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My thoughts on Florida Friends

Lokar
Updated:

I just finished reading the whole series up to and including Chuck and Lisa. I might read the last story in the series later, but I don't feel like reading a new POV right now.

Anyhow, most stories are fairly long and after reading them, I have a lot of thoughts bouncing around in my head. As a disclaimer I should say that I only read about half of Bare Assets.

Obviously I enjoyed the series, I wouldn't have spent I don't know how many hours reading it otherwise. I did like the first few stories about Steve the most. I liked his personality the best and I liked how his growth both personal and monetary was very gradual. He started out doing small jobs and grew a little at a time. Compare that to Chuck, who got 5 women at once, and who got his fortune through a law suit and then threw the money at Ben to invest, I feel like Steve's was the more intersting.

I also like Steve's relationship with his women better. They are truly a family unit, where as Chuck for the most part was kind of a third wheel to his women's lesbian relationship. Chuck did eventually get recognized by some girls as a part of the relationship rather than a spice to their own little unit, and I believe Lisa said in the last story that she thought that she could live alone with Chuck and be happy. But for the most part throughout the series Chuck was considered as a breeder and some male comfort for most of his women. They excluded him from family meetings and decisions that affected him, and many of the women had no plans of staying with Chuck, I think that more than half of Chuck's women left him at some point, and came back later. Chuck really had some problems standing up for himself regarding women.

Steve's relationship didn't have much of these complications really. The only one that did the same is Mercy, and I still think that it's kind of messed up that she's planning to grow old with an other man whenever he's done getting together with men, a man that's had a very very minor role in the series. Kathy also left and came back, but she left because she was afraid for her and her children, not because she went into a relationship with Steve just to use him. I think that any of Steve's women would be happy in a relationship with just Steve, aswell as a one on one relationship with each other. That's what makes their family work so well I think. Because the only one that might stay and be truly happy in a one on one relationship with Chuck is Lisa (and maybe Tina, Gina(?) aswell as the two older ladies), it means that they do not have the same balance as Steve's unit.

Why oh why did Dual Writer use so few names? There are so many Johns, Maggies, Tom's, Tina's etc, aswell as names that are close such as Marie/Maria. Not only is it sometimes confusing to the reader, but it must be confusing to the writer aswell as he's multiple times mixed them up and put a Maria where there should be Marie and things like that. I can't for the life of me figure out why he didn't use mostly unique names. I mean, the main character's name in the last story Money! is called Chuck aswell. I read a couple of chapters of it, and I got confused as once. Is this a new Juanita, or either of the two that already are in the story? Is it a new Connie?

Other than the overuse of same/similar names, my biggest gripe with the series was the crew from Bare Assets. It's got a lot lower score than the other of the long stories, so I don't think that I'm alone of that opinion. Like I said earlier, I didn't finish reading that story so take my opinion with a grain of salt on that one. I just felt like all the gang over there had going for them was sex. Out at the restort - Sex with each other aswell as orgies with friends. At work - Sex with each other, aswell as the secretary. Visit Zena's uncle - Sexual education. The characters were really boring, and I was glad that they were mostly written out of the story after that. I just wish that they were written out entirely. I really didn't like that they got intimate with Chuck and the gang again. Unlike Chuck, Steve and Dewey, Tom and Zena are just friends, not family. They aren't even that close. I don't think Chuck visited them out at the naturist park for years, because he was uncomfortable with the sexuality there, as he said to Mercy I think it was. Chuck agreed with Wanda when she said that Chuck probably was so uncomfortable with what happened at the park because it was with strangers, and not with loved ones. That made sense because he was comfortable sharing with Steve and Dewey, because they were as close as family. Tom and Zena are casual friends who have lunch with Chuck and his office every now and then. And I think that in every scene they showed up in the stories after BA, they were suggesting something sexual, if they weren't already doing anything sexual. Since that was still the only thing they had going for them, it didn't make their characters any more likeable, and that in turn annoyed me any time they got screentime.

Also, what's the deal with Tina making a big production of calling together a family meeting, where they decide that there would be no more women. Tina even singled out someone, I don't remember if it was Frieda or Brandy, and told her to hold it within their family. They all agreed, yet they still sleep with outsider women when they fancy them, and I think it was Tina herself who brought Jane in. Their big agreement was never mentioned again and no one ever said, "wait a minute, we talked about this exact situation and we all agreed that we would stay away from any more women!".

Lastly, I didn't like how Chuck and Lisa started. Chuck has been very adamant throughout the stories that he doesn't want to become a governmet assassin, that he doesn't want to go out to kill people, but he will protect his own with the force necessary. Yet Chuck and Lisa starts out with them doing exactly that, looking up people to kill and they even bring Tina who is lacking any kind of formal training. Yes, Lisa said she's been teaching Tina some, but DW made it very clear throughout the story that Tina was very busy with her doctors training, and I don't belive that Tina had the time nor energy for some kind of Spec-Ops training added onto that. Yet they bring her and try to find people to kill, something that's out of character for Chuck atleast. Their reason? Adrenaline Junkies. It's such a weak reason for Chuck to throw out his philosophy. There are tons of other hobbies for adrenaline junkies that doesn't involve murdering people, bad people or not.

