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The demands of readers

Clee_Hill

This may be my personal experience, or personal to the stories I write, but have other authors found that some of the people who email you about your story are rather demanding in terms of what they get?

For example, I have a slow paced story which features a MacGuffin whose actions are not screamingly obvious, and whose operation emerges as the story progresses. Plotting and real life dictate that my characters do not drop everything and devote everything they have to figuring out what this antique thing is, something which is especially difficult given my protagonists are teenagers, yet I have had emails from readers asking 'tell me everything, tell me now' seeming because they want to know everything all at once. Do they read spoilers for other forms of entertainment, perhaps?

My story is also a slow one in terms of the sexual pacing - as indicated by the appropriate tags - but again, I've received emails asking for (and even showing me) the kinds of activities the readers want to see, from me, in the next chapter, regardless that such an abrupt change of pace would fit neither plot nor character.

I've even had some not so politely correspondence along the lines of publish the whole of it now, as though the writer should produce what the reader wants, when the reader wants it, and how the reader wants it.

This is a free site, the stories are free, we writers are unpaid, yet certainly I've been receiving some emails from people who seem to think they have some form of entitlement in terms of content, pacing, or even style.

I can understand that the slightly curious fact that the readers can often get direct access to the writers may give said readers a (false) sense of involvement or engagement with the story, but when did the readers here get feel so entitled and be so demanding?

Anyone else? Or just my personal 'luck'?

robberhands

@Clee_Hill

... have other authors found that some of the people who email you about your story are rather demanding in terms of what they get?

Yes.

Switch Blayde

@Clee_Hill

I've had readers tell me where they want the story to go. I tell them the story is written but not completely posted yet.

Others want to know in advance. I tell them to be patient.

Sometimes I simply tell them "This is the story I wrote. Write your own version."

sejintenej

Clee_Hill; there are 10,000 different readers with 20,000 different requirements. It's the same in real life - all you can do is to try to satisfy a percentage and ignore the rest. There is no magic formula unless you write music for Abba and their writers fluffed once or twice.

What you CAN do is to classify those complaints; as an example if a majority say you should make your story faster paced then that would probably help with the majority of readers including those who didn't actually comment. What does your editor say? - he/she should be your fount of advice

As for "publish it all now" I think not. Have you finished the entire story yet? Has your editor given it the thumbs up? Have there been comments such that it might be advisable to revise the rest of the story? Is the story so long that I am going to take a year to read it (I prefer weekly instalments which allow me time for other things)?

Crumbly Writer

@Clee_Hill

Yeah, I've gotten a lot of that over the years. But the good news is, it gets better over time as readers become accustomed to your personal style to storytelling.

My stories all start VERY slow, as the character are faced with something mysterious, and only slowly begin to figure out what's going on, discovering how it effects everything else each time they learn anything new.

I hate to say it, but part of the problem may be your approach. I've gotten better at this type of story, so I've gotten fairly good about the various pacing issues (i.e. keeping readers happy with the information revealed). The characters acknowledge that they don't know what's going on, but it's clear they're working on it, and they have fairly frequent discussions, where they debate various theories—leading to a lot of red-herrings, but also allowing readers to feel like their a part of figuring out what's real and which are incorrect conjecture.

The pacing is essential in these types of 'slowly unfolding' stories. The 'Ah Ha!' moments are essential, and every time I have one, I follow it up with an in-depth discussion by the characters where they lay out what the discoveries might mean to them. This way, the readers don't feel that necessary information isn't being kept for them for some 'dramatic' moment later.

Clee_Hill

Switch Blayde - yeah, it kiind of amazes me that if they want that kind of story, why not do what I'm doing and write it for themselves. I can't think of another context where a reader would tell an author what to write.

sejintenej - I do listen, and where someone says something pertinent, I will take it on board. I think I was just venting a little frustration at those who just want something else. Why tell me? If you want something else, go find it, not expect me to switch and change for your benefit.

Crumbly Writer - I do keep dropping things in to show development in the 'not-foregrounded' elements, I think I was venting at the consequences of the 'everything now' culture. As for pacing, I prefer slow, so I write slow, and I do cut sections out when I feel they add nothing, but it is a balancing act.

Lesson - keep true to what I want, and it isn't just me that gets the occasional baffling email. Ho hum. Back to imagining the Welsh summer and naked teens.

Replies:   Bondi Beach
Ernest Bywater

I've had a few readers message with where they think the story should go, but after I respond it's already finished and uploaded on the site with delayed display settings they tend not to send similar messages in the future after they know I won't involve them in the story. I do still get some messages about ideas for sequels.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Pixy

This is a free site, the stories are free, we writers are unpaid


Not really, not really, true.

This is a pay site with a small free to use section. Many readers do indeed pay to read work here, so I can understand why some might be a little bit demanding, because, in their eyes, they have paid for a product.

Personally, I just ignore the demanding ones- If they want a story to go a certain way, then they can write it that way themselves.

Replies:   Argon  Crumbly Writer
Not_a_ID
Updated:

@Clee_Hill


For example, I have a slow paced story which features a MacGuffin whose actions are not screamingly obvious, and whose operation emerges as the story progresses. Plotting and real life dictate that my characters do not drop everything and devote everything they have to figuring out what this antique thing is, something which is especially difficult given my protagonists are teenagers, yet I have had emails from readers asking 'tell me everything, tell me now' seeming because they want to know everything all at once. Do they read spoilers for other forms of entertainment, perhaps?


As a somewhat guilty party, anything I do comment on is wholly speculation on my part. If I'm (remotely) on track as to what's going on and the author initiates dialogue in response, great. If not, oh well.

What that feedback would be is signaling on things I like/dislike or otherwise "keyed" onto so the author is aware that somebody read it that way, be they right or wrong. (I did a LOT of this over on ASN while Seahawk was working on his Mailgirls story, and I had partners in crime as well. He took the feedback appropriately, most of it was ignored, and we were wrong more often than right, and we were quite happy with that)

Sometimes it can also be something of a warning that they might be entering territory that once entered, may be hard to extricate things from, so be careful of what/how you do it.

But as to "spoilers." .. My knowing what the destination is doesn't normally ruin things for me, how the story gets there is far more important. That doesn't mean I seek them out, but they're not going to ruin the experience for me.

So some of those "demanding" commenters may be anything but, although they may certainly look like they are.

Of course, then you have the 1 bombers.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Argon

@Pixy

Not really, not really, true.

This is a pay site with a small free to use section. Many readers do indeed pay to read work here, so I can understand why some might be a little bit demanding, because, in their eyes, they have paid for a product.

Not really true either. They contribute to keep the site up, we write to fill it with stories. Volunteer editors make the stories more readable and enjoyable. The staff moves the posting queue along and keeps the site online. A site such as SOL is almost like a living organisms, with each part contributing to survival and proliferation.
Am I philosophical today or what?
Or is it the Glenmorangie talking? :o)

Argon

@Clee_Hill

This is a free site, the stories are free, we writers are unpaid, yet certainly I've been receiving some emails from people who seem to think they have some form of entitlement in terms of content, pacing, or even style.

I can understand that the slightly curious fact that the readers can often get direct access to the writers may give said readers a (false) sense of involvement or engagement with the story, but when did the readers here get feel so entitled and be so demanding?

I've had a number of readers with unreasonable complaints/demands, but they are a minority. Then again, people who want more of your writing and quicker posting may be your most steadfast followers. Just explain to them your reasoning and ask them to be patient. Most will relent and send you a nice reply. If not, stop answering and ignore them like you would ignore a spoiled child.
Others may want you to serve their personal kinks. It is amazing what scenarios people have dreamt up for my characters. Again, explaining that the story is already written, or that I feel unable/uncomfortable to include a particular fetish always helped.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
awnlee jawking

@Clee_Hill

For example, I have a slow paced story which features a MacGuffin whose actions are not screamingly obvious, and whose operation emerges as the story progresses.


When the story first started, my first impression was that the pacing was too slow. Then as the characterisation unfolded, I changed my opinion. The interactions between the protagonists are just as important as the revelations about the MacGuffin and I admire the way you've given them such different personalities and voices - that's a very rare skill for novice writers. I feel as though you could feed me a random line of dialogue from the story and I could tell you who said it.

