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The Problem With Sex Stories

red61544

I've been reading stories on SOL since 1999 and have discovered a real problem. When you've read as many sex stories as I have in that time, you find that no author can come up with a new or original way to describe the sex acts performed by his characters. I find myself reading a newly posted story and thinking that I've read this same description before and, sadly, I probably have. That's why, for the last year or two, I've avoided the "much sex" or "some sex" designations; they all sound the same to me. I know it's not the author's fault; there are only so many ways you can describe a physical act and, as Joe Friday used to say, "only the names are changed to protect the innocent". I've tried skipping over the long, drawn-out sex scenes but that becomes tedious when there are three of them in one chapter! So, for the most part, I stick to the "minimal sex" or "no sex" stories. Am I the only one with this problem?

Ernest Bywater
Updated:

@red61544

Am I the only one with this problem?


No.

Wheezer

@red61544

So, for the most part, I stick to the "minimal sex" or "no sex" stories. Am I the only one with this problem?


Nope! I'm absolutely bored to death with endlessly repetitive sex scenes in stories. Give me a good rollicking adventure or sci-fi story any day.

sejintenej

No. A few authors do find a way to indicate that a satisfactory / unsatisfactory encounter has happened but with no detail and just a few lines - far far better

TonyV1950

The problem seems to be made worse when some don't bother giving a reason for the wild sexual escapades beyond "She was the most beautiful woman I'd ever seen, when she saw we were alone she smiled and started to undress... etc," or "My mother was beautiful and one day accidentally walked in as I was getting out of the shower. She took one look at my naked body, smiled and dropped to her knees...etc,". So much for plot and character development.

Michael Loucks

As an author, I have the same problem. That's why as I've progressed through 'A Well-Lived Life', the descriptions of sex have dropped considerably.

I wasn't really sure how to classify the first series (AWLL1) because there is a lot of sex, BUT if you go by word count (3.2 million words), sex makes up a small percentage. In the second series (AWLL2), it's an even smaller percentage (of the 3.0 million words so far). Book 7 will probably be 'some sex' but Book 8 will be 'minimal sex'.

I guess what I'm saying is, give it a read. You'll have millions of words that don't involve descriptions of sex.

Replies:   Uther_Pendragon
sunkuwan

I have the same issues. Not that I am against sex in the story, I am just fine with a *tldr* version most of the time.

And the biggest issue is when the author just introduces new females so that he can write new sex scenes with a different woman. Many authors fall into this trap. The sex scenes _are_ the plot instead of spicing up the plot.
Nothing is more infuriating than an unresolved plotpoint and the author takes ages to get it going because the mc has to have sex 10 tens a day.

REP
Updated:

@red61544

No, I share your opinion. However, I see it as a preference rather than a problem. I don't object to a well written sex scene even if it reminds me of prior scenes. Unfortunately, my personal opinion is very few authors write good sex scenes. I don't, so I only add scenes where I think they support the storyline.

For me, a good sex scene is about expressing the emotions the characters feel, not their physical actions; granted the physical activity is what usually leads to the emotional reaction. As a reader, when the scene's content looks like it is 90+% description of inserting Tab A in Slot A and the screams of passion, which are often boilerplate for the specific author, I fast forward to the interesting parts of the story.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Dominions Son

@red61544

I have in that time, you find that no author can come up with a new or original way to describe the sex acts performed by his characters.


You can run into the same problem with any type of scene in any type of story. There is nothing unique or different about sex scenes.

Read enough westerns and you will discover that there are only so many ways an author can describe a gun fight.

Switch Blayde

@Dominions Son

Read enough westerns and you will discover that there are only so many ways an author can describe a gun fight.


I ran into that in my latest novel. The protagonist is a cross between Jack Reacher and Dirty Harry. The way he killed the bad guys could easily have been repetitive.

Replies:   Joe Long
PotomacBob

@sunkuwan

What's tldr?

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@PotomacBob

What's tldr?


Too Long Didn't Read

Replies:   PotomacBob
Vlad_Inhaler

When you get a story which starts with the female admiring her secondary characteristics in a mirror - so the reader knows what a babe is about to get boffed - then tldr is anything past the next 10 words, and pretty much anything else that particular author ever wrote.

robberhands

@red61544

I've tried skipping over the long, drawn-out sex scenes but that becomes tedious when there are three of them in one chapter! So, for the most part, I stick to the "minimal sex" or "no sex" stories. Am I the only one with this problem?

Since you're evidently aware of the solution why is it still a problem for you? No one forces you do read sex stories and there are plenty of other stories available.

Switch Blayde

@Vlad_Inhaler

When you get a story which starts with the female admiring her secondary characteristics in a mirror


That's nothing to do wth sex. It's one of the things they say not to do in any part of a story to describe a character. It's poor writing (which is what I believe the real complaint here is).

JohnBobMead
Updated:

@red61544


So, for the most part, I stick to the "minimal sex" or "no sex" stories. Am I the only one with this problem?


At one time, the sex scenes were interesting. But as you say, after a while they become overly repetative, and some authors seem to use boilerplate; I think the absolute worst was concerning a cyborg (all that was saved were his brain and gonads) who actually had programmed the different sex acts, so not only was it mechanical, it was mechanical. Of course, the cyborg had a growing harem who all loved it.

Plot, characterization, story development, that's what I seek these days. For poorly done sex, I'll search out the free adult video sites; at least some of them demonstrate a sense of humor. [On that topic, Ginger's Island, a take-off of Gilligan's Island, which I saw once about fifteen years ago, is a hoot; it didn't take itself seriously at all! Seriously, when Ginger tells the Gilligan clone that he's not going to get a piece of her because her contract for the movie is for girl/girl only, you know they had a lot of fun filming it.]

Replies:   Uther_Pendragon
awnlee jawking

@Switch Blayde

It's poor writing (which is what I believe the real complaint here is).


It was good writing the first couple of times. Now it's just a hackneyed cliche. Except on the occasions when the character really doesn't know what they look like eg Dr Who after regeneration (thanking the universe that, yet again, he doesn't have red hair).

AJ

Replies:   Vlad_Inhaler
Geek of Ages

@Switch Blayde

Transformation slash mind swap stories notwithstanding.

richardshagrin
Updated:

@red61544


there are only so many ways you can describe a physical act


The advantage of BDSM is the variety of positions (suspended upside down for instance), the multitude of discipline instruments (whips, canes, paddles, hand spanking, etc.) different bondage types (ropes, chains, metal or wood with holes in various places), opportunity for multiple males or females being "serviced" (gangbang, anyone?), various outcomes that may not have been expected (dolcett endings involve the female being cooked), and lots more than just tab a into slot b. And sometimes there isn't even any sex!

Replies:   red61544
PotomacBob

@Dominions Son

Thanks

Bondi Beach

@Switch Blayde

That's nothing to do wth sex. It's one of the things they say not to do in any part of a story to describe a character. It's poor writing (which is what I believe the real complaint here is).


Second this.

Spring for Diana Gabaldon's I Give You My Body, her advice on how to write a good sex scene. It's worth it.

Spoiler alert: it's not about Tab A and Slot B, which is the problem described here. Nevertheless, her sex scenes are freaking hot.

bb

Replies:   Joe Long
Joe Long

@Switch Blayde

The way he killed the bad guys could easily have been repetitive.


So he could be a serial bad guy killer?

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Joe Long

@Bondi Beach

Spoiler alert: it's not about Tab A and Slot B, which is the problem described here. Nevertheless, her sex scenes are freaking hot.


Pretty sure what my wife would do if she found that book on my device. But to the subject - no, I don't read sex stories anymore, I read stories that have some sex in them.

I've been at my WIP for a few years now. I've gone back and toned down the description of the sex. It's still there, but I'm trying to focus on the relationships and the plot and character development.

There are a couple writers from AFF that I correspond with occasionally and we talk about how to write sex scenes that aren't about sex. Last night I watched "I Believe In Unicorns", an indie movie, on Netflix. I paid attention to the sex scenes of which there were several, but only once showed nudity (a split second shot of the guy's butt.) Instead, it was all about the emotions of a 16 year old girl losing her virginity and then her innocence to an older guy.

An aside - in light of current headlines, I found it interesting that this movie filmed in 2013 featured a sexual relationship portrayed by a 27 year old male actor and a 16 year old female actress. She was never shown naked, but he did fondle her clothed breasts and lick all the way down to her waistband while she was shown in bra and panties. The shot was cut when he lifted the waistband.

Replies:   Bondi Beach
Switch Blayde

@Joe Long

So he could be a serial bad guy killer?


He believes in justice and breaks rules.

What I meant, though, was that I found myself writing the same stuff when he encountered the bad guys. I had to work at it not to make them all the same. I didn't have that problem with the sex scenes.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
robberhands

As others mentioned already, I don't think there is a particular problematic regarding sex scenes. If the characters in a story aren't interesting it also doesn't interest me what they are doing; be it having sex, killing each other, or flying to the stars. Within a story, every repetitive action will become boring if it doesn't advance the plot or character development; again, nothing which only pertains to sex scenes.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@robberhands

Within a story, every repetitive action will become boring if it doesn't advance the plot or character development; again, nothing which only pertains to sex scenes.


If it's overly repetitive, it will become boring even if it advances the plot.

robberhands

@Dominions Son

If it's overly repetitive, ...

When you use the adverb 'overly', a negative conclusion already is applied; so of course, I've to agree with you.

red61544

@richardshagrin

The advantage of BDSM is the variety of positions

You forgot "swinging from a chandelier by her tongue"!

Crumbly Writer

@REP

For me, a good sex scene is about expressing the emotions the characters feel, not their physical actions; granted the physical activity is what usually leads to the emotional reaction. As a reader, when the scene's content looks like it is 90+% description of inserting Tab A in Slot A and the screams of passion, which are often boilerplate for the specific author, I fast forward to the interesting parts of the story.

The only details which differentiate one sex scene from another are the characters themselves, which make character development essential. Although I don't include much sex in my stories anymore (even though the stories that do include them continue to be my best sellers). However, I've found that, rather than the 'tab D into slut C' scenario, the 'talking and joking' sex scenes, that allow your characters to open up and admit things they normally wouldn't, work best, as it provides new views on the entire story, rather than simply recycling the same tired cliches.

I essentially gave up that practice because of repeated complaints (by a small number of readers) who bitched about not understanding what was happening after skipping any chapter which included a sex scene of any kind, but I'm now rethinking that approach. Since my primary readers are from SOL (and are therefore, older while males), it benefits us to cater to their interests (longer books with longer chapters, more sex catering exclusively to male readers), tempered by sex scenes which advance the story, rather than merely providing a distraction from it.

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

What I meant, though, was that I found myself writing the same stuff when he encountered the bad guys. I had to work at it not to make them all the same. I didn't have that problem with the sex scenes.

Easy solution: instead of having him simply shooting them, have him kill them via bad sex! 'D

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Crumbly Writer

@Dominions Son

If it's overly repetitive, it will become boring even if it advances the plot.

Sometimes (when getting laid is the plot), you've got to ask whether there's any plot to consider.

richardshagrin
Updated:


plot


plot

plät

noun

1.

a plan made in secret by a group of people to do something illegal or harmful.

"there's a plot to overthrow the government"

synonyms: conspiracy, intrigue, secret plan; machinations

"a plot to overthrow him"

2.

the main events of a play, novel, movie, or similar work, devised and presented by the writer as an interrelated sequence.

synonyms: storyline, story, scenario, action, thread; formaldiegesis

"the plot of her novel"

verb

1.

secretly make plans to carry out (an illegal or harmful action).

"the two men are serving sentences for plotting a bomb campaign"

synonyms: plan, scheme, arrange, organize, hatch, concoct, devise, dream up; More

2.

devise the sequence of events in (a play, novel, movie, or similar work).

Also, a piece of land (a garden plot) or a map of ships positions or graph that shows values of a set of equations.

Does the author have a secret plot?

Switch Blayde

@Crumbly Writer

I essentially gave up that practice because of repeated complaints (by a small number of readers) who bitched about not understanding what was happening after skipping any chapter which included a sex scene of any kind,


You know my response to that. READ WHAT I WROTE. I wouldn't have written it if it could be skipped.

Some people don't read prologues that are essential to understanding the novel and then complain they don't understand the story. It's the same thing. Read the prologue!

Switch Blayde

@Crumbly Writer

Easy solution: instead of having him simply shooting them, have him kill them via bad sex! 'D


But then people would skip over it. LOL

There was a scene where the protagonist "tortured" the bad guys to get information. He shot one in the thigh and when he still didn't talk put a bullet in his brain. That was to get the other one to talk.

I had another scene where he needed info from the bad guys. I changed it around. He freed a woman who the bad guys forced into prostitution. The protagonist let her loose on the bad guy making sure she didn't go too far. I needed something different.

Replies:   Joe Long
Switch Blayde

@Crumbly Writer

Sometimes (when getting laid is the plot), you've got to ask whether there's any plot to consider.


