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What keeps you writing

Daler

I'm pretty new to SOL and am enjoying my experience so far. Seems to be a good community here. I've been looking at author profiles and noticed that several have been slugging away at it for years, writing dozens of stories at times. Quite impressive to say the least.

Anyway curious as to what keeps you all going and how you measure success here? Is it the comments, downloads, scores or votes that keep you motivated or is it just the joy of writing or some shit like that? Or are you guys secretly making a ton of money in some mysterious way that the rest of us suckers don't know about? All kidding aside, would love to know your thoughts on this.

Ross at Play

@Daler

Or are you guys secretly making a ton of money in some mysterious way that the rest of us suckers don't know about?

From all I've seen here, it must be love, because it sure as hell ain't the money. :(

Replies:   Darian Wolfe
Darian Wolfe

@Ross at Play

LOL, I bet there's more than a few that actually lose a little money. Most of us write from a need for self-expression and the desire to share what we've learned and think about.

Replies:   Daler  Crumbly Writer
Daler
Updated:

@Darian Wolfe

Haha. Yeah or the lost opportunity to do something more lucrative with increasingly limited time.

Makes me wonder if most could even accurately articulate what drives them to write. This site offers a few incentives but I'm curious if they do much to help prod authors along.

After reading some of the negative comments on some author's posts i could almost see it having the opposite effect from time to time.

Ernest Bywater

I write to finalize the stories and get them out of my head. It also helps to make the time pass by.

Replies:   docholladay
Remus2

While not posted here, I've been writing since the early 70s. It helps to clear the clutter in my head.

Goldfisherman

I have only posted a couple of my stories. I have also received almost no feedback. I prefer to write much longer stories than the rather short chapters of about 50kb. I don't do it for money as I am retired since 2012. My only income is from social security. My inspiration has been observing and listening to some of my in-laws and nieces and nephews.
I finally got rid of my Windows OS so I no longer have the $350+ per year expense of the annual license fees for the Office suite and virus protection and went to Linux Mint, a completely secure operating system, and very stable. The Office suite and accessory software is a real joy to use and also free.
What I do on my computer in private is no longer public knowledge in half the world.

oyster50

Aside from the HUGE checks (I've gotten $45 in the seven years I've been doing this) the main reason I write is because I build characters that I like and I want to see what happens next in their lives.

I'm a bit escapist in my stories. I want to see happy outcomes for good people.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Darian Wolfe

LOL, I bet there's more than a few that actually lose a little money. Most of us write from a need for self-expression and the desire to share what we've learned and think about.

Ha-ha. I publish "professionally", however, I spend so much for things like new computers, story evaluation and grammar check software, graphics and formatting, plus obscure shit like website rental and maintanance and ISBN purchases, I'm losing much more than I'll ever bring in.

For me, I simply get a little more satisfaction from someone forking over cash for a professional looking book rather than nameless people voting on a story they might not be interested in.

I'm mainly motivated by the stories themselves. While I know where the story is headed, I have no idea what will happen along the way, so I'm more interested in writing my own stories than I am in reading someone else's, since I want to know how my story ends.

However, I'm also motivated by professional pride, even when I wasn't charging for my work. I want to become the best writer I can be, so I strive to learn and perfect my craft (which also includes the formatting and designs of my books).

I like to think that my books get better with each one I publish (though the qualify of each story can be debated). But in end, I pick stories which challenge me. Specifically, stories which present particular difficult in writing that I have to overcome, rather than simply writing what I know readers will naturally flock to. Thus I tend to pick the more unusual stories, and I specialize in those which turn sub-genres on their heads, providing surprises for readers (but which likely piss-off die-hard fans).

Crumbly Writer

@oyster50

I'm a bit escapist in my stories. I want to see happy outcomes for good people.

I like to see the characters win, but only after I put them through hell first. However, sometimes my characters ideals stand in the way, and they end up sacrificing themselves for their goals, so my 'happy endings' in the form of the main character achieving their goal, and the people surrounding him facing a much brighter future as a result.

docholladay

@Ernest Bywater

I think it boils down to being both "a gift and a curse". For the readers its a gift of countless stories to read. For the writer/storyteller it might be more of a curse that forces them to write the story.

Then again I could be wrong as I have been in the past.

Ernest Bywater

@docholladay

I think it boils down to being both "a gift and a curse". For the readers its a gift of countless stories to read. For the writer/storyteller it might be more of a curse that forces them to write the story.


The curse part is when you know the story you want to tell, but not how to tell it. I've a lot of part written stories because I know the story and I've started writing it, but get into it before I realise I know the story from A to K and from P to Z but not so sure about how to get from K to P properly. Thus the story hangs around until you work out the issue.

But the biggest curse is when you know the story well, but real life stops you from being able to get it out and written.

Replies:   REP  awnlee jawking  Remus2
REP

@Ernest Bywater

I know the story from A to K and from P to Z


For me, I know the story from A to K and nothing else. I get to K and L and M pop into my head. The story is over when it is done even if I didn't reach Z. :)

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
awnlee jawking

@Ernest Bywater

But the biggest curse is when you know the story well, but real life stops you from being able to get it out and written.


