Story Attention - Reviews, Critiquing, and Comments

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    Christmas Bubble Frog's Avatar
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    Default Story Attention - Reviews, Critiquing, and Comments

    Okay, this is something I've been thinking about quite a bit since I started exploring more and more of the fanfiction community. Reviews, Critiquing, Comments, and Views. How important are these to you? What do they mean to you and your fanfiction? I actually notice fanfictions that are fairly long and/or have a bit of a "slow start" usually don't get as much critiquing and attention as they deserve, which usually vexes me.

    I think it's agreed at the end of the day, we all want reviews as well as comments and critiquing on what people think of our fanfiction, is it good? Is it bad? Needs work? What can be improved? Many readers will click on the story, see the fanfiction and simply scroll and leave, often putting off the fanfiction because of atrocious grammar, uninteresting characters, bland description, poor pacing, poorly written undeveloped (supporting)characters, huge amount of cliches(Copy & Paste Game Plot & Characters, Lucario, Charizard, "I'M GONNA BE THE BEST THERE EVER WAS", etc.) and awkward plotting. This usually results in said author getting no review or comment, which is perfectly understandable, however I've seen perfectly good fanfictions getting little critique simply because of petty things like "length", "I dislike this region", for example or "lack of comments".

    Regarding length, what's your take on this? How long do you try to make each chapter of your fanfictions? I don't mind fics that have a bit of meat on their bones, it's more so about the story and how interesting the characters are that keeps me going, even if the chapters are a tad on the long side I find it much more interesting then reading a short chapter of poorly handled plotting, characters, and uninteresting story. So I say for the most part I don't care if a story's chapters are long, as long as they're of great quality. This usually means not being "too descriptive" with useless stuff, having a plot that goes no where, and/or having uninteresting characters that go no where.

    I noticed that quite many will just plain not feel like giving reviews and just read the fiction regardless, while it's not something to get annoyed with, I don't think it would kill anyone to take a very minutes out of their day to write possibly one or two paragraphs regarding a chapter or two. A'las patience is a virtue however in writing reviews and many most likely won't write nicely sized critique for a fiction, whether it's good or not. If more folks just had the diligence and composure to leave a comment or critique session I feel like a lot more fanfictions would be recognized and there would overall be much more informed and better writers in the writing community.

    Active critiquing means quite a bit to me, I myself prefer the critiquing come from someone without me having to approach and ask for it since it feels more "deserved" so to speak then me hounding them down to ask for it myself Guess how many times I've done that in the past :P since it feels like I've accomplished something and attracted attention because they "want" to read it, rather then because they "have" to because I asked, it makes my fanfiction of better quality since nice critiquing and reviews truly are something hard to come by these days and I consider myself to be a rookie in fanfiction.

    What are your opinions?
    Last edited by Bubble Frog; 7th May 2012 at 09:17 PM.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Story Attention - Reviews, Critiquing, and Comments

    I feel that my works (only one completed so far) do not get read (or at least do not get reviewed if people are reading them) simply because they are not Pokémon fanfics. And they probably don't find them interesting. Can't blame them for that... I usually don't read Pokémon fanfics for the same reason.

    Also I think that people seem to be afraid to post negative feedback... sometimes I see it but generally if someone posts then he's posting about how good the story was or what he liked about it... not what can be improved upon. Which is why a story with horrible grammar may not get any reviews at all, even though tons of people may have began reading it but stopped upon noticing how bad the grammar was.

    Length... I prefer short chapters. Really short... so short that other people may complain about them being too short. I like to read the whole chapter in one sitting, and I'm somewhat of a slow reader and don't want to spend any more than a half hour or so reading.
    I think that as long as you say all that you have to say then it can turn out good, even if it is brief. A one-page chapter expanded to 20 pages by adding tons of unnecessary description does not always make it better. Likewise, if the chapter has not discussed everything on the topic then I don't think that it should end (unless it's a 2-part chapter).
    Basically, what I hate is when you have a chapter that someone ends early for no real reason without completing the idea... or the opposite -- a chapter which contains multiple ideas.

  3. #3
    J'ai Envie De Toi AetherX's Avatar Moderator
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    Default Re: Story Attention - Reviews, Critiquing, and Comments

    I personally think that the greatest feeling in the world is when someone appreciates my artistic work (writing or music). I'm not going to lie, as well as writing for the purpose of having a creative outlet, I also write so that people can respond to my writing. Regardless of what they think of it, the fact that someone is reading my work is quite exciting.

