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Writer’s Discussion: Popularity and Infamy

Tags: #TSC 
  • Member
    February 15

    Writer’s Discussion: Popularity and Infamy

     

    WARNING: Some writers may find a few criticisms in this topic. May I as everyone to approach this in a courteous and considerate manner when it comes to your answers.

     

    Popularity and Infamy; the story writer’s noose. Well that sounds a bit odd so what do I mean by this? The story writer’s noose? Well, the one thing every writer has in common (except coffee addiction and sleepless nights) is that... (Yes, we all have pages of notes and scribbles as well).

     

    One of the things us writer’s have in common no matter if we are writing fiction, manuals, guides, character builds or in fact writing anything, is that we all make decisions.

     

    Some of these decisions come easily to us. Where will my story start? What will the story be based around? Will there be any factions that my character joins?

     

    Other decisions however have a far greater impact. They can make or break a story. Just one of these decisions can alienate a character from the readers and turn a char which we hope the reads will admire and adore to a character the readers hate, despise of have little empathy towards. The strange thing is that it is far easier to get readers to like a char they initially hated, rather than re-like a character which the reader feels has let them down with a flaw or a brazen act; literally destroying the characters name for good.

     

    I have to admit this is a fine line I tread with Aela the Huntress in my own story and many a time I would have missed the mark if it wasn’t for some members in TV and of my wife who has helped keep Aela back from crossing the line.

     

    Sometimes the decision turns readers away because they don’t agree with the plot or an action the characters have chosen. The reader may disagree with a pairing of characters in the story. I know for a fact I had a few sleepless nights wondering what would happen when I posted Chapter 25 of my own story. Pairing a female Nord with a Male Argonian isn’t exactly the norm.

     

    Most of us have either written or came across similar situations in our stories or those stories which we have read. 

     

    1 For the writers of TSC, can you thing of three situations where you felt you could or indeed would turn readers away from your work over a decision you have made?

     

    2 For the readers of TSC, what are the top three moments where a writer’s path has caused you to cringe, shy away or even shake your head over the writer’s decisions?

     

    3 There’s no right or wrong answer here, just opinions. If a writer knows a certain plot, or decision could or would, make their story unpopular, YET he/she feels the direction is the way they wish to go….

    Should the writer change the plot to suit the readers? (Popularity)

    Or stay loyal to their vision and plot? (Infamy)

  • Member
    February 15

    Ah, the great path that all writers face. I actually encountered this a lot of times as I browse through numerous fanfics.

    But here's the thing: This is YOUR fanfic, it's not up to the readers to decide how it goes or how it ends. You're the one who's writing the story, not them. If they're not okay with a pairing or a character dying then that's their problem. I was actually skeptical at first about pairing Sotek and Aela, but soon I grew use to it, and I think most of us here do too.

    But while staying loyal to the writer's vision and plot is one thing, it's also another to make sure your story doesn't get too absurd and cringeworthy. Reader feedback helps with this. They may give you some advice or ideas which you may add to your plot (but not completely changing it). Just avoid any ideas from readers like marry Character A with Character B or Ship Character A with Character C, because those types of decisions generally fall to you. If you give readers what they want or expect, then where's the surprise factor in your story?

    Ultimately, it falls in the line of whether your willing to sell your soul (story) to the Devil/Daedra (readers) in hopes of gaining more popularity, or you stick with the road you already planned for your story. For me, I would chose the latter but I will save any ideas the readers have suggested in the comments so I may incorparate it in my story one way or another.

    Remember: It's your story, NOT theirs.

  • February 15

    1 For the writers of TSC, can you thing of three situations where you felt you could or indeed would turn readers away from your work over a decision you have made?

    Oh lord. Where do I begin? I have a great deal, but I will narrow it down. 1. Chapters are way too long. 2. Protagonist isn't the ever-popular young "anti-hero", but an old fart knight who is actually nice.  3. Aela is in a relationship with Skjor, who is definitely not her father in Straag, and not with an argonian named Sotek. :P Honorable mention, too much religion and metaphysics and sad plot twists.