I hope you ignore the complainers and continue exactly as you have been doing.

AJ

AJ

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Bondi Beach

@Clee_Hill

Lesson - keep true to what I want, and it isn't just me that gets the occasional baffling email. Ho hum. Back to imagining the Welsh summer and naked teens.


Excellent plan. Especially the naked teens.

The readers I hear from are pretty good-natured. I've had a few "Wouldn't it be nice if ..." comments, plus a few that indicate some confusion about who is the author of the story and who is the narrator, and what is fiction and what isn't. Such as, "Did you really do that with ...?"

As for "Write your own story," one of mine (never mind which one) came out of an exchange with a reader who told me about an experience but refused my suggestion he write it up as a story. "You do it," he said, so I did.

We've had no little debate here about the question of what, if anything, the reader owes the author and vice versa. I confine myself to believing if the author says "Let me tell you a story," he or she has an obligation to the readers/listeners to finish it.

(Yes, it's the author's story and he can do whatever he likes with it. Got it. That doesn't change the obligation, in my view.)

Finishing the story before beginning to post solves most of the "Uh oh, where do I go now and how do I get X out of this?" problems.

Happy New Year to all.

bb

Replies:   Not_a_ID  PotomacBob
Not_a_ID
Updated:

@Bondi Beach


We've had no little debate here about the question of what, if anything, the reader owes the author and vice versa. I confine myself to believing if the author says "Let me tell you a story," he or she has an obligation to the readers/listeners to finish it.

(Yes, it's the author's story and he can do whatever he likes with it. Got it. That doesn't change the obligation, in my view.)


The author should write according to their personal tastes and whims of their muse. Reader feedback has its uses, but with potentially commercial work in play. Sometimes it is best avoided like the plague, as it can open doors for potential lawsuits later. Much like prior discussions regarding issues with fan fiction and commercial products.

Replies:   Bondi Beach
Bondi Beach

@Not_a_ID

Sometimes it is best avoided like the plague, as it can open doors for potential lawsuits later. Much like prior discussions regarding issues with fan fiction and commercial products.


I've heard movie studios won't read unsolicited scripts for that reason, i.e., a subsequent claim the studio took the idea without payment, but I'm not sure I've heard of a successful author doing that. Do they? Have their agent read their mail?

bb

Crumbly Writer

@Ernest Bywater

I've had a few readers message with where they think the story should go, but after I respond it's already finished and uploaded on the site with delayed display settings they tend not to send similar messages in the future after they know I won't involve them in the story. I do still get some messages about ideas for sequels.

Like you, I won't typically change an already written story (i.e. like adding new chapters or additional plot elements), but I will if I perceive there's a problem with how readers are responding to the story. This is where the individual chapter score variations come in. If the story is chugging along, and the scores suddenly drop, and it wasn't anticipated, I'll try to figure out what set the readers off—typically it's either a character or a situation they don't particularly like. In that case, I'll often throw in a short element, or even a full chapter if it seems called for, addressing the readers concerns. That alone won't resolve the issue, but it buys you time with the readers, so they'll keep going, knowing that you're aware of it, so the issue can eventually work itself out in the story.

Hint: A LOT of readers DO NOT like 'strong' women characters, thinking they're not 'feminine' enough!

Crumbly Writer

@Pixy

Personally, I just ignore the demanding ones- If they want a story to go a certain way, then they can write it that way themselves.

Many of the regular SOL authors, including me, started out just that way. We read just one too many stories which seemed to falter at a critical place and think 'Damn, I could write a better story than this!'

If it wasn't for the many bad authors—especially those who seem chronically challenged to finish their stories—we wouldn't have anywhere near the amount of excellent authors here that we do. Few of us ever thought about ourselves as frustrated authors until we'd been reading here for a certain amount of time.

Crumbly Writer

@Not_a_ID

So some of those "demanding" commenters may be anything but, although they may certainly look like they are.

I've had MANY discussions like that over the years, and I'm always glad to pontificate on my process and where I'm taking the direction I'm taking the story, though I almost never specify spoilers—except sometimes here on the forum.

On the flip side of that, while I rarely change an existing stories, sometimes those suggestions will work their way under my skin, and after considering it for sometime (a couple months), it often germinates a sequel, where I specially address those issues, building on them and taking the story in all new directions.

Few of my Series started out that way. Most were simply single stories which, once written, took on a life of their own.

So, Not_an_ID, feel free to carry on. I appreciate constructive feedback. I'm not about to spoil a great story, but I'll listen to any advice anyone wants to give me.

Ernest Bywater

@Crumbly Writer

Like you, I won't typically change an already written story


Although I won't change the story, I have been known to add an author's note in a revision due to a reader's comment seeking clarification of something in a story. I think I've only done that once or twice, I tend to put such information on my blog page.

Crumbly Writer

@Argon

Then again, people who want more of your writing and quicker posting may be your most steadfast followers. Just explain to them your reasoning and ask them to be patient. Most will relent and send you a nice reply. If not, stop answering and ignore them like you would ignore a spoiled child.

This is an excellent point. Most of my 1 bombers—back when I was still able to identify them—were some of my most loyal fans, reading each chapter within a day or two of it's release and voting on each chapter.

After I threw in a reference to Fox News in one story, they felt I was making the story "too political" (I wasn't, I was just trying to portray a single character's motivations) they began 1-bombing me, despite the fact they continued to devour my stories. Whenever I'd write a particularly exciting chapter, those 1s would all become 3s, before dropping back down again, so they were still actively involved.

I finally explained to them that, if they continued to 1-bomb me, they wouldn't be able to respond when I did something else they disliked. Alas, they ignored me, so I brought back the character they disliked—much to my other readers delight—and after that they changed their ratings to 3 across the board, voting a full 5 for the exciting chapters.

Now tell me those readers aren't involved!

Crumbly Writer

@awnlee jawking

When the story first started, my first impression was that the pacing was too slow. Then as the characterisation unfolded, I changed my opinion. The interactions between the protagonists are just as important as the revelations about the MacGuffin and I admire the way you've given them such different personalities and voices - that's a very rare skill for novice writers. I feel as though you could feed me a random line of dialogue from the story and I could tell you who said it.

Typically, for most of us, our first chapters are our weakest—not our strongest as they should be—simply because we as authors, aren't fully into the story and don't yet know where the characters will take it. Once we do get into it, it moves along at a more consistent pace.

If Clee_Hill's readers complained about the slow pace during those early chapters, I hate to suggest it, but you may want to rewrite those opening chapters. If you do so once you're already into the story, your writing will be more consistent, and you characters even more engaging. Unfortunately, on the flip side, the characters themselves many times will take the story in an entirely new direction. However, if you only rewrite a couple (one or two) chapters, they aren't likely to take it far afield, yet!

Replies:   awnlee jawking
helmut_meukel

@Crumbly Writer

Hint: A LOT of readers DO NOT like 'strong' women characters, thinking they're not 'feminine' enough!


I think they are afraid of strong woman.

I liked Jane Rizzoli and Kate Beckett in their TV series.

In David Weber's Honorverse I favor four 'strong' woman characters: Honor Harrington, Michelle Henke, Abigail Hearns and Helen Zilwicki.

In John Ringo's "Black Tide Rising" series it's 13yo Faith Smith, in his "Princess of Wands" it's Barbara Everette.

Then James H. Schmitz's "Federation of the Hub" stories: Telzey Amberdon, Trigger Argee and Dr. Nile Etland.

In Wen Spencer's "Elfhome" series: Tinker, Jane Kryskill, Law Munroe, the nine years old twin sisters Louise and Jillian Mayer.

Oyster50's Smart Girls.

HM.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
PotomacBob

@Bondi Beach

if the author says "Let me tell you a story," he or she has an obligation to the readers/listeners to finish it.


