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You are here: Home > Forum > A Place of Safety > Literary Merit > When we like a story... When we dislike a story
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When we like a story... When we dislike a story  [message #76229] Mon, 18 November 2019 16:18 Go to next message
timmy   United Kingdom

Has no life at all
Location: UK, in Devon
Registered: February 2003
Messages: 13444



I have long held the view that authors develop to be better by being encouraged. I do this in my way by publishing their stories. I try to major on the good things, especially in public.

Sometimes I have published stories where the authorship has degraded over time. I handle this by email suggesting that they are not producing the work they once did. I have declined subsequent tales sometimes based on a private critique. Often that has been resubmitted later in a far better state.

I don't publish stories I dislike.

When I see them on other sites I don't write to the author. If it's shit I stop reading. Sometimes that's in the first sentence, other times after chapter 18 or more!

When I see them as submissions that give me a challenge. I try to explain what it would take in editing to be successful.

We have a long tradition here of being magnanimous when talking of a story. In the best tradition of being magnanimous, one needs to learn to say nothing at all if one has nothing good to say.

[Updated on: Mon, 18 November 2019 16:24]




Author of Queer Me! Halfway Between Flying and Crying - the true story of life for a gay boy in the Swinging Sixties in a British all male Public School
Re: When we like a story... When we dislike a story  [message #76245 is a reply to message #76229] Sat, 23 November 2019 14:35 Go to previous messageGo to next message
American_Alex   United States

Toe is in the water
Location: New York, upstate
Registered: October 2017
Messages: 98



I think that the problem often is that otherwise competent authors start off with a good story idea, but have no idea of how to move the story along to a conclusion. Some may not even have an idea just WHAT the conclusion is, so they continue to write page after page filled with minutae that neither moves the story along or is either interesting to read. Also, many amateur authors don't understand the importance of editing, and that a good story usually requires more time spent on editing than actual writing. Of course, there are plenty of just awful authors out there, like that guy on Nifty who always gets into diaper fetishism by the 3rd paragraph, or those who insist on publishing with comic sans font.



"Able was I ere I saw Elba"
Re: When we like a story... When we dislike a story  [message #76247 is a reply to message #76245] Sun, 24 November 2019 11:28 Go to previous messageGo to next message
The Composer is currently offline  The Composer   United Kingdom

Toe is in the water

Registered: September 2018
Messages: 81



Doubleplus good.

The most difficult part of any story is writing the ending.
Re: When we like a story... When we dislike a story  [message #76248 is a reply to message #76245] Sun, 24 November 2019 13:22 Go to previous messageGo to next message
timmy   United Kingdom

Has no life at all
Location: UK, in Devon
Registered: February 2003
Messages: 13444



"American_Alex wrote on Sat, 23 November 2019 14:35"
I think that the problem often is that otherwise competent authors start off with a good story idea, but have no idea of how to move the story along to a conclusion. Some may not even have an idea just WHAT the conclusion is, so they continue to write page after page filled with minutae that neither moves the story along or is either interesting to read. Also, many amateur authors don't understand the importance of editing, and that a good story usually requires more time spent on editing than actual writing. Of course, there are plenty of just awful authors out there, like that guy on Nifty who always gets into diaper fetishism by the 3rd paragraph, or those who insist on publishing with comic sans font.

--
None of those are problems. Those are simply tales we do not wish to read, except, of course, from those who enjoy diaper fetish, of whch there must be a good number, and those who like Comic Sans MS, who probably have a preference for the weird. That last also shows poor webmaster decisions.

There are many tales I dislike, but I don't choose to explain this to the authors in private let alone in public. I'm content that they continue ignorant of my opinion of their work. I just stop reading without giving it further thought.



Author of Queer Me! Halfway Between Flying and Crying - the true story of life for a gay boy in the Swinging Sixties in a British all male Public School
Re: When we like a story... When we dislike a story  [message #76251 is a reply to message #76248] Sun, 24 November 2019 17:21 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Talo Segura is currently offline  Talo Segura   France

Toe is in the water
Location: Europe
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Messages: 84



"timmy wrote on Sun, 24 November "
There are many tales I dislike, but I don't choose to explain this to the authors in private let alone in public. I'm content that they continue ignorant of my opinion of their work. I just stop reading without giving it further thought.

