a sense of self-depreciating humor. :)

robberhands

@REP

Barcelonans

I hope you're not talking about the residents of the old and proud city Barcelona in Spain, Europe, and called them 'Barcelonans'. That would be a truly offending display of cultural ignorance.

REP

@robberhands

Just using the term prior posters used.

Replies:   robberhands
robberhands

@REP

Just using the term prior posters used.

Hmm, I guess you're excused then.

awnlee jawking

@REP

Perhaps Barcelonans don't have a sense of self-depreciating humor.


Spain is one of the ClubMed countries that 'tweaked' their economic data to gain entry to the Euro, and since then its economy has regressed rather than progressed. Tourism is a large contributor to the Spanish economy, so now it's peak holiday season what are the Barcelonans doing? Interpreting the new Schengen security protocols pedantically without providing adequate airport security staff, and now what few security staff there are are going on strike.

Is there intelligent life in Barcelona?

AJ

Replies:   REP
awnlee jawking

@robberhands

I googled what to call the inhabitants of Barcelona in English. To me, Barcelonans seemed a marginally better alternative than Barcelonians.

AJ

Replies:   robberhands  red61544
robberhands

@awnlee jawking

To me, Barcelonans seemed a marginally better alternative than Barcelonians.

Simply call them 'Those damned Spaniards', and you show an perfectly acceptable European attitude towards our southern brethren.

Ross at Play

@robberhands

That would be a truly offending display of cultural ignorance.

So it's 'Barthxkzelonians', is it?

Ross at Play

@robberhands

Simply call them 'Those damned Spaniards'

But doesn't that put you at risk of being shot by terrorists for using the unforgivable insult, 'Spaniard'?

Replies:   robberhands
robberhands
Updated:

@Ross at Play


But doesn't that put you at risk of being shot by terrorists for using the unforgivable insult, 'Spaniard'?


In a case like this we wouldn't call them 'terrorists' but proud nationalists, very well within their rights to shoot one of those damned foreigners.

REP

@awnlee jawking

Is there intelligent life in Barcelona?


Are you looking amongst the vocal minority or the silent majority? :)

What you describe sounds like you are searching amongst a group of politicians. No chance looking there.

REP

@robberhands

you show an perfectly acceptable European attitude towards our southern brethren


Be careful. We Americans may lose track of the thread and think you are talking about south of our border. :)

Replies:   robberhands
robberhands

@REP

We Americans may lose track of the thread...

And next you'll warn me that touching a hot oven might burn my fingers.

Replies:   awnlee jawking
awnlee jawking

@robberhands

And next you'll warn me that touching a hot oven might burn my fingers.


Depends who's touching the oven. ;)

AJ

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
helmut_meukel

@helmut_meukel

shooting down the referee,


Thinking about my example, shooting down the referee might be more probable in the U.S., more british would be beheading the referee, England has quite a long history in beheading opponents, annoying someone was sufficient in some cases. ;-)

HM.

red61544

@awnlee jawking

Barcelonans seemed a marginally better alternative than Barcelonians.

So would someone from Barcelona who was relaxing be called a Barcalounger?

Replies:   robberhands
robberhands

@red61544

So would someone from Barcelona who was relaxing be called a Barcalounger?

No native Barcelonian ever 'was relaxing'. They continuously relax and never take a break from it.

samuelmichaels

@robberhands

Simply call them 'Those damned Spaniards', and you show an perfectly acceptable European attitude towards our southern brethren.


That's would be a double insult. They would prefer to be called Catalans.

samuelmichaels

@awnlee jawking

I'm on the other side of the fence, if indeed it is a binary option. I think the operative word is shadow - IMO foreshadowing isn't explicitly informing of what is about to happen, it's casting a shadow of what's about to happen.


Actually, there are more literary types of foreshadowing. Things like psychological foreshadowing, where the main character's history of pointless arguments at work is followed by a bitter argument with his girlfriend. Or an ominous thunderstorm followed by devastating personal news.

Or discovering that a healthy-looking tree in the backyard is rotten through followed up in a couple of chapters with the discovery that an apparently happy marriage is built on lies.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

Why is that a spoiler?