When I first became a Premium member of SOL, a good many years ago, I shared that sentiment, and was irritated with authors who did not finish stories I liked. But over time, I've changed my mind. I now realize that many would-be authors use SOL as a sort of training ground for themselves. They start a story and get stuck. They start a story and real life gets in the way. They start a story and the new missus issues an ultimatum. Worst of all, Saint Peter came knocking.
I still wish for finished stories, but I also enjoy watching the authors who struggle with completion.
Throughout it all I simply admire the people who have the ability to dream up all these stories and the pluck to tackle writing them, whether they finish or not. It's something I wish I could do. Alas, I lack the talent.

richardshagrin

@PotomacBob

It's something I wish I could do. Alas, I lack the talent.

Do like I did, become a reviewer. You wrote your letter in English without any obvious errors. Ask Management, I suspect he will say yes. Look at all those other reviewers, except Celeste, you can't be worse than most of them.

robberhands

@Crumbly Writer

Hint: A LOT of readers DO NOT like 'strong' women characters, thinking they're not 'feminine' enough!

I can't imagine you received 'A LOT' of feedback from readers telling you 'I DO NOT like 'strong' women characters, they're not 'feminine' enough!'. I assume that's your personal conclusion.

Furthermore, I don't believe you suggest, writing stories without 'strong' woman characters. So, what exactly are you hinting at?

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
robberhands
Updated:

@PotomacBob

When I first became a Premium member of SOL, a good many years ago, I shared that sentiment, and was irritated with authors who did not finish stories I liked. But over time, I've changed my mind.

I simply envision the alternative. Demanding an author has to finish a story he started also could mean that many of the dreaded 'Incomplete and Inactive' stories would have never been published. Would I feel better then? My personal answer is no.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Ernest Bywater

The major reason I want to finish the story before I post is it means I'm not locked into something, I can go back to change something at the start if it makes the ending easier. Thus it's a lot harder to paint myself into a corner. It also means I feel no pressure to finish a particular story, thus I've got more freedom to let my imagination roam around while working on them, even when I lose my initial impetus for a story.

robberhands

@Ernest Bywater

Which are very good reasons. My reason to start posting while the story is incomplete are selfish and greedy. I like the feedback as an impetus to continue writing.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Ross at Play
Updated:

@PotomacBob

Richard made this comment in response to your post.

Do like I did, become a reviewer. You wrote your letter in English without any obvious errors.

Yes, but I would go much further than "without any obvious errors".

I went back and re-read the post - as if I was editing someone's story. It is not just technically perfect writing. It has a style I fould truly delightful. I literally savoured the word choices, rhythms, and appealing repetitions you found.

I suggest, do like I did, become an editor! Based on that one short post, I declare you have the capacity to help some of the better authors here turn fine stories into works of literature.

If you're interested, please send me an email. I'd be delighted to provide assistance if you want to develop your obvious potential to be a superb editor.

ETA:
It took me three attempts to get the word 'superb' correct in this post. The first time I wrote 'suburb' and the second time I "corrected" it to 'supurb'. The next four posts between robberhands and me are just sorting that out. Sigh!

robberhands
Updated:

@Ross at Play

I'd be delighted to provide assistance if you want to develop your obvious potential to be a suburb editor.

Doh! You're too humble, Bruce; aim higher.

Ross at Play

@Ernest Bywater

The major reason I want to finish the story before I post is it means I'm not locked into something

I totally agree, in principle, but how many attempts did you start before you knew you were capable of finishing stories you start?

I see the point others have made: we want this to be a site where wannabe authors can experiment to learn whether they are capable of completing stories they start.

OTOH, I tend to go elsewhere whenever I look at an author's home page and see they are experienced but have a lot of incomplete stories.

* * *

An idea for Lazeez to consider ... Could you allow authors to label stories as "Complete", "Incomplete", or "Incomplete and Abandoned"?

Ross at Play

@robberhands

Doh! You're too humble, Bruce; aim higher.

... ? ... DOH!

Thx.

robberhands

... ? ... DOH!

Thx.

You don't like the word 'superb', do you?

Replies:   Ross at Play
Ross at Play

@robberhands

You don't like the word 'superb', do you?

Double Doh!

Thx.

Replies:   robberhands
robberhands

@Ross at Play

Thx.

Don't thank me. That was fun; the revenge of an illiterate author on one of you meanie editors!

Replies:   Ross at Play
Ross at Play

@robberhands

That was fun

You're welcome. BTW, Bruce is feeling suitably chastised and less 'perfecter than Thou' than usual.

Replies:   robberhands
robberhands

@Ross at Play

Bruce is feeling suitably chastised

Don't let it go to your head. One of my favorite words is 'harassment'. I don't know why but I have to look it up every time or I misspell it.

Ross at Play
Updated:

@robberhands

One of my favorite words is 'harassment'. I don't know why but I have to look it up every time or I misspell it.

Try telling yourself, "Only an ass has problems spelling that one".

Ain't revenge fun?

Replies:   robberhands
robberhands

@Ross at Play

Ain't revenge fun?

It surely is!

Ross at Play
Updated:

@robberhands

It surely is!

Bruce asked me a question.

I suggested Otto, but we searched on Google and it suggested Benny or Kevin.

Which works worst?

Replies:   robberhands
awnlee jawking

@Crumbly Writer

Typically, for most of us, our first chapters are our weakest—not our strongest as they should be—simply because we as authors, aren't fully into the story and don't yet know where the characters will take it. Once we do get into it, it moves along at a more consistent pace.


In my case I missed the 'Slow' tag. It's last in the list and easily overlooked. :(

AJ

robberhands
Updated:

@Ross at Play

I assume the question was something like 'What is a typical German male forename?'. The answer highly depends on the generation of the boy/man you want to name. In my generation, the high-birth generation named the 'Wirtschaftswunder-Kinder', roughly born between 1950 to 1965, I'd guess the names Olliver and Frank were most popular. Guess how my very unimaginative parents named me?

So you'd have to look at specific time frames to search for a name. Like this one.

Ross at Play

@robberhands

I am going to regret ever posting:

Try telling yourself, "Only an ass has problems spelling that one".


My never-know word is 'guarantee'.

Try telling myself, "God, you are really, really, ..." :(

Ross at Play
Updated:

@robberhands

I assume the question was something like 'What is a typical German male forename?'.

My question was 'What German forename is used to suggest someone is stupid?'

And FYI, if you come across Aussies too young to be offended by Bruce, use Col'n.
See this. They'll hate it!

Replies:   robberhands
robberhands

@robberhands

In my case I missed the 'Slow' tag. It's last in the list and easily overlooked.

The SoL definition of the 'Slow' tag is reduced to sexual content and that wasn't your complaint, or?

Replies:   awnlee jawking
robberhands

@Ross at Play

My question was 'What German forename is used to suggest someone is stupid?'

Go for Sepp, the shortcut of Joseph. Sepp or Seppl is also the name of a traditional figure from the German version of a Punch and Judy show and Sepp or Seppl is the silly one.

awnlee jawking

@robberhands

Guess how my very unimaginative parents named me?


And there was me assuming your pen name was a play on 'Robert Hans'. :(

AJ

Replies:   robberhands
awnlee jawking
Updated:

@robberhands

Despite protests that SOL isn't primarily a sex story site, the story codes seem to be geared that way.

'Slow' is explained as: 'There is a story and plot development before any sex occurs. Not a stroke story.' (I've noticed several authors use 'Slow' in conjunction with 'No Sex'.)

I don't have a complaint as such - it was my own fault I overlooked the tag.

AJ

robberhands

@awnlee jawking

And there was me assuming your pen name was a play on 'Robert Hans'. :(

Nah, my pen name is just an old nickname, totally undeserved.

Replies:   awnlee jawking
awnlee jawking

@robberhands

old nick


You little devil :)

AJ

Replies:   robberhands
robberhands

@awnlee jawking

You little devil :)

Yeh, ballgames always roused the animal in me.

Ross at Play
Updated:

@robberhands

Guess how my very unimaginative parents named me?

You'll be glad to know our obvious choice of nickname for AJ is Frank.

Bruce, Sepp, and Frank were sitting in a bar.
Their American friend, Dick, walks in and says, "I know one thing."
The others all say, "That's one more than me."

richardshagrin

@robberhands

Harass meant? Look up her ass. Whose ass? Miss Spell.

