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Old 07-03-2015, 01:13 AM   #1
LordLoxley
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The tyranny of the serial story

Hello Literotica friends,

There is something that has been buzzing around in my mind for years, but I have not mentioned it because I don't want to be seen as criticizing Literotica. I have been a reader for over ten years, and an author here for over three. I love Literotica. There is nothing like it on the web. It is amazing and important.

I have now been here long enough that I feel like this is my family. I hope my observations can be seen as an effort to make Literotica better rather than an attack on it. I love this site and I think there is only one flaw in the basic machinery. That flaw is the tyranny of the serial story.

I first noticed the problem as a reader. I would go to the top lists, hoping to find a wikki crowd-sourced, "rotten-tomatoes" type list of best stories. Instead I found a list of serial stories, and every one of them was well into the story, eg. "The Tawny Buttmucher Ch. 12."

To my further dismay, I found that the stories were not in fact the best that Literotica had to offer. One example that stands out is a 4.82 rated gem that explained how a dude "choreographed" his punch and how the hero "was forced to do what the guy wanted, unleash an ass kicking."

Now we all make mistakes with word choice. That's why a good editor is worth their weight in gold. But I noticed a real trend. If you want to find the best Literotica has to offer, don't go to the top lists. Go to other readers and find their favorites. Find readers you trust and use them to find good stories. Honestly, there should be a way to favorite readers for this very reason.

So I knew the top lists were somehow dominated by serial stories, but I had no idea how. Then I started submitting stories, and this gave me a different perspective.

I have come to believe that the system is accidentally slanted towards the serial story, and here's why: Everyone will read the first chapter. We will vote and go our merry way.

But... and this is key... only the core fans will go on to read chapter 2 through 65. This means people who may have given lower ratings are no longer part of the pool. In fact, the more people drop out of the story, that is to say lose interest, the higher the rating will actually go up!

So by the time you get to chapter 12, the rating you see is not a real cross-section of all readers. It is not a representative expression of how we as a site view the story. It is instead a minority opinion pure and simple. The unfortunate thing is, being on the "top list" it is represented as a majority opinion, which it clearly is not.

Now, let me say that just because a story is a serial story does not make it poor quality. That is not my position at all. I merely wish to point out a glitch in the system that is allowing minority opinions to masquerade as majority opinions. This is harmful to the site in general, since the Literotica readership is being misrepresented.

If you think I'm full of shit, please go to the top lists, any category, and scroll down until you find a plain old story. How far did you have to go? How far do you have to scroll down to find a chapter 1?

My Friends, I don't know the solution to this problem. But as a reader, I would like to be able to have a dependable wikki opinion on stories. A 4.82 should be a fucking gem. Story line excellent, sex scene descriptions excellent, and writing on point.

As an author, I would like to have my stories rated fairly before all readers.

Possible solutions? I don't know. Maybe separate top lists, one for serial stories, one for stand-alones and first chapters? Please respond with your opinion. I really would like to find positive solutions. I'm not about bitching for the sake of bitching. I would like to fix the one and only glitch on this awesome site!

Sincerely,
Loxley
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Old 07-03-2015, 01:46 AM   #2
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This has been discussed many times, and Manu has indicated that the introduction of the "Story Series" section is the first of the building blocks toward the end of segregating chaptered stories from one-shots in the toplists. There's not been a lot of dissent to the suggestion that it would be a good idea.

The same thing happens with really long stories posted as a single submission, though. Those who are loving it make it to the end, while those who don't back-click before reaching the 16th page where the voting form is.

It's not just a chapter thing, it's a long story thing.

If you think Lit's scoring is biased toward epics, you should see Storiesonline LOL
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Old 07-03-2015, 02:00 AM   #3
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Hi there welcome aboard.

Like RR (Darkniciad) - who knows LOTS, says, there is a category where serial stories are supposed to be posted, but not many post in there because the readers don't look in it, LOL.

