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The Art of Sims Storytelling

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  • PsychoSimXXPsychoSimXX Posts: 4,403 Member
    I have the prelude done!!! Now I just have to work on filling in the gaps for next few chapters I have written. I was initially going to do a story line using the legacy challenge and use of different challenges throughout but I'm not a legacy player and I'm not big of a fan of legacy stories. So I decided to just be me...LOL

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  • MedleyMistyMedleyMisty Posts: 1,188 Member
    edited December 2015
    ra3rei wrote: »
    My mom will read my short stories - but I do send them to her in draft form which means without the pictures. I usually send her the link to the finished product, not sure if she's read them but I bet she will when I visit for Christmas. I can usually get people to read those since they take less than 10 minutes to read. My sister rarely reads something, but she's very kind and lets me babble to her all the time about sims which she has perhaps a 5% interest in. (She helped me make her simself).

    Other than that I only know one other non-digital friend who plays the sims and we chat from time to time, but she doesn't read simlit. I've given my blog out to some coworkers who game...since my blog occasionally showcases other game stories...but if they're reading I don't know about it. Luckily all of you read (maybe not my blog, but the simlit genre) so I'm in good company.

    Oh - and as someone who normally avoids "literature" I figure I'll just add that it's not that I hate it. I think there's only one book I've ever thrown across the room in disgust and that was a SF book. So when I read them, I do enjoy them. It's just that for the most part they don't call to me. Not the way a dragon, or a really interested alien race will seduce me into buying the book after reading half of the back cover blurb. I'm not going to say it's right that I avoid classics and modern literature - but I will say they tend to cater to 'careful' readers. Which I am not - I'm a full tilt race through the book not putting it down or stopping for anything reader. So I miss a lot of the language play and prose and poetry. That's not to say I require my books action packed. I was exhausted after reading Dan Brown since he never gave his character (and therefore never game me) more than a few hours to rest and recover before we were being chased again.

    I'm not likely to change my reading habits after 35 years. (okay fewer than that, I wasn't reading before I was five). But I do tend to try to read more classic and poetic works via audio book. I find I'm more likely to read them that way since I'm forced to read every word...or at least hear every word. Shrug.

    And now it's way past my bedtime....as @RipuAncestor said: priorities. :P

    Why do you think that literature can't include dragons or alien races?

    Terry Pratchett wrote straight up literature, and I will fight anyone who says different.

    Harry Potter is also literature. So is the Hunger Games. Not seeing where you have to be absolutely realist to write literature.

    Douglas Adams too. And Madeline L'Engle. And plenty of others.

    Do you really think that Tolkien had nothing interesting to say about humans just because his work included elves and dwarfs and dragons? I was in the theater for the LoTR movies, and I can tell you that the audience felt a deep connection to the story and that it meant something to them. It is literature.
    Post edited by MedleyMisty on
    Sometimes the darkness and I tell stories.
  • LluviaRainLluviaRain Posts: 2,199 Member
    edited December 2015
    I really want to start a story, but I am worried that no one will like it because I will be writing in third person. (I am used to writing in first person) I don't know what to do :/
    Not sure what to put here... so hi
  • MedleyMistyMedleyMisty Posts: 1,188 Member
    cupcake12 wrote: »
    I really want to start a story, but I am worried that no one will like it because I will be writing in third person. (I am used to writing in first person) I don't know what to do :/

    Write it in third person!

    I do mostly first person these days, but Valley was third person and it was way more popular than anything else I've written.

    Do what feels right for the story.
    Sometimes the darkness and I tell stories.
  • AdamsEve1231AdamsEve1231 Posts: 7,018 Member
    edited December 2015
    @CitizenErased14 I'll have to try a wordless post sometime.
    I write completely and entirely what I want to write. It's just that once I'm done, I want to share it and have other people like it. I get confused when that doesn't happen and I get all insecure and I wonder if my writing isn't any good or if it's that I'm a bad person, and that's why people don't want the gift that I worked on so hard for them.

    @MedleyMisty I feel that way too. Sometimes I write a post that I think is going to be so great and no one comments or likes it. Sometimes I write a post that eh... it was okay... or I didn't think it was all that special and I get tons of comments. It does make me insecure sometimes. I love having readers, but more importantly, I love having commenters... people who share what they liked about the chapter or offer an encouragement. This is what makes my day.

    This is why when I read another Simmer's story, I do try to make constructive comments about something from each post I read. It does take a lot of time and I can't keep up with stories as much, but I want to show as much support of the SimLit community out there as I can. And it's nice when people do it for me in return, but I don't do it just to "link drop." To be honest, I love reading all the great SimLit out there.