--
This does not make any sense to me. As a new author I want to hear what readers think, the good, the bad, and the ugly. I want people to tell me you ramble on and on about nothing in chapter x, you need to look at this, that, or the other. I liked this, but there was something I just didn't understand. It was too unbelievable or I hated the ending.

Of course, I prefer that readers like and enjoy the book, but the worst thing is hearing nothing. My first short book was published on a site like this one, weekly chapters, over eleven weeks. No response, no emails, no comments on the forum. So what do I make of that, it was a crap story, badly written? It's a killer to get no feedback. 

I understand people don't like to offend, but what the hell, you publish a book you got to expect some bad reviews are possible, you hope for the good reviews, but how do you progress as an author if you never get, hopefully, balanced feedback. I myself criticise books, but try to end those criticisms on a positive note. You aren't doing anyone a service by only replying if you like the story. Least ways for me, because after zero feedback I very nearly chucked the whole thing in.

Re: When we like a story... When we dislike a story  [message #76252 is a reply to message #76251] Sun, 24 November 2019 22:28 Go to previous messageGo to next message
timmy   United Kingdom

Has no life at all
Location: UK, in Devon
Registered: February 2003
Messages: 13444



The writers I like I encourage. Those who send me their work get an acceptance or a polite push back. If it's borderline I may tell someone so even if I don't want their work. But I am speaking as a publisher. I tend to give feedback only to those who submit work to me.

What I find offensive is when someone throws rocks at an author in a public forum

If you choose to send me your work, if it is in our niche, I will look at it with pleasure with a view to publication. You will get a considered response. If I publish it that is because I think it has virtue. If I push back I will tell you why I have pushed back. But I will never tell you what I think in a way that I feel may demoralise you. I will reply well if it is not in our niche, too.

In the same way I expect people to give decent feedback in public. There  are ways of saying "It has gone on too long" that do not offend. "I felt J K Rowling might have spent less time on the camping trip" is far better than saying that "Harry Potter and the extraordinarily long Camping Trip bored me senseless and I could hardly wait for the end.

Politeness, manners, those are important. Scoring imaginary points against authors is impolite



Author of Queer Me! Halfway Between Flying and Crying - the true story of life for a gay boy in the Swinging Sixties in a British all male Public School
Re: When we like a story... When we dislike a story  [message #76255 is a reply to message #76252] Mon, 25 November 2019 03:08 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Mark   United States

Likes it here
Location: Earth
Registered: April 2013
Messages: 222



I'm of mixed feelings about this, myself.  There are stories out there I've disliked, some very much so.  This does not mean that the stories are necessarily bad, just that they aren't my proverbial cup of tea.  I want to be able to give more feedback to the author than simply saying, "Oh, your story just wasn't my cup of tea."  What are specific things that just don't sit sell with me?  To grab one of Timmy's examples, saying something along the lines of "Personally, I felt the camping trip section just went on longer than it needed to" is something that I might say.  Hoever, I don't often comment, particularly when I don't care for the story, because as mentioned earlier, I like to be able to give specific feedback, and I'll admit that I can't always figure out how to do that diplomatically and constructively.
Re: When we like a story... When we dislike a story  [message #76256 is a reply to message #76255] Mon, 25 November 2019 03:31 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Teddy is currently offline  Teddy   United States

Likes it here
Location: USA
Registered: October 2006
Messages: 342



I think I have only ever publicly criticized (here) one serial novel published elsewhere than here. The author was a true wordsmith to be sure, but applied his art in such a way as to ruin a story that had great potential, and create one of the most horrid stories in this genre I've ever read. Some authors thrive on stories that don't have good endings, and I'm sure there are many readers who thrive on that kind of story, but that's not me. Generally I won't criticize work but in this case it was so bad I felt it appropriate to complain.

Generally, I try to encourage authors when I've read their work and most stories, and therefore most authors, have a good deal of positive aspects to their credit. I read nearly everything published here and several other sites and enjoy 95% of the work. Some more, some less, but all, some, and frequently I send private feedback or comment here, or both. 

Like Talo Segura, I've had one, and only one of my stories where I received absolutely no feedback whatsoever. What good does that do me as an author? Not a lot. It's not so much that I'm wanting an atta boy, though those are always nice. No, I'd like some honest feedback, i.e., "this was really great but I had a but I think there could have been a bit more clarity there," that sort of thing. 



