Old 04-24-2018, 08:26 PM   #1
Sir_Maveric
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Looking for feedback

Hi.

Just submitted my first story and it's getting stars (4.38/37 with 9 favorites) but no comments. I was wondering if anybody had an hour or two to kill and would be willing to give it a read. It's 22K~ words so it's a story, not a quickie. I've submitted parts 2 & 3 already so if you like it and want more, it's on the way.

If interested it can be found here: https://www.literotica.com/s/the-island-pt-01-1

Honesty is a must, and please forgive the odd typo.

Thanks!

Mav
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Old 04-25-2018, 05:29 PM   #2
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I didn't have an hour to kill, but I did have time to read the first page.

The story starts off very mysteriously, only very slowing letting the reader know what is going on. This was done in a fairly interestingly manner, although the first paragraph was so obscure that I almost stopped reading right there. "They had sunk not far from there." We don't know who "they" are or where "there" is or why we should care about either. But I persevered.

By the end of first page I'd gotten a pretty good idea of what was going on. But I didn't find the basic premise intriguing enough to make me want to finish the story. Basically you've concocted this elaborate backstory---the secret island, the sacred laws---to put the narrator into a situation in which he has no real choice but to have sex with his friends' young daughter. The whole setup seemed contrived and melodramatic. How can an island be kept secret in these days of google satellites? Why were the laws, which the narrator himself helped devise, so cruel? Only as plot points to get the narrator into this situation. It didn't seem like the kind of situation that anyone would face in real life, and so I wasn't particularly interested in imagining the emotional drama that would play out.

The narrator also seemed to come across as one-dimensional. He's the hero, wiser, more virtuous, more noble than everybody else. One imagines he will be victorious on all fronts: he'll get the girl (whom he has the hots for, even though he is twice her age), this will be seen as a noble sacrifice (since it will disrupt his relationship with his common-law wife and children back home), and the girl will eventually fall in love with him (because that's what happens to heroes). At this point in the story I wasn't sufficiently invested (still hadn't met the girl) to really care whether these extrapolations were born out or not.

I realize that a single page doesn't do justice to the whole story, but it's got to hook the reader enough to make him want to continue. Your writing is competent, and I'm sure you managed to hook some. But maybe some of the others fell away like I did before reaching the end.
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Old 04-25-2018, 06:04 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by HectorBidon View Post
I realize that a single page doesn't do justice to the whole story, but it's got to hook the reader enough to make him want to continue. Your writing is competent, and I'm sure you managed to hook some. But maybe some of the others fell away like I did before reaching the end.
A similar response from me. I made it two pages in, because of the intriguing premise - once I worked out what was going on. But when I started to wonder if/when the white horses and clanking armour where going to appear, it was time to go.

The alternate-society world-building was wobbly and logic-fail in many ways, it just wasn't convincing (and I'm saying this because my latest piece is an off-Earth thing, and world-building is bloody hard work, so I felt for ya). The main problem there, I think, was that you wanted your hero to have had some angst-ridden reason for not being on the island for so long, but perhaps you didn't actually know what it was. For me, that part of his motivation was missing. Plus he kept reverting to some kind of half-baked California cool, flippant character, but ends up being pretty shallow, would drown in a puddle.

There's something buried away in here that's got potential and is pretty ambitious, but buried is the word, for me. Long stories are hard to write (trust me, I know this), and have to be chock full of glittering prizes and effortless sentences. This has some bright lights and shiny objects, but it's a bit of a plod. Your score's okay though, folk are obviously liking it enough.
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Old 04-25-2018, 06:39 PM   #4
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I want to say thank you to both of you. I really do appreciate the time you took. Your criticism is appreciated as well. Youíve made me step back and take a second look. Being the writer, things made sense in my mind that I didnít get across in the writing. The story may be in for a major edit.

Originally it wasnít meant to be a story at all. Just a quickie with a small back story. As I wrote ideas kept coming and it got bigger and bigger.

The pieces you are missing; reasons for not returning, and the island being hidden, are explained in the next part. I am going to have to work them in to the first part to overcome the issues youíve pointed out.

Thank you again.

