Author Topic: Online reviews for fanfiction and original fiction  (Read 5036 times)

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Lynn2000

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Re: Online reviews for fanfiction and original fiction
« Reply #15 on: December 10, 2012, 08:59:09 PM »
So you guys think that if I said "please stop telling me to update" it would discourage reviews other than the ones that only consist of "Please update!!!"?

Yeah, weird, isn't it? I guess it's kind of a psychological thing. I really think the people who type "UPDATE SOON!!!!!" ten minutes after you've just posted a chapter aren't the type to adhere to, or even read, authors' notes or instructions. And the more conscientious people, who do read that, might feel chastised and thus discouraged from reviewing or even reading more of your work. I mean, if someone wrote you a nice three-paragraph review and at the end said, "I hope you'll update the story soon!" you wouldn't be upset about that, would you? But that person might read a note of "please stop telling me to update" as being directed at them, and feel stung.

I mean, the wonderful thing about fanfic is that it's all done for free. You can write and post it for free, and you can read it for free (and anonymously), and you can review it for free. It all kind of runs on goodwill, I think--like any hobby, people do it (reading or writing) because they love it. Now granted, these yahoos who just demand you update to suit them are sapping your goodwill as a writer; but I think if you try to tell people how to review your work, in a negative way, you risk sapping the goodwill of your serious readers. And the yahoos probably won't be affected one way or another.

Perhaps you could phrase it positively--"I really love thoughtful reviews and take reader feedback into account with future chapters! If you could just leave a few sentences telling me what you liked or didn't like about the story, I would really appreciate it."

Or, if you're in the market for some serious, in-depth analysis of your writing to help you improve, I'm sure there are some dedicated groups for that, which you could post to instead of/in addition to the less-regulated environment of fanfiction.net.
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Onyx_TKD

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Re: Online reviews for fanfiction and original fiction
« Reply #16 on: December 10, 2012, 09:17:31 PM »
So you guys think that if I said "please stop telling me to update" it would discourage reviews other than the ones that only consist of "Please update!!!"?

Yeah, weird, isn't it? I guess it's kind of a psychological thing. I really think the people who type "UPDATE SOON!!!!!" ten minutes after you've just posted a chapter aren't the type to adhere to, or even read, authors' notes or instructions. And the more conscientious people, who do read that, might feel chastised and thus discouraged from reviewing or even reading more of your work. I mean, if someone wrote you a nice three-paragraph review and at the end said, "I hope you'll update the story soon!" you wouldn't be upset about that, would you? But that person might read a note of "please stop telling me to update" as being directed at them, and feel stung.

I mean, the wonderful thing about fanfic is that it's all done for free. You can write and post it for free, and you can read it for free (and anonymously), and you can review it for free. It all kind of runs on goodwill, I think--like any hobby, people do it (reading or writing) because they love it. Now granted, these yahoos who just demand you update to suit them are sapping your goodwill as a writer; but I think if you try to tell people how to review your work, in a negative way, you risk sapping the goodwill of your serious readers. And the yahoos probably won't be affected one way or another.

Perhaps you could phrase it positively--"I really love thoughtful reviews and take reader feedback into account with future chapters! If you could just leave a few sentences telling me what you liked or didn't like about the story, I would really appreciate it."

Or, if you're in the market for some serious, in-depth analysis of your writing to help you improve, I'm sure there are some dedicated groups for that, which you could post to instead of/in addition to the less-regulated environment of fanfiction.net.

I like this wording. FWIW, on my first couple of fanfics, there was a certain aspect of the story that I specifically mentioned I'd like feedback on in my author's note, because I wasn't sure how it came across, and several reviewers obliged by commenting on that particular element. So if there's anything in particular that you're wondering about, you might get more in depth reviews by mentioning that you would appreciate feedback on X. From my experience as a reader, that type of note might make me more likely to write a review in the first place by giving me a starting place of what to comment on.

In addition to Lynn2000's wording, I would probably add something like "I'm a graduate student and don't always have time to write, so updates may be delayed. I aim to update every __-__ days, but no guarantees." Then just try to ignore the "update soon" reviews, other than mentally filing them as "people who like my story." You've already clearly told them what to expect from the update schedule and they can obviously read, since they want updates to a written story, so clearly "I love your work" must be what they meant to say  >:D.

Surianne

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Re: Online reviews for fanfiction and original fiction
« Reply #17 on: December 10, 2012, 09:32:49 PM »
I agree, I like Lynn's wording a lot if you do want to give people guidance on what type of feedback to leave.  It focuses on the positive (what will help you) rather than the negative (what you want people to stop doing).


Adelaide

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Re: Online reviews for fanfiction and original fiction
« Reply #18 on: December 10, 2012, 10:00:11 PM »
So you guys think that if I said "please stop telling me to update" it would discourage reviews other than the ones that only consist of "Please update!!!"?

