Be a Supporter!

Discussion: Location, Expectations,

  • 585 Views
  • 27 Replies
New Topic Respond to this Topic
Deathcon7
Deathcon7
  • Member since: Oct. 1, 2003
  • Offline.
Forum Stats
Member
Level 21
Writer
Discussion: Location, Expectations, 2012-07-27 16:56:02 Reply

Indulge me a moment as I speak, in general terms, on the shape of things at present. Newgrounds has had the great fortune of serving as a launch venue for some great professional artists and programmers, helping to further quite a few indie endeavors. This has been a great boon for the site, but as it stands the large majority of contributors to Newgrounds do so as a hobby.

The sense of professionalism, however, is pervasive, serving as a lense through which the quality of contributions are judged. There is a clear sense of what is good and what is bad and the admins of the site do a great job of showcasing the former. In this sense, Newgrounds has great utility to serious and talented creators. The Newgrounds community enhances this utility by providing a breeding ground; a location where aspiring creators find encouragement, critique, and comraderie.

I've realized that, as a fairly new sector of Newgrounds, this forum, and potential portal, dedicated to writing has some growing to do. Moreover, this community needs to mature; develop expectations. Where the visual and audio segments succeed is in the establishment of clearly defined standards. There is plenty of room for experimentation, but the community, as a whole, is able to identify what works, what doesn't, and they can put that to words (or numbers, as the case may be). Granted these other forms have a healthy backing, as well as a portal, but the idea remains. If we're able to garner the attention required to warrant a portal

Now here's an anecdote: I remember when Fancy Pants Adventures was just an idea, and Brad Bourne was still young, and impressionable. This was back in 2004 when I was one of the Flash Forum regulars. He came to the forum looking for help with something or the other, and he was helped, plain and simple. The forum helped him when he needed it, and he has since launched himself a healthy career. Brad went from hobby to profession, and in some part, Newgrounds (and the Flash forum) contributed to that.

Essay out of the way, I am proposing the following: an organization of the flash forum, the development of an ad hoc portal that will not only shape the development of the forum, but encourage all individuals regardless of their aims. As it stands, no one is going to garner much attention posting on a forum. Steps have been made to try to bring more attention to those who deserve it. That was an awesome, organic tangent; thank you, Ekublai. But we need to take it a step further. We need to help everyone understand the expectations of this forum. In addition to Ekublai's Highlights thread, we need a how-to manual that will allow users who don't know the craft to learn the jargon and how to use it. We need strong examples of what the acceptable level of quality is, and we need to parade it. With technical knowledge, expectations on quality, and a means to elevate those who contribute the most, I feel we'll take great strides toward steadying this forum's turbulent progress, and assuring the creation of the Lit portal.

Some things we can do:
- Use the Review thread in my signature as it's meant to be used. This means in addition to submitting your work to the forum, take the time to review somebody else's. Once done, update the review thread and I guarantee, from myself or the pool of critics I'll be gathering, you will receive a clear, and useful critique to your piece.

- Reward the critics! Relative new comer mzhinski, as an example, has provided more critique recently than even myself. Albeit biting, his critique is often clear and to the point. I've only seen maybe two or three threads from him. This type of behavior is definitely worth some sort of appreciation. It's selfless, and we need more of that especially from the non-regulars.

- Reward the writers too! I've seen some pretty bad writing in this forum, so it makes it that much more enjoyable when I find something good. Ekublai's highlights thread aims to reward these efforts, but I think we need to go further than that. I would love to institute our own contests. For example, we were left out of this past Robot Day. I actually started a really great short story based off of my submission. There is real value in participating in these events and the only way that'll happen is if we facilitate it. As some of you may know, the last them writers were included, the judges weren't necessarily well versed in literary critique which resulted in a poor outcome. Let's take matters into our own hands.

- Probably most important of all, reward the readers! Reading is an awefully passive activity, requiring stimulation to come from the imagination. This is as opposed to the very aggresive, very engrossing forms of media Newgrounds features. Choosing to read should always be rewarded, and this is especially true. The trouble with this is: there is no real way to determine who is reading. This is an item that would make a pretty good discussion piece.

- Form a writing group. I can't be the only writer here who aims to write professionally. I think the average user writes as a hobby, but there is a lot to be gained when aspiring professionals come together. There is an elevated sense of severity, I feel, that inspires confidence in the participants. There's also a trust, a "we're in the trenches together, so maybe we should stick together," that comes with these types of groups. I, for one, would value such a group. As it stands, it's becoming increasingly difficult appropriating time for the forum, and becoming seriously involved, because my interests are elsewhere. I'm still invested in the success of this community (thus, this post), but realistically, I don't have the time to put into action a lot of these ideas simply because I cannot justify to myself the investment in time.

What's the consensus?

Fluffychickens
Fluffychickens
  • Member since: Oct. 9, 2006
  • Offline.
Forum Stats
Member
Level 04
Blank Slate
Response to Discussion: Location, Expectations, 2012-07-27 22:47:09 Reply

At 7/27/12 04:56 PM, Deathcon7 wrote: What's the consensus?

You can do it, and i'll watch- we were left high 'nd dry this robot's day though.

Deathcon7
Deathcon7
  • Member since: Oct. 1, 2003
  • Offline.
Forum Stats
Member
Level 21
Writer
Response to Discussion: Location, Expectations, 2012-07-28 12:44:29 Reply

At 7/27/12 10:47 PM, Fluffychickens wrote:
At 7/27/12 04:56 PM, Deathcon7 wrote: What's the consensus?
You can do it, and i'll watch- we were left high 'nd dry this robot's day though.

Exactly the spirit of community I was looking for! Thanks....

Fluffychickens
Fluffychickens
  • Member since: Oct. 9, 2006
  • Offline.
Forum Stats
Member
Level 04
Blank Slate
Response to Discussion: Location, Expectations, 2012-07-28 16:40:29 Reply

At 7/28/12 12:44 PM, Deathcon7 wrote:
Exactly the spirit of community I was looking for! Thanks....

Er- You're welcome, I'd like to see writing again in the holiday competitions here at Newgrounds.

starwarsjunkie
starwarsjunkie
  • Member since: Dec. 17, 2004
  • Offline.
Forum Stats
Member
Level 28
Writer
Response to Discussion: Location, Expectations, 2012-07-28 23:39:45 Reply

I agree with pretty much everything you said. I have a few questions as to how to exactly go about them.

