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26 June 2012 @ 09:25 pm
It's a Head Scratcher  
This has happened too many times to be a coincidence. Here's the deal.: I start a story, and the parts are listed as 01/??. and so on. People read, people comment, I feel inspired to keep moving on. I get near the end, with an idea of how much I have to go, and change the ?? to a number. Without fail, people stop commenting, and I guess I assume, reading. What's with that? So should I not let anyone know the story's almost over? I always thought it would be a good thing, knowing a WIP was now near closure, but it seems not. It's seems that's the signal to everyone to stop reading. It's just somewhat disheartening, to near the end, and you think everyone who had been reading went away. I really am just baffled by the phenomena, realizing it has happened every time I write a long fic. So what's the answer, peeps? Do I need to Loki my readers? Keep the ?? until after the fact? Or just never finish a fic? :D And has anyone else experienced this? Or is it just me? Again? Illuminate me, good readers!
Caitriona_3caitriona_3 on June 27th, 2012 03:38 am (UTC)
They probably assume they don't need to comment anymore since the end is near. If they've been commenting regularly, they're probably still reading, they just figure you're in the wrap-up stage.

I don't have this particular one since I don't mark chapters in the same way, but I don't get very many comments on my one-shots or finished stories. (Per FFnet & AO3, I get hits - just no comments.)
Ith: Art - Wildwoodithildyn on June 27th, 2012 04:30 am (UTC)
Could be. But it makes me less motivated to actually finish. Yeah, AO3, I get few comments, but LJ is my comfy interact with the readers place.
Amy R.: Nick Amusedbrightknightie on June 27th, 2012 03:45 am (UTC)
I've never posted a story with a question mark for a number of parts. Evidently, I should try it! :-)
Ith: Art - Haida Maskithildyn on June 27th, 2012 04:31 am (UTC)
I'm thinking it's the way to go! Honest to goodness, I thought it was a fluke the first few, but now, it's a trend.
ericadawn16: Confusedericadawn16 on June 27th, 2012 03:55 am (UTC)
People just suck. I read once that for every comment you get, ten people are not commenting so I guess if you have no comments, then that's still at least ten.

Just write for yourself and you'll never be disappointed...it's really hard though because those comments are like crack...

My current Avengers series has no specific number listed but three chapters in and no comments.I advertised it everywhere, too.

PS I'm tempted to try your story but then, I've never seen Highlander so I wasn't sure if I'd be totally lost...

Edited at 2012-06-27 04:33 am (UTC)
Ith: Art - Wildwoodithildyn on June 27th, 2012 04:36 am (UTC)
I remember that from the old email list days. Ten to one comments.

Yep, I love comments, mostly the ones that discuss some point in the story, I love the interaction. For me, that's part of the fun of writing. When I get no input at all, my muse just wants to head for a beach :)

ETA: don't know what to tell you in that regard, other than many readers over the years have told me I write crossovers that don't require knowledge of each fandom included. Which pleases me, because I want the stories to be accessible, no matter what fandom you're coming from.

Edited at 2012-06-27 04:44 am (UTC)
valihavaliha on June 27th, 2012 04:50 pm (UTC)
Oh yes, I agree, though I can't really say I'm not at all familiar with Highlander. I saw the movies, and some episodes of the show, but I definitely agree with the opinion that the crossover would be easy to follow even if I never did.

As for commenting on a work in progress, I find that I don't always have something smart to say, just noises of glee sometimes, and it feels embarrassing just flailing in someone's comment space when it can be taken up by someone with better things to say. Which is why I love the kudos at AO3 - it helps me let the author know that I enjoyed their story without worrying whether I will make a fool of my self.