Yeah, weird, isn't it? I guess it's kind of a psychological thing. I really think the people who type "UPDATE SOON!!!!!" ten minutes after you've just posted a chapter aren't the type to adhere to, or even read, authors' notes or instructions. And the more conscientious people, who do read that, might feel chastised and thus discouraged from reviewing or even reading more of your work. I mean, if someone wrote you a nice three-paragraph review and at the end said, "I hope you'll update the story soon!" you wouldn't be upset about that, would you? But that person might read a note of "please stop telling me to update" as being directed at them, and feel stung.
<snip>

That's so true-I never thought of it like that. I'm sure you're right and the "UPDATE SOON!!!!" crowd doesn't bother to read the one or two sentence author's note at the end anyway. (Which is of course up to them.) There's one person who wrote something sort of almost similar to "update soon" in addition to writing a very long review, and it was "I am looking forward to your next chapter". So I can see where she might feel odd about it/chastised. I already have a few sentences at the end about how I appreciate reviews/criticism if they are given, so I suppose I shouldn't add to them except maybe to say "I'm in graduate school so updates will be a little sporadic for awhile."

Bast

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Re: Online reviews for fanfiction and original fiction
« Reply #19 on: December 10, 2012, 10:36:44 PM »
I've changed my attitude about reviews.  I look at how many people have favorited/followed my stories or my username.  So while one of  my stories may have 41 reviews (most from the same 3-4 people, and one of those is usually "scrabble plz"), but 88 followers, after 15 chapters?  I feel good about that.
"They may forget your name but they will never forget how you made them feel." ~Maya Angelou

Two Ravens

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Re: Online reviews for fanfiction and original fiction
« Reply #20 on: December 10, 2012, 11:48:18 PM »
I think this is pretty normal in the fanfic world, so you'll probably be a lot less frustrated if you just decide to take it as a compliment. 

I wouldn't include the "I've been getting a lot of messages like this lately, but please don't tell me to update or ask me when my next update is going to be. I'm in graduate school and I'm very busy right now, so my updates are going to be sporadic for awhile." note.  To me it does come across as a bit rude and ungrateful for the positive comments.  I probably wouldn't bother coming back to check on your work if I read a note like that, so you might wind up losing readers.

Yeah, I really agree with this.

I would stongly advise against leaving "instructions" for your reviewers. I honestly find that so off-putting it has stopped me from finishing stories I had been previously enjoying. (I also hate 'I need 10 reviews before I upload the next chapter.)

So you guys think that if I said "please stop telling me to update" it would discourage reviews other than the ones that only consist of "Please update!!!"?

I really do. You just need to be really careful of your tone.

I was recently reading a fic where the author had the main character do a really shocking thing, (though you could somewhat understand, with the character's baggage, why they were doing it.) The author ended the chapter with a strict admonishment of "I don't want to hear anyone say how they hate Character X now!"

I would not have commented with that sentiment anyway, but it put me off from leaving any kind of review.

So you do need to be careful how you come across to your readers.

auntmeegs

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Re: Online reviews for fanfiction and original fiction
« Reply #21 on: December 12, 2012, 11:44:11 AM »
I definitely think it would be bad idea to scold people who are reading your work.  "Update soon" to me obviously means that they like the story so much they can't wait for your next installment to come out.  Why not take it in the spirit it was intedned?

Slartibartfast

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Re: Online reviews for fanfiction and original fiction
« Reply #22 on: December 15, 2012, 03:14:56 PM »
"Don't leave reviews just asking for updates!" sounds perilously close to "You owe me praise and adoration for my wonderful prose!" to readers' ears, even if that's not what you mean.  And since people REALLY don't like feeling guilted into doing something - such as leaving lengthy updates - people would probably stop leaving reviews at all.

Adelaide

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Re: Online reviews for fanfiction and original fiction
« Reply #23 on: December 16, 2012, 12:11:49 PM »
I definitely think it would be bad idea to scold people who are reading your work.  "Update soon" to me obviously means that they like the story so much they can't wait for your next installment to come out.  Why not take it in the spirit it was intedned?

Because I don't have the "spirit in which it was intended". All I have are the words written on the page and I'm not going to try and conjure up a better intention or attempt to slant their words for them. To me, "Update soon!", left on every chapter, five to ten minutes after every one is posted means "I want another update, maybe if I keep saying this she'll post faster."

While I wasn't planning on scolding people, I can see how "Please stop telling me to update" could come across that way, just as "update soon!" or "When are you going to update?" all by itself comes across to me as demanding and whiny.

"Don't leave reviews just asking for updates!" sounds perilously close to "You owe me praise and adoration for my wonderful prose!" to readers' ears, even if that's not what you mean.  And since people REALLY don't like feeling guilted into doing something - such as leaving lengthy updates - people would probably stop leaving reviews at all.