I didn't see it, but isn't getting laid the plot in "The 40-year-old Virgin?"

awnlee jawking

@Switch Blayde

Some people don't read prologues that are essential to understanding the novel and then complain they don't understand the story. It's the same thing. Read the prologue!


But in some genres, prologues have become adopted as the place to site an infodump, which readers can skip over initially and go back to if they need the minutiae, much as cast-lists are used.

AJ

Replies:   robberhands
awnlee jawking

@Switch Blayde

Getting laid might or might not be a key part of the plot of a story I might or might not be working on ;)

AJ

Bondi Beach
Updated:

@Joe Long


Pretty sure what my wife would do if she found that book on my device.


My wife, an Outlander fanatic, brought the book to my attention. She thinks Gabaldon writes hot sex scenes, because the scenes are about the characters and what they offer each other, as others have pointed out in different ways.

Of course, like about 75% of the straight women and probably a significant percentage of gay men on this planet, she thinks Sam Heughan, who plays Jaimie in the screen adaptation, is super hot.


I've been at my WIP for a few years now. I've gone back and toned down the description of the sex. It's still there, but I'm trying to focus on the relationships and the plot and character development.


Diana Gabaldon would agree with your approach entirely.

I realize I'm sounding like a shill for Gabaldon and Outlander, but the fact is she writes powerful sex scenes and more than one woman, including my wife, has made it very clear why they like them. ETA: To be clear, Outlander is a story with sex scenes, not a "sex story."

According to enthusiasts, the screen adaptation is a success, too.

bb

Replies:   Joe Long
Dominions Son

@Crumbly Writer

Sometimes (when getting laid is the plot), you've got to ask whether there's any plot to consider.


No you don't. It may not be a very creative or original plot, but it is a plot.

robberhands

@awnlee jawking

But in some genres, prologues have become adopted as the place to site an infodump, which readers can skip over initially and go back to if they need the minutiae, much as cast-lists are used.

Which genres? I ask to make sure to avoid those genres in the future.

JohnBobMead

@Dominions Son

No you don't. It may not be a very creative or original plot, but it is a plot.


Six times a day. Somewhat original plot, but you either like the story a whole lot, or you can't get into it. Since it's complete now, I've considered, a bit, giving it another looksee just to see what he did with it in re story development, if anything. It would have helped in my case if he wasn't a gainaxer.

Replies:   robberhands
Ernest Bywater

@Switch Blayde

You know my response to that. READ WHAT I WROTE. I wouldn't have written it if it could be skipped.


That may be true of you Switch, but it isn't true of every writer. There are some authors on SoL where you can cut all the sex scenes and still have a full story. I remember reading one story which was about 40% sex scenes, but there were only seven actual sex scenes he kept cutting and pasting in with different character names all through the very long story.

When I first worked on Shiloh there were many thousands of words that got cut because they were superfluous, that's true of every one of the long stories of Mike's he's had me work on for him. When working with Cazna on his stories I did a lot of work trying to vary the sex scenes a bit, but it wasn't always possible.

You'd be surprised how many stories are improved by reducing the sex scenes. I've had the pleasure of editing the revised version of the first 75% of Deja Vue Ascendancy when he was getting it ready for publication, and one of the major changes was reducing the sex scenes, and the story was a lot better for it. However, he ran into issues and hadn't finished the revision the last i heard.

Replies:   richardshagrin
robberhands

@JohnBobMead

It would have helped in my case if he wasn't a gainaxer.

I had to google the term 'gainax', especially 'gainax ending' but after I did, I agree with you.

KinkyWinks

@red61544

I have made this statement before, if you take ten sex stories and switch paragraphs around no one will ever know because there is no story. My stories do not have sex scenes and my scores are just as high as those who write them.

Dennis aka Catman

robberhands

@KinkyWinks

I have made this statement before, if you take ten sex stories and switch paragraphs around no one will ever know because there is no story.

What do you label as a 'sex story'? A story containing sex scenes or the kind of stories which on SoL are usually referred to as 'Stroke Stories'.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Vlad_Inhaler
Updated:

@awnlee jawking

Except on the occasions when the character really doesn't know what they look like eg Dr Who after regeneration (thanking the universe that, yet again, he doesn't have red hair).

Dr Who? Have I got a link for you! Assuming you don't know it already of course, it is a few seconds under 20 minutes. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Do-wDPoC6GM

awnlee jawking

@robberhands

The one that immediately springs to mind is scifi/fantasy, where the author has done a substantial amount of worldbuilding not immediately pertinent to the story.

AJ

Replies:   robberhands  Bondi Beach
robberhands

@awnlee jawking

The one that immediately springs to mind is scifi/fantasy, where the author has done a substantial amount of worldbuilding not immediately pertinent to the story.

That's bad, in this case I'd need to avoid my own story and especially its prologue.

Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

Some people don't read prologues that are essential to understanding the novel and then complain they don't understand the story. It's the same thing. Read the prologue!

I agree with that premise, but after some research, concluded that you're unlikely to win that battle. Only 20% of sci-fi readers ever read a prologue, and that's a genre that's been trained for over a hundred years to read the prologue to stories. You can't expect readers unfamiliar with them to reach the same level of participation.

Thus I've taken a new approach. Assume that no one will read the prologue, provide nothing essential to the story (otherwise no one will read it), but do provide an incentive to read it. In my case, I provide a unique insight to the story (ex: a third-person perspective on what's happening, so the readers have knowledge the characters themselves don't). That way, the readers will be shouting to the characters as they're reading 'don't open that door!'. It's a readers of getting reader buy-in to the story, and helping prepare your readers to read the prologues in your future stories.

Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

I didn't see it, but isn't getting laid the plot in "The 40-year-old Virgin?"

Also in each of the "American Pie" movies. That still doesn't make it a decent writing strategy.

Crumbly Writer

@Dominions Son

No you don't. It may not be a very creative or original plot, but it is a plot.

Note my wording: "A plot to consider". It may be the plot, but it's not once that's designed to be treated seriously by the readers, as it's merely a pretense to get the characters naked.

Crumbly Writer

@robberhands

Which genres? I ask to make sure to avoid those genres in the future.

It's known as the 'world/universe building dilemma', as many prologues include virtually all the authors research into the universe, just to prove that he did the research, even though it's a slog to read through. Thus many people have learned, over time, to avoid the prologue as being unproductive, instead wanting to jump directly into the first chapter where the action presumably begins.

Of course, that's not how everyone reads books, but the majority of sci-fi stories contain prologues and epilogues, so other genres will get even fewer people reading prologues!

Crumbly Writer

@KinkyWinks

My stories do not have sex scenes and my scores are just as high as those who write them.

My no sex stories still have relatively high scores, but the stories with more sex in them end up with higher download counts, and more reader enthusiasm overall, especially if the main character ends up with the girl of him dreams at some point.

The sex clearly isn't essential, but it's still important to the mix.

Crumbly Writer

@robberhands

What do you label as a 'sex story'? A story containing sex scenes or the kind of stories which on SoL are usually referred to as 'Stroke Stories'.

I had one story, which I posted to FS (Fine Stories) which had an incest-based plot, but where it didn't take much work to strip out the sex scenes so they were effectively off-screen). Thus the stories were still family friendly, but still dealt with issues that most kids are well-aware of. Thus, yes, you can indeed have a no-sex sex story! All it takes is closing the damn bedroom door. (Of course, the sex scenes typically include the emotional satisfaction in the story, so readers won't enjoy it as much.)

Replies:   robberhands  Joe Long
richardshagrin

@Ernest Bywater

superfluous

If you think that superfluous must mean "extra 'fluous,'" along the pattern of such words as superabsorbent and superabundant, you're not far off. Superfluous comes from the Latin adjective superfluus, meaning literally "running over" or "overflowing."

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Bondi Beach
Updated:

@awnlee jawking


The one that immediately springs to mind is scifi/fantasy, where the author has done a substantial amount of worldbuilding not immediately pertinent to the story.


Heinlein did it with almost no worldbuilding. He pulled the reader right into the story and let the sci fi elements speak for themselves. To Sail Beyond the Sunset is problematic for many reasons, but look at one of the first sentences. The main character is trying to figure out where she is: ''My last clear memory was of being a passenger in a Burroughs irrelevant bus, bound for New Liverpool..."

We don't know what a "Burroughs irrelevent bus" is, and we don't know why there's a "New Liverpool," although we can guess something bad may have happened to the old one, or maybe this is a copy on another world, but I don't think he needed to explain the terms. The reader rides along, so to speak, with faith the terms will become clear later on, if it's important to the story.

bb

robberhands
Updated:

@Crumbly Writer

Thus, yes, you can indeed have a no-sex sex story! All it takes is closing the damn bedroom door.

I hope you don't believe this answered the question I asked in response to KinkyWings post.

sunkuwan

Does every story even need a prologue?

For that question, we have to find out the reason for the prologue: And the most prevalent reason is the teaser aspect of it. It should give the reader a window into the story, some quick reading that lets the reader know what he can expect out of the story and characters.

If it's just an infodump that could have happened in the story itself, it should rightly go into the story itself. If it is in a style that is different from the main story (like a lesson from a history professor about the world or even in some cases the "let-me-tell-you-a-story-about-this -historic-event" type of intro.

Exact foreboding can be a bad case if it is done wrong. Like in OSL college 2. The prologue was a fast-forward into a scene that happened in the last third of the story.
There was a drugged college girl that had sex for a voyeuristic rich brat. The author described the hair color, the age and the thoughts of the girl, "that her brother wouldn't want to know what she was doing right now."
We already knew from prior books, that the rich brat was a little drug lord that drugged his girls and had them perform sex acts.

This prologue soured me on the whole book.
The age and hair color of the girl could be the MC's sister, the sister who attends parties from this druglord and doesn't know about the sex thing. The first chapters I basically skimmed through the paragraphs, looking for an easy resolve. After 7 chapters or so, I gave up and contacted the author who answered my spoiler question.
After this I could read the rest of the book, but dropped the series anyway because of the whole drug plot and other issues.

Replies:   helmut_meukel
Ernest Bywater

@richardshagrin

If you think that superfluous must mean "extra 'fluous,'" along the pattern of such words as superabsorbent and superabundant, you're not far off. Superfluous comes from the Latin adjective superfluus, meaning literally "running over" or "overflowing."


When I was at school, back in the Jurassic Period, I was taught the word superfluous meant unneeded or unwanted excess or overflowing excess - thus ordering 10,000 bricks to build a building needing 7,500 meant you had 2,500 superfluous bricks. But then, at that time decimate meant to kill one in ten and could only be applied to something alive (usually humans) and devastate meant to all but destroy something non-living. So who knows what a word means today, the leftist snowflakes now claim free speech = hate speech, so almost anything could have changed without me knowing it.

Replies:   AmigaClone
Grant

@Switch Blayde

You know my response to that. READ WHAT I WROTE. I wouldn't have written it if it could be skipped.

Unfortunately, that isn't the case for all authors.

AmigaClone

@Ernest Bywater

the leftist snowflakes now claim free speech = hate speech


I almost agree with that. I think they view any "free speech" that does not conform to their ideals as hate speech, while their speech is can never be classified hate speech.

Replies:   Grant
Grant

@AmigaClone

I almost agree with that. I think they view any "free speech" that does not conform to their ideals as hate speech, while their speech is can never be classified hate speech.

And anything spoken or printed by the left is considered "Fake News".

George Orwell got it wrong. It wasn't 1984, it was 2017. Welcome to doublespeak (doublethink & newspeak combined).

Replies:   Joe Long  PotomacBob
Dominions Son

@Bondi Beach

Heinlein did it with almost no worldbuilding.


Just because he didn't use a prologue, doesn't mean he didn't do any world building.

Switch Blayde

@Bondi Beach

Heinlein did it with almost no worldbuilding. He pulled the reader right into the story and let the sci fi elements speak for themselves.


I found this:

In Heinlein's Time Enough for Love, the body of the novel follows Lazarus Long as he recounts highlights from his three-thousand-year-long history. The prologue is written like a historian's preface to a published memoir, and analyzes the credibility of the events therein. Along the way it explains how people have come to live so long, and how this had affected human society. It also gives background about Lazarus Long, which makes the reader look forward to meeting this character "face to face".

helmut_meukel
Updated:

@sunkuwan


Does every story even need a prologue?


No.

But there are stories where you really nead a prologue. When the author tells of an event a generation or more back from the actual storyline but necessary to understand or at least suspect what caused the actual situation. IMO this shouldn't be Chapter 1, but the Prologue.

I think of Kirk Mitchell's "Procurator" [© 1984] where the event described happened 2000 years in the past. In my printed german translation it's just 3/4 of a page prior to Chapter 1 and it lacks the word prologue.

It describes the event where Pilatus finally asks the people "Barrabas or Jesus?" There Pilatus got a message from his wife begging for Jesus because she had had a frightening dream. When the people wanted Barrabas freed he decided against the people's wish, ordered to let Jesus go and doubled the guards. The governor thought highly of his wife and her dreams.

Chapter 1 then starts nearly 2000 years later with a still existing Roman Empire...

