The it's a loooong story thread version 2.0 - announcement 7/30 - pg6 - blue

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction and Writing Resource' started by spiritgurl, Jun 19, 2005.

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  1. Juliet316 Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Apr 27, 2005
    star 8
    Depends if it's a long story and well written, then I will probably stick with it. Maybe not read it in one sitting, but I will read it.

    If it has a prequel but doesn't have link to it anywhere, then that turns me off, because I would rather read the prequel first so I have a better handle of the story.

    And it really annoys me when an author says that you 'don't have to read the first story first in order to read this.' Hello! Wouldn't it enhance my understanding and possible enjoyment of the current story to read what has gone on before?

    That being said, I have probably been guilty of this once or twice but it really does annoy me.
  2. ophelia Cards Against Humanity Host. Ex-Mod

    Game Host
    Member Since:
    Jun 25, 2002
    star 6
    What do readers want? What attracts them to a story? What turns them off?

    Well, I can't speak for anyone else, but I can say that for me, I either hear about a story through a recommendation, or I go through a mental list that looks roughly like this:
      1) Does the story have a good title?

      There are good stories with bad titles, but there are few bad stories with good titles. In general, if an author can string together 2-5 words to create an intriguing title, s/he can probably knock together a halfway decent story, too.

      2) Was it written by someone whose work I've enjoyed in the past?

      I know that asking this question about a story indicates that I'm an evil, satanic, elitist midbie who doesn't give new users a chance and should therefore be bound to a '72 Pinto and shoved off a bridge. However, I have accepted this.

      P.S. Satan sends his love.

      3) Does it feature characters I'm interested in?

      Like a lot of readers, I have a sliding scale of interestedness in a story based on who it's about. I would read a story about Obi-Wan reheating soup. However, if we're talking about, say, Ben Quadrinaros, he had better be doing something so incredibly interesting that if I could think of what it was, I'd write a profic novel about it and make a zillion dollars.

      --At this point you may notice that the top three things I look for when skimming a board for stories have nothing at all to do with the quality of the story's writing. I haven't even opened the thing yet. If you aren't getting the kind of response you want, the "problem" may lie in one of the above areas. The only one of these you can really change on your own is the title thing. Name recognition generally comes with time, and I wouldn't recommend writing about the "hottest" characters just because that's what people read. If you don't love those characters, that'll come through in the fic, and it'll come across as lackluster. I'd advise people who write in less-popular genres (*cough*JQ epics*cough) to write what they love and say the heck with everybody else. Extra credit if you shave your head, wear a monacle, and shake your fist at the computer screen shouting, "They have ignored my genius for the last time!!!"

      "Fools! I'll destroy them all!!!111!!!" is good too.

      4) Is the story summary an interesting one?

      Again, the level of "interesting" required varies depending on who we're talking about, but I'll pick a story that seems a good set-up for suspense, humor, or angst (not necessarily in that order) over a story that's summarized in an excessively vague or dull-sounding way. (I.e., "Ben Quadrinaros has the busiest day of his whole week.")

      5) Is the opening well-written?

      Does it seem to fulfill the promise of the title and/or summary?
    Does size matter?

    Probably. But I started with an epic fanfic novel anyway--joost ta shoo 'em! It sank to page 172. So I wrote another draft! It sank to page 172. The third one got flamed, got locked, and then sank to page 172. But the fourth one stayed oop!!

    Why do you think that your current readers like YOUR epic?

    Insanity? :confused: I actually don't have current readers just now, since I've finished my nightmare epic ::does happy dance:: But the readers who enjoyed SWoA seemed to mostly be Obi-Wan fans, and/or detail people. They wanted to hear what color the buttons were on the made up machine that did the made-up job.

    How do you sustain a readership and help it grow through a long epic? Do you use an update PM list to keep reminding loyal readers about your story?

    I put my life on hold for 14 months while I posted almost every day. Well, okay, if I hadn't done it like that, I never would have finished the thing, but a regular posting schedule of some kind is very helpful.

    How often do you update your epic?

    See above.

    Approximately how many replies do you need per chapter to feel like you're getting enough response or to keep from getting frustated over a lac
  3. DarthIshtar Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Mar 26, 2001
    star 9
    LOL, your responses are so on, but so hilariously worded.
  4. spiritgurl Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 6, 2003
    star 4
    [face_laugh] Me thinks Ophelia is a Monty Python fan. ;) ;) *nudge-nudge*

    "But father, I don't want to be a fan fiction novelist... I'd rather..."

    "You'd rather what?"

