Posting Swan Song

Last night, I sent Tom a message asking him to please remove my name from the poems and short works rankings. He answered politely, “Sorry that you are having a bad experience from it. But, sorry, that is not an option.

Tom

Seems to be a bad thing with many members unhappy with ‘frequent posters’ on the site. Recently, a member wrote a terrific essay on “Two-a-Day. Her piece dealt with frustrations in not being able to keep up with members writing and posting so often. It was excellent writing and full of emotion and good ‘talking points.’

Because I’ve been one of those guilty parties who has been posting the daily limit of two, I decided to read the reviews of her piece to see how others were feeling. It seems we ,‘frequent posters’, have been annoying many on the site, both newbies and old-timers.

I love the act of writing and felt I found a place to share my stories, but now I find I’m feeling like a most unwelcome guest. Strong statements of members’ feelings were ‘cluttering up their message box’ and ‘better to post quality over quantity’. These are just a couple of examples I read in the reviews.

There seemed to be no messages or feelings of happiness or pleasure for those who were enjoying spurts of writing inspiration and recording them.

I never wanted any of the writers here on Fan Story feeling I sprint to stay ahead. I never felt I was running a race, just writing out of love for the art. I can’t speak for other frequent posters, but I am weary of the accusations and finger pointing.

You win.

I learn by reading, so will probably continue to do so for awhile. I follow several terrific writers and thoroughly enjoy their stories and poems. But I won’t post my writings any longer after this commentary. I plan to move my writings to a private website. There I can write and post for the love of it and not annoy anyone when I have writing spurts.

I’m sure some of you will say “why this attention-getting, dramatic essay?” Yes, it’s meant to be ‘attention-getting.’ Writers on this site should know, more than anyone else, that words can hurt, do damage.

Since frequent writing and posting is causing pain, pressure or both on other writers, then I want out. Hurting others, in any manner or fashion, is not in my playbook.

I thought our goal, as writers, was to write, but evidently, here, it is to compete. I don’t want to be a competitor. Maybe it’s the stupid ranking and star system on this site causing the problem. I feel it has much to do with the anxiety, anger, and/or competitive pressure being expressed by some of the members. I wish it would all be banished and leave this space for writing, reading, and reviewing.

As I said, I never wanted to be a competitor. I’m out of the race. I’ve parked my car and moved to the side of the road. All are free to pass now as they always were. I was never in a no-posting or no-passing zone. The road now belongs to you who consider the race the end-all or the prize. Enjoy the prize. Enjoy the rank. I never wanted it.

Thanks to my fans. I appreciated your time, support and encouragement.

Keep writing.

Fan Story Party Games

There seems to be talk floating around the site from time to time about the author’s signature style on a piece. Or their writing presentation or formatting?

The following activities are in production right now to help with this monumental problem.

While pondering this subject recently, (I know, I really need to get a life.) my goofy mind created these party games for FanStorians. For those doing the aforementioned worrying about the tell-tale styles of our authors, these games may help level the playing field for you.

How the game of “Know Your FanStorians” is played:

How about a deck of cards —one card for every member? On each card, there is a short piece of their writing presented in that author’s style of writing and presentation. Their name would be printed on the reverse side of the card.

1.Two or more players can play.

2. First player picks a card, reads the short work by a FanStory member and then guesses who wrote it, judging by the style of writing and their personal presentation manner.

3. Second player repeats the same process by drawing a new card.

4. Taking turns, play continues until all the cards have been used.

5. For every correct guess (answers would be on the back of the cards), one vote would be held in reserve to be added to the game player’s vote count in the next prompt contest entered.

6. The player with the most correct points (reserved votes) wins the game and will probably win the next prompt contest with all those extra votes added to their total.

Or —–

How the game of “FanStorian Margarita Blitz” is played.

This new spin on an old party game would be fabulous. We all meet at a resort in the Caribbean or on a cruise ship that Tom charters for this get-together.

We show up at the sail-away party with a large sign on our back. It would have one of our prose or poetry works in the same presentation styles we use on the website.