I think the main thing is, we don't get too hung up on the scores of stories. There are many other factors which affect the scores and mean that what you or I consider 'the best' don't always make it to the top. An effective stroke story will usually score quick 5s and do better than a deeper more involved story which careful readers say is great but needs a little work, so they give it a 4 - or some will find it too dense and score it down. Or even though it was the most brilliant and beautiful exploration of human relationships, it didn't have toe-sucking in it so fans of toes score it down.

We often say in here that the best stories don't always even have the red H. The answer is, to enjoy the chaos! Sometimes you click on a Hot rated story and it's really not your thing. Sometimes you think 'God, I suppose I ought to check this out,' and something that you had no expectations of turns out to be brilliant.

You can go in the story feedback thread where people talk about stories they found enjoyable. You could even read my review blog , then you will get a sense of what the story is like before you open it up and get immersed in its 22 pages. You can pick out Favourite authors and like you say, check other people's Favourite lists. Look out for the competitions too; there are usually good stories in those as it's usually the writers who have been on here a while and honed their craft who enter them. There are some great stories (IMO) in the Nude Day competition now.

There are so many stories on here!

Have fun! keep coming back to chat, and post a link to your own submissions - in your sig line is a good place. Then we can check out your stuff without having to do any hard work like search for you or something.
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Old 07-03-2015, 03:11 AM   #4
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Back in the day, Lit was a mostly stand alone story site and then.... A site with nothing but chapters folded. Guess where the authors and their stories went after that.

A short time later, the new authors here saw the advantage to the chapter and added to the mess.

Some say a chapter is not a story but only a part of a story and shouldn't be rated until completed. Some say otherwise.

One day it will get settled. Maybe.
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Old 07-03-2015, 03:18 AM   #5
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The thing is, as the author's thinking evolves, the programmers have to evolve as well, because what started as a simple algorithm for a small pool suddenly has to support thoughts it never was meant to support.

In truth, the all important red H is not that important, it's ego with the writers.

My own story (my 1 ... I have another coming, but it's about 10 lit pages longer than I thought it would be) I wanted that red H, but I skipped over one important fact: the sex! (in the category I chose) ... but from the numbers I've seen, a good story.

Don't get tied up with the Hall of Fame .... it's a free site and older writers obviously have a bigger fan base, but don't get obsessed with the numbers, it's going to drive you crazy.

Edit: I had a point here, but I've been drinking.
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Old 07-03-2015, 05:29 AM   #6
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I find stories the way the OP mentioned...when people fav me I click on their age and see who else they fav then look at their work. I go by title and tag line, not score as to what I find interesting.

I'll throw in the top lists that actually work as at least three that I know of have been broken for years...therefore adding even more of an advantage to the stories that are on them, because they are never supplanted.

Serial stories have the edge in every way mentioned and also in the monthly contests which is the most unfair because there is money involved. The majority of winners are chapter stories.

But as far as looking at every chapter series as an author trying to get an unfair advantage, for me it depends on the series.

If every chapter moves the story forward, brings in new characters and situations, creates conflicts, has plot twists and story lines, then I'm fine with it, what should they do, write a 60 page one shot? MY swb series was 900k broken into 50 chapters...but don't worry, the incest top list would have to work to show an unfair edge in dominance

But when a series does get my goat is when each installment is just the same people having more sex. "Chapter 2, this time she takes it in the ass, chapter 3, they play in the pool, ch 4...mom joins in..." no story just a series of strokers connected by a character.

The second time it looks unfair and contrived is when the chapters are a lit page or barely more. A five chapter story that's 16k...at that point that is a deliberate effort to try to take advantage of the scoring edge, keep your name on the new list longer and make it look like you write a lot more than you really do.

As for changes, don't hold your breath, 'coming soon' here is measured in decades.
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Old 07-03-2015, 06:31 AM   #7
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I start plenty of essays I never submit, and I sample TOP LIST stories for examples of whatever point I wanna make. But few include the relevant stuff.

I experiment, tho. My GREEN E 10K story scores a meh 3 point nuthin, my 17K story is 2 point nuthin ppppfffff.

