Forum: The Art of Declining

Discussing: Useful decline comments - II

Useful decline comments - II

Poetry

[Please add or suggest modifications!]

rhythm flat or choppy
meter and rhyme scheme feel forced, not smooth
Certain words jarring in context
Rhyme, Meter or Repetition varies from the set form to no purpose

Not appropriately concise
Wordy
Repetition is not sucessful within the context of the poem
Content did not seem to gain from being cast in this form


For stories -

Misc.:
Modernisms
Multiple or serious canon errors

Storytelling:
Certain aspects violate common sense or physical possibility
Pacing problems-
too choppy (fragments of acceptable material but lacking proper transitions)
too slow (meandering)
too fast (insufficient detail throughout)
inconsistent/uneven (misbalanced within itself)


Mechanical/technical:
Multiple punctuation errors
Multiple grammar errors
Multiple spelling errors
Multiple formatting problems
Multiple usage errors- improper case forms, mismatched tenses, etc.
Multiple misused words - often homophones- than/then, there/their/they're, accept/except, advice/advise, duel/dual, affect/effect, etc.


Character:
Character's actions not well set up or explained -
     predictable/bland actions/reactions
     fic-portrayal warrants further explanation
     character's behavior doesn't coincide with their motivation
     characterization is not consistent
OOC
     OOC considering what we know of race/type/society/era
     OOC considering character's prior conduct in canon
     OOC considering character's prior conduct in this story



Flat characterizations
     undeveloped characters (lack of connection with the reader)
     one-dimensional personalities (static presense)
     interchangeable mold syndrome (switch the name, character could be anyone)
And if a big enough part is played by minor or original characters:
minor characters lack distinction, seem interchangeable.


Plot:
Trite
Basic plot too unlikely or unreasonable
Events occur too conveniently - plot feels scripted or forced instead of flowing naturally from prior events, Catalysts for progression too obvious as mere plot devices
Flow - Advancement from point A to B not smooth enough; no seamless domino effect that sweeps the story along;
The story does not evolve through the middle portion, thus the end is abrupt and surprising.
The story does not evolve through the middle portion and it simply ends.

Insufficient context. Even though the work is in a short form, it still needs sufficient context to stand on its own.
Scenes that appear to have no purpose.
Scenes that do not sufficiently relate to each other in the context of the entire story.
Theme not been articulated clearly enough, or at enough length to justify the characterization/plot/conclusion, whether or not I agree with the conclusion.

 

 

Re: Useful decline comments - II

Just want to throw my dollar's worth in on Fragment declines.

I am an expert in those declines.

A capsule decline with no commentary is a little frustrating.

A capsule decline with an insubstantial or fuzzy explanation is enraging. DO NOT tell the poor author -- it feels fragmented. If you do type that then be prepared to continue typing and explain WHERE and HOW it is fragmented.

If you cannot explain where and how the story is fragmented, you have added NOTHING to the capsule 'fragment' and have pissed the author off because you look like you haven't the foggiest notion what you are talking about.

If you suggest a fix, DO NOT tell the author to write a different story. Please take some time to consider what the theme is of the piece. i mean TAKE SOME TIME to consider what the theme is. Do not tell the author what the theme SHOULD be. Do not tell the author what you wish the theme was instead. Do not tell the author you could not figure out the theme. To the author that says more about you as the reviewer than it does about him/her as the author.

A fix suggestion should be specific and should maintain the integrity of the story.

Otherwise. Just use the capsule pulldown.

Do not suggests scene just to add length to short pieces. Again that tells the author more about you as a reviewer than it aids the author.

Before suggesting a scene addtion, or a fix, consider WHY you are suggesting it. Consider if it is really germaine to the story. Consider, if you will, whether or not the author might have already considered such things and LEFT THEM OUT on purpose.

If you recognize a piece from a challenge, but the author has not indicated anything about a challenge in his/her summary -- DO NOT tell them the stock -- does not work outside of challenge setting comment. For one thing, the review is supposed to be anonymous both ways and the author might wonder if the reviewer came to the piece already biased.

If you cannot do these things, just use the pulldown capsule reason.

DO NOT decline a piece simply because you wish it to be longer and have more detail in some intriguing things that might have been mentioned. It is not fair to an author to hold his/her work hostage because YOU, the reviewer want to know more about Faramir at the brothels or want scenes of Gimli on the pony. Before you type those idiotic words telling the author he/she HAS to write a longer fic fully expounding on tantilizing glimpses ask YOURSELF, the reviewer if exposition on those glimpses is germaine to the theme of the piece and if their absence makes the piece incomprehensible.

And be honest with yourself about that. Do not decline just because YOU want more explanation -- instead, accept and then email the author and ask for a longer piece on the matter. He/she might just oblige you.

Otherwise -- do not use the capsule fragment decline, it does not apply, YOU the reviewer are the problem, not the piece. Leave it for somebody else to review.

*********
On a completely different topic. Be very wary of declining pieces with the fateful words that are variants of:

This is very well-written, but...
This is really, really good, except
You are a really good writer and this piece is great, except...

A writer who is consistently told his/her writing is really good and then given some foot-shuffling, gosh-gee, reluctantly I am declining explanation will begin to feel incredibly discouraged. Especially if the 'problem' seems to have more to do with the reviewer than the piece.

******

Okay, have said my bit -- but it looks more like a twenty than a single.

Lindorien

 

 

Re: Useful decline comments - II

Lindorien, after reading this I wonder how many people would feel brave enough to venture any comment.

I hereby state that I welcome any and all comment on my stories. I wouldn't want someone not to say something for fear of 'pissing the author off'. I hear more complaints of no comments than of irritating comments.

I'd be interested to hear the opinions of other authors on this-
would you rather have reviewers make whatever comments they choose, or carefully edit them, with the possibility of far fewer reviewers willing to comment?

I think this is a very real issue, as given discussion in this forum, it's very easy to misinterpret a hastily written comment.

Lyllyn

 

 

Re: Useful decline comments - II

How many people would be brave enough? I would, since I'm not giving my name out in reviews.

It is incumbent on the reader to apply the principle of charity, and that holds whether the reader is reading to review or is reading the reviews.

As a reviewer, it is my obligation to try to determine the author's intentions, to note theme and see how it plays out in the plot, and whether there are gaps that undermine the development of the story. In noting gaps, it is also my responsibility to consider whether there's a reason for them to exist.

But in the end, I have to make a judgment. And simply because I suspect that the author carefully considered leaving out a scene does not justify the scene's being left out if, in my considered opinion, the story is harmed by the exclusion. That is something I should tell the author. The same goes for unclear/lacking thematic development, for a work which does not capitalize on the details that the author has included in the story in such a way that the story honestly suffers, etc., etc. And it is my responsibility, I think, to try and be as clear, as constructive, and as careful as I can in expressing myself.

So by all means, avoid careless text box explanations as a reviewer. But even the careless explanation may hold a grain of truth, and the author should never *assume* the reviewer's motives are inappropriate or that the reviewer's general intelligence is below average simply because the written review offends in some manner. Unless it is a flame, it behooves the author to consider it carefully in as many permutations as possible, trying to see through that reviewer's eyes. It may prove impossible, and then I can write the review off as worthless to me, but there's still the capsule reason to consider.