1. The how to thread: I think this is a great idea, especially if we could get it to stay at the top of the thread list. Kinda like the threads most forums have that say something like "Read This First!". I believe that would solve a lot of the problems with formatting, quotation marks, and people submitting a paragraph of nonsense and asking for a detailed review.

2. Reward the writers, readers, critics etc. This is something maybe we could include in the "How to Thread". Every time someone submits a story or sample, we could have a format for reviews, including an overall score, scores for specific aspects, and constructive criticism as well. I think this is as close as we can get to rewarding the writers. As for the critics, I think that's just a problem of people being snippy and not really appreciating how long it takes to read a long submission and then provide thoughtful feedback. This could also be remedied in the "How To Thread". As for the readers, well we'll all just have to get better at writing in order to keep them entertained.

3. A writing community: I too aim to make a living off of writing. (Or at least supplement my regular job's income) I'm currently reworking my submission from last year's robot day into a full short story. I definitely think that a place for those of us who want to do this as a living could be of great benefit as we could share advice on publishing, writing, and other... stuff... that professional writers talk about... You know what I mean.

If you'd like help setting up this sort of an organization, let me know. Otherwise I look forward to it!


Grungy Mech action in 1940s Russia! Read Iron and Ice!

tinytim12
tinytim12
  • Member since: May. 30, 2010
  • Offline.
Forum Stats
Member
Level 04
Writer
Response to Discussion: Location, Expectations, 2012-07-29 10:46:45 Reply

At 7/27/12 04:56 PM, Deathcon7 wrote::

Some things we can do:
- Use the Review thread in my signature as it's meant to be used. This means in addition to submitting your work to the forum, take the time to review somebody else's. Once done, update the review thread and I guarantee, from myself or the pool of critics I'll be gathering, you will receive a clear, and useful critique to your piece.

That'll be hard. Not many people take the time to write a full blown, intelligent, substantial critique. From my sporadic time here, there were always only two serious critics at every given time.


- Reward the critics! Relative new comer mzhinski, as an example, has provided more critique recently than even myself. Albeit biting, his critique is often clear and to the point. I've only seen maybe two or three threads from him. This type of behavior is definitely worth some sort of appreciation. It's selfless, and we need more of that especially from the non-regulars.

We should encourage the writers to respond to the critics, maybe? A simple thank you, a polite objection, or something that spirals into a philosophical discussion, it doesn't matter. As long as the writer engages with the the critic, so that the critic at least has the comfort that he's done a few monocles of good with his critique.


- Reward the writers too! I've seen some pretty bad writing in this forum, so it makes it that much more enjoyable when I find something good. Ekublai's highlights thread aims to reward these efforts, but I think we need to go further than that. I would love to institute our own contests. For example, we were left out of this past Robot Day. I actually started a really great short story based off of my submission. There is real value in participating in these events and the only way that'll happen is if we facilitate it. As some of you may know, the last them writers were included, the judges weren't necessarily well versed in literary critique which resulted in a poor outcome. Let's take matters into our own hands.

Hear hear. We need more contests.


- Probably most important of all, reward the readers! Reading is an awefully passive activity, requiring stimulation to come from the imagination. This is as opposed to the very aggresive, very engrossing forms of media Newgrounds features. Choosing to read should always be rewarded, and this is especially true. The trouble with this is: there is no real way to determine who is reading. This is an item that would make a pretty good discussion piece.

How about encouraging the readers to comment on what they felt? Just leaving an impression of what they thought, as pure, simple laymen readers. It doesn't have to be a full blown critique. You can say normal stuff like 'too chunky' or 'too much dialogue' without getting too technical.

The readers who post comments will be rewarded in the sense that they'll gain a greater presence in the forum, and hence it's more likely they'll have their own work read by others. As for the writers, any sort of feedback is gold to them.

I can see the problems that arise from this though...we might get a thread filled with unintelligible gibberish. We might, though. The writing forum is too classy for damning certainties.



What's the consensus?

Deathcon for president 2012


When I got outside, the purple fog was spreading. I covered my nose and mouth, and ran home.

BBS Signature
Enamour
Enamour
  • Member since: Jun. 1, 2009
  • Offline.
Forum Stats
Member
Level 01
Blank Slate
Response to Discussion: Location, Expectations, 2012-08-01 05:30:01 Reply

I might be completely wrong here and I don't really participate in internet literariness anymore but here's my opinion.

Reading is boring. An animator can tell a horrible story in 2 minutes and more people will spend the time to watch 2 minutes because it's a passive process than spend 30 minutes with a similarly shitty piece of writing. Reading is an active process where in which you have to hook and then engage your reader. Now this being the internet people have shorter attention spans. One mistake can completely break your engagement with your reader and cause him to close the story and move on.

Most of the internet or community story sites I've seen suffer from exactly the same problem: movies. People want to write movies and are completely unaware that literature is not a visual medium but a mentally visual one. If you cannot conjure the desired images ('He got out of bed' isn't an image but a statement) from your reader's mind then you're not showing him anything; which means he's not seeing anything which means he's not engaged in your story which means that he's likely to close it and move on.

The "I will type out a series of events." writers are saturating the internet with shit. In the meantime experienced writers are mixed in with this overwhelming mass of dribble that most people simply aren't interested in to begin with.

The Darwinian principle is the only application I can think of to bring legitimacy to Newgrounds Literature. That means, as has been mentioned, the worse a story is the more out of sight it becomes. In other words, a portal with a voting system is the only viable means of elevating Newgrounds Literature because you guys (we) simply do not have the required allotment of basically trained/informed/knowledgeable writers on hand for a spontaneous influx of interest. Something brilliant can be posted but it will quickly become covered in shit if the neighboring stories are tripe.

Like a flowering vagina in spring, you need a gooch to keep the shit away from it. The Literature portal needs a gooch. Tip of the iceberg concept means there should be 1% floating above water. Right now no one is floating.

Literature does not function like music or movies despite the cosmetic similarities.