Mav

Last edited by Sir_Maveric : 04-25-2018 at 06:47 PM.
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Old 04-25-2018, 07:25 PM   #5
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I think one of the most difficult tasks for a writer is transferring his imagination into the written word that can be readily understood by the reader. Itís like in ordinary conversation when you should never assume that the person you are talking with understands what you are saying. They may just be a ďnodding dog.Ē One of the things I hate are acronyms used when the writer assumes you know what they mean. I donít want to stop reading in order to google what an acronym means.
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Old 04-25-2018, 07:49 PM   #6
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Thatís one thing I am guilty of. I know the story in my head but I write as I think of things. Often the flow is wrong, as is the case here with these issues. The idea of explaining those parts came in part two for me. So thatís where I put them. Iíve been working on all the parts of the story for a while so for me, I knew what was going on. I should have gotten someone to proof it before I published.
Another reason is I rushed as much as I could to get to the ďsexyĒ part of the story. Being an erotic site I figured that should be a priority.

I see now that it was a rush job and it shows.

Thank you all.

Mav
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Old 04-26-2018, 04:22 AM   #7
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Another reason is I rushed as much as I could to get to the ďsexyĒ part of the story. Being an erotic site I figured that should be a priority.

I see now that it was a rush job and it shows.
Premature submission is like premature ejaculation. It gets a result, but not the one you always want. No-one is really happy, and you've got a bit of a mess to tidy up.

My advice is to start with something less ambitious, simpler stories, to learn your technical chops and to find your style. Once you've found your style, then tackle the big one.

I've got 55 published pieces here, and for the last year have been working on a stupid huge thing - having settled into an established style, the act of writing is much easier, so I can focus on the art. The other thing my apprenticeship taught me - don't publish a huge thing until it's actually finished.

That way you avoid the Literotica curse - the great unfinished story.
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Old 04-26-2018, 10:36 AM   #8
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"Being an erotic site I figured that should be a priority."

You can't anticipate what the readers - all 3,000 or 4,000 "views" - will want. That's sort of working it backwards.

You're already in the Romance category which gives you plenty of leeway. Or I should say the leeway is yours to take. I would guess that a large portion of all the fiction that's ever been written at least touches upon themes of love and sex.
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Old 04-26-2018, 10:40 AM   #9
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With 3 parts up and fourth just about ready to go, I ask you, what do you consider a large story.

Currently I'm sitting at 17 Lit pages. ~60k words. My story was written as one piece. I've broken it up because I figured posting a story of 25 pages would scare people from even starting. I've received pms about it and a comment on the third part about where the anon thinks I should've ended the story, but that is because it was broken up. If I had posted as one piece he would already have the end of the story.

I went back and edited each part to be able to stand on its own in case someone didn't want to continue reading the story. Personally I dislike stories that suck but leave you hanging. I feel forced to continue just to get closure.

I am genuinely curious as to what people here consider a short story vs a long one.
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Old 04-26-2018, 10:49 AM   #10
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"You can't anticipate what the readers - all 3,000 or 4,000 "views" - will want."

Agreed. But at the same time, the site name and fact that it is adult oriented sends a strong message that this is the type of thing that can be found here. Most newcomers, myself included, come looking for things they won't or can't find elsewhere.

I understand that here on the boards there is more going on and there is a deeper respect for the art than most who come in are looking for.

As always, I thank each and every one of you who take the time to reply to me. All of your suggestions and criticisms will help me to grow as a writer.
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Old 04-26-2018, 06:30 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sir_Maveric View Post
I am genuinely curious as to what people here consider a short story vs a long one.
This comes up regularly, and the consensus generally seems to be an individual chapter length up to 3-4 Lit pages (15k words).

Stand-alone stories the same length are always popular, it's about a handy reading period, I guess - especially if the story requires a hand.

Longer stories - they'll get read too. The single longest I know is 80 Lit pages (240k words).

The issue with long multi-chapter stories on Lit is the number of unfinished ones - the general advice is not to publish until it's complete, and put a note in chapter one to say it is.
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Old 04-26-2018, 09:13 PM   #12
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I'm new here so I'm trying to feel my around on these issues too.

1. Chapter length: the post above suggesting four Lit pages or so sounds right. Of course content might dictate where to break. People generally have more trouble reading on a computer screen than on a printed page (Kindle and so forth excepted). Some of it is a matter of attention spans.

On the other hand, if you have a stand-alone story that is longer it is probably best not to break it into units that are too small.

2. What is an erotic story by the standards of this site? I started to write prose about a year ago that had some explicit content, then I found this site in February.