Re: the poetry question about traditional forms and near-rhyme.

I'm not sure how flexible one ought to be here. Certainly, English being comparatively rhyme poor, I'm willing to accept near-rhyme as opposed to a perfect match, so long as it doesn't seem to hurt the poem's content or unduly stress the form (I sound like I'm talking about a person, here! 'unduly stress the form'). Some of Shakespeare's sonnets don't rhyme to the modern ear, but have eye-rhyme or what seems like near-rhyme, so I'm inclined to be sort of loose in demanding that a poet have a rigid rhyme scheme, to the point of requiring a perfect endline rhyme.

 

 

Re: Useful decline comments - II

I want useful declines. Not useless or insulting ones. If, as the reviewer one has ANY qualms about your comments, do not make them.

Unless one plans to sign them.

Frankly, if somebody is not willing to stand behind their comments, perhaps they should simply use the capsule and skip the comments.

Lindorien

And as I said. If one starts typing a fuzzy comment, best to keep typing and make it darned clear what one means, and be willing to back up the statement.



 

 

Re: Useful decline comments - II

Lindorien, after reading this I wonder how many people would feel brave enough to venture any comment.

I have to admit, Lyllyn. I tend to just use the capsules now and have lately given up reviewing altogether. I try to remember to sign my reviews when I do give them.

What I have noticed with myself is I note accepts and declines and skip the capsule reviews altogether and only read the comments. And the comments annoy me. Thank goodness for Khazar! I am still not convinced that Riding Lessons was a fragment as it was, but she cut to the heart of the problem and the twenty or so words I added did make it a stronger fic.

But that's a far cry from the pompous persons who wanted me to give 'em bar scenes and stable scenes and treatises on the relationship between dwarves and ponies. One person actually told me to triple the length. And the person who thought it made no sense outside the challenge setting (must be a function key on the computer for that phrase) failed to note how it made no sense. The challenge was a crossover, not a specific theme. had I just happened to write the fic, would that comment still apply?

The challenge allowed me 1000 words. I managed in well under 500. Sue me.

It has now been designated 'not a fragment' by somebody who's opinion I take seriously. Shall I risk the gauntlet again?

Again, before one falls back on catch phrases or overwriting an author's voice or theme, THINK. That's all I say, THINK.

lindorien


 

 

Re: Useful decline comments - II

If, as the reviewer one has ANY qualms about your comments, do not make them.

I'm sorry, I have no idea where this came from. Or rather, I don't see why you felt the need to repeat it as if someone had contradicted you on some fundamental point. I fear I don't see a place in my posting where I actually suggested any such thing as careless reviewing, but I'll try to address it anyway.

As with Uruks and Aragorn sex, what one person considers insulting and useless may be perfectly clear to the reviewer or may be perfectly helpful to another author. Then there's the fact that there is a learning curve for reviewing, and one does not improve in explicating one's position (which may be quite right intuitively, as I've found is the case when dealing with fellow students and undergrads) without practice. What I can spit out in ten minutes another might spend an hour on and not do as well, and vice versa; however, both may be equally well considered in terms of care and consideration. Nevertheless, I cannot guarantee that you will agree with, understand, appreciate, or in any way find useful a damn thing that I write, whether or not I sign my name. Of course we all want useful reviews and ones which are not insulting. Sadly, this is not Paradise, though I'll take it, certainly.

That's why I advocate the principle of charity: no one, reviewer or author, has the right to assume perversity or stupidity right off the bat, or to question whether the reviewer is reviewing in bad faith or in uncertainty unless s/he says so or there is *obvious* proof within the text of the review of such. I frankly think none of what you've outlined is yet concrete enough to warrant any such conclusion, certainly not to merit such a contentious tone, though perhaps you are exaggerating for effect. And while some view it as cowardice or discourtesy to leave anonymous comments, you need only venture onto FF.net to see why anonymity is a good thing: authors flame just as readily as reviewers do, since authors are also reviewers. The HASA review system is built on trust, and if you cannot trust me to give you might best judgment, then the system will never work in your eyes, whether or not useful comments come through. And if you can only trust me if you see my name, well, that's a matter of trust once more and I can't help you with it.

This is not to say there's nothing of value in your posting. I've read it, and though I think you're exaggerating for effect once again, I find nothing to argue fundamentally, since it's all a set of conditionals boiling down to one point: think before pressing send. That is basic, but it is insufficient to guarantee that you will get reviews you personally would find useful. That is why it is also basic that an author learn how to weed out the wheat from the chaff, how to separate the capsule decline from a text review (which may be in itself unhelpful but may not invalidate the capsule decline: it can be a case of right decision for the wrong reason).

The principle of charity is also basic to good interpretation of *any* text, reviews included. I'm afraid I have little sympathy with outraged authors *much* of the time, given that I will go through and turn a confusing review upside down to find a couple of kernels of sense that are worth pondering before I decide whether the reviewer is worth listening to. That is, of course, merely personal, but I also find that sort of searching to be a more useful approach to reviews than leaving *all* the burden on the reviewer: it encourages me to step into a different perspective and to be self-critical about my work in a deeper manner than I was previously.

I hope that clarifies any confusing portions of my posting.

 

 

Re: Useful decline comments - II

But that's a far cry from the pompous persons who wanted me to give 'em bar scenes and stable scenes and treatises on the relationship between dwarves and ponies. One person actually told me to triple the length. And the person who thought it made no sense outside the challenge setting (must be a function key on the computer for that phrase) failed to note how it made no sense. The challenge was a crossover, not a specific theme. had I just happened to write the fic, would that comment still apply?

Ah, I see now, you have personal reasons to be pissed off. Well, sadly, I think that you're overlooking something: the person who wrote that probably had no qualms whatsoever about writing it. I've gotten reviews of this nature before (not here, but on my site or on FF.net), and yes, they irritated me. I therefore ignored them once I'd decided that yes, the reviewer was being clueless and insensitive to story logic. I refuse, however, to take them as a personal insult—that's assuming far more than is warranted.

 

 

Re: Useful decline comments - II

Lindorian, I'm sorry but what bothers me about your suggestions about how people should review is the assumption that all writers will feel the same way as you. (That's how I read - if I misread I apologise.) I would much rather have the most peculiar reaosn in the world than just the pulldown capsule (but if that's all the reviewer wants to do then that's fine by me because that is their choice). Equally I would rather be told I was a good writer but x was a problem than just a blunt x is a problem. Others will feel differently again.

I will say that I'm chary both as reviewer and reviewee of coments that tell me how to write my story - though I welcome them in forums. I mean, if I've stuffed canon or punctuated incorrectly then please do explain but I'm uncomfortable with a reviewer suggesting I add x scene or leave it in challenges or add another character - I'd rather they said something more like - 'It seems to end too abruptly' or 'I couldn't understand Frodo's motivation in pouring the red paint on Sam'. Hmmm.. am I making sense to anyone else? I know what I feel and why, but seem to be making a bumblebroth of explaining it.