    That said, criticism-good or bad-is what I thrive on. I find that when I don't receive any responses beyond one (maybe two if I'm lucky) reader(s) saying "Good job, looking forward to the next chapter," my writing skills begin to stagnate. I don't just cease to improve, I actually get worse. Without some goal in mind as far as writing prowess goes, I begin to get lazy and write shorter chapters with fewer details and less characterization. When I'm only writing for myself, it's much harder to write quality work. Somebody needs to come around every few chapters to snap me back in line, pointing out my overused words and clauses, suggesting further development on this or that character, and critiquing my grammar. That is, someone who is genuinely excited about the next chapter, someone who wants to see me improve and write something that blows their mind.

    Length? It varies, as it should. Some of my chapters are only 2-3k words long, but they have purpose and fully explore a single topic (like what dannyjenn said). Most of them are quite a bit longer at 4-6k words. It's not that I'm dragging things out or adding extraneous descriptions; I'm a firm believer in every word of a story having a purpose. I do realize that some of my battle chapters can get a little tiring, so I plan on breaking those up in the future. I do think that fic/chapter length has an impact on readership. When "Unpredictable" first started, I was getting a new reader every week or so (and very few of them were requested). Since I've hit the 20 chapter mark, though, I have only one or two regular readers, with only one new poster every two or three months (and they never stick around).

    Overall, I wish that my fic got more readers and criticism (duh) and I wish I had more time to read others' fics. This is a great community (that I haven't participated in much lately) and we all can help each other.
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    Default Re: Story Attention - Reviews, Critiquing, and Comments

    While that is true, and I agree don't get me wrong, it sucks when your story isn't read just because a reader doesn't like the region or because the chapters are too long, and yet it happens.

    I really have no problem with people asking for their fics to be reviewed by others, actually it's away to spread awareness of how good -or how bad- a fic might be. I mean sometimes readers just won't give the time to read a fic just because they don't like the theme, it's personal taste, but that doesn't mean they wouldn't read it otherwise.

    If they were told it was a good story, I'm sure they would read it, even if they didn't like the theme, but you can't really blame someone for not reading a fic themselves -without motivation- because they don't like canon, shipping or crossovers.

    Like I said, it's personal taste.

    COMING SOON!

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    Secret Sword of Justice Kelleo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Story Attention - Reviews, Critiquing, and Comments

    Quote Originally Posted by dannyjenn View Post
    I feel that my works (only one completed so far) do not get read (or at least do not get reviewed if people are reading them) simply because they are not Pokémon fanfics. And they probably don't find them interesting. Can't blame them for that... I usually don't read Pokémon fanfics for the same reason.
    My thoughts exactly right here. I do have a Pokemon story, but it's a oneshot while my Zelda fic and Fire Emblem fic are both long chapter fics, the latter being the longest. Heck, my Pokemon oneshot has hardly even gotten any attention.

    Critique is important to me because it points out what I need to improve on. Compliments, obviously, tell me that I'm doing good and people are enjoying my work. They're equally important. Reviews in general simply tell me that my story isn't being ignored. I can obviously see that my threads are being viewed, but that doesn't tell me whether or not the people like the story or are even actually reading my writing. For all I know, some could've simply hit that thread by mistake and didn't read a single word.

    I can understand being afraid to post a negative comment though. I'm afraid of doing it myself because I have a bit of a habit of saying something rude without realizing, and I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings.

    As for length, that is entirely stupid. No one should reject a story simply because of how long or short it is. I myself prefer longer chapters and stories, actually. I get more entertainment that way, more events featuring my favorite characters, and just MORE. MORE of what I'm enjoying. Yeah, it takes up time to read that much, but I don't give a crap.

    Also, I feel more accomplished when I write a long fic because when people review my latest chapter, I know that they've taken some time out of their lives to read all those chapters I've put out. It means so much to me to know it and it let's me know that my hard work wasn't for nothing.

