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An experiment  [message #74548] Thu, 12 July 2018 20:15 Go to next message
timmy   United Kingdom

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As an experiment, we have added a page indexing interviews with a selection of authors, some here some elsewhere. The 'controversial' element here is that there are also story reviews. We don't do critiques here onthe forum, partly because Literary Criticism is an arcane art. If the intrepid interviewer simply interviews authors here we will add that interview to the author's index page with pleasure.

The experimental page of interviews is here.

What I am interested in is whether this should continue, or cease. I will enjoy reading everyone's opinions, and will use those to inform my decision.

[Updated on: Fri, 13 July 2018 18:05]




Inconsistent use of capital letters is the difference between Bobby helping Uncle Jack off a horse, AND Bobby helping uncle jack off a horse!
Re: An experiment  [message #74551 is a reply to message #74548] Sat, 14 July 2018 05:53 Go to previous messageGo to next message
timmy   United Kingdom

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The silence has been deafening. If no-one has opinions then we will go with mine, unmodified by yours.

Interviews with authors

How should we proceed with this? [Answer all that apply, please]

Definitely continue
Definitely cease
Create a basic question library
Don't just ask set questions, develop the theme
Have just one interviewer
Have a pool of interviewers
Have a schedule, say of one per month
Ask for volunteers to do the interviews
Ask authors to volunteer to be interviewed
Restrict it to authors on this site
Throw it open to any author of LGBT web fiction
I'm just here for a wank, don't bother with anything else


Current Results



I bet you do have opinions, though.

[Updated on: Sat, 14 July 2018 06:01]




Inconsistent use of capital letters is the difference between Bobby helping Uncle Jack off a horse, AND Bobby helping uncle jack off a horse!
Re: An experiment  [message #74562 is a reply to message #74551] Mon, 16 July 2018 19:43 Go to previous messageGo to next message
timmy   United Kingdom

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I'm liking the trend so far. I think it shows the quality of the initial interviews conducted by the initial interviewer. 

What I am getting so far is that:
  • We need a framework of questions
  • The interview should feed form the answers, that is not simply be a formulaic thing, but probe for detail and follow a theme

Now, where I failed to ask a question in the survey I am going to make an assumption. I assume any author wishing for publicity will volunteer. What I hope we can do is to encourge the publicity shy ones! I'd like to consider inviting authors rather than simply having volunteers. I think the criteria for invitation are subjective. I need to think that through, and that means think it with your input. Or, put plain, whom should we invite?

Now look, I am very happy for an author to volunteer. It's just that it isn't my first priority

I'd also like help in working out the framework of initial questions. I think we might avoid the trite Age - Sex - Location, though I have no issue with that infomration per se

I am unlikley to interview anyone. I have more than enough site stuff to do. So who should form the pool of interviewers?

That's enough questions for now. 



Inconsistent use of capital letters is the difference between Bobby helping Uncle Jack off a horse, AND Bobby helping uncle jack off a horse!
Re: An experiment  [message #74586 is a reply to message #74562] Mon, 23 July 2018 08:26 Go to previous messageGo to next message
timmy   United Kingdom

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No opinions?



Inconsistent use of capital letters is the difference between Bobby helping Uncle Jack off a horse, AND Bobby helping uncle jack off a horse!
Re: An experiment  [message #74590 is a reply to message #74586] Mon, 23 July 2018 21:05 Go to previous messageGo to next message
William King is currently offline  William King   France

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I didn't want to interfere, but perhaps my experience as the interviewer might help here.

A framework of questions: I randomly chose books whose last chapter finished publishing at least six months ago.
The idea being to promote those books and authors, because currently publishing books are already in the spot light.
The framework for the questions came from reading the book (not from the book reviews).

The Interview should feed from the answers: ideally yes, but it's a lot to ask of an author, more than a simple exchange of questions and reply.

Author volunteers: as I said, books/authors were picked at random. About 60% said yes, 10% refused, 30% didn't reply.

My personal opinion is that prompted by a number of considered questions by an interviewer who has read their book, an author will respond with a good reply and even enhance or expand upon the initial question to talk about their book and writing. Only once was I disappointed by a reply, but then I didn't enjoy the book either, and the former may be due to an off day, the latter is simply personal taste.

Hoping this helps...
Re: An experiment  [message #74591 is a reply to message #74590] Mon, 23 July 2018 22:03 Go to previous messageGo to next message
timmy   United Kingdom

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Thanks William. With your permission we will continue with yours too. I just want ones that we initiate to be different in that this site has never done either book review nor literary criticism. As everyone knows the two are different disciplines. A good review may encourage an author, a bad review may anger or depress them. Thus I prefer neither appear, with those who like takes writing directly to the author.