Avon

 

 

Re: Useful decline comments - II

One reason I sign my name when I review is that I don't want to spend unproductive time trying to guess. I like this list of phrases you're collecting, Lyllyn. It will be useful to me.

I'm trying to be more careful with my comments, because I've had a couple badly misunderstood and wasted time trying to correct. The discussions on these forums are also useful to me because it's more practice and I'm finding out more pitfalls to try to avoid.

If I decline, I don't want to go into very specific suggestions until I know for sure what the author's theme/goal is. I want to put a brief & carefully considered general statement of why the story didn't work for me so the author has some idea of my reaction. I also ask the author to say what s/he's proud about in what was submitted, again so I can focus suggestions toward what's important to the author.

Julie

PS: OOC considering character's prior conduct in this story

I think this needs to be split:
Resolution is OOC considering character's prior conduct in this story
&
Characterization is not consistent

 

 

Re: Useful decline comments - II

This is not to say there's nothing of value in your posting. I've read it, and though I think you're exaggerating for effect once again,

Pray tell, what was I exaggerating? The things my reviewers suggested that I do? Unfortuantely that is not true. There are no exaggerations in that list. In fact, I toned it down a bit. Alas, these are the sorts of things I told to 'help' my paltry effort.

Aragorn and the Uruks.

Will never discuss that little 'gem' in public again.


Lindorien

 

 

Re: Useful decline comments - II

Ah, I see now, you have personal reasons to be pissed off.

If I had no personal reasons to be pissed off, Dwim -- why would I be?

Some reviewers have trouble with unusual forms. They should stay away from those fics and find something they understand.

Lindorien

 

 

Re: Useful decline comments - II

That is perfect Avon -- just pinpoint where the problems is -- Frodo pouring red pain on Sam, etc. -- but don't try to rewrite the thing.

Sorry -- it seems that lately my declines have more to do with people having trouble with my style or form then there being real problems with the piece.

This is not something I can control. However, do not tell a writer who obviously knows what he or she is doing and who obviously knows how to write WHAT to write.

Review is not meant to be beta, that has been made clear. But I would hope it would be helpful.

I have a bucketful of peculiar declines -- would you like me to lend you a few? ;)

Lindorien

 

 

Re: Useful decline comments - II

*whew*

Um, Lindorien, I realize that you're coming at this having received declines that you felt were extremely unhelpful, but I must say that I don't exactly enjoy being dictated to about how I should review and what I ought or ought not to say if I opt to include a comment as well as a capsule reason!

A capsule decline with an insubstantial or fuzzy explanation is enraging.

I always intend my comments to be helpful, but - assuming that I don't know who the author is, which is nearly always the case as I rarely have time to even look over the stories in beta or general much less read them - I cannot know whether the author of a particular story will in fact find them helpful or not. Different people want/need different kinds of comments, and some people don't even read them. I'm not going to go into tremendous detail because it's as least as likely to be wasted effort as not. And I do not sign reviews, because I firmly believe that this process should be anonymous to the greatest extent possible (another reason I rarely read beta and general stories).

If I pick "fragment" as a reason it's because I don't think the piece stands on its own. Maybe it needs more to it, IMO, and then that's the suggestion I'll make. The author doesn't have to agree with me, doesn't have to make any changes at all. I'm not going to spend a great deal of time considering whether the author might have thought about including such an expansion and rejected it - there is absolutely no way I can know that and it would be arrogant and presumptuous of me to do so.

Do not tell the author you could not figure out the theme. To the author that says more about you as the reviewer than it does about him/her as the author.

No, sorry, must disagree with you here. I'm a reasonably intelligent person and I've done a lot of reading over the years. If I can't figure out what the theme is, it's probably not very clear the way the story is presently written. This may or may not be true of other reviewers, but I will claim its truth for myself. OTOH, I tend not to give theme a major role in my decisions, either, so it's not a comment I'm too likely to make.

On a completely different topic. Be very wary of declining pieces with the fateful words that are variants of:

This is very well-written, but...
This is really, really good, except
You are a really good writer and this piece is great, except...


Huh. I'll plead guilty to having used such phrases. Frankly I was taught to use them - the "sandwich" method of critique, in which you say something positive around the more negative comments you may have. I've certainly seen and declined stories which were technically well-written but IMO did not have anything interesting to say - so I was declining not because they did anything "wrong" but because I didn't feel they reached "excellence."

Besides, folks, remember that there are NINE reviewers, and any given decline is only ONE of those. If one reviewer's decline is way out of whack with any others, ignore it. If you completely disagree with the reviewer's take and think they wholly misunderstood the point and purpose of your story or poem, ignore it. No one's under obligation to ever change anything owing to a negative review of their submission. Frankly that's why I tend to decline more than accept - because as someone said in the other thread, when reviewing, you're voting to accept or decline the story "AS IS" and if it's not up to the level I think HASA should maintain, even if it's close, even if the story is very good but the proofreading was terrible, I'm going to vote to decline, because there's no way to ensure that those - IMO needed - changes will be made.

More than two cents, and speaking as someone who hasn't had a finished LotR story to submit in some months and therefore hasn't seen what types of comments are being given lately -

Cel

 

 

Re: Useful decline comments - II

I am going to step out of this discussion, because I can hear my voice becoming shrill and I do not want to do that.

So I took the twins to school and tried to focus on what had really bugged me. It was that I do not think the FORM was understood. In a piece that is obviously based on pure conversation, do not tell the author to add copious amounts of narrative. Tell the author they have failed WITHIN the form chosen to achieve his/her objectives. Suggest more conversation to explain -- not stories of ponies and stables and bars.

I.E., Riding Lessons is meant to be short. It is meant to be almost entirely conversation. I had hoped it was obvious that the theme was the BET, not the PONY.

I do not have even ONE decline that spoke to the form.

NOT ONE.

The decline based on the challenge was out of line -- I won't even go there.

Therefore, admonishments to add length, narrative, extra scenes, explain Gimli's family tree and where the 'cousin' came from tell me that the reviewer is projecting way too much of what he or she would like to see rather than reviewing on what was submitted.

Khazar very kindly cut through the BS and made it clear where the problem was. A small fix was all that was needed.

I liken this to the Poetry debates. Sometimes we are simply not in a position to judge the merits. For me to tell a poet "add a line here" to a terzenelle form marks me for not having the foggiest notion what I am talking about.

Not everybody likes all writing forms. What I wrote in Riding Lessons is called Flashfiction. Not everybody likes flashfiction. It was flashfiction in a conversational form. Less people tend to like that.

That is fine. But a reviewer should understand and be willing to accept their own lacks and leave a piece if it is of a type they do not care for.

Or use the pulldown capsule, put it out of its misery, and be done with it.

Okay. I'm off to do more writing. Thanks for your comments, Cel.

Lindorien

 

 

Re: Useful decline comments - II

I realize that you're leaving the discussion, but could you answer a question first?

What I wrote in Riding Lessons is called Flashfiction.

This is a form with which I am completely unfamiliar (and I haven't read the story, either). What the heck is "flashfiction" whether in conversational form or not?