Genesisapple
Genesisapple
  • Member since: Jul. 31, 2012
  • Offline.
Forum Stats
Member
Level 02
Blank Slate
Response to Discussion: Location, Expectations, 2012-08-01 07:00:49 Reply

At 8/1/12 05:30 AM, Enamour wrote: Reading is boring. An animator can tell a horrible story in 2 minutes and more people will spend the time to watch 2 minutes because it's a passive process than spend 30 minutes with a similarly shitty piece of writing. Reading is an active process where in which you have to hook and then engage your reader. Now this being the internet people have shorter attention spans. One mistake can completely break your engagement with your reader and cause him to close the story and move on.

As a writer with ADD I hear you on this. Reading involves working the brain and consumes a lot of time and attention, and we have to earn that commitment from the reader. That's why professors drill into student's heads to grab the reader by the first line and never let them go.

Most of the people posting here and on similar forums have no idea how to write, what kind of discipline it takes to become a solid writer--hell, most of them probably don't read. People think writing is easy, the general public does not realize that it takes a great deal of technical skill and experience to craft a good story, just as it does a work of art. When I worked for a publishing company, I can't tell you how many terribad submissions we got from people who just decided one day to "try writing".

People expect to read shit when they browse a writer's forum. In fact, that's part of the reason they do it. Horrible fiction is amusing. I'm a newcomer to this forum and I'm rather surprised to find as many intellectual posts as I have. I feel like a rating system would end up ranking atrocious Twilight fan fiction higher than great original stories, simply because of the nature of popularity and trends on the internet. Not that I'm against a rating system, but that's what would happen.

I think the real problem is that serious writers usually don't feel comfortable posting their work on public forums. Most serious writers attend workshops, or share their work with friends in the profession or on private forums. In addition, there are legal barriers for emerging professional writers and those seeking book deals, as publishing companies do not contractually allow their writers to post portions of their slated work online. I don't see any way around this, and I don't intend to post work here myself for similar reasons. I feel more comfortable and more professional sharing it with a select few people whose aesthetic I trust, and small communities of dedicated writers.

That being said, a lit portal would be awesome, especially for vaulting publication-ready work by new and developing talents towards its audience.

Deathcon7
Deathcon7
  • Member since: Oct. 1, 2003
  • Offline.
Forum Stats
Member
Level 21
Writer
Response to Discussion: Location, Expectations, 2012-08-01 16:00:17 Reply

At 8/1/12 05:30 AM, Enamour wrote: Reading is boring.

Unlearn that if you ever want to accomplish anything as a writer. Given how ambivalent you are on the matter, however, my warning probably serves no purpose.

And if anyone in this forum actually believes reading is boring, they're in entirely the wrong place.

At 8/1/12 07:00 AM, Genesisapple wrote: I think the real problem is that serious writers usually don't feel comfortable posting their work on public forums. Most serious writers attend workshops, or share their work with friends in the profession or on private forums. In addition, there are legal barriers for emerging professional writers and those seeking book deals, as publishing companies do not contractually allow their writers to post portions of their slated work online. I don't see any way around this, and I don't intend to post work here myself for similar reasons. I feel more comfortable and more professional sharing it with a select few people whose aesthetic I trust, and small communities of dedicated writers.

False. Professional and serious are not interchangeable. There are plenty of serious writers here, myself included. This community is meant to encourage growth; it's a means, not an end. And I've been to workshops, I've taken classes, I've met published writers; I intend to go to cons next. I'm here because I've invested almost a decade into this site. If there's a chance I can help coax a successful writing community out of it, I'm going to try.

While I appreciate everyone's thoughts so far, my intention with making this thread was not to provide yet another venue within which to complain; we already have the Regulars lounge. The intention is to find a resolution for the issues put forth. The intention is to get together, formulate a plan, and put that plan into action. I've come up with a few ideas already. You can expand on that, provide your own ideas, or offer up some solutions.

Some of you have done that, and I thank you. At the moment I don't have the time to comment directly on them, I just wanted to post real quick to curb the derailment. Lets focus on progress. If we want to create a serious community, then we need to make the interent serious business. At least for now. There'll always be time for whimsy, but something productive needs to be started now; to get new users, encourage better work, and to keep all the great talents we've attracted so far.

starwarsjunkie
starwarsjunkie
  • Member since: Dec. 17, 2004
  • Offline.
Forum Stats
Member
Level 28
Writer
Response to Discussion: Location, Expectations, 2012-08-02 00:52:39 Reply

I think the first step is the intro thread. First post lays out what we expect from writers who want serious reviews. Then we lay out what a good review is. Maybe scoring systems, if that's what we want. Again it would be nice if there was a way to make this thread stay at the top of the forum permanently, but I have no idea if that is possible.

This wouldn't stop people from posting their little bits of stories in the forum, but it would be useful for those looking for real advice.


Grungy Mech action in 1940s Russia! Read Iron and Ice!

Genesisapple
Genesisapple
  • Member since: Jul. 31, 2012
  • Offline.
Forum Stats
Member
Level 02
Blank Slate
Response to Discussion: Location, Expectations, 2012-08-02 01:26:57 Reply

At 8/1/12 04:00 PM, Deathcon7 wrote:
False. Professional and serious are not interchangeable. There are plenty of serious writers here, myself included. This community is meant to encourage growth; it's a means, not an end.

I'm not trying to complain or shoot down your goals, just identify obstacles.

A means to what, specifically? Teaching, learning, and growth of writing skill in aspiring writers? Or promotion of finished work for those who excel, but haven't found their audience? I assume that the goal of most "serious" writers is eventual publication, whether traditional or self-pub. (Or a finished project if they are writing for a comic or in another medium.) If sharing your best work publicly is a legal barrier to eventually publishing it, most who realize that won't do it.

And also, throwing in my three cents on what constitutes a good critique, the best start out with positive notes. People need to know what's working in a piece in addition to what is not.

DeftAndEvil
DeftAndEvil
  • Member since: Aug. 31, 2010
  • Offline.
Forum Stats
Member
Level 14
Writer
Response to Discussion: Location, Expectations, 2012-08-02 01:48:46 Reply

Well, I don't think the Writing Forum is on anyone's mind except maybe the frequenters; we still have to fix copy-paste ourselves, we can't edit our posts, we don't even get an aura! So, you are absolutely right; we have to become a cohesive self-sustaining population before we can do anything.

The cause is what we've all been saying all along: there are more writers than readers. There are a couple regulars who I expect to see commenting or posting a couple times a week, but for the most part, the threads and posts are made by newcomers who are NG forum browsers who saw the Writing Forum and went "hey! I think I can do that."

