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Thread: SPEW Babble #43

  1. #21
    Vorona
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    Ooh! Thanks for the reminder about the reviews in advance! I was going to do that anyway, and just forgot. I do all my reviews in WordPerfect and just copy and paste anyway -- and I don't read others' reviews until I've posted mine.

    Hannah - no worries on the chapter! I have no idea when I'd be able to incorporate your ideas anyway. And, on a side note, I've had the chapter *I'm* supposed to be beta reading since a few days after I sent you my *first* draft. Ugh. And I have a critique from another forum (original fiction) that I've been sitting on since June. Both of them are technically done, but I just haven't typed them up yet (I work on paper first).

    Jess - I'm not usually on AIM unless something is scheduled, so I'll PM you. I'm not good at multitasking, so if I'm IM-ing, that's the main thing I'm doing. If I'm trying to do something else, it doesn't work, which is why I don't usually have any IM programs on.

    Ariana - Congratulations on the story! I'll have to check it out! What's the title?

    I like Alec, too. And Magnus. Magnus is wonderful. I liked how the third book had a solid ending of its own. I saw on the website that there are still 3 more books in the series, but I don't feel like I'm going to die if they don't come out soon. That's such a relief when you have a long series like that. I don't know if I'd have felt that way after Book 2. I'm really interested in The Clockwork Angel, too. But I should read The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler first, since it's for a paper on noir fiction for my seminar in writing class.

  2. #22
    'Til the end of the line Ravenclaw
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vorona
    Jess - I'm not usually on AIM unless something is scheduled, so I'll PM you. I'm not good at multitasking, so if I'm IM-ing, that's the main thing I'm doing. If I'm trying to do something else, it doesn't work, which is why I don't usually have any IM programs on.
    Anytime in the afternoon, I should be on. Ignore the inevitable away message.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ariana
    So does that mean I can go on a review-binge and review like twenty stories this month and then use them for October/November/December?
    Yep. You can do that, though I have no idea why you would want to, lol.
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  3. #23
    CoolCatElly
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    Ariana my DEARRR I"M SO HAPPY!!!

    Finally I'm getting started on chapter two right now. I have 4 stories to Beta today (eep!) but hopefully I can get it all done. Just the benefits of having unlimited free time.

    Thanks for the get well wishes everyone - I am actually much better today. It seems to just be one of those throat things which make you lose your voice and then go away. Thank goodness I've not gone into full-out pneumonia or something.

    On doing loads of SPEW reviews in one go: HA. Have fun with that... O.o

    xoxoxoxo
    Much love my dahrlings
    byebye

  4. #24
    'Til the end of the line Ravenclaw
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    Quote Originally Posted by Teh Cat who is Cool
    I have 4 stories to Beta today (eep!) but hopefully I can get it all done.
    Hopefully mine isn't atrocious, though the end will probably have you throwing rotten tomatoes at me.


    And, as this is complete spam, I will add a TQ!

    Do you all tend to get your stories to review from the Most Recent list, or do you mentally catalog ones you want to review for later until you get around to it?

    I actually do a mix of both. I try to split my reviews between authors who aren't as established and stories that I, er, want to read more. Generally, most authors love SPEW reviews to bits, so I like to spread the love around a bit. Honestly, I think the only person that has got two SPEW reviews from me is our lovely Puff!Hannah.

    Speaking of which, dear, I hope your trip to Teh Dentist of Doom went well.
    Jess WritesJess DrabblesJess DuelsJess PoetsJess Draws



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  5. #25
    Fourth Year Ravenclaw
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    You're right that this doesn't usually resemble the things that are usually here with all this discussion .... stuff. Not that it bothers me in the least, but it's an odd turn because it is different. I don't know. Whatever goes goes, but something's different.

    Do you all tend to get your stories to review from the Most Recent list, or do you mentally catalog ones you want to review for later until you get around to it?

    Well, no. I don't usually look there as a first go because they're not usually something I'm in the mood for. I actually have to look round for something that's good and substanstial, and that I can say something and I'm not just pulling something out of the air. Not that I mean to have a personal connection, but the piece has to say something that speaks to me. That in no matter had to be an either good or bad aspect, but it should be something that I feel has meat to it instead of picking at little things trying to go after reviews. Often, I'll search for quite a while, and review pieces that have been in the archives for ages knowing that I won't get a response. That, of course, is not the point. Do I mentally catalog? No. I don't do that with my own writing because I know that an initial draft can change with the ending product. That's on of the reasons I don't waste my time outlining; I know that something shall come along later and fit in and be completely different. I am glad that we can stack reviews in advance, I am, but something we write or say today can be completely different tomorrow because those ideas change and we can;t predict behavior anymore than we can predict whether or not dinner'll go off without a hitch tomorrow evening.

  6. #26
    Fifth Year Gryffindor
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vorona
    Congratulations on the story! I'll have to check it out! What's the title?
    Thank you so much! It's called On the Wings of Scarlet and Gold--there's a link in my banner . Bear in mind, it might not be the type of story you like...