This brings up another point. There seem to be a multiplicity of "forms" that people write in, some of which are fairly obscure - in poetry, if I don't recognize a form but am fairly certain that there is meant to be one, I'll try to figure out what it is (or, more likely, not review that poem). But in fiction - I may not even realize that there's some specific form that the author is following or attempting to follow. I know drabble, vignette, short story, novella, novel - those are the basic divisions I use, and they're all based on length. What other forms of prose are out there that authors might use? I'm honestly curious here... because if there are conventions of which I am unaware, then I want to learn them. If I misjudge a piece because it's in a form that I'm completely unfamiliar with, that's unfair - though if it's a really obscure one, it would be a good idea for the author to explain it in a note as the chances of 9 reviewers knowing it might be small...

Cel

 

 

Re: Useful decline comments - II

If I had no personal reasons to be pissed off, Dwim -- why would I be?


As a rhetorical question, the answer is clearly, 'of course you wouldn't be.' That wasn't, however, what I meant though I fear I expressed it poorly. Referencing my earlier post, I didn't see a concrete reason for your anger, thus your second posting served to illustrate the specific reason why you were in full rant mode. I treated the first seriously, however, because it seemed like your point was getting lost in the outrageous/outraged tone, and also because, although the point was basic, it didn't guarantee that any of what you'd complained about wouldn't still happen. I couldn't be sure you realized that or that others realized that, and that, to me, seemed like a real problem that would lead to utterly unrealistic expectations. Perhaps I'm wrong, and I should've given you more credit than that, but based on your postings, there was that logical hole that didn't seem to be being acknowledged, while on the other hand, you seemed to be saying that only your particular standards for reviewing were acceptable. To me, that seemed like a blind spot in the making.

On to the complaint about staying away from genres one doesn't understand.

Most reviewers who have voiced their positions on the topic of reviewing have said that they tend to avoid things they do not understand. Admittedly, that's a small number by comparison with the rest of the reviewing pool, so there may very well be many who do vote where they are not necessarily qualified. But again, even were that not the case and every reviewer avoided fics s/he thought s/he was incompetent to judge, you cannot control for the fact that even the thoughtful reviewer may mistakenly believe that s/he does understand, and comment accordingly. Moreover, you cannot necessarily tell the difference between someone deliberately reviewing something they shouldn't be reviewing and someone who sincerely believes s/he is qualified to review a particular style and genre. I therefore prefer to take all comments as sincere efforts, even if misguided, as it makes for a) less stress on me and b) makes me aware of how my writing is actually perceived (as opposed to how I think it *ought* to be perceived).

I will close with this: this is a forum about educating. Specifically, it's a forum that is trying to help us help ourselves become better communicators, more careful readers and writers who can make critical distinctions when commenting on another's work (be that work a work of fiction or a review). The heated arguments have had their place in this, but I can honestly say that whatever the legitimate points within those arguments (and there were many), they were not better conveyed because of the anger. Usually, anger served to distract me from those legitimate points rather than to educate about them, and so I think it a poor tool. I understand it, since I also get the odd clueless review and had to read through a couple of homophobic flames from the FF.net days, but that's beside the point for me. Perhaps I'm just overly sensitive, but I do think we undermine our own point sometimes by venting spleen alongside what is intended to be substantive critique of reviewing standards. I have enough of a job just trying to get my points across on a good day; I don't need to be my own worst enemy by inviting defensiveness through my own emotional tone.

To be clear: I will still pick through postings that are clearly written in the heat of a moment and I'm not saying you can't post in whatever style and tone you wish so long as it isn't flaming. I am not trying to be the style police or anything like that.

Apologies if I've wholly misinterpreted everyone and Lindorien in particular; if you like, take it as an exercise in deciding whether or how to use this poster's review of posting in the decline forum.

 

 

Re: Useful decline comments - II

To Dwim:

I was not trying to vent my spleen - I was offering Riding Lessons as a perfect case in point on the fragment vs. format question and also offer whether I found my declines helpful or not.

If somebody likes not my work, they like it not -- Their loss. LOL!

But the declines should have merit within the form. This is all I am saying.

to Cel:

Flashfiction is a very disciplined sort of writing. The author must evoke place, events, beginning, middle, end, characters, theme, resolution in a very short space of time. In fact, it is not really a vignette, in that it is not a description or small sketch. It is an entire work in tiny little space.

Most are done in under 500 words. For me Riding Lessons was a rather long flashfiction, coming in, in its final form at 460 words. I have done them in as little as 300 words, the ultimate goal is generally to keep them at about 250 -- RL, not Tolkien.

In many respects Tolkien is easier because I already had the history of dwarves and their dislike of horses to help me in background. In RL flashfiction that luxury does not exist.

I could post one of my RL ones here in this thread, if you like -- as an example.

That is why I always laugh and say I can do War and Peace in a thousand words.

It is also why I took so well to the drabble. An entire story in 100 words? Made my little heart go pitter pat.

Now if I could do a drabble in conversational form then I will feel I've hit the ultimate reduction. Grin.

The conversational form, in general, tends to throw people. It is a more sophisticated construct in many ways than simple narrative for the reader is left to infer entirely from the words spoken what is going on. Almost the entire first chapter of my fic DANCE is in this form.

EDITED TO ADD THIS: In the conversational form, very little words such as he said/she said is used. Very little arching of brows, or frowning or whatnot. Some is put in to demonstrate the characters are not just staring at each other, but the reader is left to infer from what little is given along those lines what the characters are feeling or doing.

I find the form fascinating for it is rather like watching a tennis match with the back and forth, but additionally, I find it interesting to infer the layers and emotions and words unsaid that happen below the surface. For me it is a form that echos -- know what I mean?

In Riding Lessons, I caved and added about twenty words of narrative to get to my endpoint. I could go back and have Gimli say something or the 'cousin' say something, but that would break the tension of these two dwarves staring each other down and I wanted to leave that image and so chose to make that part an inner struggle for Gimli.

Lindorien

 

 

Re: Useful decline comments - II

Lindorien,

Just want to throw my dollar's worth in on Fragment declines.
I am an expert in those declines.


After having, what, six stories go through review? Okay, fine if that makes you an expert at receiving a particular capsule decline, I can accept that.

But -and I say this respectfully- you are no expert on writing reviews, and I honestly cannot believe that you presumed to coach others in the DOs and DO NOTs of composing constructive criticism.
You may well know what you would have considered helpful commentary for you and your own stories; but that doesn't tell you anything about what other people would consider helpful commentary for them and their stories.

-AE

 

 

Re: Useful decline comments - II

I know drabble, vignette, short story, novella, novel - those are the basic divisions I use, and they're all based on length.

Strictly speaking, length is only one part of the definition of these forms of prose. Simplifying the definition of vignette to this extent practically guarantees that vignettes will continue to be declined as fragments. They are not, not if they are properly written. One could compare a vignette with a still photo; it captures a brief moment in time. Does that make it of less value because it cannot capture the entire movie in that single frame?

I will grant you that some vignettes do not capture the emotion of the moment as successfully as they should, just as not every still photo sucessfully evokes a mood or feeling. What disturbs me is that too frequently the vignette seems to be dismissed as "not good enough" simply because it doesn't tell the whole story. But by virtue of its very form, it is not intended to.

