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incomplete and inactive

Neotragus

Currently the is a story on the main page that, based on the description, sounds like it could be a nice time killer. The problem; the author has five or six other stories and all but one are listed as incomplete an/or inactive.

Am I wrong for not even giving it a chance based on prior history of incomplete works? Guess I've been burned to many times. I don't understand why an author would expect us to "trust" (couldn't think of a better word) them when history is considered.

REP

I think I know the story you are referring to. I read the first 2 chapters. It had a grammar error in the second paragraph: "Know thing", instead of "Nothing". If I recall the quality of the story was mediocre, so I checked the Author's page thinking he might be a new author and should be given a bit of understanding.

I found he had posted 7 stories around 2015 and had 5 Incomplete banners. I gave him some feedback about the error and suggested he complete his stories before posting them or he would get a poor reputation on the site.

I'll cut him some slack, but . . . if that is the author, do what you think is right.

Crumbly Writer

There's a reason many of us only post complete stories. If you're not sure a story is going to pan out, or than you're even capable of completing a story, then don't ask readers to invest their time. Even those who post ongoing serials generally have a healthy lead going in, so they know whether the story will pan out over time or not (and even then, they sometimes don't).

Replies:   LonelyDad
LonelyDad

@Crumbly Writer

Even then, Real Life in the form of family or job demands, illness or accident, or even death of the author can keep a story that would otherwise have been completed unended.

As an example, we have a very talented author who has so far written a very riveting story that is obviously well planned and thought out, who started with a very healthy buffer of chapters, who has had Real Life intrude and has stopped posting, hopefully temporarily. I am not pointing any fingers or making any complaints. I am just pointing out that even with the best of intentions and plans, things happen.

As far as the OP's question goes, I am usually reading uncompleted stories as they are posted chapter by chapter, unless I decide before the current end that for one reason or another it is not worth finishing. The ones I enjoy, I hope the author is able to handle whatever is causing the delay and return to writing. Some I know that the author has died or personally stated that for whatever reason they are no longer able to write. Some have been yellow-lined for several years before the author returned and finished them. I just take the position that the stories I enjoy are worth much more than what I have paid to read them, and move on.

Replies:   REP
awnlee jawking

@Neotragus

Guess I've been burned to many times.


If you feel incomplete stories aren't worth reading, then don't read them. Personally I think many of them are worth reading. Take cmsix's Nanovirus, for example - it's a SOL classic.

On the other hand, many 'complete' stories have an unsatisfactory ending and feel incomplete. One of the most engaging stories I've read here for a long time, Life on Another Planet by Coaster2, ended suddenly and I'm hoping for a sequel. A Tyler Christmas by A.A. Nemo is another, but fortunately public opinion persuaded the author to write a sequel.

AJ

Replies:   ustourist
ustourist

@awnlee jawking

Take cmsix's Nanovirus, for example


I agree that some unfinished stories are well worth the read, but picking Nanovirus was probably a bad choice because IIRC originally it was completed then pulled for revision. The original is still available out there somewhere, though not on SOL.

I have now been burned sufficiently that I don't tend to read incomplete stories unless I have read other (complete) stories by the same author.
It also seems to be more common now to see authors state that they won't finish unless they get good feedback/response, which to me suggests they haven't got anything invested in the story themselves.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Vlad_Inhaler

I can think of a really excellent story where the author abandoned it because he had lost his way.
http://storiesonline.net/s/48749/laramie was cast adrift over 10 years ago now. The first chapter is a thing of beauty, and the rest is not to be sneezed at.

REP

@LonelyDad

I am usually reading uncompleted stories as they are posted chapter by chapter


Out of curiosity, how do you know a story has not been completed before the author started posting it, if the author has not stated that fact or stated that he posts chapters as they are completed.

Replies:   The Outsider
The Outsider
Updated:

@REP

From what I've seen, REP, the author will usually say he/she has finished it in a blog post or that they're writing as they go (as in my case).

Jay Cantrell is one author who doesn't post until the story's finished, proofread and edited. I'm going this route on my next story as well.

Replies:   REP
REP

@The Outsider

Not a problem, which is why I qualified my question.

In general, I read anything posted that gains my interest without worrying about whether the author is posting as they write. Most authors complete their stories once they start posting. Granted some of those authors run into a problem and don't complete a story, and that is a disappointment - not a problem. In my opinion, it is only the authors who have a significant percentage of incomplete stories that are a problem.

The Outsider

@REP

Agreed. I reread Don Lockwood's "Rewind" every so often, even though I know I'll be disappointed again when I finish the last chapter. The author referenced by the OP would have me wary of starting any of those stories.

