Senority & Newbies

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction and Writing Resource' started by freak-pudding, Jan 23, 2003.

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  1. freak-pudding

    freak-pudding Jedi Master star 4

    Dec 29, 2002
    Sometimes I wonder why I even try. I've only been here for a while, as you can tell, but I'm beginning to wonder if I should just save all my stories until I turn 15. It seems that the instant someone finds out your age, you get less credible. Your stories are immediately placed into the "teeny-bopper" category & you're forgotten. I've been struggling for almost 2 years to try to get anyone to notice me and finally it's starting. There are maybe 3 or 4 people that read my stories (excluding my Master). Maybe it's because I'm a newbie, but maybe it's because I'm only 13 years old.

    I find it very difficult to get a story read without blackmailing my friends into reading them. And that really sucks because none of my friends care about fan fiction. I'm almost inclined to think that fan fiction is the hardest domain to get noticed in. Some writers are so rude & stuck-up into their so-called "seniority" that they can't really see how horrible they are.

    Most people think that the older you are, the more your stories are read. That's why, for a while, I considered posing as a 16-year-old, just to get people to pay attention to me. It really sucks being one of the youngest (if not the youngest) writers out there. Some people tell me I'm a great writer and some people don't even bother reading my stories before saying, "You're too young, get out." That hasn't happened here yet, but I'm still wary. I'm very glad that our ages aren't immediately shown, but I do wish that people would go past the older members' or the Mods' stories to try out the newbies. That's why every time I see someone who's been registered in the last two months or less, I go and read their stories. I try to give them a well-rounded critique so that they feel someone is actually interested in their work. And I really am.

    Thankfully there are those on this board that feel that everyone should get a fair showing. They don't just skip down to the "famous" authors; they stop and poke around the newer ones.

    I guess, this was really just a rant of my feelings, but I also want a few opinions. I want to know what you think. Do you think seniority & popularity play a part in reader's feelings towards a story?

  2. JediGaladriel

    JediGaladriel Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Sep 3, 1999
    It's absolutely ridiculous to think that just because someone is a teenager, s/he can't write, or needs to be pigeonholed as a "teeny-bopper" writer. I was writing with someone for a long time before I realized he was in high school... I assumed he was my age until he made an offhand comment about getting ready for SATs!

    By the same token, a lot of adults write "teeny-bopperish" stories; age is not a guarantee of experience or talent as a writer.

    It's difficult to get a foothold, and I wish I could say there was a magic formula, but in a lot of cases, it happens by accident. You're in a discussion and you say, "Hey, I'm writing a fanfic about this," and a few people follow you over, and then there's a crowd. But just getting readers? It's not always easy, and I don't know if you can blame it on the age issue--after all, if they've been curious enough to go in and see your age, then they've already clicked through and read something.
  3. bobilll

    bobilll Jedi Padawan star 4

    Aug 8, 2002
    I'd have to agree with you.

    Don't get me wrong, there are a lot of people, especially in this board, that are very nice to newbies. However, I've read a lot of really good stories that almost never get noticed. Then I look at people's profiles, and the trend with people who have been here for a shorter time having this happen to them is more common.

    But like I said before, this doesn't seem to be as bad with this board as some other ones. It's not too hard to make friends here and persuade them to read your fics.

    Edit: What everyone else is saying is also very true. Making new friends, commenting on other people's stories, and sticking it out can really make it easier.
  4. The_Standmaiden

    The_Standmaiden Jedi Knight star 5

    Jul 28, 2002
    I don't even check people's ages, to tell you the truth . . . I've been reading a fic by a 14 year old, and I thought she was my age (18) until she started talking about her birthday!

    Popularity factors into the equation a bit, as well as a bit of advertising. The best thing that happened to my fic was when a reader chased me around the boards threatening to kill me over an event in the story. People got curious and came over to read :p

    It also depends on what you write. A 13-year-old writing a pilot story or an adventure is considered more credible than a 13-year-old who posts happy lovey mush all the time.
  5. DarthBreezy

    DarthBreezy Force Ghost star 6

    Jun 4, 2002
    In the forums, stories are listed by title, I NEVER pay attention to such details as "registraion date" or age...

