Does the amount and type of reviews you get reflect how good your story is? So far, I've had two reviews for my new story, both quite good. Since then, my story hasn't been reviewed...is it because my story is rubbish? Or because people can't be bothered reviewing?
And has this happened to anyone else, and if so, what are your thoughts about it?
Just thought I'd get a discussion brewing...
On amount: Not really, as it depends on the content of the reviews. On another board I attend, for one reason or another, if a story has a large amount of replies, you know where either:
A. The old stories are.
B. The post-happy authors are.
C. The arguments between badfic authors and reviewers have taken place.
Usually, it's C. And, in fact, some of the better stories tend to take longer to get reviews, whereas people tend to jump on badfics to send in their constructive criticism (or "constructive criticism," in the case of some idiots).
On type: Again, it depends on the content of your reviews. Take Fanfiction.net for a good ol' example. Now, some of the things that have gotten closed here would've gotten reviews like this there:
"Excellent. Please write more."
"LOLOLOL i LOVED this!!!!! u had bettr write more!!!1"
"I love (insert character here)! Write more, plz!"
And you would have about two pages of that sort of crap with no constructive criticism or, for that matter, anything more intelligent than a simple one-liner, even if your story happens to carry all the cliches of one god-awful fanfiction, including Mary Sues (with psychic/Pokemon powers), an uncreative plot (e.g. Ye Olde New Trainer Plot), WTF-worthy plot devices (e.g. "Logic? What logic?"), and enough errors in language to make you sound just a bit like you ate paint chips as a child.
However, if you've got numerous intelligent reviews (i.e. anything other than the above), then chances are, it's good. But again, it depends on what they're saying.
And yes, it's happened to me. It's a bit frustrating that my stories would get passed over, but I don't think too much about it and assume that someone will come along if I keep adding to them.
Yeh, I've drifted away from FF.Net, because of this massive argument I had with a bunch of trolls, when I used to be a flamer. I'm reformed now. :)
I think if you have more than one page, potential reviewers are drawn to your story, mainly because it has more than one page. That annoys me, when, if no--one is reviewing, it's going to take me 25 or so chapters to fill up a page.
Mmm. Yeah, you've gotta be careful about that. The more chapters you have, the harder it is to draw in potential reviewers as well because some people tend to be too lazy to review that many chapters. >_O
Also, good decision about leaving FFNet, regardless of why. It's (ironically) really no place to develop writing skills.
Yeh, I wouldn't mind if I did 5 chapters, then someone reviewed each chapter individually when they had time.
FF.Net - Don't get me started on the tales about that place. The reviews sucked, which is maybe why I went crazy when I was getting crazy Shippers reviewing my stories. I still post from time to time, but not all of my stories.
upon first starting out, I practically begged people to tear my story apart and point out whatever glaring flaws they could find. I wanted to perfect my storyline as best as I could before trying to make the doujinshi (drawing's a lot harder to reverse than typing), and I didn't care what harsh comments I got from it. In the end, I just got a bunch of one-line commentaries, and very few in-depth reviews (of them, there was Frostweaver, a friend of mine from other forums named The Big Al, and a couple other random ones). Desperate for more reviews, I tried to advertise my fic more, plug it whenever I could, and begged everyone to nominate it for the fic awards at SPPF. When the awards constantly went bust, I took it out on closet readers (my fic, along with the afforementioned one-line praises, has a very high view count in all the major forums I posted it at.... in fact, if you look at the fic archive, it's second most-viewed only next to "Who Shot Brendan Birch", while falling behind just three others in the current fanfic section. So what other reason is there that I'm lucky just to get one person nominating my fic every time the awards came around?).
It was around this point that I decided to just screw trying to get reviews from random strangers, they probably wouldn't help much anyway. Instead, I took to directly contacting people who looked to be very well-opinionated, people who seemed to know a lot about, not fanfic writing, but manga storylines in general (which is exactly the type of writing I'm aiming for), and as a result, I ended up greatly improving my story upon applying their knowledge, as well as becoming close friends with them.
