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Confessions of a Nifty refugee

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Confessions of a Nifty refugee.

A bit more than a decade ago, I found a pulp paperback book. It was entitled "Hand Job".

I read through it and wondered, Do they really pay people to write this stuff?

Money was not my motivation but I was sure that I could write something better than characters acting in a badly written play. Maybe I could write something that might have some lasting quality about it or even provoke a revelation.

After a few submissions I discovered that the "Hand-Job" people were not interested in my different take.

That lead me to Nifty where there are no shortage of dregs but every once in a while I would discover another person who, like myself was exploring an uncommon expression in creative writing. They were cultivating unique and different voices.

The Nifty oubliette was good for one very important thing. It taught me that in writing there are no limitations and that anything is possible. Whether people like it or not is secondary it is just knowing that you can experiment. Writing about sex is a great send off because it is the first taboo to challenge but for me it didn't stop there.

I am interested in other writers that started out of the Nifty vortex.

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I think you will discover that several of the authors here on AD started out posting to Nifty and I was one of them. One of the attractions was the large number of readers who visit that site and the exposure a new author might get with little effort. Style and content there was hardly what I would consider a worthy effort on my part since it all seemed the same.

Call it my experiment in writing stories that would attract reader feedback because that time for me was all about catering to the one-handed readers as many of us called them. Not only did I post a vast number of stories in my brief stay, I also corresponded with a dozen authors about what we were doing. As larkin mentioned there were some good writers on the site but a reader had to wade through a morass of badly written pieces just to find them.

To succeed as an author one must evolve and I used my prolific status on Nifty to experiment with the readers and watch their reactions. I was getting 30-40 bits of feedback from each story, everything from the drooling masses to the honest and well noted critics. This continued even as I backed away from the blatant sexual depiction into a more serious and likeable character study within the stories. That taught me something....the entertainment value was not just the sex...and so I quit posting on Nifty.

I like to think of what I write these days as romance/adventure, and what little bits of sexual activity with the characters is more innuendo than fact. I enjoy bringing history to the page and giving the characters a broad range of activity within the bounds of real events from the past. Delivering vast stories of sexual depiction is a waste of time for an author with so many more things to say.

Nifty is still out there, and delivering more poorly written material all the time. But they cater to an audience I no longer wish to reach. I could write a story on the backs of a deck of playing cards and shuffle it weekly to come up with a Nifty story to post. It all seems the same to me now and I am glad to be away from there.

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Thank you Chris,

When you write for Nifty there is pressure to write sexual content in every post. I was including sexual aspects of a more developed character in an increasingly complex situations. I did not want to eliminate explicit sex because it was a large motivator for boys on the loose and to hide it would not be accurate either.

As in real life, seduction and foreplay is 9/10th of it, but I was making an effort to not coarse and tawdry.

I don't think that there is enough understood about homosexual interaction. They can romance and fall in love just like heteros but to say that they are the same would not be true either. There are other dynamics more akin to a person's make-up that that drive the sexual impulse. The chemistry of opposites and the pairing of like individuals tells us a little more. Gay men can be mercurial, unpredictable and they can behave differently with different people.

So in short, I still feel the need to be explicit in areas I want to write about. I don't think of myself as writing porno.

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What happens behind closed doors is not my concern. One editor I had wanted me to write in a sex scene. I gave him a stroker bit and then deleted it. It didn't belong in this story.

If it didn't belong in the story, you did the right thing..

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I don't write porn either. I just include what the characters in my stories are motivated by and very often that is sex.

Just because gay men can now marry doesn't mean that they will all settle down by the hearth.

For the most part they will still be inclined to ramble because that is an inherent aspect of male sexuality and for many it is that passion that drives them. And for some, it fuels creativity.

I no longer want to pander to the wankers as I felt compelled to do on Nifty and I am making an effort to rein in my excesses.

However I am not prepared to completely disassociate myself from investigating sexual elements of relationships because they carry a lot more weight than anyone gives them credit for. Not so much in my own life nowadays, but there was a time when it was right up there with food and shelter.

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I gave it to him to shut him up. This was years ago. Not my kind of editor. I don't write porn. I write stories.

If you had refused, I would agree. You should be true to yourself.

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More than a few of us started posting at Nifty. I started there thinking that I could write a better porn story than those I read there. I couldn't and gave the story up because I became bored. The response to that story was what you might expect, even the requests that I continue it. Then, I posted a story called Rebound, and the response was remarkable. Most comments thanked me for a real story that wasn't soaked with descriptions of sex acts. So, I wouldn't consign all readers at Nifty to unrelenting concupiscence. I posted what amounted to first drafts at Nifty. The AD author who ended up editing my work here read the story and with others at AD suggested I post here.