Switch, aside from your example being a telling-example, your use of foreshadowing is applying it as a motivation, expanding on the character definition.

I suspect REP is referring to instances where you reveal what happens (ex: "Little did he know, that his actions would soon blow up in his face").

However, those aren't examples of foreshadowing being poor practices, as much as they're simply examples of bad (poorly-executed) foreshadowing.

Like any literary technique, some handle them largely intuitively, while other mostly fumble with them. (By the way, I'm not sure where I fall in that spectrum, but so far—cross my fingers—no one has ever criticized my use of foreshadowing yet).

Crumbly Writer

@Harold Wilson

If you wrote "Little did he know he would eventually be trapped in a stairwell, forced to eat his service pistol to avoid capture for his crimes" then *that* would be a spoiler. And the kind of dreck that I totally agree is poor practice.

That was exactly the point I just made. You're not objecting to foreshadowing, as much as you're objecting to poorly-executed foreshadowing. Which raises the question, have you encountered many instances of successful foreshadowing, or are you so intimidated by getting it wrong that you avoid it as a matter of principle?

Crumbly Writer

@Harold Wilson

Yeah, and I don't read her stuff, so ...

Still, it's useful knowing where these techniques originate from so you'll understand their pitfalls and the penalties for screwing them up. With that knowledge, you're slightly less likely to fuck them up yourself!

Crumbly Writer

@Joe Long

Often I know the identity of the murderer early on (something I could not do 30 years ago.) Either I'm getting better or the writers are getting worse.

Trust me, everyone goes (guesses who did it), which is the entire attraction of the story. It isn't that Sherlock is such a genius, as it's a wish-fulfillment fantasy for the viewers ("See, I'm as smart as Sherlock is!").

However, again, that's not an example of the evils of foreshadowing, that's a caution against Bad foreshadowing!

Crumbly Writer

@REP

Now if you had said MC will be trapped killing Mr. X six months from now, then you would be telling the reader what will happen, which is what I consider foreshadowing.

You're confusing foreshadowing (preparing the reader for what will eventually happen without spelling it out for them) with author intrusion (where the author jumps into the middle of the story to brag about how clever he is). They're two distinct techniques. One can be poorly executed, but the latter is almost universally a bad idea!

Replies:   REP
Crumbly Writer

@awnlee jawking

Would you consider a chapter ending with 'But little did he expect what was about to befall him.' to be foreshadowing?

It's TELLING the reader (author intrusion) that you're planning something big in the next chapter (a clear example of the author bragging to the reader about how clever he is, rather than adding anything to the story itself).

A better example of foreshadowing, it showing someone reaching for the fireplace poker moments before the power goes out. Since you don't know what's going to happen, or who's taking the actions, the author isn't TELLINg the reader anything, instead the narrator is simply observing an action, relying it to the reader.

Note: By the way, I've got to apologize, once again, coming in a week late and a dollar short and responding to each comment rather than forming one massive response after I've read the 80 intervening posts that's I've missed since I was last here.

Crumbly Writer

@Ross at Play

I do not want to use the same term for one thing that's generally considered an often-useful literary device (hinting at events to come) and another generally considered poor writing (telling what events will come).

If 'foreshadowing' is to mean both to us here we should toss the damn word away and find two new words for two very different concepts.

Once again, "foretelling" is simply another (unnecessary) term for 'author intrusion', which is separate and distinct from foreshadowing.

In your example, REP, in a spotlight, foreshadowing is bad because there's little doubt what will happen, but in a darkly lit studio, with multiple dim lights, the shadows are indistinct. In this case, the various lights cast either foreshadows, red-herrings, or completely immaterial elements which never develop into anything. In essence, foreshadowing is messing with the readers mind, trying to plant ideas without telling them what's going to happen, merely suggesting what might, so that when it does happen, the reader can make sense of it.

Crumbly Writer

@Dominions Son

Most of the US population is too intelligent to really celebrate Groundhog day.

Most of the US population also knows that there's no such thing as Santa, but that doesn't stop us from pretending there is and dumping presents on our unsuspecting kids.

Groundhog day IS an incredibly stupid holiday, but it's so ciche that it's actually fun celebrating precisely because it is so stupid!