I suppose I might eventually publish something and I'll get comments that it doesn't belong here!
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Old 04-27-2018, 02:07 AM   #13
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I suppose I might eventually publish something and I'll get comments that it doesn't belong here!
Not much won't pass here, the fundamental rules are:

No description of any sexual activity under eighteen.
No snuff.
No bestiality (fantasy creatures are OK).
No rape unless the victim ultimately enjoys the non-consent.
No celebrity or fan-fic where the public domain figures are under eighteen (ie no Hogwarts stories).
Currently, no thinly disguised political figures (fully fictional is okay).

More detail here:

http://forum.literotica.com/showthre...hreadid=175666
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Old 04-27-2018, 10:28 AM   #14
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I was being tongue-in-cheek

I didn't mean the site would ban it, I meant that some reader will complain that the story doesn't have enough sex in it to please them.

Maybe I'm only half-joking; probably people have already made such comments over the years.

[smiley face here!]
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Old 04-27-2018, 05:42 PM   #15
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I didn't mean the site would ban it, I meant that some reader will complain that the story doesn't have enough sex in it to please them.

Maybe I'm only half-joking; probably people have already made such comments over the years.

[smiley face here!]
Too long, too short, too much, not enough, this category, that category, I don't like it so it sucks. You'll get every reader response imaginable, and what the first guy hates the next person loves. There's no universal reader so don't waste time trying to please them.

Just write the damn thing. Somebody will tell you it's great, someone will tell you it's bad, ninety-nine people will tell you nothing at all.

One in a hundred will vote, one in a thousand will comment. Not much evidence to go on, really, so don't worry too much about it.
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Old 04-27-2018, 07:21 PM   #16
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The pieces you are missing; reasons for not returning, and the island being hidden, are explained in the next part. I am going to have to work them in to the first part to overcome the issues youíve pointed out.

Thank you again.

Mav
Most people will advise you against publishing as you go on multi-part series.

I am not most people. But I will point out to you that there are some pitfalls to doing so. Some are obvious, such as drop off if there is too much time between chapters, the risk of leaving it unfinished, etc.

But less obvious is that some of the nuance in your early chapters will be lost. In My Fall and Rise I told the story in two parallel timelines which only merged together in the final chapter. This caused a fair amount of confusion among readers of the early chapters. Once the entire story was finished, and people read it "binge" style, that was less of a problem.

In Mary and Alvin, I intended to establish the beginning of the relationship between the two title character in the first chapter, then go deeper into who they are, and explore the issues they bring with them into the relationship at length in later chapters. Some readers thought that in the early chapters, the characters were not defined well enough.

Personally, I look at the big picture. I want those who follow me as I go to enjoy each chapter, but my priority is how the whole thing works when it is finished.
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Old 04-27-2018, 07:29 PM   #17
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I am genuinely curious as to what people here consider a short story vs a long one.
I am expecting Mary and Alvin to go about 30 chapters and approximately 200,000 words.

I consider that long.
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Old 04-27-2018, 08:40 PM   #18
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"Not much evidence to go on, really, so don't worry too much about it."

These are a couple of points for Sir_Maveric too:

1. It's good to have an audience, any audience, by going on-line. I understand it's difficult - and very competitive - to get fiction into print, including the magazines that will handle it.

I haven't had any readers since I was on a college newspaper more than forty years ago. (They would publish essays, fiction and poetry.)

2. Competition among writers and for readers is also a good thing. If only a dozen or so people vote on a piece that is better than working in a vacuum. (Actually I had more than sixty people vote on my first submission.)
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Old 04-28-2018, 07:59 PM   #19
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Honestly, I thought I was done after three. Iíve received comments and pmís asking for more so Iím back at the keyboard. I had a fourth but I hated the direction it went so Iím rewriting it.

Iíve never had an issue with series. Although the ones Iíve read off-site were by authors who went for ages. (Terry Goodkind - The Sword Of Truth, for example)

So far reaction to my writings is good. I did have one negative comment but deleted it. Not because it was negative but because the anon gave away the complete story line in it. If a registered user posts I make sure to send a thank you note. So far comments have been low so itís easy to keep up.

Part of the reason I published was because I thought I was done. The other reason was because if nobody had liked it, I would have scrapped the whole thing.

Iím just starting and really just wanted to test the waters.
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