Then, this is what happens: they post a lame story or poem with about 10 minutes (about) of effort. Then, someone comments on it, or a regular gives a good review to build from. The OP isn't satisfied with the attention s/he receives and we never hear from him/her again.

I wish NG would just give the Writing Forum the amenities mentioned above, instead of a Lit Portal (at least for now). I don't understand programming or web design very well, but I can't imagine that it would be difficult. Also, I think that a comment/review/thread ratio system should be placed. That is, you can create n threads only if you have kn reviews and 2kn comments. I think that 10:5:1 is a good ratio. Of course, this all leads to filtering and administrating the comments and reviews and the posts and it just becomes one big ol' mess.

It's a problem, and I thank you Deathcon for addressing it and providing some pretty smart ways to alleviate and ultimately rectify it, but honestly, I am pretty pessimistic about the whole thing. Unless the Writing Forum becomes marketable or we have a sudden influx of team players, I don't see it happening. Jeez....

By the way, my drawing is alright, and I just bought a tablet and I am learning to animate. I want to take a college class for flash animation to make learning much easier. I have a good story I want to create and I finished writing the first two episodes as a script. The point is that I want to have a lot of practice before I start that project, so several months down the road I will be looking for scripts and stories from here. I will try to get as many members involved. I do recommend that people learn other skills, such as drawing, coding, animating, composing/playing music, etc. and getting the Writing Forum involved. Writing a script is something I can do for myself, but I think giving members a chance to participate will help bring the Writing Forum to light.


Despite the name, I'm actually good--Deft, and good!

Giving out reviews to anyone who wants them (exception: poems. I'll find you).

BBS Signature
Deathcon7
Deathcon7
  • Member since: Oct. 1, 2003
  • Offline.
Forum Stats
Member
Level 21
Writer
Response to Discussion: Location, Expectations, 2012-08-06 12:37:15 Reply

At 7/28/12 11:39 PM, starwarsjunkie wrote: 1. The how to thread...

Other forums have something like this already established, but it's in a Userpage. I've been toying with the idea of using Userpages to stagger a stream of information over a period of time. I was thinking of using a userpage for serials, and having a discussion thread that links to it frequently. With this, we could have a particular "News" article serve as the table of context for the database of information. A set of users would then have access to this account to continue to update it. News articles would be used as tutorials, and there would be a comment section where comments could be made and addressed, and the article could be kept updated.

2. Reward the writers, readers, critics etc....

Rather than standardization, I think making a set of modular requirements for reviews would be great. Including it in the abovementioned system would be simple. We could have a series of articles that could define and expound on each module. As a critique, you would then be able to format your review based on your opinion, and some of the pre-established modules. This approach would also make providing helpful, technical critique more accessible. Scoring becomes tricky, because there needs to be a system of checks and balances. That requires further consideration. But I think the idea of scoring each category (reader, writer, critic) and having rewards on a regular basis is a good idea. More so than quality, I think we're going for quantity. Most writers just want to be heard, not necessarily guided. While this does lead to a more writer friendly environment, the more there is to read and critique, the more opportunity readers and critics will have to make their own voices heard.

3. A writing community...

As a venue Newgrounds, at the moment, is severely lacking. This isn't to say it's irredeemable, I think any venue that brings likeminded writers together is a viable opportunity for a writing group. My point of contention is the level of maturity. I don't want to sound like an elitist, but a large majority of potential users are fairly young. I'm 25 now; I want to be published, teaching, tenured, or all three by the time I'm 30. I'm working toward these goals now. Someone that's fifteen years old isn't going to share this same mentality. Perhaps I'm too old to be slogging around here-- but I refuse to believe that. I think I can make this work for myself, and equally as important, make it work for others. But I can't do it by myself.

If you'd like help setting up this sort of an organization, let me know. Otherwise I look forward to it!

I need all the support I can get. Between writing, school, and work, I have very little free time to organize these types of things. I'm more than willing to contribute, but my track record heading up these types of things is shoddy at best.

At 7/29/12 10:46 AM, tinytim12 wrote: That'll be hard. Not many people take the time to write a full blown, intelligent, substantial critique. From my sporadic time here, there were always only two serious critics at every given time.

Very true, but we've also done very little to help improve this, or encourage more thoughtful critique. We've got a few great critics floating around, but they're vastly outnumbered. We need to help users refocus some of their writing energy, and direct it at providing critique. The best way would be to help teach people the Hows of critiquing.

We should encourage the writers to respond to the critics, maybe? A simple thank you, a polite objection, or something that spirals into a philosophical discussion, it doesn't matter. As long as the writer engages with the the critic, so that the critic at least has the comfort that he's done a few monocles of good with his critique.

This is why I really want to push the review thread. Use it even if you don't really want a review for your submission. It encourages and directs critique, and it initiates a dialogue between writer and critic. The highlights thread also helps to encourage and direct readers. We need to ensure that we keep dialogue open in that thread, help Ekublai locate really great pieces.

Hear hear. We need more contests.

More so than quantity, we need better thought out contests. The Non-fiction contest from May was brilliant. It was an actual exercise, and it put everyone on even footing. This is what we need more of. Writing contests that tests writers beyond their comfort zone

How about encouraging the readers to comment on what they felt? Just leaving an impression of what they thought, as pure, simple laymen readers. It doesn't have to be a full blown critique. You can say normal stuff like 'too chunky' or 'too much dialogue' without getting too technical.

Definitely what I'm thinking. Readers' feedback can provide invaluable information to a writer, especially if that reader is within the writer's target group.

The readers who post comments will be rewarded in the sense that they'll gain a greater presence in the forum, and hence it's more likely they'll have their own work read by others. As for the writers, any sort of feedback is gold to them.

A point system would be optimal, I think. I want to avoid it becoming a popularity contest. There are plenty of people that simply enjoy reading, and have no aspirations in writing. These are the types of minds we want to reach out to. Possibly have contests for them, with books by particular writers as a reward. I'd love to send someone a copy of a book. Even better, if I can continue to stay in contact with Brent Weeks, Pat Rothfuss, P. V. Brett, etc., I'd be more than happy to send signed copies.

I can see the problems that arise from this though...we might get a thread filled with unintelligible gibberish. We might, though. The writing forum is too classy for damning certainties.