Replies:   Dominions Son
Crumbly Writer

@awnlee jawking

Depends who's touching the oven. ;)

Or who's pushing who's forehead against the hot stove?

Crumbly Writer

@samuelmichaels

Actually, there are more literary types of foreshadowing. Things like psychological foreshadowing, where the main character's history of pointless arguments at work is followed by a bitter argument with his girlfriend. Or an ominous thunderstorm followed by devastating personal news.

Those are, unsurprisingly, actually called 'literary foreshadowing', as it's a separate foreshadowing technique.

I had one story where I decided to make the weather an actual character in the story. Anytime the weather got rough, something was about to go wrong. Anytime it got sunny, things would settle down. It wasn't Telling the reader what would happen, as they wouldn't know what the weather was doing until well into the story, and even then they wouldn't know precisely what would happen, but it captured the character's moods, more than revealing future actions. It expressed their skepticism and frustration, rather than any foreknowledge, but more importantly, it prepared the readers for what was about to happen, so they could make sense of it later (after they figured out that the weather wasn't immaterial to the story). "Oh, now I see why it was always snowing and blowing during a shootout!"

Ross at Play
Updated:

@Crumbly Writer

I've got to apologize, once again, coming in a week late and a dollar short and responding to each comment rather than forming one massive response

I counted recently, and you had made 15 consecutive posts on one thread in just over one hour. I'm grateful that was not one massive response. :-)

REP

@Crumbly Writer

CW,
Several days ago, I said there seemed to be 2 schools of thought as to what foreshadowing was. I placed myself in my first school of thought with the people who believe the Author who knows what will happen in the story and tells the reader what will happen before the reader reaches the point in the story where the event occurs.

You want to call that Author Intrusion and it is. What you aren't stating is that Author Intrusion is a category for the passages the Author inserts in a story that intrude on the flow of the story. Foreshadowing is a technique that intrudes on the flow of the story, so it is Author Intrusion.

I consider Foreshadowing to be a negative and do my best to avoid it.

You appear to be a member of the second school of thought.

You having been telling us about how you use foreshadowing. You have said that it is a good thing when done properly. You and others indicate that a specific technique is Foreshadowing, and as a group, you cite different techniques as Foreshadowing. So it sounds to me that the people in this thread who do not belong in the first school of thought want to throw every technique they use into a category and call the category Foreshadowing. That is fine with me, if that is what the second school of thought wants to do.

However, if that is how the rest of you define Foreshadowing, then say so. If that is not what you mean by Foreshadowing, then you as a group will have to define it to me and the rest of the first school of thought. Of course, there may be more than 2 schools of thought as to what constitutes Foreshadowing.

, explaining how it is used is not defining it. Telling me it is a good/bad technique is not defining it either.

Crumbly Writer

@REP

I consider Foreshadowing to be a negative and do my best to avoid it.

You appear to be a member of the second school of thought.

Again, rather than us disagreeing on what constitutes foreshadowing, I think we're confusing definitions. Author Intrusion IS a form of foreshadowing, but is universally panned as a bad idea because it yanks readers out of the story, however it's applied. That seems to be what you're describing. Whereas most foreshadowing isn't as heavy handed, simply indicating where the story may go, rather than revealing what will happen.

It's a useful technique, not because authors should announce what will happen, but that, since it's unclear, it helps provide context once the story ends, rather than revealing the ending ahead of time.

Think of it this way: "Foreshadowing" DOES include both forms, but because it can be such a problem, the 'literary authorities' have labeled the bad form by a specific name, so it's easier to spot and therefore avoid.

Also note, as I mentioned to Ross in another thread, his providing jokes to his fans in his stories is another form of author intrusion, so author intrusion is not always a form of foreshadowing. In other words, foreshadowing itself isn't the problem, author intrusion is (even though it's sometimes humorous). It's the latter that should be avoided, not foreshadowing.

I'm not sure that makes anything any clearer, but defining the two different cases should help to clarify what we're referring to.