“There's no grays, only white that's got grubby. I'm surprised you don't know that. And sin, young man, is when you treat people as things. Including yourself. That's what sin is.” - Terry Pratchett
Re: When we like a story... When we dislike a story  [message #76257 is a reply to message #76256] Mon, 25 November 2019 04:39 Go to previous messageGo to next message
pandareader is currently offline  pandareader   Brazil

Toe is in the water

Registered: October 2019
Messages: 48



I think this issue of lack of feedback that Teddy and Talo Segura mentioned probably happens really frequently... Speaking as someone that has been reading stories here for almost twenty years but was reluctant to write to any author before this year, I guess a lot of readers are "shy" when it comes to reaching out to writers... 
I recently decided to write to some of my favorite online authors to thank them and talk a little bit about my favorite stories and the replies I got made me think about what we are discussing in this topic. I told one writer that if I thought about why I had never wrote to any author before, I guess it's because I treated it like any form of entertainment that I enjoyed. If I didn't like a story I simply stopped reading it, if I liked one I'd probably looked for more works from the same author and there were special ones that I really treasured, but I had never given any sort of feedback to the authors.
Likewise, I have never written to any "physical book" authors nor to any directors or actors from movies or shows that I liked, even though there are some that were really important in my life.
I guess I also felt like I should have something more meaningful to say besides "I like this story!" 
From the replies I got from the authors though, I see now that the relationship with online authors is somewhat different and any sort of feedback is generally appreciated. It must be really frustrating for something you worked on be received with apparent silence... It makes me wish that I had voiced my opinions and appreciation back in the early 2000s when Jamie/Grasshopper and The Scholar were still active here and told them that they wrote stories that really touched me and became favorites of mine.
So this is kind of my apology for being part of the "silent majority". I'll probably still be silent and not say anything if I don't like a story, but I'll try to say something besides "I like this" to the ones I enjoy.

[Updated on: Mon, 25 November 2019 04:40]

Re: When we like a story... When we dislike a story  [message #76258 is a reply to message #76252] Mon, 25 November 2019 08:04 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Talo Segura is currently offline  Talo Segura   France

Toe is in the water
Location: Europe
Registered: July 2019
Messages: 84



"timmy wrote on Sun, 24 November 2019 23:28"
There  are ways of saying "It has gone on too long" that do not offend. "I felt J K Rowling might have spent less time on the camping trip" is far better than saying that "Harry Potter and the extraordinarily long Camping Trip bored me senseless and I could hardly wait for the end.

Politeness, manners, those are important. Scoring imaginary points against authors is impolite

--
You make a very good point, but you also make feedback via comments difficult. There is the question of language and culture on a multi-national site. I'm not convinced that saying Harry Potter's long Camping Trip bored me senseless is being impolite. If you were talking with friends it's the kind of remark that might come up, so why not on an open forum? I don't mean to criticise you, or anyone else, for their cultural background, but there exists a certain English hypocrisy that allows people to say, "that wasn't quite my cup of tea old chap," when what they really mean is, "that was crap."

I think you can always find something positive to encourage an author and so end your comments on a good point. But there are a couple of stories I stopped reading after getting some way through, because they did become boring. I admit, I said nothing, I didn't know how to say, I like the basic story, but it drones on with the same themes and no sense of plot. I didn't know how to be positive, because it seemed that was the style, if you like.

Teddy said he has enjoyed nearly all the stories he has read here and elsewhere. I am not of the same opinion, leaving aside types of story, happy or sad endings, for me none of that matters if it's written well. But, how many of these amateur story tellers (including myself) tell a good tale and write it well? Yes, some books stand out, but the vast majority are mediocre, which doesn't mean they are bad or not good. They can be enjoyable to read, simply not great. There are very few stories I have come away feeling, wow!

I guess, in summary, what I'm saying is it's very hard to give, and hence receive, feedback. I think that is a big handicap when coupled with not knowing how many people have read your book. There are forum threads about new stories, and recommendations, which is encouraging for the writers, although there is never any in-depth discussion of an author or their book. Maybe being able to ask an author questions, discuss their story, could be a good feature. The author having first consented to take part and being open to good and bad points?

Re: When we like a story... When we dislike a story  [message #76259 is a reply to message #76258] Mon, 25 November 2019 08:55 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Talo Segura is currently offline  Talo Segura   France

Toe is in the water
Location: Europe
Registered: July 2019
Messages: 84



Thinking about collecting comments. 

