|Reviews for Why I Will Not Read Your Story|
| IceraMyst chapter 3 . 10/19/2010
I should have read more carefully before sending my previous blurb-you're pushing Jacqueline Carey, oh my.
This is something that is the opposite of your fun post here, how a writer feels about reviewers: if you can't tell yet, I always click on every single person that interacts with my story to the point where I get an email about it, just because I'm curious about who is interested in the story, and to find out if they've listed anything in their favorites that I might want to read.
Nine times out of ten, I have to cringe away (or giggle madly) because the person who has just favorited The Crowned Jewel, my overlong drama challenging sexual themes and the real nature of love, exclusively reads high-school band fiction. Or someone who alerts my somewhat-post-modern experimental not-another-vampire-story vampire story Week Without Blood lists their favorite book as Twilight or Eragon.
This is not at all to say that people ought to edit their pages for the sake of snobby authors, but just that I don't know how to take it. Am I doing something really wrong? Are they doing something unusually different? Especially if my story ends up being the only titled, correctly spelled summary entry in their entire favorites list.
Oh, right, the point-thanks for enjoying my story(s) and having wonderful taste! :) Now I don't feel as misguided!
| IceraMyst chapter 1 . 10/19/2010
*Grin* After reading this, I guess I should be thankful you added me to your alerts-right?
A well-thought out and articulated list of complaints.
| Jaslazul chapter 5 . 8/9/2010
I came into this expecting a reiteration of "I will not read your f0rking script," but was pleasantly surprised. Seems like a lot of your opinions coincide with mine, though there are a few differences. I have stuff like this posted somewhere, too, but it's more like me ranting about all the bad stuff I find and why authors shouldn't do this or that, and it's all outdated and I'm embarrassed to show it to anyone now, heh. Maybe I'll link this to people.
(One mistake that I saw: you used "principal" where "principle" was correct in the third chapter ["I tend to avoid them as a principal."])
There are lots of controversial story aspects that I could argue about to no end even with people who share my opinions, so I'll skip out on that and go to where I think I can help.
One thing that I noticed is that you didn't spend much time on the actual process of Developing the Plot. I see a lot of amateur writers who get a story idea, write it as they imagine it, and that's the end of it. They don't spend much time considering what they're doing and how it's going to affect the story-and they really shouldn't on the first draft, but it seems like a first draft is all anyone ever does anymore (because that's what published authors do, right?).
Stories are interesting because they have conflicts. Most authors don't spend nearly as much time developing the conflicts as they should. (Because as you said, most authors are lazy, and they really don't care about anything other than getting reviews.) In a story, we want to create tension and drama, and it's not going to create itself.
The antithesis of that, and one of things you really don't want, is a predictable story. You want the story to be realistic, yeah, but anything that is predictable is usually boring. It's weird, because, as one of my favorite writers says, we want the story to be unpredictable in an unpredictable way. A lot of writers try to write like readers (who try to predict a logical ending), but that's really not the best way to go about it. Pretty much, if you want to write something powerful, at some point you probably want to break the reader's sense of security.
For example, sometimes we want the characters to make decisions that the readers don't necessarily agree with, or that we, the author, don't agree with. In medieval fantasy, we want the protagonist's sidekick to go off with the evil wizard. In romance, once the characters are together we want them to drift apart and nearly split up. In horror (especially horror movies), we want the (usually blond and white) girl to walk alone towards the scream.
The same goes for dramatic irony. When you're using multiple narrators, use them to provide information for the reader that the protagonist doesn't have. Maybe somewhere in the book he makes a decision that he wouldn't have made had he known what the reader knows. Make him join the evil wizard because he doesn't know he's evil, maybe. (Though the readers do know.)
Another important thing that people often overlook is theme, and I know that most people are going to cringe when I say that, but if you don't have a strong, consistent theme, then you probably don't have a strong plot.
Most plots are pretty basic: your character wants something (he doesn't always know what, at first), and something is preventing him from getting it. Plots usually consist of an external conflict that the protagonist needs to overcome (the thing stopping him from getting what he wants), mirrored by an internal conflict (something in himself that he needs to change in order to overcome the external conflict). The status of the protagonist throughout the book is called the character arc. A theme usually comes from a strong character arc, which comes from good characters in a good plot. It all kinds ties together, in the end.
