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The Neverending Story

Wheezer

No, not that one with the goofy furry luckdragon & childlike empress, but those endless meandering stories on SOL and a few other websites and blogs. The plotlines of some of these remind me of the 'Family Circus' cartoon of little Jeff and his wanderings. Others are nowhere near as direct & coherent. ;) Still, these literary messes have their devout followers.

So, what's your favorite hot mess of a neverending story - SOL-style. ...and it doesn't have to be on SOL:

Arlene & Jeff?
Defenseman?
Worm?
Release That Witch?

Don't limit yourself to my examples. Add your own favorites, and maybe a bit about why you like it.

Replies:   sunkuwan  red61544  Capt. Zapp
Crumbly Writer

My favorite 'hot mess' was from some time ago, and I can't even remember the name now, but each chapter started with the same "3s" routine, where the author would detail the characters early morning 'shit, shower and shave' before he started the day.

I never understood why it was necessary to detail that activity which we all already know intimately, but there was clearly no reason to repeat it over and over in each chapter, as if we could possibly forget it.

It was a decent story, but that was only one of the major flaws the author had in their writing. In the end, you can only put up with that much ... shit for so long before you finally turn your back on the author in question.

Replies:   tendertouch
sunkuwan

@Wheezer

your examples:

- Arlene and Jeff, had it on hold 150 chapters ago, dropped it like a hot potato after the author said that the story will end after they board the ship for good in a year. What was the point of making a mountain fortress, creating a whole new city etc, when the story ends with them going into space.
I developed a wedding-phobie while reading the story and only read it for the prison planet and space sidestories, but after hearing the story ends this year at going completely into space makes the whole story pointless.

- Defenseman, didn't read, is it a sports story?

- Worm, well it did finish at 1,7 million words and was fantastic, the sequel ward is currently in writing, i will wait until it finishes in a year or so.

- Release that Witch, I thought the translation could cought up with the chinese release, but they dropped from 14 chapters translated a week to 7 chapters a week. I wait for another year or two before continuing. Also with empire builders, the journey is the reward, so I have no problems with it.

my own examples:

- Mother of learning, I recently reread it to the new up to date chapter. it should finish in another 6 to 12 months.
- She is the one, have it on hold since chapter 47, it is currently at 95
- Woodward Academy, had it on hold from year 6 onward, currently in the last month of year 7 and should finish in another 13 months
- a well-lived life, on hold since book 12 or 13, waiting for it to be finished
- also several other stories that release whenever and are not very active.

Bonus:
- A Son of ice and fire, will we ever see the next book?

all in all, I am not good at reading stories every week, I'd rather bulk read.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
robberhands

My favorite 'mess' is definitely 'Pete: A Young Man's Story' by Magi. It seems it'll never be completed but I prefer reading an incomplete great story than a shitty completed one. The best about Magi's tale are the characters. They are alive, have depth, and aren't boring.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
red61544

@Wheezer

I always reach a point, probably when a SOL story reaches the length of a normal book, when I ask myself if the damned thing is ever going to end. From that point on, it has to be a fantastic story for me to continue. I firmly believe that, before an author starts writing, he has to have the end of his story clearly in sight. If the story deviates far from the path to that end, he loses me as a reader. Since Mark Twain could write "Tom Sawyer" in 229 pages, I'll allow SOL authors 2 more pages so Tom can have his way with Becky Thatcher, but no more!

Crumbly Writer

@sunkuwan

Release that Witch, I thought the translation could cought up with the chinese release, but they dropped from 14 chapters translated a week to 7 chapters a week.

For translation work, that's an incredible turnover, as it is for any written or edited work. I suspect the slowdown has nothing to do with the translation, but everything to do with the submitter's deciding the rapid postings were costing his votes, so decided to slow the postings down to a more easily digestible pace.

robberhands

@red61544

Since Mark Twain could write "Tom Sawyer" in 229 pages, I'll allow SOL authors 2 more pages so Tom can have his way with Becky Thatcher, but no more!

I'm certain most SoL authors are very grateful for your generous permittance and the few who aren't probably just need longer to reach this level of enlightenment.

Replies:   red61544
Crumbly Writer

@robberhands

My favorite 'mess' is definitely 'Pete: A Young Man's Story' by Magi. It seems it'll never be completed but I prefer reading an incomplete great story than a shitty completed one. The best about Magi's tale are the characters. They are alive, have depth, and aren't boring.

I agree with your summation of Pete:, but that's another example of why I prefer stories with definitive beginnings and ends, rather than authors who simply start a story, with no clear idea of where they're going, where the story simply drifts from one encounter to the next. Series are nice, as readers get comfortable with the characters and what to see how they progress, but there comes a time when an author needs to control their story, drop all the non-productive story threads, clean up the loose ends, and repackage the entire story into more manageable pieces otherwise commonly known as 'books'. Never ending stories are a sign of hobbyists, rather than authors serious about their craft. :(

That said, after publishing 16 books, I find that I've got a fixation with books of twenty chapters. My books range from 16 to 28 chapters, but they're all in the twenty-chapter region, which makes me wonder why that seems to be my limit. I also, much like the publishing industry at large, fond of trilogies, there's just something reassuring about three books, whereas two seems incomplete and four almost too much (i.e. too tedious).