How about doing something similar to the list of questions on the competitions? At the end, or halfway and the end, for longer stories, you add the link button, COMPLETE THE POLL, instead of discuss on the forum. You, or we, formulate a series of questions that readers can tick. Authors would get their feedback, and on competitions this gets a good response from members.

The list would look like:
I liked the characterisation
Liked the plot, it was well done
Etc.

There could be a comment box after some or all of the questions, invite readers to be more specific.
I liked the characterisation 
- can you say what you liked?
Not just the two main characters, but several supporting roles where very well portraited and I felt they each had their own voice, which is not so easy to do.

Perhaps this would make it easier for people to comment?

Re: When we like a story... When we dislike a story  [message #76260 is a reply to message #76258] Mon, 25 November 2019 09:02 Go to previous messageGo to next message
timmy   United Kingdom

Has no life at all
Location: UK, in Devon
Registered: February 2003
Messages: 13444



Asking authors questions is absolutely fine. Not all come here, of course. They don't need to consent. Either they answer or do not.

All I want is for people to think about their commentary, and their questions, and to be polite and have good manners

"Your camping trip story sucked bigtime!" - that is neither polite nor useful, and is frankly not necessary. It will not be absorbed by the author and is just the satisfaction of throwing a rock

"When you wrote about the camping trip I was longing to get back to the real story. Do you think shortening it would be useful?" - that is polite, helpful and makes it personal to the person asking

We can be polite and have good manners when asking difficult questions or making difficult comments. It's nothing to do with the supposed stereotype of the English, which is also something the Scots, Northern Irish and Welsh never exhibited. The English are not represented by Kenneth Moore's many portrayals in old movies. Perhaps some of us were once. That is not true in the circles I have moved in.

Now, you may think I am exhibiting "Typical Englishness" in this thread, but I am instead exhibiting good manners and asking people to think hard. I am not about to call out individual examples in the past of behaviours that I consider to be less than the standard I expect. Should I do so in the future? Should I do so brutally? And, if I do, will that make people feel welcome here?

[Updated on: Mon, 25 November 2019 09:03]




Author of Queer Me! Halfway Between Flying and Crying - the true story of life for a gay boy in the Swinging Sixties in a British all male Public School
Re: When we like a story... When we dislike a story  [message #76261 is a reply to message #76259] Mon, 25 November 2019 09:05 Go to previous messageGo to next message
timmy   United Kingdom

Has no life at all
Location: UK, in Devon
Registered: February 2003
Messages: 13444



"Talo Segura wrote on Mon, 25 November 2019 08:55"
Thinking about collecting comments. 

How about doing something similar to the list of questions on the competitions? At the end, or halfway and the end, for longer stories, you add the link button, COMPLETE THE POLL, instead of discuss on the forum. You, or we, formulate a series of questions that readers can tick. Authors would get their feedback, and on competitions this gets a good response from members.

The list would look like:
I liked the characterisation
Liked the plot, it was well done
Etc.

There could be a comment box after some or all of the questions, invite readers to be more specific.
I liked the characterisation 
- can you say what you liked?
Not just the two main characters, but several supporting roles where very well portraited and I felt they each had their own voice, which is not so easy to do.

Perhaps this would make it easier for people to comment?




--
I fear that is far too much work for me to achieve, though an excellent idea. It would require a 100% redesign of the story part of the site, and it can't happen. The back record conversion would be immense, too

Remember, though this looks like a service, it's a hobby

[Updated on: Mon, 25 November 2019 14:12]




Author of Queer Me! Halfway Between Flying and Crying - the true story of life for a gay boy in the Swinging Sixties in a British all male Public School
Re: When we like a story... When we dislike a story  [message #76263 is a reply to message #76257] Mon, 25 November 2019 11:23 Go to previous messageGo to next message
The Composer is currently offline  The Composer   United Kingdom

Toe is in the water

Registered: September 2018
Messages: 81



Any form of feedback is useful and relevant.
Re: When we like a story... When we dislike a story  [message #76264 is a reply to message #76263] Mon, 25 November 2019 13:04 Go to previous messageGo to next message
timmy   United Kingdom

Has no life at all
Location: UK, in Devon
Registered: February 2003
Messages: 13444



"The Composer wrote on Mon, 25 November 2019 11:23"
Any form of feedback is useful and relevant.