Replies:   robberhands
robberhands

@richardshagrin

Harass meant? Look up her ass. Whose ass? Miss Spell.

You're a genuine word acrobat and somehow you remind me on Charlie Rivel.

Ernest Bywater

@Ross at Play

I totally agree, in principle, but how many attempts did you start before you knew you were capable of finishing stories you start?


Well, the first actual fiction I wrote as fiction (thus discounting many of the government and financial reports I used to write for work) I finished and published with an Irish e-publisher before I started on another story. This was the case for the next 50 stories, too. When I started working with others I got used to working on multiple stories at once, and I learned that sometimes you have to leave a story sit for a while before you finish it. That's why I now have so many projects going at the same time. However, I always finish a story before posting it. The only time I was involved with a story that was posted as it was written was very discouraging because the person I was working with posted as soon as a chapter was finished, and I ended up having to rewrite something near the start for him to get to the finish he wanted due to the bad way he handled the bit at the start. Technically, it wasn't my story, I was just writing some of the action scenes and editing it, but I did end up having to finish it after he gave up on it.

A couple of years later I had a similar situation where another author asked me to finish a story he started and couldn't finish due to personal reasons.

Both experiences were extremely educational.

Ross at Play

@Ernest Bywater

the first actual fiction I wrote as fiction I finished and published

Okay. My question was mostly intended to be rhetorical and your experience is probably very much the exception.

Personally, I totally agree on the reasons for finishing a story before posting. Perhaps a few can manage it, but I assume any story posted as it is written will end up less than it could have been.

Still, I'd like to give newcomers and developing writers some latitude. If post-as-you-write helps them reach the point they know they can finish something they start, I'm happy for them to experiment while learning, and have a few failures along the way.

robberhands

@Ross at Play

Perhaps a few can manage it, but I assume any story posted as it is written will end up less than it could have been.

We're dangerously close to talking about perfection again. 'Posted as it is written' leaves a lot of margin. Personally, I wouldn't even start to write unless I know the beginning and the end of my story. Details may be floating and change while I write but start and destination have to be clear.

Furthermore, although my story isn't completed when I start posting, it isn't posted as written, either. It goes the same path most stories go. First it undergoes the watchful review of a meanie editor and is then handed over to an equally heartless proofreader.

Ernest Bywater

@Ross at Play

If post-as-you-write helps them reach the point they know they can finish something they start, I'm happy for them to experiment while learning, and have a few failures along the way.


I don't disagree with you on that. However, I will add there are many readers who won't start reading a story until after they know it's finished. I know some of the people who read my stories say the only reason the read as soon as I start posting is because they know the story is finished from my blog entry and their past experience with my stories.

I agree with the basic idea of an author being able to sharpen their skills while they write. That's why I have so many revisions. I go back and apply the learned skills to the older stories.

Post as you write does have some drawbacks, and people need to know that. I've seen a few new authors stop writing and complain about the responses they get while posting as they write, while others say it helps them. Neither system is the perfect answer for every writer.

Ernest Bywater

@robberhands

Personally, I wouldn't even start to write unless I know the beginning and the end of my story. Details may be floating and change while I write but start and destination have to be clear.


I agree, but sometimes that side road in the middle can be very rocky.

Crumbly Writer

@helmut_meukel

Hint: A LOT of readers DO NOT like 'strong' women characters, thinking they're not 'feminine' enough!

I think they are afraid of strong woman.

In several of my stories, where little sisters stand up for and defend their brothers, there is usually a large backlash of readers complaining about how much they dislike the character. Pressed for more details (we all want to know why our characters are disliked, aren't we), it falls into fairly predictable patterns. Those without female children, or who never had sisters, think the characters aren't feminine enough. Those with exposure to young girls think the characterizations are spot on, as they've 'know girls just like that'.

I now try to make adjustments, giving a little more perspective for those unfamiliar with young girls, but I don't change the characters at all. Why weaken a story just to please those sadly uninformed.

Crumbly Writer

@PotomacBob

Throughout it all I simply admire the people who have the ability to dream up all these stories and the pluck to tackle writing them, whether they finish or not. It's something I wish I could do. Alas, I lack the talent.

Trust me, few of us ever thought we 'had the talent' to write, as we cover a variety of backgrounds, but few of us have ever spent much time practicing our writing skills.

What's more essential than basic writing skills (extensive reading provides most of what you need to know) is life experiences you can draw on. That's what's provide the background of strong storytelling, being able to involve readers, and the personal backgrounds with a variety of people to make each character 'real' for the readers.

Young people study writing for years before ever considering writing, and are often instructed by teachers what is 'suitable' writing and what isn't (though they continue writing about dragons and dwarves of princes and maidens anyway).

More mature individuals are more concerned with how characters deal with situations, and thus they deal with outright fantasy and focus on how the characters deal with the issues they face, which leads to better character development.

So don't undersell your potential story telling abilities. If you haven't been able to write, it's NOT that you don't have the necessary skills, it's only that you haven't found the one story that speaks to you, and which demands you write it. Once that process starts, you couldn't stop writing if you wanted to.

On the other hand, there are thousands of writers who write one story, achieve a fair amount of success (mostly like luck or personal connections), but lost interest and NEVER write another story. I encounter this group all the time. They felt drawn to write a single story, but never quite 'caught' the writing bug.

Crumbly Writer

@robberhands

I can't imagine you received 'A LOT' of feedback from readers telling you 'I DO NOT like 'strong' women characters, they're not 'feminine' enough!'. I assume that's your personal conclusion.

I already answered this question in an earlier post this morning, but yes, curious, I asked for more details, wondering what it was about my characters which was turning them off to the characters. It turns out, virtually all of those who didn't like the characters never had sisters or little girls of their own. Little girls tend to be MUCH bossier than women who spent a significant amount of their time trying to please men.

So, no, you should NEVER change a successful character just because of an ignorant portion of your audience, but it's worth spending a little extra time explaining the character, including having other characters confront them, asking what's motivating their actions. Think of it as 'educating' your readers who don't understand young self-assured girls.

But it seems to be a fairly prevalent problem. You'll note that, most 'strong women' characters in fiction are also alternately VERY feminine to counter their strong personalities (i.e. they're only strong when they're pushed, or defending their children, but otherwise they're 'all women').

It's really an incredibly sexist stereotype, that women are simply not allowed to be strong except for certain situations (like defending their kids, or small stray cats).

Ross at Play

@robberhands

We're dangerously close to talking about perfection again.

Yeah. Look up 'perfectionist' in a dictionary - you'll find a photo labelled "This is one of those meanie editors".
My advice to new authors is, ideally, they should post as they write their first major length story, then finish the second before starting to post. However, I would concede authors should toss ideals out the window whenever necessary to complete their stories.

Crumbly Writer

@robberhands

I simply envision the alternative. Demanding an author has to finish a story he started also could mean that many of the dreaded 'Incomplete and Inactive' stories would have never been published. Would I feel better then? My personal answer is no.

Most of us who only post 'completed stories' have a drawer full of unfinished stories. For me, I'll know whether I can finish a story or not by the third chapter. If it's not a strong enough story, or I can't quite put myself into the characters positions, the words just won't come.

Because I plan out the entire story long before I ever start putting the words together, I've never really run into situations where I've painted myself into a corner with a story, though I have had 'writers' block' during writing a story.

The key is 'writers' block' is traditionally your characters revolting over what you're forcing them to do. Once you realize that, it's easy to step back and consider how your planned actions run counter to their personality, and it's rarely taken me more than a single day to figure out how to resolve the problem (it takes MUCH longer to recognize you have a problem to begin with). Many authors never get past a single case of writer's block, thinking they've lost their ability to write.

In the end, you have authors who only have a single story to tell (like cmsix who continually struggled to complete most of his stories). Those are the ones who'll write one great story, and then lose all interest in writing another. They're your 'splash in the pan' authors, who simply can't envision more than that one single story.

Replies:   Ross at Play
Crumbly Writer

@robberhands

Which are very good reasons. My reason to start posting while the story is incomplete are selfish and greedy. I like the feedback as an impetus to continue writing.

