Index The Underrated Story Index - Coming soon...

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction and Writing Resource' started by Underrated_Index, May 10, 2008.

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  1. Underrated_Index Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    May 10, 2008
    Choosing stories are really not that hard. All stories that wind up in the index are automatically eligible to be featured. I pass no real judgement on the story when I pick them out (since we all have different tastes) except that spelling/grammar is correct and that it fits the underrated criteria.

    What is more important is that we have a mix of featured stories to fit everyone, so one week we have action, the next drama. One week Saga, the next, Beyond and so on.

    Besides, the one that takes over temporary management of this thread only has to do it twice since I'm gone two weeks.
  2. Underrated_Index Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    May 10, 2008
    Going on holiday now. For information, check the announcement on the first page.

    :cool:
  3. Underrated_Index Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    May 10, 2008
    Ok, I've been back from my holiday for a week now but I haven't had time to visit this thread until now. I've got a lot of work right now, starting early and finishing late so I haven't really got the time I need to run this thread. I'm also going aborad again in two weeks time so that means that I most likely will not be able to run this thread properly for another month.

    I would very much appreciate it if someone could take over the thread whilst I'm gone, seeing as it will be for quite some time...
  4. Underrated_Index Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    May 10, 2008
    Ok, summer break is over. It proved much longer than I thought it would, so sorry for that.

    Planning on getting this index up and running again to the weekend. So yeah, let's get back to business!
  5. Underrated_Index Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    May 10, 2008
    I'm pretty sure it's still the weekend somewhere ;)

    Ok, we're back in business! There's a new featured story up, so check that one out. Keep sending in your underrated stories so that we can seriously expand this index!

    Let's get this thread kicking too. Maybe a new discussion topic, perhaps?

    How to attract readers? Do you have any special tricks? If so, what are they?
  6. Katana_Geldar Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 3, 2003
    star 8
    I post viggies and I used to advertise in my more popular fics, also reading other peoples fics.
  7. Underrated_Index Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    May 10, 2008
    Yes, these are all very good. I have never tried to advertise in my more popular fics, but that's because I write one at a time. But viggies are a good (and short) way of showcasing. Reading other people's fics is perhaps the best and the corner-stone of this community. If you leave good and interesting comments, it might lead to other people checking out your work.

    Perhaps the worst ways of trying to attract readers is to write "Please read" in your thread title, which sounds too desperate or holding back updates until you reached the desired readership. This isn't so much attracting readers than forcing them to your story
  8. madman007 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 22, 2007
    star 4

    Perhaps the worst ways of trying to attract readers is to write "Please read" in your thread title, which sounds too desperate or holding back updates until you reached the desired readership. This isn't so much attracting readers than forcing them to your story.

    "Please read" or "I need to know if I should continue this" is the two worst ways to start off your ad to your fic. The latter is basically the reader relying on us readers to decide if the story goes further. That should be up to the writer regardless of it having one review or twenty.

    Reviewing other stories helps greatly, but you have to put some thought into the review to show you really understand the author's words. You can't just review with, "Great job." or "Awesome story. Please continue!". The author wants to know why it was such a great job or why they should continue.

    I also found another way to subliminally advertise your story is to put the link to the story in your signature. *See below to mine for Exhibit A. If there's not enough space there, then put the links in your profile.
  9. Danaan Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 23, 2008
    star 4
    With all due respect for all veterans and old hands on this board, but as a total n00b here, I have to say I see very little in the way of constructive criticism on this board, at least in the stories I've read (admittedly not many) so far.

    Sure, some people do make comments on the exact part of the story they love - as in a character, a plot twist, a description - that struck them as particularly good. But I've never seen anyone actually critiquing some one else in the way of "if you would have done like this, your story's literary qualities would have improved greatly".

    Now, I realize why people would refrain from that, it does not necessarily come across as very courteous - someone might take critique against a lovechild very personal, and you certainly should expect to get back what you dish out.

    But seriously, how can you expect to develop as a writer without being trashed (in a constructive fashion) every once in a while. This is speaking from my own experience - as a social scientist, I write professionally, albeit not prose. But if my teachers, mentors and supervisors had not regularly trashed my early (and later ;P) work when it deserved it, my papers would certainly be much worse than they are.