Replies:   REP
REP

@The Outsider

If I had known about the Author's number of incomplete stories, I would have bookmarked the story and waited until he completed it before starting it.

I suppose I could do that now, but since I started I might as well continue. I just hope the story gets better as it goes along. :) but I doubt it will. :(

Replies:   The Outsider
The Outsider

@REP

As a Red Sox fan who remembers the pre-2004 days, I can say with certainty that hope springs eternal!

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
richardshagrin

There are a lot of towns named Hope Springs.

Replies:   BlinkReader
BlinkReader

@richardshagrin

There are a lot of towns named Hope Springs


In your country maybe.
On every entry to my country you can find big sign with: "Leave all hope you who enter in" :(

Replies:   sejintenej
docholladay

@Neotragus

Use your best judgement. If its a story you could enjoy send a polite feedback requesting it be finished and or having an editor help with any potential problems. Otherwise find another story. There are a ton of stories both complete and incomplete which you should find enjoyable.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
sejintenej

I am currently (re)reading chapter 36 of book 3 of a serial which is still being added to. I would be disappointed if the author does not finish (I think it is) book 4 but I will still have had a lot of enjoyment.
If it were to be discontinued after chapter 2 or 4 that would be a different matter; I do look to see if either a lot of chapters have been written OR (to refer to The Outsider) whether the author has blogged that the story has been finished OR the author has a good record of finishing stories

sejintenej

@BlinkReader

On every entry to my country you can find big sign with: "Leave all hope you who enter in" :(

Jack Spratt's Jokes and Giggles, Chapter 827, second item: I now know where you live!!!!! ;-)

Replies:   BlinkReader
BlinkReader

@sejintenej

I now know where you live!!!!! ;-)


:D
Sory, but no cigar ...
Your politicians are just plain imbeciles, my are malicious bloodsuckers who will sell their mothers and sisters for couple of dollars, or euros, or yuans, or even rubles :(

Let me help you a little:
In my part of the world, you can pass 5 states in about 6 hour times - if you you are lucky and don't loose 2 days at every border ramp :(

Crumbly Writer

@ustourist

It also seems to be more common now to see authors state that they won't finish unless they get good feedback/response, which to me suggests they haven't got anything invested in the story themselves.

It's a clear warning to stay away when an author has multiple yellow-flagged stories. Any serious author would yank the majority of their incomplete stories as 'not worth harming' their image. The exceptions are those like Spitfire & Margarita (pardon my pun—sentence me to the punitentiary), where the author created an impressive work but is unable to complete it for a variety of reasons (writing themselves into a corner, but their having given up on erotic stories and their unfortunate use of 'islamic terrorists' cast as 1960's spies).

However, even in that case, she's finally revising the story, though I'll keep my original version since the eroticism is part of the story's appeal, and the failure to complete such a masterful piece is a warning and balm to all the rest of us struggling authors.

Crumbly Writer

@REP

In my opinion, it is only the authors who have a significant percentage of incomplete stories that are a problem.

Even in the case of cmsix (probably the most notorious King of the incomplete stories), his inability to complete any single story satisfactorily paints a fascinating picture of the frustration of most authors, as they try to bring their imagined worlds to life, only to fall short with each iteration.

No one minds if it times time to perfect something, but they get resentful if you never make any progress after a decade invested in a single plot. Publicly displaying all your failed attempts is just asking for public ridicule!

Crumbly Writer
Updated:

@The Outsider


As a Red Sox fan who remembers the pre-2004 days, I can say with certainty that hope springs eternal!


With disappointment hounding its heels every step of the way! 'D

Replies:   The Outsider
Crumbly Writer

@docholladay

Use your best judgement. If its a story you could enjoy send a polite feedback requesting it be finished and or having an editor help with any potential problems. Otherwise find another story. There are a ton of stories both complete and incomplete which you should find enjoyable.

Also, problematic stories have spawned more authors than all the best works combined. It's hard to improve on perfection, but we can all find promising stories that went astray and think "Damn, I could write a better story than that!"

Don't think of them as unfinished or badly-crafted stories, think of them as inspiration fodder for better authors. Just like farmers rely on shit for their crops (hopefully not human shit!), failed authors serve as fertilizer for new talent.

The Outsider

@Crumbly Writer

With disappointment hounding it's heels every step of the way! 'D


Oh how I long for the days of walking up to the ticket window on the day of the game and being to decide where I wanted to watch the game from. (And afford the tickets in the first place.)

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@The Outsider

Oh how I long for the days of walking up to the ticket window on the day of the game and being to decide where I wanted to watch the game from. (And afford the tickets in the first place.)