Every light has its shadow. No solution is going to work 100% of the time. That's why the forums are moderated. If people get out of hand, spam, behave maliciously, Coop'll drop the ban hammer on them. And we'll all smile and wave as they fly away, eventually disappearing into a shimmering point of light. (Meowth, that's right!).

Deathcon for president 2012

Never been much of a figurehead, but I'd much prefer running for Emperor of the Universe 2012. Or Supreme Ruler. Or His Holy Majesty. Or simply being thought of as a god-like figure. Would be nice if creationists asserted my flatulence initiated the Big Bang.

At 8/2/12 12:52 AM, starwarsjunkie wrote: I think the first step is the intro thread. First post lays out what we expect from writers who want serious reviews. Then we lay out what a good review is. Maybe scoring systems, if that's what we want. Again it would be nice if there was a way to make this thread stay at the top of the forum permanently, but I have no idea if that is possible.

This would be something else that would fall under the umbrella of the Userpage. It'll take some time before it becomes the authoritative, go-to source for information, but if we push it hard, that shouldn't be too long.

This wouldn't stop people from posting their little bits of stories in the forum, but it would be useful for those looking for real advice.

The objective shouldn't be to discourage people from posting little tidbits. The objective should be to encourage those people to care, to stick around, and to contribute. If the forum is going to survive, we need to encourage new blood.

Deathcon7
Deathcon7
  • Member since: Oct. 1, 2003
  • Offline.
Forum Stats
Member
Level 21
Writer
Response to Discussion: Location, Expectations, 2012-08-06 12:41:45 Reply

At 8/2/12 01:26 AM, Genesisapple wrote: I'm not trying to complain or shoot down your goals, just identify obstacles.

Which is a good thing. Every argument needs a Devil's Advocate.

A means to what, specifically? Teaching, learning, and growth of writing skill in aspiring writers?

Yes, yes, and yes.

Or promotion of finished work for those who excel, but haven't found their audience?

No. There are plenty of mediums for showing off "completed" work. The writing forum is for discussion. There is no discussion to be made on a completed piece, unless someone wants to contend thematic assertions with the writer. Which in and of itself would be benefitial as well, but better reserved for the writer's userpage. Each writer, however, should be more than happy to keep a thread updated that links to their "completed" work. This way they can funnel traffic, but not necessarily clog up the forum.

I assume that the goal of most "serious" writers is eventual publication, whether traditional or self-pub. (Or a finished project if they are writing for a comic or in another medium.) If sharing your best work publicly is a legal barrier to eventually publishing it, most who realize that won't do it.

Sharing your work which you intend to publish through established channels is definitely a barrier. Getting advice and help with developing, shaping, and finalizing a story, however, would not detriment this goal unless you're directly quoting the work. Writers taking these types of issues into consideration, however, would be better served by alpha or beta readers. This is why I say it's a means, and not an end. Publishing stories to the forum invalidates any other aspirations a writer would have for that work.

And also, throwing in my three cents on what constitutes a good critique, the best start out with positive notes. People need to know what's working in a piece in addition to what is not.

I'm on the fence there. Critique needs to be helpful. If it's important to the critique to note things that are working, great. If not, then I'd prefer to know what needs work. What's important, to me, is tone. If your critique is abusive, berating, and unencouraging, then it defeats itself. No matter how accurate the critique, if its delivery is discouraging, then there really is no point to providing critique. The purpose of critique is to encourage to improve, not to defeat.

At 8/2/12 01:48 AM, DeftAndEvil wrote: Well, I don't think the Writing Forum is on anyone's mind except maybe the frequenters; we still have to fix copy-paste ourselves, we can't edit our posts, we don't even get an aura! So, you are absolutely right; we have to become a cohesive self-sustaining population before we can do anything.

The copy-paste thing is a non-issue, though. It's a technical limitation that affects the entire website. I wouldn't call it negligent. But we do not have the support of the administration on this site.Tthat's okay, though, because we cannot be so presumptuous as to believe it's owed to us. I would like everyone to embrace this opportunity to show Tom et al what we can produce. I have no doubt he wants to see every aspect of his website succeed. And Newgrounds is a lot of work. And writing is outside most of administration's field of expertise. So it's up to us to help assure the success of the Writing forum. Until the day we get a portal, or Tom 86s the forum.

As we continue to justify allocation of more resources, I'm sure Tom will oblige. We are the spirit of Newgrounds right now. We are going through the same renaissance Flash Movies and Games went through, the same renaissance the Audio portal went through, the same renaissance the Art portal is going through. It's enough that we're here, if our goal is to merely exist. If we want to thrive, then we have to get some of the ideas in this thread going.

The cause is what we've all been saying all along: there are more writers than readers. There are a couple regulars who I expect to see commenting or posting a couple times a week, but for the most part, the threads and posts are made by newcomers who are NG forum browsers who saw the Writing Forum and went "hey! I think I can do that."

For now, that's okay. We have new blood constantly streaming through here. We need to figure out how to turn a spontaneous decision into a drive toward success. Build confidence in those who do come through here and hope they find the niche that allows them to contribute to Newgrounds. Ultimately, the shift from attention starved to healthy contributor will become natural so long as we provide the right ingredients. But if the new blood dries out before we're able to get some momentum going, we're screwed.

Then, this is what happens: they post a lame story or poem with about 10 minutes (about) of effort. Then, someone comments on it, or a regular gives a good review to build from. The OP isn't satisfied with the attention s/he receives and we never hear from him/her again.

It's all about adjusting expectations. If the OP is unsatisfied with what they get, then their expectations are set too high. If we have the Userpage with all the information they could possibly need on the writing forum, that should work toward helping them understand the situation. If they're expecting something else from the forum, say instant and critical acclaim, then there's nothing we can do about it. So long as we minimize the initial investment on each new thread, we can make dealing with that type of influx more manageable. There's always going to be those that only want to have their ass kissed, that's how it is everywhere on this site. The difference would probably be the sense of entitlement given that writing is so garsh darn easy.

I wish NG would just give the Writing Forum the amenities mentioned above, instead of a Lit Portal (at least for now). I don't understand programming or web design very well, but I can't imagine that it would be difficult. Also, I think that a comment/review/thread ratio system should be placed. That is, you can create n threads only if you have kn reviews and 2kn comments. I think that 10:5:1 is a good ratio. Of course, this all leads to filtering and administrating the comments and reviews and the posts and it just becomes one big ol' mess.