    Again - this is just my impressions as a n00b and I certainly don't mean to offend the established culture here or anything. I'm just curious based on my own experience of what it takes to be a good writer, which I assume is what everybody here wants to become...
  10. The_Face Ex-Manager

    Member Since:
    Feb 22, 2003
    star 5
    The fanfic boards operate on a rule whereby constructive criticism is only allowable if requested by the author. So if someone wants to hear nothing but positive things in their readers' responses, that's their perogative. And if they want the risk and the benefit of concrit, they are welcome to request it.

    Is that the right way to do things? Maybe, maybe not. But I think it's one of the things that differentiates TF.N. It's a reason many people choose to post their work here. Probably a reason not to post their work here for some people.

    I must admit, even when it's requested, it isn't terribly common here. I think it's (1) just the general attitude of the boards, (2) a lot of people are used to only putting positive comments in and are creatures of habit, and (3) concrit can be hard. A review that not only points out the flaws of a story, but does it in a way that doesn't attack the author but does help him/her become better - that takes time to craft. Well, I speak for myself. There are those who could crank out helpful concrit in a moment. They are what we call awesome. :p
  11. madman007 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 22, 2007
    star 4
    I see where you're coming from and I know what you mean. I have been on this board a year in August and I have still yet to see an in depth critique or review. What the stories usually get in the direct posts is constant praise. And as a writer, I know from expreience that isn't the best way to grow as a writer.

    BUT, Danaan, with all due respect and appreciation of your training, we're not exactly writing the Great All American Novel in here either. Sure, it would be nice if we could get some constructive criticism. Many moderators give it. But, there seems to be an unspoken fear of telling an author their mistakes in the posts. Even when I feel compelled to mention a criticism of a story, I will PM that author and not put it in the post with the reviews.

    A good way to limit any bad reviews for a new or old author is to get a Beta reader to filter out mistakes in grammar, content, or continuity.
  12. Persephone_Kore Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 19, 2006
    star 4
    Actually, concrit encompasses comments on what did work well in the story and why. So technically, using an accurate definition of "constructive criticism," analytical positive comments are against the rules here. But I don't think that's ever really enforced. :p
  13. Katana_Geldar Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 3, 2003
    star 8
    Sure, some people do make comments on the exact part of the story they love - as in a character, a plot twist, a description - that struck them as particularly good. But I've never seen anyone actually critiquing some one else in the way of "if you would have done like this, your story's literary qualities would have improved greatly".


    I have had these sort of comments, but only through PM. Also, trashing someone's fic is not nice. I've started to read fics on here that I didn't like, but I just didn't post.

    O:) If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all O:)

    You also have to understand that writers are in different stages if development depending on how much they have written and how well they can critique their own work (in other words, be merciless). You don't tell a five year old off for not being able to spell omnipotent, do you? Well, I hope you don't.

  14. Danaan Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 23, 2008
    star 4
    Fair enough. My point was merely this: if you are serious in your ambition to develop as a writer you need to know not only what you did well but, more importantly, what you did wrong. That's the point of the red ink on your paper when your prof returns it :-B. I.e. the prof isn't being mean to you, the prof helps you to develop. Anyone who's ever taken writing courses - professionally or an amateur writing evening course - will know what I mean.

    But if the culture of this board is to not say anything if you can't say something nice, then that's fine - that just means that the board is not a writing school, which it doesn't have to be. It just helps me understand the community better. :D

    'Preciate the comments![:D]

    Edit: I suppose the reason I thought of this originally was that many authors do explicitly state that they want comments on their work from their readers, and when I, as a writer and a teacher (assistant), read that, my first thought goes to constructive criticism - i.e. here's someone who wants to develop. But that's just where I'm coming from. So now you've all helped me understand the culture of the boards better, so I don't have to unintentionally aggravate anyone.:p
  15. Katana_Geldar Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 3, 2003
    star 8
    It's easier to give negative comments in person than it is to give them on the Internet.
  16. Persephone_Kore Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 19, 2006
    star 4
    ...Do you mean easier to give negative comments in general, or easier to give them in a polite/effective/useful manner?

    There are pros and cons to the policy. It's true that the option of giving constructive criticism -- or in general, your (politely!) honest opinion -- can be a good one. It can allow for reviews that are more useful to other readers, comments that are useful to the writer, and... well, it can avert the kind of paranoid moment I sometimes have here where I wonder if people hate the story and are not telling me because it's against the rules. ;) And contrary to what I suspect is the widespread belief on this forum, people do have fun in such environments.