One can destroy an author by counting the adverbs they use outside dialogue. To be fair one probaby should if they use more than one every 80,000 words, but not in a public forum! Equally a review can harm a tale and an author just as easily.

I'm very interested in your thoughts on the interview process. I do feel an interview should probe, but not beyond the bounds of propriety, and certainly not with prurient interest.

What I'm seeing right now is a little like the sound of one handed clapping. I could, of course, take this task on myself. It does interest me. I have half a clue about how to do it, but I also do everything else.

So far I see that one person in 36 is a total wanker:

http://forum.iomfats.org/?t=getfile&id=4615&private=0

I wonder if that is an accurate figure?



Inconsistent use of capital letters is the difference between Bobby helping Uncle Jack off a horse, AND Bobby helping uncle jack off a horse!
Re: An experiment  [message #74593 is a reply to message #74591] Mon, 23 July 2018 23:16 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Mark   United States

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I want to point to William's response and say, "Yeah, what he said!"  (And just so you know, William, I, for one, do not consider your comments to be interfering at all.)

To give a fuller response:

Personally, I like the idea of starting off with a few basic general (and generic) questions that all authors would get asked (such as "What inspired you to write your stories?"), and I also like the idea of the interviewer asking more specific questions based upon the works of the specific author.  For example, just to "pick on" Cynus for a moment, I get the feeling that some of his works may be based at least in part on his own life experiences, so if I were to be interviewing him I might ask him about that (of course, it should be very much emphasised that an author can decline to answer any question if they don't feel comfortable in answering it).

I also like the idea of interviewing authors whose works haven't been published recently, just because, as William pointed out, they aren't "in the spotlight" as much as those who have had something published recently (though, unlike William, I'm more inclined to want to have the interview focus somewhat more on the overall works of an author, rather than a single story, just because it seems like that would be more interesting).  (I do realize, though, that this might be more difficult to pull off, just because a lot of authors who haven't had anything published here in a while might not be around any more for some reason - I can think of a couple of cases off the top of my head where I know the author has passed away).  These authors could be selected randomly though some method like pulling names of known available authors (or at least those who haven't been interviewed) out of a hat.

In a worst case scenario, I imagine I could do the interviewing and probably throw something together as far as questions go.  Granted, I don't know how good I'd be at it, though.
Re: An experiment  [message #74597 is a reply to message #74593] Tue, 24 July 2018 19:13 Go to previous messageGo to next message
William King is currently offline  William King   France

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Mark, you are absolutely right, it is interesting when an author interview expands to include the whole portfolio of works. The ultimate back story, if you like, how the author got to write those books. How much is driven by personal experience etc.

However, it is difficult to do. For myself I tend to leave the author to talk as much or as little about himself and his writing as he wants to do and feels comfortable with. Using one book, an older story, as a starting point means you are more likely to touch on an author's beginnings. Were you to broaden too much the number of books you are asking questions about, it would be, I think, difficult. First, you would have to have read them all. That means reading and noting points to discuss. It could get too wide ranging.

As to being a good interviewer, well nobody knows until you try it. I'm still developing where the interviews go, what direction, still learning. My only tip is: you are an interviewer, there to showcase the author, you aren't there to put forward yourself. You can express a point of view, but the intention behind that point of view is to get the author to explain. It's never a -you did that wrong and this is why.

I should mention here that the next two authors who have been interviewed are two who publish on IOMFATS. At the end of the month it is D'Artagnon and the following month Cynus.

I think the more people involved in interviewing the better. I'm handing over to someone else for one of our interviews. Were you to do something here, then we would reciprocally publish those interviews, because it's all interesting stuff for readers. It's the brilliant part of online publishing, the interaction, the getting to know the author. All that enhances the reading experience, at least it does for me.

So don't think you can't do it or it would be no good, because I honestly think that is not the case. And as you said, and as I say to authors, you are not compelled to answer any question you find too personal or for any reason. It's a free exchange.

I'm really glad, Mark, that you commented here. Very valuable contribution.

Re: An experiment  [message #74598 is a reply to message #74597] Tue, 24 July 2018 19:34 Go to previous messageGo to next message
timmy   United Kingdom

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In that case let us put together an "IOMfAtS Interview Panel" of those who feel they will enjoy giving this a go and let that panel start to formulate itself here.