Amen :(

AJ

Remus2

@Ernest Bywater

True statements all.

StarFleet Carl

I started writing fiction back when I was in junior high school. I didn't really start until after I had taught myself to type - I'm one of those people who learned how to write in about the second grade and my skills just never improved from there.

Wrote my first 'porn' piece in high school. Had the whole thing plotted out, ended up about 30 pages long. (Double spaced, left justified.)

Did some actual published work in college, but those were just articles in small magazines that for the most part don't even exist anymore. (No, not Penthouse Forum.) Some criminal law journals, and a couple of what would now be considered survivalist journals. (That was when I was really active in the SCA, so I had a couple of things about how skills from the middle ages could become handy for survival in the event of a major world event.)

Always had the bug. Just haven't always had the time. Still don't have enough time - I have a full time job, but there are days when it's so slow it's not funny, and I get a little done then. I've a couple of smaller stories on here and one epic length work that's been fairly well received. The guys on this forum have been helpful for the most part. Sometimes they're a pain, but that's just part of life. One thing I have learned is to not start posting something without having it finished first. Life can and does interfere with your ability to write, and when you're posting something that your still writing and you think that having a five chapter buffer - so five weeks of lead time - is enough, you're wrong.

oldegrump
Updated:

Heinlien stated in 'Grumbles From The Grave' that writing is addicting. It sure is. I have been writing for less then two years and at 70 years old, it has helped me cope with thoughts in my head.

My addiction is that the stories occur at 3:00 AM and most are lost at 8:00 AM

I write mostly short less then 100k stories, and have several in the que waiting to be finished. It is not that easy to be satisfied with your work. IT IS TRULY ADDICTING

Crumbly Writer

@docholladay

I think it boils down to being both "a gift and a curse". For the readers its a gift of countless stories to read. For the writer/storyteller it might be more of a curse that forces them to write the story.

Rather than a gift/curse, I prefer to think of it as a 'compulsion'. No sensible person would voluntarily choose being an author as a life-long profession, because it's an incredibly tough way to make a living. Not only do few few authors make a living-wage, but even the best authors, if their wages are broken down on an 'hourly wage' basis, could make vastly more money working in a McDonald's.

In short, writers don't choose to write, they write because they get a story in their heads, and the only way to get it out is to write it. For some, this is only a one-time preoccupation, and once they've accomplished it, they simply never bother doing it again. But for authors, it Docholiday's curse, in that they can't keep up with the multiple stories begging them to express their wild fantasy worlds (even if they write entirely non-fiction).

Crumbly Writer

@REP

For me, I know the story from A to K and nothing else. I get to K and L and M pop into my head. The story is over when it is done even if I didn't reach Z. :)

That's common, but it's usually best if you write towards the ending. Thus you'd want to know where the story is going to end up, so you can help guide the reader towards the destination (which typically features identifying the central conflict, and the various steps the charater's take in resolving that conflict). Even with that knowledge, authors are always surprised by the twists and turns their stories take on their own (i.e without their planning such actions). But that's part of the fun. If you already knew everything that happens in a given story, WHY would you chose to write it? It's like rewriting newspaper articles, there's simply no surprise or excitement in repeating details, unless you can put a different spin on them.

But for REP's final point, very often you'll have the central conflict, but you'll choose to end the story before that conflict is complete resolved. So you end up with a 'partial' win, or you'll leave the characters at a certain point, unsure what they'll do in the future, simply because those issues are outside the scope of the particular story.

Many times I'll write a one-off story, where a character manages to achieve something significant, but I won't write any more, even though the character still has a hell of a lot to accomplish still. But then, months or even years after writing the story, I'll suddenly see a new way to continue the story, by portraying entirely new conflicts rather than simply 'continuing' the old story. That's why I'll write the sequels, not because the sequels are expected, but because the new story is an entirely NEW story in itself, despite it's being a continuation of the previous stories.

But, I'm sure REP will see it a different way entirely, since I've just shoved so many of MY opinions in his mouth! 'D

Crumbly Writer

@oldegrump

My addiction is that the stories occur at 3:00 AM and most are lost at 8:00 AM

Amen to that, brother. While many famous authors kept a journal by their besides just so they could quickly jot the essential details so they could go back to sleep, for most of us, it's best to write the story while the ideas are fresh, rather than trying to figure out how the whole premise fits together later, when you can't quite remember all the details anymore.

Uther_Pendragon

@Daler

I've lasted for a fairly long time. Started in '96.

I have always wanted to write. When I learned to type, I started several stories. Then came the computer. Then came spell-checkers. I love spell checkers.

I learned that you could write sex stories and publish them for yourself for free on the Internet. Actually, if there had been a readership for SF stories, that is probably what I would have written.

Some of my characters are more real to me than many people I see every week. That's part of the fun. Bob, Jeanette, and their family live in my head.