The object would be to try and guess who the author is that’s wearing the sign.

If you guess correctly, Tom buys you another Margarita.

Obviously, the most obnoxious drunk on the cruise would be the one with the most correct answers.

Those authors with self photos on their profile pages would be a step ahead of being recognized. Be sure to look for these to make a guess. It’s a sure way to get more margaritas.

The members with their pets’ photos or just pretty pictures on their profile would be the challenge. These people will be saving Tom some moolah.

A few might be one of the folks who have no distinctive writing style because they don’t post or enter contests. They just criticize review. They will be awarded some extra member dollars for their thriftiness.

We could play this game every day of the cruise while trying to improve our knowledge of the authors. (and raise the level of the alcohol on the breathalyzer.)

By the way, can we exchange member dollars for margaritas? I’ll have to ask Tom.

Back to the subject of recognizable authors, if you please.

Are blind entries really blind? Can’t you pick out some author’s works even if all used the same font, same colors, no artwork, no nothing extra? It’s also the way they talk, the way they express their thoughts and feelings. Sure, some votes are cast for the person in a voting booth rather than the entry, but is this really a bad thing?

Isn’t this what all of us are striving for? An audience? Don’t we want readers to recognize our work and seek it out? Should we attempt to change that unique and personal costume when we adorn our writing?

Do we want to resemble clones?

For those who claim the same authors win the contests day after day because people recognize their work, I say, “Good for them.” With persistence in frequent writing, frequent entering of works into the contest, they are being noticed and recognized.

Any author here can make that happen. Write often, Read and review twice as often. Enter many contests. Be patient and persistent. Accept suggestions and help graciously. It didn’t happen overnight for some of these frequent winners. They worked hard at it. Work to get your name out there and your style recognized. Grumbling about readers racing to someone else’s house doesn’t bring them to your door. The grumbling just makes you a grouch. Work at it. Don’t just talk about it.

Writing Style Wardrobe

A FanStory observation recently parked in my brain. We all know different readers prefer different genres, but some also prefer different styles no matter what the category. Check your reviews. Some will rave over the way your piece was written and enjoy it thoroughly. Others not so much. I’m not talking about errors, punctuation, grammar or spelling mistakes. I’m referring to the way you presented your writing, formatting, choice of words, etc. This is similar to the way you present yourself when you walk out the door each day. One person may love you sincerely, but wonder why you chose the outfit your body is currently housed. Another person may not like you, personally, but admit they love the outfit you chose from the closet. Each writer has his/her individual style and changing it to resemble another’s style would make for a single shelf in the library.

How would you describe your writing?
Which style do you choose to reach the audience you want to attract?
Which styles do you avoid because they won’t convey your message in the proper vehicle for your audience?

Which style do you prefer to read?
Which styles do you avoid because they don’t suit your particular taste?

There are many styles, and some with combinations of each. I mention a few of the most common in the list below comparing them to wardrobe choices at a fashion show.

Elegant
Classic – lovely lines
Adorned with only correct accessories
Everything matches perfectly
No disappointments or surprises
Dressed without breaking a rule
Appears perfect when judged on the runway

~
Charming
No grooming mistakes
Unafraid of occasional bold statement
Comfortable, easy flowing
Less sophistication but appealing
Often adds or uses an accessory in a different way just to amuse
Many guests relate to this model on the runway

~
Playful
Follows rules of fashion on occasion
Bold, large, bright, statements to attract attention
Uncomfortable for some to observe, others can’t get enough
Requires less concentration to enjoy
Dresses outfit with something to shock or surprise
Runway appearance brings out photographers for the party

~
Flamboyant
Follows NO rules of fashion or design
Everything done for shock value
Stripes and plaids together puzzle many
Underlying garment is a strong statement
Wonderment at their acceptance in the show
Runway appearance is generally a Best Seller.

WOW

You thought this would be about the day I fell in love, didn’t you?

(cue for the hearts and roses artwork).

Nope, the best time I ever had in my life was the same day FanStorians gasped in disbelief.