    But you're correct -- this isn't a writing school. It is, perhaps, more like telling stories around a campfire -- the point is to entertain. Growing as a writer is some people's primary goal, but as far as the forum at large is concerned, growth and improvement as a writer is in service of the primary goal of entertaining oneself and each other, and sometimes in addition a by-product of it. One might want to get better at storytelling so as to get a better reaction at the campfire, or might be practicing there for one's stand-up comedy routine or something, but the atmosphere's very different from that of a public-speaking workshop. In this context, asking for comments (as opposed to explicitly asking for concrit) is... well, redundant, as it's sort of assumed you want some, but the aim is to encourage your readers to be an interactive or responsive audience rather than to act as your instructors.

    While the two can coexist, there is a bit of a hazard if concrit is overemphasized in the mix (as opposed to being the primary purpose in itself, I suppose) -- some people would honestly rather focus on the positive and are here to play, even as readers. Only, some of them are also easy to guilt, or something. *g* You'll get readers who came in to read something enjoyable, but feel pressured to identify a problem before they can talk to the writers. In cases where the reader really isn't up for the job of critic, sometimes this ends in silence, or weird nitpicks, or feedback that reads, "I'm sorry to bother you just to tell you I enjoyed your story, but I couldn't find anything wrong with it." I actually hesitate to request concrit here because I don't want to create this sort of atmosphere or suggest that I only want to know problems, and discourage appreciation.

    One of the hazards of the no-crit situation here is the possibility of blindness, or of major shock upon entering a venue that allows for a broader variety of feedback. I'm actually a little skeptical about the question of not growing as a writer without hearing what you did wrong -- it can certainly be useful, but there's also considerable growth and improvement that comes from maturity, more reading, and observation of what works on you and for other people. It'll probably be slower, and there are things you might not figure out, but it's not impossible to improve.

    This forum is not, however, entirely devoid of opportunities to find out what you're doing wrong, even if you don't ask for it in the story threads. ;) Many people arrange this in private, prior to publication, and call it beta-reading. You might get a narrower perspective than by asking publicly for concrit, but depending on the individuals involved, you can also get something much more intensive.
  17. Thorn058 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 28, 2008
    star 2
    I with Danaan in regards to concrit. As a newcomer I was blown away by alot of stuff on the boards and most of the time I had nothing but praise for the suthors but at other times I had questions. In most cases they were POV things that perhaps I wan't seeing things the author intended or maybe I didn't read it right. Until I asked someone I had no idea that you should PM the author intead of posting a question. Now I know and yes I can see the wisdom of it but I, myself would welcome some concrit on my stories either in the posts or via PM.

    Now I should say that I welcome concrit about how the story worked for you. I know my grammer and spelling need work and I tell everyone that says this to me that I am trying and hoping it gets better. I want to know if the story is believable to others, what worked or didn't work for you. Are the characters breathing for you or simply place holders. alot of times I get an idea and run with it writing while the mood has me and suffer the consquences later. In other words if I write a story and you do some fact checking chance are I didn't hit the wook and my research is lacking so sure tell me about it because if it is a glaring point that ruins the story for a reader then I will look into it if not I am hardly going to change something because some one took the time to find out there were really four battles of Hypori before my story ever took place so I can't make the statement the second battle of Hypori had begun. If that is your concrit then sure tell me but I may just go yep you are right and leave it at that. So I guess my point is how do you know you are reaching your audience if they don't tell you stuff. I think that is what lead me to this thread I definitley have some underrated stories.

    As far as beta readers go. I haven't had one as of yet and maybe I need one but my problem is I have excess energy and I get impatient. I want to post and post soon to get feedback. Ok so sometimes I don't get anything but I think if I had to wait and correct mistakes I would go batty just from wanting to get it up on the boards.

    Advertising well I have tried to make friends in the OC database because I want to do alot of OC stuff and I am trying to get some readers there so my stuff gets noticed who knows maybe three people is my target group.
  18. DarthGaul Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 25, 2004
    star 3
    The story should be all the advertising you need. I still believe there is a high ratio of favoritism of certain writers on this board...but then those that tend to write more often and push their work out for all to see get better results. Some of us can't afford to write all day or be posting every week, hard enough to make the time as it is to keep the story going before readers lose interest and abandon your work entirely.