Tangent: hook and plot are good for getting people to read your book, but it's ultimately the characters that keep them reading. Bad characters equal bad book, and a strong hook really does nothing to benefit your story; actually, it can detract from it. The one thing a hook does is get people to pick up the book (or read your fic), and that's always a good thing. (Cue The Da Vinci Code, a book with bad writing but an amazing hook.)
lol. I spent way too much time on this, but you get the idea.
tl;dr: me likes.
(...also, maybe you should include things that editors hate, like "said" bookisms, and things that everyone hates, like info dumps.)
| MusicIsMyLove chapter 1 . 8/8/2010
First off, I want to commend you on warning your readers in the summary that your essay in parts was completely egocentric (ie. your own opinion). It let's the readers know what to expect, and gives them the right to choose whether to click on your link or not. If they don't want to read it, then don't click on it. With that being said, I will state that that is EXACTLY what I should have done here. I do not at all want to be rude, because others may have found this helpful. And maybe I'm just a little more irritated, because none of my stories (except for one) has been reviewed yet. Yet, on a different site, I have receieved many complements on my stories. Therefore, I know that they are interesting (OMG, that was egocentric as well).
I do agree with many of your points, but I think that my biggest problem with this dissertation is that you list every problem as a reason that deters YOU, when in all actuality, it is just common sense for the authors to know. So maybe you should state it as a reason that no one is reading the author's stories.
Lastly, and I didn't go into the entire thing so excuse me if I'm wrong, but did you also mention that this site has over 100,0 stories? Because I'm sure that that has a lot to do with why a great deal remain unread/reviewd.
| Nival Vixen chapter 5 . 8/4/2010
Maybe I should link to your story so people know how to flame me properly. Man, EP's reviews gave my ego an extreme beating. Can't even open that document without cringing, and my last chapter (before my short attempt at a chapter this year) was years ago.
(Look, Ma! More self pity)
I think the plot lines and character development will definitely help me with some original fiction I've been writing. I like the part about Red Herrings too; I never understood that saying before!
I seem to have trouble finishing anything that I start (original fiction-wise, mostly), so I'll be looking forward to the next part!
Thanks for all of these; they're great _
| Nival Vixen chapter 4 . 8/4/2010
I like the part about names. I find it easier to name characters in fanfiction than my own original works. That being said, the names for my original Glee characters, Jane "Mouse" Franklin, Candon "Candy" Franklin and Sarah Franklin, were all decided in minutes!
I'm almost dying to use the name Kali because I love the name so much, but the name just doesn't seem to fit any of the characters or their personalities!
I definitely agree with the review part. While it's nice getting a 'I love your story' review, I want to know why, and when half of the reviews only say that, or 'update!' (that one bugs me; I just updated, how fast do they think I write?) I wonder if anyone actually likes it for what I've written!
Ugh, smattering of self-pity in that bit. Bad ego, bad!
| Nival Vixen chapter 3 . 8/4/2010
I agree with the numbers and symbols - how hard is it to write 'and' or 'per cent'? A whole eight characters, shock! :P
I don't like net-speak in chapters/stories either, and I can usually only read a sentence or two (maybe a paragraph if I think the story has potential) before I have to stop reading to protect my brain from imploding at the sheer idiocy!
I do have a disagreement about the chapter length though. (Probably not very surprising!)
The Vampiress and Veelan, as you probably know, has chapters that are all very long. My shortest chapter is only just over 9,580 words, while my longest is over 62,700 words. I have been told a few times that the chapters are very long, but most of those comments have been followed by how they like the longer chapters, and why aren't my other stories so long?
I've had to split the chapters for other sites that don't allow chapters over a certain size, but it doesn't feel right to me.
Yay, I'm rambling again... That means it's time for the next part!
| Nival Vixen chapter 2 . 8/4/2010
Agree with everything, especially the parts about spelling and punctuation. A lack of both have put me off stories, and they're just nerve-grating!
