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Opinions Please -

RedCzar

My story "The Secret Cheerleader Vote", is coming to it's natural end point. It's original intended end point that is. The next chapter should be the wrap up.

However, there are still some more stories/chapters that could be added which take place after the conclusion of the main plot. These stories were mentioned during the course of the main story, and I know the readers would like to hear them.

I could easily extend the story into the next year and just keep on adding chapters.

I could also wrap up the story as it is, and begin a sequel story "Season Two" and include the new chapters there.

I am also considering starting a new series which centers around the secondary characters and their exploits, as opposed to the current main character.

I may ask my readers what they would prefer, but thought to start with the seasoned pros first.

What would you do?

Would you simply continue as is and slide into the next year?

Wrap it up as planned and continue in "Season Two"?

Or is there an option that I haven't thought of?

I welcome your input.
Thanks all!
RC

REP

@RedCzar

I don't see a problem with adding the content to the current story if it can be a seamless addition.

I would cut off the story and introduce the new material as one or more short stories. They could be used to create a story universe.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@REP

I don't see a problem with adding the content to the current story if it can be a seamless addition.

I would cut off the story and introduce the new material as one or more short stories. They could be used to create a story universe.

The general rule of thumbs (I have two rules here), is that if the continuation differs from the first (focus, conflicts and goals or message) then it should be a separate book. In fact, anytime you split a single book into two, you should ensure that they're actually different, rather than just 'more of the same'. Similarly, if everything essentially remains the same (same bad guy, same conflicts, identical challenges), then just continue adding more chapters.

Secondly, consider what you want as an author. If you want to continue writing the one story for the rest of your life, then stick to the same story, as many here have gone well-over 100 chapters in the ONLY story they've ever told. However, if you aren't aiming for that, I'd be careful about how much you invest into any one story, as readers will expect it to continue, year after year, girlfriend after girlfriend. If you want to write different types of stories, I ensure that each story stands alone on its own, so when one story ends, readers KNOW it's complete, so they don't expect it to continue indefinitely.

Replies:   REP
Ross at Play

I would note there's an extra level of satisfaction for readers - and authors - when a story arc is brought to a satisfactory conclusion. I suggest separate stories in the same universe - provided you can create each as a self-contained story.

It would be harder to pull off, but making that effort should help you develop your craft as a story-teller too.

Also, the appearance of new short stories on the site should increase your fan base too, as new readers give one a try and then continue with your other stories if they are satisfied.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
REP

@Crumbly Writer

Thanks for the rules CW, but I just do my thing, my way.

Instead of directing your thoughts at me, why don't you pass on your sage advice to RedCzar? He is the one asking for opinions.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
richardshagrin

I prefer to read a completed story. It is far more likely I will read your story if it is presented as a complete work. For example, if Stupid Boy were a single incomplete story I would not have read it. Instead it is a half dozen or maybe more completed works. The longer the story the less likely I am to pick it up and read it, at least until it shows finished in the story description. Finish off your current story and start another one is my vote.

Keet

As richardshagrin mentioned I (as a reader) also much prefer finished stories and there are a lot of readers that hesitate to start an unfinished one. So if your story has a natural conclusion then finish it. But you also mentioned a lot of loose ends. There's 3 solutions to that: an epilogue that clears up those loose ends, shorter follow-up stories that each handle a loose end, or a sequel to the current story. You know your story best and what you want to write so it is up to you to choose which way you want to go.
I forgot a 4th less desired option: Finish the story and leave it at that. You really should consider an epilogue if you want to finish and leave the story line without loose ends. The rules Crumbly mentioned are good rules to consider.

Replies:   RedCzar
RedCzar

@Keet

But you also mentioned a lot of loose ends.


Not necessarily loose ends as much as teasers of possible stories for the future.

Right now I'm leaning toward finishing this one as a "season" or book one, and then picking up with "season 2"

Most of the characters stay the same, but the situation is a bit different now, and the focus shifts from the current main character to include one or two others as main characters. It seems like the best option so far.

I do agree that I want to have much more of it complete this time before posting any of it. I'm finding that readers get antsy waiting for the next chapter. How long? How long? So definitely keeping that in mind.

On the other hand, I HAVE had some helpful input from readers along the way which helped in the process. So...

Thank you all for your input.

Replies:   Keet
Keet

@RedCzar

Right now I'm leaning toward finishing this one as a "season" or book one, and then picking up with "season 2"

Looks like you found the best option. I don't read many stories with "much sex" but I will start on your 'season one' and I'm sure if I like it that I will be looking forward to 'season two'.
I wish you good writing!