    @CitizenErased14 I appreciate what you said about quality over quantity. Sometimes I get on a roll with my game and I have three or four posts from one gaming session. Lately though I've been trying to stagger those posts out a bit and give my readers a chance to catch up. Honestly, I think this is what happened in my first part of KCLKF. I think I lost readers because I was posting so frequently, and I took a slightly more serious turn with my writing around the halfway point. For Part 2, I really want to focus on quality over quantity.

    So that brings me to my next question for the community (because I'd really like some advice and I'd like to grow): How often do you post? How much is too much? What is your personal preference for reading new SimLit posts?


    Post edited by AdamsEve1231 on
    NLa3Fdu.png
    ...a little bit mystery... a little bit magic... a little here... a little there... welcome to my whimsical writing world.
    Livin' A Simmin' Life's Stories
  • CathyTeaCathyTea Posts: 23,047 Member
    cupcake12 wrote: »
    I really want to start a story, but I am worried that no one will like it because I will be writing in third person. (I am used to writing in first person) I don't know what to do :/

    I would say, Just give it a try! At the very least, you'll learn interesting things about writing third person! It can be very fun and enjoyable to try to write within the limits--and freedom--of third person! And if you want, you can always sneak in a few first person chapters now and then, as you go along!
    Cathy Tea's SimLit Anthology

    Dragon Name: Hywicoes | House: Ravenclaw | Wand: Dogwood, Unicorn hair 11 ¼" , Suprisingly Swishy
  • CathyTeaCathyTea Posts: 23,047 Member
    Question from @AdamsEve1231 So that brings me to my next question for the community (because I'd really like some advice and I'd like to grow): How often do you post? How much is too much? What is your personal preference for reading new SimLit posts?

    During my first year, I was on such a roll of inspiration! I think I did over 400 posts that first year, rarely going a day without a post, and often having two posts a day.

    I was in a pattern where I'd play an hour and a half to two hours in the evening, then select, resize, optimize, and upload the screenshots before bed, then write the chapter the next morning. It felt amazing!

    Now, I'm not surfing that wave of inspiration, and so I'm finding a more relaxed, thoughtful pace. I will still sometimes post a few days in a row, I'm sure, when I'm working on stuff, but it looks like I'll be averaging out to maybe 3-4 posts per week.

    Some writers really think about readers when they post and they schedule their work so that it's delivered at a pace that readers like.

    This doesn't work for me--I've got to post in conjunction with my writing/imagination/creative process, to keep that flow and momentum.

    I'm less of a readerly writer and more of a writerly writer, focusing more on my own creative process and exploration than thinking about the readers' response and experience.

    In fact, I rarely consider the reader while I write!
    Cathy Tea's SimLit Anthology

    Dragon Name: Hywicoes | House: Ravenclaw | Wand: Dogwood, Unicorn hair 11 ¼" , Suprisingly Swishy
  • AdamsEve1231AdamsEve1231 Posts: 7,018 Member
    Nory_05 wrote: »
    There are dedicated places where this is ok. It's a place where you submit your writing, and they will destroy it line by line. But even they don't do it in a hurtful manner, and whoever submits there, knows it's going to happen. They get line edits, advice and critique. So that's cool and all, but when someone just posts a sim story on their own blog, i don't see why it's needed. If i don't like someone's blog or story, i stop reading it, cuz "ain't nobody got time fo that!"

    I think most SimLit writers are doing this for fun (correct me if I'm wrong). I don't see why line-by-line edits and tear-apart critiques are necessary. I appreciate constructive criticism and feedback but if you're going to tear me a new one, I probably won't let the comment through (not that I've had this happen yet). I think it's sad that people are out there attacking SimLit for the sake of attacking it.

    Honestly, what I love about the SimLit community is how different we are and how unique our writing styles are but it's the Sims games that bring us together. I don't think we really need people out there tearing other people's stories down. I've been writing my whole life in multiple different spheres (non-fiction, blog, fiction, etc) and I can still appreciate someone else's story that's not as detailed or deep as mine or whose writing style is different. But I agree with you @Nory_05 if I don't like someone's blog or story (i.e. writing quality, topic, style, etc), I simply stop reading it.

    @MedleyMisty I don't understand why someone would do that - be constantly vicious and critique you up the wazoo, especially if you didn't ask for it. That seems so unfair and takes the joy out of writing. I say to those kinds of people: if you don't like someone's writing style, get over it, stop reading, and move on. Sheesh! What's wrong with people? I wonder how many of them are actually established paid editors in real life or gifted writers themselves so they actually have some credence. Don't they have anything better to do with their time?