My stories do have descriptions of sex, and I once had a brief colloquy with Des Downunder about why I included those descriptions in my work. As I remember, I told him that sex was one way in which humans relate to one another and I saw no reason to exclude that way or any other so long as the descriptions were revelatory about the nature of the characters. This posture seems near to yours, and since the Dude is excellent at screening out stroke stories while allowing thoughtful descriptions of most forms of human interaction, I think you should trust your judgment.

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Nifty is huge. They get tons of hits and it's a big temptation to post there for exposure alone.

There's a reason why I don't. I don't want my stories sitting side by side with some of the other stuff there.

What I've written is drama. There is some sex in it but it's only a part of the story.

I doubt that the majority of Nifty users would find it very interesting.

Don't get me wrong- there's some great stuff on Nifty.

That's where I discovered Driver. That's where I discovered Ted Louis.

I just don't want my stuff there.

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I don't know if anyone has ever written down the early history of Nifty. I'm familiar with it because I was a student at Carnegie-Mellon University where it started out as a directory on the school's computer server, with the address nifty.andrew.cmu.edu. It wasn't until some time later that it got moved to its own solo URL. I always assumed that the powers-that-be at C-MU decided that perhaps the content hosted there was not consistent with the image C-MU wanted to project.

Back in its original incarnation, I don't recall that the Nifty archive was as open to contributions as it is today. As far as I know it's possible to go back to the earliest days on the present site and see what the stories were like back then.

Nowadays there is an appalling amount of chaff to sift through in order to find any wheat.


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I have uncharacteristically kept away from this discussion, after the two previous discussions on this topic in 2012 and 2013 and my vigorous defense of Nifty So I will try to maintain some civility.

Let us not forget what Nifty is. It is an EROTIC stories archive. Unlike Claude Rains in Casablanca, one should not be shocked to find EROTIC stories on an EROTIC stories web site.

Shockingly, some people actually like to read erotic stories. Some people like sex. I venture a guess that some Awesome Dude members actually get erections occasionally. Nifty performs a good service for the gay community. It is a bastion of free speech (we all remember what that is, I hope) and it is a venue for anyone who wishes to express themselves. I admit there is a lot there that I don't care for and topics which I don't read. But, I won't criticize Nifty. I am grateful we have Nifty and grateful it was around when I first began writing gay stories. Without Nifty, there would never have been "Courage and Passion," "A Canterbury Tale," or "The Foxwood Chronicles."

That said, I am also profoundly grateful for Awesome Dude and I am proud to be associated with the many fine and talented writers here. Let's just not climb up on any high horses. And, there are members here whom I would not have become friends with were it not for Nifty.

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100 years ago I saw a Rod Stieger film cost-staring John Philip Law as, the new enlistee in the army. The film called the "Sergeant" was about a closet-case boot camp sergeant who becomes obsessed with the young recruit, the oblivious John Philip Law. At the end, the crazed sergeant plants a kiss on the recruits mouth amid loud and chaotic, horror movie music. Then Rod Stieger runs off and kills himself..

There was no rating system at that time and I saw it as a frightened, middle-school student. I think we have come a long way since then..

I am learning that this is an ongoing debate here and I do not wish to rehash it all but only to politely state my own case and a willingness on my part to be influenced by advances made by authors here.

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OK. I'm an asshole. I'll say it.

I don't want my work sitting beside some of the stuff in the adult-youth category.

It is not all bad but, there is some stuff there that is just plain sick and I don't want to be associated with it.

I've got no problems with gray areas. That's where I live.

But 40 and 50 year old men having sex with 8 and 9 year old children? That's black & white just plain wrong.

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OK. I'm an asshole. I'll say it.

I don't want my work sitting beside some of the stuff in the adult-youth category.

It is not all bad but, there is some stuff there that is just plain sick and I don't want to be associated with it.

I've got no problems with gray areas. That's where I live.

But 40 and 50 year old men having sex with 8 and 9 year old children? That's black & white just plain wrong.

Did I mention anything like that?

When I came here I understood that it wasn't just about wank-media, but an opportunity to moderate the impulse and strive for good writing.

When I arrived, I noticed two kinds of censorship.

1# censorship for the purpose of protecting the site.

2# if you write shit no one will bother reading it.

I can live with that..

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No Larkin- none of this is directed at anyone here.

Sometimes we try to be diplomatic and fail to get the message across.

I find that being direct in such cases is better than dancing around the issue.

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  • 3 weeks later...

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