Replies:   RedCzar
RedCzar

@Keet

I understand that. My stories are not for everyone. I hope you enjoy if you do decide to read.

Thanks for the input!

Crumbly Writer

@Ross at Play

It would be harder to pull off, but making that effort should help you develop your craft as a story-teller too.

That's an important point. With many stories, readers can visually see your growth as an author and storyteller, whereas if you only write a single massive story, they'll only see your crude initial description and first chapter. Readers are much more patient with new authors because they see their potential, but if they don't see that potential manifold over time, they aren't as forgiving.

Replies:   Keet
Crumbly Writer

@REP

Instead of directing your thoughts at me, why don't you pass on your sage advice to RedCzar? He is the one asking for opinions.

That was my intent, but as often happens, I was responding to your response (the way you phrased it, rather than how you write stories. I should have added an "@RedCzar" to the comment, to clarify who I was addressing, though. My bad.

And once again, I was telling you the "Rules", just the general guidelines for splitting books up. Many authors flaunt such guidelines all the time, especially on SOL. So take it for what it's worth. But, as I often say, it's best (for RedCzar) to understand those guidelines before he breaks them, just so he'll understand what might happen as a result. There's no Catholic school marm standing over you shoulder, smacking your hand with a ruler if you violate them. 'D

But again, I apologize for the oversight.

Keet

@Crumbly Writer

That's an important point. With many stories, readers can visually see your growth as an author and storyteller, whereas if you only write a single massive story, they'll only see your crude initial description and first chapter. Readers are much more patient with new authors because they see their potential, but if they don't see that potential manifold over time, they aren't as forgiving.

Very good point about the initial description. Take Arlene and Jeff. The description is almost a mini-mini prologue but says nothing about what the story currently has become. Even worse, that description could scare off some readers while it's only a minor part of the story in the very beginning of book 1.
Can authors update the description? That could be very good for the story I mentioned and possibly many others.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Uther_Pendragon

@RedCzar

If the story is finished, that is to say that the initial conflict has been resolved, then I would start a new story.

OTOH, many authors on the site do not.

Replies:   RedCzar
Uther_Pendragon

@RedCzar

If the story is finished, that is to say that the initial conflict has been resolved, then I would start a new story.

OTOH, many authors on the site do not.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
RedCzar

@Uther_Pendragon

Yes, that is about where I have arrived.

The original plot will have resolved itself.

It will be easy to continue on into the next year with most of the same characters and settings, but the situations and conflicts between them will have changed. Therefore, new conflicts equals new story.

I can also set up a whole different series (universe?) to include the random stories of any of the various other characters as they arise.

Again,
Thank you for your input, I truly appreciate it.

RC

Darian Wolfe

@RedCzar

One good thing about a shorter but multiple story format is you can cover the same time period and focus on different elements of the story. It can help build out a universe.

I used it that way in the first two stories of the Freya cycle then jumped ahead a couple of years to finish out the trilogy.

Crumbly Writer

@Keet

Can authors update the description? That could be very good for the story I mentioned and possibly many others.

Yes, they can, and I often update mine, as the description (and the major conflict) evolves over the course of the story. You can update your story descriptions with the 'Author Tools' accessed by clicking the story title on your Author's Stats page.

Replies:   Keet
Crumbly Writer

@Uther_Pendragon

OTOH, many authors on the site do not.

A statement so important, it's worth stating twice! 'D

Keet

@Crumbly Writer

Yes, they can, and I often update mine, as the description (and the major conflict) evolves over the course of the story. You can update your story descriptions with the 'Author Tools' accessed by clicking the story title on your Author's Stats page.

That makes me wonder why many authors of ongoing long serials don't update the description if the evolving story warrants it.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer  REP
Crumbly Writer

@RedCzar

I can also set up a whole different series (universe?) to include the random stories of any of the various other characters as they arise.

In your case, RedCzar, it wouldn't be a Universe, but a series, as it's a continuation of the same story, whereas a "Universe" generally features different stories (often featuring different characters or different authors), set in the same story framework.

Series are a bit easier to create, but you'd use a Universe if you expanded the story to include separate books about the other characters you introduced in the main story series.

It helps to have a clear understanding of the difference.

I can also set up a whole different series (universe?) to include the random stories of any of the various other characters as they arise.

Keep the original story going in a single series, but when you finally decide to expand it (beyond the main character), you'd create a Universe for it, including the original series.

The system is set up to create these on the fly, and to apply them to existing stories so it's easy to shuffle them from one to the other.

Crumbly Writer

@Keet

That makes me wonder why many authors of ongoing long serials don't update the description if the evolving story warrants it.