--
In a way, yes. I am also looking at behaviours on the forum. One can give difficult feedback well or can be brutal and lack manners.

So I could say to you (read 'any author', coz it isn't aimed at you), if valid "I found your use of personal names in dialogue all the time makes the story judder. Have you looked at the way folk speak to each other and how infrequently names are used?" or I could do it in a different way and trash tale for everyone. "This is an unreadable mess. The idiot author uses names in every dialogue sentence. Forget it!"

[Updated on: Mon, 25 November 2019 14:13]




Author of Queer Me! Halfway Between Flying and Crying - the true story of life for a gay boy in the Swinging Sixties in a British all male Public School
icon12.gif Re: When we like a story... When we dislike a story  [message #76268 is a reply to message #76229] Mon, 25 November 2019 22:30 Go to previous messageGo to next message
cm is currently offline  cm   United Kingdom

Toe is in the water
Location: Somerset
Registered: May 2017
Messages: 47



As an author - and one who is pathetic enough to crave feedback -  constructive criticism is, for me,  as welcome (well almost) as praise. 

And let's face it, the minute or so that it takes to post a response either in the forum or by sending an email direct to the author is in stark contrast to the hours that writers spend putting their stories together.

I"m not for one moment suggesting that we writers should stop posting if readers can"t be bothered to give feedback (I write because I love to do so not because I want a pat on the back - or even a cowpat on the back if the standard of what I write fails to meet reader's' expectations), but I wonder what the effect would be if we did so.

I cannot express my thanks sufficiently to those readers who drop me a line saying they've enjoyed one of my stories; I am equally grateful to those who offer - usually entirely justified - criticism.

The fact that readers consistently - by and large - do not do so leads me to conclude that it is the nature of the beast. But that doesn't mean that I don't wish it were different.
Re: When we like a story... When we dislike a story  [message #76269 is a reply to message #76268] Mon, 25 November 2019 23:47 Go to previous messageGo to next message
timmy   United Kingdom

Has no life at all
Location: UK, in Devon
Registered: February 2003
Messages: 13444



Don't get me wrong, c m, I'm not discouraging helpful advice. I like getting all types of feedback too. What I'm arguing against is offerimg destructive messages to authors. Savaging a story might feel good to the perosn doing it, but it feels as if the author's children are being murdered to the author.



Author of Queer Me! Halfway Between Flying and Crying - the true story of life for a gay boy in the Swinging Sixties in a British all male Public School
Re: When we like a story... When we dislike a story  [message #76274 is a reply to message #76258] Tue, 26 November 2019 04:48 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Teddy is currently offline  Teddy   United States

Likes it here
Location: USA
Registered: October 2006
Messages: 342



Talo Segura said,

"They can be enjoyable to read, simply not great. There are very few stories I have come away feeling, wow!"

That is true. There is a relatively small percentage that evoke that response from me. That doesn'tn mean the others are not enjoyable for me. I read them because I can always find something redemptive in them, not to mention I truly enjoy reading in this genre and many others.

I generally agree with Timmy that one can find positive ways of supplying critical feedback to authors. 



“There's no grays, only white that's got grubby. I'm surprised you don't know that. And sin, young man, is when you treat people as things. Including yourself. That's what sin is.” - Terry Pratchett
Re: When we like a story... When we dislike a story  [message #76276 is a reply to message #76269] Tue, 26 November 2019 15:50 Go to previous messageGo to next message
cm is currently offline  cm   United Kingdom

Toe is in the water
Location: Somerset
Registered: May 2017
Messages: 47



I agree; feedback should be given with kindness. But readers shouldn't feel that they can only give feedback if it's to say warm things rather than offer constructive observations.
Re: When we like a story... When we dislike a story  [message #76277 is a reply to message #76276] Tue, 26 November 2019 17:42 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Teddy is currently offline  Teddy   United States

Likes it here
Location: USA
Registered: October 2006
Messages: 342



"cm wrote on Tue, 26 November 2019 07:50"
I agree; feedback should be given with kindness. But readers shouldn't feel that they can only give feedback if it's to say warm things rather than offer constructive observations.

--
I can't speak for other autors but for myself this holds true. I submitted a story to another site quite some time back. The site owner's response was brutal but constructive. In essense he said he felt the story had promise but I needed to do certain things before it would be considered worthy of posting to his site. He was right, of course. I appreciated his input. It gave me a huge boost in strengthening my tale from a mediocre one to one that garnered many messages of appreciation once it had been reworked, resubmitted, and posted to his site. 