The Red H is a 5K romp where a middle age book keeper takes an 18 year old kid to her cabin to do work there. I got the idea from Mrs. Howell and Gilligan.

My highest scoring tales are all violent, sexual romps. Theyd score higher if I left the Negroes out. Readers ignore how my black characters are almost always better people than the whites.

Write GILLIGANS ISLAND and go to the TOP LIST.
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Old 07-03-2015, 07:15 AM   #8
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My version of the tyranny of the serial story is:

I have to finish the bloody thing!

It can take me years on a stalled serial e.g. Brobdingnag and Harold Plays The Hero.

Some stories are not just stalled but jammed. Christmas Fairy Pt 01 and Pt 02 is one. I have written myself into a corner and I'm not sure how to extricate myself. "With one bound he was free!" doesn't work.

I thought I had found a solution. My Shelacta stories are assumed to be random transmissions received from another world. The parts don't have to be consecutive, although some are, nor from the same time.

Tripletit started as sequential stories but I have an out-of-series story Tripletit Panty Raid. There may be more out-of-series stories about Tripletit.

Back to the tyranny of a serial story - unless you plan the whole from start to finish before posting chapter 01 - the series can get off track and end up somewhere totally different. IF it still works, that's OK. Sometimes the joins and the fudges to get the series working together will show.
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Old 07-03-2015, 07:23 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LordLoxley View Post
Hello Literotica friends,
...I don't want to be seen as criticizing Literotica....
Oh, go ahead! In this case they deserve it. Let people just filter out and not see the multi chapter stories, it's not an unreasonable request.

I would also suggest to them to go hire a real IT consultant, I bet they have the money. Like oh (I know this is just crazy talk!) a Login link at the top right of all pages and consistent footers at the bottom of all pages, like every other website on the entire internet since about 1998? The ability to see what your public profile looks like to others in one click? These are not unreasonable requests either. Web 101, actually. Ok, fine, I'll even go as far as Web 102, maybe even Web 201, since there is a large site, and upgrading would involve touching almost all pages.
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Old 07-03-2015, 07:36 AM   #10
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I'm going to submit a multi-chaptered 10+ Lit page Sci-Fi story.


Fuck y'all.
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Old 07-03-2015, 07:38 AM   #11
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I'm going to submit a multi-chaptered 10+ Lit page Sci-Fi story.


Fuck y'all.
Fuck us all... Oh nows!
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Old 07-03-2015, 07:43 AM   #12
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Old 07-03-2015, 03:28 PM   #13
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Yep, I never bother to click on any of these 7-15 chapter epics, and I find their proliferation annoying. That said, clearly the current mode favors them, so what are you going to do?
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Old 07-03-2015, 07:07 PM   #14
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I'm glad to hear this is an ongoing discussion. I should have known.

Naoko, thanks for the suggestion, it didn't occur to me to include a link to my page, but I think its a great idea. I've put it in my sig.

For anyone curious right now, it is https://www.literotica.com/stories/m...hp?uid=1505665

Thanks for the ideas and insight, everyone. I'm glad to be a member of this thoughtful and irreverent community.
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Old 07-03-2015, 10:34 PM   #15
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Top lists don't mean much to me. I stick to the New Story List. I look for something different, a story with a plot and good character development. I'm not a fan of 10-page stories, probably because it's more work than it's worth and it's hard to get back to it on Lit if I don't finish reading it. Reading stories electronically isn't that comfortable anyway.

I like chapter and series stories, where the length of each submission is no longer than 3 pages. It's amazing how good some writers are at writing well-developed one-page Lit stories. Usually, less is more on Lit or anywhere else. I've also found a few good writers and stories by volunteer editing.
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Old 07-03-2015, 10:40 PM   #16
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There's no denying the power of the toplists to increase your readership, though. Anyone who's made the "Hall of Fame" on the category list, even for a brief time, has likely seen a decent spike in readership across their body of work as a result.