    But if your story is solid and worth the read, then fan fic fans will keep faithful and follow up whenever you do update.
  19. Jedi_Perigrine Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 22, 2008
    star 4
    I'm with Danaan in the constructive criticism department. Though in most of my stories I announce I want concrit, I rarely get it with as much depth as I was hoping. But when it comes to having someone tear your story apart, I prefer to have that done via PMs. ;)

    As far as attracting readers, I've noticed that it's rather like dating. The harder you look for readers (or dates), the less likely you are to get any! I've been fortunate with the last couple of stories I've posted to have more than 3. As much as I'd LIKE to have an audience in the millions like Alexis_Wingstar, dianethx, VaderLVR64, etc, I know it'll never happen. Ya just gotta be satisfied with whatever you can get, and don't give up! :D
  20. Aiel Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 14, 2004
    star 4
    For attracting readers I have a couple of sneaky tatics, (awesome PMs like with ASD and offering preview stuff for my PM listers also,) but I usually find the best way is to just offer up your story like a free sample of a new kind of yogurt at the supermarket.

    Some might like it, some might not and some might be lactose intolerant, but hey, it's your yogurt! You're the one who has to like what your writing, if you start writing for everyone's tastes then you're going to start hating to write, trust me. ;)

    I love being told if something's wrong with the story when it comes to grammar issues or theoretical and Star Wars stuff, (i.e misspelling of Alien names, distance traveled between planets, ship capabilities ect,) but saying things like "I don't like the way you've written Anakin," just seems a little petty. Good characterization overall is great, but when you pick on a sentance or passage in which the character isn't totally within your idea of them, or OOC in your opinion, bugs me.

  21. Underrated_Index Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    May 10, 2008
    Great discussion all! Good points all around!

    I too, am an author that likes to get concrit rather than the "z0mg! Awesome!" comments. Don't get me wrong, I like those too, since there I have at least one person who read the story and though something about it was "awesome" or "good". It might not be something you build upon but it still feels good seeing it.

    I think the reluctance to give concrit is because this is a friendly board and we don't actually know how sensitive the author is. There is no face to face interaction which means that there's a bigger chance of misunderstandings. Then there's also the fact that it takes time to give concrit. You're actually asking the reader to somewhat dissect your story, find some faults and report it to you in a friendly and understandable fashion. You're asking the reader to finely go over your story and that might not be everyone's cup of tea. Some are here to read something quick and entertaining they leave a comment which reflects that. That shouldn't be sniffed at. One should be careful with putting demands on ones readers

    If one is craving concrit, I recommend using a beta or maybe getting a master. There are several very talented authors on these boards that are more than willing to share some of their knowledge and help other authors to develope their writing skills.

    Oh, the index is updated by the way with a new featured story. Please check it out!
  22. Darth_Marrs Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 24, 2006
    star 4
    I've had the same thought myself regarding my own fics. But then I remember that VaderLVR64 has made a point of posting and reading every one of my fics, and I've seen her post reviews and supportive comments all over the board. I've seen Dianethx do the same, and I've seen Alexis_Wingstar's name as well. I think for some of these folks, the mass of readers they have is a combination of solid writing skills on their part, and the good will of the many others on the board they've been supportive of. So when I start getting whiney or depressed about a lack of readers for stories I believe are as solid as any out there, I remind myself that I've not had time to spread the goodwill these others have. If that means I have fewer readers, in a real sense I believe I have no one to blame but myself.

    Though more readers would always be welcome [face_praying]
  23. Katana_Geldar Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 3, 2003
    star 8
    Vader has read some of my stories too, which was encouraging as she said she can't believe that nore people haven;t discovered this little gem.
  24. Underrated_Index Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    May 10, 2008
    Upping for visibility and for the new featured story, check it out.

    Also, wanted: more underrated stories. If you have any, please send them in.
  25. Danaan Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 23, 2008
    star 4
    Umm, risking to look like the fool - how do we know which story is the new featured story? The index only lists the stories but there is no way of telling, as far as I can see, which one was added most recently, and since I can't remember which ones were up there last time I checked, keeping track of which ones are new seems...challenging. To me, anyway....[face_blush]
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