This is where I have the advantage, as I know exactly what it would take to do these things. Trust me when I say it's more work than we deserve. Also take into consideration: the whole BBS complains about an Edit button but that has yet to materialize. It's a matter of priorities. I doubt rehauling the BBS' infrastructure, reformatting the entire database, plus integrating a few Writer-specific features, is very high on the list.

It's a problem, and I thank you Deathcon for addressing it and providing some pretty smart ways to alleviate and ultimately rectify it, but honestly, I am pretty pessimistic about the whole thing. Unless the Writing Forum becomes marketable or we have a sudden influx of team players, I don't see it happening. Jeez....

You're right. It's not going to happen by itself, however. We've got some pretty fertile ground, and I think I've planted some pretty strong seeds. I wish I could do more than advocate, but I can't, so I can only hope those seeds sprout.

Deathcon7
Deathcon7
  • Member since: Oct. 1, 2003
  • Offline.
Forum Stats
Member
Level 21
Writer
Response to Discussion: Location, Expectations, 2012-08-06 12:43:49 Reply

By the way, my drawing is alright, and I just bought a tablet and I am learning to animate. I want to take a college class for flash animation to make learning much easier. I have a good story I want to create and I finished writing the first two episodes as a script. The point is that I want to have a lot of practice before I start that project, so several months down the road I will be looking for scripts and stories from here. I will try to get as many members involved. I do recommend that people learn other skills, such as drawing, coding, animating, composing/playing music, etc. and getting the Writing Forum involved. Writing a script is something I can do for myself, but I think giving members a chance to participate will help bring the Writing Forum to light.

Ultimately that's a direction that we need to encourage. Newgrounds' perspective on writing is not what the typical writer sees writing as. Newgrounds is looking for a community of writers that can build a smart and flexible plot for a video game, or dialogue, or marketing/lore copy for game manuals or websites. Or a serial script for an animated series. Or a script for feature length animations and movies. Ultimately it's about the multimedia funnel. There are so many possible roles, and NG is trying to encourage writing as one of them, not a platform of it's own. It's for this reason I think a Portal is overstating the community's importance. Then again, you can't put a good group together without this important pillar.

That being said, if this doesn't sound in line with your goals as a writer, if you have no designs outside the written word, then the NG writing community isn't going to satisfy your needs. Plain and simple. I've always had a passion for multimedia, and as much as I want to be published on my own written laurels, I would love to play a central role in a multimedia project. Ultimately, I think most writers would love to see their story come to life.

starwarsjunkie
starwarsjunkie
  • Member since: Dec. 17, 2004
  • Offline.
Forum Stats
Member
Level 28
Writer
Response to Discussion: Location, Expectations, 2012-08-06 15:24:09 Reply

At 8/6/12 12:37 PM, Deathcon7 wrote:
Other forums have something like this already established, but it's in a Userpage. With this, we could have a particular "News" article serve as the table of context for the database of information. A set of users would then have access to this account to continue to update it. News articles would be used as tutorials, and there would be a comment section where comments could be made and addressed, and the article could be kept updated.

Do you have an example of this that you could link to? Using a userpage sounds like a good idea, I'm just not sure I completely understand what it should look like.


Grungy Mech action in 1940s Russia! Read Iron and Ice!

Deathcon7
Deathcon7
  • Member since: Oct. 1, 2003
  • Offline.
Forum Stats
Member
Level 21
Writer
Response to Discussion: Location, Expectations, 2012-08-06 16:35:10 Reply

At 8/6/12 03:24 PM, starwarsjunkie wrote: Do you have an example of this that you could link to? Using a userpage sounds like a good idea, I'm just not sure I completely understand what it should look like.

Here ya go: http://art101.newgrounds.com/news/post/269181

starwarsjunkie
starwarsjunkie
  • Member since: Dec. 17, 2004
  • Offline.
Forum Stats
Member
Level 28
Writer
Response to Discussion: Location, Expectations, 2012-08-08 16:37:43 Reply

At 8/6/12 04:35 PM, Deathcon7 wrote:
Here ya go: http://art101.newgrounds.com/news/post/269181

M'kay here's what I'm thinking. The account (for now we'll refer to it as Writing101, if anybody has a better name feel free to suggest it) will initially consist of a set of guidelines and links to important threads, such as:

Writing Forum Higlights
Copy-pasting from Word This one might not need a link if we include the information here in the guidelines.
Review Request Thread

These are all threads that should be read before someone posts as they contain useful info.

We could also include things which aren't necessarily important, but are of interest within the community such as:
Book Reviews
Two Word Story

These could help new members get involved without having their very first contributions to the forum be critiqued. Not that getting critiqued is bad, I just feel like there's so many people who get discouraged when their small submissions are subjected to critique by those of us with high levels of expectations. They just need a way to maybe get involved first.

We should probably link to the NG Forum rules as well. Any way we can get a rule subset of our own on here?

Now, for the guidelines, should we put these all in one news post? Or should there be threads, created by Writing101, detailing each area?

Here are the topics for guidelines and my initial thoughts.

Submitting your writing:
Before you submit: Spelling and grammar check! Make sure you fix your "" and 's.
State the nature of your piece: Is it a character description, an introduction, a scene from a play, a poem, or an entire novella?
State the intent of submitting it: Do you want critique, ass-kissing, help with word choice, or help with editing?
Tell us what you know needs work: Some people freely admit that there are problems with what they've written. Identifying this helps the reviewer focus on solving those problems and helps avoid people getting mad at each other when the reviewer tells them something they already know.

Critiquing:
Tell people what needs to be fixed: Don't just tell them they suck. That helps no one and just discourages them from writing. Point out as many problems as you can, just give them something to work with.
Tell them what works: If there IS something that you think the author did well, tell them! This helps them identify their strengths and lets them recognize what good writing is.
Scoring: Do we really want this? I don't really care either way and feel that until the Powers That Be decide we have earned a portal, we should leave it up to the reviewers if they want to leave a score.

I noticed that Art101has lots of tutorials, while this is a really good idea, that means we actually have to make these tutorials. That will come later I think.

Once we get this account set up, we can have it create contests for the forum. Not necessarily contests with cash prizes, but still, things that get everyone involved. Maybe we can revive the Monthly Writing Contest series.