    2 For the readers of TSC, what are the top three moments where a writer’s path has caused you to cringe, shy away or even shake your head over the writer’s decisions?

    I respect the decisions that writers make in their stories, so I don't really have a specific three events. After all, it's their story, so long as it's well-crafted, I'll read it. I sometimes do a little head scratching if a writer takes a huge divergence away from established lore or if I feel that the world that is Tamriel isn't quite represnted in favor of other genera of writing styles, but it's nothing that would make me stop reading their stuff. Only other thing that may rattle my chains a little is violence for pure shock value, but that doesn't happen much in TV. Like Kaiser said early, I'm more put off by absurd story-telling, It's there story ultimately. 

    3 There’s no right or wrong answer here, just opinions. If a writer knows a certain plot, or decision could or would, make their story unpopular, YET he/she feels the direction is the way they wish to go….

    Infamy, Infamy, Infamy. No one is safe and I will go all George RR Martin on your asses. :D

  • Member
    February 16

    Ahh the old adage. How long should a chapter be. We don’t call you Lissette long chapper for nothing. I’ll focus on this in a minute.

     

    Aela is in a relationship with Skjor, who is definitely not her father in Straag, and not with an argonian named Sotek. :P 

    I wouldn’t worry Liss, you can’t get it right all the time…. (You can easily fix this you know. All you need to do is click on ‘Replace’ and swap Skjor with Sotek. Just so you know).

    *Stands his ground and awaits the trade of blows.

     

    Quickly moving on lest my old wound opens…

     

    There are loads of times when I push the boundaries. I’ve opened the door as it were and given readers their chance to put forwards their thoughts on some decisions I’ve made. Some of which aren’t popular at all. Pairing up Aela with Sotek for one. Aela and her temperamental nature. My choice in armor for the Huntress. That was one of my biggest moments when I crossed the line I think. Somewhat surprisingly, Aela and Sotek having the fist fight in the yard. Now I say surprisingly here because it caused far less flak than what I expected.

     

    Although that chapter left a nasty taste in a few mouths I think.  I’ve even noticed a few readers leave that one alone and not like it at all.

     

    Breaking the werewolf secret and having them come out of the shadows. Yea, maybe my biggest immersion breaker this one. The whole of Whiterun knowing the Companions are werewolves. More on this later though as the story progresses.

     

    Going back to Lissette’s comment about long chapters;

    Both Lissette and I suffer from something else; long stories. Sometimes I hear members say that they will ‘one day’ read my story. Now before I continue, this isn’t with anyone in mind so to anyone who has said it, don’t take offence with this. One of the biggest decisions I have made is to continue writing U.O.T.W. as a never ending story. Yes, it will end one day but that is I hope many a year from now. I hope in twenty years time that I will be in both body and mind to write U.O.T.W. for I heartedly wish to do so.

     

    The trouble is with large stories is that no matter how sincere the member is, we know the gap gets bigger and bigger with every chapter we post and the gap keeps growing.  We have new members all the time and often they delve into our worlds but they tend to enter half way through or where we currently are in our stories.

     

    To those who have yet to read out stories from the beginning; we don’t blame you for this at all. No offence intended. Hell, CA, a story by Lissette and Karver is over 200,000 words long.

    My own story is over 204 chapters and breaks the 650,000 word mark. I can’t imagine someone new to U.O.T.W. who would start from the beginning and read it all to catch up. To make a story which has this negative effect is one of the hardest decisions I’ve made. To knowingly put your story out of reach of new writers. Hell even my wife Aela dreads the day we start the story over and read it from the beginning. We will one day

    One day, maybe. (See even we say it now).

     

    What turns me away from a story?

    Well, there are a few things which cause me to howl in frustration.

    I have to mention this because I know and so does someone else know that there is one part of a story which I will dread. It will hit me on so many personal levels that I cringe at the thought of it. Don’t want to talk about it. Not talking about it. All I will say is we know there’s a rough storm ahead.