    "I'd rather... just... SING!"

    :-B

    This reminds me of a particularly terrible plot bunny (literally [face_skull]) I've had for a long time now and I doubt I'll ever get to. It's the Monty Python and the Holy Grail/Prequel trilogy crossover fic in which Obi-Wan and Anakin somehow wind up in England around the same time as King Arthur. [face_blush] One of my stranger ideas. Thought I'd share.

    sg

    Edit: *looks at sig* HEYYYYY! *tries to fix sig but is unsuccessful* :( Why is one of my links working but the second one is not? I can't seem to fix it either, it was working before. :(
  5. Sebulba2179 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 5, 2002
    star 4
    I don't know, SG, they're both working for me... :confused:
  6. Alethia Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 13, 2005
    star 5
    What do readers want? What attracts them to a story? What turns them off?

    Hmm...good question. As a reader, I look for interesting titles, interesting characters or stuff like that.


    Does size matter? I mean, is it better to start writing fan fic on a small scale (such as a vingette) so readers can get to know your work, and then move onto longer stories once you've proven yourself and gained readers interest and trust?

    The first fic I posted was my epic and people seemed to jump into that. But I guess that that can help...


    Why do you think that your current readers like YOUR epic?

    Well, I get complimented on my style. I also get complimented on my characterizations, and people seem to really like the plot. I think they like it because it's interesting, a different take and apparently well-written. Plus it does involve Anakin/Vader and Padme, who are, of course, two characters who are definitely popular at the moment.


    How do you sustain a readership and help it grow through a long epic? Do you use an update PM list to keep reminding loyal readers about your story?

    I have readers that review once and disappear, readers that stick with it and readers that read and then disappear and then reappear again. So basically a definite mixture. I do PM a few readers, but not all of them reply. And I get new readers every chapter, some with requests to PM and some without.


    How often do you update your epic?

    When I can... I originally wanted to update it every Friday. However that soon became impossible. I haven't gone a month without an update though, and usually it gets to be about two weeks.

    Approximately how many replies do you need per chapter to feel like you're getting enough response or to keep from getting frustated over a lack thereof?

    Good question. I get a lot of replies- usually around fifteen-twenty-five a chapter (which makes writing author replies a tedious venture at times), usually twenty-five. And I will definitely say that I am happy with that amount *grins*

    As for how many I'd need to have...well, I'd prefer some, at least. And now I think I'd wonder what was wrong if I got a substantial amount less that what I normally get. But I would still keep writing.

    When you are frustrated with your fic and/or lack of response, what do you do? Keep going and work through it? Throw out the story and move onto another idea? Take a break from the fic with some other writing, or other activity and then go back to the story later?

    Mixture of both. I will usually leave it alone for a bit, but then also chat about it with a good friend on IM who helps me a lot. I've gotten stuck before and she'll read through it and give me ideas or we'll talk out the ideas I have or something. It's very handy to have someone like that, I must say.

  7. RK_Striker_JK_5 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 2, 2003
    star 7
    I'd like to make an announcement.

    My flagship fic, Three New Sailor Senshi, finally passed 300,000 words. It's at 300,698 right now.
  8. Arin_Atona Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 10, 2004
    star 4
    Congrats!

    Err... condolences... whatever.

    Here. Have a cookie.
  9. spiritgurl Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 6, 2003
    star 4
    :eek:

    =D= =D= =D=

    Congrats RK!!!

    sg
  10. Sebulba2179 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 5, 2002
    star 4
    Woohoo!!! Good going, Jon! :D I wonder if we should create a club for 200,000 and 300,000-worders...

    *throws 300,698 bits of ticker-tape in the air*
  11. RK_Striker_JK_5 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 2, 2003
    star 7
    Thanks.

    Anyone wanna slog through the thing now?
  12. Alethia Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 13, 2005
    star 5
    Congrats! May it go on another 300,000 more. *grins*
  13. Idrelle_Miocovani Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 5, 2005
    star 6
    I'll try! :p
  14. RK_Striker_JK_5 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 2, 2003
    star 7
    NO WAY!!!!!! I'd like to move onto something else, thank you. ;)
  15. Alethia Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 13, 2005
    star 5
    I'll believe it when I see it *grins*

    And I'd read it, except I know nothing about Sailor Moon. Unless I can read it without any knowledge of it...
  16. RK_Striker_JK_5 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 2, 2003
    star 7
    I have attempted to write it for someone with little knowledge of Sailor Moon. A lot of explanations and exposition weaved into the dialogue.
  17. Alethia Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 13, 2005
    star 5
    Cool, then. Will check it out someday, when I have lots of time on my hands...
  18. solojones Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Sep 27, 2000
    star 9
    Congrats, RK =D= I know you've been slaving away at that for a long time.

    ophelia, are you trying to make me shave my head? Because you know I listen to everything you say, so I just might do it :(

    I'll reply to the questions hopefully soon when I have time... see my current problem? [face_plain]

    -sj loves kevin spacey
  19. Mjsullivan Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Dec 8, 2003
    star 3
    Congratulations R_K_Striker! :eek: all those words! Sure puts my story into perspective! Hehe.