Probably because, since they're entirely focused on each chapter, rather than consistency throughout the story, they don't often check the description very often. In my case, I frequently check back, so I'm quick to notice, not just whether the story has evolved over time, but I'll spot better, more concise ways, or characterizing the story.

Since I use the description to guide what I include in the story, it helps keeping it as an "elevator speech" (a term which refers to when an artist meets a media tycoon in an elevator, and has to 'sell them' on a project during the few seconds they're both trapped on the same elevator car).

Since that elevator speech description summarizes how the readers understand the conflicts, it gives me a better idea of whether different story elements fit into the central conflict, or are merely extraneous details, unrelated to the central conflicts which can be chopped out without losing anything.

REP

@Keet

why many authors of ongoing long serials don't update the description


By ongoing serials, do you mean a series of stories or a single story that is just continued by adding more chapters.

I suspect you are referring to a single story. If so, keep in mind that SOL story descriptions have a maximum limit of 500 letters including spaces. It can be difficult to create a thorough description that provides a clear understanding of the story plot. You may be able to do so when you post the first chapter(s). However as the chapter count increases, the plot and content may have evolved and become so complex that 500 characters is inadequate to create/modify the description, and have it be better than the original description.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@REP

keep in mind that SOL story descriptions have a maximum limit of 500 letters including spaces. It can be difficult to create a thorough description that provides a clear understanding of the story plot. You may be able to do so when you post the first chapter(s). However as the chapter count increases, the plot and content may have evolved and become so complex that 500 characters is inadequate to create/modify the description, and have it be better than the original description.

@Keet (not REP)

That's why the key to writing a decent description is to boil it down to the essential conflict driving the story, rather than listing each separate mini-conflict that evolves throughout the story. Which is also the reason why I find the description so useful in deciding which story threads aren't worth keeping. If your goal is just to fill 6,000 to 14,000 words each week, then extraneous details don't matter. But in a completed book, meant to be read as a continuous read (i.e. from cover to cover, rather than a little each week), then keeping the story focused is more essential than simply 'filling the page'.

Even now, as I'm contemplating rewriting or revising my early works, I see many subthreads which could easily be cut. They added to the readers' understanding of the issues involved, but never really advanced the central plot.

Replies:   Keet  Ross at Play
Keet

@Crumbly Writer

That's why the key to writing a decent description is to boil it down to the essential conflict driving the story,

Exactly, and as REP stated with a limit to 500 characters that might be difficult if you have multiple main story lines. But it should not be difficult to keep it to one or two main story lines that attract more readers. Especially the long running stories that just keep the followers and don't get new readers. A changed description could get those new readers without losing current readers.

Ross at Play

@Crumbly Writer

That's why the key to writing a decent description is to boil it down to the essential conflict driving the story

Some readers do not want an essential conflict in a story and I've no objection to authors satisfying those readers.

I'm not one of them, but apparently there are a lot of TV viewers who like Days of Our Lives.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Keet

as REP stated with a limit to 500 characters that might be difficult if you have multiple main story lines.

For each story I write, I typically write three different descriptions. A detailed description (basically to go on the back of the printed book), a 'brief' description websites post when a book first pops up, but which you can expand on if you want, and then there's the SOL description, which is even shorter.

There's almost always significant detail (even in the main conflict) that gets cut as a result, but since I keep going back to it, I've gotten pretty good at refining them.

Replies:   PotomacBob
Crumbly Writer

@Ross at Play

Some readers do not want an essential conflict in a story and I've no objection to authors satisfying those readers.

Are you discussing Mary Sue stories, or are you thinking of something in particular, because Days of Our Lives is in a class by itself, as there's essentially a new conflict every new episodes, though the story line is officially about a ongoing conflicts in a single fictional town (Salem, in no particular state or county), and thus bears little resemblance to most literary (i.e. fictional) writing.

Replies:   Ross at Play
PotomacBob

@Crumbly Writer

As an SOL reader, let me argue for longer descriptions. I read descriptions to determine whether I want to read the story. "sequel to Book 1" tells me nothing. "The further adventures of the Bobbsey Twins" tells me nothing about what the new adventure is. Authors who have enough skills to write a story ought to have enough skills to write a blurb describing the story.

Ross at Play

@Crumbly Writer

are you thinking of something in particular?

No.

I mentioned Days of Out Lives only to mean anything and everything with a never-ending stream of minor conflicts. The appeal of such things, which includes some popular stories on this site, completely baffles me.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Ross at Play

are you thinking of something in particular?

No.

