the delphic expanse

Story posting (was: Bird on a Wire)

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Story posting (was: Bird on a Wire)

Postby entkayjay » Thu Nov 10, 2011 2:13 am

Although I'm a "tad busy" with RL and will be for the foreseeable future, I do find myself wanting to stay creative to keep in touch with that part of myself. I have a completed novel-length fic that's been sitting around for about 8 years waiting for me to do rewrites. After so much time, not only has my writing changed a bit but it's become one of those things that I know so well that its no longer new to my eyes.

How does this section work? I was thinking maybe getting direct feedback on a chapter here and there would jumpstart the process for me, and since it's a closed work I don't have to come up with (too much) new stuff, just learn to rethink the old.

It's R-rated het with a very strong OFC romance for Archer (along with a few other strong OCs), action/adventure set in early S1. Tucker figures prominently as well. Ensemble piece, but I'd like to make that a *lot* stronger, as well as integrate T'Pol far more than I have since I've never been able to write her as well as I want.

Or if it's total crap I can stick it back in the drawer. :lol:

Thoughts?
Last edited by entkayjay on Thu Nov 10, 2011 1:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Bird on a Wire

Postby EntAllat » Thu Nov 10, 2011 2:35 am

Sounds like a candidate for the workshop! You can get multiple eyes on it at once there. I liked that for what I've work-shopped since everyone has a slightly different perspective, and sees different things. It ends up giving me a lot to mull over.
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Re: Bird on a Wire

Postby Aquarius » Thu Nov 10, 2011 9:12 am

Whether you use the workshop or No Crying is up to you. Most of what you need to know about No Crying is in the HOW TO USE THIS SECTION thread.

We did this at a Han/Leia board I belonged to. The reason the owner started it was because we had an author who posted a story and couldn't understand why people weren't loving on it. Truth be told, it was kind of awful. The author tried to take on really mature subject matter and heavy adult themes, but everybody just felt awkward and icky reading it. From what I remember it was really out of character and the characters lacked their usual dignity. But, because most people (except trolls) are uncomfortable saying "this didn't work for me" even when constructive criticism is allowed/encouraged, the owner of the site created a "No Crying" section so the author could post the story and get feedback that wasn't "Very nice!" or silence. In fact, cheerleading was prohibited; you were only allowed to talk about what didn't work -- thereby establishing a comfort zone for people who wanted to say what was wrong with the story but didn't want to feel pressured out of it by everyone else ignoring the elephant in the room. After that, others started using the area as well, most often when they posted something somewhere that didn't quite get the response they were looking for.

No Crying is different from the workshops in a couple of fundamental ways. First, in the workshops, you're working with a team of volunteer writers, in an area that is made invisible to everyone who is not participating. It's collaborative in that the people looking at your fic are sharing what they've noticed, making suggestions, and yes, they can be honest if they feel that "this doesn't work." Then you go back, do your rewrite, get it beta'd, and post.

No Crying is not hidden away from the rest of the members. The reason for that is for you to connect with your *readers*, who aren't necessarily writers. Anybody can step up to the mic and say "I didn't like this because..." The comments aren't necessarily going to be as incisive or detailed in the workshops because not everybody who responds is going to be used to expressing themselves that way -- but that's okay, because I think most experienced writers, especially if they're readers themselves, are pretty good at reading between the lines and understanding what they're getting at. And since it's a thread out in the open, you can engage them in conversation and ask for examples of what they're talking about if you're not sure what they mean.

I hope that helped.
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Re: Bird on a Wire

Postby entkayjay » Thu Nov 10, 2011 10:35 am

I thought about the workshop but this is an 80K word piece and doing the first 1500 or so words isn't going to cut it -- you don't even get to the "Uh-oh" moment by then.

Plus, I love this piece but not to the point of not wanting to change a thing about it. I think it's good, and has the potential to be *great*. I'm just too close for too long to be able to rework it in my head by myself. I had it beta'd years ago by someone who was really good at critiquing the writing, and I rewrote almost half of it before... well, I have no idea where those f'ing beta notes are now! Three computers ago, ugh. And now I re-read it and see ways my writing has changed overall but it's such a daunting task to start it by myself.

The one thing that the How To thread didn't address is: how long a bit should be posted, and how? If it's like the workshop, again, it's not enough. I'm not looking for an all-out beta for the whole thing (unless someone reeeeeeeeally wants to work with me like that again, but come on, it's 80K). But I'd have to put up several chapters to get a feel for how the changes need to go throughout. And I wasn't sure if that was allowed here or if there were a mechanism for doing longer fic pieces like this.

So I asked. :)
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Re: Bird on a Wire

Postby EntAllat » Thu Nov 10, 2011 11:51 am

Length to post here? I would think a chapter at a time would work. After all, the first chapter should lay down the bones of the story and get your readers interested, and then if you're building from there... it won't let readers see the story as a whole, but chapter-by-chapter should be enough to digest and be able to say something. Alternatively, you could post a link to the entire thing and ask for feedback/responses from those willing to read the entire thing.