    @RipuAncestor Thanks. I actually get some of my best content when I let things "just happen" in game and then work in a write-around. Something like that happens in one of my upcoming chapters for Kassiopeia Fullbright: The Lost Legacy.
    So...hey, that's a topic we could talk about in this thread! Does other people's work ever make you feel insecure about yours? If so, how do you handle that feeling?
    I've been writing for years as I've said before, but I don't consider myself a professional writer. I've pretty much always had day jobs and I haven't published anything seriously. I hold myself to a certain standard with my writing, but I don't expect everyone else to have the same standard or to even like my way of writing. When I first started out writing SimLit, it was on a dare from the one and only person I know IRL who plays The Sims. It started out as a pet project and so I didn't take myself or my writing too seriously in the beginning. KCLKF obviously evolved from there and I see several points where things took a more serious turn, several points where I thought to myself: oh hey, I could really make something out of this! Reading other people's writing gives me an idea of what's out there (i.e. what people are looking for, how others write their stories, ideas for my own, things I should/should not be doing, etc) and allows me to support the SimLit community. I have a few people I follow that easily have 30-50+of comments per post and hundreds of followers/readers. It's a little intimidating, but mostly awe-inspiring. I'd be lying if I said I didn't want more comments and readers, but I'm okay with growing slowly.
    NLa3Fdu.png
    ...a little bit mystery... a little bit magic... a little here... a little there... welcome to my whimsical writing world.
    Livin' A Simmin' Life's Stories
  • AdamsEve1231AdamsEve1231 Posts: 7,018 Member

    Another thing that bothers me/makes me feel insecure is when readers don't react to things the way I intended them to. Especially my characters. CathyTea will remember the day I got super defensive about that in the Writers' Lounge haha. I know not everyone will like every character, but when people say they don't like a character who's supposed to be likeable/sympathetic it really makes me wonder "what did I do wrong?!"

    I wonder this too sometimes. Why didn't someone react the way I did? I just wrote a chapter I thought was epic and awesome and no one commented or people got the wrong idea. I hope my readers will like my character and I try my hardest to make them relatable, but I know not everyone will because everyone has a different background, experience, etc. There is a very talented writer I had been following (and I won't name names) but I got to a certain point in the story and stopped following because the topic and situations made me uncomfortable, mostly because of my own personal background with the subject matter. It has nothing to do with this writer's ability whatsoever, but there are certain things that are just hit a little too close to home for me to read about and unfortunately, that means abandoning a story halfway through.
    ra3rei wrote: »
    For me others peoples work doesn't create insecurity, but more pushes me to write even better.
    I agree. I am inspired to take more time to craft my writing and to try harder because I want to improve.

    @CathyTea I think you have an excellent point when you say "how weird" it is if authors of books had relationships with their readers the way bloggers do with their readers. Authors of printed fiction have to wait for reviews from critics or letters from fans these days, but bloggers, are we setting ourselves up for disappointment and insecurity, if we're expecting immediate results? Perhaps if I was more patient, I'd be less insecure about stats, amount of followers, readers, commenters, etc. Have I been conditioned because I live in a society that likes instantaneous results and microwave comment bursts? Maybe I'm taking this too far, but I have a tendency to over-analyze.

    @MedleyMisty Sorry I posted my comment about not being a professional writer before reading your comment: "See, I get insecure when people claim that they are not professional writers." Writing is my passion and my life. I want to make it my work someday. In the meantime, I'm heading to grad school in the spring. I am all over the place with genres - everything from non-fiction, mystery and crime, science fiction and fantasy, poetry, and most recently, SimLit. Some of it I've been doing for years and others I've been doing just recently. Writing is a big part of who I am, but I don't consider myself a professional because I've never made it a full-time job or occupation, and I have 2-3 small works published.

    I think it's totally cool that you take your SimLit seriously, and correct me if I'm wrong, but I think all of us on this particular forum are here. I also take my SimLit seriously... as seriously as my other writing, which is why I try to rotate and stagger what I work on - moving between my three spheres of writing (which all have incredibly different audiences - nonfiction relationship help and encouragement, my SimLit blog, and my novel writing).

    I only really know one other person IRL that plays the Sims and he doesn't read my work. My husband knows I play the game, but I haven't shared my stories with him yet. It's not that he doesn't care about my writing because he's extremely supporting, but it's because I'm kinda private about my writing. It's my own little sphere of influence. My own little world. It's hard to invite others, especially IRL people, into that, even if it is my husband. I know he would be supportive and read it, but I'm not sure I'm ready yet. Is that bad?
    NLa3Fdu.png
    ...a little bit mystery... a little bit magic... a little here... a little there... welcome to my whimsical writing world.
    Livin' A Simmin' Life's Stories
  • ra3reira3rei Posts: 2,418 Member
    Oh! @MedleyMisty I DO consider dragons and aliens to be capable of being Literature! Octavia Butler's books alone prove that! I dare anyone to say her books aren't Literature.