    Sometimes it just takes a while to find an audiance... advertise in the "Fan fic quotes" thread, plug your current piece in your sig, and MOST IMPORTANTLY, read and comment on other folks works!! I find a lot of fics from my readers sigs.... and sigs in THOSE stories...
  6. padawan lunetta

    padawan lunetta Jedi Grand Master star 6

    May 15, 1999
    When I first joined the forums I was 15, and, quite frankly, I was rather inexperienced and probably terrible. I got so frusterated that no one "noticed" me, (I would have been THRILLED with two or three readers) that I actually left the boards for a few months to try a smaller Star Wars board.

    One that was so small, in fact, that I and a few other members had to beg the adminds for a fanfiction board. (We even posted stories in Misc where they didn't belong.)

    That tiny board was the first place I got noticed, everyone read everyone's stories. I cracked out of my shy little newbie shell, returned to the JC after moderating that board twice, and tried my second fanfic here.

    I was lucky to get readers because the story was about a character who was nothing more than a name in the EU books. But I got them because I read everyone's stories that I could (Tis impossible to read all the stories here!), and got exposure.

    I guess my point is, Freak Pudding, that you're on the right track. You have to be patient, and continue to support other people as you would like to be.

    I still give a wide variety of stories a chance (Though they tend to be mostly OT-NJO stories... that's my area of interest, and what I write in.) And it's not based off of age or how long they've been here, it's my interest in the plot and how well it is written.

    (And, no matter how many readers you get... you'll always want more, and still be jealous when other people have more than you ;))
  7. Qwi_Xux

    Qwi_Xux Jedi Master star 4

    Oct 5, 2001
    :( I'm sorry you've had trouble with this, and I hope that you don't find that on these boards! Although some people here might pay attention to things like that, those are the people you just have to ignore. While I might have been here for longer than some people, there are others who have been here for much longer than I have. I do check profiles, just because I'm a curious person--but age doesn't make an author. I've read some horrible things by adults, while some of the best writing I've seen has been by young teens. There's one fabulous story that I've been reading in fanfic, (on a different website) and it's written by a fifteen-year-old.

    Experience with writing does tend to make a better writer, just because they (hopefully) learn through their mistakes, and they learn to improve their writing.

    If you like writing, then write. Do it for yourself. I write for myself. I write to challenge myself. I have a plot and I write it. I see characters and wonder, 'could I write them?' I've had several 'experiment' stories that I wrote just to see if it could be done. (And because the plot bunnies wouldn't leave me alone! ;) ) When I started writing here, I started with two readers. I never felt bribery was necessary. If people wanted to read my story, fine. If they didn't, it didn't matter, because I wrote them for myself.

    And I do agree with you that seniority does get to some people's heads. They start to think they're better than other people if their writing is well-known, but this is not the case for a lot of people on here!

    And also, if someone reads a story by an author, and really loves it, they'll often look for another story by that same author... kind of like when you go into a library and check out books by the same author because you like his/her writing. I know I do that sometimes, because I love the person's writing style and plots. That doesn't mean I don't look at other stories, though. It doesn't matter to me when someone registered or how old they are. If the story is interesting, the plot is good, and it just strikes me, then I'll read it.

    Don't give up! Even if you only start out with one reader, write something because you love to do it...write it because you're passionate about it. That will show in your writing. :)
  8. KnightWriter

    KnightWriter Administrator Emeritus star 9 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Nov 6, 2001
    I was writing with someone for a long time before I realized he was in high school

    I have to assume that was Mr. P :). Definitely someone I wish I could have worked with.