And as for your latest story, I am saving all the parts so I can read them all in one go - I find that I prefer reading your stories that way. I don't know why!
Ith: Avengers - Loki Smileithildyn on June 27th, 2012 11:56 pm (UTC)
And that's cool. I just wish people would actually comment on the last part, which they don't, and was part of what inspired this post :)

That being said, just knowing someone is reading is all I'm really looking for - don't need essays LOL
ericadawn16: Confusedericadawn16 on June 29th, 2012 03:19 am (UTC)
Hmm, that's a good point, too. I try to be satisfied with my betas but sometimes, it is hard if they're busy or not in the mood.
history_dochistory_doc on June 27th, 2012 04:12 am (UTC)
I must confess that I tend to lag in the commenting after a few parts, mostly because 1) I am lazy, and 2) I feel like it gets repetitive on a long story. . . so I usually wait to comment again on the last part when the story is complete. I think you should believe that people are reading and then nudge us for comments again in the last part.
Anyway, there's my lame rationale. I'll try to improve! Pinkie swear!

I follow your work religiously, and enjoy it tremendously. Thank you for all the hours of entertainment.
Ith: Art - 100 Acre Woodithildyn on June 27th, 2012 04:41 am (UTC)
LOL! That would be awesome, except the last part get the least comments of all. Then I just deflate. I hate nudging, because I don't want to be one of those whiny, begging for comments writers. The "I'll never write again!' sort.

I'm really glad you've enjoyed my stories! Makws me all warm and fuzzy :)
(Deleted comment)
Ith: Avengers - Blue Natasha/Clintithildyn on June 27th, 2012 11:57 pm (UTC)
That's good to know :)
Black Rook: booksgrachonok on June 27th, 2012 06:50 am (UTC)
Guess most people are just lazy, and seeing the end is near, decide to wait for the final part to comment...

I've never experienced this, but I've never posted with ?? either - mostly because I'm extremely lazy as a writer, too, and I start typing fic down only when it's thought out and planned in my head, so the number of chapters is always known:). And the last two long fics were for BigBangs, so posted only when finished.

(I confess I'm waiting for White as snow to be finished to read it, because with plot like this I tend to read fic backwards, I'm strange this way:). And as Avengers are brand new fandom for me, guess I'm sort of still at 'missing scenes and epilogues' stage).
Ith: Avengers - Tasha B/Withildyn on June 27th, 2012 11:58 pm (UTC)
Which is fine, except most people aren't commenting on the last part. The last part seems to get the least amount of comments, hence the disheartening part :)
cincoflexcincoflex on June 27th, 2012 11:17 am (UTC)
I'll date myself here, but many years ago when X-files fandom was big and most internet fic was of the discussion board variety it was considered Bad Taste to publish a WIP. People felt the writer who did so was 'holding the reader hostage' or some such nonsense, and I remember being extremely frustrated myself when posted bits never got their follow-through.

BUT, for established experienced writers like you (and mebbe me) who have reputations for posting regularly and building good story arcs DO get shafted now and again by a tapering feedback loop, alas. I find I get responses if I've done a particularly emotional or erotic chapter, but not so much for others that are just storytelling.

The numbered chapters appeal to some and don't to others--I suppose there isn't really any way to tell how it will go.I tend to like numbers because I try to be orderly, but it's not required.

And I shamefully confess, I haven't read your crossover because I'm not familiar with Highlander fandom, but I'm willing to give it a shot next week when I'm off from school.

The ONE promise I made years ago still holds true--if I read a story, I review a story. Lead by example and all that, but I've stuck by it over the years. If someone doesn't get a review from me, it's because I haven't read it.

Ith: Methos - Mythithildyn on June 28th, 2012 12:18 am (UTC)
That was never my experience in the old time fandoms I was involved in way back when. But considering email lists had very tight limits on number of words and parts you could post, it could take weeks to post a story, and no one really realized it was a WIP!

Maybe I need to to a post game show [g] A post with all the bits I wanted to talk about and hoped people would like. That has potential!

Maybe I'll try unnumbered next time as an experiment.

No, don't feel bad. I get I write weird fic :) A core group of people seems to follow my stories, and that's awesome. I tend to think the Highlander element is more exploring what it would like to be Immortal. And Methos, one of my all time favourite characters, I can't let go of him, it seems. He's 5000+ years old, the oldest Immortal, and Loki is fascinated [g] If I had to pick one clip that is the essential Methos, it would be this one (he's the snarky one):

I actually find a lot of symmetry between Methos and Loki, which fascinates me.