    I proudly will stand up to anyone and tell them that reading about dragons and aliens is one of the best thing in the world to read. It makes you much more open towards the rest of the world and can get inside you to tell you things about yourself and your culture that may feel too uncomfortable if you couldn't use the setting or characters to back away from it. So I wouldn't want to imply that genre fiction is 'lesser' than other fiction. I'm a cataloger though, so I'm always trying to find groups of similar things and put them together. I never use genre in a derogatory nature.

    In my case I guess was thinking more of the straight up fiction shelves at bookstores. I rarely go there. Not because the books aren't good, but because they rarely have the triggers that get me excited about a book. Also I call my bookshelf at home with those books "literature" so I guess that's where I get the term. It's a tiny shelf with my Jane Austin, 🤔🤔🤔🤔.kens, and a couple more modern books that feel out of place if I stick them on my mystery or sf/f shelves. Perhaps it's a difference between capital 'L' Literature (the art of writing) and my lower case 'l' literature (aka fiction that isn't genre).

    Perhaps I'm thinking more of the traditional classics when I say literature is more dense prose and poetic so it slows me down. It's mainly an artifact of a different time and different focus in those works. (Although China Mieville's prose is more poetic than most modern SF writes and he slows me down). I will admit I never managed to get more than halfway through Tolkein's trilogy until I started the audiobook. The songs and poems just bogged me down too much. As an audiobook? When someone actually sings the songs? Awesome.

    Lastly for @AdamsEve1231 @everyone
    How often do you post? How much is too much? What is your personal preference for reading new SimLit posts?
    I try to post somthing on my blog M-F. It's not usually the same story though since I have lot going on. That's normally once a week or so. For reading new SimLit? It's awesome if I can binge on a bunch of chapters to start me off. But either way once I'm caught up with the author, I really don't care how often they post updates. Daily would probably be too hard to keep up with and I'd worry about burn out. I'm eagerly awaiting the next post in Distant Winters...and that probably won't be more than once a year. The longer it is between updates the more likely I'll read it the moment it comes out.
    Check out Raerei's Fortress for Builds, Short Stories, and maybe some longer stuff.
  • AdamsEve1231AdamsEve1231 Posts: 7,018 Member
    Nory_05 wrote: »

    What does make me insecure is when i later re-read my own stuff and i think: could i have done that differently? Would that have been better?

    I don't necessarily feel insecure, but I definitely am my own worst critic. In my other writing, I edit and edit and edit again. In my SimLit, I'm often so excited about what's happened that I don't give it as much editing time as I should. However, I'm try to reread myself and shut off my internal editor and just enjoy the story like I would enjoy someone else's stories. I also try and see where I went wrong and use that as a source of inspiration for what I can do differently in the future instead of editing what I've already done. But I'm guilty of editing even after publishing.
    cupcake12 wrote: »
    I really want to start a story, but I am worried that no one will like it because I will be writing in third person. (I am used to writing in first person) I don't know what to do :/
    I have always written in third person so writing in first person was a first for me in SimLit, but I wanted to stretch myself. I debated about giving Kass a third person perspective in Part 2, but decided against it. I would give it a try. Explore the possibilities and challenge yourself.

    NLa3Fdu.png
    ...a little bit mystery... a little bit magic... a little here... a little there... welcome to my whimsical writing world.
    Livin' A Simmin' Life's Stories
  • AdamsEve1231AdamsEve1231 Posts: 7,018 Member
    @MedleyMisty @ra3rei Every writer has something to say regardless of what genre they're writing - whether their stories include dragons, aliens, or everyday people. I think one of the reasons why Tolkein is enjoyable is in spite of all his majestic other-worldly creatures and races, he makes relatable characters in the hobbits. They may have some "different" traits than say an everyday human living in NYC, but the hobbits illustrate things I think every human desires - the competing desire for comfort and security and for grand adventures and making a difference in the big world. This doesn't mean everyone has to like this style of literature nor do you have to read literature you just don't like, but I do think it's unfair to dismiss something just because you don't get it or it's not your thing. (And I'm not saying you are or anyone else on here is. I'm just saying we should give things a fair chance, although I know I'm hypocritical for saying this because I don't get or enjoy most pop fiction these days.)

