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Better Author

triunique_1
Updated:

I have seen many things on stories posted that if the author would go on site and look at his/her stories after it is posted would make great improvements in some stories and most Blogs. Also if some would look at other authors stories would help some new/old authors

The question is, is the story or blog the way you wanted it. One author speaks to himself using two different fonts. When it gets posted it is one font. (he said - She said???) another questionable practice stating "Something chapter ?" without giving the story title in a Blog. That's ok if he/she has only one story?? Just try and put yourself in your readers britches.

Replies:   Gauthier  Duna  Sterling
Gauthier

@triunique_1

Possibly, but would you see the difference, for some reason I doubt it...

Replies:   Ernest Bywater  Gauthier
Ernest Bywater

@Gauthier

Actually, for some authors you would see a difference. I know a few of us actually revisit and revise our stories sometime after posting. In general, it means very little to the story since the content and plot don't change, but it does mean the story is easier to read and flows better. I've copies of my stories as they were first written and the latest versions after revisions I made when my writing improved, and there is no story line change but it is a much more polished and readable story.

However, I do note a lot of authors have rotten story blurbs and blogs that could do with some fixing.

Invid Fan

Well, blogs are just these temporary things that reflect the moment they're posted. They'll vanish in a year or two, so errors there mean nothing. My editor will often find things he missed once the chapter is posted, so that's a positive. I may or may not correct it on SOL, but my copy is changed.

Crumbly Writer

I agree with Gauthier, most changes you'd never notice unless the plot itself changes. I did a complete revision of one six book series, and got a lot of 'I don't notice anything different'.

I've also had a professional editor tear a chapter apart and I rebuilt it, only to have beta-readers say 'I can't see any difference'.

Readers recognize new plot lines, but don't really notice the quality of the writing. If a story is written well, the writing should be invisible. It's only when the writing sucks that it stands out and grabs your attention.

Finally, about authors Not going back to revise a story, each book reaches a no-go phrase, where simply reviewing a chapter makes you (the author) want to revise/rewrite the entire book. That's generally where they decide to never make changes to it again, because they'd rather explore new stories than waste their time polishing up the stories that everyone's read before.

Story descriptions are different, though. I you screwed one of those up, there's simply no excuse for not cleaning it up.

Gauthier

@Gauthier

For some times, I have bugged Lazeez to have a stories improved feed.
This feed would list corrected stories which did not warrant to appear in the New or Updated page listing. At least that would be an incentive for author to put back corrections made to SOL. And maybe avoid absurdities like some authors spitting chapters or removing and then reposting to be listed again on New/Update

Possibly, but would you see the difference,...


Just to be clear, my opinion is that correcting errors is a good practice and improve the reader experience.

Maybe I should have said instead that *his* post was a prime evidence of *his* claims, and would undoubtedly benefit greatly from an editor.

Ernest Bywater

@Gauthier

I post in my blog when I revise a story and many readers comment on the results. I suspect that'd be the best way because those who really want to know will follow your blog, and the rest don't really care if you've done a revision.

red61544

Even if readers never notice the differences after revisions or rewrites, I think a good author still does it because he takes pride in what he writes. That pride shines through in the best stories!

Crumbly Writer

@Gauthier

And maybe avoid absurdities like some authors spitting chapters or removing and then reposting to be listed again on New/Update

Gauthier, I've fallen prey to this. I sometimes divide stories, after the fact, based on reader responses. I broke the very first chapter of a story to make it read better, and was disturbed the story now listed a new conclusion since I'd only make small changes to the first chapter.

In other words, I doubt this is a nefarious act, but is probably an example of authors doing just what you're suggesting.

By the way, I try to post corrections, which I have a Lot of, but I frequently forget to add them to SOL, and since there's usually a delay in posting, I don't always remember to double check that the changes went thru. :(

Duna

@triunique_1

Because I am not too good in English and when I found an good editor I have my story fixed by them. Sometimes the original editor(s) are average and a better proofreader could help me more. I check my editors and I reedit bigger changes in the text after edition. Sometimes the editor changes directions, intent in the story.
Now the official translater of Irwin Shaw "The Young Lions" helps me. He fixed the remained mistakes in my first story and now he is fixing my eighth story. I like SOL practice it changes the newer version in average after 2 hours.

Jay Cantrell

I might be the worst offender of never looking at my old stories again once they're on the site. Most of the time I don't bother to look at them after my proofreader is done with the chapters. A reader suggested a Wiki-like function where the reader could correct spelling and grammar as they were going through the story. I'd volunteer to be the guinea pig if Lazeez ever wants to give that a shot.