I have one strong request, please. I would like the interviews to be Author Based, not story based. William has done something excellent for Castle Roland based with precision on what that site feels it needs. I'm more than happy that an author's stories are referred to, but I would like to know more about the person's raison d'être than to discuss a particular piece of work in minute detail. So, WIlliam's work apart, we will not, please, perform story reviews. We will interview the person who writes the stories.

Once you sort out who is on the team you are welcome to use the PM system here to plot and plan but I suggest that you use the open forum to set yourselves up.

For myself I do not wish to perform interviews. I am willing to be an interviewee, but I do not see myself as a priority target for you.



Inconsistent use of capital letters is the difference between Bobby helping Uncle Jack off a horse, AND Bobby helping uncle jack off a horse!
Re: An experiment  [message #74601 is a reply to message #74598] Tue, 24 July 2018 23:58 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Mark   United States

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William, thanks for your own comments.  Some of what you've noted is what I was thinking myself, as far as using the whole works of an author to serve as the basis for a specific interview.

Take me, ads an example.  I'd probably be pretty easy to interview on everything I've written for IOMFATS - right now, I've only got two things up here, a short story and a longer story of 9 total chapters, so there's not much to read beforehand.  And a casual glance through the authors listing shows that some authors have written even less than I have.

Another author, like Michael Arram, would be a bit more difficult - 17 different multi-chapter stories that have a combined (if I added correctly) 407 chapters.  That's a bit more reading.

But then, of course, there can be exceptions.   Charlie has two stories up - but one of those (at the time of this writing) has 224 chapters and is listed as being "a continuing tale," so in many ways there's just as much of a "problem" here if someone wanted to interview Charlie (and he was willing to be interviewed) on that one story as there would be if someone wanted to interview Michael Arram on all his stories.

I'd still like to the author interviewed for their work as a whole (though it would still be all right if specific stories were discussed as part of the overall interview), for the reasons I previously stated, as well as Timmy's points.  Personally, I see two possible solutions myself in those cases where there's a lot of material by the author in question to go over by the interviewer first:

#1: Keep beginning questions generic (such as "What are some of the things that have served as inspiration for your stories?") and then, as the interview goes on, ask more specific questions based upon answers to earlier questions.

#2: I like the idea of having a pool of interviewers (and yes, I'll certainly volunteer if this route is taken), so another possibility is to see if anyone has read the works of the author who can then either conduct the interview or at least help the person who does conduct the interview to come up with some specific questions about the author's works.
Re: An experiment  [message #74602 is a reply to message #74601] Wed, 25 July 2018 05:58 Go to previous messageGo to next message
William King is currently offline  William King   France

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So this now is where you need to get down to doing it.

I'm, obviously, busy doing interviews over on Castle Roland, as well as writing books occasionally, lol.

What I can do is coordinate with you,  give you a list of authors we are interviewing, so we don't do the same authors at the same time.
I can also input thoughts and ideas for those generic questions to ask the authors, that would kick off the interviews, and give my input.

From here it's up to you to get some volunteer interviewers (not easy) and put it all together.

I like the way your thinking is going, both you Mark, and Tim. It's a different approach, very interesting, and may well produce some in depth author interviews. I particularly like the idea to pose initial questions and come back with a second round.

Re: An experiment  [message #74603 is a reply to message #74601] Wed, 25 July 2018 07:10 Go to previous messageGo to next message
timmy   United Kingdom

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I would suggest that a writer who has created even a single short story is as much grist to the mill as one who has written many tales, or a monolith of umpteen chapters. I would also suggest you do not forget the poets.

What I think is needed is an author who sparks an undefinable 'something' in your mind, and almost insists on being interviewed because of that something.

So please don't get hung up on having to read everthing written. Just go by gut instinct. There are some personal stories that are worth bringing out.

This is a different approach from William's. Neither is correct, neither is better than the other, neither is wrong. Each provides something within the ethos of the parent site.

[Updated on: Wed, 25 July 2018 07:28]




Inconsistent use of capital letters is the difference between Bobby helping Uncle Jack off a horse, AND Bobby helping uncle jack off a horse!
Re: An experiment  [message #74608 is a reply to message #74603] Thu, 26 July 2018 21:42 Go to previous messageGo to next message
timmy   United Kingdom

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I have a few simple thoughts for questions.

Scene Setting
  • Do you mind telling us what sex you are or what pronouns you would prefer people to use for you?
  • Are you LGBT? Do you mind telling us which letter refers to you best?
  • How would you define your age for us?
  • Broadly what age were you when you discovered you were, if you are, L, G, B, or T? Did this coincide with your finding the first person attractive whom you found attractive? 