    Before my husband was in my life, I honestly didn't really like science fiction and/or fantasy because I didn't understand it. But now I love it and I love how writers of the genre use these fantastical, alien, or other-worldly characters to express deep human needs and desires. Fantasy and/or science fiction also allows us to explore what makes us human and other deep-seated questions about life, love, and death that we may not be brave enough to speak out against directly. I think this takes a special kind of courage. Part of what took me so long with my first fantasy draft was I hadn't read much fantasy and didn't know much about fantasy but I knew there was this story on my heart and I had to write it. I had this idea that ached to be released on paper and I had to let it out of my mind. I started out exploring the genre and then ultimately ended up discovering myself in the process. I love how the Sims games includes fantasy/supernatural/alien elements and I knew when I started KCLKF I wanted to explore that and I will continue to do more of that in part 2.
    NLa3Fdu.png
    ...a little bit mystery... a little bit magic... a little here... a little there... welcome to my whimsical writing world.
    Livin' A Simmin' Life's Stories
  • PsychoSimXXPsychoSimXX Posts: 4,403 Member
    cupcake12 wrote: »
    I really want to start a story, but I am worried that no one will like it because I will be writing in third person. (I am used to writing in first person) I don't know what to do :/

    Write as you see fit. If you want to challenge yourself by stepping out of your comfort zone then do it. Sometimes stepping out of your comfort zone can lead to great things. My daughter stepped out her when it came to her art work. Now she loves the new things she has learned and stepping out has peaked the interest of a few universities and art schools.



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  • Nory_05Nory_05 Posts: 355 Member
    cupcake12 wrote: »
    I really want to start a story, but I am worried that no one will like it because I will be writing in third person. (I am used to writing in first person) I don't know what to do :/

    @cupcake12 i write in 3rd person too :) it's great, you should try it!



    So that brings me to my next question for the community (because I'd really like some advice and I'd like to grow): How often do you post? How much is too much? What is your personal preference for reading new SimLit posts?

    I post usually every other week.
    My first story was posted every week, or sometimes twice a week, because i had a lot of time during summer.

    I'm really behind on most stories i'm reading, so i'm just binging on them really and not even sure how often their author posted :D I think once a week / once every two weeks is good, cuz the readers don't forget what happened before :D



    Nory_05 wrote: »
    There are dedicated places where this is ok. It's a place where you submit your writing, and they will destroy it line by line. But even they don't do it in a hurtful manner, and whoever submits there, knows it's going to happen. They get line edits, advice and critique. So that's cool and all, but when someone just posts a sim story on their own blog, i don't see why it's needed. If i don't like someone's blog or story, i stop reading it, cuz "ain't nobody got time fo that!"

    I think most SimLit writers are doing this for fun (correct me if I'm wrong). I don't see why line-by-line edits and tear-apart critiques are necessary. I appreciate constructive criticism and feedback but if you're going to tear me a new one, I probably won't let the comment through (not that I've had this happen yet). I think it's sad that people are out there attacking SimLit for the sake of attacking it.

    Honestly, what I love about the SimLit community is how different we are and how unique our writing styles are but it's the Sims games that bring us together. I don't think we really need people out there tearing other people's stories down. I've been writing my whole life in multiple different spheres (non-fiction, blog, fiction, etc) and I can still appreciate someone else's story that's not as detailed or deep as mine or whose writing style is different. But I agree with you @Nory_05 if I don't like someone's blog or story (i.e. writing quality, topic, style, etc), I simply stop reading it.

    @AdamsEve1231 yes, definitely! It's a fun game, and writing stories for it should be fun! The place i mentioned for the line edits is a specific place for that. It's not suitable for sims fiction and i'd find it weird if any of my readers would ever do it :D
    So far i only got nice comments, or no comments at all on my chapters, which is also fine :)
    My sim stories:
    Regrets (Finished)
    Abbie's Diary (Finished)
    Mistakes

  • CitizenErased14CitizenErased14 Posts: 12,187 Member
    edited December 2015
    How often do you post? How much is too much? What is your personal preference for reading new SimLit posts?
    I think that there's no real 'right' or 'wrong' way to do your update schedule :) When I first started writing Dust to Dust, I posted every day. The only reason I was able to handle that scheduled is because I'm a teacher, so I wasn't working full time in the summer, just about 12-15 hours a week at my summer job.

    Once school started up again (I also work my summer job during the school year, by the way. So I work like 50-ish hours a week, on average!) I had to cut back, and I did 4 updates a week (which was still a lot to handle! But I did not want the story to drag out for too long :lol:). I find it interesting that some people have mentioned that they think updating too often scares readers away. I kind of had the opposite experience -- I think I got MORE readers because I had a frequent and consistent update schedule. But that's just me!