I wrote a story that beat out one of those story poems in a daily prompt contest. Best time I ever had in my life. Would be for you, too, if you had done it.

Yes, my real prose piece won, not some rhyming, fancy-schmancy 3-5-3, 5-7-5, 1-9-1, morse code or telephone number type of poem. You know the kind. It’s the kind you need a psycho-analyst to help you understand what the heck is meant by all those unrelated words. And, sometimes, all you need is the psycho, minus the analyst part. Syllable count and rhyming seem to be important criteria with some of this poetry stuff, but I never see a rule asking for it to make sense.

(cue for the sour grapes artwork)

Anyway, back to the best time of my life. Can you believe it?

With more poets on the site to cast votes, I know you’re probably thinking this is just a fantasy of mine, that it really didn’t happen. But it’s honest-to-goodness, cross our little pinkies to swear, and sweetness-at-the-bottom-of-the-pie true, so help me, Myrtle.

Now, here’s another interesting part. If I put many more words in THIS magnificent prose work, it won’t get read, will receive a token number of reviews and even fewer votes. “Short-stuff” reading seems to be the “fast-food” category here on FanStory. Not too many sign up for a long evening of gourmet dining.

Now if I can figure out the strategy of WHEN to click that submit button to release my entry, get the TIMING down pat, along with how much moolah (aka member dollars) I need to promote it, I might even repeat this BEST time of my life gig.

What do YOU think?

Super Tom

Disguised superhero walks daily among us

A rule in question? Don’t make a big fuss.

FanStory’s version, meet Mr. Clark Kent

He’ll save the day when query is sent.

~

SuperTom replies at all times of day

We need those answers. Why the delay?

Some take many hours, some come not at all.

Now listen up, Tom. Don’t make me call.

~

Allowed out only for short times each day?

Your room’s lined with rubber, that’s what they say.

I worry your stalling will make entries late.

Stop making excuses, our questions won’t wait.

Stirring The Pot

Maybe I’m right or

Maybe I’m wrong.

Remember that oldie,

That dear old song?

~

The very same applies

To these gosh darn reviews.

When they make little sense,

Just blame it on the muse.

~

At times she thinks it’s perfect

Other times she thinks it’s not.

Please, don’t sweat the star count,

Just accept whatever you got.

~

Pouting, ranting, mad as can be

The revenge reviews are a hoot.

If that’s all you know to get even

Try hitting the button to ‘mute.’

Reader’s Choice

Before we all get our panties in a wad, please remember I’m speaking as one of “those people.” You know the ones. We swoon over our finished masterpieces, lusting over our magnificent adjectives.

When I finish writing a piece, I am so enamored of it, I can’t imagine anyone giving me less than a “six” here on Fan Story.

If I were to publish it, they wouldn’t be able to keep it in stock at Barnes and Noble. It would be rocketing off the shelves at the speed of a NASA rocket. The magnificent reviews from famous and learned authors would propel my writing to the best-seller list. Such speedy travel that Stephen King’s, James Patterson’s, and Thomas Clancy’s hair would be blowing straight behind them as I sped past in popularity.

While this observation of mine is a ‘little over the top,’ the truth lies in these thoughts somewhere.

Isn’t it true that when you’ve composed a piece and you’re ready for others to read it, you are very pleased with the outcome? If not, you would still be editing. Right?

Truth happens even when we refuse to admit people are different. Listen to the inner questioning or grumbling of why one piece was chosen over another.

Your science fiction, fantasy, crime, romance, comedy, or any genre might be the most perfect piece of literature submitted with no mistakes, no typos, and perfectly presented.

It won’t matter if the reader chooses not to read or vote for something in that genre or writing format. It won’t hold their attention or interest long enough to give a fair review, much less their precious vote.

Don’t worry. Don’t fret. Don’t moan over the lost reviewers and voters.

Because of personal preferences, we’ll all have an audience here on FanStory, just different readers for different genres, or types of writing.

This is a good thing, fellow writers.