So, it certainly matters, and there's no denying that chapters dominate those lists, pushing out one-shots and drowning those that are there in noise.
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Old 07-05-2015, 09:38 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TamLin01 View Post
Yep, I never bother to click on any of these 7-15 chapter epics, and I find their proliferation annoying. That said, clearly the current mode favors them, so what are you going to do?
There are only a couple of solutions to this ongoing complaint.

One would be to take on the burden <cough~cough> yourself of just ignoring everything that has a "Ch. XX" in the title and scrolling past it. Lit is an all you can eat buffet. If you are on a diet, then just just stay away from the dessert bar instead of demanding it be taken out.

Another would be while the site upgrades are in the works, for Manu to add a "-Ch." to the search function...effectively removing anything that isn't a single shot story from the results. Seems almost too simple.

The best solution as far as I'm concerned would be to have two Hall of Fame listings for each category: one that is only strokers and one for multiple chapter stories. Everyone...both readers and authors...would win that way and we could join hands, sing Kumbaya, and finally put this silly discussion to a rest.
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Old 07-05-2015, 10:20 PM   #18
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Quote:
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]isn't[/b]
The best solution as far as I'm concerned would be to have two Hall of Fame listings for each category: one that is only strokers and one for multiple chapter stories. Everyone...both readers and authors...would win that way and we could join hands, sing Kumbaya, and finally put this silly discussion to a rest.
That solution would make the most sense, but I disagree with your use of the word "strokers" for short stories.


The short story is a fairly well established story format typically running 1-2 pages. Many of them on Lit are tightly crafted with very intriguing stories and well developed characters. Strokers tend to be short scenes with little intrigue or story 'cuz we already know somebody is going to get fucked, and little character development because they're just there to fuck. I don't mean that in a bad way.

A long, multi-chapter story is no guarantee that it will be anything but a series of short strokers with little character development and less story.

So I think there should be a HOF for short fiction (1 to maybe 4 pages) and one for longer or multi-chapter fiction.

Or not. Really, who the hell cares? I don't look at top lists because I don't think the scoring here means anything. I do what Lady Ver does. I scan the list of new stories in three categories that interest me, and decide based on title, tag line and author which I am going to mark for reading.

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Old 07-05-2015, 11:07 PM   #19
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The short story is a fairly well established story format typically running 1-2 pages.
Amen. The short story is a different form than a novella, which is a different form than a novel. Writing good short stories can take a whole more writing talent than writing a good novel.
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Old Yesterday, 07:11 AM   #20
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I don't know why this topic keeps getting discussed-changes I mean-no changes are coming here, none.

Many top lists don't even work anymore, haven't for years and they will never be fixed. Do people really think they will create additional ones?
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Old Yesterday, 07:17 AM   #21
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One more point, people keep mentioning all the advantages to long series.

They are ignoring one big disadvantage and that is what is a reader willing to invest? Many come here for the 1/2 page stories and many more for even shorter 'pure porn' strokers.

Many readers will see "chapter 14" and say "Hell no, I don't have that much time" and leave off it.

If you look close enough every thing has its ups and downs. Me? I don't like short one page stories, when I read I like to invest the time, I look for longer stories.

Short strokers have their audience.

Well told 2 page stories have theirs

6+ page stories have their audience

and long series have theirs

The scoring system is what gives the chapters the advantage....but as a negative they are far less read, but the site rewards score..

I'd say maybe we change the top lists to reflect vote total...meaning the stories that are most read-therefore most popular-get top billing

And because the top lists are by category that would eliminate the "can't compare incest to humor erotica horror vote wise"

Another advantage? It would take a story awhile to get the votes to move up and supplant current top list stories, in other words they would have to pay their dues

Because right now-on the top lists that work-you'll see a story with a 4.85 on 4k votes being knocked off by a new story with a 200 votes...again rewarding the lesser read story...

But I just wasted my own breath coming up with a suggestion.

So right now high chapter series rule because...no one reads them.

Just like the themed contests these days the winners are the stories that are least read. Lit is supposedly a site for readers, especially the contests-but has become "minority rules" in what it rewards in both monthly and now themed contests.

Don't believe it? Watch the Nude Day announcements for the latest 75-80 vote winner.
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