    As a reader, here is my thought on things: I prefer more frequent updates. Even if it's only once a week. This will sound bad (but it's just my take!) the longer the gap between updates, the more likely I am to forget to check for new chapters and eventually stop reading your story -- not because I stopped liking it, but because I thought you weren't writing it anymore. I think this is part of why I kept updating D2D so frequently -- I didn't want my readers to feel that way!

    Of course, as we've seen with some of the other responses, not everyone feels the same way I do, and not all of your readers will feel the same either! :)

    Okay, now I am switching up the subject and throwing out my own question for @everyone -- Do you ever struggle with how to feel about POSITIVE feedback/praise?

    Here's my personal take on it: My only experience with writing SimLit and receiving feedback has been on this forum and on Wordpress (with most of my readers coming from this forum). Everyone around here is SUPER supportive and positive and wonderful to their fellow authors, which I LOVE and think is amazing :heart:

    But I will say this (Confession time!) -- It's had a huge impact on how I take positive comments and praise from my readers. Everyone showers EVERYONE with praise around here, I've noticed (again, not a bad thing!) BUT it makes me kind of take praise from my readers with a grain of salt. People will say "Wow, your story is amazing!" and I feel like they say that to EVERYONE and feel like they HAVE to say it to me.

    I'm not saying I want people to insult my story :lol: (I actually take negative/constructive feedback VERY personally :lol: So I guess heaps of praise is actually better than criticism, for me) but I feel like I never know when a compliment is sincere and when it's just the lovely people in this community being, well... lovely as usual :lol: Obviously they took the time to read my story so they clearly enjoyed it, but I just never know how to take some of the comments haha.
    snvAF3B.png
  • ra3reira3rei Posts: 2,418 Member
    @CitizenErased14
    Do you ever struggle with how to feel about POSITIVE feedback/praise?

    I think it's important to be able to accept gifts. Positive feedback is like a gift. I notice some people really struggle accept positive feedback. And that's just plummy, IMO. (Not saying anyone here, just in general).

    As for why I think you get more positive feedback. For me anyway, it seems the wrong place to say, wow I loved your story but you really messed up on your transitions. I think I would point out if I got lost or confused, but as far as critical feedback. A public posting everyone could read? I would never do that. It's too open - Like having an argument in public.

    I also read simlit without any critical eye for the most part. I don't put my "writing workshop" glasses on. That requires multiple reading and slowing down. If you want that from me. Ask. Emails or PM or comments on google docs would be a better, more private way to elicit that type of feedback.
    Check out Raerei's Fortress for Builds, Short Stories, and maybe some longer stuff.
  • CitizenErased14CitizenErased14 Posts: 12,187 Member
    edited December 2015
    @ra3rei I understand what you're saying about how a public feedback place isn't the best place for criticism. But your comment has kind of confirmed my fears :lol: People will comment with "Wow, this is amazing!" when they're really thinking "Gosh, that conversation was worded so awkwardly and didn't feel natural... But I want to be supportive and this isn't the right place for criticism, so I will tell her I liked it even though it wasn't very good." :lol:

    I dunno. I guess I'm one of the plummy ones :lol: So (much as I love compliments and will graciously thank readers for them) every single positive comment I get, I'm thinking "I wonder what they REALLY thought" :lol: But hey, I'll enjoy living in a blissful reality where everyone genuinely loved every chapter ;) (I don't mean that in a sarcastic or snarky way. I just realized that it kinda sounds that way :lol: I was genuinely trying to be funny with that last comment :tongue:)

    EDIT: By the way, I am not trying to sound ungrateful for positive feedback at all! I'm just saying that I kind of have a hard time accepting it/"believing" it all the time. Maybe it's just because of my own insecurities about my writing.
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  • ra3reira3rei Posts: 2,418 Member
    @CitizenErased14 That's not entirely what I was saying. I will never say "Wow this is so good" when I think that it was confusing, badly written, or I didn't like it. I will find something I liked about the story and comment on that. I bet others do the same. Or I won't comment at all and stop reading after two chapters.

    I think these positive comment are what we "Really" thought about your chapter, they just probably don't include where we thought you could improve.
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  • CitizenErased14CitizenErased14 Posts: 12,187 Member
    edited December 2015
    I gave you an "insightful" for that one @ra3rei :lol: I don't know. I think I need to learn how to just accept feedback in general :lol: I love getting it, but I always have a hard time with it... As I've mentioned, I take negative feedback REALLY personally (like, I will get so upset and discouraged and probably cry. I'm not kidding :lol: I'm such a baby. That's why I never go within an inch of the Writers' Workshop thread. I'd end up basically reduced to tears). But then, as I also said, I have a hard time completely accepting positive feedback, because I feel like people are just trying to be nice or something... I mean, when given the choice, I'd go for positive feedback any day, don't get me wrong :lol: But... I dunno. I always feel weird about it.