    And even though they are grossly late, I thought i'd have a bash at those questions ;)

    What do readers want? What attracts them to a story? What turns them off?

    Ah, what a multi-layered question :p It really all depends on the reader. There's the universal things, of course. Bad characterisation, Mary-Sueism (which is rarer than some authors like to make out), and bad pacing decisions are all pretty much universal turn offs. But the grey area here lies in how each individual reader interprets a 'bad' pacing decision, or a 'bad' characterisation.

    Thats something of an off-shoot question I'd love to get answered:

    What constitutes bad OR good pacing?

    For you guys as readers of Epics in particular. I mean, I know if there are 10,000 words dedicated to background information followed by 200 words of plot then people are likely to be bored senseless - but what about borderline issues? When as a reader do you call it quits on a story because it's running long in the tooth?

    Oh yeah, I guess the other turn off (I suspect) for readers is OC's. I've been writing them since I came to the boards and quickly became aware of how few OC stories there are floating about the place. It's understandable - alot of readers want Star Wars in its purest sense, and that means familiar canon characters in different circumstances. And then there's also the danger that, because OC's take more effort to establish, they may not be as well written as canon characters.

    Does size matter? I mean, is it better to start writing fan fic on a small scale (such as a vingette) so readers can get to know your work, and then move onto longer stories once you've proven yourself and gained readers interest and trust?

    Hah, well I jumped headfirst into a 50,000 word story that was supposed to be a short story but got out of hand. Readers were very hard to come by - I was a green author with literally zero posts when I started my first fic. But gradually people caught up and have been loyal ever since :) and they are the ones I appreciate most on the whole boards.

    I often thought that if I'd taken time between epics to try smaller pieces I may have garnered a larger readership, but there are no guarantees on that anyway - plus, I became obsessed with the characters I was familiar with and was enveloped in sequelitis. As fanfic authors, I guess its not so bad to stick with what we know :p

    Why do you think that your current readers like YOUR epic?

    Oh dear, I have no idea!

    Big 'splosions? :p

    How do you sustain a readership and help it grow through a long epic? Do you use an update PM list to keep reminding loyal readers about your story?

    Hmm...no actually. I usually find that I have never needed it. Only one reader has every asked me for PM's about the story and I usually forget to do it anyway :p (Sorry naner!). As for sustaining the readership...I guess I cross my fingers and hope for the best, hehe.

    Although, it just so happens that my regular readers are writing stories that I absolutely love - so posting in one another's threads is a great way to remind ourselves that even if there hasn't been an update on our own stories for a while, we're still about and reading ;)

    How often do you update your epic?

    Hm, not nearly as often as I should. I know its a lame excuse, but DRL often keeps me away from my epic for longer than I would like. Because of this I tend to get chapter posted per month. Though I usually find my chapters top about 10,000 words each - so I'm not as bad as I could be :p

    Approximately how many replies do you need per chapter to feel like you're getting enough response or to keep from getting frustated over a lack thereof?

    I usually find that if my regular readers have read and replied I am 100% content. There's no other way to say it.

    When you are frustrated with your fic and/or lack of response, what do you do? Keep going a
  20. DarthIshtar Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Mar 26, 2001
    star 9
    LOL, I want to see you shave your head, SJ. :-D

    And congrats, Jon. Someday, when my brain isn't fried, I'll read through all of that.
  21. KrystalBlaze Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 3, 2002
    star 5
    Congratulations, RK! =D= =D=

    I wish I could that...

