This is my blog (now there is a surprise!). I will be sticking in it poetry, prose, random musings, things that take my fancy and more than likely lots of pictures of cats. I hope you find something to amuse and/or interest you here.

Saturday, 19 February 2011

Both ends of the stick

OK.  I'm on a right downer this morning.  Medication withdrawal combined with a skull cracking headache equals depression on a grand scale.

Anyway.  I joined this site called Fanstory.  It looked quite my cup of tea. Competitions, reviews of your work, chances to read other peoples work and see how it was rated to judge your own against it.
Today I am not sure.

You see, it promised feedback and reviews and I don't feel I am getting much.  Oh I get lots of 5 stars plus 'well written' and 'I love it' comments but, apart from a couple of helpful people, that is it.  For example:  I write a story and enter it in a competition judged by read vote.  I get over 20 reads, 5 reviews of 5 stars, etc., no bad comments, no improvers.  But, when voting opens, not a single vote.  So, why?  What made the other stories better?  How can I improve?  Is my style wrong?

Then there is the 20 views and overall far less that 50 votes.  This is a huge site, why so few votes?  Too many contest? Or is it that most people are really only interested in their own works and only review to get the 'money' to promote there own stuff?

Then there is the Committee decided contests.  The winner is publish.  Okay, not me.  Well I didn't really expect it would be, I am very new at this.  However, there is no feedback from the judges either.  No improvers, no explanation of why the winning poem won and what made it better than the others.
So what do I do to improve?  Where do I go from here?  Do I bother spending money to enter contests?  After all, If I want no responses I can enter national contests and be ignored by professionals!

Then there is the money you have to spend to promote your work.  I could be a slap-happy 5 star reviewer, stick 'wonderful, well written, good luck, etc..' and walk away with enough to reach top spot.  But that isn't me.  I would be lying and also insulting the writer.  What is the point of that?  It would just devalue the whole thing.

Without spending that money and offering people what amount to bribes, no reviews and no rating.
For example, I spent nearly 15 'members dollars' on promoting this article.  Where did this land me?
"You have promoted Where do I go from here?.
"Where do I go from here?" is listed on page 3 at the 71st position of the listing.
At the current position the estimated number of reviews is 1 to 2."

So I Spent $15 dollars to get?   Well, nothing actually, since the 'new release' certificate promises 2 reviews....
Yes, I rashly spent money to prove the point.

The worst part for me is that, when I read other works, I see things being given 5 stars and excellent when the rhymes don't and the syllable count is off.  So how can I value reviews given to me?

I dare not review anymore.  I can't give 5 stars to everything and some of the things I see with 5 or even 6 stars leave me cold.  How do I rate them?  Have I the right to go against so many people with more experience than me and give a lower rating?

So I am beating myself up.  Am I expecting too much?  Am I too demanding?  Am I just useless and might as well not bother?  Am I missing the whole point?  Should I give up altogether?  Have I got the wrong end of the stick?

So here I sit, one depressed dilettante writer who wants to be more.  Has anyone out there got the answer?


  1. I too have spent many hours on fanstory trying to review enough writtings to enable my own promotion, I have come to the conclusion that it is a great place to copywrite my writings, but the honesty factor is a bunch of crap. It is a popularity contest, so rather than getting my feelings hurt on a write that I think is good by promoting it, I dont.
    It is nice to get the few atta girls now and then, but you are right, there really is no good way to go about it. The problem I found is when you are honest with a writer they get overly upset and block you, or review your stuff based on how you reviewed them instead of being honest.

    review the way you want to be reviewed Penny, be honest, and tell people how you feel in your author notes, every time... you will see there are a bunch of writers out there that feel the same.

    It is like any place, there are good and not so good things about it. I like it because I get the copywrite on everything I put there, makes it easy on me.

    Not every one on that site has more expierence than you, they have been on the site longer is all.

    You just started with it Penny, hang with it for a bit, maybe you will find more of what you are looking for being more honest. Say what you thnk, dont hold back, you will get the same from others.

  2. It seems to me that there are two types of creative forum - ones where you get all positive comments and nothing useful, and ones where you get ripped to shreds and nothing useful. I may be doing the site a disservice, when they realise you are serious and are there to stay they may stop trying to bolster your ego and start being constructive. It does also occur to me that some people don't know how to give constructive comment when they actually like what they read so that if they genuinely like what you wrote, they may struggle to express any potential improvements. I think I'm waffling slightly here but you know me....and where you go from here, the only limits are your own imagination!

  3. I would be leery of anything in which you have to spend money. Bottom line if you continue to persist toward your goal..eventually that persistence will pay off! If you are meant to be a published writer...one day you will be.
    As for me I just write for my passion, hobby, angst and fun! I find it gives me more freedom to do just that. Any dreams of publishing are way off in the future...I know it sounds cliche' but if it meant to be...it will happen
    One small suggestion for your profile...update it...get rid of boring...there is nothing about you or your writing that is boring...You may draw in more followers...if you change that...That's my 2 cents...don't limit who you are!

  4. I agree with Lorely, do not sell yourself short and get rid of the "boring", I am sure there could be said positive things instead of negative in the about me section. I love your writing and I hope you will go far!

  5. The major problem is that most individuals do not know how to review works whether they be prose or poetry. Take me for example,I really am not to well versed in poetry,but I try to be honest but the works of poets all seem to be on a plane which I am not qualified to judge.So I try to offer emcouragement knowing that it is all to easy to say,what's the use,I am not that good anyway.
    I know this because that's the way I feel when I write. I will read some of the thing i write and say,Hey,I really can write,but then i see what others like you JL,Helena and Lorely write and then I think I will never be able to write like that.So All I can say is hang in there,and be wary of sites that charge you money.Anyway, if my opinion means anything you definitely can write.Also I must apologize for not getting on fanstory that often to read what you,JL and Helena have written. Will try to do better in the future.

  6. Thanks everyone. I also posted this on Fannstory and was amazed by the response. I expected to be shouted down but the amount of responses I received shows I struck a chord somewhere. I have been in touch with some wonderful people and got some of the help I desired. Sometimes a problem shared is a problem cured.