    It's the writing and results that matter, not the age or anything else of the sort.
  9. Darth_Tim

    Darth_Tim Jedi Master star 4

    Feb 26, 2002

    Well, I'm 23, for the record, but I'm a relative newbie at the forums here. However, I've been lucky in getting readers, award nominations, etc despite being a total newcomer to Star Wars fics.

    I guess what worked for me was never feeling like I was a "newbie"...I pretty much dived straight in, made friends with lots of different people, both readers and writers, and for whatever reason they thought what I was talking about writing at the time was interesting, they read it, and liked it. Have I been frustrated about readers? Yes. I've had lurkers, people that seem to drop off, but I still seem to get new ones here and there and while I'm sometimes guilty of shameless self-promotion, it does work. Do all my online friends read my stuff? No, and many people I don't chat with on AIM or Yahoo are readers of mine as well.

    I don't care about the age of a writer. I know good writers here who are 14-16, and good writers here who are my parents' age, and all in between, and there are people in each age group who are incredibly talented. There are a few younger writers who I wish I was that good at their age, as a matter of fact.

    So anyway, I've been lucky, or good, or both, or whatever, but I've been blessed with readers, and very awesome ones at that...but it took a good deal of work, too.


  10. Arldetta

    Arldetta Jedi Padawan star 4

    Jul 19, 2002
    Padawan - Don't get upset. Although I understand your pain completely. It's not just the "youngin's" that struggle sometimes. I have posted 2 stories recently and neither have really been noticed. I tend to think of most things as a 'luck of the draw' type of situation. Sometimes you hit it big and sometimes you don't.

    Quite honestly, I envy you. When I was about your age, I wrote a bit myself. I only showed them to my friends and even that was selective. It's only been recently that I even considered showing them to others. And quite honestly, I still fear posting sometimes. It's a horrible fear that causes such anxiety, but I know what the fear is and I know I have to deal with it. But that's a story for another time. Truth be told, I went through a very, VERY bad stint right before you arrived. And I fear another one is on the verge, but I'm fighting it as hard as I can.

    As for feedback/replies/reviews, I believe there is a major lull happening right now. And I hope it get's better soon, because I do my best not to be discouraged by it.

    But what I really want to say is that you are a talented writer. Don't let close-minded people disrupt your talent. Those who feel that you are not old enough or "talented enough" (tell me who they are and I'll take care of them for you. ;) ) are the one's who loose out. I for one have felt priviledge to have come to meet you. And I know these boards are the fortunate to have another wonderful author grace their threads with your musings. :D

    If you ever need to talk or need encouragement, don't be afraid to tell me. I'm pretty good at boosting egos. ;) :D
  11. LadyPadme

    LadyPadme Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Sep 26, 2002

    Freak-pudding: From looking at your profile, you've only been on the boards since December. I would think the 'newbie' part has more to do with having a hard time getting readers than your age.

    For my example, I've only been on since September. The first story I started I actually locked because no one was reading. The second story and third stories I did got readers but I had to keep upping and begging others to read. It isn't until now that I'm on my 4th story that I'm getting lots of readers. Part of it is likely due to more exposure after the stories I've already put up. Definitely, age had nothing to do with this--I'm more than twice your age, so no one could accuse me of being a teeny-bopper. (and as a corollary, some of the best stories I've read are written by people like Amidala Skywalker and obaona, and vader incarnate, who are all 15-16 year olds--I find they are well thought out and carefully written and very, very interesting)

    Some things I would suggest are to read a lot of others' stories and to post, because others might then return the favor, although only post on stories you really like, don't post just to advertise your own story. Also, I've heard from others that joining a round-robin will also allow you to meet other authors and get more exposure.