There's a price to be paid for success. At least, with an unsuccessful team, the ticket prices remain more reasonable—which often allows unsuccessful teams to remain financially successful.

EzzyB

@Neotragus

There are some...

As others have mentioned some incomplete stories are considered "classics".

El Sol's A Masters Ring and Gina Marie Wylie's Spitfire and Messerschmitt are good examples. Certainly worth reading in spite of their incomplete status.

Generally, however, you are correct. I don't think I'd start a story by an author with half a dozen incomplete works.

Replies:   docholladay
docholladay

@EzzyB

I think to some extents the posting of stories online actually helps to create more incomplete stories than almost any other medium of storytelling. Its the only one I know of where a writer after completing a story can and will at times go back and add to a previously ended story. That gives the story an incomplete status until the writer creates a new ending. This happens anytime a writer adds to a previously ended story instead of writing a sequel. Sure the sequel might wind up being unfinished however.

Replies:   REP
REP
Updated:

@docholladay


Its the only one I know of where a writer after completing a story can and will at times go back and add to a previously ended story. That gives the story an incomplete status until the writer creates a new ending.


You will have to explain that one to me. It is my understanding that an author can have an entire story removed, but I am not aware of them being able to selectively delete/remove chapters, which is what your comment implies.

Ernest Bywater
Updated:

@REP


You will have to explain that one to me. It is my understanding that an author can have an entire story removed, but I am not aware of them being able to selectively delete/remove chapters, which is what your comment implies.


You can revise

Replies:   REP
docholladay

@REP

You will have to explain that one to me. It is my understanding that an author can have an entire story removed, but I am not aware of them being able to selectively delete/remove chapters, which is what your comment implies.


Okay the writer comes up with more ideas. So even when the story was previously closed (ended). They can reopen the story editing the last chapter and continue from that point. Thus the story which was finished becomes unfinished if any thing happens before all the new ideas are finished. That is why I said its an online posting trap. This is the only medium I know of where that can happen. Instead of writing a sequel its very tempting to just redo the last chapter then continue writing the story from that point. A writer needs to avoid that trap and the trap probably does not look like a trap.

Replies:   REP  awnlee jawking
REP

@Ernest Bywater

You cans revise


True and I have done so on a number of occasions. When I revise a posted chapter, a new chapter is uploaded to replace the existing chapter. The stories completion status is not affected by that revision, which is what Docholladay indicated.

REP
Updated:

@docholladay

See my post to EB.

When you are making your changes, you are not directly changing the posted file's content. You are changing a copy of that file, and the posted contents don't change until you upload the new file. The status of the story is not affected.

Dominions Son

@REP

True and I have done so on a number of occasions. When I revise a posted chapter, a new chapter is uploaded to replace the existing chapter. The stories completion status is not affected by that revision, which is what Docholladay indicated.


Not automatically, but the posting process give you the opportunity to change the status and authors have re-opened stories previously marked complete.

Replies:   REP
awnlee jawking

@docholladay

I made a newbie mistake and one of my stories got marked as concluded. I'm sure there's a way to have unconcluded it via the 'manage stories' facility, but the problem was resolved when I uploaded the next chapter.

AJ

Replies:   docholladay
Ernest Bywater

@REP

When I revise a posted chapter, a new chapter is uploaded to replace the existing chapter.


When you go to submit a story or a chapter the process is Authors/Editors - Post & Repost - Make a new Submission - then you start to fill in the Wizard sections.

The first main option you have is to post a new story - new chapter - repost story - repost chapter

After you select the story and select the chapter involved or select the whole story the next screen gives you two options, what's there will vary with regards to the story status.

A story that's incomplete will give you the choice of - No, keep it to be continued or Yes, story is finished

While a completed story will give you the choices of - No keep it completed or Yes make it to be continued

In either case, if you choose the No option the story status will change. Thus you can change the status while reposting a chapter or a story

Replies:   REP
REP

@Dominions Son

All true, but the authors don't change/edit the posted file. , and unless the author adds to a concluded story, the status is not affected by uploading a changed file unless the author indicates the status is to be changed.

REP

@Ernest Bywater

And if you go back and read Docholladay's post, it sounds as if he is saying the status changes without the author changing it.

Replies:   docholladay
docholladay

@awnlee jawking

Be careful that is why I called it a trap. Its only possible with online posting of stories as far as I can see. In some cases its great to be able to correct a mistakenly closed story. But its possible with that trap (I can not think of a better term) to cause a writer/storyteller to continue a story from the previous end point. That can and will lead to those huge unfinished stories. Just make sure if its new material to write it as a sequel or even a concurrent story if events occur during same time periods. Every story has gaps time wise that can be filled in with another story for a concurrent story and the end of one story can be used as the start of a sequel, the prolog chapter for example that links the two or more stories together.

docholladay
Updated:

@REP


And if you go back and read Docholladay's post, it sounds as if he is saying the status changes without the author changing it.