IMO this is a prime example for a prologue that isn't boring the reader with details.

HM.

Replies:   JohnBobMead
JohnBobMead

@helmut_meukel

IMO this is a prime example for a prologue that isn't boring the reader with details.


Yes, in the case you describe it sets the scene, giving the pivot point of divergence, allowing the author to then skip 2000 years of alternate history to contemporary times with anyone with any grasp of the impact of Christianity on world events realizing it's going to be vastly different.

Joe Long

@Grant

And anything spoken or printed by the left is considered "Fake News".


That's somewhat true, but most folks I know limit it to shit that's just made up, or a misleading headline or lede that bears little resemblance to the meat of the story (that most people never read.) Lying, distorting or misrepresenting in order that the reader forms an intended opinion that fits a narrative and not the truth. That's about 80% of CNN. AP's Twitter headlines are atrocious.

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Joe Long

@Switch Blayde

I had another scene where he needed info from the bad guys. I changed it around. He freed a woman who the bad guys forced into prostitution. The protagonist let her loose on the bad guy making sure she didn't go too far. I needed something different.


I'm doing a first person present tense narrative. For things that happened out of his sight to become part of the story he has to be told somehow by another character. To not make it repetitive or stale, I know I'll have to limit how often it occurs and change how the news is delivered.

I can think of three incidents in the third act after the two leads break up their relationship. They are first cousins, as their mothers are sisters and will talk to each other regardless of the kids.

1. He goes to see her, but she turns away and ignores him. When he's home and mom is trying to console him, she shares a secret that was withheld. I don't have to go into any details about how mom found out, it's not important, and the readers can generally figure out from the context.

2. The ex is being taken to the ER. That news comes in a phone call (hurry to the hospital.)

3. The aunt catches her husband in the act ad throws him out of the house. I've already used a phone call (although ti happens later in the story) so this time the aunt drives to her sister's house to vent her rage.

And the sex is like real life - once every month or so if you're lucky. So there's maybe half a dozen sex scenes in what's likely to be 160k words. They all have different setups and scenarios.

Joe Long

@Bondi Beach

Diana Gabaldon would agree with your approach entirely.


Showing clues to character development is something else I'm working on as part of editing what I've written already and what's to come.

In the scene where they both lose their virginity, I'm going to touch it up so that he, the first person narrator, focuses on how his first intercourse physically feels to him, such as comparing and contrasting the sensations to when he's previously masturbated. As time goes on, and especially in what ends up being the final time they do it, he'll be focused on describing her reactions to their love making. That tracks his growth from initially thinking of himself, thinking of sex as being self satisfaction, into an attitude of putting her first. He's there to give, a partner in mutual giving, not just to receive.

In the same way I'm showing each character's use of profanity. This was inspired by the movie Machine Gun Preacher. When Sam Childers was first out of jail at the beginning of movie he very liberally uses the f-word, but severely restricts his curse words after he becomes a Christian. Later, when he has a crisis of faith, the swearing returns. My protagonist starts off as a casual swearer, with an occasional f-bomb, but the girl friend objects. He takes care to clean up his language around her, and as the story progresses the bad language generally fades away. However, she's in a negative arc, and as her life situations turn bad she starts saying 'shit' and 'damn' in ways that she never would have at the beginning. It helps to illustrate her loss of innocence.

Joe Long

@Crumbly Writer

I had one story, which I posted to FS (Fine Stories) which had an incest-based plot, but where it didn't take much work to strip out the sex scenes so they were effectively off-screen). Thus the stories were still family friendly, but still dealt with issues that most kids are well-aware of.


Which one? I'd like to check it out.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Switch Blayde
Updated:

@Joe Long


Lying, distorting or misrepresenting in order that the reader forms an intended opinion that fits a narrative and not the truth. That's about 80% of CNN.


And, in my opinion, that's what polarized the U.S. First the media and then the politicians who played to what their constituents believed. And then the media again talking about the politicians (and often out of context).

ETA: CNN and those like it are not news. It's all about ratings. And what drives rating up in sensationalism. So they sensationalize everything even if it's not true.

What troubles me is most people believe them. I shiver at the thought of my fate being determined by "a jury of my peers." I was the foreman on a jury where one jurist wouldn't agree to convict the guy. She said she sees all the time on TV where the police lie. I negotiated a verdict and got a conviction on 2 counts. But not the other two counts (something about 2 counts of using a gun for the crime). I asked the prosecutor afterwards and was told it saved him 10 years of prison time. You should have seen the huge smile on the guy's face when the verdict was read.

Switch Blayde

@Joe Long

For things that happened out of his sight


For me, that's the hardest part of writing fiction — keeping POV straight.

My wife is currently reading a novel in 1st-person where an omniscient narrator drops in occasionally to tell the reader what the 1st-person narrator doesn't know. She says it works.

Dominions Son

@Switch Blayde

She said she sees all the time on TV where the police lie.


There are lots of very real stories out there about the police lying. Most of them you won't find on TV, because the main stream media (print and video) doesn't like to cover those kinds of stories.

Try looking up the Innocence Project and reading some of their hundreds of stories of false convictions.

Dominions Son

@Switch Blayde

For me, that's the hardest part of writing fiction — keeping POV straight.


There are two separate POV issues that need to be kept straight. The POV style (1st, 3rd limited, 3rd omniscient) and who the POV character is.

Even in a first person story, you can change POV characters as long as the transitions are handled properly. It is not an absolute requirement of first person narration that the entire story be from one character's point of view.

Grant
Updated:

@Switch Blayde

ETA: CNN and those like it are not news. It's all about ratings. And what drives rating up in sensationalism. So they sensationalize everything even if it's not true.

What troubles me is most people believe them. I shiver at the thought of my fate being determined by "a jury of my peers." I was the foreman on a jury where one jurist wouldn't agree to convict the guy. She said she sees all the time on TV where the police lie.

And here is a good example of how things work.

You disbelieve the news from certain networks, because of certain past incorrect stories. That juror disbelieves the testimony of the Police because of past instances of false testimony.

Every one choses to believe or disbelieve things based on their own personal beliefs and experiences.

In these cases something that is the exception, not the norm, is considered the norm because of your personal beliefs.

Dominions Son

@Grant

In these case something that is the exception, not the norm, is considered the norm because of your personal beliefs.


And since everyone includes you, you can't be sure you are correct about which is the exception and which is the norm.

Hell of a conundrum isn't it.

Replies:   Grant
Grant

@Dominions Son

And since everyone includes you, you can't be sure you are correct about which is the exception and which is the norm.

Hell of a conundrum isn't it.

Yep.
Hence the need for multiple, different, sources of news.
Multiple sources, that all have the same leanings, don't really qualify as different sources...

Replies:   Joe Long
Switch Blayde

@Grant

You disbelieve the news from certain networks


Ted Turner believes what I said about CNN to be true. Or should I say I agree with him. He created CNN and was very vocal about it not being a news network any longer.

As to that jurist, that was my point. We've become a society of morons who believe whatever we're told. I have two elderly neighbors at my mountain home. They once told me that, under ObamaCare, Muslims don't pay for health insurance. I asked them why they said that. They said it's true. They heard it. It's fact.

Replies:   PotomacBob
Joe Long
Updated:

@Grant


Hence the need for multiple, different, sources of news.

Multiple sources, that all have the same leanings, don't really qualify as different sources...


Agreed.

Many written pieces are internally inconsistent. There's the twitter hook, the headline, the lede, and the rest of the story. They can be written by different people with different intentions. They know that many readers never get to "the rest of the story" which is more often the truthful portion and which they can point to to cover their ass if questioned.

The other day Politico had a piece with a Twitter hook of "No President Should Have This Much Power." The replies were predictably full of people complaining about Trump's fascism. I actually clicked the link and read the whole story, and made a screen shot of the actual headline which read, "Trump Is Giving Away His Power, Even If He Doesn't Know It" and posted it in the Twitter comments under "For those of you who didn't click the link." Echoing comments I had already made myself, the author of the piece described how Trump had been paring back executive power and handing issues back to Congress, even if the author didn't think Trump was smart enough to knew that's what he was doing. But the Twitter hook was totally misleading. So you had a reporter who told the truth even if he couldn't believe it, along with a social media editor with an agenda.

Replies:   JohnBobMead
docholladay

@Switch Blayde

She said she sees all the time on TV where the police lie.


I have to say I agree with her. But if the forensic evidence was good I would have voted guilty. If the majority of the evidence was based on a cop's word however I would have voted innocent. But that is also based on my personal experiences as a kid with that damned pedophile Atlanta PD detective. No damned day in court for any of his victims even though he was caught in the act with the last one I know of.

JohnBobMead

@Joe Long

Yeppers. My philosophies lie more in line with the Left, but I keep doing this damned thing of researching the facts behind the memes and sound bites posted, and while some of the time they have it right, far too often whoever was the OP either put an unreasonable spin on things or deliberatly lied altogether. Mind, checking up on the Right has identical results. Congresscritters deliberately phrasing things to get people all riled up so they will donate money, automatically assigning the worst possible reason for any action on the part of people they oppose without actually investigating to see if there might be a valid reason for their doing it other than deliberately setting out to harm others; I will be the first to admit that when the Left proposes legislation that has the effect of decreasing the takehome monies of the wealthiest individuals and corporations, darn tootin it's deliberate and not an unintended consequence; when you need monies to fund your programs, you take it from those who _have_ money. And I will conceed that I find it hard to believe that changes in the tax code which result in most of the benefit being felt by those with the most money to begin with are accidental. But outside of that, I really try to get to the background behind why decisions are being made. And then post my analysis on facebook in response to the inflamatory posts. Some of my friends appreciate this. I'm not so sure about my congresscritters opinon of me, but at least I'm not calling her names and being equaly jingoistic as her Right side constituents are, and I've actually got a couple of reasoned discussions started.

Switch Blayde

@JohnBobMead

And I will conceed that I find it hard to believe that changes in the tax code which result in most of the benefit being felt by those with the most money to begin with are accidental.


Something like 90% of taxes paid are from like 10% of the taxpayers. So any cuts would have to affect them.

But what the Democrats are preaching, is the tax cuts are solely for the wealthy. If the tax revisions go into effect, the standard deduction will double. That won't benefit the rich. Child credits will increase (double?). That will affect middle and lower income more than the rich.

Even the estate tax. The Dems are preaching it's to preserve the wealthy's estates. They forget about the main reason the tax is bad. Farms that have been in families for generations are lost because the heirs can't afford the estate taxes.

Will cutting corp tax create more jobs? I have no idea. But having a one-time tax of something like 12% on money kept overseas must be a good thing. To bring trillions of dollars back into this country.

But all you hear is the tax cut is for the wealthy.

Dominions Son

@JohnBobMead

I will be the first to admit that when the Left proposes legislation that has the effect of decreasing the takehome monies of the wealthiest individuals and corporations, darn tootin it's deliberate and not an unintended consequence; when you need monies to fund your programs, you take it from those who _have_ money.


One issue with tax the rich and complaints about tax cuts favoring the rich.

The top 1% has 21.9% of combined adjusted gross income, but pays 38.1% of combined income taxes.

The top 25% has 69.3% of combined adjusted gross income but pays 86.4% of combined income taxes.

https://taxfoundation.org/summary-latest-federal-income-tax-data-0/

Any suggestion that the rich aren't already paying their fair share of taxes is a lie.

As to complaints about tax cuts favoring the wealthy, well yeah, any fair tax cut will favor the wealthy, because the wealthy pay most of the taxes.

Replies:   M. DeSantis
Grant

@Switch Blayde

But all you hear is the tax cut is for the wealthy.

Because when numbers are actually processed, that's the end result.

As for the present taxes affecting the family farm-
"Just 5,200 of the nation's 2.7 million estates (0.2%) will owe any estate tax this year.
And just 50 of those taxable estates (1%) are small farms or businesses.

While doing next to nothing for family farms, repeal would provide a windfall to the wealthiest 0.2 percent of estates — the only ones large enough to pay the tax. A repeal proposal recently reintroduced in the Senate would provide the 0.2 percent of wealthiest estates with an average tax cut of more than $3 million in 2017. Roughly 330 estates worth more than $50 million would get more than $20 million apiece in tax cuts, the Joint Committee on Taxation estimates. The proposal would also cost $269 billion over the decade, expanding deficits and adding to pressure for cuts in federal programs


https://www.cbpp.org/blog/the-myth-that-the-estate-tax-threatens-small-farms

Joe Long

@JohnBobMead

Congresscritters deliberately phrasing things to get people all riled up


It's expected that politicians lie. The problem is when CNN tells us that a banana isn't an apple then shows us a banana. Podesta's emails allowed us to see which 'journalists' cleared their stories with the politicians before publishing.

Pundits express opinions. We know which side analysts look at an issue from. My problem is with the journalists who pretend they're showing us apples.

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Joe Long

@Switch Blayde

Will cutting corp tax create more jobs? I have no idea. But having a one-time tax of something like 12% on money kept overseas must be a good thing. To bring trillions of dollars back into this country.