Replies:   oyster50
richardshagrin

@oldegrump

que

"Is it que, queue, or q?
One of our persistent—and more puzzling—lookups is for the word que, which is entered in our dictionary (capitalized) as an abbreviation for Quebec. Qué is also a Spanish word that means "what." That is not, however, the word that many people are looking for when they look up que in our dictionary. Que is homophonous with a number of other words, most of which have wildly different spellings and meanings. One of the words that people are looking for when they look up que is queue, a word that means "line" (as in, "We waited in the ticket queue.") Sometimes people are looking for the homonym cue, or "a signal to start or do something" ("The lights just went out—that's my cue to start the movie."). Very occasionally, people look up que for coup, a word that refers to a violent and sudden overthrow or takeover of a government ("reports on the latest coup attempt"). And if you're looking for the phonetic spelling of the letter q, try again: that's cue."

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@richardshagrin

If you try to cue a scene using the word "que", you're likely to launch a coup by your readers, who are offended you never bothered to check a dictionary for the proper spelling.

Daler

Nice bits of perspective given here. I can relate to some of it. When i get a story i just want to get it out on paper and love seeing what happens to my characters as i put them though their trials.

Noticed that nobody spoke of the tools offered on SOL. Does anyone give a shit about votes, comments, downloads and all that? Is there a reason you write on SOL compared to other sites?

I'm curious as this is the only site I've posted to and wondering if there are other good sites out there. And if so what makes them good or what makes this one better? Do any of the options motivate you to keep writing?

oyster50

@Uther_Pendragon

Some of my characters are more real to me than many people I see every week. That's part of the fun. Bob, Jeanette, and their family live in my head.


That's MY problem. I started writing a story about a girl in an Alabama trailer park ( I was working in Alabama at the time) and by the time I got the story headed in a good direction, I'd fallen in love with my own version of Pygmalion.

Seven years later, she's still cute and quirky and capable and I'm still writing about her an her friends.

Ernest Bywater

@Daler

I'm curious as this is the only site I've posted to and wondering if there are other good sites out there.


Not really.

Some of us do prepare final books that look very professional as e-books or print books and make them available via sites like www.lulu.com as well as SoL. When a story suits the rules of the site I also cross post to Fine Stories and SciFi Stories.

I post to SoL because it's the only site I've found where they will accept sex stories and no sex stories. Most sites will accept one or the other, but not both. I want a single location,so SoL is it with me also supporting the sister sites.

.............

As to the other tools on SoL.

1. There's a lot of good advice about writing and getting stories ready to publish at Sol on the web pages linked to the Author/Editor page.

2. I find the reader feedback useful most of the time.

3. I find the blog useful to let the readers know when a new story is released of if I get a lot of the same questions from the readers, I put the answers there.

4. I have the end of story comments available for the readers to discuss the stories amongst themselves - great place for fans to talk to each other. Sometimes there's a point raised I need to address, and one of the readers will send me a message to look at the comment, otherwise I leave them alone for the readers to use.

5. Some authors get obsessed with the scores and votes, but I only look at them when involved in a discussion. They're there for the readers, so I don't worry about them.

6. The downloads is something I look at once or twice a year, except when info is needed for a discussion on the forum. That's the best indicator of how well the story is received, but I don't worry about it, either.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Daler

Noticed that nobody spoke of the tools offered on SOL. Does anyone give a shit about votes, comments, downloads and all that? Is there a reason you write on SOL compared to other sites?

Way back when, when ASSTR was still a viable site, the only ones who seemed to get messages were those suggested additional kinky scenes they'd lover to read. When I posted the same stories to SOL, the feedback is not only much greater, but it actually deals with the story and is overwhelmingly positive (with a few notable exceptions).

So yeah, the feedback is vital, but it isn't what motivates me to write in the first place. Instead, the feedback is a tool which I use to evaluate my writing's effectiveness. I can monitor each chapters scores to see how popular each chapter is (measured by whether the scores go up or down with that particular chapter), and readers can question certain assumptions in my stories.

But, in the end, even if I wasn't posting anywhere, I'd continue to write anyway, simply because I'm driven to create the stories and to get those ideas out on (virtual) paper.

Crumbly Writer

@Ernest Bywater

6. The downloads is something I look at once or twice a year, except when info is needed for a discussion on the forum. That's the best indicator of how well the story is received, but I don't worry about it, either.

I've decided that the scores are ONLY meaningful a full five years after the story has posted, as then the scores are finally stable, and readers have settled on what they think of the story overall (as opposed to how the story ended, or that a particular character met an untimely end).

The score that long after the story first posts tells an entirely different story than the ones you get when the story first posts, thus I tend to ignore the initial postings (well, I still pay attention, but I only considering them an 'at the moment' reflection of people's feelings about the story).

Ernest Bywater

What keeps me writing is often the ice cold Coca Cola with its caffeine hit.

Replies:   Daler
Daler
Updated:

@Ernest Bywater

Haha. Or the promise you make to yourself of a cold beer for finishing up a section... but not until you get it done.

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