Overall it was a very engaging series and alot of hours worth of entertainment.

I'd give the story a 7/10, except that on this site stories at 7 are usually shit. SOL really just need 4 ratings.

Around 7 and less than 7, it's usually bad. 7-8 is usually alright. 8-8.50 is usually good. And 8.50+ is usually excellent.

So my SOL score rather than a normal 10 scale would be about 8.40, as it was good, but not excellent in my opinion.

I don't really expect anyone to read through all this, but I've binged read the series and need to get my thoughts out of my system, so I figured that the story discussion forum was the right place for it.

If you've come this far, thanks for reading, and have a nice day.

Replies:   mcguy101  PotomacBob
gruntsgt

There is a companion piece to this series by the Author, Robin DualwritersGuest.

mcguy101
Updated:

@Lokar

I'm still working my way through the series. There's some bad but mostly good.

As far of your assessment of SOL scores, I must say I disagree on a few levels.

Some of my best stories are rated below 7 and a couple I don't like nearly as well are ranked higher. This is true of short stories in particular (as fewer people tend to vote for short stories so that numbers can really get skewed). The other thing is stories within certain genres get poor grades just because people don't like the subject matter. This doesn't necessarily mean that the story isn't well written.

Thanks for taking the time to report on the series. It's certainly a long read, but so far, at least for me, mostly enjoyable

PotomacBob

@Lokar

Why can't someone write an actual review that is as honest as this?

Remus2
Updated:

Nobody can please everybody. However, speaking from my frame of reference only, most of the stories I've read here that score less than 7.2 or so, either leave much to be desired, or are geared toward a specific audience. The latter does not necessarily equal bad writing, but if it's not tagged along the lines of my personal preference, I'll skip over it.

Of the stories I've read to date, any falling below a 6 in rating have turned out to be not very good imo. Those I no longer bother to skim over lookng for a diamond in the rough.

Replies:   mcguy101
mcguy101

@Remus2

Of the stories I've read to date, any falling below a 6 in rating have turned out to be not very good imo.


Thankfully none of my stories have fallen into "the fives", but am surprised that at least a couple of them are in "the sixes", including one that actually won a contest at another site. I know personal preference drives scoring in some cases, but I wish people would be more objective when they score a story. If a story is well written, even if it's not my cup of tea, I'll score it no lower than an eight (and it would have to have something wrong to even receive that grade). If I can't feel I can be objective, due to a particular subject matter, I won't grade it at all.

"Preference-based grading" instead "quality-based grading" can turn off readers that won't read a story with a certain score or lower. That is sad.

I understand that everybody has their own take on this and appreciate the opportunity to express my opinion.

As far as Florida Friends, there are several story elements that I don't particularly care for, but the stories are well written. I enjoy most of the characters and find the story plots keep me interested and entertained. What more can you want?

Replies:   PotomacBob  Remus2
PotomacBob

@mcguy101

I know personal preference drives scoring in some cases


Why shouldn't personal preference drive scoring in all cases?

Replies:   mcguy101
Remus2
Updated:

@mcguy101

Thankfully none of my stories have fallen into "the fives", but am surprised that at least a couple of them are in "the sixes", including one that actually won a contest at another site. I know personal preference drives scoring in some cases, but I wish people would be more objective when they score a story. If a story is well written, even if it's not my cup of tea, I'll score it no lower than an eight (and it would have to have something wrong to even receive that grade). If I can't feel I can be objective, due to a particular subject matter, I won't grade it at all.


Personal preferences are the reasons people read to begin with. Some folks prefer science fiction, others historical, yet others something else.

This is where tags and other descriptors become important.

If a story is heavy on militaristic elements, it's highly unlikely pacifist would enjoy it for instance. If someone let's me know it's a batman fan story, I'm not going to open it as I'm not a fan. I'm also not going to vote one way or another as that would be unfair. If I get into the story and then I found out, it's not going to be rated well.

Then there are the technical voters. To take a touch of dramatics, these folks will bomb a story for missed spelling or out of place comma. They generally can't get to the story elements due to that. Those technical elements are outside of any consideration of story elements. To be fair, there are several stories out there that deserve to be bombed for their technical elements or lack thereof. It doesn't matter what potential the plot/story has if it cannot be articulated.

Based on what you described, if you've a story that got bombed here, yet won an award elsewhere, I'd be inclined to believe that elsewhere is niche driven rather than a site like this.