They don't have to cut tax rates to have a growth strategy.
1) As you said, encourage repatriation of assets
2) Have US business taxes more in line with rest of world to help bring the businesses back home
3) Eliminate as many deductions as possible. Targeted tax cuts, aka loopholes (where politicians give breaks for their pet ideas, or decide who they think deserves a lower tax) encourage business sub-optimal business spending & investment. When every activity has a different tax rate one has to consult their accountant or tax attorney to see how each decision affects the bottom line. A non-zero number of decisions will be made for tax rather than business reasons. If all activity is taxed the same business decisions can be based on what benefits the business, not what saves on taxes. This is what will help grow the economy. Politicians are generally idiots. Let the govt get their cut for necessary spending, but don't let them direct business decisions. In the end, the tax rate can be lower because the tax base is larger, as more of the gross is subject to taxation. So even though the rates are lower, the revenue may well be the same.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Joe Long

@Switch Blayde

But all you hear is the tax cut is for the wealthy.


It's politics of envy and outrage rather than informed analysis.

Crumbly Writer

@Joe Long

I'm doing a first person present tense narrative. For things that happened out of his sight to become part of the story he has to be told somehow by another character. To not make it repetitive or stale, I know I'll have to limit how often it occurs and change how the news is delivered.

Technically, your 1st person character doesn't need to be told. Sometimes, it's enough for him to witness his friends talking to one another, and then his observing their reactions around him. That's enough to alert readers that something is afoot which he doesn't know about, and you can sprinkle in enough clues that, while readers won't know precisely what is in the offing, they'll have a clue what direction the story is leaning. This works particularly well when the big surprise comes and readers all collectively say "I never saw that coming, but looking back on it, it makes perfect sense."

Another approach is to switch perspective between chapters. So most of the story is told in 1st person, but if readers NEED to know something the main character doesn't, it switches to another character's 1st person perspective. Thus the entire story will be told in first person (or 3rd-person limited), but you can still include information the main character is utterly ignorant of.

Replies:   Joe Long  Joe Long
Joe Long

@Crumbly Writer

Technically, your 1st person character doesn't need to be told. Sometimes, it's enough for him to witness his friends talking to one another, and then his observing their reactions around him.


That's still a method of the 1st person narrator becoming aware of the info. If he doesn't know, the readers don't know (unless you switch POV) Let me add that to my list of options!

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@Joe Long

Have US business taxes more in line with rest of world to help bring the businesses back home


US corporate taxes are HIGHER than most of the rest of the industrialized world.

Most of the rest of the world taxes global revenues for companies where the US only taxes US based revenue. However it should be noted that other countries that tax global corporate revenue allow deductions for revenue taxed elsewhere while US proposals for global corporate taxes have not included such deductions.

Replies:   Joe Long
Crumbly Writer

@Joe Long

I had one story, which I posted to FS (Fine Stories) which had an incest-based plot, but where it didn't take much work to strip out the sex scenes so they were effectively off-screen). Thus the stories were still family friendly, but still dealt with issues that most kids are well-aware of.

Which one? I'd like to check it out.

Not-Quite Human 1: The Cuckoo's Progeny.

For a similar exercise, the first book in my "Great Death" series, "Love and Family During the Great Death", I included a bunch of young kids in the adult's sex life—all without them taking an active part in the activities themselves. What it does show is an observed phenomenon in children who have survived life-changing events such as they'd experience in a global apocalypse.

They develop an attitude of 'stop treating me like I kid! I've already experienced things much worse than you've ever experienced, so it's stupid trying to shelter me'. But it's a nice way of including characters (or scenes) without getting yourself into legal troubles. In this case, it developed each of the characters (by their response to their eavesdropping), as well as interjecting some much-needed humor into an otherwise dark, foreboding tale.

By the way, that approach worked so well, that even though roughly a quarter of my readers were unable to finish the first book, they all returned for the second book because they loved the unique character interplay in the story.

Dominions Son

@Joe Long

That's still a method of the 1st person narrator becoming aware of the info.


It's also possible to explicitly set it up so your first person narrator is telling the story some time after the events occurred which would allow him to know things that he couldn't have known at the time without him learning those things in the story. (I found out after the fact that....)

Joe Long

@Crumbly Writer

Thus the entire story will be told in first person (or 3rd-person limited), but you can still include information the main character is utterly ignorant of.


My challenge is that in the 3rd act the romantic leads are no longer together. The story continues to be told from his POV, but important things are happening in her life that he's not aware of. I've decided not to change POV, so that the readers will find out when the MC does, because it's his reactions to the intermittent updates on her that drives the plot. I believe the readers can better feel his emotional reactions if they also don't know what's coming.

Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

My wife is currently reading a novel in 1st-person where an omniscient narrator drops in occasionally to tell the reader what the 1st-person narrator doesn't know. She says it works.

That's known as third-person limited (a story told in third person), but there are still limits on what you can include. Generally, in a 3rd-person limited story, the narrator can only include what the main character knows. Third-person omni allows you to include anything the narrator knows, but you're not supposed to include it in a first-person story. As noted above, in an exclusively first-person perspective story, you either switch first-person perspectives between chapters, or you 'show' the information the lead character is unaware of by showing how those surrounding the main character respond to him. That's a little more difficult to pull off, though.

Again, often it's not which forms are generally accepted, as what you can pull off and get away with!

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Joe Long

@Dominions Son

US corporate taxes are HIGHER than most of the rest of the industrialized world.


That's what I meant. Lowering US corporate taxes so that they are then comparable with other countries will encourage companies to either not leave or to come home (rather than threaten a tax penalty as they are out the door.)

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Joe Long

That's what I meant. Lowering US corporate taxes so that they are then comparable with other countries will encourage companies to either not leave or to come home (rather than threaten a tax penalty as they are out the door.)

Except, historically, every time the U.S. has lowered it's income tax rates to attract investment, most other countries around the world lower their tax rates even more, to prevent 'investment flight'. Thus the U.S. can pass anything they want, but whether it will ever have its intended effect is entirely out of their hands. Assuming any tax change will 'pay for itself' is pure nonsense.

Historically, the best return on investment with taxes is to give money to the poor, because they'll spend virtually everything they get, and the associated spending triggers even further activity. Giving tax benefits to the lower-middle class generally provides a seven-fold increase in economic activity, whereas benefiting those paying for political campaigns generally goes into someone's pocket. True, it produces even more political contributions, but almost nothing reaches the general economy.

Replies:   Joe Long
Joe Long

@Dominions Son

It's also possible to explicitly set it up so your first person narrator is telling the story some time after the events occurred which would allow him to know things that he couldn't have known at the time without him learning those things in the story. (I found out after the fact that....)


I decided to keep my narration within the real time of the story. I enjoy all the logical exercises of piecing together the various intertwining story lines.

I'm a loyal reader of She Is the One at AFF and the author jashley13 does use this method. He tells the story as if he's informally discussing it with a listener, perhaps over a beer, and frequently breaks the wall and speaks directly to the readers and occasionally jumps to the time that he's telling the story, sharing knowledge (usually as a teaser) of some event that is yet to happen in the story itself

Crumbly Writer

@Joe Long

Thus the entire story will be told in first person (or 3rd-person limited), but you can still include information the main character is utterly ignorant of.

My challenge is that in the 3rd act the romantic leads are no longer together. The story continues to be told from his POV, but important things are happening in her life that he's not aware of.

Again, in those instances you have to include the information indirectly, showing how their mutual friends respond to him, alerting him (and the readers) that something is up, and that his friends are aware of it, without making it apparent to him. It's not always easy to carry out, but it can be done.

Often, simply knowing that something is approaching, and that the main character is heading for a proverbial cliff, ratchets up the story tension, making readers eager to see what unfolds.

M. DeSantis

@Dominions Son

Any suggestion that the rich aren't already paying their fair share of taxes is a lie.


It highly depends on how you define 'fair share'. 'Fair tax share' is a very highly subjective thing.

Ask an average person what he thinks is a fair share for himself and fair share for the rich and you'll get something like: 10% for me and 90% for the rich.

A lower middle class person would want to tax the rich enough to bring the rich man's take-home income to the same level as his own take-home income.

Listen to socialists discuss taxation and you'd think they've given all the money to the rich and they want it back. Socialists, if allowed, would tax the rich (or maybe everybody) into the ground or even below ground.

What is fair though? Is it fair that in California, if you make $2.5 Million you get to keep less than half? Sure, you can afford it and you can live on the $1.2 millions you get to keep (while the various governments split almost $1.3 millions that you made). Is it fair that you get to keep less than half? And that's not counting the non-claimable property taxes you pay and various duties and sales taxes you pay while spending your hard earned money.

It's easy to talk about other people's money and their taxation, and one won't feel the burn until they reach that level.

Full disclosure, I am one of the 1%, and I am a libertarian. I started from scratch and worked really hard to get where I am. My hard work resulted in jobs and income to more than 500 people that I employ. My employees even unionized and nearly shut me down at one point. I barely take home as much as 18 of my lowest paid employees. I pay personal income taxes as much as 45 of my own employees.

Yes I'm blessed. I managed to succeed despite everything but it really hurts when I see my hard earned money being treated so cavalierly by those who didn't lift a finger to earn it and all they do is ask for more.

Replies:   Joe Long
Crumbly Writer

@Dominions Son

It's also possible to explicitly set it up so your first person narrator is telling the story some time after the events occurred which would allow him to know things that he couldn't have known at the time without him learning those things in the story. (I found out after the fact that....)

That's why I prefer 3rd person, because you can get into the mind of the omniscient narrator. Typically, it's someone who knows the story intimately, but you don't always know precisely who the narrator is until the end, and many times not even then. But knowing who the narrator is, for the author, allows you to breathe personality into the narration.

Joe Long

@Crumbly Writer

Historically, the best return on investment with taxes is to give money to the poor, because they'll spend virtually everything they get, and the associated spending triggers even further activity.


Yes, the poor will spend most of their income on consumables. The rich also consume, often in larger portions. Someone has to build that yacht or fancy house. The rich can also save their money (which is borrowed by individuals and businesses) or invest it themselves (giving to a business). In the end, all money is put to use in the circular flow.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Joe Long

@M. DeSantis

Yes I'm blessed. I managed to succeed despite everything but it really hurts when I see my hard earned money being treated so cavalierly by those who didn't lift a finger to earn it and all they do is ask for more.


I worry that tax rates that are too progressive discourages people from trying. When the top marginal rate was 91%, why even bother to make that much money? The extra money in the pocket is less than the extra effort expended.

I'm building a consulting business from home. Last year, with a mortgage and four kids in the house, my effective tax rate (tax divided by gross income) on the income from my day job was less than 1%. My 2nd job brought in about a quarter of the gross from my regular job, but by falling in a higher tax bracket, having to pay the employer's portion of social security and medicare, and not being allowed to use 100% of the child tax credit, the income for the second job was taxed at close to 30%. The year before it was pushing 50% as the combined income was higher.

So I pay virtually no federal income tax tax on my day job, but have had to hand over up to half the income of my second job. It makes one wonder if it's worth the effort - and if I stop my clients are worse off (without giving it away, I will say that you've heard of all my clients. They pay me a few thousand each to help them manage hundreds of millions in payroll and acquisition with my data science skills)

StarFleet Carl

@Joe Long

Last year, with a mortgage and four kids in the house, my effective tax rate (tax divided by gross income) on the income from my day job was less than 1%.


It's been about 15 years ago now, but I was self-employed as a specialized contractor for about 5 years. With a mortgage and two kids, as well as an home based business (and I could easily take the home office deduction, since, again, contractor) after all the deductions plus allowable business write-offs, I was showing about $500 net taxable income. That was on about $150K gross income.

Amazing once you write off cost of materials, tools, business use of vehicles, insurance, and all the other things, you can get things down. A friend of mine was a law enforcement officer for the IRS - I discussed it with him several times, how the tax code could really help a small business owner, that this sometimes felt like I was cheating. He told me, "Nope, it's written to help big businesses. It just happens to help small ones, too."

JohnBobMead

@Switch Blayde

Even the estate tax. The Dems are preaching it's to preserve the wealthy's estates. They forget about the main reason the tax is bad. Farms that have been in families for generations are lost because the heirs can't afford the estate taxes.


I've no argument with the estate tax going away. We didn't have to deal with it in my family, because there wasn't that much left after mom spent a number of years in a care facility, but it's not really, in my mind, income. It isn't something new to the family due to a successful economic venture, it's a resource being managed by a family that just changed principle trustees. If it's an inheritance from someone you basically had no interaction with, I'd listen to arguments about it being income, but if it's from within a family that acts like a family, then no, it's not, in my mind, income. And I don't care how large or small the amount is, that principle holds. My parents considered their resources to be for the use of improveing the lot of their family as a whole; when my sister and I needed help, they provided it. In return, when dad had his first stroke, I took a $10,00.00 pay cut (while more than doubling my workplace responsibilities) to move back home to be there to help. And left that job when mom had lower back surgery that required a lot of help for three+ months. What was left over after their deaths, my sister and I have kept intact, raiding only when it would be too economically stupid not to; we don't consider it being either of ours, but placed in our trust for when we face emergencies we couldn't otherwise deal with, or where utilizing funds from it would enable us to achieve something we mutually considered a wortwhile use of those monies.