In short, to properly define the terms:
"Foreshadowing" is whenever you reveal what's may happen.
"Author Intrusion" is when the author jumps into the story to tell the reader something that only HE knows.
"Foreshadowing" is generally, only a problem, when it falls into the Author Intrusion camp (i.e. the author is specifically telling the reader what WILL happen, rather than merely suggesting what may happen).

Replies:   REP  Joe Long  Ross at Play
Geek of Ages
Updated:

@REP

Doesn't a gun on the mantelpiece in the first act foreshadow it being fired in the third act?

Replies:   REP  awnlee jawking
REP

@Crumbly Writer

I'll try again CW from a different POV.

I understand your definitions of Author Intrusion and Foreshadowing and agree with the definition of Author Intrusion.

What you seen to keep missing about my opinion is – the 2 schools of thought I keep mentioning define Foreshadowing differently. Maybe this will help:

CW's definition - "Foreshadowing" is whenever you reveal what may happen.

REP's definition - "Foreshadowing" is whenever you reveal what will happen.

Explaining what your school of thought believes doesn't help for I already understand your explanation which does support Your Definition of Foreshadowing.

The problem is I disagree with Your Definition.

Defining Foreshadowing as the author telling the reader what WILL happen does not mean I think it is a good thing. Frankly, I believe Author Intrusion and Foreshadowing (my definition) are both very bad practices and Authors should avoid the practices.

In my opinion, using a character's narrative or dialog to suggest things that may happen is a valid and good technique to use. However, I DO NOT consider that to be Foreshadowing.

REP
Updated:

@Geek of Ages

Does a stuffed bear standing in the corner with its teeth and claws ready for use mean a character will be mauled by a bear in the story?

Replies:   awnlee jawking
Joe Long

@Crumbly Writer

"Foreshadowing" is whenever you reveal what's may happen.


I see it more as building the prerequisites for something to happen.

Suppose I have some event scheduled to happen in chapter 10. What needs to happen before, in a logical chain, that leads up to and enables that event? It may be the characters state of mind or a particular set of prior events that puts the characters together in the same time and place. By themselves they may mean nothing, but together they provide all the logical consistency of the story.

awnlee jawking

@Crumbly Writer

A better example of foreshadowing, it showing someone reaching for the fireplace poker moments before the power goes out.


That's not foreshadowing. It doesn't suggest or indicate anything.

AJ

Replies:   REP
REP

@awnlee jawking

It doesn't suggest or indicate anything.


In murder mysteries, being killed by a fireplace poker is a cliché. So in that context, it does suggest something might be about to happen.

awnlee jawking

@Geek of Ages

That's was Chekhov's idea - keep a story taut by omitting unnecessary detail.

If you adopt Chekhov's principle, then mentioning the gun is foreshadowing. It's not foretelling or revealing because you don't know who is going to be killed by whom.

AJ

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
awnlee jawking

@REP

Does a stuffed bear standing in the corner with its teeth and claws ready for use mean a character will be mauled by a bear in the story?


According to literary foreshadowing, apparently yes.

AJ

Replies:   REP
REP
Updated:

@awnlee jawking

Meaning of foreshadow:

Be a warning or indication of (a future event)

https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/foreshadow

Foreshadowing is a literary device in which a writer gives an advance hint of what is to come later in the story.

https://literarydevices.net/foreshadowing/

Foreshadowing is a literary device by which an author hints what is to come. Foreshadowing is a dramatic device in which an important plot-point is mentioned early in the story, and will later return in a more significant way.[

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foreshadowing

Three specific definitions which all state foreshadowing is the advance notification to the reader that a specific event will happen. If the event does not happen then the advance description is not foreshadowing.

Ross at Play

@Crumbly Writer

as I mentioned to Ross in another thread, his providing jokes to his fans in his stories is another form of author intrusion

NO!
What you called 'author intrusion' has never been in any draft of any story I have written. It was an off-the-cuff attempt to explain the joke in something else you had rubbished because you could not see the joke in it. You couldn't see the joke in the second one either.

For Christ's Sake, when you're told something was written to be humorous and you cannot see the joke, don't attempt to apply the standards of normal writing to it. You've done that to me quite often and the results are always naive. The "problems" you think you have informed me of have invariably been precisely the deliberate mistakes I chose to include to create the humour.