    On the plus side here, it’s a compliment in a roundabout way that a writer possesses the skill to affect a reader this way. The world being so real and rich with emotions.

     

    There’s not much which will turn me away from a story if I’m honest. The great one man god type hero is my biggest cringe factor. There have been times when I wonder why the main char can’t lose. Is there any harm in having the main character need help? Do they have to be the best at everything?

     

    This is now over 750 words and I’ve OD’d on coffee. Time to stand aside and let someone else share their thoughts.

  • February 16

    "Aela is in a relationship with Skjor, who is definitely not her father in Straag, and not with an argonian named Sotek. :P"

    I wouldn’t worry Liss, you can’t get it right all the time…. (You can easily fix this you know. All you need to do is click on ‘Replace’ and swap Skjor with Sotek. Just so you know).

    *Stands his ground and awaits the trade of blows.

    Answers with this...

    I have to mention this because I know and so does someone else know that there is one part of a story which I will dread. It will hit me on so many personal levels that I cringe at the thought of it. Don’t want to talk about it. Not talking about it. All I will say is we know there’s a rough storm ahead.

    On the plus side here, it’s a compliment in a roundabout way that a writer possesses the skill to affect a reader this way. The world being so real and rich with emotions.

    Oh for howling out loud, Sotek, just take the bulll by the horns, or the wolf by the scruff of the neck!

    "Aela is in a relationship with Skjor, who is definitely not her father in Straag, and not with an argonian named Sotek. :P"

    *Lissette grins and chants "infamy, infamy, infamy" over and over again.*

  • Member
    February 16

    Oh for howling out loud, Sotek, just take the bulll by the horns, or the wolf by the scruff of the neck!

    I tried to on a few occasions but you keep struggling...

    "Aela is in a relationship with Skjor, who is definitely not her father in Straag, and not with an argonian named Sotek. :P"

    This is not the way to get into the Hunting Grounds... You do know this don't you?

  • February 16

    Sotek said:

    Oh for howling out loud, Sotek, just take the bulll by the horns, or the wolf by the scruff of the neck!

    I tried to on a few occasions but you keep struggling...

    "Aela is in a relationship with Skjor, who is definitely not her father in Straag, and not with an argonian named Sotek. :P"

    This is not the way to get into the Hunting Grounds... You do know this don't you?

    For shits and giggles, now watch me cure Aela of Lycanthropy!!! MUHUAHUAHUAHUAHUA

  • Member
    February 16

    That... that.... that's not even funny.....

    AELA!! Run!!!!

     

  • Member
    February 16

    Sotek said:

     

    My own story is over 204 chapters and breaks the 650,000 word mark. I can’t imagine someone new to U.O.T.W. who would start from the beginning and read it all to catch up. To make a story which has this negative effect is one of the hardest decisions I’ve made. To knowingly put your story out of reach of new writers.

     

    This is some kind of subconscious ploy to make me resume from chapter 82, isn't it, Sotek-jo?! Underhanded lizard! I'll have you know I binge-read it all the way to chapter 70(give or take a few chapters) into the small hours of the morning when I first joined the site in July of last year. DON'T UNDERESTIMATE SHINOBI ENDURANCE!!

     

    If I'm being perfectly honest, though, switching between the two timelines can be a little frustrating, especially when you start uploading a chapter per day again, but I find the journey and seeing your growth as a writer worth the trouble.

  • February 17

    Sotek said:

    What turns me away from a story?

    Overpowered, badass anti-hero wannabes that always come out on the top. All characters react only to this character, not the way around, which makes all other characters very shallow. Meaning: No one is best at everything, no one never made a mistake, no one is without his strengths and weaknesses. 

    And lol, don´t even get me started on long chapters. Can´t handle those. If I have to scroll the page down for more than 3 seconds I immediately close the browser, throw the mouse out of the window and never come back again.