Replies:   Joe Long
Joe Long

@JohnBobMead

I've no argument with the estate tax going away.


Folks on Twitter have argued with me that because it affects so few people there's no problem in keeping it. I replied that the money it brings in funds the government for less than a day, and it does hurt some people, so we won't miss it. And, as you say, it's not new income, It's already been taxed.

Replies:   JohnBobMead
JohnBobMead

@Joe Long

Folks on Twitter have argued with me that because it affects so few people there's no problem in keeping it.


How can one have an argument on Twitter? Rude exchanges, yes. But a true argument implies you have the ability to elucidate your views, and I don't see how this can be done on Twitter.

Of course, you've all noticed by now that I'm exceptionally verbose, so you can understand why I don't have much to do with Twitter.

But as to the Twits; if it is unjust to some within a class, it is unjust to all within that class. At least, if you argue equal treatment under the law.

Which is odd given that I find myself able to support certain forms of social engineering through legislation, but at least I acknowledge that I am willing to compromise some of my principles if that furthers other long term goals that I consider more important. Sometimes the end does justify the means.

As I've said elsewhere, and I think in these forums, I have a very cynical view of economics. I fervently believe that given a great enough disparity of wealth, those in the lowest tiers will come to believe that they have nothing to lose and everything to gain through armed overthrow of the established order. It's happened in other countries, and the results were almost always catastrophic for everyone except the totalitarians who siezed control of the revolution. So I can justify to myself taking some from the wealthiest to improve the lot of those in the lowest tiers, that they have a pleasant enough existence that they don't attempt such a revolution. What I cannot, for the life of me, understand is why the wealthiest don't come to this conclusion themselves, and proactively take measures to stabilize the situation themselves out of enlightened self-interest.

So I align myself with the Left, when I see their actions as furthering my goals, without blinding myself to their leaderships rabble rousing and lies. And they do rabble rouse and lie, or at least deliberately misconstrue others motivations. And the leadership on the Right does the exact same thing, rabble rouse and lie and deliberately misconstrue. And far too many on both sides swallow it all unthinkingly.

Bah! Cynical? Very.

Replies:   Dominions Son  Joe Long
Dominions Son

@JohnBobMead

How can one have an argument on Twitter?


My $0.02: Twitter is the most aptly named social media service as the vast majority of it's users are twits.

Joe Long

@JohnBobMead

But a true argument implies you have the ability to elucidate your views, and I don't see how this can be done on Twitter.


One can learn to be pithy rather than verbose.

Joe Long
Updated:

We have so meany threads right now discussing taxes!

To the person who suggested that estate tax rates could vary by the degree of relationship, I found this just now when Googling Pennsylvania tax rates

Inheritance and Estate Tax

0 percent on transfers to a surviving spouse or to a parent from a child aged 21 or younger

4.5 percent on transfers to direct descendants and lineal heirs

12 percent on transfers to siblings

15 percent on transfers to other heirs, except charitable organizations, exempt institutions and government entities exempt from tax


http://www.revenue.pa.gov/GeneralTaxInformation/Current%20Tax%20Rates/Pages/default.aspx#.Wf6WoGhSwdU

Switch Blayde

@Joe Long

It's expected that politicians lie.


Here's a beauty I heard about today. It's Democrats against Democrats so we can avoid the Right vs Left aspect (although it might be Democrats to the left of Dianne Feinstein).

Those who want to force Feinstein out used a quote from a speech she gave. They say she said something like: "Trump is a good president."

That was 5 words of the 150 words she spoke criticizing Trump. In it she said something like, "If only Trump would do so-and-so, he'd be a good president."

They lie and lie and lie.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Switch Blayde

@Dominions Son

It's also possible to explicitly set it up so your first person narrator is telling the story some time after the events occurred which would allow him to know things that he couldn't have known at the time without him learning those things in the story.


Stephen King does that in "The Green Mile." The 1st-person narrator would say something like, "I found out later after reading the report that..."

Switch Blayde

@Joe Long

I believe the readers can better feel his emotional reactions if they also don't know what's coming.


That's what I meant by giving too much information reduces the tension.

docholladay

@Switch Blayde

Even the estate tax. The Dems are preaching it's to preserve the wealthy's estates. They forget about the main reason the tax is bad. Farms that have been in families for generations are lost because the heirs can't afford the estate taxes.


There might be a legal way around that tax. I know it was used by my uncle. He sold the farm to my cousin when he reached retirement age for one dollar with the requirement that him and his wife got to continue living in their current home until they died. When they died there was no estate to be taxed as such.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Switch Blayde

@Crumbly Writer

That's known as third-person limited (a story told in third person), but there are still limits on what you can include. Generally, in a 3rd-person limited story, the narrator can only include what the main character knows.


The novel she's reading is not 3rd-limited. It's 1st-person. But sometimes it steps out of 1st-person to give the reader info the narrator doesn't know. I called it an omni narrator. It could be the author talking to the reader.

Third-person omni allows you to include anything the narrator knows, but you're not supposed to include it in a first-person story.


Did you know you can have 1st-person omni? I never knew that until someone on wattpad informed me. The omni narrator is a character in the story in 1st-person omni. In "The Book Thief," the omni narrator is Death and he uses "I".

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Dominions Son

@docholladay

There might be a legal way around that tax. I know it was used by my uncle. He sold the farm to my cousin when he reached retirement age for one dollar with the requirement that him and his wife got to continue living in their current home until they died. When they died there was no estate to be taxed as such.


You have to be careful with those sorts of things. A lot of states have what are called gift taxes. It works a lot like inheritance taxes but the giver doesn't have to be dead. In a state with a gift tax you could run the risk that the state will deem the below market value sale to be a gift.

Replies:   docholladay  Switch Blayde  REP
docholladay

@Dominions Son

You have to be careful with those sorts of things. A lot of states have what are called gift taxes.


My cousin had been working that farm for almost all of his life except for the time he spent in college getting an agriculture degree. So it was just continuing what he had spent his life working towards. Just his father and mother's health had gotten bad enough they could no longer work the land. So basically it was a way to sign it over to the one doing the work even if it was their son.

But like you said it can be tricky to manage it properly. Just it is an option that can be made to work at times. However a good legal advisor is definitely needed to make sure it is legal.

Switch Blayde
Updated:

@Dominions Son


A lot of states have what are called gift taxes.


True. I bought a house for my son to live in. When the real estate market crashed in the Great Recession, I was able to sell it to him for a price he could afford. But I worked with a friend of his who was a realtor to make sure it was a fair price based on the current market. Didn't want the IRS coming after me. (Also got the long-term capital loss on it.)

Replies:   docholladay  sharkjcw
docholladay

@Switch Blayde

Also like my cousin often stated "I am land poor working long hours just to pay the bills".

But I think that covers any multi-generational family farm where the land has been kept in the family. He actively farmed several farms which had been in the family for several generations, but were merged into the one farming operation with him sadly looking to be the last generation which will use the land as a farming operation. I have no idea of how much land is involved but there were at least 4 different farms spread around 2-3 counties. Each of those were at least a quarter section or bigger in size.

M. DeSantis

@Joe Long

I worry that tax rates that are too progressive discourages people from trying. When the top marginal rate was 91%, why even bother to make that much money? The extra money in the pocket is less than the extra effort expended.


My memory isn't what it used to be, but I read in a book about the subject once that experiments have shown that the highest effective rate that a government can impose is 74% tax. Beyond that at 75% and above, taxation starts to bring less money.

So people who are captive in their countries can possibly tolerate that much tax before giving up on making more money. I'm sure those who can leave would do so at a lower tax rate than that, but at 75% tax rate, even those who can't leave and make money would rather not waste their time and effort to make more money.

I've been in discussion with many socialists before, and socialists really try to advocate for a tax rate that high because they only think about how to maximize the income for the government. They seem to never consider how fair it is for the taxed.

I've also had the misfortune of coming across some marxists and let me tell you, those guys need to kicked out of any decent economic system because they will destroy it if they get their way, and hamper it if they get any influence.

sharkjcw

@Switch Blayde

What me and my wife did was sell everything to our son with lifetime rights to live on the property. What the bill of sale says is "For $10.00 and other legal considerations the property located at".

Replies:   awnlee jawking
Switch Blayde

@M. DeSantis

would rather not waste their time and effort to make more money.


I knew at least one doctor who felt that way. Instead of taking more patients and being open for business longer, he figured out how many hours to work to make a certain amount of money (the line that crossed into a higher tax bracket). He felt the hours worked earning that money at the higher tax bracket wasn't worth it so he played golf instead and the patients looking for an appointment suffered.

awnlee jawking

@sharkjcw

Wouldn't work in the UK unless you were paying a realistic rent to live at the property, otherwise the Inland Revenue would consider you still the de facto owner.

AJ

awnlee jawking

@M. DeSantis

My memory isn't what it used to be, but I read in a book about the subject once that experiments have shown that the highest effective rate that a government can impose is 74% tax.


In the UK the figure has been shown to be around 45%. Higher than that and too many rich go offshore to tax havens.

AJ

Replies:   Joe Long
red61544

I think that it is the right of every citizen to bitch about taxes. I also think the amount of bitching is directly proportional to what the citizens perceive that they are getting for their tax dollars. When we pay high local taxes and the streets in our municipalities are full of potholes and policemen are being furloughed because of lack of funds, the bitching does, and should, increase. Our politicians say that nationalized healthcare would be too expensive and raise taxes; but I know of no country that actually has national health care that has ever tried to repeal it. Most of us are willing to pay taxes when we can see value for our money. When the tax exceeds the value received, it's time to rebel. That's what our forefathers did.

Joe Long

@awnlee jawking

In the UK the figure has been shown to be around 45%. Higher than that and too many rich go offshore to tax havens.


That's about where I reckoned it would be.

Wouldn't work in the UK unless you were paying a realistic rent to live at the property, otherwise the Inland Revenue would consider you still the de facto owner.


Here it's a lot more lenient when passing from parent to child. Even today in Pennsylvania there are no inheritance or sales taxes when transferring homes, car, etc to children.

In the past deeds weren't even filed unless a property left the family. A father's will, filed with the county at his death, would state which children he left his land and property to, but unless money was exchanged there frequently wasn't a deed. Those records are still maintained and made available, as people today make a living researching deeds to find if the history of ownership might affect something today, particularly with a new sale.

Ernest Bywater

@M. DeSantis

I've been in discussion with many socialists before, and socialists really try to advocate for a tax rate that high because they only think about how to maximize the income for the government.


Real life experience has shown that such high tax rates kill the economy and reduce money for the government due to people spending far less money. It also encourages those with money to pack up and go somewhere else, which is another adverse effect to the economy.

I've seen small business owners decide against expansion and hiring more staff because to do so puts them in a higher tax bracket and what they end up with in pocket just isn't worth all the extra work, so they don't expand.

I've also seen small business owners not expand or stop expansion when there were compulsory minimum wages increases, due to the extra costs pushing the cost of the extra business to the point they ended up with less in pocket. It wasn't the hourly rate that killed the hiring of more staff, but all the government mandate extras and overheads like payroll tax, mandatory employer pension payments, etc.

There's a lot involved when looking at taxes, and that's before you start adding all the extra state taxes, excises, etc.

Ernest Bywater

@red61544

but I know of no country that actually has national health care that has ever tried to repeal it


That's because once it's ion place there's a bureaucracy set up to maintain it and they fight like hell to keep their jobs, and it's to them the majority of the money goes to be wasted, they siphon it off and very little goes to service delivery.

Replies:   awnlee jawking
Dominions Son

@M. DeSantis

My memory isn't what it used to be, but I read in a book about the subject once that experiments have shown that the highest effective rate that a government can impose is 74% tax. Beyond that at 75% and above, taxation starts to bring less money.


I'm too lazy to try and look it up right now, but I've seen a graph of US income tax revenue as a percent of GDP over time. It falls into a very narrow band of around 16% +/- 2% and there is no correlation with tax rates.

High tax rates no only reduce economic activity as people avoid higher earnings, but tax evasion also increases with tax rates.

REP

@Dominions Son

A lot of states have what are called gift taxes.


In some states, the giver is required to pay the 'gift tax'.

Replies:   Switch Blayde
JohnBobMead

In most jurisdictions there's a cumulative lifetime cap on how much you can give to a specific individual as a gift. I don't think my father was tracking that while he handled his and mom's financial records, at least I never found such a record, but when I took over after his death, I immediately started tracking everything mom did to help my sister and I so that if anyone ever asked we'd have the proper documentation. Although I must admit I didn't track that I stopped paying rent on my apartment; it was a four-plex, with my parents on the first floor and rented units upstairs, and when one came available after I moved back from Chicago I rented it at their standard rate, and we all figured that providing me a place to live was a reasonable exchange for being available whenever mom wanted my help, and so not a gift, per se.