In my case, I become involved in the story itself, and am more interested in finding out how MY story ends than I am in reading any other random writer's stories. Thus I'll continue writing, regardless of any other demands on my time, and I'll continue writing them even if NO ONE ever reads my stories. Writing is my personal cross to bear, and if others receive pleasure from it, so much the better. But it's my inner demons which determine my writing schedules, not fans telling me how great my writing is.

My muse is a real slave driver!

Crumbly Writer

@Ross at Play

Yes, but I would go much further than "without any obvious errors".

I went back and re-read the post - as if I was editing someone's story. It is not just technically perfect writing. It has a style I fould truly delightful. I literally savoured the word choices, rhythms, and appealing repetitions you found.

I suggest, do like I did, become an editor! Based on that one short post, I declare you have the capacity to help some of the better authors here turn fine stories into works of literature.

Another alternative is: explore more types of stories. Generally, each of us encounters a single story which challenges us, one which DEMANDS that we write it. Often, it's an unfinished story, or one where we see the author going in the wrong direction, and we think 'Damn, I could write a better story than that.'

Once you find a story which sparks that flame, you can then use those excellent pacing, rhythms and styles you've naturally developed throughout your life. Don't ever think you CAN'T write! You just need the write inspiration, an idea which really riles you personal muse.

Replies:   Ross at Play
Crumbly Writer

@robberhands

Doh! You're too humble, Bruce; aim higher.

Aim higher than only serving as an editor, or aim higher than Ross as an editor?

I've had several of my editors start their own stories after having worked with me for several stories. They've each done extremely well, and I'm proud of them, and like to think that I had a small influence in helping them tell their stories (as I frequently discuss issues like pacing, character development, foreshadowing and red herrings).

Starting out is NOT a loss, as it teaching you many of the techniques required you might not learn without struggling though many failed attempts. My earliest stories were a real mess, writing technique-wise, at least.

Crumbly Writer

@Ross at Play

I totally agree, in principle, but how many attempts did you start before you knew you were capable of finishing stories you start?

In MY case, I know I had the right story from the get-go. I also knew, upfront, that it would be a multibook series, NOT a continuing, unending story and I knew I wanted to write the ENTIRE story (the first book at least) before I released it.

However, after I'd finished the first story (which at that point consisted of what became the first two books of the final series), I had an issue with one particular editor. He read one chapter, which I thought really provided the motivation for the primary character, and he thought that the chapter was so minimally important that it shouldn't be included. I ended up saying, "without that one chapter, I CAN'T continue the story."

It was at that point I swallowed my pride, declared that I was never meant to be an author, and put the whole story and a future as a writer aside.

But the story wouldn't let me surrender. After only a few weeks, I was back at it. Rather than trying to continue the 'failed' story, I decided to rewrite, setting it in a new location, with all new characters (other than the primary characters).

Unfortunately, when you rewrite, the story goes in new directions, and I soon realized I could never reuse most of my FAVORITE scenes with the newer story. At that point, I went back to revise the old story, but I'd learned enough about the characters (and the character's capabilities), I was able to refashion the story so it worked (and yes, that one 'problematic scene' was completely unnecessary, and I resolved the one 'motivation' issue much earlier in the story though several repeated scene, rather than waiting late in the one book).

An idea for Lazeez to consider ... Could you allow authors to label stories as "Complete", "Incomplete", or "Incomplete and Abandoned"?

I would LOVE a setting of "Complete" which authors could set when they post the first chapter of a story, so we can reassure nervous readers.

robberhands

@Crumbly Writer

Aim higher than only serving as an editor, or aim higher than Ross as an editor?

Neither nor; aiming higher than becoming a 'suburb' editor.

Crumbly Writer

@robberhands

So you'd have to look at specific time frames to search for a name. Like this one.

Rather than 'baby name' sites (which are highly questionable, in many cases) is the U.S. Censor reports, which list the top 100/1000 male and female names for each year, often broken down by nationality too.

If you can't find a perfect name there, you simply can't!

I'm sure that other countries have census data too, but I've never discovered another searchable list like the U.S. Census department regularly does.

Unfortunately, every couple years they decide to 'revamp' their website, meaning all of my saved 'top 1000 names' lists become invalid, meaning I'm forced to search the entire site, trying to discover where they've hidden it. :(

Replies:   Bondi Beach
Ross at Play

@Crumbly Writer

Don't ever think you CAN'T write! You just need the write inspiration, an idea which really riles you personal muse.

Thanks.
Somewhat ironically, given what you said a couple of posts before, I've recently come to the conclusion that becoming a 'flash in the pan' with only one great story to tell is a noble and worthwhile ambition on its own. That is a tough enough ambition and I'll leave thoughts about what comes after until after.

awnlee jawking

The "slow" tag has NOTHING WHATSOEVER to do with a 'slowly unfolding' story. :(


If you use it that way, that's your choice. Other authors differ.

AJ

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Ross at Play
Updated:

@Crumbly Writer

I've had several of my editors start their own stories

It was CW who suggested to me to try editing about three months after my first effort to write. My muse was not cooperating and I was incapable of finishing the few ideas I was coming up with.

After about 18 months of editing one of my early ideas popped into my head again. I knew that is the story I really want to write and I was now capable of writing it.

So, yes! Aim higher, but time spent editing can help you climb a lot of steps on the ladder. :-)

A belated, thanks, CW. Your advice was spot on!

robberhands
Updated:

@Ross at Play

Somewhat ironically, given what you said a couple of posts before, I've recently come to the conclusion that becoming a 'flash in the pan' with only one great story to tell is a noble and worthwhile ambition on its own.

The Bruce walks into the bar and says, "I wrote one great story."

The others all say, "That's one more than me."

Replies:   Ross at Play
Ross at Play

@Crumbly Writer

@ Me
An idea for Lazeez to consider ... Could you allow authors to label stories as "Complete", "Incomplete", or "Incomplete and Abandoned"?

@ CW
I would LOVE a setting of "Complete" which authors could set when they post the first chapter of a story, so we can reassure nervous readers.


To Lazeez,
Of two possible divisions, I think CW's suggestion is more important. So, IMHO:
Important: dividing "Complete" into "Finished" and "Posting Incomplete, but Writing Finished"
Nice to have: dividing "Incomplete" into "Writing Continuing" and "Incomplete and Abandoned"

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Ross at Play

@robberhands

The Bruce walks into the bar and says, "I wrote one great story."
The others all say, "That's one more than me."

And you've written one more great joke than me today.

Ernest Bywater

@Crumbly Writer

I would LOVE a setting of "Complete" which authors could set when they post the first chapter of a story, so we can reassure nervous readers.


Don't need it - the blog entry or the blurb can do that.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Ernest Bywater

IMHO:
Important: dividing "Complete" into "Finished" and "Posting Incomplete, but Writing Finished"
Nice to have: dividing "Incomplete" into "Writing Continuing" and "Incomplete and Abandoned"


Not needed. If the author is posting an incomplete story they can simply make a notation in the story blurb, the end note, or their blog at the time they post the story and mark it as concluded. A story being posted is assumed to be writing continued until such time as the author concludes the story, marks it as concluded, or fails to post to it for a year when it gets the yellow stripe. So all the options are already covered.

Replies:   Ross at Play
Ross at Play
Updated:

@Ernest Bywater

fails to post to it for a year when it gets the yellow stripe.

Lazeez, I withdraw my request for an "Incomplete and Abandoned" category.

This must be the umpteenth time when I've suggested a few feature that seemed useful - only to have it pointed the need I see is being catered for in some other way.

I still like CW's idea, even if most authors say something somewhere. Being able to search for stories that will be posted until completion some time soon does seem like a useful additional feature to me.

Capt. Zapp

@Ross at Play

...my request for an "Incomplete and Abandoned" category.


I could see the value of an 'Abandoned' category which could be used to let other writers know it is okay for them to take a stab at continuing it. The only story that I have seen (there may be more) where the author actually made such a statement was oyster50's 'Overboard', which resulted (IMO) in two very good stories.