That's what I got for now. Lemme know what everybody thinks and then we can create this thing!

Oh yea, we're not stepping on Ekublai's and Coop's toes by doing this are we? I feel like they should be involved, and at least have access to the account, seeing as how they're the mods and all.


Grungy Mech action in 1940s Russia! Read Iron and Ice!

starwarsjunkie
starwarsjunkie
  • Member since: Dec. 17, 2004
  • Offline.
Forum Stats
Member
Level 28
Writer
Response to Discussion: Location, Expectations, 2012-08-08 16:41:05 Reply

Forgot the Writing Lounge. We have Writing101 link to that too.


Grungy Mech action in 1940s Russia! Read Iron and Ice!

Tha-Slaya
Tha-Slaya
  • Member since: May. 24, 2003
  • Offline.
Forum Stats
Member
Level 07
Blank Slate
Response to Discussion: Location, Expectations, 2012-08-08 17:04:32 Reply

I've been reading this thread, but haven't posted because I didn't have anything new to add. With Starwars's post, I can gladly say that I'd love to help in anyway possible.


A Premo Production

BBS Signature
Deathcon7
Deathcon7
  • Member since: Oct. 1, 2003
  • Offline.
Forum Stats
Member
Level 21
Writer
Response to Discussion: Location, Expectations, 2012-08-09 11:21:50 Reply

At 8/8/12 04:37 PM, starwarsjunkie wrote: M'kay here's what I'm thinking. The account (for now we'll refer to it as Writing101, if anybody has a better name feel free to suggest it) will initially consist of a set of guidelines and links to important threads, such as:

Lit101; it's more applicable. And those links, as well as the lounge, would need to be included in the table of contents. A survival guide and tutorial system combined into one is the basic idea. A user can pick up advice, tips, and direction on writing, while also learning how to navigate this fair playground we've built thus far.

We could also include things which aren't necessarily important, but are of interest within the community such as:

Agreed. And again, that would work into the survival guide aspect.

These could help new members get involved without having their very first contributions to the forum be critiqued. Not that getting critiqued is bad, I just feel like there's so many people who get discouraged when their small submissions are subjected to critique by those of us with high levels of expectations. They just need a way to maybe get involved first.

I think it's also a combination of not expecting to *get* critiqued. I'm going back and forth with someone now and I'm realizing that maybe he doesn't understand what my angle is. So yeah, letting people know that critique is kinda the thing we do here, versus mindlessly gushing over every thread, would be a good thing.

We should probably link to the NG Forum rules as well. Any way we can get a rule subset of our own on here?

No, no, no. Setting up rules is not a good idea, that'd just be stepping on toes. What we should be focusing on is not so much structuring, but integration. Help people get involved, get synchronized; y'know, jive with us. Setting up rules? I'd leave that to Tom and Co.

Now, for the guidelines, should we put these all in one news post? Or should there be threads, created by Writing101, detailing each area?

Like I said, the guidelines should be structured like a survival guide. Each resource should have a paragraph or so on what it is, how to use it, and how to *best* use it. So, for example, with the review thread; you link to it, describe its purpose in about a paragraph or so, reiterate the "rules" for playing along, then translate that so new users can quickly jump in. For example, with the review thread, a lot of people had a tough time figuring out they had to give critique, and link to it within their request, before they got critique.

Here are the topics for guidelines and my initial thoughts.

In this case I think you're blending ideas. Submitting stories, critiquing; that falls under the tutorials umbrella. So the survival guide shows and explains the landmarks of the site, right? The tutorials would then provide the how-tos. So lets say someone wants to jump into the review thread and help out there, we'll label them Reader Zeta. So Reader Zeta has zero experience as a critic. This is what I envision the best path would be:

- UserX tells Zeta very nicely to look up the Survival Guide in Lit101 after Zeta gives a terribly stilted and unhelpful critique
- Zeta goes to Lit101, looks up the Survival Guide in the Table of Contents, and finds the Review Request Thread entry
- Confused, Zeta visits that article
- Zeta reads it, but then under the "More Resources" header they see a link to "Advanced Critique - Speculative Fiction" under "Tutorials"
- Zeta clicks that since they're really interested in fantasy/sci-fi fiction, but then they see "Pre-req Reading: Getting Started - Critique"
- Zeta clicks the link and is taken to the article "Getting Started - Critique"
- Zeta devours the entry which gives an overview of providing critique within the scope of literature and the writing forum
- Under "Tutorials" in the "More Resources" header Zeta sees: "Advanced Critique - Speculative Fiction" so they go back to that article
- Zeta reads that and looks again under the "More Resources" header and finds "Critique Dos and Donts" under "Tutorials"
- That article quotes good and bad critique with the purpose of setting a standard for insight, length, and tone
- Zeta reads that and under the "More Resources" header sees "Recommended Reads & Highlights" under "Survival Guide"
- Zeta goes there wanting to find something short they can contribute to, but all the threads have plenty of critiques
- Zeta then goes to the thread list in the forum and finds a thread with 0 replies titled "SF/S/N: Slipstream"
- Zeta sees that it's still critique-less and decides to read it
- Zeta enjoys it because it just so happens to be a short story that's Science Fiction
- Using what Zeta has learned thus far, they provide a concise and productive critique
- Zeta then returns to Lit101 and in the Table of Contents finds "Thread Labels" under the Survival Guide section
- To Zeta's great pleasure, the article explains that "SF/S/N" breaks down into "Science Fiction," "Short," and "Narrative"
- Zeta notices that there's other genres too: "UF" for Urban Fantasy, "PR" for Paranormal Romance, and "PP" for Police Procedural to name a few
- They also see that [S]hort is defined as a maximum of 500 words, that [M]edium is defined as a max of 2,000 words, [L]ong is up to 5,000 words, and [E]pic is uncapped
- Under mode Zeta sees "P" is for poetry, and "S" is for script
- Then, for reasons unexplained, Zeta dies. It's very tragic, but at least Zeta died knowing a bit about getting around the Writing Forum

That's how I envision the process going. Seems pretty cool, right?

I noticed that Art101has lots of tutorials, while this is a really good idea, that means we actually have to make these tutorials. That will come later I think.

Built up over time, with the Table of Content kept up to date.

Once we get this account set up, we can have it create contests for the forum. Not necessarily contests with cash prizes, but still, things that get everyone involved. Maybe we can revive the Monthly Writing Contest series.