    Elene, I think you've Briticized my computer! It's now saying that I'm spelling the word "favorite" wrong if I don't put a "u" in it...probably because I keep adding the Brit words to the Microsoft Word dictionary... Actually, I think it's just because I'm making changes on the copy you sent from your Britified computer.

    I had my last driving lesson today! I take the test exactly a week from today and I'm already scared out of my mind.

    And I have to memorize 120 words for tomorrow...so, I probably shouldn't be on here...

    Do you all tend to get your stories to review from the Most Recent list, or do you mentally catalog ones you want to review for later until you get around to it?
    I click randomly all over the site until a story pops up. I try to review the ones that don't have many reviews, because I feel bad for them.

    x
    Ariana

    Thank you to Hokey for the beautiful banner. And thank you to everyone who nominated and judged --I'm so grateful to you <3.

  7. #27
    Vorona
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    Do you all tend to get your stories to review from the Most Recent list, or do you mentally catalog ones you want to review for later until you get around to it?

    Neither. Mental cataloguing would never work; I'd forget whatever it was I wanted to review. I use reviews to enhance relationships I have or to thank people for helping me out. So, that's a list of authors rather than stories. That's helpful because I can read around and find the stories that seem to have something I can comment on in more depth. I also keep a list of stories that sound interesting to me for one reason or another. Ravenclaw has a story of the week, so I'll probably do a SPEW review for it.

    Incidentally, Ariana, you're next on my author list -- I think it was for helping out with the infertility post, but I'm not sure.

    Of course, I have to do my SPEW buddy review, first .

    I also plan to check out the Fiction Junction for stories I don't normally read, because I want to understand some things that just don't come naturally to me, like Ron/Hermione stories. I want to see how those relationships develop in order to understand it better. I don't want to just go in the category and pick one randomly -- I want to see what the actual fans of those pairings/characters see as the *best* stories about it. I'm imagining the QSQ will help there, too.

    Briticizing: I usually change my "Language" from "English - US" to "English - UK" when I'm writing Harry Potter stories. Maybe that's what happened, somehow. I think the computer can sometimes tell and adjust itself, but it doesn't always do that. Luckily, the "Language" setting is a document-specific setting, and you can have a default. I suppose if I had a word processor where I *only* wrote British English, I'd switch that to the default, but I don't.

    On a completely unrelated note, I'm in a Senior Seminar for Writing at a university, and we just had to critique a story that had FIVE pages of details about how to perform the job where you insert commercials into broadcasts. FIVE pages of technical details about switching to different screens, logging times, etc. FIVE pages! And this was the first chapter of her novel.

    I'm wondering: is this just me that thinks this is a really obvious "not-to-do" thing? Many of you are younger than I am, so here's a new topic question:

    Have you learned anything about hooks, catching reader's interest, avoiding infodumps, etc. in your classes or here? What would you do if you read a story that had that much detail about something completely unrelated to the central conflict?

    It just really surprised me that she was a senior in college/university and still didn't know what seems really obvious to me. But maybe it's not that obvious.

  8. #28
    'Til the end of the line Ravenclaw
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    Have you learned anything about hooks, catching reader's interest, avoiding infodumps, etc. in your classes or here? What would you do if you read a story that had that much detail about something completely unrelated to the central conflict?

    Very good question. Now you must prepare for the novel-length answer.

    In most of my fics, I tend to start with something that immediately gets the reader engaged in the story, but it also is indicative of what the story is about. For instance, in my epically long fic, The Vindication of James Potter, the very first line is:

    “James Sirius Potter, after review of the presented evidence and statements from provided witnesses, it is the judgment of the Wizengamot that you have been found guilty of the use of the Unforgivable Curses.”
    For the reader, their first thought is, "Holy crap, Harry's son really killed someone? Who did he kill?" The next paragraph says who it was, and then he goes to prison. It still leaves the 'why', which keeps the interest of the reader to find out why James did it.

    And as for 'infodump', I try not to do that as much as possible. If it's not important to the story, I remember that information, but I don't include it in the story. You see, when I design a character or fill out one that is basically a blank slate, I think of everything. What kind of food they like, favourite colour, whether they prefer cats to dogs, whether they can fly a broom, how they feel about certain political and social issues. But there is no reason to put all of that in there unless it becomes vital to the story. For instance, making a character speak a second language isn't at all helpful unless that character is at all necessitated into speaking it. If that isn't the case, who the hell cares if Scorpius Malfoy can speak French or if Bill Weasley learnt Gobbledegook while spelunking in pyramids as a curse breaker? Unless it comes up, leave it out.

    I don't love or hate a story based upon how much irrelevant information it has, but I'd prefer that it wasn't there. If it doesn't matter to the story, then why should it matter to me? It doesn't.