Switch Blayde

@red61544

I think that it is the right of every citizen to bitch about taxes.


This thread is an early Christmas present for Lazeez. Bitching about taxes is more fun than bitching about the scoring system.

Switch Blayde

@REP

In some states, the giver is required to pay the 'gift tax'.


I believe it's always the giver. Otherwise it would be income.

Replies:   REP
awnlee jawking

@Ernest Bywater

The UK's NHS is incredibly inefficient and that's in no small part due to government interference. It seems that whenever there's a process that works reasonably well, the NHS splits it into three parts, each with its own team that doesn't talk to the others.

AJ

Replies:   Geek of Ages
Crumbly Writer

@Joe Long

Yes, the poor will spend most of their income on consumables. The rich also consume, often in larger portions. Someone has to build that yacht or fancy house. The rich can also save their money (which is borrowed by individuals and businesses) or invest it themselves (giving to a business). In the end, all money is put to use in the circular flow.

Economically, it isn't enough for 'someone to spend something', it's the rate of reinvestment. If the rich only spent ten or twenty percent, sure it's a larger portion than if someone poor spent ten or twenty percent, but what economists measure is the 'return on investment' (i.e. the tax giveaway). With payments to the 'working poor', there's a clear history of a seven-fold increase. Giving money to the poor, there's a less than 10% reinvestment rate. Sure, they can 'invest the money', but there's no guarantee it'll even be in this country (think it being deposited in the Cayman Islands).

Every time anyone mentions tax reform, they bring up the old 'the rich pay more money than the poor', but that's NOT the money that makes the financial investment (in pay cuts) pay off.

@Joe Long

I worry that tax rates that are too progressive discourages people from trying. When the top marginal rate was 91%, why even bother to make that much money? The extra money in the pocket is less than the extra effort expended.

Yes, that is an issue, but it's mainly a question of what is a worthwhile tax give-away. Lowering the tax rates sounds nice, but as we're seeing, that typically only amounts to moving it from one person's pocket into another person's pocket, and thus you're once again playing favoritism, rather than benefiting either the public or the economy.

I should also point out, the one way to spend money which has guaranteed results, is funding the IRS to investigate tax fraud, yet the U.S. has continually defunded the IRS for a long-time, to the point they can't allocate the personnel to check cheating. Paying the IRS would generate a LOT more direct revenue than large tax giveaways to the wealthy, but that doesn't reward those who fund political campaigns. Also, defunding the IRS means the few auditors they have are more likely to audit the small mom & pop business than the major corportations and hedge funds that employ hundreds of accountants and lawyers to fight any active investigations—once again resulting in increased losses to the economy and bigger benefits to those who offer no real advantages in the investment (aside from future campaign funds).

Replies:   Joe Long  JohnBobMead
Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

They lie and lie and lie.

That's why we have fact-checking sources like Snopes and others. However, most people who rant about the media base their arguments purely on their assumptions, rather than how extend of the lies. Focusing on the sensational is unfortunate, but it's typically easy for most (who care to invest the time) to understand what the actual truth in the reports are (hint: it's NOT from only reading the headlines, or even just the first paragraph).

I keep running across fans of FOX News, who go apoplectic whenever someone mentions Trump lies. When they ask for proof, and you refer to the fact checking sites, they've never heard of them (which I find hard to grasp in this day and age). Their next question, in trying to refute your claim, is "Yeah, but did they ever report anything that Obama and Clinton did?"

The answer is yes, they routinely call whoever is in office on anything they say which is untrue, qualifying it from 'mild untruths' to outright 'pants on fire' lies. Everyone fudges the truth to make themselves look better, that's hard to avoid, but we need to not simply dismiss wholesale falsehoods with no basis in reality.

Note: I'm not picking on Conservatives here, as there are many financially responsible conservatives who are perfectly capable of researching facts themselves. Instead, I'm criticizing the 'they're all picking on us just because we're trying to hurt them' arguments.

If you ship out those willing to do the work no one else is doing, guess what, the economy is going to suffer. If you give money to the wealthy, you aren't really creating jobs. Businesses create jobs based on need, not on tax incentives. Right now, corporations are investing heavily in robotics, meaning LESS jobs in the future, not more!

Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

But sometimes it steps out of 1st-person to give the reader info the narrator doesn't know. I called it an omni narrator. It could be the author talking to the reader.

That's know as 'author intrusion' or 'breaking the third-wall in fiction'. It's frowned on for a good reason, though sometimes it can pay off.

Did you know you can have 1st-person omni? I never knew that until someone on wattpad informed me. The omni narrator is a character in the story in 1st-person omni. In "The Book Thief," the omni narrator is Death and he uses "I".

The other cases we're discussing are the same thing (1st person omni). If the 1st-person narrator is telling the story from some point in the future, he essentially knows EVERYTHING that occurred, and thus can reveal anything he wants to. That doesn't always make it a wise choice, but if done judiciously, can work to the author's (and readers') benefit.

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Switch Blayde

@Crumbly Writer

However, most people who rant about the media


I do rant about the media, but my example (they lie) was politicians, both Democrats lying about the other.

Switch Blayde

@Crumbly Writer

If the 1st-person narrator is telling the story from some point in the future, he essentially knows EVERYTHING that occurred, and thus can reveal anything he wants to.


Not exactly true. He's not an omniscient narrator because he doesn't know EVERYTHING, only what he learned. For instance, If something happened on the other side of the world he wasn't privy to, he couldn't tell the reader. An omniscient narrator could because he is all-knowing.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Dominions Son

@Crumbly Writer

However, most people who rant about the media base their arguments purely on their assumptions, rather than how extend of the lies.


I rant about the media based on the fact that stories where I have direct personal knowledge, they get even the most basic things wrong.

If they can't get those things right, why should I trust them on any other topic?

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Dominions Son

@Crumbly Writer

However, most people who rant about the media base their arguments purely on their assumptions, rather than how extend of the lies.


I rant about the media based on the fact that stories where I have direct personal knowledge, they get even the most basic things wrong.

If they can't get those things right, why should I trust them on any other topic?

Geek of Ages

@awnlee jawking

And yet it still produces better health outcomes than the US medical system...

Joe Long

@Crumbly Writer

If the rich only spent ten or twenty percent, sure it's a larger portion than if someone poor spent ten or twenty percent, but what economists measure is the 'return on investment'


But savings and investments also have economic benefit, as others are able to use that money for their own spending.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Dominions Son

@Geek of Ages

And yet it still produces better health outcomes than the US medical system...


By what measure? Life expectancy? Well the US is relatively low on the list overall, but if you remove violent deaths (murder, suicide, and traffic accidents), which are higher in the US and don't reflect on the quality of health care, from the calculation then the US jumps up to #1.

Replies:   Not_a_ID  Geek of Ages
awnlee jawking

@Geek of Ages

I'm not sure that's true. The NHS is pretty dire in terms of health outcomes despite government propaganda telling us 'it's the envy of the world'. The rest of Europe wipes the floor with us in terms of cancer diagnosis and treatment.

AJ

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Not_a_ID

@Dominions Son

By what measure? Life expectancy? Well the US is relatively low on the list overall, but if you remove violent deaths (murder, suicide, and traffic accidents), which are higher in the US and don't reflect on the quality of health care, from the calculation then the US jumps up to #1.


Which isn't to mention differences in live birth reporting. Where the U.S. gets hammered with a poor infant mortality rate because it has one of the strictest(or most liberal, depending on PoV) reporting criteria. So we'll report an infant as a live-birth which another nation won't.

Then when that infant dies shortly thereafter, both our infant mortality rate and life expectancy takes a hit.

Geek of Ages

@Dominions Son

https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/rankorder/2091rank.html

https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/rankorder/2228rank.html

Replies:   Dominions Son
Switch Blayde

@Geek of Ages

And yet it still produces better health outcomes than the US medical system...


I have no idea what you're basing that on. There's a reason people come to the U.S. from all over the world to be treated. And many Canadians elect to pay for treatment in the U.S. even though theirs is free, often because of the long waiting list for the service in Canada.

The major problem I've found in the U.S. is when the government is involved. My wife and I are now on Medicare (with a supplemental). She has a torn meniscus and needs surgery. It was hard finding a surgeon who took Medicare patients.

Dominions Son

@Geek of Ages

First link:

US ranks low on infant mortality only because of strict reporting requirements on live births.

Take a case where an infant is born alive but dies within half an hour.

In the US this is reported as a live birth and infant death. However in a lot of countries, even in European countries it would be reported as a stillbirth which doesn't count towards infant mortality figures.

The poor US ranking on this list says nothing about the quality of our health care system.

Second link:

Obesity rates have nothing to do with the quality or lack thereof of any countries health care system.

REP

@Switch Blayde

Otherwise it would be income


To a state, all financial gain is income, so a gift is income. However for gifts, they put the burden of paying the "income" tax on the giver.

In most situations, it is common for the recipient to declare the gift's value as income and pay income tax on the additional income.

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Geek of Ages

@Dominions Son

Agreed on obesity; I apparently copied the wrong link. Here's what I was intending:

https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/rankorder/2223rank.html

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@Geek of Ages

I apparently copied the wrong link.


Maternal mortality rates:

Considering the case that was recently national news regarding a woman who decided to forgo chemotherapy for cancer in order to save her unborn child, this too can be affected by a significant number of factors that don't reflect the quality of our healthcare system.

Again, given that once you remove violent deaths that don't reflect on the quality of healthcare, The uses is at or near the top of the list for overall life expectancy, you have at best raised a very weak case that the US does not have one of the best healthcare systems in the world.

Replies:   Geek of Ages
Capt. Zapp

I know what the biggest problem with sex stories is. All the characters are getting more than I am!

sunkuwan

boggles the mind how the US has the biggest GDP% expenditure on health care but no universal health care.

Dominions Son

@Capt. Zapp

I know what the biggest problem with sex stories is. All the characters are getting more than I am!


+10

Comments like this are why this forum needs a like button. :)

Dominions Son

@Capt. Zapp

I know what the biggest problem with sex stories is. All the characters are getting more than I am!


+10

Comments like this are why this forum needs a like button. :)

sejintenej

@Dominions Son

+10
Comments like this are why this forum needs a like button. :)

Agreed. If Lazeez can have a thumbs down could he have a "thumb up" which simply appears as a message and does not ring bells on his PC? We badly need it.

Grant

And then there will be discussion on what the thumbs up or thumbs down actually means, and how many you need for them to be valid, then of course the misuse and abuse of them by the haters & fanboys...

Replies:   Dominions Son
Switch Blayde

@REP

To a state, all financial gain is income, so a gift is income. However for gifts, they put the burden of paying the "income" tax on the giver.


I don't agree. It's not income. You wouldn't call the Christmas gifts you receive income. it's simply another way to tax someone.

I know people who give their children the max each year so no one pays taxes on it. They are basically giving away their assets while living. I wonder if the removal of the estate tax would stop that.

Replies:   REP
Dominions Son

@Grant

Party pooper. :P

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Geek of Ages
Updated:

@Dominions Son


very weak case that the US does not have one of the best healthcare systems in the world.


Wasn't a case that I was making.

So: what metrics would you propose for demonstrating that the US system produces better outcomes than the UK system? Plus, citation desired)

Dominions Son

@Geek of Ages

what metrics would you propose for demonstrating that the US system produces better outcomes than the UK system?


My personal opinion is that life expectancy (excluding violent deaths) is the only remotely decent measure of over all healthcare outcomes.

Everything you have cited is at best at tiny piece of the healthcare quality.

No time to go looking for a cite right now. May come back with one later.

JohnBobMead

@Crumbly Writer

I should also point out, ts.he one way to spend money which has guaranteed results, is funding the IRS to investigate tax fraud,


My father worked for the Oregon Dept. of Revenue as a Fiduciary Auditor in the 1960s.

At that time, they had instructions that if they didn't see at least $50.00 in additional monies due, to just close the file and move on to the next, as it would cost more to proceed with the audit than they'd gain.

I hope that they are still using this policy, with the minimum adjusted for inflation.

Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

Not exactly true. He's not an omniscient narrator because he doesn't know EVERYTHING, only what he learned. For instance, If something happened on the other side of the world he wasn't privy to, he couldn't tell the reader. An omniscient narrator could because he is all-knowing.

I've always believed in knowing who my narrator is, even if it's never specified, so I can give him his own voice. Often, it's the proverbial 'fireside storyteller', simply someone who's been told the story by others, so he knows more than those in the story, but still not quite everything. But at a minimum, I can tell anyone WHO the narrator is.

I'm not a big believer in omniscient narrators, as even God seems to lie on occasion whenever it suits him. Thus knowing who your narrator is allows you to cater the narrator's story based on what they would know.

Crumbly Writer

@Dominions Son

I rant about the media based on the fact that stories where I have direct personal knowledge, they get even the most basic things wrong.

If they can't get those things right, why should I trust them on any other topic?