Me too. If I read, I comment. I just don't read much anymore [sigh] But one of these days, I need to read yours. I've been intrigued by the summaries I've seen.

And BTW, I'm so glad to have met you! Fandom is awesome!
ericadawn16: Surpriseericadawn16 on June 29th, 2012 03:22 am (UTC)

Are you from the old Fox X-Files board, too? Do you remember when they had the old board and it all got moved to the new one? I lost a bunch of stories in that move.

I confess that I did do a WIP but I updated enough that it didn't seem that way.

Oh those were the days, we invented the Shipper.
She went that-a-way...: Sanctuary - irresponsible helen :-Pjinxed_wood on June 27th, 2012 02:48 pm (UTC)
I know I haven't commented/kudoed the last couple of chapters because I haven't read them yet. I tend to do that with WIPs, read updates in batches of twos or threes. Don't know why, it's just the way I enjoy reading WIPs! I'm very aware of the tapering off effect but I can't complain as I'm the worse updater on the planet!
Ith: Holby - Smokeithildyn on June 28th, 2012 12:23 am (UTC)
Yep, you're way worse than me [g] This was more about getting to the end and hearing crickets. It's just depressing. After finishing a long one, you're all stoked and want to share the glee.
Queen of Sassgard: leather!kinkstarhawk2005 on June 27th, 2012 04:02 pm (UTC)
Hm. I haven't experienced this, but the current Loki/Jane BDSM fic is the first time I've ever done the 01/?? format.

I think it's probably because in the past, readers would scream at me if it took too long for the next chapter to be posted, so either I did one-shots, or I never specified for the reader how many chapters there would be (usually because I didn't know, myself).

(Thankfully I only have two uncompleted WIPs, and the first arguably doesn't even need a completing chapter).

Maybe people just don't have the attention span for long multi-chapter fics? Therefore, one alternative might be to break fics up into smaller parts. For example, I've already decided to write a sequel to the current Loki/Jane BDSM fic, but I'm going to call it by a separate title and just link the reader back to the original fic. Then instead of it being a 6/6 series, it'll be two 3/3 series.

I do feel your pain about lack of commenting, though. I always tell myself that the writing is reward in itself, but after being spoiled rotten by the House fandom and lots of commenting, I was very disappointed by the lack of commenting from the SPN fandom, and so far the Avengers fandom isn't looking like much of an improvement (though I probably shot myself in the foot by going against the fandom OTP of Thor/Jane). But maybe the actual smut chapter will get more of a reaction? *hopes*

*hugs you*

(And I feel bad that I have not been reading your fics, but I almost never read fics where I don't know the fandom(s), and so since I have no clue who Methos or Charlotte are, I feel kind of lost and unable to connect to the story. It's a character flaw. :( Have you written any Avengers-only fics that I've missed? Those I would love to read..)
Ith: Avengers - Loki Smileithildyn on June 28th, 2012 12:30 am (UTC)
Charlotte is an original character, so you wouldn't know her [g]

Ummm.... one? No, two! If you don't count the ones with just Charlotte and a Marvel character (like the one I wrote set in the 1950s with her and Peggy Carter.) Here and here [g]
Queen of Sassgard: fuck narcostarhawk2005 on June 28th, 2012 05:34 pm (UTC)
Ah! That would explain it.

*bookmarks the fics to read later when I have more time* Awesome, thanks!
jedimasterstarjedimasterstar on June 27th, 2012 06:16 pm (UTC)
I still read even if it does have a number instead of a question mark. I don't care if I don't like them or I do like them, I just keep on reading because it's being polite to the author.

And I love your stories! I just haven't reviewed recently because I keep forgetting. (shyly sneaks away in shame).
Ith: Avengers - Clint & Natashaithildyn on June 28th, 2012 12:34 am (UTC)
Awww, you're the best, and I appreciate you.