In the past many of these forms have been discussed here in the forums. Is there anything else onsite that provides a good, detailed definition of each type of prose? If not, does anyone else think it would be worthwhile to have an article, perhaps posted in resources, that would do so? This could benefit writers and reviewers alike IMO.

~Nessime

 

 

Re: Useful decline comments - II

If not, does anyone else think it would be worthwhile to have an article, perhaps posted in resources, that would do so? This could benefit writers and reviewers alike IMO

It is a worthy idea. I like the idea of a forum with a thread possibly for each form?

An article? Are you volunteering to write it?

It occurs to me that much of the infighting and arguing does seem to arise over definitions. Nobody likes getting stomped on for not making dinner when all one thought one was trying to provide was the dessert.

Lindorien

 

 

Re: Useful decline comments - II

But -and I say this respectfully- you are no expert on writing reviews, and I honestly cannot believe that you presumed to coach others in the DOs and DO NOTs of composing constructive criticism.

I did not put myself forth as an expert in how to do reviews. I am telling all who care to listen what *I* find useful and not useful in a review and in composing constructive criticism.

Regarding review, it is something I have some small experience in, however, although not necessarily here.

And I am as good at taking the 'constructive' criticism as I am on dishing it out. I have found that a good merlot makes it all go down much better.

I shall not answer the first comment. It is obvious I annoy you.

Lindorien

 

 

Re: Useful decline comments - II

Article on forms! Yes!

Tay had said she was working on a piece detailing poetry forms. I think the two together would be a great idea, and authors could then, if they wished, link to those articles if they thought it would help reviewers.

I'd never looked up the word "vignette" before—I got the idea of what it was by reading examples, and by looking at the word. Clearly, it literally means a small vine, and if the 'vine' part never quite clarified itself to me, the 'small' part certainly made me define it as being necessarily short.

My Webster's defines it thusly:

"1. A decorative design or small illustration used on the title page of a book or at the beginning or end of a chapter. 2. an engraving, drawing, photograph, or the like that is shaded off gradually at the edges so as to leave no definite line at the border. 3. a decorative design representing branches, leaves, grapes, or the like [aha, the vine!] 4. a. a short, graceful literary sketch. b. a brief, quietly touching or appealing scene or episode in a play, movie, or the like."

From what has been said in this forum and others, it seems like we hold vignettes to be a combination of "2" and "4", with more emphasis on "4a" than "4b" I suppose (that 'quietly touching' bit doesn't ring true, given some of the angsty vignettes that abound—not quiet at all!). Interesting, too, that this seems to have begun life as a visual entity and been transfered to the literary realm by analogy. So a vignette should be a short, evocative piece that branches out from a larger context and is carefully delimited, allowing for gradual 'shading off' at the end so as to leave no definite line to mark a border (i.e., to indicate plot resolution). How am I doing?


 

 

Re: Useful decline comments - II

That's reasonably close. Just lose the "blurring".

4. a. a short, graceful literary sketch. b. a brief, quietly touching or appealing scene or episode in a play, movie, or the like."


That's what it should be. Nowhere does it require "quiet", as in "sedate". I would submit that "appealing" can certainly apply to well-written angst.

I am thinking of starting a new thread/article--well, OK, maybe two. One would be Fragment vs Story, and the other would be Literary Criticism--Forms & Functions.

Any ideas?

khazar

 

 

Re: Useful decline comments - II

I am thinking of starting a new thread/article--well, OK, maybe two. One would be Fragment vs Story, and the other would be Literary Criticism--Forms & Functions.

Go for it.

Lindorien stands up -- thumbs held high in her best GLADIATOR imitation:

DO IT! DO IT ! DO IT! DO IT!


Your biggest fan in this regard,
Lindorien

 

 

Re: Useful decline comments - II

Strictly speaking, length is only one part of the definition of these forms of prose.

Oh, certainly, and I wasn't trying to say that length is the only and sufficient criterion there, but I think length is a necessary criterion. Can't call something a "vignette" if it's 10,000 words long, nor is a work of that length a novel. It's too long for the one and too short for the other. But there is some overlap between the categories - a long short story, a short novella, might have about the same word count.

If a work is described as a vignette then I'll take it as such - I've read some very enjoyable vignettes, and written some vignettes of my own (mostly for Challenges). But a piece that's, oh, 1000 or 2000 or 3000 words, and not specifically stated to be a vignette, I'll assume is meant to be a short story and look for something more than a character sketch - and if I see no plot or resolution, I'll conclude that it's an unworkable short story. My feeling is that the onus should be on the author to ensure that the reviewers know what category the piece falls into. Now, just because it's described as a vignette doesn't mean that I'm not still going to look for connection to canon and general excellence - but I won't expect elaborate plot.

Cel

 

 

Re: Useful decline comments - II

Flashfiction is a very disciplined sort of writing. The author must evoke place, events, beginning, middle, end, characters, theme, resolution in a very short space of time. In fact, it is not really a vignette, in that it is not a description or small sketch. It is an entire work in tiny little space.

Okay - I think I get the idea. Describing it as "very disciplined" curls my toes slightly as I read in that an implication that other sorts are not disciplined, but never mind.

So it's basically a miniature short story, then. Fair enough. But if I as a reviewer don't know that's the intended form, I might wonder why it's so compressed and why the author didn't take time to flesh things out a bit more.

*shrug* That's kind of why I'm curious/worried about these relatively obscure forms. As I said, I don't want to judge on an unsound basis, but sometimes it seems as if the predetermined form gets in the way of the story the author wants to tell. Very short forms like this (and drabbles, even more) tend to me to seem more like writing exercises, useful for that purpose certainly but without the scope to really convey very much to a reader, especially a reader without an extensive understanding of the background the author is drawing on.

Cel

 

 

Re: Useful decline comments - II

especially a reader without an extensive understanding of the background the author is drawing on.

One of my reviewers was concerned that somebody from the 'outside' would not understand Riding Lessons.

It seemed a silly comment. My presumption is that anybody reading Tolkien fanfiction does so because he has an interest and love of Tolkien and is familiar with his works.

Even the fan who ONLY saw the movies knows Gimli and horses are not a good mix.

In many respects the venue of fanfiction is a perfect place to try out these forms -- for we can make the assumption of extensive understanding of the background of the author. In fact, it can make us a little lazier as authors in that respect for there is no need in any flashfiction, a vignette, a shortfic, a novella to say,

"Aragorn, Isildur's heir, Isildur being the heir to the numenorean line, the numenoreans being men of long-life and lineage who were cast out of numenor because they dared to travel to Valinor, Valinor being the undying lands, undying in that only Elves can live there, Elves in that they are immortal, immortal because they are the first born...etc., etc., ...stepped out of the palace at Minas Tirith, being the capitol city of Gondor, Gondor being the southern kingdom of the two kingdoms, the northern being Arnor and lately ruled by the House of Stewards, the Stewards being an office which was once appointed and then became hereditary because they had to rule Gondor and had done so for 1000 years previously until the Ring War, called so because it involved a Ring of great power created by Sauron, who I should mention is the chief bad guy..."

You get the picture.