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    Reality is a dream TheLlama's Avatar
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    Default Re: Story Attention - Reviews, Critiquing, and Comments

    Quote Originally Posted by Gotpika
    Regarding length, what's your take on this? How long do you try to make each chapter of your fanfictions?
    I do not care about length that much; I write till I get what I wanted with that chapter. Then I re-read, and cut away anything I don't want to have, add things I feel need to be added, and so on. I like writing a bit more slow-paced, with characters that take time to reflect upon their own thoughts, the world around them, and so on. I like using time to describe nature and surroundings, emotions and such things. My chapters often end up long - but is that a negative trait? The Fellowship of the Ring, the first book in the Lord of the Rings series, has over 180 000 words separated into twenty-two chapters, or just over 8 000 words a chapter - an astounding amount no doubt, but did it detract? No, not at all.

    I understand that some people prefer stuff that isn't extremely lengthy, but personally I like writing long stories, and if people don't read them because of that, then I just figure it's their loss.

    I am not much of a reader myself, sadly, and there's not a lot of stories that catch my attention enough to make me want to read them. When I do, however, I tend to leave a review of some sort, as I do almost every time I read something, or watch something, or play something.
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    THE CULT OF PERSONALITY System Error's Avatar
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    Default Re: Story Attention - Reviews, Critiquing, and Comments

    They say brevity is the soul of wit, so let's follow that mentality and put it simply: it's not really worth writing unless you get some form of attention for it. Plain and simple. It's possible to go without, but you'd have to be either a really weird person who writes for oneself, or also a person who writes for oneself minus the weird. And oftentimes, that isn't the case. Unfortunately, given the target group (you have more makers than breakers, so to speak), oftentimes the commenting mentality can really throw things off.
    Don't know what to put here.

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    Beausoleil Jabberwocky's Avatar Moderator
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    Default Re: Story Attention - Reviews, Critiquing, and Comments

    Regarding length: my chapters are comparatively short (maximum I've written is around 3000 words). I think that 800-1000 words is the minimum length for enough story to happen to justify the chapter's existence. My average is around 1500-2000 words.

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    Reality is a dream TheLlama's Avatar
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    Default Re: Story Attention - Reviews, Critiquing, and Comments

    Quote Originally Posted by System Error View Post
    They say brevity is the soul of wit, so let's follow that mentality and put it simply: it's not really worth writing unless you get some form of attention for it. Plain and simple. It's possible to go without, but you'd have to be either a really weird person who writes for oneself, or also a person who writes for oneself minus the weird. And oftentimes, that isn't the case. Unfortunately, given the target group (you have more makers than breakers, so to speak), oftentimes the commenting mentality can really throw things off.
    I guess that makes me weird. Or most likely weird without the weird. I write because I like it, I share it in the hopes that people will like it, and I do enjoy feedback, but it doesn't matter at all if I don't get any comments. Writing, like anything else I do, is merely to develop myself, and have fun doing so. To me anything that's fun (and exclusively so) is worth it. And fun does not, for me, depend on what others think of what I do.
    @Jabberwocky; Short >.>; the first two chapters of my upcoming fic are both clocking in at close to or above the 5000-word mark...
    "People like you and me overcame the Neanderthals. People like you and me overcame the Ice Age"

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    Power Player RaiThunder's Avatar
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    Default Re: Story Attention - Reviews, Critiquing, and Comments

    I love reviews, comments, and critiques. They make my day, especially when they have useful things to talk about, like what someone liked or didn't like. Knowing that someone took time to review makes me happy and helps me have confidence that my writing and story-telling are good. I'm not a fast writer and I tend to forget that my readers might not have in-depth knowledge of what I'm talking about, so reviews help me figure out what needs to be checked, what needs to be explained, and what I'm doing good at.

    I tend to write long chapters - 4,000+ for works I actually care about and 3,000+ for works I'm doing for fun. In my own reading, I tend to hate short chapters, so I try to avoid giving my readers extremely short chapters in response to that feeling.

    And I definitely don't always review on other sites, just because the process tends to be annoying (on FFN you have to log in every few hours or every few days, on LJ you have to Captcha). Here, I almost always comment if I have something to say or hit the 'like' button if I don't. A simple like is a perfectly good response in my opinion.
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    Reader and Writer Legacy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Story Attention - Reviews, Critiquing, and Comments

    I'm guilty of writing long, perhaps too long, chapters... normally 6,000-9,000 words per chapter.

    As for readers, it's something that sort of keeps me going. It's all well and good to tell yourself that you are writing for yourself and just for the fun of it, but let's be honest: having people review and comment on your fic is a great!