It's pretty ironic, because when Ida Kathry (Strawberry Delcatty) and Iceking asked me to review their stuff (which I did in hopes that they'd review me.... which they didn't do too good a job at), it didn't end too well... I just said what I liked and didn't like, and then all the sudden, they get clingy, constantly turning to me for all the answers (even though I said I'm no expert on fanfiction myself, especially the narrative stuff). At some point, Ida actually said she was serious about committing suicide over a f***ing fanfic, of all things, and some time after I talked her out of doing that, she suddenly starts blaming me for her problems before convincing an entire forum to hate me (well, as I learned, PE2K's a s***hole anyway XP). At some point, I finally told her off, and though he wasn't as bad as Ida, the sour taste in my mouth over the whole experience caused me to tell off Iceking as well (and he became a total dick afterwards -_-). I don't know why the two scenarios are so different (though I have a few good guesses, as I touch upon in the next paragraph), but in any case, I now see it as a huge mistake to review others just to get word about you spread and/or so they could review you in turn.
I guess what I'm saying is: if you seek criticism in order to improve, you gotta go out there and find a critic you deem worthy, even respect. It also helps that your critic seems very knowledgeable on the subject matter you're after.... it might also help that you not constantly bombard them with questions to a point that it almost seems like you're asking them to write the whole story for you, but rather more subtle questions about the material itself. Ask if they'd advise against this or that, and receive some tips from them, but ultimately making your own decision while still applying what you learned. And lastly, if you get asked to review or give advice yourself, it's advisable that they're someone you're familiar with on the forums (or elsewhere) rather than someone you never even heard of (likewise, your own critic should be someone whom you've talked to before, or who should've at least noticed your previous postings).
Dang, Jax Malcolm totally stole my thunder there. So, umm...yeah, what she said. xD That's very true about the long fics, by the way. I obviously can't speak for reviewers in general, but for me it's hard to simply find the time to read through a multi-page fanfic which I haven't touched before and it just goes against my nature to review something I've only partly read. Generally, if you've got multiple chapters with no reviews in between then it's time to slow down on your chapter posting; not speed it up.
One additional thing I feel inclined to rant about: the word 'funny'. Honestly, I've seen that term abused so badly in 'reviews' (and I use that term loosely here) that it's not even-well, it's not even funny. xP I don't know why, but for some reason any given fanfiction that has core characters doing spontaneous (and usually moronic) things in some completely random environment gets automatically classified as 'funny'. Seriously, peoples: "Brock grabbed an uzi and shot the mudkibzes" is not funny by any stretch of imagination, a Pikachu named "Pookachu" is not funny unless your sense of humor is stuck at kindergarten. Sometimes fanfiction is JUST PLAIN BAD! Call it what it is. Honestly, I don't know why 'funny' has been demoted to one of those compliments you stick to when you can't find anything good to say about something, but I absolutely hate the way it's being (ab)used. <__<
Anyways, yeah...quantity of reviews is really nothing to go by since this section is still suffering from a very nasty affliction: too few people who actually review. And by 'review' I don't mean "Haha, this is so funneh!" or "lol ur fic sux, I did ur mum last night"; I mean actually saying something constructive, preferably in more than a one-line sentence. >.<
I've written quite a few stories and posted them around the net, and I've given up altogether looking for decent reviewers. In the beginning I was so desperate for feedback that after I posted I would keep the forum page (or equivalent) cued up in the browser, hitting refresh every five or ten minutes. It really was rather pathetic, and in the end quite debilitating.
What I learned in the end is that you have to be happy just honing your skills. If you need to know whether people like you, check your view count. As has been mentioned, people are very quick to jump all over bad writers. If they're viewing you and not saying anything it's a pretty sure bet they liked your writing. Keep adding to your story and if your view count keeps going up, you're getting read and you're doing your job well.
Eventually you'll get a nice pat on the back (or some good advice), just hang in there, be patient, and write and share because you like writing and sharing.
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