Wrong I said its a trap that is only available with online publishing (posting). I might be wrong but as soon as you post another chapter after the finished flag has been set. The flag might change as a result of adding chapters. I am not a writer so it is just a guess on my part. That could explain otherwise finished stories which after having more chapters posted wound up with that dreaded incomplete/unfinished status.

edited to add: Hopefully this brings an awareness of that trap. Awareness of a potential problem might help prevent the trap for some writers. (I call it a trap, but it might be labeled something else by experts)

Replies:   REP
REP

@docholladay

I went back and reread your post. I evidently misread it. I couldn't find what I recalled reading. Now that you explained what you meant the post is clearer. Somehow I got the impression you were saying you edited the posted story file causing an incomplete status.

Replies:   docholladay
docholladay

@REP

To be honest sometimes I wish I had the education to better explain some ideas I get. I do know it gets hard at times to explain the idea without that educational background. Almost all of my knowledge is self-taught with the errors created in that process. Sometimes I come up with what looks like a good answer, just to get it shot down by experts.

Replies:   REP
REP

@docholladay

just to get it shot down by experts


I wouldn't put too much faith in what the experts say. All you have to do is read the multiple conflicting statements made by multiple experts. Even highly educated and respected scientists can't seem to agree on some things.

richardshagrin

You have to consider what the experts are saying. If they say you can do something, most of the time they are right. Example, "Birds can fly." If they say you can't do something, they may be wrong. Example, "Bumblebees can't fly." Their aerodynamic analysis shows it. Obviously Bumblebees do something their analysis leaves out, since they do.

Before Balloons, parachutes and airplanes experts would be happy to say men couldn't fly. And the earth was flat (although the Greeks knew otherwise.)

Einstein seems to indicate you can't exceed the speed of light, or even equal it if you have mass. It is possible that expert is wrong. Science Fiction authors hope so.

Replies:   REP  awnlee jawking  Grant
REP

@richardshagrin

You have to consider what the experts are saying.

I never said you shouldn't consider what the experts say. The problem I have is when 2 experts disagree, we average folk have no way of telling who is right. Generally, it doesn't matter. However, in some fields such as healthcare, it may have a major impact on our lives if we follow the advice of the wrong expert.

Replies:   Grant
richardshagrin

Doctors do diagnosis and then treatment. If they get the diagnosis wrong it is likely the treatment they prescribe won't work, or may be harmful. Doctors used to bleed patients to adjust their humors. (Not sure that is spelled correctly but spell check insists.) As I remember Washington died because his doctor bled him. Sometimes "The operation was a success but the patient died."

Replies:   docholladay
docholladay

@richardshagrin

Doctors do diagnosis and then treatment.


They do Labels then treatments. Labels are mostly guesses and if they don't know one that will fit. They make up a new label. Problem is those labels can cause more problems than just saying "I don't know the answer".

awnlee jawking

@richardshagrin

You have to consider what the experts are saying. If they say you can do something, most of the time they are right. Example, "Birds can fly." If they say you can't do something, they may be wrong. Example, "Bumblebees can't fly."


I had to stop and think about that because logically it's rubbish - there shouldn't be any difference because of the assertion being positive or negative. And yet you're right. I think it's because of the direction of research. Nobody is interested in proving that birds can't fly, but lots of people are interested in proving that birds can fly. Except the Chatham Island Wren. And the Dodo. And penguins.

I think the issue of the speed of light still has much mileage. It's not as constant as early proponents proponed.

AJ

ezrick

@REP

True and I have done so on a number of occasions. When I revise a posted chapter, a new chapter is uploaded to replace the existing chapter. The stories completion status is not affected by that revision, which is what Docholladay indicated.


Morgan did it for years, literally five or six years in a row. I was told that he/she was adding chapters, but I don't know.

I do know that author, every year., was choosing a story under the old voting system (that favored old stories) slightly modifying it, and getting a new "completed on" date to get it on that year's list of top stories. All of the stories were completed many years before.

I even predicted which story he/she would "modify" the next year. I think "Kathy" was the last one I predicted. It now has a completion date of 7/2015 though it was originally completed in 2003 or 2004.

Things have changed, scoring is more fair across time and the point of doing this has faded, but it still may be possible to change a completion date without reposting the whole story.