    That being said, I'd like to stress once again that it is important for us all to take some time, even if it's only a few minutes per day, to take a break from our writing and read each other's fics. We are a community afterall. We are friends. And I think if we all make a concerted effort to support one another, we will all benefit in the end.

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    Wordsmith unrepentantAuthor's Avatar
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    Default Re: Story Attention - Reviews, Critiquing, and Comments

    I find that reviews and comments really are an enormous motivation. I fail to make any real progress without the emotional support that comes from reader feedback. It validates my efforts, and vindicates what self-belief I have. I don't particularly mind if the comments I get are only short, provided they aren't generic "this is good" type responses, though of course lengthier analyses are preferred. Whenever i read something, I feel obliged to at least make some comment upon the story, and I prefer to balance positive and negative when I do so. Both are very important in improving and encouraging a writer. I try not to look at views, since views are almost meaningless.

    Some in this thread have said they prefer short chapters; I write chapters up to 6000 words, is that too long?

    I also abstain from making Author's Notes, and the like. Might that affect my readers' willingness to post feedback?

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    Secret Sword of Justice Kelleo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Story Attention - Reviews, Critiquing, and Comments

    Quote Originally Posted by unrepentantAuthor View Post
    Some in this thread have said they prefer short chapters; I write chapters up to 6000 words, is that too long?
    6000 words? Nah, not even close to being too long. My chapters have gotten as long as 14,000 words and that's more than twice that length. Although, a majority of those are divided into two parts.

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    CEO of the Monsters Lugion's Avatar
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    Default Re: Story Attention - Reviews, Critiquing, and Comments

    Legacy, I think your long chapters are pretty justified considering their quality.

    It's pretty encouraging when you get good reviews from old and new readers, but I think it's also important to not try and cater to every one. If I'd done that with Stainless Steel, it would've ended up a story about Steven realizing how horrible Pokémon trainers really are (yeah, Farla gave me a review), and had nothing to do with the Pokémon League.
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    Christmas Bubble Frog's Avatar
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    Default Re: Story Attention - Reviews, Critiquing, and Comments

    Quote Originally Posted by Legacy View Post
    I'm guilty of writing long, perhaps too long, chapters... normally 6,000-9,000 words per chapter.

    As for readers, it's something that sort of keeps me going. It's all well and good to tell yourself that you are writing for yourself and just for the fun of it, but let's be honest: having people review and comment on your fic is a great!

    That being said, I'd like to stress once again that it is important for us all to take some time, even if it's only a few minutes per day, to take a break from our writing and read each other's fics. We are a community afterall. We are friends. And I think if we all make a concerted effort to support one another, we will all benefit in the end.
    Guilty? Too Long? There's no such thing to be guilty of, if that's the chapter length you're used to writing and that makes your story so high quality and entertaining to read, STICK WITH IT. Please. I've seen so many fics that try so hard to move forward with the story but while they try to move fast you don't really get a feel for their character, life, and the world around them so the impact of things are lessened. Your fic is so entertaining because you truly do get us to feel for Milo as well as care about the side characters like Rena, Bryce, as well as Izzy because I feel like we get a true understanding of them in a brief amount of time that isn't rushed or contrived. Plus more fic is more fun imo, if I'm enjoying something I don't wanna end it fast. I wanna enjoy it for the long ride, I don't understand this obsession many writers have with their fics being short and sweet and possibly of lesser quality. But, you've done well because the content makes up for that even if it's bulky(that's not a bad thing).

    I always try to take the time to give a nice review to every fic I read daily here in the Writer's Workshop, if we all just did this more often a lot more fics could get some much needed recognition and possibly become well known and/or improve the writer.


    Quote Originally Posted by RaiThunder View Post
    I love reviews, comments, and critiques. They make my day, especially when they have useful things to talk about, like what someone liked or didn't like. Knowing that someone took time to review makes me happy and helps me have confidence that my writing and story-telling are good. I'm not a fast writer and I tend to forget that my readers might not have in-depth knowledge of what I'm talking about, so reviews help me figure out what needs to be checked, what needs to be explained, and what I'm doing good at.
    This exactly, it makes you feel good to know someone is willing to review and give your fic the time of day and makes it feel worth while so to speak. I agree about the comment said before about writing skills stagnating when you're only writing for oneself, it doesn't feel like you have a reason to give it your all.
    Last edited by Bubble Frog; 4th February 2013 at 10:26 AM.
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