    I feel like I'm stuck in a strange catch-22. I crave feedback, but struggle with taking it. But, on the whole, I'd rather have some sort of feedback than none at all!

    Does anyone else have any of these difficulties? Am I just weird (it's okay if I am. I embrace my weirdness :tongue:)
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  • CathyTeaCathyTea Posts: 23,047 Member
    @CitizenErased14 If I comment, it means I love something--or I love it enough to want to encourage the writer! And I also love to share appreciation of the hard work, love, and dedication that each person brings to their work.

    Now... that said, I've got certain keywords that I only use when I think something is really truly art--meaning that it touches me the way art does, in a way that transcends the mundane--even if deals with the mundane!

    And... I've used those keywords with all the writers on this thread whose work I've read! :) (Meaning I've used it with your work :) )

    What your question gets it is something that others also seem to be asking for: an honest evaluation of their work so that they can understand its merit. I think all artists and writers crave this, especially when trying something new or when establishing a voice or style.

    I know I really wanted that with my S-GAS posts, which I felt were experimenting with different styles and voices and incorporating the work of lots of different writers (it was a collab)--and I didn't really get that kind of feedback. I even asked a few people: "Does it work? I'm trying something new, and I'm so immersed in it, I can't see it or hear it, and I want to know if it's working..." And I got feedback about the experience of participating in S-GAS, but not on the work, which was what I'd wanted. (Maybe that means that it failed with what I was after--but I would have liked to hear that, too, so that I could learn from the experience.)

    It is challenging and time-consuming to give feedback. A lot of times, I'll feel a rush of positivity--so I'll just blurt out, "Wow! I love this!" Not so helpful, except to share that burst of enthusiasm and love that I feel.

    I really admire @ShannonSimsFan who travels nearly all the stories I do (plus more) and always leaves such thoughtful, considered feedback. I also know that she sets aside a lot of time to be able to do this.

    I'm at the point where if someone provides feedback, I feel great--because I know that it's so much easier and quick to click "like" and move on.

    It would be neat to have a place where we could share more detailed feedback--maybe this thread? That's what our Writers' Workshop is for, too, but I know that the Workshop experience isn't for everyone--or for every work!



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  • RipuAncestorRipuAncestor Posts: 2,326 Member
    @CitizenErased14 I do struggle with positive feedback a bit. While it makes me happy, I too sometimes have a hard time believing it and it just gives me this awkward feeling of "what do I do now? how to I respond to this?" I have actually touched upon that in my story by making the main character mention a couple of times that she has a hard time taking compliments... and that's not the only thing that's totally taken from my own personality about her... and I feel a bit unsure if that is a good thing but I digress. Anyway, I personally like if someone actually tells me WHAT they liked about my story. Just a "nice!" or "It was good", while nice to hear, doesn't really tell me anything about my writing except that it was probably at least not horrible.

    Let me at least try ease your fears a bit: when I personally comment, I want to say what I mean. If I think something is not good, I'll rather stop reading it than say something that might crush the writer. I do like to give constructive criticism, and I can be pretty harsh too (but still friendly, I hope), but that usually requires that I know that the person is going to respond well to it or at least doesn't flip out. If someone makes the mistake of ASKING for criticism personally from me, I'm going to give them what they want and sometimes they haven't been prepared for it even though I will find both positive things and room for improvement. I've noticed that many people can't take criticism at all. That said, what I have said about your story recently is what I really think about it. I mean, I wouldn't have read through 100 chapters of something I don't like, and I'm sure at least most of your readers agree. :)

    It's way past my bedtime, so this post might not make too much sense, but I still do mean what I've said here.
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  • PsychoSimXXPsychoSimXX Posts: 4,403 Member

    EDIT: By the way, I am not trying to sound ungrateful for positive feedback at all! I'm just saying that I kind of have a hard time accepting it/"believing" it all the time. Maybe it's just because of my own insecurities about my writing.

    That right there is why have issues with actually putting the things I write out for the world to see. I have written many stories over the years and only have let a few people see them. They are my closest friends who only give me positive feedback. Nothing on how I can improve. I understand as to why. It's hard to critic something when you know the story is based on real life hard events. Everything I have ever written has come from something bad in my life. It's my way of coping and releasing those demons so they don't destroy me. So they wont ever say anything bad. All I get is how courageous I was to write about that portion of my life. Then again these are friends who have known me since I was kid and know how bad the mental abuse was in my home. They know what I have repressed and what has come to the surface and what I go through when it does. Taking real events and putting them into a fictional story is rather hard, harder than I would have thought. So my writings are rather dark. They became even darker when a childhood friend died last year in car crash.