I wasn't going to say "Don't leave reviews just asking for updates", I was planning on saying "Please stop telling me to update, as I am very busy and in grad school", which could potentially come across differently. I've had people who have been messaging me to ask when I was going to update/why I hadn't updated yet who haven't left reviews. I wasn't going to mention reviews at all.

kckgirl

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Re: Online reviews for fanfiction and original fiction
« Reply #24 on: December 16, 2012, 03:44:47 PM »
I think you should just make an author note at the end of each chapter...

*****

...CRIVINS! a small separation like the above. Say something like, "I am a student and my free time is limited. Updates are spaced 1-2 weeks apart." That makes a positive statement instead of a negative one (please stop telling me). I have read many fan fiction stories and, trust me, positive works better than negative.
Maryland

kckgirl

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Re: Online reviews for fanfiction and original fiction
« Reply #25 on: December 16, 2012, 03:46:45 PM »
Why in the heck was the word "with" changed to CRIVINS?
Maryland

artk2002

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Re: Online reviews for fanfiction and original fiction
« Reply #26 on: December 16, 2012, 03:52:27 PM »
Why in the heck was the word "with" changed to CRIVINS?

You probably mistyped and left the 'i' out. It then becomes an abbreviation that the filter catches.

Testing: CRIVINS!
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kckgirl

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Re: Online reviews for fanfiction and original fiction
« Reply #27 on: December 16, 2012, 03:56:05 PM »
That must be it. I am on my tablet with a stylus. It is a lot easier to type on a computer keyboard.
Maryland

MrTango

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Re: Online reviews for fanfiction and original fiction
« Reply #28 on: December 17, 2012, 11:52:23 AM »
I had an original fiction story (fantasy) I was working on in college.  I wasn't so much pestered by people posting reviews just to request a new chapter, but by people posting to request scrabble scenes between various characters.  The pairings requested were rather...creepy.

At the end of the first story, two characters were married (something that I'd planned from the beginning), and at the start of the second story, the woman had just given birth to twins.  There were a couple of people who posted reviews demanding that I re-write the end of the first story to include details of how the twins were conceived.

Fortunately, the forum on which I was writing allowed me to ban comments from individual reviewers.

GrammarNerd

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Re: Online reviews for fanfiction and original fiction
« Reply #29 on: December 20, 2012, 11:22:30 AM »

And I suppose it's flattering, but would you suck down a dinner, turn to the cook, and quickly say "Well, when's dessert?" or "When can I get more?" without saying thanks first? I'd also like to add one more piece of information. A lot of people who do this are repeat offenders. They'll literally post "Please update soon!" within ten minutes of every single chapter being uploaded. (Though I am having this problem less on my current story, where people include at least two words before they say "Update soon!")

This may just be a "me" problem though. I've asked a couple of other people about it and they are of the "meh, let it go" mindset. It's just that when it happens on every chapter, as SOON as it's posted that this starts to wear thin.

I hear ya, sistah! 

I also put stuff on FF.net, and I've actually taken a break because I lost my motivation.  I fully admit it: what motivates me to actually write down the stories in my head is the feedback I get from the readers.  People have told me that's 'wrong', but that's just how it is.  I spend an incredible amount of time on each story/chapter.  I don't think people realize how much time it takes to put out a lengthy story with a decent plot, and take care to proof it, get your characters to 'sound' right, etc.  We publish it and....that's it.  We sit and wait, and hope people like it, and that they will reward us with a review that actually says something.  And those of us who take it seriously really WANT some kind of REAL feedback. 

One time, I published a chapter after a long hiatus for that story.  After that, someone posted a review of a previous chapter (over a year old at that point) and just said 'the first chapter was just yukky'.  Um....huh?  Yes, it dealt with difficult material; I know that.  But I just posted chapter 6.  Why are you saying that about chapter one (in the review for chapter 6)?  And why are you saying nothing about chapter 6?  Did it get better? Is it still yukky?  (thought all of this; didn't say it)  Very frustrating to work hours on a chapter and then get a response like that.  (And I can handle negative criticism, but it should be constructive, KWIM?)

Unfortunately, I have to agree that even though I think you'd be completely justified to say something to the 'Update Soon!' crowd,  people will be annoyed.  What I might do instead is actually PM those people and say something like, "I'm glad you want to read more.  Can you tell me something that you liked about the chapter?  It helps me with my writing to know exactly WHAT people like, so I can do more of that."

I got so frustrated a few months ago with reviews like that that I actually did do this with a few reviewers, including the 'yukky' person.  I asked what he/she meant (nicely and politely, of course).  I never got a response.  But I did get a response from someone else, so it did have some positive result.

Good luck.  I totally feel for you.