    Mainly, just have patience. Once people get to know you'll they'll start wandering over to your stories, and if they're well written, you'll get readers no matter how old you are.
  12. Mistress_Renata

    Mistress_Renata Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Sep 9, 2000
    Age really has nothing to do with it, to me... I decide what I'm going to read based on genre. It's as simple as that. I'm more likely to look at the first posts of a writer I've never seen before, because you can find gems that way, just as I will skim for the names of writers whose works I loved. But if it's in a genre I don't like (such as NJO) I won't bother, no matter who's writing it. (Sorry, EU fans :( )

    And the only way I can guess if an author is a teen is bad spelling, punctuation, and lack of capitalization. Most of the young teen writers here seem to be pretty sophisticated, though; I'd never guess their age unless I bother to check. If they're writing in a genre I enjoy and have a good 1-2 opening posts, I don't care what someone's age is; I want to find out what happens next.

    Arldetta is right, the boards HAVE been really slow lately; even some of the regulars seem to be having an attack of RL & not posting.

    Post because you love what you're writing. Post even if no one replies. Post even if you only have one reader. Because if you're a writer, you simply HAVE to let it out. :) THAT'S why we're here, not for fame or glory and certainly not for money. But simply because we have no choice but to channel all this creativity somehow, or let it drive us insane. And if someone else cares about reading it, it's a bonus.

    Excelsior, Padawan Pudding! Back to the keyboard, now. :)

  13. Princess1

    Princess1 Jedi Padawan star 4

    Dec 3, 2001
    I am so sorry if you are having such a hard time with starting out, being a newbie is really really hard.

    I admit to having a few bad experiences with some things people said to me, but it I'm so glad I stuck it out and stayed here. :)

    I didn't join all that long ago, almost two years about a year and a half.
    My first fic I had ZERO readers for a long time. Then I got one or two, then they left.

    But then two people showed up, two people who I am still friends with to this day. Sara_Kenobi and princess-sari

    They read that little story and gave wonderful comments and followed it all the way to the end.

    I had so much fun writing that story, and those two readers were wonderful, I got to know them so well.

    I wrote another story, which was more popular, I several readers, although not tons.

    Then I started my current story, "The Sacred Silence." and suddenly it just happend.

    I got lucky, something clicked. The readers that follow me from story to story showed up, but then more came, and came, and are still comming. I was so happy, I could hardly believe it. Okay, I admit it, I'm still in shock. :p

    And looking back at my other fics, I realize I have improved a great deal since then, but even my first one's were never bad.

    But I kept writing for myself, not for others, and I was happy when just a few people showed up, happy that other people would like to read what I would write anyway.

    Because that second story I wrote, I discovered something. I tried to write outsid my usal style, it drew readers, but after the first few enjoyable pages, I wasn't having fun anymore, I was writing for someone else.

    So I stoped that one, and now I write for myself again, and people still come. But I'd write it even if they didn't.

    So just keep writing what you want to write, and it will happen. :)

    I'm very gratfull for each and every reader I have, I never quite get over the idea that people might actualy want to read all these little stories that run rampant in my head! :D It I didn't write them down they'd drive me crazy. ;)

    I'm really sorry if anyone has called you a teeny-bopper or anything like that, thats just not right.

    Age has nothing to do with writing ability. I was one of the youngest on these boards for awhile to, heck, I still am! I mean, I'm sixteen, there are sooooo many more people older then that.

  14. Kit'

    Kit' Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Oct 30, 1999
    I never look at people's registration date when I'm reading a story. I can't understand why people would unless they are really, really picky and rather silly!

    When I first started her (over 3 years ago now) I didn't have any readers at all. I wrote three stories before I even started getting stable readers who I could depend upon to reply (instead of getting lots of readers at the begginning and none at the end).

    If people are rude to you about your age then that says a lot more about them then it will ever say about you.

    The moral of the post (or maybe that should be morale :p) is simply: Don't give up. Keep pushing it until you get readers. :)

  15. Mar17swgirl

    Mar17swgirl Chosen One star 7

    Dec 26, 2000
    I understand your problem, Freak Pudding. But, as Luney said, the most important thing is not to give up. If you love writing (which I believe you do), you should write. Don't worry, the readers will come in time.