    The main character in the story I have been working on is based on a collection of people. They are people in my life who died yeas ago to drug related issues. The idea of the story doesn't require for anyone to have those problems but I wanted something to give those people a happy ending. So I included that in there just for them. Even though they are no longer with us, they have never left my heart.

    So I crave to be criticed...lol


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  • InfraGreenInfraGreen Posts: 6,665 Member
    @CitizenErased14: I'm like you in sometimes not believing it, but then I ask myself, am I doing anything different for anyone else? I have trouble criticizing other people, even in real life (like when my boss asks me what I think about the new people we employed; even if they're bad, I'm not gonna be the one to say it). And for SimLit? It's a hobby for a lot of people, so I don't feel right being too critical.

    The worst part is that I internally criticize stories. Especially when they really mishandle a serious subject, or do a truly bad job and seem like they should know better (such as if they claim to be published elsewhere). Sometimes I feel I should break my silence on those, but I just...don't.

    Now, if someone asks for it, maybe I'd change my mind?

    I probably should be "deeper" with the comments I post, but sometimes I don't have the words, and it's better to leave a few words than to say nothing at all.
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  • CitizenErased14CitizenErased14 Posts: 12,187 Member
    Good points, @InfraGreen ! I totally do the same, it's true! So maybe I am being a tad hypocritical...

    An when it comes to the "internally criticizing", that's I guess the sort of thing that I fear is happening with readers -- that they're secretly thinking all that :lol: (or maybe not-so-secretly? I've had a few readers completely vanish on me weeks or months ago and never come back. I wonder if they had thoughts like that!).

    But then, at the same time, I guess I'd rather not know and just imagine that they got really busy :lol:
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  • MedleyMistyMedleyMisty Posts: 1,188 Member
    Okay so honestly I am terrified of looking at the last page of posts because my brain is telling me that you all hate me. I don't need reassurance. I know my brain is wrong and that it's being irrational and that the Bad Times are over. I just need time to convince my brain that the Bad Times are over and that it's safe now.

    But I was pondering about writing and fiction and literature some more, and I wanted to share my ponderings.

    What I'm finding in my googling is that I am working from some very different base assumptions than other people are. Like I said before - I wasn't socialized into mainstream culture, so my brain doesn't have the same basic thought structures that I see in mainstream culture brains in my interwebs wanderings. I kind of forged my own brain out of the Appalachian foothills. ;)

    So when I talk about literature, what I am talking about is Sacred Story.

    I think that Story is the most sacred thing that humans have. And I have been a priestess of it all my life. I still have my second grade journal, and at three different points little 8 year old me wrote about how I was "thinking about being a true story writer".

    Going back to the LotR movies - you could feel it, sitting in that theater. It was packed, and every human there was silent and enraptured and living in the Story being presented to them. It was deeply human, and it said things that mattered to them, down in their souls.

    I haven't created anything like that yet. It is my deepest wish, but I haven't done it yet. I don't know if I can, because my brain is so weird. I don't know if I have enough access to the shared human experience to create a story that would reach the souls of so many people.

    But I do know that my work has reached a few souls, and maybe I should be happy with my portion of the sacred.

    So when I talk about literature and work that has worth, that's what I mean - work that serves the sacred story. And it can be done with every medium and with all possible tools, and a story can be sacred no matter where the marketing people shelve it or where it's posted online or where it's told to a gathering of humans.

    If I were to define the profane...I'd say it's stories that do not serve the sacred. It's stories that exploit and abuse and that cater to the worst in humans. And sometimes you find the two mixed together, where the author reached for the sacred but they were limited by their prejudices and their assumptions and what they had internalized from their society. There are older works that I really enjoy for what they have to say while also flinching at the racism and sexism and dehumanization of the Other.

    I think maybe, at least for me, the point of Story is to humanize the Other.

    I found this quote the other week and I found it very relevant to my work:
    “One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious. The latter procedure, however, is disagreeable and therefore not popular” - Carl Jung

    So I know that Surreal Darkness maybe doesn't appeal to everyone, but for me, at this time in my life, it's how I am reaching for the sacred. It's how I am trying to bring the shadow to consciousness and reach enlightenment.

    By the way, I know the first chapter doesn't come off like that at all, and maybe I should think about these things before I start a story because the first bit of it always ends up making me worried that people won't continue reading and that they won't see what the story became, but on the other hand I don't think I could do it differently because the story and its meaning reveals itself to me as I write it. I have to write the awkward first bit to see what it is that wants to be communicated.

    And heck, we all have to live the awkward first bits of our lives before we begin to grow up.
    Sometimes the darkness and I tell stories.
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