Replies:   Gauthier
Gauthier
Updated:

@Jay Cantrell

I'd volunteer to be the guinea pig if Lazeez ever wants to give that a shot.


Lazeez already did that a few years back, there is a link on the home:

http://storieswiki.org/

Editing however is restricted to users with a login to the wiki.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@Gauthier

I don't mind people offering advice and editorial help, but I won't be using the storieswiki because of one condition:

Don't be afraid to contribute, as long as you're willing to put whatever you put here into the public domain.

I wish to retain copyright control of my stories.

Lazeez Jiddan (Webmaster)

@Ernest Bywater

Don't be afraid to contribute, as long as you're willing to put whatever you put here into the public domain.

I wish to retain copyright control of my stories.


A real wiki can only be public domain. If you post a story there and somebody ads a single sentence to make it better, then that somebody has copyright over that sentence and you don't. So who owns copyright of the whole work now?

I declared the story-wiki concept a failure a long time ago because of this.

Those who can write and come up with a story concept and structure would want to keep copyright and control over the work.

storywiki.org has been dead (zero activity) for over five years now.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@Lazeez Jiddan (Webmaster)

You're exactly right, and why I didn't participate and don't or won't.

That's a whole different ballgame to asking some one for editing advice or taking editing advice.

Sterling

@triunique_1

Over the years I kept a file of typos. Some were reported by readers, but most were things I'd notice when rereading them for enjoyment. I wasn't sure if I'd do anything with them. But this past spring/summer, I decided to make a website on ASSTR (I'm also "Sterling" there) and ported all my stories from text-only form to web form. In the process, I fixed the typos. For my earliest writing where I didn't even follow the "one speaker per paragraph" rule, I fixed that up a bit. But I've rarely gone deeper into a story to fix things with the plot, for instance. That feels a bit like rewriting history. I'd rather think about new stories than revising old ones.

I still post my stories to SOL whenever they qualify, but because of underage characters they often don't.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Sterling

I fixed the typos. For my earliest writing where I didn't even follow the "one speaker per paragraph" rule, I fixed that up a bit. But I've rarely gone deeper into a story to fix things with the plot, for instance. That feels a bit like rewriting history. I'd rather think about new stories than revising old ones.

Every author has their own level of story "abandonment". Yours is a bit more extreme, where you wouldn't even correct typos, but everyone draws their line in the same at a different place. Some authors consider past stories as being 'in the past', but most of us at least fixes typos of the fly.

For me, I encourage reader feedback, and stray comments have generated whole new threads, new subplots and even new books. However, my cutoff point is when I find I can't make changes to a book without wanting to rewrite the entire thing. Then I put it aside. As you said, ones effort is better applies to new stories than to old ones. I still fix typos, but I refuse to read beyond the section being patched.

Daydreamz

I am always fixing up my stories. I re-read them a lot. I change the endings, the titles, blurb, and the body text.

Although I have reservations about the rating system it does often help me find things that are wrong, and maybe how I intended the story to go at an intuitive level but didn't make happen first time round. Though I'm someone who'll start a story with characters and a situation, not knowing where it will end.

Generally I do see scores creep up a bit after changing something major.

I really wish we could edit, in fact, instead of having to bug Lazeez with a resubmission.

Crumbly Writer

@Daydreamz

I really wish we could edit, in fact, instead of having to bug Lazeez with a resubmission.

You can always revise/repost a chapter or 23. I do it frequently, even years after I first post it. Like you Daydreamz, I'll also think of better chapter titles, though I'll rarely change the basic plot points.

Replies:   Daydreamz
Daydreamz

@Crumbly Writer

Thus encouraged CW I'll go resubmit that last chapter, in which as too often I didn't always use quite enough words, thanks... :)

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Daydreamz

Thus encouraged CW I'll go resubmit that last chapter, in which as too often I didn't always use quite enough words

For years, every time I glanced at a chapter it would grow. My average chapter was 6,000 to 10,000 words, with some going as high as 14,000.

It's only with my next book that I managed to control that and learned how to 'cut'. I don't quite 'slice & dice', but at least it gets a tiny bit tighter with each review. But then it got out of control. One story I was working on started turning in chapters only 2,000 words, and I had to shoot it to put it out of it's misery!

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@Daydreamz

When I revise a story it's mostly a case of changing the word choices to make it read easier, fixing typos, or changing the sentence structure or order to make the meaning clearer. Only once did I do anything more extreme, and that was to change the location of a place used because a reader pointed out I couldn't use the original due to their operational restrictions, so I moved to another facility of the same type nearby, and adjusted that part of the story to suit. In that case the plot stayed the same, just the name changed and the way to get there changed.