Replies:   Ross at Play
Ross at Play

@Capt. Zapp

I could see the value of an 'Abandoned' category which could be used to let other writers know it is okay for them to take a stab at continuing it.

I agree there would be value if it means not just "I will not finish this", but also "others may try". :-)

Bondi Beach

@PotomacBob

They start a story and real life gets in the way. They start a story and the new missus issues an ultimatum. Worst of all, Saint Peter came knocking.


I was thinking more of authors who begin a story and change the conditions, such as going to some kind of pay system. Even if there was enough story, or even part of a series, to avoid SOL's prohibition on posting teasers, it still breaks the contract, in my view.

Certainly it applies to any author, but as you point out there may be factors the author cannot control. St. Peter is one of them.

It was really rude of Russell Hoisington to leave us, although I don't remember any unfinished work. Ditto rache.

bb

Bondi Beach

@Ross at Play

only one great story to tell is a noble and worthwhile ambition on its own


Or even one true sentence. Yay, Hemingway!

bb

Bondi Beach

@Crumbly Writer

Rather than 'baby name' sites (which are highly questionable, in many cases) is the U.S. Censor reports, which list the top 100/1000 male and female names for each year, often broken down by nationality too.


The U.S. Social Security Administration has lists by gender, geographic region, year, and who knows what else.

bb

Bondi Beach
Updated:

@Crumbly Writer


A LOT of readers DO NOT like 'strong' women characters, thinking they're not 'feminine' enough!


That may be peculiar to SOL readers. "Hollywood" (in the generic sense meaning contemporary U.S. filmmakers) feature strong female characters now more than before (skipping superheroes and imaginary persons):

"Ree" (Jennifer Lawrence) in Winter's Bone;

"Claire Randall" (Caitriona Balfe) in Outlander;

"Eilise Lace" (Saoirse Ronan) in Brooklyn.

bb

Replies:   robberhands
robberhands

@Bondi Beach

That may be peculiar to SOL readers.

I have to say I don't share CW's observation.

As a reader I want to read about strong female characters and wouldn't dream about complaining when I encounter one. I read many stories on SoL and enjoyed a wide spread of strong female characters by a various number of authors and I never noticed the popularity of their stories to suffer from it.

As an author my stories also feature female characters, which I perceive as strong. No reader ever complained about the female characters in my stories or about their lack of feminity.

Bondi Beach

@robberhands

As an author my stories also feature female characters, which I perceive as strong. No reader ever complained about the female characters in my stories or about their lack of feminity.


I've never had any complaints, either, even in those stories where a female drives the action.

For what it's worth, when "strong" really means "jerk," all bets are off.

bb

Replies:   Not_a_ID
Not_a_ID

@Bondi Beach

I've never had any complaints, either, even in those stories where a female drives the action.

For what it's worth, when "strong" really means "jerk," all bets are off.


....and that is somewhere that gender disparity does exist to some degree. There evidently have been psych/sociology studies where they've had men and women perform certain acts according to identical scripts, among other things, and had people provide feedback of their views regarding the persons involved.

More often, when the actors were being assertive or even slightly aggressive, the males were rated favorably. While the women received negative reviews. Now what is currently hard to decipher is if that is a cultural bias, or an actual biological/physiological response thing.

Replies:   Bondi Beach
Ross at Play

@Crumbly Writer

'splash in the pan'

I tried looking that one up. The only reference I found was a word play by Michael Phelps for swimmers who were a 'flash in the pan'.

Clee_Hill
Updated:

Wow!

So many replies to a little venting on my behalf!

FWIW:

* I always reply to every email, thanking anyone who takes the time and effort to write to me. If necessary I will explain a little of what I'm trying to do and why, especially if I'm not as clear as I want to be about some aspect of character, plot, etc..

* If someone makes a good point - and they do! - I will go away, think about it, and perhaps adapt things as necessary. For example, in 'Wilhelm' Stef was perceived by some commentators as more 'in the driving seat' when it came to puching Luke than she was intended to be. I looked, saw I wasn't reflecting her doubts enough (she is not the viewpoint character) and changed tack with her accordingly. I also drop bits of Welsh into the text, and have adjusted how that is done to be more clear about the translations (I don't do the parenthesis thing). So feedback can be good and can be helpful, and I am not so convinced of my own divinity as to ignore it.

* To those readers who complain of the schedule of writing, I have explained I do so in order that I have 'thinking time' for each chapter, digesting what I've learned in the writing of chapter x to make chpater x+1 better. A consequence of this is better characterisation, and also one whole plot thread being excised because, now I know my characters better, I know they would not do the things I was prodding them to do, and it would have complicated the story for no benefit. I also have a life beyond writing, though Luke and Stef have been so much in my thoughts these past few months that even I sometimes doubt this.

* I think perhaps a little of my frustration is that it seems sometimes that readers look for keywords to pique their interest or curiosity - so many stories, you need to find something to read somehow other than simply the what's new feed - that in looking for certain words, they miss others. In my case, that's 'slow'. The writer's guide her defines this as meaning you should expect "a story and plot development before any sex occurs. Not a stroke story". I've also tagged the story as 'minimal sex' because, as of chapter nine of book one, the most that's happened is some nudity and a little genital touching. Maybe if the tags flashed, blinked, or pinged more loudly?

Anyhoo, thanks all for your comments, insights, and ideas.

And I do love this site.

I've been a member - who has taken out occasional premium memberships since 2008 with the understanding I'm supporting the infrastructure, not the authors - and I love the variety of stories here. I read some incredibly inventive and well-written stories that have stayed with me much longer than many a 'dead tree' publication.

I've also had fascinating conversations with authors and readers, getting insights into the creative processes of others and also the different ways in which a reader can approach a text.

All of which means I'll keep writing the stories I would enjoy reading, wherever that may take me, be it Luke and Stef, Simon and Trudi, or even the albatros of Cas and Pol (for those who remember my gay sf collaboration I took down).

Pob lwc fy ffrindiau !

"Good luck, my friends"

Ross at Play
Updated:

@Clee_Hill

thanks all for your comments, insights, and ideas.

My only comment after reading all that is the regulars here would appreciate more of your comments, insights, and ideas from time to time. :-)

Bondi Beach

@Not_a_ID

More often, when the actors were being assertive or even slightly aggressive, the males were rated favorably. While the women received negative reviews. Now what is currently hard to decipher is if that is a cultural bias, or an actual biological/physiological response thing.


All true. I'd bet on cultural rather than biological cause.

I had Sara Paretsky's V.I. Warshawski in mind when I wrote that. From idiosyncratic and strong-willed (both are compliments) in early novels she (the character) turned kind of rancid, in my view. If memory serves, even Warshawski herself acknowledged she was being a jerk.

Paretsky and her fans would argue she was going through a tough time---probably true, so perhaps that's a mitigating factor.

You're right about the perceptions of women vs men, but I'm also thinking of Carly Fiorina as CEO of Hewlett-Packard. She didn't get there by being a shrinking violet, but many accounts depict her as unnecessarily abrasive, in addition to making some pretty bad business decisions.

Women often get knocked back for being as appropriately assertive as men, no question there.

Don't get any woman you care about started on the whole "Smile for me!" thing.

bb

Crumbly Writer

@Ernest Bywater

Both experiences were extremely educational.

Educational is when you discover a solution.

Replies:   awnlee jawking
Crumbly Writer

@Ross at Play

Of two possible divisions, I think CW's suggestion is more important. So, IMHO:
Important: dividing "Complete" into "Finished" and "Posting Incomplete, but Writing Finished"
Nice to have: dividing "Incomplete" into "Writing Continuing" and "Incomplete and Abandoned"

That's a little complicated to implement, I'm not sure readers would understand the distinctions.

Either "Finished" or "Complete" are easily understood. I'm sure several people write "How is this complete if you're still posting", but after explaining the tag, hopefully they won't keep asking.

Replies:   Ross at Play
Crumbly Writer

@Ernest Bywater

I would LOVE a setting of "Complete" which authors could set when they post the first chapter of a story, so we can reassure nervous readers.

Don't need it - the blog entry or the blurb can do that.