Somebody coming from outside to read HASA fanfiction is not necessarily a dolt with no background. They are likely a fan and are reading fanfiction because they are a fan.

Okay - I think I get the idea. Describing it as "very disciplined" curls my toes slightly as I read in that an implication that other sorts are not disciplined, but never mind.

Sorry -- but 'tis what 'tis. It is much more difficult to leave out then to put in, as anybody packing for a vacation will affirm. Staying within the restrictions of the form requires assiduous adherence to purpose and a really, really sharp knife -- sometimes an axe.

So it's basically a miniature short story, then....Very short forms like this (and drabbles, even more) tend to me to seem more like writing exercises, useful for that purpose certainly but without the scope to really convey very much to a reader,

Hence is the basic prejudice against these forms defined and revealed. To write them off as exercises or tiny short stories is to do them an injustice. It is the same as me saying, 'poetry is just words that rhyme.'

These are wonderful forms, which, in the hands of a master, which I am not -- although I am not too bad at it -- can really make an idea or meaning resonate with the reader.

Anybody who feels as you do about these forms should refrain from reviewing them. Some people just don't like poetry. They should not review poetry.

Lindorien

 

 

Re: Useful decline comments - II

Lindorien,

I did not put myself forth as an expert in how to do reviews. I am telling all who care to listen what *I* find useful and not useful in a review and in composing constructive criticism.

Maybe that was your intention; but that is not how you worded it. You said "DO NOT do such and such" and referred to "the author" several times. That looks to me like telling others how it should and should not be done. If you had said anything along the lines of "speaking for myself, I would prefer my reviewers to abide by these specific guidelines when commenting upon my work", then I wouldn't have said a word.

Regarding review, it is something I have some small experience in, however, although not necessarily here.

That's beyond the scope of my point, as I wasn't questioning your function or malfunction as a 'reviewer' (i.e. 'one who reviews'), but as an instructor for how to write better reviews.

And I am as good at taking the 'constructive' criticism as I am on dishing it out. I have found that a good merlot makes it all go down much better.

I haven't seen you dish out any constructive criticism or heard from anyone who claims to have been on the receiving end of it, so I'm not one to say. (I'm not debating this, either. You could be a swell critic for all I know. I'm just saying that I don't know one way or the other.)

I shall not debate your last comment. It is obvious you are on to me.

But I will add this, as I don't think you realize it, and I hope that it will make you happy to know.
Any reviewer who has ever left any comment regarding any aspect of your story(s) or their impression(s) thereof was trying to help you. I have heard you call your reviews 'interesting' and 'peculiar', as well as unhelpful and not-good. But keep in mind that if someone said it, whether it enlightened you to hear or not, they said it with the intention to please you, to aid and support you, because they must have given a d@mn.
Most authors should be so lucky to get half the comments you seem to receive, whether they are on the dim side of brilliance or not. The difference being we'd send thank-you cards.

-AE

 

 

Re: Useful decline comments - II

Lindorien wrote: Nobody likes getting stomped on for not making dinner when all one thought one was trying to provide was the dessert.

Okay, Lindorien, now you're making me hungry. Where's dinner?

But that's the general idea. I'm not an expert, but I've been doing a lot of reading about the art of writing since I joined HASA, and I know I'm not the only one who would like to gain a better understanding of all the subtle, and not so subtle, differences among the various forms of writing.

Dwim wrote: Tay had said she was working on a piece detailing poetry forms. I think the two together would be a great idea, and authors could then, if they wished, link to those articles if they thought it would help reviewers.

The idea of linking to the article hadn't occurred to me, but it could be useful. This ties into what Cel said in her next post: If a work is described as a vignette then I'll take it as such. If there are reviewers who aren't clear on exactly what constitues a vignette, or a novella [also referred to as a "novelette"], etc., the link may give them the extra guidelines that they can apply to their review, as Cel does. And writers will know that they have certain criteria to meet for each particular form. That's all I've ever wanted: an avenue whereby writers can improve their craft, and reviewers can have the proper criteria by which to judge. As someone who is involved in both activities, I too would value such an article as a useful tool, so that I may become better at what I do.

Dwim also wrote: I'd never looked up the word "vignette" before—I got the idea of what it was by reading examples, and by looking at the word.

I hadn't looked it up until the subject arose in another discussion, and I wanted to know for a fact what the correct definition is. I found the same one you just cited, Dwim. If others are truly interested, I'm willing to do my homework and draft an article on this subject.*groan - I just volunteered again, didn't I?* But if I do, I'll need a beta. *hint, hint*

Khazar wrote: I am thinking of starting a new thread/article--well, OK, maybe two. One would be Fragment vs Story, and the other would be Literary Criticism--Forms & Functions.

Sounds like a plan. There have been discussions covering a lot of similar issues, but it seems that the need to review (no pun intended) the specifics from time to time is quite apparent, based on what I've observed in serveral of the other discussions here at HASA. So I'd give the idea another thumbs up. Perhaps I can glean some useful information from it too.

*aside to Lindorien: if what I've read is correct, the "thumbs up" gesture is pure Hollywood, from way back in the silent film era. Does that make it "fanon"?

Cel wrote: Oh, certainly, and I wasn't trying to say that length is the only and sufficient criterion there, but I think length is a necessary criterion.

Sorry Cel, I didn't mean to imply that you were, but I was concerned that others reading the thread might see only that part, and would not understand "the rest of the story."

What you've described seems fair enough, though it does point out that writers might want to consider stating which form they've used, when they compose their summary. And again, this shows that an article clearly defining what each form should or should not have to do would be helpful to writers too.

Cel also wrote: Now, just because it's described as a vignette doesn't mean that I'm not still going to look for connection to canon and general excellence - but I won't expect elaborate plot.

IMO this is just as it should be. Some connection to canon is what fanfic is all about, isn't it? And excellence in writing is what the archive is intended to support and encourage. I just wanted to be sure that all forms are able to have a fair and just review, and not be rejected because a reviewer doesn't understand the form of writing employed by the author.

Thanks for adding some good points to the discussion. I know I'm learning from it.

~Nessime

 

 

Re: Useful decline comments - II

But I will add this, as I don't think you realize it, and I hope that it will make you happy to know.
Any reviewer who has ever left any comment regarding any aspect of your story(s) or their impression(s) thereof was trying to help you. I have heard you call your reviews 'interesting' and 'peculiar', as well as unhelpful and not-good. But keep in mind that if someone said it, whether it enlightened you to hear or not, they said it with the intention to please you, to aid and support you, because they must have given a d@mn.
Most authors should be so lucky to get half the comments you seem to receive, whether they are on the dim side of brilliance or not. The difference being we'd send thank-you cards.


Hmmm...you know. AE, I hadn't thought about it that way. i do get a LOT of comments. I've had useful declines -- I posted one at lyllyn's request early on in all of this.

I think i'd rather people stick stuff in my forum though, because then I can have a conversation instead of this wierd feeling that I am dodging lobbed cannonballs.

Thanks for giving me something new to ponder. It's appreciated. It truly is.

lindorien

 

 

Re: Useful decline comments - II

OK, you've convinced me to write an article on Fragment vs Story.