“There's no grays, only white that's got grubby. I'm surprised you don't know that. And sin, young man, is when you treat people as things. Including yourself. That's what sin is.” - Terry Pratchett
Re: When we like a story... When we dislike a story  [message #76278 is a reply to message #76277] Tue, 26 November 2019 17:56 Go to previous messageGo to next message
timmy   United Kingdom

Has no life at all
Location: UK, in Devon
Registered: February 2003
Messages: 13444



"Teddy wrote on Tue, 26 November 2019 17:42"

"cm wrote on Tue, 26 November 2019 07:50"
I agree; feedback should be given with kindness. But readers shouldn't feel that they can only give feedback if it's to say warm things rather than offer constructive observations.

--
I can't speak for other autors but for myself this holds true. I submitted a story to another site quite some time back. The site owner's response was brutal but constructive. In essense he said he felt the story had promise but I needed to do certain things before it would be considered worthy of posting to his site. He was right, of course. I appreciated his input. It gave me a huge boost in strengthening my tale from a mediocre one to one that garnered many messages of appreciation once it had been reworked, resubmitted, and posted to his site. 

--
That happens here, too. I also push back on tales not in our niche

I find it very hard to find the right words, sometimes, to express hope for a tale if edited, and to help the author believe in themselves still



Author of Queer Me! Halfway Between Flying and Crying - the true story of life for a gay boy in the Swinging Sixties in a British all male Public School
Re: When we like a story... When we dislike a story  [message #76389 is a reply to message #76229] Mon, 09 December 2019 19:30 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Camy is currently offline  Camy   United Kingdom

Toe is in the water
Location: UK
Registered: February 2008
Messages: 82



Nobody likes silence if they've poured their heart and soul into a story. That said, you're never going to get real feedback from friends and family. You need to join a writer's group, either in the real world or online.
https://www.critiquecircle.com is good, or https://www.scribophile.com. There are also writers groups on Twitter and Facebook.



"There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: Music and Cats." - Albert Schweitzer

It's like Mad Max out here: guys doing guys, girls doing girls, girls turning into guys and doing girls that used to do girls and guys!
- from Alex Truelove
Re: When we like a story... When we dislike a story  [message #76390 is a reply to message #76389] Mon, 09 December 2019 20:49 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Teddy is currently offline  Teddy   United States

Likes it here
Location: USA
Registered: October 2006
Messages: 342



"Camy wrote on Mon, 09 December 2019 11:30"
you're never going to get real feedback from friends and family. You need to join a writer's group, either in the real world or online.



--
This makes me laugh. A couple of years back I decided to participate in that November write-a-book deal that takes place both online and in real life group settings around the USA and the world, too, I suppose. I decided not to hold back and made my effort gay-themed. OMG!!! They either loved me or hated me, depending on their spiritual paradigm. It was too funny not to continue and watch the appoplexy!!! We actually got a little side group going to take bets on which one would leave the local online group first. The in person events were much more civil. I think that has to do with the annonymity the net provides assholes to take cover in. 😂🤣😂🤣



“There's no grays, only white that's got grubby. I'm surprised you don't know that. And sin, young man, is when you treat people as things. Including yourself. That's what sin is.” - Terry Pratchett
Re: When we like a story... When we dislike a story  [message #76391 is a reply to message #76389] Mon, 09 December 2019 22:20 Go to previous messageGo to next message
timmy   United Kingdom

Has no life at all
Location: UK, in Devon
Registered: February 2003
Messages: 13444



"Camy wrote on Mon, 09 December 2019 19:30"
Nobody likes silence if they've poured their heart and soul into a story. That said, you're never going to get real feedback from friends and family. You need to join a writer's group, either in the real world or online.
https://www.critiquecircle.com is good, or https://www.scribophile.com. There are also writers groups on Twitter and Facebook.

--
Some years ago I joined Litopia and learned a great deal, especially how to receive a full literary critique. I also edited Wikipedia for many years, a totally different style pf writing dull but worthy material, and so different form my employment in the Bullshit and Hype department of IT corporations (marketing), where I could churn out advertorial and press releases at the drop of a hat.