I mentioned Days of Out Lives only to mean anything and everything with a never-ending stream of minor conflicts. The appeal of such things, which includes some popular stories on this site, completely baffles me.

Ah, then it's likely the same as the ol' 'Yellow Journalism' days, where authors simply write to fill the page (website), and keep readers reading at all costs, week after week, rather than any actual plot demands.

That's why I asked.

@PotomacBob

As an SOL reader, let me argue for longer descriptions. I read descriptions to determine whether I want to read the story. "sequel to Book 1" tells me nothing. "The further adventures of the Bobbsey Twins" tells me nothing about what the new adventure is.

Alas, those aren't examples of SOL needing longer descriptions, but authors who clearly have no knowledge of (or interest in) writing descriptions (ex: "Yet another story."). In that case, I'm surprised they even bothered with the final period!

But there's an easy solution to that. Every time you see one, write and tell the author you're going to give it a 1-bomb until they learn to write a proper description. (Whether or not you follow through really doesn't matter, as you're expressing your displeasure over their not caring what readers think of their stories, or their not bothering to craft the best story possible). Hint: That evidence of someone writing for their own gratification, rather than to tell a story.

Replies:   PotomacBob
PotomacBob

@Keet

with a limit to 500 characters


Who imposes the limit?

PotomacBob

@Crumbly Writer

ol' 'Yellow Journalism' days


Do tell, please. I always thought of yellow journalism as invasions from Mars, attacks by killer bees, sensationalism in daily newspapers (at a time when they frequently used yellow newsprint). Your use of the word "authors" makes me think I'm missing something.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Lazeez Jiddan (Webmaster)
Updated:

@PotomacBob


Who imposes the limit?


I configured the submission system to refuse descriptions longer than 500 characters.

LOAnnie

As someone who has read and enjoyed the story so far and given feedback, here's my two cents.

Do the series thing, and the extra offshoots you can do either as shorter single-shot stories in the same series, or even as multiple chapters for some of the big ones. By putting it in the series you can easily not have to use the titles and people will know their interconnectedness. Plus as others have said, some people only read completed works, and that changes things and can bring new audiences.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Ernest Bywater
Updated:

@Lazeez Jiddan (Webmaster)


I configured the submission system to refuse descriptions longer than 500 characters.


From my experience with a number of websites and publisher set limits, that's a fair limit that allows for a good succinct description.

Too often and author will be too brief or they waste space on inconsequential stuff. The descriptions I hate are where all that's posted is about why they wrote the story and they have nothing about the story.

typo edit - always notice them just after I hit the send button, if I notice them at all.

Ross at Play

@Ernest Bywater

that's a fair limit that allows for a good succinct description.

Yes, it's more than enough for enough that.

It's also enough for a reader to detect an author who cannot write or who doesn't really care.

If authors want readers to at least give their story a try they should consider the description the most important part of their publication.

Replies:   Darian Wolfe
richardshagrin

What I notice about the descriptions is if the author has an editing/proof-reading problem. Mis-spelled words, the wrong word (Principle as the head teacher), unusual punctuation and all the errors that some authors can't seem to avoid are often reflected in the story description. I guess it is better not to ask that they be corrected, it gives the potential reader warning of what to expect. Maybe authors put them in to dissuade "grammar Nazis" from reading the story. Or maybe they just don't realize what a bad description does to the chance of their story being read.

Replies:   awnlee jawking
awnlee jawking

@richardshagrin

I've noticed similar faults in many of the editors' descriptions of themselves. Perhaps they put the faults in so that authors don't feel overawed by them.

AJ

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@PotomacBob

Who imposes the limit?

Most online sites (Amazon, Smashwords, B&N, etc.) place the limit of their short description at 750 words, which allows for more careful wording, if not a lot of extra detail. Typically, when I cut my descriptions down for SOL, I end up cutting the most powerful language, leaving the descriptions more generic, rather than a stronger, more direct description.

But, it would ultimately be unfair to all the past authors (and their stories) to suddenly increase the limit now. :(

Crumbly Writer

@PotomacBob

Do tell, please. I always thought of yellow journalism as invasions from Mars, attacks by killer bees, sensationalism in daily newspapers (at a time when they frequently used yellow newsprint). Your use of the word "authors" makes me think I'm missing something.

Ernest and I were making similar arguments, that the 'serial' story originated during the time of Yellow Journalism, for the same reasons, though you're technically correct, as it's not the definition of "Yellow Journalism". I simply felt it's part and parcel of the whole movement of the time.

The fact that it pushed longer stories (pay by the word), distinguishes it from the current wave of meaningless news with little journalistic integrity.