    I think that every beginning is hard and tough, especially when you're posting fanfic on such a huge site like TFN.

    And you're wrong when you say that the younger writers are disregarded because of their age. True, in general the older writers who have been writing longer have more experience, but that doesn't mean that EVERY young writer is bad or anything. For example, my Master, Amidala_Skywalker took me when she was only 14 (and I am four years older than her), but I was amazed how good her writing was (well, it has its flaws, but then again, I used to be her beta. ;)). My point is, that you can't base someone's writing skills on his/her age. For example, a 25-year-old newbie writer can be worse in writing than a 16-year-old one, who's been writing intensively for 4 years.

    So, to make it short. Don't give up and don't get disencouraged by the lack of readers you might have. I think it's natural - most of the beginning writers have 2-3 readers. Trust me, the readers will come. Just keep writing, get a beta (that REALLY helps to improve your writing), and you'll see that things will get better. Good luck! :)

    AERYN_SUN Jedi Knight star 5

    Apr 1, 2001
    i'm almost twenty and april 1 will mark my one year anniversary on the boards here, so techically, even though i'm older i'm still considered a newbie.

    my first fic posts were all obidala but there are very few obidala 'shippers on board since most of them are more for anakin/padme. but i found, if you write an truely original and interestering series like i did with 'Hero', introducing Jacen/Tahiri as a couple, smething people have never read before, reviews will come!

    it's matter of standing out, writing something that's completely out there and (hope you dn't get flamed as well).
  17. jodiwent

    jodiwent Jedi Master star 4

    Feb 11, 2000
    I havn't put my age on my profile for the opposite reason...

    I never go by the age of a story's author.

    Your stories are far from 'teenie bopperish'.

    I read silent scream and was very moved, I am now even more impressed to know that you are only 13.

    Some people read and don't coment, some read and don't even have board names, they just read, so don't give up or go by the number of replies you get.

    Now I will put my foot in my mouth by saying SOME stories that get a lot of trafic are more social threads than stories.
  18. Sebulba2179

    Sebulba2179 Jedi Master star 4

    Feb 5, 2002
    I've been on the JC for almost a year now and been posting fanfic the entire time. I'm 23, and on average, how many replies per post do I get? Three, if the stars align correctly. Don't worry, it's nothing to do with age. There are many, many writers here who are plenty younger than I am, and they get so much feedback that it was plenty frustrating.

    Content, however, and the popularity thereof are another matter. For one thing, on these boards, you can throw a rock and hit upwards of five Jaina/Jag stories. I'm not saying that you have to write J/J just to get readers; in fact, I think that all genres and all story types deserve the same readership. But let's face it, non-romantic stories have a much harder time getting noticed here. And I'm speaking from personal experience, mind you.

    Do you have friends here on the JC? Not necessarily from fanfic, from any board at all. You could tell them what you're writing and ask if they're interested in reading. I know a girl from the Boston FanForce who put out the word on our FF board--granted, not everybody was interested, but she wouldn't have gotten nearly as many readers if she hadn't done it.

    Maybe something else you can do is put a few lines about your fic in your signature and/or profile. A lot of folk have done that here--it hasn't worked for me, but then I hardly ever get feedback anyway. ;)
  19. HandmaidenEirtae

    HandmaidenEirtae Jedi Youngling star 3

    Jun 23, 2001
    I can't really say anything that hasn't already been said. See what cool people we have here on the boards? ;)

    I know often with age comes better writing, just because you have more practice; but, age has less of an impact that people think. There are great authors out there who are in their middle teens, and older people don't always write the greatest stuff. I know that newbieness and seniority probably play a bigger role. You get used to seeing certain names around, and you get curious about their fics. My own personal story: my first fic, after halfway through, nobody was reading it. But I finished it(and it's been accepted into the archive btw. :D ). On the other hand, my HM fic that I just finished had quite a few readers. Not as many as some of the other fics, but enough for me. I think it does have more to do with seniority than age. That's not right, but sometimes it's just the way it happens. And there are so many fics,...

