FictionPress: How to Get More Reviews and Feel Better about Yourself

If you're like me, you write essays specifically designed for FictionPress (like this one!). You just have something to say, or you want to publish a new writing tutorial, or you want to comment on gay marriage and get half the country mad at you. There are things that should be done differently than on the essays that you turn in for school! Here's a quick explanation of things that are the same, and things that are different.

The Same

1) You should still have a thesis. Particularly the "claim" part of the thesis. If you're just writing something about bedroom walls and bent forks, I would suggest you turn it into a poem and call it "Bizarre Poem #274." Some of the things people post in the essay section... I just don't get it. When you sit down to type, make sure you have a purpose in mind. An essay is informative, and/or it has an opinion.

2) Always have a universal statement! As I mentioned earlier, readers like universal statements because we're selfish, awful human beings :)

3) I know I'm not the first person to tell you this, but grammar does not go out the window when posting on the internet. Long story short, if you don't have time to fix glaring grammar/spelling errors, I'm going to have a really hard time respecting your opinions.

4) Be civil. Rarely in a school essay are you cussing at your teacher. If you do, you'll probably get an F and a referral to the principal. Well, if your essay is filled with insults (especially at the reader), cussing (especially at the reader), and broad/inaccurate generalizations (especially of the reader), your opinion is, once again, not valid in my mind.

5) Argue well. Not graded does not equal no effort. Your points should make sense, your sentences should be coherent, and I should be able to rebut your claim.

Different

1) This, in my brain, is the main one: try to keep your paragraphs short. On FictionPress, long paragraphs show up as big, intimidating hunks of very closely-spaced words that I don't feel like reading. If a paragraph is thick, I usually read the first sentence, last sentence, and some randomly selected sentences in the middle. If you want people to read the whole thing, try to keep it more website-friendly.

2) You can be more informal. Take this essay for example. This is not an essay I would hand in to any teacher of mine. But I'm not writing it for the teachers. I'm writing it for you guys, in the hopes that I may help you become better essay-writers. If informal isn't the tone you're going for, then you can obviously ignore this part.

3) Go for anecdotes. In a formal essay, including personal stories can be a little bit difficult, but anecdotal intros can be fun in an informal essay.

4) Summaries on essays are hard. I have another essay on here called I Suck at Summaries that gives some basic instructions on how to write a summary that I personally would find enticing enough to click on, but essay summaries are a little different. There's still no reason to include a, "I was sitting in the shower this morning when I started thinking about death and stardust, and so..." type of sentence in your summary. For an essay, I would throw the prompt up there in the summary box. Or, maybe, a question. Or, maybe, bits and pieces of your thesis. Never say, "read and review!" unless you're posting a rough draft of an assigned essay that you're looking for feedback on within the next couple of days. You can get away with more bad summary-writing in the essay section than anywhere else.

That's it for now! If anybody else thinks of something I've missed in either chapter, feel free to leave it in a review, and I might go back and add another chapter full of things that I missed - and I'm sure there are plenty. Thanks for reading, and good luck writing your next essay!