Crumbly Writer

@LOAnnie

Plus as others have said, some people only read completed works, and that changes things and can bring new audiences.

Hear, hear! What's more, each new story helps 'sell' the others. While most long-running serials have plenty of readers, and higher scores, those who never started it are unlikely to ever discover you, whereas posting a different story is more likely to attract all new readers (who didn't like the first story's premise), who'll then venture back to check it out again. That effect extends to each story you post (though, admittedly, each book in a series typically gets fewer readers and higher scores, since the skeptics typically bow out).

Crumbly Writer

@Ernest Bywater

Too often and author will be too brief or they waste space on inconsequential stuff. The descriptions I hate are where all that's posted is about why they wrote the story and they have nothing about the story.

I agree. A author's most vital writing isn't the first line, first paragraph or first page, but the story blurb, as no one will ever even glance at the story unless the description attracts their attention. Dumping a meaningless, badly composed blurb is about the worst thing you can do to promote a story! It's worth investing the time necessary to do a good job, rather than assuming that no one cares about descriptions like so many seem to do.

Replies:   Keet
Crumbly Writer

@awnlee jawking

I've noticed similar faults in many of the editors' descriptions of themselves. Perhaps they put the faults in so that authors don't feel overawed by them.

More likely, just like many authors, they don't consider their personal description (their 'Ad' for authors) to be worth the effect to make it 'professional'. Just like bad blurbs, it says a LOT about the editor. After all, if an editor can't identify bad writing, then WHY bother? And, if they can't be bothered reading an extremely short blurb over, there's little chance they've ever put much effort into your writing either. (My best editors always take multiple passes over each chapter, while those who edit as they read miss the most flagrant errors!)

Keet

@Crumbly Writer

A author's most vital writing isn't the first line, first paragraph or first page, but the story blurb, as no one will ever even glance at the story unless the description attracts their attention. Dumping a meaningless, badly composed blurb is about the worst thing you can do to promote a story! It's worth investing the time necessary to do a good job, rather than assuming that no one cares about descriptions like so many seem to do.

This, exactly this! I think some authors don't realize how important the short description is for readers, that it is one of the main points a reader uses to determine if he wants to read it at all. Sure, codes, size, scoring, downloads may also be important points but the first thing you see is the description. If that fails to attract attention and interest the rest won't matter.
Readers that search or select by codes will look at the description next. Again, this makes the description very important to readers.

awnlee jawking

@Lazeez Jiddan (Webmaster)

I configured the submission system to refuse descriptions longer than 500 characters.


I think there's a conflict between the 500 word limit and authors who write stories which 'consist' of multiple books. Without naming names, the description soon becomes an inadequate description of the events of later books.

My preferred solution would be for such stories to be broken down into individual books within a series.

AJ

Replies:   Keet  AmigaClone  REP  Crumbly Writer
Keet

@awnlee jawking

My preferred solution would be for such stories to be broken down into individual books within a series.

Isn't it up to the author to split into individual books and as a result get 500 characters for a description per book? At least that's how I see a universe presented: description for the universe (or series) and a description for each book.

Replies:   awnlee jawking
awnlee jawking

@Keet

Isn't it up to the author to split into individual books and as a result get 500 characters for a description per book?


At the moment, yes. But some don't :(

AJ

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
AmigaClone

@awnlee jawking

My preferred solution would be for such stories to be broken down into individual books within a series.


I remember one or two stories off the top of my head where the author originally posted several separate stories and later combined them into one.

awnlee jawking

@AmigaClone

I remember one or two stories off the top of my head where the author originally posted several separate stories and later combined them into one.


Was that on SOL? How useful was the 'story description'?

AJ

REP

@awnlee jawking

Without naming names, the description soon becomes an inadequate description of the events of later books.


The only story that I can think of where the Author divided his story into multiple books with each Book being long enough to warrant being divided into separate stories is Arlene and Jeff. In that particular case, RoustWriter added a description of the individual Book's contents within the Index by placing a NOTE before the respective Book's chapters that gives a description of what the Book addresses, which is effectively the same thing as separate stories with separate descriptions.

In case you missed it, the Notes can be longer than 500 characters so his approach provides extra characters for a longer description of the Book's contents.

But perhaps you are thinking of a story other than Arlene and Jeff.

Replies:   Keet
Keet

@REP

The only story that I can think of where the Author divided his story into multiple books with each Book being long enough to warrant being divided into separate stories is Arlene and Jeff. In that particular case, RoustWriter added a description of the individual Book's contents within the Index by placing a NOTE before the respective Book's chapters that gives a description of what the Book addresses, which is effectively the same thing as separate stories with separate descriptions.