There's slant, there's getting something wrong, and then there's flat out lies (either of omission, lies of opportunity and flat-out, pants-on-fire lies). You expect the slant, and you generally factor that in whenever you go to a particular source, but generally the details (at the end of the story) will reveal what the slant disguises. Flat-out lies are hard to disguise, because fact-checkers spot those almost immediately. It's the lies-of-opportunity that are the most problematic, as they're easy to justify by either side in an argument (ex: "Oh, that argument isn't really germaine to the discussion").

Replies:   Capt. Zapp
Crumbly Writer

@Joe Long

But savings and investments also have economic benefit, as others are able to use that money for their own spending.

I never argued that it had NO benefit, just that it's harder to justify on a return-on-investment basis. Sure, the person investing the money gains immensely, the borrower less so, but the economy as a whole tends to fair much worse when compared against other types of investments.

It's fairly easy to measure increases due to investment after a major tax-cut. Do investments in stocks rise after tax cuts (they certainly have in the lead-up to the tax cut, though we'll see how they fair afterwards), do investments in start-ups and venture capitalism increase. Those are all measurable. All those pie-in-the-sky estimates about how much the rich will pay to their workers, though, have no basis in reality, and rarely, if ever, are borne out after the fact.

Once again, it's not question of whether the person getting the tax break spends or invests the money, it's the return on investment. If you give to someone whether, they'll either spend it once (a 1/1 return), they'll pocket it or invest it overseas (a 0% return) or they'll invest it (generally a less-than 1/1 because of inefficiencies in the system (the investor invests, the person getting the money spends, generating more income, but that's at best a 1/1 increase as well, minus everything that's pocketed or lost to the system)).

Replies:   Joe Long
Crumbly Writer

@awnlee jawking

I'm not sure that's true. The NHS is pretty dire in terms of health outcomes despite government propaganda telling us 'it's the envy of the world'. The rest of Europe wipes the floor with us in terms of cancer diagnosis and treatment.

Even more than that, the overall cost of medical care is much higher in the U.S. If you divide the total cost by the number of people receiving care, factoring in those getting 'complete' care (those in Congress at tax-payer expense) and those getting no care or minimal care (which costs everyone in higher payments and losses to emergency rooms), the U.S. system is losing across the board, regardless of how many of those injuries are due to gunshots.

Frankly, no matter how you look at it, the U.S. health care system is a massive failure when you count dollars vs. those helped.

Crumbly Writer

@Dominions Son

Obesity rates have nothing to do with the quality or lack thereof of any countries health care system.

Again, from an economist's views, it IS accounted in the return on investment basis. As the population gets heavier, medical services go up. Some are fully paid for (by the wealthy or well-insured) while others are borne exclusively by the tax-payer (hospital losses due to non-paying clients resulting in increased medical spending overall). And don't forget, for every dollars 'saved' by not investing in preliminary health care (i.e. testing, education, and easy access to health care), you're talking MUCH higher costs eventually when that 'small sore I won't bother with' turns into a full-on amputation and perpetual unemployment by the previously fully employed worker.

That 'details' are all captured in the return-on-investment numbers (total spending on health care/the number receiving health care benefits).

America's principal failings aren't in technology (which is cost-prohibitive in itself), it's in their failure to offer basic health care to such a wide swath of the population, which increases costs to everyone. A prime example of that is closing down Planned Parent hood clinics over abortion fears. PP covers a range of health prevention in communities which largely aren't served by anyone else. If you shut those clinics down, three guess what happens to health care costs. Abortions may go down somewhat, but health care costs skyrocket for those affected.

Replies:   Dominions Son  Joe Long
Crumbly Writer

@Capt. Zapp

I know what the biggest problem with sex stories is. All the characters are getting more than I am!

Even worse, they get it so much easier (i.e. no fights over shopping, taxes, visiting the in-laws, who's doing the shopping, picking up the kids, etc.)

Heck, without all those responsibilities, why wouldn't everyone have sex all the time?

Replies:   Joe Long
Crumbly Writer

@Dominions Son

Comments like this are why this forum needs a like button. :)

Comments like these are why some people like leaning on their imaginary like buttons. :)

Crumbly Writer

@Dominions Son

Party pooper. :P

For many (okay, 'some') the Poop is the prime benefit of any party, though I tend to avoid those stories, as a whole.

Crumbly Writer

@Geek of Ages

So: what metrics would you propose for demonstrating that the US system produces better outcomes than the UK system? Plus, citation desired)

The biggest one, like the Canadian example, is access to immediate (within the same year) health care. If someone has 'universal' health care, but can't access it, they'll simply go where they CAN access it (just as many Americans go on 'heath vacations' to be treated in the Caribbean, or Asia). Those cases throw all the calculations out the window, as that's all 'invisible' health care spending unattributed to anything.

Replies:   Geek of Ages
Geek of Ages

@Crumbly Writer

Does the UK have a lower mean-time-to-treatment than the US? Do you have a citation? (I've also yet to see any actual data showing Canada; merely theoretical anecdote)

Geek of Ages

@Crumbly Writer

Frankly, no matter how you look at it, the U.S. health care system is a massive failure when you count dollars vs. those helped.


But people keep insisting it's the envy of the world!

Replies:   PotomacBob
awnlee jawking

@Crumbly Writer

In the UK, if you visit your GP with the symptoms of cancer, it takes an average of five visits before the GP makes a correct diagnosis. In fact, most cases of cancer in the UK are diagnosed at A&E. The NHS frequently runs advertising campaigns (eg the current 'if your cough lasts longer than three weeks') to prompt patients to ask whether it's cancer in order to get GPs to diagnose properly.

If you have adequate insurance in the US and turn up at a doctor's with symptoms of cancer, the doctor will straight away order a surfeit of diagnostic tests.

AJ

Replies:   sejintenej  Joe Long
PotomacBob

@Grant

I was going to hit the "I agree" icon - but couldn't find an icon that looked like it would accomplish that. What does the "thumbs down" icon do - signal disagreement? Consign the author to die in the lions' den? Summon the word police?

sejintenej
Updated:

@awnlee jawking


If you have adequate insurance in the US and turn up at a doctor's with symptoms of cancer, the doctor will straight away order a surfeit of diagnostic tests


My son went to a hospital in Florida with a minor injury which they dealt with and charged him on his card. Months later (after his death) I received a letter stating that they had overcharged but when I as his executor tried to claim the money they put conditions on the refund which would have cost twice the amount of the refund. Bloody crooks!!!!!!!!!!!

PotomacBob

@Geek of Ages

The U.S. health care system is the way we ration health care and most everything else - if you have lots of money, you get the very best. In a rational system of, say, wages, the people who deserve the most would get the most. I, personally, would place those who teach our kids as among those who are the most deserving. Along with authors. Yet they are among the lowest paid. The least essential, IMHO, are entertainers, yet ...

Dominions Son

@Crumbly Writer

Again, from an economist's views, it IS accounted in the return on investment basis.


Cost effectiveness / ROI is not the same thing as quality. I was talking about quality measures.

Yes, the US has a large problem with healthcare costs.

Ernest Bywater

@PotomacBob

"thumbs down" icon do - signal disagreement?


It flags the post to the webmaster to look at as being abusive.

REP
Updated:

@Switch Blayde


I don't agree. It's not income.


If you check the federal and your state's tax laws, you will find that any monetary gain (i.e. property, merchandise, money, etc.) is defined as income regardless of how it was obtained.

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Joe Long

@Crumbly Writer

Once again, it's not question of whether the person getting the tax break spends or invests the money, it's the return on investment.


You made an informed response. My problem is with the masses who think that if the rich get a tax break the money no longer claimed by the government will be stuffed ina mattress, thus having zero economic benefit.

I believe the question is judging who will spend the money to greater benefit - the private citizen or the government? Government spending may well do more to directly benefit low income people, but I believe is not as good at growing the economy.

Rather than a simple tax reduction, I'd prefer a restructuring of how the tax system works. First, figure out which govt spending is actually beneficial and which is unnecessary or wasteful. It was said here that historically the revenue of the US federal govt has averaged around 16$ of GDP. Let's call it 15% after some trimming.

I'm then fine with supplying them that 15% as their cut (no meaningful reduction in revenue) but I'd like the personal tax code to be simplified and especially the business code, allowing them to make decisions free of political meddling, of get a better growth of the economy.

Instead of a laundry list of "targeted tax cuts" (aka loopholes) that have a business paying a 30% tax on 50% of their income, strive towards having them pay a 15% tax on 100% of their income (or profits.) I realize there are legitimate business expenses that are worthy deductions and thus may be retained, but way too many are simply incentives to direct spending into areas that politicians desired and which are usually not economically beneficial.

TL,DR: Let business do business and then give government their cut.

Joe Long

@Crumbly Writer

PP covers a range of health prevention in communities which largely aren't served by anyone else.


I'd like to see real evidence of that claim (which has been made by many)

Joe Long

@Crumbly Writer

Even worse, they get it so much easier


Or just go knock on the new neighbor's door and ask, "Hey, you want to have sex? And your mother and little sister too!"

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Joe Long

@awnlee jawking

In the UK, if you visit your GP with the symptoms of cancer, it takes an average of five visits before the GP makes a correct diagnosis.


I have a Twitter friend who's an M.D. in the US and hates socialized medicine. He has a son with cystic fibrosis and recently sent me this

I was tweeting with a girl with CF from the UK. I recommended she call her doctor about an issue. She thought I was being ignorant, as you can't just call a doctor and expect a call back. We call my kid's pulmonologist and we always get a return phone call within two hours at most. And it's not just us, they do that for every patient Oh… They couldn't get Kalydeco for almost 3 years in the UK.

Replies:   sunkuwan
sunkuwan

@Joe Long

And would the US doctor call back if the person calling had no money and no health care?

I had an operation 2 years ago. It cost me 10€ for the 1 day in the hospital
While the open wound was cared for by a nurse every morning and evening at my home, I got my full pay for 6 weeks and 67% pay for week 7 and 8.
The nurse cost me 10€ a month.

I only got minimum wage, so I would have been bankrupt and in debt the rest of my life if I was in the US.

Replies:   Joe Long
Joe Long

@sunkuwan

I only got minimum wage, so I would have been bankrupt and in debt the rest of my life if I was in the US.


Insurance covering only big items like hospital stays can be quite affordable, but they were outlawed by Obamacare, which requires a much more expensive comprehensive plan.

I favor a system where insurance covers the catastrophic events (when I was a kid insurance was called 'hospitalization' because that's when you used it) and then shop around, aware of prices, for routine office visits. Tax-free Health Savings Accounts can be encouraged to cover the smaller expenses and for the insurance premiums. If someone doesn't make enough money to pay for what they'd need then I'm fine with a subsidy to bring them up to an acceptable level in the savings account.

Capt. Zapp

@Crumbly Writer

There's slant, there's getting something wrong, and then there's flat out lies (either of omission, lies of opportunity and flat-out, pants-on-fire lies).


I think this was described quite well in "Absence of Malice"

Davidek: That as a matter of law, the truth is irrelevant. We have no knowledge the story is false, therefore we're absent malice. We've been both reasonable and prudent, therefore we're not negligent. We can say what we like about him; he can't do us harm. Democracy is served.


and then at the end:

Sarah Wylie: That's true, isn't it?
Megan Carter: No. But it's accurate.

Switch Blayde

@REP

If you check the federal and your state's tax laws, you will find that any monetary gain (i.e. property, merchandise, money, etc.) is defined as income regardless of how it was obtained.


Then you would have to pay income tax on it. But you don't. Because it's a gift, not income.

Believe me, if the IRS could not tax the giver with a gift tax they would declare it as income and tax the receiver.

Switch Blayde

@Joe Long

figure out which govt spending is actually beneficial and which is unnecessary or wasteful.


Good luck on that. LOL

And what's beneficial? It depends on the senator/congressman's constituency. If they can get the money for their state, it's beneficial.

Switch Blayde

@Joe Long

"Hey, you want to have sex? And your mother and little sister too!"


Nah, these are sex stories. It would be, "And your mother and daughter too."

Replies:   Joe Long
Joe Long

@Switch Blayde

Nah, these are sex stories. It would be, "And your mother and daughter too."


When I was 20 and in college I worked at one of the hospitals in town. One of the nurses at the nearest station was just over 40 and not to bad for her age. She also had a daughter who was like in her first year of nursing at the same hospital, and who I'd see sometimes in my rounds.

One day the mom tried to seduce me. Really. She gave me a shot. Sometime after having told me that if I didn't use it often enough it would shrivel up and fall off, she asked me to walk with her to the linen closet. While we were all alone at 2 am told me that's where doctors would ask the nurses to go when the doctor was interested in hanky-panky. I was still too damn shy to try anything. I knew later she likely would've let me, maybe everything.

So afterwards my mind is wandering and I thought - I was 20, she was 40, daughter was 20. What if I'd had both of them? Grandma was maybe only 60, so her too. When I was 40 the young one's daughter would be 20, and when I was 60 (two years away now) there'd be another 20 year old.