Writing or Poetry
  • What started you writing?
  • Which sites do you have your work published on? (we're happy to link to any site the writer publishes on, directly to the index page for their tales)
  • Is the first story you wrote the first one that was published?
  • How do you find your characters/plots/geography?

There is far more than this selection. I just felt that starting with a few base level things was easier than starting with a blank canvas.  They are questions whose answers would interest me and obviously they have supplementary questions bubbling away beneath the surface

[Updated on: Thu, 26 July 2018 21:49]




Inconsistent use of capital letters is the difference between Bobby helping Uncle Jack off a horse, AND Bobby helping uncle jack off a horse!
Re: An experiment  [message #74609 is a reply to message #74598] Fri, 27 July 2018 07:34 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Al N. is currently offline  Al N.   United States

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I hadn't visited this thread in a couple of days, so I am happy that communications have gotten started. Perhaps I should introduce myself, that way Timmy, you will know from where I am coming.

Allen Norris is my name, but everyone just uses "Al". I am one of three administrators over at Castle Roland. I basically run the story site and sometimes function as an admin on the forums site. I am also one of seven editors on the Revolutions Universe (RU) team. I suppose you could call me an author, as I do have two story lines in the RU (but I really don't think of myself as an author). The other admins are Ken Barber (our go-to PR guy) and David Lovel (the Roland part of the castle).

"Timmy"
William has done something excellent for Castle Roland based with precision on what that site feels it needs.


Actually, When William first came to us with this idea, we had no real clue where it might lead. We thought it over and gave him the reigns, so to speak. We really had no idea where this might lead, only that it was something none of us had ever heard of any story site doing before. So any precision rests entirely with William, as does the excellence of his product. I can say this without reservation, as we admins at the Castle let William do what he wants, how he wants. With that said, I am actually very happy with what he and his team have done.

Now William has broached this idea of two very different story sites, more or less collaborating. Speaking only for myself, I like the idea of reciprocating between us. While on one level we are competitors (for stories/authors/readership), on another level we are both trying to showcase our authors and their stories to the readers. By doing this, by acting in concert, I honestly think we can show the rest of the gay fiction world that we can work together and become something greater than the mere sum of our parts.

It may succeed or it may ultimately fail. Should this endeaver fail, then neither of us are any worse off than before we started this venture. But we will never know unless we take that risk.
Re: An experiment  [message #74610 is a reply to message #74609] Fri, 27 July 2018 07:48 Go to previous messageGo to next message
timmy   United Kingdom

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No idea whether it will succeed, Al, but we gain everything and lose nothing by trying.

I have never subscribed to the concept of being in competition with anyone, you know. There are enough good writers out there to fill an ocean. All we all do is to give them an outlet, curated in idiosyncratic ways. This site pre-dates a great many others, but that neither makes us 'biggest' nor 'best'; we are just 'here'.

This experiment will only fly if folk make it fly.

[Updated on: Fri, 27 July 2018 07:49]




Inconsistent use of capital letters is the difference between Bobby helping Uncle Jack off a horse, AND Bobby helping uncle jack off a horse!
Re: An experiment  [message #74648 is a reply to message #74610] Thu, 02 August 2018 04:46 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Bisexual_Guy is currently offline  Bisexual_Guy   United States

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I like the interviews with authors.  I would like to see some standardized questions, but like the varied questions, as well.

Thanks to the interviewers and interviewees as well who have participated so far.
Re: An experiment  [message #74652 is a reply to message #74548] Fri, 03 August 2018 03:10 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Cynus is currently offline  Cynus   United States

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The thought of two sites working together is absolutely thrilling to me. Some of the sites I post for (obviously neither here nor Castle Roland) sometimes try to make me feel guilty for cross-posting. I'm not going to name any names, but for those of us who are trying to make a living from our work, it's absolutely impossible to do without expansion and exposure. Working together to build the community will only help all of us find more readers, I think.



"Be or be not, there is no why." - Cynus
Re: An experiment  [message #74699 is a reply to message #74548] Mon, 13 August 2018 22:04 Go to previous messageGo to next message
timmy   United Kingdom

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So, in addition to William who is doing it for Castle Roland, who wil take this on for this site?

[Updated on: Mon, 13 August 2018 22:05]




Inconsistent use of capital letters is the difference between Bobby helping Uncle Jack off a horse, AND Bobby helping uncle jack off a horse!
Re: An experiment  [message #74702 is a reply to message #74699] Tue, 14 August 2018 00:34 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Mark   United States

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"timmy wrote on Mon, 13 August 2018 16:04"
So, in addition to William who is doing it for Castle Roland, who wil take this on for this site?