But I guess that's a discussion for an entirely new thread.

Replies:   robberhands
Crumbly Writer
Updated:

@red61544

If the story deviates far from the path to that end, he loses me as a reader. Since Mark Twain could write "Tom Sawyer" in 229 pages, I'll allow SOL authors 2 more pages so Tom can have his way with Becky Thatcher, but no more!

I agree, but alas, few SOL authors have the training in writing short stories that Twain did. As Twain himself said (I can't find the quote offhand), 'Sorry this letter is so long, but I didn't have time to make it shorter'. It takes hard work and dedication to make a story as short as it needs to be, it doesn't take much focus to let it meander wherever it wants to roam. That's the literary equivalent of herding cats.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
robberhands

@Crumbly Writer

Never ending stories are a sign of hobbyists, rather than authors serious about their craft. :(

I don't care what others perceive as professional or amateurish. I want to read an author's story, not his work résumé. As long as I enjoy reading a story, it does not bother me there is no end in sight, quite the opposite.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@robberhands

I don't care what others perceive as professional or amateurish. I want to read an author's story, not his work résumé. As long as I enjoy reading a story, it does not bother me there is no end in sight, quite the opposite.

On that we can agree, I prefer the 'delightful failure' of a tremendous story where the author was unable to successfully conclude the story, much more than I am a horrendous success, where the story is successfully completed but it generally unappealing. Several of my all-time favorite stories on SOL have been red-striped for a long, long time.

Still, there's much to be said for writing towards an end, rather than simply 'throwing up on a page', where you dump your every thought without holding back all those elements which don't directly advance the plot or develop the characters (the many 'harem' stories reflect this, where readers give up caring who the next 'wife' is, because each eventually becomes yet another hollow cardboard figure in the story).

Like many, I don't object to those long, never-ending stories, but I'd prefer if they'd eventually clean and tighten them up eventually, rather than leaving them as 'stream of consciousness' rants.

Replies:   robberhands
red61544

@robberhands

I haven't offered "permittance"; I've merely stated the limits of my tolerance. No one needs my permittance for their verbosity; many do it well enough on their own.

Replies:   robberhands
Crumbly Writer

@Crumbly Writer

As Twain himself said (I can't find the quote offhand)

I had to do a bit of research, but the reason I couldn't find the quote is that it's been attributed to a whole slew of authors. It turns out, the first recorded use of this term was by the French mathematician and philosopher Blaise Pascal, who wrote:

Je n'ai fait celle-ci plus longue que parce que je n'ai pas eu le loisir de la faire plus courte.

For those not up on their high-school French, here's a summary of his reference in a 1676 French book about language, "The Art of Speaking":

These Inventions require much wit, and application; and therefore it was, that Mons. Pascal (an Author very famous for his felicity in comprising much in few words) excused himself wittily for the extravagant length of one of his Letters, by saying, he had not time to make it shorter.

Which in itself exemplifies the need for simplification and shortening!

Like many famous quotes, I suspect this one was so profound and popular, that many famous figures quoted it, and were then attributed with have first said it themselves.

robberhands
Updated:

@red61544

I haven't offered "permittance";


Are you sure you didn't?

...Mark Twain could write "Tom Sawyer" in 229 pages, I'll allow SOL authors 2 more pages...

Replies:   red61544
red61544

@robberhands

Are you sure you didn't?

I'm sure; I stated a preference for what I will read. But, if you really want to continue this pissing contest, we can.

imsly1

Does anyone really know if Jeff & Arlene is still a work in progress or as they say In the Can already... it seems RoustWriter doesn't frequent the forums much..so it could have been finished years ago...just posted painfully slow...

tendertouch

@Crumbly Writer

My favorite 'hot mess' was from some time ago, and I can't even remember the name now, but each chapter started with the same "3s" routine, where the author would detail the characters early morning 'shit, shower and shave' before he started the day.


Sounds like Cammie Sue and sequels.

I suppose you could say Oyster50's Smart Girl stories fall into this category and it's probably the only one I'm still paying attention to. I mostly bookmark stories and wait for them to be done. If they keep going and going and going I delete the bookmark and forget about them.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Capt. Zapp

@Wheezer

I still look forward to the new chapters of Number 7's Second Chance.

Crumbly Writer

@tendertouch

Sounds like Cammie Sue and sequels.

That was the one. The 'Day in the Life' approach is a pretty common storytelling technique on SOL. It takes some experience before most switch over to 'episodic' chapters, which focus on specific plot points. Back when I was using 'day in the life' chapters, the sizes ran 6,000 to 14,000 words, and I had many more chapters. Since abandoning it, my chapters run from 1,500 to 8,000 words.

robberhands

@Crumbly Writer

Contemplating the usual length of your posts, I agree, you should clean and tighten your thoughts rather than leaving them as 'stream of consciousness' rants.

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