    Just keep writing! It'll all work out someday. ;)

  20. Miana Kenobi

    Miana Kenobi Admin Emeritus star 8 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Apr 5, 2000
    Trust me, I know EXACTLY how you feel. ;) When I first started here about 3 years ago, I was only 13. I had maybe 1 loyal reader. Don't feel too bad about not having many readers.. I've been here a while, and I still am waiting for a large reading crowd. ;) But I can guarantee you that it will get better. :)

    Also, like Qwi said, don't try to write for the single purpose of getting readers. Write because you want to. Plus, age really doesn't matter. Some of the best writers I know are either my age or younger than me.

    My best advice that I can give you is "If at first you don't succeed, try... try.. try... try.. try.. try.. try... and try again! ;)
  21. Daughter_of_Yubyub

    Daughter_of_Yubyub Jedi Grand Master star 6

    Jul 8, 2002
    Sometimes it all just boils down to luck. Somehow, my first fic has managed to gather a huge following. More than anything else, it's been due to a couple members of a central character's fan club plugging it relentlessly. Incidently, for getting readers, fanclubs are your best friend.

    Personally, I never look at registration dates. I read a fic when a plug or just the title catches my eye. Always mention the genre and characters in your subject line.

    Much more effective than relentlessly upping your own thread is thinnly disguising it by responding to every reader individually and making announcements about the progress made on the next update. (Not that I do that! [face_innocent])
  22. Master_Jaina1011

    Master_Jaina1011 Jedi Master star 4

    May 20, 2002
    f-p: you might feel bad that no one reads your story . . but all in all you have at least soem loyal readers. I had this one story up since I think it was June . . . or something and I just kept posting. Since school started Ive limited my posting time and yes i lost readers but i didnt care. I enjoyed talking and reading others peoples stories. And I just started a new story too . . . one very different from alot of the fanfics out there. I started writing viggies and i got replies. You just gotta keep goign on. Seriously online here age doesnt matter. I talk with the 23 or 40 year old like they were my best friends.... its really cool because youre a whole new person here, create yoruself here and trust me youll getalot fo readers . . or at least alot of friends.


    PS tell which stories you write. I dont really care . . . ill read it anyway!
  23. Padawan_Jess_Kenobi

    Padawan_Jess_Kenobi Jedi Padawan star 4

    Nov 20, 2002
    I realate greatly. For I while I DID say that I was 14 years old, just to get people to notice me. But I am only 12 (almost 13) I feel like one of the youngest writers on the board, I'm not saying any of you people are old or anything... 8-} I'm J/K.

    Anyway, I used to believe that age had something to do with the minimal reveiws but it doesn't. I guess that amature-tness kinda showed through my work. But I picked up 2 loyal readers, Wild_Huntress and Master-Kenobi who make me happy because they always reveiw on my fic. :)

    But you see, age shouldn't matter. But I can definatly relate as one of the younger people on this board.

    Actually, if anything, if you write good (which you do) people should admire you for being a 'youngin' yet writing so well.

    But I guess some people would think of us as 'to young to be bothered with', although I've never met someone like that yet.

    BTW, freak-pudding you post on JAFD, right? If you are who I think you are, hi!! :)
  24. Herman Snerd

    Herman Snerd Jedi Master star 6

    Oct 31, 1999
    It's been my experience that readership is more a function of JC age rather than actual age.

    Quite a few of us were here in the slower paced days of UBB when it was easier for new authors to earn readers because there were simply fewer stories to compete against.

    Just keep doing what you're doing and hopefully things will improve for you.

    And for the record, I find it hard to believe that Luney was ever shy. [face_mischief]
  25. padawan lunetta

    padawan lunetta Jedi Grand Master star 6

    May 15, 1999
    *raises chin* You didst not know me when I was, Hermie-Baby ;)
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