--

As I mentioned before, I am willing, though (and please don't take this the wrong way) I'd really rather work as part of a group here, rather than try to handle it all solo.

There are a lot of authors here, and while I'm sure that we'll find a similar situation as William did with Castle Roland (in that a goodly portion of the authors - or at least the ones who are not known to be deceased or who have no currently known contact info, like the author here with the pen name "e" - are going to either not respond at all or decline to be interviewed if they do respond), I'm kind of feeling that it's a daunting task to contact everyone and then set up an interview order for those who agree to be interviewed, and it would be nice to have help in that.

(Though I'd like to take one of William's suggestions and modify it a bit by suggesting that we coordinate things so that authors who publish on both sites be interviewed only by one or the other, since, unless we wind up thinking of drastically different interview questions from each other, it doesn't make a lot of sense to me to make someone sit through two separate interviews that ask basically the same things).

Plus, I'm sure there are other people here who'd, at the very least, think up of some great questions that would never even occur to me.  Also, while I understand what you're saying, Timmy, about not having to read every single thing a specific author prior to interviewing them, I still stand at least a bit by my earlier comments about having at least a passing familiarity with their works.  I think it just allows for better specific interview questions.  As an example, when Rick Beck was interviewed by William, William asked was about why, in his stories (set in the "real world") the youth would choose to ignore the HIV epidemic and continue to be so sexually promiscuous, despite the obvious health risks.  Great line of questioning, and something that wouldn't have been asked if William hadn't been familiar with Rick's work going into the interview.  (So having more people involved in the interviewing process here would hopefully mean being able to ask more great in-depth questions.  A part of the point of this interviewing, if I'm to understand this idea correctly, is to get to know the authors a little bit better, and have a more in-depth glimps of how and why they write what they do.)
Re: An experiment  [message #74703 is a reply to message #74702] Tue, 14 August 2018 06:08 Go to previous messageGo to next message
William King is currently offline  William King   France

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A couple of points Mark:
You don't need to contact all the authors. I simply pick books and authors at random and contact them one at a time, maybe two at the same time, to boost the chance of a reply.
You really do need one or two people to join you and contribute questions to authors. We have a team of four, including myself. I would like to get more people involved, but it's difficult.

I can supply a list of authors we have scheduled to interview that are also authors who publish on IOMFATS, this will avoid duplication. I can also give a list of authors who didn't respond and who publish here, to save the effort of trying to get them to reply. Although, you might want to have another go at asking for their participation.

I would start this with a request for volunteers to join the team, and see what happens.
Re: An experiment  [message #74705 is a reply to message #74703] Tue, 14 August 2018 08:28 Go to previous messageGo to next message
cm is currently offline  cm   United Kingdom

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I'd be happy to contribute questions and maybe help out further if that would be useful.
Re: An experiment  [message #74706 is a reply to message #74705] Tue, 14 August 2018 14:53 Go to previous messageGo to next message
timmy   United Kingdom

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Ok, that looks like Mark and cm so far. Why don't you guys work together and see who else volunteers, and, while I'll give you huge editorial freedom, show me the loose framework you have decided on, either here as a post or by email?

Please remember: No real world contact details, and always something positive to come out of it. I would very much like to avoid in what you guys do any concept of a story review, but I see every reason to use a few snippets to hang questions on if you like.

I suggest you start with a friendly 'local' author, really anyone at all who catches your interest, no need to have a long debate about it, and see what develops. Choose me if you like, or not if you prefer not.

There is no timetable, no deadline, unless you feel having one will help you, all who join the team, in which case please set your own.

If you need a leader please appoint one, if not please work as a loose co-operative. Above all enjoy it. It is not a TASK, it is to be a joy!

[Updated on: Tue, 14 August 2018 15:07]




Inconsistent use of capital letters is the difference between Bobby helping Uncle Jack off a horse, AND Bobby helping uncle jack off a horse!
Re: An experiment  [message #74800 is a reply to message #74548] Sat, 25 August 2018 09:32 Go to previous messageGo to next message
timmy   United Kingdom

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How's it going, boys?



Inconsistent use of capital letters is the difference between Bobby helping Uncle Jack off a horse, AND Bobby helping uncle jack off a horse!
Re: An experiment  [message #74860 is a reply to message #74800] Wed, 12 September 2018 10:20 Go to previous message
timmy   United Kingdom

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If this is to happen it needs folk to make it happen. So, if you want to make a difference, now is the time.



Inconsistent use of capital letters is the difference between Bobby helping Uncle Jack off a horse, AND Bobby helping uncle jack off a horse!
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