That is not the same as actual separate books. If you go to Roustwriters page you only see the short 500 character description, not the notes before the books. You can't even see that there are multiple books until you click the story and see the index. Non-premium members will be very careful to click a story just to see if there are notes.
The first description is what helps a reader to decide if he is going to start reading it. It's not until he decided to start reading that he sees the notes.

Replies:   REP
REP

@Keet

If someone who hasn't accessed Arlene and Jeff were to read the story description, they would see a description of Book 1.

The description would have served its purpose of getting a reader to start reading the story.

You and Awnlee may wish to remember that the story description of most stories, even medium-length stories, do not describe the entire story.

Replies:   Keet  Crumbly Writer
Keet

@REP

You and Awnlee may wish to remember that the story description of most stories, even medium-length stories, do not describe the entire story.

Of course but the description should be an inviting and correct depiction of the essence of the story. In the case of Arlene and Jeff a description of Book 1 as you correctly stated. But does it?

Replies:   REP
REP

@Keet

I agree that the description should be an inviting and correct depiction of the essence of the story. However, if you examined the descriptions of most stories, you would find they do not fully and accurately reflect the story. for example:

o - Just read it.

o - This is a continuation of (add prior story name).

And from today's Updated Serials listing:

o - While the others are away, Maria needs Susan's help.

o - Dumb Shit!

o - Marcy's fantasy may become a reality

Do any of these examples provide a good description the essence of the storyline?

Replies:   Keet  Crumbly Writer
Keet

@REP

Do any of these examples provide a good description the essence of the storyline?

No, none of them do. None of these tell me anything about what I'm going to read if I start the story. A lot of readers won't bother to find out. Arlene and Jeff was just an example and not the worst by a long shot as you proved with your examples.

Darian Wolfe

@Ross at Play

I always loved the challenge. I figured if I couldn't write a compelling description in that small amount of space then I really didn't understand my own story.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@awnlee jawking

I think there's a conflict between the 500 word limit and authors who write stories which 'consist' of multiple books. Without naming names, the description soon becomes an inadequate description of the events of later books.

My preferred solution would be for such stories to be broken down into individual books within a series.

In a Series, each separate book has it's own description/blurb. When you create the series, you also create a "Series Description" for the entire series, though few SOL readers ever refer to those. In the worst case, you simply toss in a tag line at the end of the story description: "Part 3 in the Silly Pointless Story Universe."

But, since each story/book contains it's own conflicts, you don't refer to the conflicts in the other books, since they don't really characterize what's unique about those books.

Replies:   REP
Crumbly Writer

@awnlee jawking

Isn't it up to the author to split into individual books and as a result get 500 characters for a description per book?

At the moment, yes. But some don't :(

I think what he's saying is that, while authors who do split a long story up into individual books can describe each story, a long-running series only has 500 characters to describe the events unfolding in over 500 chapters!

Crumbly Writer

@AmigaClone

I remember one or two stories off the top of my head where the author originally posted several separate stories and later combined them into one.

Otherwise called "Anthologies". Each book stands alone (on their own), while the combination serves up the entire series in a single volume.

Replies:   Uther_Pendragon
Crumbly Writer

@REP

You and Awnlee may wish to remember that the story description of most stories, even medium-length stories, do not describe the entire story.

That's why I find it best to focus the description on the primary book conflict, rather than focusing on the story details. Unfortunately, in Arlene and Jeff, the initial conflict is between humans and aliens, but then the story shifts rapidly away from that pretext and it's later utterly forgotten (but I'll admit, it's been a LONG time since I last glanced at it).

Replies:   REP  awnlee jawking
Crumbly Writer

@REP

Do any of these examples provide a good description the essence of the storyline?

They're good descriptions of the fact the author doesn't CARE who reads his stories. Essentially they're 'Go Away and Leave Me Alone to Write My Damn Stories' notices. :(

Crumbly Writer

@Darian Wolfe

I always loved the challenge. I figured if I couldn't write a compelling description in that small amount of space then I really didn't understand my own story.

As Albert Einstein supposedly stated: "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough."

Rough ideas, not yet fully understood are incredibly difficult to express. Yet, complicated subjects, which you fully understand, can be expressed simply. That's what differentiates lousy college professors from those favored by students and deemed 'insightful'.

Then again, there's the H. L. Mencken quote: "For every complex problem, there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong!"

REP

@Crumbly Writer

In a Series, each separate book has it's own description/blurb.


Awnlee is referring to dividing a single story into Books and each Book is then divided into Chapters. Similar to what Ernie does but he calls them Sections.

Uther_Pendragon

@Crumbly Writer

Maybe.