Some more opinion based on your reply.

richardshagrin

Six is an average story, a C. A lot of stories are "average". Seven is a B, a good story better than average but not outstanding like an A, which is an Eight. Nine is an A plus even better than an A. Ten is very rare, the story has to take my breath away. Considering the Normal or Bell curve, about 68% of all stories are within one standard deviation of the mean. That leaves 16% more than one standard deviation above the mean (average, 6) and 16% below one standard deviation below the mean (Five or less). There may be some reason to believe the Normal Curve may not apply to the stories posted on SOL, there may be more above average than below it. I am under the impression management adjusts scores so the mean is Six. The standard deviation might not be exactly One, so It may not be true only 16% of all stories score from Seven to Ten, and another 16% score from Five to One. But that is my guess and I try to select scores that reflect my opinion of what an average, above average, good (outstanding) and even better than that stories are. My opinions sometimes change over time and with re-reading. If you want to give every story a Ten, good for you, there are other scorers who are giving far more Ones than Statistical theory predicts. Mostly it all adjusts out in the averages and Lazeez's adjustment toward Six. Please select one strategy and stick to it so stories from one author don't automatically get a Ten or a One, evaluate each story based on how you think it should be scored.

jimh67

I find the scores for the most popular authors to be meaningless. I'll see Lazlo, Dual Writer or others in that stratosphere post the first chapter of a new work and it will be rated 9 with 85 votes. This will be repeated. By the time we're seven chapters in it would have to be a terrible work for it to fall below 8.

anim8ed

I try not to vote on serial posted stories until I have a handle on the where the story is going. If it sucks me in right away then I may vote after the first chapter. My vote may change from the beginning to the end. If the story finishes with a bang and exceeds my expectation I may raise my vote. If it dies with a whimper or, worse, never is completed I may vote it lower.

The main thing I consider when voting is how emphatically I would recommend it to others. Basically that is what your vote is, a recommendation to other readers. Looking at my library I have about a dozen stories that I have given a 10 and around 30 or so that have a 9. It may seem like a lot but having read and voted on over 1500 stories so far that is a very small percentage (less than 3% for both).

mcguy101

@PotomacBob

Why shouldn't personal preference drive scoring in all cases?


Because that means that you are scoring something on the basis of mostly on how it appeals to you versus how well it is written (plot, character development technical merit, etc.). There have been plenty of stories I've given good grades to that have not been my cup of tea, but were objectively better written and more interesting than some stories that were right up my alley.

If you read a story and it disappoints you based on tags and assumptions you've built into what a story containing those tags should be, you are doing the author and other readers a disservice by slagging it.

I constantly find little gems that aren't stroke stories that are stored in the low and mid sevens and constantly wonder why the story scores so low. BillyRay's fantastic Jake's Dream Comes True is a past Clitoride winner and it scores a mere 7.54. Where there are some stories that are not as well written, that score higher.

I know that there is a subjective element to scoring, but IMHO I don't think that it should be the overriding consideration.

awnlee jawking

@mcguy101

We've been round this loop many times. I'm with @PotomacBob, I think readers should score a story on how well it appealed to them, rather than second-guessing what other readers might think. But then I'd rather read an edge-of-the-seat thriller than a better-written Booker prize winner.

AJ

PotomacBob

@mcguy101

There have been plenty of stories I've given good grades to that have not been my cup of tea,


I defend your privilege of scoring stories however you like.

Tw0Cr0ws

When I started reading 'Money!' it was not part of Florida Friends and i thought it was a pretty good story that I enjoyed following, then it became merged into Florida Friends and within a few chapters I lost interest and stopped reading it.

It was an interesting story of a man working his way through troubles and opportunities in his own way until then, but afterwards it seemed too much like the others were there to steamroller all the problems away.

Replies:   awnlee jawking
tucson

I have enjoyed all of Dual Writers stories BUT I skip through the sex portions to get to the action parts. What happened to Dual Writer has he quit writing?

Replies:   Wheezer
Wheezer

@tucson

What happened to Dual Writer has he quit writing?

Poor health

awnlee jawking

@Tw0Cr0ws

then it became merged into Florida Friends and within a few chapters I lost interest and stopped reading it.


That sort of thing turns me off too. I'm glad oyster50 didn't fold 'Carlie' into his 'Smart Girls' universe and flood the story with unfamiliar characters.

AJ

jimh67
Updated:

I read stories for action, so I'm not fond of the genre that describes a character's day in minute detail such as lecture on the right and wrong ways to make a ham and cheese sandwich. I'm not being facetious.

I gave up on Florida very early. A long dissertation on washing, conditioning and drying long hair in the shower was the last straw.

But that's just me. Those types of stories are among the most-read and highest scoring on the site. Can't please everyone.

JimWar

Let me say that I just finished reading again, one of Dual Writer's other stories and thoroughly enjoyed it. It was that way in the beginning with my reading FF several years ago but it got too long, too convoluted and Steve was a might bit too lucky for my taste. That being said I would much prefer too much of a story rather than not enough (an unfinished story). I admire Dual Writer's ability to squeeze all he can out of a character.

Daveycoco

I rarely rate a story low because if the story sucks i stop reading and move on to something else. If i finish a story that means i think it's a good story so I will rate it as such. If you think a story is a 1, then why in hell did you read it?

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@Daveycoco

If you think a story is a 1, then why in hell did you read it?


Because it seemed good at the time is a major reason that would happen. If a story starts well and then suddenly has a large section that's a major squick and the author never coded for it is a very good reason to hit it with a low score while not finishing it. Generally I only score stories I finish, but something like that is another matter because the author set out to deceive the reader when he had the opportunity to warn them.

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