Author of Queer Me! Halfway Between Flying and Crying - the true story of life for a gay boy in the Swinging Sixties in a British all male Public School
Re: When we like a story... When we dislike a story  [message #76467 is a reply to message #76268] Thu, 02 January 2020 06:08 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Paul Schroder is currently offline  Paul Schroder   United States

Getting started
Location: Idaho, U.S.A.
Registered: April 2012
Messages: 17



Thank you cm, for speaking my mind. (You should do your best to stay out of my mind though as it generally is not a good place to be.)  You said, and I quote:

"let's face it, the minute or so that it takes to post a response either in the forum or by sending an email direct to the author is in stark contrast to the hours that writers spend putting their stories together."

The end of each of my chapters normaly has me whining for an email from my readers. I want to know one thing, mainly, are people still reading the story or should I consider bringing it to an end?  While I do have fun writing a story for it's own sake, if I don't think it's being well received, (and not having a great amount of self esteem), that can determine whether I continue with the story or just say screw it and spend my time watching Netflicks. 

This is probably more information than I wanted to share but there it is.  I think all internet authors can see themselves in there somewhere.  After all, we aren't getting any money for our efforts. And no one does anything without some form of incentive.  
Re: When we like a story... When we dislike a story  [message #76469 is a reply to message #76467] Thu, 02 January 2020 15:51 Go to previous messageGo to next message
The Composer is currently offline  The Composer   United Kingdom

Toe is in the water

Registered: September 2018
Messages: 81



I am one of those authors who could not start to write a story without having mapped out the follow-on and end of said story. This might be somewhat anally retentive.

On the other hand, I have read too many promising stories which petered out simply because the author had started off with what he thought was a good idea but couldn't follow it through.

Most of my stories been one-offs, so that hasn't been an issue. Others have been chaptered. With those, I made sure that story had been completed to my satisfaction before sending it out into the great wide world, and in particular to IOMFATS, to whom we have to be grateful for hosting a site which steers a narrow boundary between the romance and the pornographic.
Re: When we like a story... When we dislike a story  [message #76471 is a reply to message #76469] Fri, 03 January 2020 16:59 Go to previous messageGo to next message
timmy   United Kingdom

Has no life at all
Location: UK, in Devon
Registered: February 2003
Messages: 13444



"The Composer wrote on Thu, 02 January 2020 15:51"
I am one of those authors who could not start to write a story without having mapped out the follow-on and end of said story. This might be somewhat anally retentive.

On the other hand, I have read too many promising stories which petered out simply because the author had started off with what he thought was a good idea but couldn't follow it through.

Most of my stories been one-offs, so that hasn't been an issue. Others have been chaptered. With those, I made sure that story had been completed to my satisfaction before sending it out into the great wide world, and in particular to IOMFATS, to whom we have to be grateful for hosting a site which steers a narrow boundary between the romance and the pornographic.

--

One of the problems an author like me, a 'pantser', can have is knowing how to bring a tale to a conclusion. The problem is usually how to close, except with Chris and Nigel where I knew the close, but could not write my way to it. The thrid book was a failed attempt at being a 'plotter'.

As a publisher, what do I tell an author when I think their tale has gone on longer than the material allows?



Author of Queer Me! Halfway Between Flying and Crying - the true story of life for a gay boy in the Swinging Sixties in a British all male Public School
Re: When we like a story... When we dislike a story  [message #76473 is a reply to message #76471] Sat, 04 January 2020 13:28 Go to previous messageGo to next message
The Composer is currently offline  The Composer   United Kingdom

Toe is in the water

Registered: September 2018
Messages: 81



'As a publisher, what do I tell an author when I think their tale has gone on longer than the material allows?'

You say: sorry mate, you need an editor.
And as a sometimes prolix author, you're welcome to fire that at me.
Re: When we like a story... When we dislike a story  [message #76474 is a reply to message #76473] Sat, 04 January 2020 13:37 Go to previous messageGo to next message
timmy   United Kingdom

Has no life at all
Location: UK, in Devon
Registered: February 2003
Messages: 13444



Stories of this nature go back to the days when I didn't wait for a tale to be finished before I started. Knowing I want to say this to people doesn't make it easy to raise the topic at this juncture



Author of Queer Me! Halfway Between Flying and Crying - the true story of life for a gay boy in the Swinging Sixties in a British all male Public School
Re: When we like a story... When we dislike a story  [message #76476 is a reply to message #76474] Wed, 08 January 2020 06:31 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Teddy is currently offline  Teddy   United States

Likes it here
Location: USA
Registered: October 2006
Messages: 342



Tim, I can attest to the fact that when you feel you need to communicate constructive criticism, you do it well. I'm sure that probably doesn't make the task any more comfortable to do, and that's understandable. In the end it really is down to the person submitting the story to either take the criticism on board and make it better or get hurt or offended or angry, in which case they are only hurting themselves and robbing the readers of a potentially great story. 