Except, not everyone reads blogs. Plus, readers could search for the tag "Complete", rather than wondering whether the author will ever finish.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
richardshagrin

Educational is when you discover a solution.

That's not quite how education works in the USA. Its when you get the certificate, diploma, degree or other paperwork that lets you go somewhere else that doesn't involve sitting in classrooms. Discovering solutions is learning, or maybe in Chemistry when you add chemicals to solvents. Education and learning aren't necessarily associated. Unfortunately.

Crumbly Writer

@Ross at Play

I still like CW's idea, even if most authors say something somewhere. Being able to search for stories that will be posted until completion some time soon does seem like a useful additional feature to me.

It would also help readers search for authors who wont't frustrate them with multiple incomplete stories.

Crumbly Writer

@Clee_Hill

All of which means I'll keep writing the stories I would enjoy reading, wherever that may take me, be it Luke and Stef, Simon and Trudi, or even the albatros of Cas and Pol (for those who remember my gay sf collaboration I took down).

Pob lwc fy ffrindiau !

Just a quick question: Why did you yank it? You got too many negative reviews or you thought it might dissuade readers from reading you other stories?

In my case, I wrote one, but before I knew before I started that SOL are VERY homophobic (1-bombers). Instead, I published the story on Amazon and also posted it on Literotica."

By the way, while searching for the name of Literotica (which I didn't find), I did discover a variety of new gay sites which didn't exist when I posted mine (gaydemon, gayfictionstories and faptogayporn).

Replies:   Clee_Hill
Ross at Play

@Crumbly Writer

That's a little complicated to implement,

Yeah, and I wasn't trying to suggest the names of the tags to be used, only their meanings.
Perhaps divide Incomplete into:
Posting = Written, but posting incomplete
Incomplete = Writing Incomplete

I liked your original idea - let readers know they can trust the author will complete posting soon.

Ernest Bywater

@Crumbly Writer

Except, not everyone reads blogs.


so use the blurb or the end note.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
awnlee jawking

@Crumbly Writer

An experiment that fails to support a scientific hypothesis nevertheless represents a scientific advancement.

So, from a scientific viewpoint, I disagree.

AJ

Crumbly Writer

@Ernest Bywater

Except, not everyone reads blogs.

so use the blurb or the end note.

Except,you often reach a whole different range of readers by posting blogs, though I don't know if they're any more likely to read your stories. Typicall, they are more likely to respond to the blog itself.

Ernest Bywater

CW,

I use the blog for my story announcements.

However, there's nothing limiting an author from using the blog and the end note or a foreword to the story when they start posting, and they can say anything they want about the story in it.

WE already have a lot of tags, and I don't see the need to introduce a new tag to do something that's already being done by many authors in other way. However, I will support a new tag that makes it easier to find types of stories such as the tags for sports, baseball, football, farming, etc.

docholladay

@Ernest Bywater

However, I will support a new tag that makes it easier to find types of stories such as the tags for sports, baseball, football, farming, etc.


That type of tag is definitely worth while. I agree that readers sometimes get to demanding with their feedback. I have sometimes sent ideas based on a story that is being posted, but its put as just that an idea not something set in stone. Some ideas might be usable either in the current story or possibly in a future story, who knows. But they are just ideas not a demand or at least that is how I hope they were seen as.

richardshagrin

@Ernest Bywater

football,

Which one? "Soccer" which most of the world calls "football", Austrailian Rules, Canadian Rules, Indoor, Touch, Tackle, Flag, Pro, College, High School or lots of other sports that use an oblate spheroid with different rules. One tag to rule them all doesn't necessarily help that much. If a character gets kicked in the balls, does the tag apply?

Capt. Zapp

@richardshagrin

Which one?


Soccer and Football could be separated. Aren't all the others just basically different rules for the same game?

Crumbly Writer

@Ross at Play

Thanks.
Somewhat ironically, given what you said a couple of posts before, I've recently come to the conclusion that becoming a 'flash in the pan' with only one great story to tell is a noble and worthwhile ambition on its own. That is a tough enough ambition and I'll leave thoughts about what comes after until after.

That makes sense. However fine the first book is, if the new author isn't sufficiently motivated to write another, they'll never finish it, so I'd let them determine whether to or not. You should just be aware, as an editor, that this IS a recognized pattern in many new authors. They have one story to tell, and they tell it well (sometimes), but simply have no compulsion to spend the rest of their lives writing.

Crumbly Writer

@awnlee jawking

The "slow" tag has NOTHING WHATSOEVER to do with a 'slowly unfolding' story. :(

If you use it that way, that's your choice. Other authors differ.

That's the official SOL Tag definition. Other authors might interpret "No Sex" to include "sex in every chapter", but that doesn't make it the correct choice. If you use it to denote the story pace is slow, readers are likely to assume exactly what they're supposed to (based on the tag definition).

I've long wished that Lazeez would offer a second, non-sexual "Slow" option, such as "slow paced", but he's always been reluctant to.

Crumbly Writer

@robberhands

As a reader I want to read about strong female characters and wouldn't dream about complaining when I encounter one. I read many stories on SoL and enjoyed a wide spread of strong female characters by a various number of authors and I never noticed the popularity of their stories to suffer from it.

My stories with those strong female characters were never rated badly, but I DID specific chapters where the character figured prominently would score lower, prompting me to inquire my readers about it. Even then, I had to push them as to what upset them, and that's when I got the "not feminine enough". Subsequent responses, based on the "I've seen the same attitude in my daughters/sisters all the time", led to me asking about whether the other have daughters or sisters, and the results fell along predictable lines.

Crumbly Writer

@richardshagrin

Which one? "Soccer" which most of the world calls "football", Austrailian Rules, Canadian Rules, Indoor, Touch, Tackle, Flag, Pro, College, High School or lots of other sports that use an oblate spheroid with different rules. One tag to rule them all doesn't necessarily help that much. If a character gets kicked in the balls, does the tag apply?

Definitely not "incomplete football stories", as who wants to read about a incompetent high school player in any of those sports?

Replies:   Not_a_ID  Capt. Zapp
Not_a_ID

@Crumbly Writer

Definitely not "incomplete football stories", as who wants to read about a incompetent high school player in any of those sports?


Depends, is it supposed to be a comedy?

Capt. Zapp

@Crumbly Writer

Definitely not "incomplete football stories", as who wants to read about a incompetent high school player in any of those sports?


But it would be okay if they were incompetent professional players?

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Capt. Zapp

But it would be okay if they were incompetent professional players?

Possibly, if they were having sex with equally incompetent fans ("You're a professional football players? Sure, I'll sleep with you. By the way, what team are you on." "Don't worry about that, little lady, I'll relate everything afterwards, rather than rushing out the door.")

Clee_Hill
Updated:

@Crumbly Writer

Returning briefly to this somehow still going thread to respond to Crumbly Writer, I removed the Cas and Pol story because of a lot of negativity connected to the scoring.

It very much seemed that the story suffered from heavy 'score bombing' because some readers didn't care for the gay sex element.

As I think most authors will agree, the scoring of stories on this site is problematic enough without 'downvoting' for content regardless of technical merit, etc., and this story got so many 1s that it would never pop up in random feeds.

Consequently, I came away with the distinct impression that SOL readers consider that ft/ft is fine but mt/mt is squicky.

I work hard at what I write, and if it get bombed into obscurity, there's no point investing the energies in something that will likely never register on someone's random searches, especially where the low score would be presumed to indicate poor quality.

If I ever pay the unpromised debt to bring the story to a conclusion, or re-tell it my own way, it will likely not be here.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Clee_Hill

I work hard at what I write, and if it get bombed into obscurity, there's no point investing the energies in something that will likely never register on someone's random searches, especially where the low score would be presumed to indicate poor quality.

That's what I suspected, and why I asked. I too, purposely avoided posting anything gay to SOL, because of the intense homophobia here. It just isn't worth it. But, if you are interested, there are several new gay writing websites. I haven't tried any, but I may try reposting my (one) story there and see what kind of reception it gets.