Also, something that might help you outside of this thread: if it's novel length, you could approach it the same way as you might when editing the first draft of a novel. There are certain things you can ignore, of course, since it's fanfic. (I.e. long detailed descriptions of character's physical appearances and backgrounds, etc.) But other stuff applies, and there's a lot of "how to edit the first draft of your novel" practical tips that are out there might help you tackle a second look at it yourself. I liked one tip that suggested printing the whole thing out and sitting down with a spiral notebook and a list of questions - away from the computer - to read through it and jot down notes and answers to those questions as I read through the draft. You end up with a decent plan for revising and editing after that.
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Re: Bird on a Wire

Postby Aquarius » Thu Nov 10, 2011 11:54 am

There's no limit, really. Again, the assumption going into this was that we'd be working with things that were already posted somewhere, like Warp 5 or ff.n -- we didn't even *have* an archive yet at the Expanse when the thread was started, so that's why we didn't address how to post.

If you want, you can start a separate thread for it and post it. I'm not really sure of how long of a story you're talking about. How many chapters is it? How many pages (in what font and what size)? Sorry -- 80k doesn't really tell me anything, it's not how I roll. ;)
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Re: Bird on a Wire

Postby entkayjay » Thu Nov 10, 2011 1:52 pm

EntAllat wrote:Length to post here? I would think a chapter at a time would work. After all, the first chapter should lay down the bones of the story and get your readers interested, and then if you're building from there... it won't let readers see the story as a whole, but chapter-by-chapter should be enough to digest and be able to say something. Alternatively, you could post a link to the entire thing and ask for feedback/responses from those willing to read the entire thing.


I wasn't sure if this worked the same way as the workshop, ie, post X amount and that's it. I can do a chapter-by-chapter at least up to the ones I hadn't edited yet so long ago. I'd like another crack at the ones following because I know my beta had valid points (and there are changes I see immediately myself now) before moving on to post those. If I can figure out where to post it in its entirety I may do just that to simplify.

EntAllat wrote:Also, something that might help you outside of this thread: if it's novel length, you could approach it the same way as you might when editing the first draft of a novel. There are certain things you can ignore, of course, since it's fanfic. (I.e. long detailed descriptions of character's physical appearances and backgrounds, etc.) But other stuff applies, and there's a lot of "how to edit the first draft of your novel" practical tips that are out there might help you tackle a second look at it yourself. I liked one tip that suggested printing the whole thing out and sitting down with a spiral notebook and a list of questions - away from the computer - to read through it and jot down notes and answers to those questions as I read through the draft. You end up with a decent plan for revising and editing after that.


This is the longest thing I've ever written by myself (in a month, no less, really intense), and I hardly ever read novels or even fanfic this length (smirnoffsmule should know just how good his story was to grab me as it did), so the whole do-it-myself approach is just way too daunting. I've looked at this for years off and on, it's too familiar to me.

Aquarius wrote:There's no limit, really. Again, the assumption going into this was that we'd be working with things that were already posted somewhere, like Warp 5 or ff.n -- we didn't even *have* an archive yet at the Expanse when the thread was started, so that's why we didn't address how to post.

If you want, you can start a separate thread for it and post it. I'm not really sure of how long of a story you're talking about. How many chapters is it? How many pages (in what font and what size)? Sorry -- 80k doesn't really tell me anything, it's not how I roll.


It's 19 chapters as it stands. First chapter is 3300 words. I had it posted to my Geocities site but with no public access... and that's the way I have it saved on my computer (my ONLY copy, oy). So while I did print it out ages ago, I have no idea how many pages it is until I cut and paste all 19 chapters into something else. Which is extra work. I'll guess at it, though: assuming 250 words a page, 10 point TR double spaced (isn't that how it works for papers?), a single-spaced version of this would be around... 160 pages? Total guess. ETA: Single-spaced 10 pt TR in googledocs, the first chapter is 7.5 pages (3300 words).

I'm concerned, though, that this is overall too rough for what you wanted No Crying. Like I said, half of it is edited as it stands, and none of it was posted as a finished product anywhere. So while the story itself is *complete* with nothing hanging... well, it's just a special snowflake, isn't it. :facepalm

And my other challenge in all this is my OFC. I had bits and pieces of this reviewed by Taryn Eve back on the Enterprise Write Brigade list, and if this smacked of a Mary Sue all the way through she (and my beta back then) would have told me. I think I've struck a balance with her... she's really really flawed lol. But as much as I love her, I'm open to all kinds of review of her as well as my other OCs. The majority of the story takes place somewhere other than on ship, so the focus is Archer and OCs, and Trip. Back on board, though, everyone has Stuff, even though some need More Stuff.

TL;DR: I'm not meaning to turn this into a giant beta job. :?
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Re: Story posting (was: Bird on a Wire)

Postby Aquarius » Fri Nov 11, 2011 1:17 am

In the end, it's up to you what you want to do. I have no objection to you using No Crying as a litmus test if you think it needs brutal honesty. Just as long as you recognize that the system may be a little flawed for your purposes because we haven't tried it that way before, so there will be a learning curve, and that the readers here may not see things the same way as your beta reader in the polished parts.
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