My story Karen was originally published (on ASSM and ASSTR) was originally a series of all-dialogue vignettes. The story arc, even then, was more between stories than within stories. Then I merged it into one serial.

Not quite an anthology.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
REP
Updated:

@Crumbly Writer

From what I recall of this thread, Awnlee stated that authors of long stories with chapters posted as written should update their story description to reflect the evolution of the story line - my words not his. I pointed out the purpose of the description was to attract readers, not to describe the entire story. I also indicated the author only had 500 characters to work with and trying to provide a good description of long stories with that limitation would be extremely difficult.

Awnlee also stated that he believed long stories should be divided into multiple stories and that would allow the author to produce good descriptions with just 500 characters. What Awnlee stated is probably true, but posting multiple short stories or a single long story is the author's choice.

I agree that for long stories, the author should address the primary conflict. RoustWriter choose to divide his story into Books and add a description for each Book in the story's Index and to start each Book with Chapter 1. I think Chapter 1 of each Book should have been an Introduction and included the description of the Book's portion of the overall storyline. That approach would have made things clearer to the reader; a description in the Index tends to get lost.

ETA: the description of Book 2 is also included at the end of the last chapter of Book 1. This wasn't done in the last chapter of Book 2, but there was a note to check the Index.

awnlee jawking

@Crumbly Writer

Unfortunately, in Arlene and Jeff, the initial conflict is between humans and aliens, but then the story shifts rapidly away from that pretext and it's later utterly forgotten (but I'll admit, it's been a LONG time since I last glanced at it).


Conflict between humans and aliens may occur in the latest book, if the saga ever progresses from the prison planet, but there's no mention of space travel or aliens in the story description so if those float a reader's boat, they may skip over the story entirely.

AJ

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Uther_Pendragon

My story Karen was originally published (on ASSM and ASSTR) was originally a series of all-dialogue vignettes. The story arc, even then, was more between stories than within stories. Then I merged it into one serial.

Not quite an anthology.
Yeah, that's case of 'repackaging a story', where you either combine different stories into one, or divide one book into multiple. That's an entirely different ballgame than anthologies. I reshuffled my "Catalyst" series a couple of times before it ended up as it is now.

Crumbly Writer

@REP

Awnlee also stated that he believed long stories should be divided into multiple stories and that would allow the author to produce good descriptions with just 500 characters. What Awnlee stated is probably true, but posting multiple short stories or a single long story is the author's choice.

Good overview. While Awnlee has a valid point, I agree with you. How the story is organized is entirely up to the author, but the description is ONLY to attract readers, not to summarize what happens. As long as you capture the primary conflict, even if it changes over time, it's sufficient to either sell your story or not. Extra details doesn't help the author or readers. The description is not a story summary, it's a description of what the reader can expect if they read the story. If the primary conflict changes, then he should rewrite the entire description, but give up on describing individual details.

My descriptions generally fit into a basic mold. I describe the main conflict upon which the story is based, leaving what happens a mystery so the reader wants to see how it unfolds, and I include the first names of the male and female lead, to make it 'personal' (i.e. I'm describing what the individuals face, rather than describing a generic conflict).

It works for me, but then, the vast majority of my stories are in the 17 to 20-some chapter length, so I have an easier time of it.

Crumbly Writer

@awnlee jawking

Conflict between humans and aliens may occur in the latest book, if the saga ever progresses from the prison planet, but there's no mention of space travel or aliens in the story description so if those float a reader's boat, they may skip over the story entirely.

Still, the description is meant to intrigue the reader enough into reading the story. You don't have to detail what happens. It's entirely a sales tool. Once the reader is interested, they can follow whatever twists and turns on their own, they don't need and advance warning about plot twists, those are best served as a surprise, rather than spoiling it.

Then again, I've never written a mega-story, so what the hell do I know. As I said, my policy works perfectly for my typical (shorter) stories.

Replies:   awnlee jawking
awnlee jawking

@REP

Awnlee also stated that he believed long stories should be divided into multiple stories and that would allow the author to produce good descriptions with just 500 characters.


No, the stories I'm thinking of are already divided into multiple stories called books, but published as one SOL lump.

AJ

Replies:   REP
awnlee jawking

@Crumbly Writer

Then again, I've never written a mega-story, so what the hell do I know. As I said, my policy works perfectly for my typical (shorter) stories.


Perhaps a comparison could be drawn with your 'The Catalyst' series. If it were published as one SOL story (although still consisting of six books),could you do justice to it with just a single 500 word description? Would you use the first book's description, as Roustwriter has done with 'Arlene & Jeff)?