A realistic way to nail five generations of women, all between the ages of 20 and 60.

Replies:   Bondi Beach  graybyrd
Bondi Beach

@Joe Long

A realistic way to nail five generations of women, all between the ages of 20 and 60.


I for one look forward to your story telling us about it and making us care about why it happened the way it did.

bb

PotomacBob

@Joe Long

First, figure out which govt spending is actually beneficial and which is unnecessary or wasteful.


I agree - as long as I am the one who gets to decide what is actually beneficial and which is unnecessary or wasteful. I dare say you wouldn't like my choices any better than you like the status quo. Just like I wouldn't like yours.
The question always is, "who gets to decide"?
Maybe we could hold elections and let the people choose?

PotomacBob

@Switch Blayde

I'd be curious who's included in the phrase "CNN and those like it." MSNBC? Fox? Breitbart? All news-gathering organizations? The New York Post? Wall Street Journal?

Replies:   Switch Blayde
PotomacBob

@Switch Blayde

We've become a society of morons who believe whatever we're told.

As a great politician once said, You can fool all the people some of the time and all of the people some of the time and that's good enough.

Switch Blayde

@PotomacBob

I'd be curious who's included in the phrase "CNN and those like it." MSNBC? Fox? Breitbart?

IMO, yes.

All news-gathering organizations?

I've been watching ABC's World News at 5:30pm and it seems like news.

Mister_B

@red61544

I'm in the same boat as you. but there are still some ON going stories I still DL and listen to later or read them when I can. Its like hearing the same song over and over again.

odave44

@red61544

I agree with you very much. In fact if I find a story with a good plot line, but sex every other page, I frequently just start skipping over the sex. And you're right, you cannot keep making it sound interesting when its the same stuff over and over again.

sejintenej
Updated:

@odave44


In fact if I find a story with a good plot line, but sex every other page, I frequently just start skipping over the sex


That describes a story which I WAS reading but with 75% of each chapter being descriptive and perhaps underaged sex I have stopped reading it. Worse, the several chapters I did read could almost have been lifted from a story I read a few years ago except they added more sex and changed the state.

richardshagrin

@odave44

And you're right, you cannot keep making it sound interesting when its the same stuff over and over again.


That is one reason for writing BDSM stories. The positions can vary (suspended from the ceiling?), the aparatus used (rope, chain, metal or wood, cloth, etc.) what parts of the sub are spanked, hit, rubbed, whipped, caned, paddled, and so forth, and even the body parts things (lots of different things) are inserted in. Are arm pits holes? Try tickling. Its not even just Bondage and Discipline, there is also Domination and Submission and Sadism and Masochism. Lots of different kinds of Bondage, lots of Disciplines, all the terms in BDSM have varieties for the writer to tap. Much better than just a harem story. Although there probably is even more variety with a BDSM harem. That's one reason there are so many stories in Thinking Horndog's Swarm Universe. Even one of the writers, Smiley Smith has S and M for the first letters of both names.

Replies:   Wheezer
big1fat1one

@Dominions Son

Great response.

Wheezer

@richardshagrin

Lots of different kinds of...


Any of which will case me to avoid the story. Just not my thing.

graybyrd
Updated:

@Joe Long


So afterwards my mind is wandering and I thought - I was 20, she was 40, daughter was 20. What if I'd had both of them? Grandma was maybe only 60, so her too.


That's the basis of my favorite 'sea story' from years ago, in the Navy. A young recruit, not yet out of basic training, requested emergency leave. Asked for the reason, the recruit stammered that there's a pregnancy in his family. When informed that is no reason for leave, the recruit admitted it's not just his girlfriend, but her mother too. Again, the commanding officer ruled that the family should simply deal with it; the recruit's leave was not justified. A few days later, the commanding officer received a directive from the naval district ordering him to grant the emergency leave. A formal letter containing an urgent plea from the family's priest demanded that Seaman Recruit Jones be released and dispatched home immediately: the daughter, the mother, and the grandmother were all pregnant and he was the responsible party.

Replies:   Wheezer
Wheezer

@graybyrd

the daughter, the mother, and the grandmother were all pregnant and he was the responsible party.

Biology gets in the way of that story unless granny & mom were both under 15 when granny had mom and mom had daughter. Daughter would have to be under 15 as well when she got preggers or granny would likely already be in menopause. I do know a woman who became a grandmother at age 32.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son
Updated:

@Wheezer


Biology gets in the way of that story unless granny


Biology doesn't get in the way nearly as much as you think.

There are many confirmed cases of women over the age of 50 getting pregnant. The record is 72 with medical assistance and 62 for natural conception.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pregnancy_over_age_50

On the other end, there is a medically documented case of a girl from Peru giving live birth at the age of 5 years 7 months. Her son lived a normal life span for the time period and location.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lina_Medina

So the story is perfectly plausible with Grandma in her late 50s to early 60s, mom at late 30's to early 40's and the girlfriend anywhere from 16(to assume a legal relationship)-20.

Replies:   Wheezer
Wheezer

@Dominions Son

So the story is perfectly plausible

It's not impossible, just very uncommon. There are always examples that are the exception to the norm. My own 2nd wife & her mother gave birth two weeks apart - only in this instance, I wasn't responsible for either! :O

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@Wheezer

It's not impossible, just very uncommon.


you are correct that it is uncommon. However, your original comment on the issue suggested that Grandma would and mom would have each had to give birth in their mid to early teens.

It's quite doable even if grandma had mom at 20 and mom had the girlfriend at 20 so grandma is 60, mom is 40 and the daughter is 20. The onset and completion of both puberty and menopause has considerable variation in age, and while it is unlikely and risky, women can become pregnant naturally while menopause is in progress.

Replies:   Wheezer
Wheezer

@Dominions Son

It's quite doable


Possible, but very unlikely. 60 yr old women getting pregnant naturally is uncommon enough to be newsworthy.
Still, lets not let reality get in the way of a good joke. :)

Michael Loucks

@Wheezer

Possible, but very unlikely. 60 yr old women getting pregnant naturally is uncommon enough to be newsworthy.
Still, lets not let reality get in the way of a good joke. :)


15, 30, and 45 is not crazy, assuming a rational age of consent.

Replies:   REP
REP

@Michael Loucks

15, 30, and 45 is not crazy, assuming a rational age of consent.


Age of consent has nothing to do with getting pregnant. Sometime back, I read the article about the girl who gave birth at the age of 5 years 7 months. If I recall she got pregnant due to being raped.

Dominions Son
Updated:

@Wheezer


60 yr old women getting pregnant naturally is uncommon enough to be newsworthy.


True, but there are documented cases of it actually happening, that makes it plausible, however unlikely.

ETA: Given current population levels, even extremely unlikely could leave you with thousands of naturally pregnant 60 year-olds world wide in any given year, and a dozen or two just in the US.

Darian Wolfe

@red61544

I've been gone awhile due to illness and just posted my first story since my return. I specialize in short stories which I define as having 7,500 words or less. Therefore, there is not a lot of room for sex if I want any semblance of plot or character development.

What sex there is I try to pack with emotion rather than just physical description and I try to make it meaningful to the rest of the characters life even if it's just a friendly fuck that they'll remember with fondness.

In my latest story, the actual sex scene was a whole 250 words long out of a total 1,813. I just didn't feel like writing a "porn scene" I wanted to focus on what are to me deeper things than the size of tits. I wanted to speak of lust, love, and dreams which could not be.

Stroke stories are good if I'm looking to be titillated, but stories with good solid plot and character development with a good sex scene every now and then for dessert are my go-to choices.

Replies:   red61544
red61544

@Darian Wolfe

Stroke stories are good if I'm looking to be titillated

I agree with everything you said, except for the above line. After reading three or four stroke stories, the "tit" isn't even "illated" any more!

Replies:   Darian Wolfe
Darian Wolfe

@red61544

Lol, Good one.

Stolen
Updated:

Wow! SOL had existed in 1999! I first encountered it in 2007. I liked the colors and layout format of this computer net site in general. Now, it still has the same colors and layout format as it was in 2007, I think, if I remember correctly. As for how it looked during the late 1990s, I don't know.

Crumbly Writer

@PotomacBob

What does the "thumbs down" icon do - signal disagreement? Consign the author to die in the lions' den? Summon the word police?

It deletes serial commas, which cause the rest of us to rise up in one foaming froth!

Uther_Pendragon

@Michael Loucks

In classifying, I had the opposite problem.
I just posted a short. There were only two sex scenes.
OTOH, with a particularly generous definition of "sex scene," they took up 50% of the byte count.

Uther_Pendragon

@Vlad_Inhaler

It is pretty unconvincing.
In my longest series, Bob thinks that Jeanette is the sexiest woman in the area -- varying from the state to the continent, depending on the day. She doesn't share that opinion.

syd

I agree with the sex being made boring in a lot of the stories, but I also find if they just say that had sex and did not describe it to some extent it is just as boring. I have notice a lot of stories don't seem to make you visualize what is happening or describing the cast. Some stories go into detail about the sex, but neglect to make you wonder what the people having the sex are experiencing. When I read a story that is really good the author usually has me following along as if I was one of the participents or at least standing there watching what is happening. There are some great authors here, I wish I was one of them, but I couldn't even qualify to be a waterboy for them Thanks Syd

scott917
Updated:

Replying to the OP's original question. I feel the same way, I agree that it does get boring the "same-ish thing" after reading tons of stories.

I would like to submit two stories that have great/awesome/original plots, in spite of the fact that they have sex in them. What I mean is if there was a way to "clean" these up they would make great fiction stand alone stories.

They That Have Power by Hermit. 3 books in total, there was a 4th one coming, but I think he quit. Still worth the read.

Sleepwalker - also 3 books, but the series is complete. A great read! Would make a great fiction story fit for publishing if the sex could be toned down.

With either of the two above mentioned stories I love them as is. I am glad I found them and don't regret spending time reading them. Actually I have read them and several others multiple times.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@scott917

Replying to the OP's original question. I feel the same way, I agree that it does get boring the "same-ish thing" after reading tons of stories.


Read enough westerns and the gunfights will all start to feel "same-ish".

I've said it before on this thread, but since it seems to be picking up again, I'll say it again, the effect is quite real, but it's nothing unique to or special about sex scenes.

sejintenej

I'm reading a "much sex" story at present which has pretty minimal detail. In six lines "she opened her mouth" and ended by "smiling up at him". This is a very long story but is typical of most (but not all) of the encounters. Good writing everywhere,sufficient for the story and infinitely better than the highly detailed near copies from the story from someone else.

joyR

@red61544

So, for the most part, I stick to the "minimal sex" or "no sex" stories. Am I the only one with this problem?


YES

Because...

The obvious solution is to visit FS instead of SoL or you could adjust your viewing preferences to hide stories containing sex. Though of course almost all the categories describe something sexual.

It is entirely possible to restrict a story search to 'no sex' so given that you can easily avoid stories with sexual content, why does their existence bother you?

Just as all the stories here are free, you are free to not read them.

Presumably you no longer watch football because after years of viewing you've become bored with watching the same plays time and again?

cyranoj2265
Updated:

One the best characterizations of a good action scene I've seen stated that what makes an action scene interesting is how it expresses the characters and/or drives the story, not what the specific beats of the action are. (The example he used was the parkour chase scene in Casino Royale which used action to vividly convey the character differences between Bond and his quarry.)

I find that's true of any kind of action in any kind of story. What makes a sex story genuinely interesting (and hot) is the context, the characters and the set-up. If that's all there, then the sex itself is interesting. If not, then it's not.

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Switch Blayde

@cyranoj2265

I find that's true of any kind of action in any kind of story. What makes a sex story genuinely interesting (and hot) is the context, the characters and the set-up. If that's all there, then the sex itself is interesting. If not, then it's not.


Well said.

Uther_Pendragon

@sunkuwan

new sex scenes with a different woman. Many authors fall into this trap. The sex scenes _are_ the plot instead of spicing up the plot.


That's a mistake, and it's a symptom of seeing a character as a body-description.

If your characters have had sex, then they have changed, certainly their relationship has changed. (If this is a story, other parts of their situation have changed, too.)

Therefore, their second act of sex is one between teo very diffeernt people. You don't have to bring in different characters.

Uther_Pendragon

@Vlad_Inhaler


When you get a story which starts with the female admiring her secondary characteristics in a mirror - so the reader knows what a babe is about to get boffed


We're not doing movies. What matters isn't what the woman objectively looks like; it's what the man sees in her.

In one of my stories which won't be on SOL, the male lead's father says: "You don't love her because she's the prettiest girl on campus; you think she's the prettiest girl on campus because you love her."

At least -- and it's pretty minimal -- let us see the girl's pert breasts through the boy's eyes.

Uther_Pendragon

@JohnBobMead


At one time, the sex scenes were interesting. But as you say, after a while they become overly repetative, and some authors seem to use boilerplate;


I immodestly recommend the last vignette in my Flash Flood. I don't say that it's erotic, but it's a description of the sex act you haven't seen before.

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