    And to this topic, I'd like to add the following:

    To you, what marks the difference between a 'well fleshed-out' character and one that you know way too much about?
    Jess WritesJess DrabblesJess DuelsJess PoetsJess Draws



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  9. #29
    h_vic
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jess
    Do you all tend to get your stories to review from the Most Recent list, or do you mentally catalog ones you want to review for later until you get around to it?

    I actually do a mix of both. I try to split my reviews between authors who aren't as established and stories that I, er, want to read more. Generally, most authors love SPEW reviews to bits, so I like to spread the love around a bit. Honestly, I think the only person that has got two SPEW reviews from me is our lovely Puff!Hannah.

    Speaking of which, dear, I hope your trip to Teh Dentist of Doom went well.
    I feel privileged.

    Dentist was fine thankfully - no fillings today.

    I do a bit of both, except it's not a mental catalogue. I bookmark stories that I've read and want to review at some stage - some of those I read in the first place because it's an author I know and know I trust their writing to be good, or because I wanted to review as a thank you, like Vorona said; some I read because they caught my eye in the Most Recent; and some I read because I actively went searching for a particular character or pairing or whatever that I was in the mood for. When it comes to time to do my reviews, I pick something that I feel like reviewing from my little collection.

    Have you learned anything about hooks, catching reader's interest, avoiding infodumps, etc. in your classes or here? What would you do if you read a story that had that much detail about something completely unrelated to the central conflict?

    I really agree with Jess about the power of a good first line to really pull you in. You know, I've actually just gone and looked at my stories with that in mind and decided I need to focus more on my first lines, because most of them don't have that much of a hook. Probably my best opening line is in He Left, my newest story, which is simply
    "I love someone."
    Lily's Son originally had a first line that I thought very carefully about:

    Well, the boy was undeniably Potter’s son and that was the end of the matter as far as Severus Snape was concerned, or so he told himself.
    But I ended up shuffling the scenes around to make the story work better and sadly that line rather gets lost in the middle of the fic instead, whilst the opening line is a rather uninspiring one about Severus pouring tea. >.<

    I definitely try and avoid 'infodump'. I think one of the most glaring examples of that I remember ever reading is in Umberto Eco's The Name of the Rose (an otherwise odd but interesting book), where for no apparent reason there is a several page long incredibly elaborate description of either the altar or the door to the chapel (I can't remember which).

    To you, what marks the difference between a 'well fleshed-out' character and one that you know way too much about?

    I think it's like you already said: relevant vs irrelevant detail. I don't want to hear what an author has speculated that Ron's favourite food is for the sake of it, but if it's a story about the Weasley's coping with Fred's death and Ron can't bring himself to eat his favourite meal any more because he somehow connects it to Fred then it could be a nice touch of character development.

    It's like how I've spent far too long musing over the intricacies of Severus Snape, and as such I have relatively complex theories on such things as how he makes tea. I wouldn't go into them in most stories I write about him because they have no place there, but I do actually have an entirely tea-based Severus/Lily story that I want to write at some point, where it actually has a relevance within their friendship.

  10. #30
    Savannah Hen Slytherin
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    *gasp* TQs in the babble! What has happened. Where has the lovely lovely spam gone *faints*

    Well, I suppose I'd better follow your example and answer some too.

    Do you all tend to get your stories to review from the Most Recent list, or do you mentally catalog ones you want to review for later until you get around to it?
    I tend to look at specific authors - people I know or whose writing I have read before, and see if I can find something I like the look of. I also look at a particular category if there's something in particular I want to read. I don't often look at the most recent list for things to read, though occasionally I do and I can usually find something good. I do try not to leave all my reviews to other SPEWers since I don't think it's fair, but since I frequently stick to authors I know, it just so happens that a lot of them turn out to be in SPEW.

    Which actually makes me think of another question: Do you look at the date the story was updated, or whether the recent reviews have any responses before leaving reviews?

    Personally, and somewhat hypocritically since I am terrible as an author at responding to reviews, I love to receive responses to the reviews I leave, so I know that my feedback has been read and i can see what the author thought of it. Seomtimes, I have reviewed very old fics, with authors that aren't really active anymore and I wonder whether those authors even see those reviews and if not, is there really any point to leaving it? It's one of the reasons I stick to authors I know a lot of the time, and I guess also the Most Recent list would be a good way of ensuring that problem doesn't happen.


    Also, I never plan what I'm going to review. When I'm ready to write a review, I just go and pick something and do it then and there. Sometimes, I'll have an idea in the back of my mind for what I'm looking for, but never usually anything specific. At the moment, I do have a few fics I want to review but I'm waiting, since they're ones I'm judging in the QSQs and I don't want to give anything away.


    I'm going to end this rambly post now. I might go and respond to some of my reviews instead.

    My apologies for the typos in this post - my netbook has a lag on typing and my fingers seem all over the place today!

    Adrian won a QSQ! Thanks to Minnabird for the beautiful banner. Click on it to read Stolen Magic - the story of the second wizarding war through a very different character's eyes.

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