You can post an amendment to any chapter or number of chapters, or the whole story. Lazeez and his crew don't mind the work, so don't let that slow you down fixing things.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Ernest Bywater

@Crumbly Writer

The first story I posted on-line (a long time ago and far, far away - about a thousand kilometres from where I live now) was Ed's New Life (not at SOL yet due to contractual limitations). The story had 165,000 words in it, and the publisher had a limit of 100,000 words in a story, so I had to slice and dice it down, ended up at 112,000 words after I cut out a third of them (mostly in minor scenes - many of them sex scenes I felt I could lose without any plot loss), and they took it at that, anyway. They decided the story was worth taking despite it breaking their two top rules - it was the first story with graphic sex they ever carried as well as the first over the 100,000 word limit. Thus, I learned to slice and dice very early in my writing career.

richardshagrin

Robert Heinlein had that kind of editing problem on his juveniles and definitely for Stranger in a Strange Land. I think the definitive version finally published after the edited first edition was about a third longer. Not than anyone posting here is a writer like him, but it looks like some things don't change no matter how much of a grand master you are.

Crumbly Writer

@Ernest Bywater

You can post an amendment to any chapter or number of chapters, or the whole story. Lazeez and his crew don't mind the work, so don't let that slow you down fixing things.

One word of warning: be careful changing the size of chapters on a finished story. I did that once, reposted the entire story after splitting the first chapter into two different chapters, and it listed as a 'new addition' (chapter 24) to the completed series. Got everyone excited about a minor change.

Ernest, I never got that lesson in cutting stories. Instead, my reader encourage more detail while I write incredibly complex stories. While my editors are reluctant to cut or change my language, I kept seeing more details to add (or scenes to flesh out).

I struggled to improve my pacing with "Stranded", and to improve my editing in "Seeding Hope". Instead, the techniques I learned in "Stranded" were hard to duplicate, and "Seeding" didn't end up any shorter. However, I'm finally figuring it out, but it's a slow process.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
richardshagrin

How would you feel if the first story you ever wrote was generally accepted as the best one of your career?

Hope keeps us all going, not just about writing.

Did I mention I was a pessimist? Today is the best you are going to feel for the rest of your life. And prices today are as low as they ever will be. With the possible exception of hardware with computer chips in it.

Lets hope I am wrong.

Ernest Bywater

@Crumbly Writer

It's been my experience there are situations where there isn't enough detail, and others with too much detail. I spent many months helping Ascending Author edit DVA for his print book series of it. The major cuts were to remove most of the technical information he had and a large number of the sex scenes. I told him his best bet would be to take out 90% of the technical details and put them into a separate book as a technical aide for the readers as a free e-book. That sliced a hell of a lot out of the main story and made it a lot more free flowing.

In my own works I've had readers get upset because of the detail I go into in some things, such as the descriptions of the garage in Shiloh the Manor and repairs in Michael's Mansion and the farm in Mack but included images because early readers wanted more detail and the pictures made it easier to visualise for them. So it's a very hard line to draw in a story.

richardshagrin

In Michael's Mansion (sorry, I don't think my computer does italics) if the details were left out it would be a very short story. The details were what made it interesting. Keep up that level of detail with that kind of story. If it were an aside in a Damsels story, no, you don't need to go into everlasting facts about how to build a fortress. It depends on the plot or "what the story is about". Stories about building things need details. Stories about building harems probably need some sex, or much sex if you follow the SOL tags. If you are going to base the book around a space flight you don't need to give the audience a copy of spacecraft blueprints. On the other hand, the O rings are important for a story about the Challenger disaster. Can I say writing is all about the details. Which ones you put in the story (it was a dark and stormy night) and which ones you leave out. (the dog didn't bark.) Well that one gets in later, in the Hound of the Baskervilles. Lets recast that sentence. Details matter, but some details are more important than others. Its you authors job to decide which ones to highlight and which to either leave out or de-emphasize. I'm glad I am just a reviewer so I don't have to make all those decisions. Three paragraphs, I liked it, you will too, 8,8,8 review over.

Ernest Bywater

@richardshagrin

If it were an aside in a Damsels story, no, you don't need to go into everlasting facts about how to build a fortress.


And that's exactly why the detail on the cavalry wagons and the supersized caltrops, but not the housing or the fortress walls in my DiD stories. I put in detail where I feel it's needed for the reader to understand without having to go check wikipedia in the middle of the story.