Lit101 could be used for many different things, and that sounds like another potentially great use. Creating projects through that userpage could be useful. I mean, once we're steeped in the thing I'm sure we'll find many great applications for it.

That's what I got for now. Lemme know what everybody thinks and then we can create this thing!

Create it. I would also recommend using a neutral e-mail address and PM'ing the details to people who would be able to put it to some use at some point (Coop, Ekublai, Deft&Evil...)

Oh yea, we're not stepping on Ekublai's and Coop's toes by doing this are we? I feel like they should be involved, and at least have access to the account, seeing as how they're the mods and all.

They'd be on the list to get the details, yes. As far as contributing, they're both busy with current tasks (being a mod and organizing the Anthology), but I'm sure their input will come eventually.

At 8/8/12 05:04 PM, Tha-Slaya wrote: I've been reading this thread, but haven't posted because I didn't have anything new to add. With Starwars's post, I can gladly say that I'd love to help in anyway possible.

You can come up with a list of survival guide and tutorial topics. If you feel comfortable enough you could even start writing up the articles. Once done you can dump it in the dumping grounds for download and review by an organizer.

You could even type up a list of topics you'd like to see covered personally.

Or research the various stories upload, try to find common issues, patterns, problems, anything we can try to address and resolve.

Ultimately, with these types of projects, you have to be a self-starter.

Tha-Slaya
Tha-Slaya
  • Member since: May. 24, 2003
  • Offline.
Forum Stats
Member
Level 07
Blank Slate
Response to Discussion: Location, Expectations, 2012-08-11 23:46:21 Reply

Yes, I agree with the 'self-starter' thing. I'll work on some stuff.


A Premo Production

BBS Signature
DeftAndEvil
DeftAndEvil
  • Member since: Aug. 31, 2010
  • Offline.
Forum Stats
Member
Level 14
Writer
Response to Discussion: Location, Expectations, 2012-08-12 02:00:08 Reply

Well, color me interested and a little optimistic. I think a strong, devoted core of just a few individuals can get this thing running, and hopefully the pieces sort of just settle in. I haven't been much proactive about anything lately, but definitely count me in.


Despite the name, I'm actually good--Deft, and good!

Giving out reviews to anyone who wants them (exception: poems. I'll find you).

BBS Signature
starwarsjunkie
starwarsjunkie
  • Member since: Dec. 17, 2004
  • Offline.
Forum Stats
Member
Level 28
Writer
Response to Discussion: Location, Expectations, 2012-08-12 13:15:59 Reply

At 8/9/12 11:21 AM, Deathcon7 wrote:

So I've created the account, I'll be sending the details to Deatcon, Ekublai, Coop, and DeftandEvil.

I'm working on writing the survival guide right now. In regards to your last post, I have a few questions on how you want that to look. Is it just a list of entries to the various topics, because that's what I forsee the Table of Contents being.

Basically I'm asking if each link or topic, (ie the Review Thread) gets its own page. Anywho, you guys can muck about with it, change what I've go so far if you like.


Grungy Mech action in 1940s Russia! Read Iron and Ice!

starwarsjunkie
starwarsjunkie
  • Member since: Dec. 17, 2004
  • Offline.
Forum Stats
Member
Level 28
Writer
Response to Discussion: Location, Expectations, 2012-08-12 13:31:02 Reply

Just had a thought. The survival guide will need update as well, as tutorials are created. So for now, I'll just provide links and descriptions of the various resources and we can get some tutorials up later.


Grungy Mech action in 1940s Russia! Read Iron and Ice!

starwarsjunkie
starwarsjunkie
  • Member since: Dec. 17, 2004
  • Offline.
Forum Stats
Member
Level 28
Writer
Response to Discussion: Location, Expectations, 2012-08-12 15:24:47 Reply

Here's a link to it: Lit101.
Just keep in mind that this is just a very basic beginning.


Grungy Mech action in 1940s Russia! Read Iron and Ice!

Deathcon7
Deathcon7
  • Member since: Oct. 1, 2003
  • Offline.
Forum Stats
Member
Level 21
Writer
Response to Discussion: Location, Expectations, 2012-08-12 16:47:36 Reply

At 8/12/12 03:24 PM, starwarsjunkie wrote: Here's a link to it: Lit101.
Just keep in mind that this is just a very basic beginning.

Excellent job. When I get a spare moment I'll put together a template. If anyone else wants to try their hand at it, that'd be splendid. What we need is an outline for how the table of contents will look (the permanent news post), how tutorial articles will look, and how survival guide articles will look. Aside from table of contents each page needs to have a section for pre-req reading, and a More Resources segment.

DeftAndEvil
DeftAndEvil
  • Member since: Aug. 31, 2010
  • Offline.
Forum Stats
Member
Level 14
Writer
Response to Discussion: Location, Expectations, 2012-09-12 23:30:33 Reply

At 8/9/12 11:21 AM, Deathcon7 wrote: - UserX tells Zeta very nicely to look up the Survival Guide in Lit101 *and then Zeta does and becomes a better (although living-impaired) man.
That's how I envision the process going. Seems pretty cool, right?

I was thinking about this and I tracked down this thread...

Dude! This sounds so sweet. I am back into work-mode (funny how I did no writing-work during Summer vacation, but now that I have a job and going to the university as well, I am getting in the habit of writing-work done), and I have decided to take on this project. I will try to devise a system outlined above. Well, I'll work on the presentation first.

The system will rely on a series of symbols which denote categories; the symbols branch into further subcategories. There will be three main categories (for whatever work is submitted). "P" which stands for "Poem," "Pr" which stands for "Prose," and "S" which stands for "Script."

Poems can then be subdivided into P (Poetry), L (Lyrics), etc. Prose can be subdivided into Na (Narrative), Es (Essay), etc. Scripts can be subdivided into Sc (Scripts/Screenplays), Pl (Plays), etc.

Hopefully, every genre/category can be given a one or two-letter symbol (like the Periodic Table of Elements--yay, chemistry!) Organizing this will be the main task, however, the main challenge I see is actually finding and defining such categories and genres. For example, I am not familiar with horror, so I can't subdivide it. Any help is appreciated. I'll start tonight.


Despite the name, I'm actually good--Deft, and good!

Giving out reviews to anyone who wants them (exception: poems. I'll find you).

BBS Signature