Guest Dabeagle Posted January 28, 2014 Report Share Posted January 28, 2014 This will ramble, a touch, and with my own message board gone - may it rest in peace - I had some thoughts to share. I consider myself a writer, but not an author. I think 'Author' implies profession, something you can live from. Mine, like most of yours, are free and we (or I) ask that the reader pay us with the coin of telling us their thoughts and impressions. With the absolute ton upon ton of good stories here, I tend to stick with one author I like for a bit before randomly jumping. I bypass many of the comments in 'Readers Rule', except that I note to myself that I should read it, because I never know what will be revealed in the comments that might break a story's magic before being read. For instance, if I know it's sad I may not read it. So, sometimes, I scroll through Nifty and look for something to pique my interest. I do go by title - and whoever said you can't judge a book by its cover was a moron. A great many useful things are on the cover - the author, of whom you may be a fan; a cover photo which may entice you (Gabriel by Marten Weber, I'm looking at you); even the title which may hint at the interior and things of interest. I tend to bypass unimaginative titles like 'John and John' or 'John's Story' or 'The Sexual Awakening of John and his Menagerie of Obnoxiously and Unrealistically Well Endowed High School Class'. Although, that last title is somewhat imaginative, I guess. Descriptive at the least. So I read a new story with an interesting title. I won't share it here, because it isn't relevant. I found some elements to be great - non-cliche situations, lots of dramatic conflict were really high on the list. However, there were issues with getting the ideas of the writer to the page in a way that allowed it to flow - in other words, it needed refining. I have written feedback to several authors, and I always try to be constructively critical with a mind to pointing them in the direction of improvement - if I can be so egotistical - and remind them at the beginning and end that all comments are meant in that fashion. Sometimes we create and imbue ourselves into the work, and so criticism feels like a personal attack rather than a discussion on honing our storytelling. Equally true is the tone of the feedback - arrogance and biting commentary aren't constructive. So I began a correspondence, and even tried my hand at a little beta read/pseudo edit of the first posted chapter - at request, I wasn't so presumptuous - and I made the fellow feel pretty badly. Naturally, I felt terrible, and the one comment that may have torpedoed this person was asked in honesty - even if I now realize it could have been taken very differently. One thing I try to use is to speak dialogue aloud, since if it sounds silly aloud it frequently reads silly on the page. Makes for strange looks in my house. But I find, without it, some authors allow their language to get too formal and, in the case of people who learn proper English rather than as a native speaker, things like contractions - that get used in common language - disappear. And so I asked, due to that very fact, if English was his native language. Don't laugh, I meant well. I advised him to join the boards here, to check out the guides and take criticism as a good thing - that he'd done something right - and to work at it. I hope that happens, and I do hope other lurkers who want to write will take advantage of the bullpen to float ideas and half formed stories for input. Who knows, your half baked idea might send someone else's imagination off into new territory as well? Quote Link to comment
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