Ernest Bywater
Updated:

@richardshagrin

Slight digression - you can enter the italics and other formatting into the posts by using the code tags listed under the box Post.

i = italics start

/i= italics end

b= bold start

/b= bold ends

you use the angle brackets above the comma and full stop around them < .. > so they read as bracket then code then bracket with no spaces - if I included an example it would activate and not show.

You just type it in either side of the text you want to have affected.

Crumbly Writer

@richardshagrin

How would you feel if the first story you ever wrote was generally accepted as the best one of your career?


Actually, Richard, I've long been convinced that's the rule, and not the exception, including most of the major literary figures of the past hundred years. My first story has always been my most downloaded and achieved the best sales (thought part of that is building on each subsequent books sales boost).

Authors work with themes, and an author's first story typically expresses those themes more directly and honestly than his later works. The more experience he gets, the more convoluted and disguised his themes become, and rarely do the themes that an author focuses on change much.

I've always preferred authors' first works. It's nothing personal about you.

Replies:   richardshagrin
richardshagrin

@Crumbly Writer

Makes it hard to improve. Fortunately, I think, it isn't always true. There are science fiction writers who had better stories as they got more experience. Somewhere I mentioned Robert Heinlein whose first stories were in the old Astounding SF magazine. Asimov as well, although I think he started when he was like 16. Of course they were guided by John W. Campbell. He was crotchety at least when I met him at a world science fiction convention in Heidelberg in 1970. But likely he was a better editor than most here. Of course he had the advantage of paying real money. A couple of hundred dollars was important in the late 1940s.

I am pretty sure RAH said you need to write a million words until you get to the good stuff. I don't think you have reached that yet. Lets hope we all get better, feel better, and eventually get better than better. Good, Better, Best. Hope for the Best. Even Superman can look forward to being Superior man and then Supreme man.

Ernest Bywater

@richardshagrin

How would you feel if the first story you ever wrote was generally accepted as the best one of your career?


Oddly enough, my writing style has improved since then and I know I can revise it and make it a lot better. Something I plan on doing when I get the time to do so. Some of my stories since then are better than the first one, just in different markets.

I tend to write stories in the 40,000 to 100,000 word range, yet I have six stories in the two top 50 short story lists, with none in the top long story lists. Yet, of the 27 actually stories as Ernest Bywater I've 22 score better than 7.5 and the three of the ones under that I expected lower scores due to their controversial topics with the lowest at 6.55; as Ernest Edwards there are 21 stories with most in the 7 to 8.5 range, and the lowest is 6.95. Thus I feel I must be doing OK as an author and people like what I write, when I can think of something worth making a story out of. Between what i write and co-write there's 1.5 million downloads as well. So there must be an interest out there.

Replies:   richardshagrin
richardshagrin

@Ernest Bywater

I like yours. So much a lot of the time I don't wait for the story to complete, I read each chapter as it is posted. Considering I get 16 stories or parts of stories a day, you have captured a significant part of my market share. Not that it makes you any money, but maybe it might make you smile. I don't review your stories because they always seem to get reviewed by someone else first. Or when its part of a series, how can I do justice to installment n when I would need to talk about all the story before that part. I don't have any formal information on how long a review can be, but I bet there would be one if I submitted one long enough to cover the Adams chronicles. And Lazeez is pretty clear, one story per review. I can mention there is a series, I got away with a couple of names at least once, but it wouldn't be hard to take away my Reviewer press pass and I'd like to keep it.

I deserve a high five for not calling it the Adams Family.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@richardshagrin

In general I write each story to be able to stand alone, although some do flow onto each other, such as the Al Adams Chaos Calls stories where each stand alone story fits into a large story arc. The only exception to that is the Clan Amir series I write as Ernest Edwards. Again, each story stands alone, but they're much more closely tied together in that the majority are short stories as vignettes of one persons life. Not all of these are at SOL yet, contractual issues with the first publisher, but will be eventually.

One review I know personally and he gets a preview of the stories before posting, so I suspect he's the one who beats you to it because he gets the whole story before I start to post it at SOL.

PS that's why I have only one 'D' in the name.

pj
Updated:

@richardshagrin

How would you feel if the first story you ever wrote was generally accepted as the best one of your career?

You mean like Joseph Heller? ;)

- Actually my first full story probably was. I wrote it in Wordstar. I was still reading a lot of print erotica, mainly Grove Press and the like. I recall stumbling on it and not believing I wrote it, it was so good.
Too bad I lost it many years ago.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer
Updated:

@pj


You mean like Joseph Heller? ;)


Or Harper Lee. 'D She only published one story, the other was rejected by her editor as not being worthy of printing.

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