Forum: Getting the Most Out of HASA Stories

Discussing: Create an Effective Story Listing

Create an Effective Story Listing

The first thing you do when you add a story to the database is you create a story listing. Think about this as an overview of your story, and try to see it from the perspective of the user. In your story listing, you want to provide useful information to your readers, and you want to use flags carefully to help you make your story appear in the right place.

Title - Pick a good title. Make it unique, but not too long. People remember good titles, and it is the first thing to capture a reader's attention. It also makes it easier for admins to remember. Try not to start with the articles "A" and "The" - there are dozens of stories like that and yours will be lost.

Summary - A good summary is worth its weight in gold. Currently, summaries can be searched in the HASA system. A good summary will have: A one or two sentence synopsis; the names of the major characters; a warning for potentially objectionable material; notice if it is part of a series, and what position it holds in that series. Spend some time coming up with a good summary - your readers will thank you.

Standard Flags - These are: Era, Rating, Genre, Characters. If you have a story that was submitted by someone else and accepted into the archive check these flags! A good number of times, they are wrong. These are the flags that are used for the drop-down searches at the top of the page - 57% of all site readers make use of these drop-downs, so it is important to check them for accuracy.

Completion - Complete stories are more likely to be read than WIPs. However, do NOT mark your story "Complete" if only a few chapters are complete. Readers (and reviewers) get very upset if they think someone is trying to put one over on them. If your story is in Beta, it is a WIP.

Story Status - This is the most powerful, most misunderstood flag on a story listing. There will be an entire topic devoted to how to manipulate "Story Status". The purpose of this flag is to move your story listing around the Website. If you are having problems seeing your story, or seeing chapters, the first thing to check is the Story Status. About half the time, your problems will be solved by changing the story status.

Those are the parts of an effective story listing. By creating memorable titles and informative summaries, you increase the likelihood of readers clicking on your story. Checking the accuracy of standard flags will make your story easier to locate with drop downs. Be honest with your readers about the completion level of your story, and you'll avoid negative reactions. Finally, read the topic on story status - you'll be glad you did.




Re: Create an Effective Story Listing

OK, the story summaries have just bounced up the list in importance due to the new, very prominent search box on the home page.

Here are very useful things to put in a story summary:

  • Character names
  • Warnings
  • Geographic locations
  • Book titles (if the story corresponds to a particular book)
  • Genre modifiers (Angst, horror, humor)
  • Series names and numbers (if applicable)
  • Miscellaneous modifiers (battles, happy ending, short story, novel length, etc.)

Unlike, HASA story summaries will hold several sentences worth of information. Be sure to strike a balance between providing meanignful information, and being succinct. Users are not very happy with overly long summaries.

Please note that story Titles are also searchable, so unique names are a great advantage.

Have fun!




Re: Create an Effective Story Listing

Authors - don't be shy about updating your summary right now, especially if you never have before. With the new search box, a good summary will likely bring you more readers!

You need not include every suggested piece of information - just what seems most important to your story.




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