**--FULL DISCLOSURE--** One of my stories has been completely reposted. It was contractual, I could not post it anywhere else as long as it was for sale on that site (stupid move). Rebecca Danced has a very marginally lower score now than when it was originally posted. (It's within .02 (lower now than then). I say that because earlier I was accused of reposting to raise the score (only fans would read/score it). I get that, and it kind of makes sense, but I thought I could sell it.

Replies:   docholladay
docholladay
Updated:

@ezrick


I was told that he/she was adding chapters, but I don't know.


Probably adding chapters. Just revising the last chapter would probably not change any of the finished flags since that would be treated as "editing". But when you then start adding more chapters after the former ending chapter, it would be the most likely point where the finished flag would get reset. Again I am just making a guess and that is why I call it a sneaky trap, one that is not noticed as being a trap. Then again like in r/l the best traps are those where its not seen as a trap. Snares in r/l trapping situations are just one example.

Like one time I had someone who was repeatedly breaking into my apartment and ripping me off. I left a back window unlocked and then went out like I would be gone a couple of days. I returned through that window locked it. Sat quietly with a large razor sharp knife beside the point the asshole used to break in. I kept very quiet and didn't move while waiting. He followed his habit of reaching through a glass panel which had been previously broken to unlock the deadbolt lock. I slammed the knife I had ready through his hand into the door trapping him in place. I then waited for the cops to arrive with him caught in the act. They asked me to remove the knife at which point I deliberately "SPUN" the knife as I removed it from his hand. Such a lovely scream of pain was achieved. Police said I was sadistic, but admitted they would have shot the bum. At least my way he lived.

edited to add: cops already knew about him but refused to arrest him due to not catching him in the act.

Grant

@richardshagrin

Example, "Bumblebees can't fly." Their aerodynamic analysis shows it.

It's just another an Urban myth.

Grant

@REP

The problem I have is when 2 experts disagree, we average folk have no way of telling who is right. Generally, it doesn't matter. However, in some fields such as healthcare, it may have a major impact on our lives if we follow the advice of the wrong expert.

The problem often comes down to "What are they experts in?"

I recently read an article looking at many of the expert opinions that you find in print (paper & online) and those doing the rounds as experts on TV reports.
They used the anti-vaccination group as an example- apparently many of the leading voices in the Anti-vaccination group are experts- just not in the fields of immunology, or biology, or even medicine.

If you were building a rocket, would you want the opinion of someone that was recognized as a rocket engineer, or one that's recognized as an aircraft engineer? Both involve flying, but in rather different conditions and rather different technologies involved.
Horses for courses.

Replies:   REP
REP

@Grant

What are they experts in

Probably experts at writing opinion pieces. They seem to like contributing what they say to an expert that most of use have never heard of and fail to define why that someone is an expert. It's worse than relying on Wikipedia for factual information.

Replies:   Grant
Grant

@REP

It's worse than relying on Wikipedia for factual information.

By orders of magnitude.
With Wikipedia, you can checkout the links to references to find out about the sources for the information used.
And those sources will have references (online or in libraries) that you could checkout if you wish.

With an expert used for a news story, you have to take the reporting agency/persons word for fact on the expertise of their expert. And often they just rely on the experts own provided claims, with very little (if any) checking into the background or validity of those claims.

With people relying on Facebook & the like as their sources of news and information, quality well researched news is becoming rather rare.

Replies:   awnlee jawking
awnlee jawking

@Grant

With Wikipedia, you can checkout the links to references to find out about the sources for the information used.


Wikipedia (spit) is very unevenly populated because of its method of population. Whereas compilers of traditional encyclopediae take each subject and investigate it in reasonable depth, Wikipedia (spit) has some extremely detailed articles about eg fictional characters but some of eg the hard sciences and maths topics have glaring holes and/or inaccuracies.

The quality of their reference sources is also very variable. I looked up the reference for a Wikipedia (spit) assertion I didn't believe to be true, and found the original source was actually a blog!

An evaluation of Wikipedia (spit) versus Britannica was won fairly comfortably by Britannica.

AJ

Replies:   Grant
Grant

@awnlee jawking

I looked up the reference for a Wikipedia (spit) assertion I didn't believe to be true, and found the original source was actually a blog!

Exactly my point.
You are able to check out the references, and their sources. Sometimes they're reliable, others they're not.

Replies:   awnlee jawking
awnlee jawking

@Grant

Actually it wasn't straightforward. The Wikipedia (spit) reference was to what looked like a genuine scientific paper. The paper was pay-per-view but I found a free copy elsewhere. The assertion indeed appeared in the paper but there was a reference to its source, and that was the blog.

AJ

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