(I estimate 'The Catalyst' to be about a third of the current length of 'Arlene & Jeff').

AJ

Replies:   REP
REP

@awnlee jawking

. . . and authors who write stories which 'consist' of multiple books. . . . My preferred solution would be for such stories to be broken down into individual books within a series.


What you are now saying is different from your prior post (see above).

In your prior post, you indicated each of the stories should have been divided into multiple stories (i.e., books). Since you were reluctant to Name Names, we had no idea what you meant by "authors who write stories which 'consist' of multiple books". We had to guess at what you meant, and my guess was stories similar to Arlene and Jeff.

In your current post, you are defining an author who packaged a series of existing stories/books as an anthology and posted the anthology to SOL as a single story. I have to agree with you that the author you are thinking of would have been better served by posting the individual stories in a Story Series. However, that was the author's decision to make.

Replies:   awnlee jawking
REP
Updated:

@awnlee jawking


could you do justice to it with just a single 500 word description?


Go to Arlene and Jeff, Book 1, Chapter 26 (i.e. the last chapter in Book 1). Go to the bottom of the chapter and observe how RoustWriter introduced Book 2. Unfortunately, he didn't use this approach to introduce Book 3.

RoustWriter provided a description of Book 2 at the bottom of Chapter 26. Since the description was part of the Chapter, RoustWriter was not limited to 500 characters. He could have written a far longer description than he did. He also had the option of expanding and updating the description if the storyline of Book 2 evolved from his original description by updating the Chapter and reposting it.

Personally, I think his solution was ideal and far better than dividing the story into multiple stories and having each stories description limited to 500 characters. If CW wanted to merge The Catalyst series into an anthology, he could handle the description of each successive story in this manner.

Replies:   awnlee jawking
awnlee jawking

@REP

In your current post, you are defining an author who packaged a series of existing stories/books as an anthology and posted the anthology to SOL as a single story.


Anthology is not a useful term because the components of an anthology may be unrelated, whereas the Books in 'Arlene & Jeff' form a clear story progression.

I have to agree with you that the author you are thinking of would have been better served by posting the individual stories in a Story Series. However, that was the author's decision to make.


However that doesn't address the issue of how to optimise the story description. 'Smoking fetish' does not play a larger part in the overall story than space ships and aliens.

AJ

Replies:   REP
awnlee jawking

@REP

Personally, I think his solution was ideal and far better than dividing the story into multiple stories and having each stories description limited to 500 characters.


We'll have to disagree on that. A reader browsing for stories about space ships and aliens shouldn't have to access story text to get an idea of what the overall story is about.

AJ

Replies:   REP
REP

@awnlee jawking

whereas the Books in 'Arlene & Jeff' form a clear story progression.


You must have misunderstood my post. I did not use the term 'anthology' in regard to Arlene and Jeff. I used it in regard to your description of combining a series of existing standalone Books/Stories into a single SOL story.

As far as Arlene and Jeff goes, it is not an anthology. RoustWriter could have used the term 'Section' instead of 'Book'. It was just his way of dividing his story into segments.

In my preceding post, I described how RoustWriter optimized the description of Book 2.

Replies:   awnlee jawking
REP

@awnlee jawking


We'll have to disagree on that.


I agree. However, before you take a firm stance on describing the overall story in the description, you may want to check the description you wrote of your story Gay.

I read Gay and your description of "A witch's curse backfires" fails to give the reader an idea of what the overall story is about.

Replies:   awnlee jawking
awnlee jawking

@REP

I used it in regard to your description of combining a series of existing standalone Books/Stories into a single SOL story.


Where did that come from?

I was describing situations like 'Arlene & Jeff', where multiple books are presented as a single SOL story.

AJ

Replies:   REP
REP

@awnlee jawking

Where did that come from?


It came from your post where you said:

No, the stories I'm thinking of are already divided into multiple stories called books, but published as one SOL lump.


But Arlene and Jeff's Books do not exist as separate books outside of the story. They came into being within the story. Thus you can't combine them to create a single story.

Replies:   awnlee jawking
awnlee jawking

@REP

But Arlene and Jeff's Books do not exist as separate books outside of the story. They came into being within the story. Thus you can't combine them to create a single story.


They're already combined as a single SOL story, and yet they're delimited as separate books without easily accessible book descriptions.

AJ

awnlee jawking

@REP

I'm very bad at story descriptions. Oddly enough, the description of 'Gay!' is one of my 'better' ones, although it's regrettably too informative - it telegraphs the ending.

Perhaps I'd better follow the example of another author and use 'Dumb shit' instead :(

AJ

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