At the time, I ONLY posted it to Litorica (a VERY old and outdated site, featuring mostly cheap and dirty porn), but although I never sold many books, the few feedback letters I got all involved the subjects crying over the ending. Those kinds of responses are much more desirable than a bunch of malcontents 1-bombing a story they're not even interested in reading.

So don't give up on it, merely because SOL allows a small contingent of haters to abuse the system.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@Crumbly Writer

... purposely avoided posting anything gay to SOL, because of the intense homophobia here. ...


I find this statement interesting in an odd way. Of the 107 stories I've posted to SoL 2 of them have male homosexual sex scenes as the only sex scenes in them. However, neither are gay romance stories, they're revenge type stories. The one listed as much sex has higher scores than the one listed as minimal sex. One of them is my tenth lowest scoring story at 6.84, and the other is the 4th lowest scoring story at 6.34, and both have much sex heterosexual sex stories with lower scores than them. All of my lower scoring stories with sex scenes in them are short stories from early in my official fiction writing career.

I also have some other much sex stories which include gay sex scenes, both female / female and male / male which have good scores.

I suspect the people who attack the gay stories are attacking the gay romance stories, in which case it would be the petting etc. they're angry about. However, we don't have enough data to be able to determine anything meaningful.

BTW my lowest scoring story is a much sex short story at 5.94 while my highest scoring story is a no sex short story at 9.23. My highest scoring much sex story is in 70th place at 7.34 with 2 some sex stories (13th - 8.16, 51st - 7.61) and 2 minimal sex stories (7th - 8.54, 41st - 7.74).

Replies:   Not_a_ID
Not_a_ID

@Ernest Bywater

I suspect the people who attack the gay stories are attacking the gay romance stories, in which case it would be the petting etc. they're angry about. However, we don't have enough data to be able to determine anything meaningful.


I'm inclined to agree that it is the (sexual) "bromance" that is getting the 1 bombers excited. Non-con male/male won't "trigger" them, it's the consensual male/male that will.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Not_a_ID

I'm inclined to agree that it is the (sexual) "bromance" that is getting the 1 bombers excited. Non-con male/male won't "trigger" them, it's the consensual male/male that will.

Either way, I doubt many people will be interested in posting gay stories to SOL if the reception is overly harsh. While anti-gay stories are accepted without the harsh 1-bomb penalties, that's small consolation for those writing pro-gay (i.e. positive gay) stories. :(

PotomacBob

@Clee_Hill

premium memberships ... with the understanding I'm supporting the infrastructure, not the authors


when I got my first premium membership years ago, I assumed I was supporting the authors and that the infrastructure probably got a small cut. I don't know enough about business to know how the economics of the site works, but I still wish that authors who finish a story got a cut of the revenue, and I, for one, would be willing to pay an enhanced price for premium membership if that were to happen. That says nothing about how the revenue would be divided - and from the comments I see about scores, I'll bet authors couldn't agree on it either. I could also see that administering such a system might be a nightmare.

Ernest Bywater

@PotomacBob

I still wish that authors who finish a story got a cut of the revenue,


Some authors now publish print a e-books of their stories via sites like Lulu, Amazon, and their own websites where you can buy copies at varying prices. You can buy a book or two and support them that way. Some others have their own website where you can make a donation to support, while others simply have a PayPal account you can donate to which they list in their blog. Many would have a PayPal or similar account you can make a donation of any size to.

Thus, if you want to do so you can support them to whatever extent you want. Simply message you favourite authors and ask them how you can get them some money if you want to send them some.

Crumbly Writer

@PotomacBob

To add to what Ernest suggested, the site does not currently provide any 'cut' to the authors, although Lazeez is working on creating a new associated site which offers book sales (by self-published authors) where SOL gets and the authors both get a cut. We'll see how soon it finally gets set up, though.

For now, your best bet is to do as Ernest Bywater suggests, either read each author's blog to see if they list how to donate or purchase a book, or ask the authors themselves.

Hope that helps. By the way, I currently have 15 books published, if that helps. ;)

Replies:   Ross at Play
richardshagrin

The various, mostly seasonal, contests have cash prizes. To that extent, authors do get rewarded financially if they write a winning entry.

Ross at Play

@Crumbly Writer

Lazeez is working on creating a new associated site which offers book sales (by self-published authors)

PotomacBob's suggestion fills me with horror.
Alternatively, if Lazeez can offer something a bit less greedy and demanding than Amazon et al., then I say more power and profits to him. :-)

Darian Wolfe

@Clee_Hill

I would open a Paypal and a Gmail and tell them if they want to hire you to write a custom story the starting price is $5,000 per 2,500 words. Else sit back and enjoy the story.

Crumbly Writer

@Darian Wolfe

I would open a Paypal and a Gmail and tell them if they want to hire you to write a custom story the starting price is $5,000 per 2,500 words. Else sit back and enjoy the story.

Hell, I'll drastically undercut your fee, charging only $100 per word, and reap the untold numbers of non-paying offers that pile up on my desk!

As you say, if someone wants a story, there best bet is to write it themselves. The only people who pay others to ghost write for them are sleezeballs trying to project a patently false narrative about themselves. I rank ghostwriters right up there with attorneys and drug lords.

Switch Blayde

@Darian Wolfe

if they want to hire you to write a custom story the starting price is $5,000 per 2,500 words.


Then they would have the right to change your story because it's their story. But for that price, I can be flexible.

Replies:   Darian Wolfe
Darian Wolfe

@Switch Blayde

Exactly, and since 99.9% can't or won't pony up the cash they can be quiet. I've never minded honest criticism but I don't do demands very well unless I'm being paid for it.

Clee_Hill
Updated:

Briefly dropping back into this thread, the mt/mt story I pulled features sex as part of their relationship, ranging from hand-holding all the way to full-on 'nuts deep' sweaty stuff.

The 'bombing' I received skewed the story into seemingly being an incoherent jumble of words, utterly misrepresenting the quality of the story, and meaning, as previously stated, that anybody who did randomly stumble across it would look at the score and move on.

I've done the same myself, and I understand the need for readers to use some kind of filtering system with there being so many stories here.

Indeed, it amuses me that at SOL f/f in any combination is fine, f/m is cool, age-gap f/m is cool too, but any combination of m/m is squicky for a score-bombing percentage of readers on SOL.

Given that I prefer to work on character, where the sex is part of a relationship, the sex is never there for the sake of it, and I'm more likely to use homour than laborious anatomical descriptions of the act itself, the 'bombing' hits hard as the 1-10 scale doesn't differentiate, and even if it did I suspect the 'bombers' would just hammer every category.

Will my m/m story ever return? Maybe, though not for a long while (Luke, Stef, Simon, Trudi, et al have my attention for now) and if it does ever return, it will be after a heavy rewrite.

Tangentially, maybe a 'tips jar' for writers might be a way forward for those who enjoy what we do to express their appreciation? I even received a tip once from one of the Simon and Trudi readers who liked their story and understood it could never be made into an e-book through the bigger sites where I would receive a percentage of his purchase.

Tangentially^2, the monies generated by the Premium memberships I've never imagined went other than to the maintenance of this site, and to give Lazeez a nice glass of something warming from time to time, neither of which I begrudge for a moment. For all of the frustrations, I like this place, there are some amazing stories here I wouldn't imagine being able to find anywhere else, and I like that it provides me with somewhere to share my efforts, too.

Back to the shadow for me, then.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Clee_Hill

I even received a tip once from one of the Simon and Trudi readers who liked their story and understood it could never be made into an e-book through the bigger sites where I would receive a percentage of his purchase.

Actually, there's a strong demand for decent gay stories (i.e. more plot than just gay porn) in publishing, though there are few independent gay-friendly publishing companies (i.e. it's assumed any will be self-published, so it's not a bar to getting noticed).

You're likely to get a better reception as a published book, since the story isn't likely to be down-voted by homophobes, but will be passed around by interested gay readers.

Just something to keep in mind if get begin edging closer to publishing in the future.

By the way, my published gay story, "The Nature of the Game", did not garner much attention, though several readers wrote how the ending made them cry (whether that's good or bad, I'm not sure).

Part of succeeding in this field is having connections into the supporting gay network to promote your work, which most straight authors don't have access to.

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