In the discussion on Poetry Declines, I said that poets need to help themsleves by explaining what form they've used for their work. It also helps if they tell the readers anything that makes the poem special. If they're writing in an obscure form, the difference may be acceptance for the poem. Not because the poem is better/worse than before, but because the reader knows the rules. Haiku makes no sense until you understand that it is a form that must tell its story in 17 syllables or less. Otherwise it looks very fragmented indeed.

I frankly had never heard the term flashfiction before; we always called those types of things scenes, or vignettes, or dialogs. To me "flashfiction" sounds like "flashdance".

There've been quite a few people groping around the skirts of Literary Criticism lately; I suppose it won't hurt to outline the forms, and give people an idea of how to use them effectively. Used properly, they can really open up a text. Used the way they normally are, you have an exercise in extreme naval-gazing.

Khazar

 

 

Re: Useful decline comments - II

I think it's a new term, but not too new a term...I heard it first in college and I am no spring chicken, I assure you.

Quick fiction. Very quick fiction. Like writing the KJV of the Bible on the head of a pin. Restricted in length and scope, but more than a sketch.

Will try to wipe away vision of Jennifer Beale now. Thankyouverymuch.

Lindorien

 

 

Re: Useful decline comments - II

Lindorien wrote: Nobody likes getting stomped on for not making dinner when all one thought one was trying to provide was the dessert.

Okay, Lindorien, now you're making me hungry. Where's dinner?



I dunno.

Crow, maybe?

Give me a big heaping plateful. Okay?

Lindorien

 

 

Re: Useful decline comments - II

One of my reviewers was concerned that somebody from the 'outside' would not understand Riding Lessons.

It seemed a silly comment. My presumption is that anybody reading Tolkien fanfiction does so because he has an interest and love of Tolkien and is familiar with his works.


Lindorien, after all your comments about your reviews of 'Riding Lessons; I went back and read it. I often don't remember titles, or who wrote what. I thought I'd signed the review.

That silly comment was mine.

I do not presume that outsiders are dolts. I have said elsewhere on this forum that I try to judge with the thought of a reader who is well-informed about Tolkien, but not about the site (and therefore about challenges). What I meant was that since I saw this as a fragment, I felt an outsider reading it would not understand why it was in the archive. As a fragment, it wouldn't 'make sense.' I thought that would be understood. I agree that 'everyone' knows Gimli doesn't like riding. As part of a challenge, it would be clear it was written to write a race you don't usually write, and visitors to the archive could still enjoy your writing.

I did not get that the theme was the bet, apparently most people reading were equally confused. Perhaps I was led astray by the title, 'Riding Lessons.' In any case, the review was not written to insult, anger or irritate the author. It was written because it genuinely came across as a fragment to me. I know you disagree. I know you disagreed when I said the same of 'Interlude'.

I don't dislike stories just because they are short. I have approved short stories, and written and submitted vignettes. I don't dislike stories that are only dialogue, if they succeed. We simply disagree on what makes a complete vignette.

I am unfamiliar with flashfiction. I have not seen that definition or word on any Tolkien archive I have visited (and I've visited a fair number). I'd love to have more information to broaden my knowledge - can you point us toward more information on it?

Lyllyn

 

 

Re: Useful decline comments - II

OK, you've convinced me to write an article on Fragment vs Story

Khazar, welcome to the wonderful world of Resource!nuzgûls.

Lyllyn

 

 

Re: Useful decline comments - II

Regarding my statement that "flashfiction" seemed like a miniature short story and that this and the drabble seem to me more like writing exercises, Lindorien said:

Hence is the basic prejudice against these forms defined and revealed. To write them off as exercises or tiny short stories is to do them an injustice. It is the same as me saying, 'poetry is just words that rhyme.'

These are wonderful forms, which, in the hands of a master, which I am not -- although I am not too bad at it -- can really make an idea or meaning resonate with the reader.

Anybody who feels as you do about these forms should refrain from reviewing them. Some people just don't like poetry. They should not review poetry.


You're misunderstanding me. I don't dislike them as forms, and I don't think that saying something is a good writing exercise means that they have no purpose! Being a good writing exercise is plenty of reason to write such. I do question whether these forms are likely to be suitable as stand-alones in an archive. You describe them as being very difficult to write effectively and I'm sure that's so - which suggests to me that very few are going to be of sufficient quality to be archive material. And when I am reviewing and I think that is the case I will decline, and if I have the inclination I might write a text comment explaining what I think the problems with the entry are.

I'm getting a wee bit tired of being told that I am prejudiced and ought not to review certain types of submissions - drabbles, poetry, whatever. Where I know I am biased I do refrain, unless I take a look and see myriads of mechanical errors and can decline on those grounds, regardless of other factors. Are there not forms or genres or characters that you have some dislike for, and do you review those stories? If not, please don't assume that I do. If so, then you might want to take your own advice. I'm not saying this to make you angry, just trying to point out that if you want others to be fair-minded, I hope and trust that you are equally so.

I took a look at what sorts of stories are public, by genre.
Action: 31
Critical Essay: 6
Drama: 309
General: 242
Humor: 75
Other: 29
Poetry: 41
Romance: 75

Can't remember for sure, but I have the vague feeling that last December there were only about 3 poems in the archive. So although it's still a small genre, it's been growing relatively rapidly. Romance is the most popular genre search but one of the smaller categories, btw. Unfortunately there's no way to search by length of entry so I have no idea whether people like reading really short stories or really long ones or whether length is irrelevant.

Sorry, I've gotten way off the topic of what makes a good decline!

Cel

 

 

Re: Useful decline comments - II

Flashfiction is a writing term. It has nothing to do with fanfiction. It just has to do with regular writing.

Here are some links to sites I got from a Google search under FLASH FICTION

http://home.att.net/~p.casto/

http://www.heelstone.com/meridian/meansarticle1.html

http://www.fictionfactor.com/guests/flashfiction.html

****************

I was more annoyed by the challenge comment. It seemed to kill the anonymity factor.

haha -- re Interlude. Well its been rewritten because I stole half of it for another non-LOTR work. So I rewrote that entire scene and stuck it in FREE FALL, if you would care to have a look and comment -- I'd love it! Mablung's the son of a parchment maker now and has a million brothers and sisters!

12 chapters plus author's notes! At least you can't call it a fragment!

Best,
Lindorien


 

 

Re: Useful decline comments - II

I do question whether these forms are likely to be suitable as stand-alones in an archive. You describe them as being very difficult to write effectively and I'm sure that's so - which suggests to me that very few are going to be of sufficient quality to be archive material.

But that's what I mean, Cel -- you come to the piece with a predisposition that you do not think they will be good enough for the archive, simply because of the form. But if you do not understand the form well, then it would be difficult for you to make that decision -- that is all I meant.

Are there not forms or genres or characters that you have some dislike for, and do you review those stories?

I do tend to stay away from poetry, unless I think it is really good and then I will accept. Or it is so abysmal, even I can tell its awful. Also, I tend to stay away from Silm fics unless the writing is just really poor OR it is so well written it must be accepted, as in the example of Granmyr's ... CANNOT remember the name, but the one about Turgon and the fall of Gondolin. That one moved me to tears and I had no idea who those characters were.