“There's no grays, only white that's got grubby. I'm surprised you don't know that. And sin, young man, is when you treat people as things. Including yourself. That's what sin is.” - Terry Pratchett
Re: When we like a story... When we dislike a story  [message #76480 is a reply to message #76469] Thu, 09 January 2020 03:42 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Teddy is currently offline  Teddy   United States

Likes it here
Location: USA
Registered: October 2006
Messages: 342



"The Composer wrote on Thu, 02 January 2020 07:51"
I am one of those authors who could not start to write a story without having mapped out the follow-on and end of said story.

--
I've got a couple of those in which I've outlined the path of the story from beginning to end and am still stalled out. Neither of them are coming together even though it's a solid plot. The little details seem to be contrived and forced in the mid chapters. I always figure if this is the case the readers are going to pick up on it and the story will become contrived and forced for them as well.



“There's no grays, only white that's got grubby. I'm surprised you don't know that. And sin, young man, is when you treat people as things. Including yourself. That's what sin is.” - Terry Pratchett
Re: When we like a story... When we dislike a story  [message #76481 is a reply to message #76480] Thu, 09 January 2020 07:38 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Talo Segura is currently offline  Talo Segura   France

Toe is in the water
Location: Europe
Registered: July 2019
Messages: 84



"Teddy wrote on Thu, 09 January 2020 04:42"

"The Composer wrote on Thu, 02 January 2020 07:51"
I am one of those authors who could not start to write a story without having mapped out the follow-on and end of said story.

--
I've got a couple of those in which I've outlined the path of the story from beginning to end and am still stalled out. Neither of them are coming together even though it's a solid plot. The little details seem to be contrived and forced in the mid chapters. I always figure if this is the case the readers are going to pick up on it and the story will become contrived and forced for them as well.

--
You are not alone, I have the same problem over those little details seeming contrived to fit the plot. But, you said it's a solid plot, which counts for a lot. As a reader I can overlook certain, possibly slightly improbable things, so long as they aren't, impossible. It's fiction, and I very much appreciate a good plot. Plus, it's only an outline. When you write it, things change. I believe the inspiration is in the writing, like you are living in the story as you write it. Those little details will make all the difference, the knots that hold the strings of the story together. Some might get changed or dropped. Every writer worries over these things, is it too contrived. Run it past someone for an opinion, but I believe an outline immensely helps the story hang together. Even if you are a panster like Tim, you still have an outline of where things are going, even if it's only a chapter or two in front and not written down but in your head. However, those little details are gold dust.

Re: When we like a story... When we dislike a story  [message #76483 is a reply to message #76481] Wed, 15 January 2020 04:09 Go to previous message
Teddy is currently offline  Teddy   United States

Likes it here
Location: USA
Registered: October 2006
Messages: 342



"Talo Segura wrote on Wed, 08 January 2020 23:38"
--
You are not alone, I have the same problem over those little details seeming contrived to fit the plot. But, you said it's a solid plot, which counts for a lot. As a reader I can overlook certain, possibly slightly improbable things, so long as they aren't, impossible. It's fiction, and I very much appreciate a good plot. Plus, it's only an outline. When you write it, things change. I believe the inspiration is in the writing, like you are living in the story as you write it. Those little details will make all the difference, the knots that hold the strings of the story together. Some might get changed or dropped. Every writer worries over these things, is it too contrived. Run it past someone for an opinion, but I believe an outline immensely helps the story hang together. Even if you are a panster like Tim, you still have an outline of where things are going, even if it's only a chapter or two in front and not written down but in your head. However, those little details are gold dust.

--
Thanks for those words of encouragement. One of these days I'll dig these tales out again and give them another go. Smile



“There's no grays, only white that's got grubby. I'm surprised you don't know that. And sin, young man, is when you treat people as things. Including yourself. That's what sin is.” - Terry Pratchett
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