Switch Blayde

@Crumbly Writer

A better example of foreshadowing, it showing someone reaching for the fireplace poker moments before the power goes out. Since you don't know what's going to happen, or who's taking the actions, the author isn't TELLINg the reader anything, instead the narrator is simply observing an action, relying it to the reader.


That's not foreshadowing. If anything, that's a cliffhanger.

Switch Blayde

@REP

If that is not what you mean by Foreshadowing, then you as a group will have to define it to me


Foreshadowing is an advance hint of what is to come later in the story.

In my novel, the cop just knows he's not going to survive. It's foreshadowing his death.

It affects his relationships. It also helps define his character — that he's willing to die to get revenge.

If he dies at the end, his death was foreshadowed. But what if he didn't die at the end? I guess his death is still foreshadowed, but it turns into a red-herring. Although red-herring might be too strong. It's purpose is to mislead. So if he doesn't die, it's simply a foreshadow that didn't come to be.

Replies:   REP
Ernest Bywater
Updated:

@awnlee jawking


That's was Chekhov's idea - keep a story taut by omitting unnecessary detail.


Although what Chekhov had to say is important, a lot of people forget his comments were about plays not stories, and there is a big difference between the two.

In a play there's a heck of a lot of visual props to help set the scene and move the plot along, and the visible actions also helps in this. With a story we have to use words to layout and describe the stage and the actions as well as the dialogue. Where a play can have a window on the stage with a scene behind it as part of setting the stage, an author has to describe what is relevant of that window and scene.

The key aspect of Chekhov's statement is not so much about omitting detail as omitting totally irrelevant detail and is also about ensuring that any significant action you have the characters do have some significance to the plot along the way.

If the scene is a cabin and there's a rifle sitting on the mantle piece it's part of the background to set the stage, but if the same scene opens without the rifle and the main character walks in with a rifle and places it on the mantle piece there's a much higher significance in the purpose of the rifle that you have to account for in the play and in your story. It's this subtle difference in the two scenes that a lot of people miss when they quote Chekhov.

Replies:   awnlee jawking
docholladay

Part of the answer might be for the writer to write the scenes out. Set them aside for a little bit. Then pick up the scenes and read them as a reader not as a writer or editor. Its a totally different viewpoint from all of the others. Somethings will look very different from a reader's point of view instead of a writer or editor's view. It will not always work, but sometimes just taking a different point of view could help.

Dominions Son

@Crumbly Writer

but that doesn't stop us from pretending there is and dumping presents on our unsuspecting kids.


Don't bet that the kids are that unsuspecting. My brother and I figured that out long before our parents were aware that we had figured it out, because we kept humoring them. :)

Replies:   helmut_meukel
REP

@Switch Blayde

Foreshadowing is an advance hint of what is to come later in the story


That is the premise I keep stating.

If you are foreshadowing an event then the event will happen in the story. If it doesn't happen then you aren't foreshadowing. Call it something else but not foreshadowing. I happen to call those types of statements red herrings for they are intended to mislead.

Red herring is a kind of fallacy that is an irrelevant topic introduced in an argument to divert the attention of listeners or readers from the original issue. In literature, this fallacy is often used in detective or suspense novels to mislead readers or characters or to induce them to make false conclusions.
https://literarydevices.net/red-herring/

A couple of hours ago, I posted 3 definitions with sources that state foreshadowing is telling about an event before it happens. I have also seen definitions that differ from what I post, so it comes down to how do you want to define foreshadowing. That is why I said there are 2 schools of thought on the matter.

helmut_meukel

@Dominions Son

@Crumbly Writer
but that doesn't stop us from pretending there is and dumping presents on our unsuspecting kids.

Don't bet that the kids are that unsuspecting. My brother and I figured that out long before our parents were aware that we had figured it out, because we kept humoring them. :)


Maybe the kids are just afraid they wouldn't get any presents any more if they reveal they have figured it out.

HM.