Ditto on hobbits -- I only make decisions on the very good or the very bad.

I stick to the things I know well for middle fics.

Do not be annoyed. I am not trying to anger you. the declines i had for Riding Lessons told me the form was not being understood. I suppose I should have stated it was a flash fiction in the conversational form and perhaps it might have been treated more kindly.




 

 

Re: Useful decline comments - II

Here's the name of a wonderful book of Flash Fiction which 'turned me on' to this form. There is one in there that is about 250 words about a husband and a wife and whether or not they should have a baby that just blew me away.

Flash Fiction by James Thomas (Editor) available on amazon.com under 12 bucks.


Lindorien



 

 

Re: Useful decline comments - II

In the interests of keeping this thread rapidly loading enough to be read, I'm not going to repost the revised comment list, but instead edit it at the top of the thread.

Along the same lines, Lindorien, if you want to post flashfiction, you might want to follow the example of the Drabbles discussion and start a separate Flashfiction discussion.

Going off to edit the comment list...

Lyllyn

 

 

Re: Useful decline comments - II

At the risk of sounding like an idiot. I am putting this up just to show the form outside of fanfiction.

because you asked.

do you want it removed?

lindorien

 

 

Re: Useful decline comments - II

OK, that's 2. Khamul, and now Fragmentary Fiction.

Someday I will learn. Honest.

khazar

 

 

Re: Useful decline comments - II

OK, that's 2. Khamul, and now Fragmentary Fiction.

Someday I will learn. Honest.


Oh don't! Nuzgûls make such wonderful pets!
After, all how much time can a bio of Khamul take?

Lyllyn

 

 

Re: Useful decline comments - II

I am putting this up just to show the form outside of fanfiction.

Lindorien, you could place these in a separate discussion, and post a hyperlink to it so those who are following this discussion can reference your examples. I'd like to do the same for the other writing forms. If you wouldn't mind doing it, the topic on "flashfiction" could be included there. That way the definitions would all be in one place. Then we could compile all the pertinent information in an article for Resources. Does that sound reasonable?

Lyllyn, or anyone else who knows the answer to this: can I simply start a new discussion and invite those interested to post information on the various forms, starting a new topic for each? If I'm not mistaken, that's the way Tay started Verse and Adversity. *I wish I could think of a catchy title like that for prose*

~Nessime

 

 

Re: Useful decline comments - II

Lindorien, you could place these in a separate discussion, and post a hyperlink to it so those who are following this discussion can reference your examples.

Sounds great! Just tell when you have the discussion set up and I shall start the thread. I'm not very good with hyperlinks, but will try. These new-fangled computers -- I just don't get 'em!

Lindorien

 

 

Re: Useful decline comments - II

Lyllyn, or anyone else who knows the answer to this: can I simply start a new discussion and invite those interested to post information on the various forms, starting a new topic for each? If I'm not mistaken, that's the way Tay started Verse and Adversity. *I wish I could think of a catchy title like that for prose*

Go right ahead and start it, Nessime. You can put it in the Resources forum, or if you prefer, in the Members forum. (Verse & Adversity is in members.)

As to catchy names, I immediately thought - don't throw anything too heavy - of 'Prose and Prolixity'. Memories of Catch-22, I'm afraid. I'm sure you can do better. 'Who Knows Prose?'
I'll stop now. It's safer.

Lyllyn

 

 

Re: Useful decline comments - II

Because I am always behind, I found this comment toward the top of this discussion. It is from Julie.

I also ask the author to say what s/he's proud about in what was submitted, again so I can focus suggestions toward what's
important to the author.


I am confused. Are you suggesting that somewhere in a submission, the author list what they like about their piece? And that information be used by the reviewer to focus their comments?

If my interpretation is correct, that actually sounds more like beta or forum discussion. I would prefer my stories to stand on their own. Writing what I think are the stories strong points seems like pimping it and that must surely defeat the purpose of review. If I have misunderstood, would you please explain what you did mean?

Heck, I am uncomfortable that there may be a need to say what form the piece is, assuming that if the piece does not speak for itself, it should be declined. But, as I write mostly vignette and now realize that it may be a form some people are unfamiliar with, I shall try it.

Chris

 

 

Re: Useful decline comments - II

Sorry to be confusing.

What I was describing was what I put in my signed reviews, if I decline, and the answers to "what are your goals, what are you proud of?" would be included in private email back to me, if the author wants a conversation. I'll give a general reason in my review so the author has an idea of what didn't work for me (Lylln's list will help with this), but I don't want to make detailed suggestions unless I know 1) the author wants such comments and 2) I want to be sure what's important to the author so I have more of a chance of making useful suggestions, though this does mean I'm not being anonymous. And, yes, it does sound like a beta discussion because that's the kind of questions I ask if someone asks if I can beta for her/him.

It's rather a balancing act about how much of this is advisable to be put in summary or author notes. An author will tell a beta reader what s/he want to show to the reader to ask the beta: did it work?

The author notes I've found to be most useful are the sort that list the canon elements the text is based on, why the author found it intriguing. Also technical notes that enhance understanding -- concerning the format used for writing, or explaining a bit of obscure technology or geography or history used in the text, if the format is such that the explanation can't fit well internally. Without crossing the line and telling the reader how the author things they should react (which is the balancing act aspect).

I hope this clears up your confusing. Good luck writing,

Julie

 

 

Re: Useful decline comments - II

As to catchy names, I immediately thought - don't throw anything too heavy....

Lyllyn, I thought my vocabulary was fairly extensive, but I had to look that one up.

I was working on some preliminary notes and needed to file them. In creating a folder for them, I used the name "prose patterns." What do you say to calling the discussion Patterns in Prose? It does have a rather prosaic sound.

~Nessime

 

 

Re: Useful decline comments - II

What do you say to calling the discussion Patterns in Prose<<<<

I know this is not directed at me, but it sounds a fine name.

Sorta like the title for a college course.

Go for it!

Another Gladiator moment...

Lindorien

 

 

Re: Useful decline comments - II

I was working on some preliminary notes and needed to file them. In creating a folder for them, I used the name "prose patterns." What do you say to calling the discussion Patterns in Prose? It does have a rather prosaic sound.

Sounds fine, and if you're starting the forum you get to name it.

Lyllyn

 

 

Re: Useful decline comments - II

Sounds fine, and if you're starting the forum you get to name it.

Okay, the discussion on Patterns in Prose is officially open.

Contributions will be gratefully accepted. Dwim, that means you too. I saw your hand go up. There are witnesses. Right, Lyllyn?

~Nessime

PS - Lindorien, thanks for adding your flashfiction to the new discussion. That's a totally new form to me.

PPS - Thanks Tay for starting off the thread on the Vignette/Prose Poem. There have been a lot of misconceptions about this particular form, so hopefully we'll all learn something new. I confess that I have, and I've only just begun digging for information.

 

 

Re: Useful decline comments - II

Dwim, that means you too. I saw your hand go up. There are witnesses. Right, Lyllyn?

Absolutely, we all saw it in black and white.
Ah, revenge is sweet.

Lyllyn

 

 

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