I do admit to having the punctuation problem in earlier chapters of some of my chapters, but I know better now, and I'm in the process of re-writing those chapters to fix them!
| Nival Vixen chapter 1 . 8/4/2010
I haven't read this in a while, and noticed it's been updated lately, so I thought I'd review this time :)
Before I review, I should note that I went to my FF stories and changed a few things because of this first chapter alone. (I'm also one of those idiots who posted 25 chapters in one day and is wondering why I only got 8 reviews! *lol* I don't really mind, it was a prompt per chapter)
I like your writing style, and I'm looking forward to reading the next part.
And in response to your review count, I have a few stories that would never be read if that were the case with everyone! :P
I think I'm just rambling, so I'll stop now. Hopefully I'll have something more constructive on the next part ;)
PS I love the spelling and grammar piece. I'm the complete same! If someone can't spell in their summary, I would rather run out of the room than click it! *shudders*
| Lord Vivian Darling chapter 5 . 8/1/2010
Lovely & much-needed. Liked the tips on research for characters. How about tips on penning emotional scenes effectively - it's a common hurdle.
| Smaginn chapter 4 . 6/12/2010
Hi! I've read some of your stories on . I'm sorry but I don't really have an account here; the summary just intrigued me. I do have to say that most of what you said made a lot of sense, although "tinder hooks" should be "tenter hooks" and I don't really believe in looking at review counts. You've already addressed that issue, so I won't go into more detail.
Some issues with stories I would like to share:
1. When the author always puts author notes in the middle of the story. For example: "Bob went to Hot Topic (AN: That is my favourite store!) and bought..." which seriously disrupts the flow of the sentence and is hugely unnecessary. If there is something that needs clarifications, it would be much better to simply insert a symbol-if they show up- and explain at the bottom.
2. Consistency! I thought of this when you mentioned long names and nicknames, ie Alexander and Christopher become Alex and Chris. It is quite annoying for me to read both Chris and Christopher in the same paragraph or even sentence! I feel like they are two different people. On the other hand, an exception can be made if certain people call the character different things. Strict parents call him Christopher, mates call him Chris, etc. It is just terribly confusing and distracting for me as a reader to see different names in a third person narrative.
I think that is about what I can think of that you have missed so far. I really enjoyed this "guide", it was very helpful and informative!
| Wolf's Night chapter 4 . 5/1/2010
lol. Alright so I was looking through one of my old stories and clicking on people who had reviewed it when I came to your profile. I must say I enjoyed reading this rant of yours. It's very informative, I think, for both new and old authors to the site. Not to mention some of it made me laugh because I've seen (and been annoyed by) much of what you point out as things not to do. More people really need to read this. It would help many an author. :P
| lessthanone chapter 1 . 1/24/2010
thanks! this "story" actually helped me a lot. english is not my first language and you really helped me with this. and plus, it was very funny to read.
| natureismagic chapter 3 . 11/30/2009
"We’re on tinder hooks" Um, isn't it "tenterhooks?" Sorry for the nitpick...
I agree with just about everything you said, except for the review count. I know others have said the same. It's just, from a personal perspective, I have very few reviews for my stories, on all the sites I have accounts on, and it is a sad thing. How do you think stories get reviews in the first place? *is grumpy*
Anyway, grammar, spelling, and punctuation are huge deciding factors for me as well. And I have more exacting standards than most (even though I do begin sentences with 'and' and the like. I actually know the rules, unlike most (or so it seems) so I can break them as the mood strikes me. So there), so I end up reading fewer stories than I'd like. *is grumpy again*
So, yeah, this review actually had a point, and that was to tell you... I forget. So, you're a great writer, and I was laughing and nodding throughout. What, just because your English teacher won't see it, you can speak Caveman? Thank you!
Did that make any sense? Grammar I can do. Sense I cannot.
| Eshana the Searcher chapter 4 . 10/6/2009
This was so much fun to read. Informative yet funny and made me want to read to the end. What a great guide. Thanks for writing it. I hope more people will read it and see their flaws.