Duke_Mantee

@robberhands

Speaking as a reader, I don't understand why an author would want to try to pull a reader in under false pretenses ... Personally, I just can't read stories with incest, the squick factor is just a bar I can't get over. I can't tell you the number of stories where I read the description, thinking 'hey this looks good' only to see the incest code, and stop reading there. Disappointed I may be, but there is no animosity toward the author, he just wrote a tale I'm not interested in reading. More than one of my favorite authors have explored this area, and I just move on. It doesn't anger me, they just wrote something I can't get into. It's not that I haven't tried. I've read stories where the incest seems the author's attempt to play to an audience -- the sex could have been between two unrelated consenting people and the plot would have worked out just as well. I've read them where the plot wouldn't have worked were it not for the incest -- the characters are who they are because of the incest. In any case, I just can't read them. But worst is where the author tries to get me so involved in the story that I'll read through the incest. I always feel betrayed. It's aggravating to get 20 pages into a story where out of nowhere the MC goes home and fucks his mother. I stop reading immediately. You can write what you want, but I have to wonder what you think you accomplish by attempting to get readers through deceit.

Replies:   Joe Long  robberhands
Joe Long

@Duke_Mantee

Personally, I just can't read stories with incest, the squick factor is just a bar I can't get over.


I totally understand this. I write as I go but have a detailed outline, so unless I think of something brand new I should know all the codes up front.

I make sure to add all the sexual codes, such as incest (which I have), but if there something such as pregnancy I'd hesitate because it could be a spoiler. That may be an attraction for some folks (it does have a code) but I doubt it's a squick if one is already fine with all the other codes.

awnlee jawking

@Ernest Bywater

In a play there's a heck of a lot of visual props to help set the scene and move the plot along,


I don't think that was true in Chekhov's time - use of props was very sparse and 'creative'. So requiring a rifle to be sourced and placed above a mantlepiece when it had no relevance to the proceedings was a big deal.

AJ

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
robberhands

@Duke_Mantee

If you had any particular reason to direct this response at me, I'm not aware of it.

Ernest Bywater

@awnlee jawking

So requiring a rifle to be sourced and placed above a mantlepiece when it had no relevance to the proceedings was a big deal.


That may be true from a production point of view due to what the prop is, but from the play perspective a background prop is nothing outside of setting the scene. Which is the point I was making, the difference between a background prop and an important prop introduced by a character.

Joe Long

If the gun is already on the mantle is may simply be decoration, although that tells you something about the owner of the house. If he brings in the gun and sets it on the mantle, then you know it's an active tool.

Geek of Ages
Updated:

I prefer to think about it the other way: that as a reader, it is incredibly jarring and unsatisfying when things come up in the last act and especially the climax that had no basis from before.

For example, if the protagonist solves the climax with a wad of gum she takes out of her mouth, it is jarring if she suddenly happens to have gum in her mouth. It's much better if say, she put a stick of gum in her mouth a couple chapters earlier, or if she's described as smacking gum somewhere along the line, or even if other characters reference her gum habit.

On the other hand, if we have that foreshadowing, it's far more satisfying when that little detail ends up being important.

Joe Long

@Geek of Ages

On the other hand, if we have that foreshadowing, it's far more satisfying when that little detail ends up being important.


Right - you may not understand it's significance at the time, but it's a logical prerequisite.

awnlee jawking

@Geek of Ages

For example, if the protagonist solves the climax with a wad of gum she takes out of her mouth, it is jarring if she suddenly happens to have gum in her mouth.


I would consider that to be an example of 'deus ex machina' :(

Wikipedia (spit) article: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deus_ex_machina

AJ

Ernest Bywater

@Geek of Ages

On the other hand, if we have that foreshadowing, it's far more satisfying when that little detail ends up being important.


I'd word that as being relevant because it can be relevant and not important.

Story spoiler alert warning.

In my story Darmore Demon an early thought by the main character's mother is on her giving up on teaching her daughter how to cook or having her go to university, due to the girl's interest in being a soldier. At that point it's the type of throw away line you expect a mother to have about her daughter's odd career choice - but at the end of the story the girl is invalided out of the military and goes to university to become a chef. Some would call it foreshadowing, some would call it adding a twist

Safe_Bet

@Ernest Bywater

The purpose of the codes is to give the reader an idea of what type of story they're about to read is going to cover and include.


::Claps loudly and nods in agreement::

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