    You weird people who can write forever you! ;)

    :D

    -Krystal
  22. Sebulba2179 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 5, 2002
    star 4
  23. spiritgurl Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 6, 2003
    star 4
    thanks Sebulba. :)

    ANNOUNCEMENT: Sorry this thread has been dead lately. :( I guess Cantador has been busier than he thought he'd be and I've been busy. Anyway, I've spoken to Cantador and he agrees that I should probably get another person to help me with topics on this thread. Basically, I'll run the epic of the month thing and the index, but whoever is interested in helping with this thread would post any topics related to "epics" and run workshops and such. I'll help you out where I can. If anyone is interested please PM me.

    sg


    edit: I've been meaning to also say thank you very VERY much to everyone who put in their 2 cents on those questions. Please continue to do so when you can. Hopefully all of these answers will help each of us in some way, both old and new, because I'm sure we all get frustrated/flabbergasted by these things from time to time. It's nice to know we're not alone in this, and it's nice to have a different perspective on these matters. :)
  24. Vongchild Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 2, 2004
    star 5
    Popping in because I'm about to start another one of my vongy-epics (about a hundred pages in word. Not thaaat epic...)

    I'm not going to go through and answer all those questions, but my general advice is to start with a few anchoring Canon characters and then add OCs as you go. Having a well established couple in the title (J/Z or A/T, in my case) makes people who follow that couple read.
  25. spiritgurl Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 6, 2003
    star 4
    It's a weeeee bit early but I wanted to get this done in case I didn't have time for it tomorrow morning.

    Anyway, our Epic Story For the Month of August is...

    *drum roll, drum roll, drum roll*

    Title: Spirit Warriors of Angharad
    Author: Ophelia
    Genre: Adventure, Romance (Obi/Other), Angst
    Summary: A group of volunteer philanthropists have vanished on a troubled outworld at the brink of war, and Obi-Wan and Anakin are sent to rescue them. Soon they are stranded deep in the mountain country of Angharad, where they discover darkness, intrigue, and what is even more dangerous for a Jedi: love.



    Story Excerpt


    *** Author notes: Here 16-year-old Anakin is fighting an OC Sith named Darth Vengeance. Vengeance is an Illorian, a species that vaguely resembles a gray, bristly-haired werewolf morphed with a giant bat. He can fly, much to Anakin's dismay. Vengeance has been stalking Anakin and making sneak attacks against him for about 600 pages by this point.

    R2's presence in this scene is the result of a long-ago continuity error that can't be undone now. At least I managed to avoid retroactive sister-kissing. ***


    First, Anakin drove the Sith away from his injured Master, and then he just drove him. The Sith?s defense wasn?t that good, especially one-handed. Anakin felt sure he would crack through the creature?s guard at any moment and put an end to the nightmare of living as the Sith?s prey.

    Dimly, Anakin could tell that Obi-Wan was calling to him, probably saying something about not giving in to anger or hate. Yet Anakin wasn?t feeling anger or hate, not that he could recognize, anyway. Rather, he was entirely transported by the ferocity of the fight. He and his blade were one. He and the Sith were one; like a particle and its companion antiparticle, caught in a dance of mutual repulsion that neither could escape.

    The boy was scarcely aware of his own arm rising and falling, or of the inexorably advancing steps he took. The world seemed to have fragmented into shards of impressions?the glow of the red blade illuminating the underside of the Sith?s jaw, the white flash of saber sparks reflected lightning-like in fire-colored eyes. It might have been seconds that passed as Anakin fought to find the weak spot that would allow his blade to strike home and end this creature?s existence--it might have been minutes; it might have been Anakin?s whole life--all he could ever remember or imagine in the future.

    Just as he felt sure that the creature couldn?t keep up his defense much longer and that the end was in sight, the being suddenly leapt straight up into the air, becoming a blur for a moment before he spread his wings. Anakin shouted a curse after him, outraged at the winged creature?s constant cheating. How could you have a fight against a being that bolted and then pounced as soon as you got anywhere close to him?

    The Sith floated through the air for a moment like a great, dark carrion bird, and then landed on the fuselage of Anakin?s Ascender, just in front of the open canopy. For a moment, Anakin was afraid the creature intended to jump into the cockpit and fly away with R2, but instead the Sith just stood there, wings spread, silhouetted against the sky like some kind of avatar of death.

    Obi-Wan was shouting something, and his voice sounded hoarse as if he?d been yelling for a long time. Anakin figured he knew what his Master had to say, and didn?t focus his attention on it. Obi-Wan would want him to act like a calm, proper Jedi, but Anakin had already discovered you couldn?t fight a Sith like that. At least the white-hot, buzzing numbness he was experiencing was better than the self-destructive hate he?d felt on the edge of the dam on Ix. Obi-Wan should be glad about that.

    It seemed that he wasn?t, however. Anakin was vaguely aware that his Master tried to mind-slap him to his senses. The boy dismissed it/>
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