1. Barry G
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    Barry G Senior Member

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    It has been a month since I registered.

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Barry G, Apr 18, 2010.

    I joined the Forum just about a month ago. I am still finding my place and certainly have yet to find my niche. During the settling in period I have posted with article five new threads. I have learned from the critiques one or two things which previously I had not considered but the overall readership for my writing has been elusive. I am either writing the wrong stuff for the audience or my stuff is OK but the audience is wrong. Which came first, the chicken or the egg?

    In my laptop there are a couple of hundred articles which I thought maybe I could check out for style and content. Sadly it is not going to work like that. It looks as though I am going to have to write articles especially for review by the Forum. However the subject matter for those articles might prove to be difficult to establish. There is no point in posting stories about horses because the market is not here on this Forum. The response to my doggie tales has been a bit better but only marginally so. My brand of humour does not seem to go down well with many of the viewers who most likely are not yet old enough to be cynical. As for double entendre well that is a pure waste of space.

    Then there is the fact to face that the readership of this Forum is international and what I think is funny is not funny or even comprehensible to foreigners. Many seem to be using this forum to improve their English.

    There is also a generation gap. It would not surprise me to discover that I am the oldest contributor. We old fogies do not really think in the same way as most young folks. My tutors would gasp at the amount of sloppy spoken English written down as prose these days. I have wondered about using 'Ye' or 'Thou' but the closest I have come to olde worlde writing is when I inserted 'doth' in a moment of frivolity.

    Arguably the most difficult thing for me is to chose the most suitable sub forum on which to post an article. I do not write fiction but neither is what I do write factual. To find a solution it would seem that I am going to have to experiment. I started out with the idea of learning about how to write what people want to read and it is too soon for me to give up. Having made the bed, perhaps now I shall have to get in it.

    Barry G
     
  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Barry,you can't judge your writing by the number of replies. A good number of responders will pick the low hanging fruit. Our critiquing requirents force members to find opportunities for improvement, so pieces that are well-written don't always get te attention they should. You're still somewhat new, and other members probably don't really know you yet.

    There may be somewhat of a generation gap. I feel it too sometimes, but on the whole, the membership here doesn't tend to discriminate against age at either end of the scale. I'm younger than you, but by less than two decades, so I do commiserate with you with respect to sloppy grammar.

    Humor (sorry, I'm on the other side of the Pond) is difficult at best, and you can't expect everyone to "get it" even if it is well-crafted.

    I will say that the Nonfiction area of the Review Room doesn't get the traffic that Humor does, so you may have better readership in Humor. Also, short excerpts attract more critiques than longer pieces, even if it means not posting the full piece at the outset.
     
  3. MELANIE!
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    MELANIE! New Member

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    good luck barry g

    hope everything works out for you!
     
  4. Tamsin
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    Tamsin Senior Member

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    Hi Barry,

    I think it depends why you are here. If you genuinely want to improve as a writer, then you are in the right place. If you just want people to read your work and say it is great, then it isn't going to happen here.

    If you post work for review, you have to be prepared for it to be pulled apart, and you have to use that as a means to improve the piece. It is a critiquing site.

    I am either writing the wrong stuff for the audience or my stuff is OK but the audience is wrong.

    Actually, there are loads of possibilities. You have to accept that each piece posted on here is a work in progress. You have hundreds of people here, many of whom speak English as a first language. People will read stories about all kinds of things, whether they are into the topic or not. BUT they will look at it from a writer's perspective, so you have to be prepared to take the criticism, and believe that it is valid. See this as a forum to improve your work, and it gets a lot easier to take the criticism when it comes.

    If someone doesn't get what is going on in your work, you have to accept that maybe the story isn't clear, rather than there is a problem with the reader. Of course there are people on here who are not in your target audience, but people take that into account when reviewing.

    From what I have read of your work, it is 'non-fiction' as it is clearly you narrating things about your own life. Whether they have been embellished or not is irrelevant. I honestly think you would get more readers if you post under the non-fiction, as your pieces are articles, rather than stories.

    For a piece of work to be successful, it should be able to stand alone, without massive explanations of this and that. If it does require specialist knowledge, then that's fine, but you are limiting the amount of people who will actually want to read it. Also, if you have to explain to people why something is funny, it probably isn't that funny in the first place.

    Definitely post more pieces on here but definitely be prepared for them to be critiqued. The good thing about this site is that no one knows you, so no one is biased, you should get honest reviews. I guess it comes down to what you do with the critiques you receive.

    I'm always happy to critique stuff that you post on here (yes, English is my first language in case that's an issue!) and I know one end of a horse from the other. ;)
     
  5. Barry G
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    Barry G Senior Member

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    Thanks folks for your comments.

    I am not anxious about critiques some of the comments are very worthwhile
    By the time I have written the piece and read it back a couple of time to correct the obvious mistakes I find myself almost word blind - certainly I am skip reading. It is
    particularly for that reason that I find the first comments from the mind of a fresh pair of eyes very helpful.

    I accept that I write articles rather than stories and I am becoming very aware that I must tailor the article to the audience. What is difficult for me is to define the nature of the audience on this type of forum. The question must be what could I write about which might grab the attention of more of the readers

    As yet I have not yet found an appropriate theme. I shall keep experimenting.

    Barry
     
  6. Nobeler Than Lettuce
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    Nobeler Than Lettuce Contributing Member

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    Hey Barry, I briefly flipped over the story about Foxy, meaning to give it a good read later. You're definitely polished and professional, and for some reason when you described yourself as writing horse and dog stories, I immediately compared you to James Herriot. Maybe you just seem similar to him because the narrative I read had a touch of personal frankness that makes things genuine.
     
  7. zaffy
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    zaffy Contributing Member

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    Barry, I have left some comments about your story on the non-fiction board.
    I enjoyed it but ...
     
  8. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    barry, if you're not older than my 71, then you're not the oldest here... and there may even be a couple who're my elders by a couple of years...

    as for content and 'audience' you need to understand that we don't read work here for our entertainment, as this isn't a magazine... work is posted here only for assessment of its quality and to get our help to improve it, if necessary, so we're not an 'audience' for any one type of writing/subject or another, as a magazine's readership would be...

    if you'd like me to give you some feedback on your writing, either put the link to it here, or send me the piece and i'll give you a thorough assessment of the writing quality and detail what, if anything, needs work...

    also, you need to be aware that if you hope to sell a piece of work, you shouldn't be posting the whole thing where it can be read for free... that's why most folks only post brief excerpts here for critique...

    love and hugs, maia
    maia3maia@hotmail.com
     
  9. Barry G
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    Barry G Senior Member

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    Maia - The end of November makes me 72 - but I guess to decide which of us is the eldest, we shall be down to counting wrinkles.

    Me, I write strictly for pleasure. It is cathartic for me to get things out of one's head and into the laptop. Until I press the 'save' button there is no release.

    The chances of my ever being published are slim indeed and I shall not be pursuing the idea. By the time some prose of mine could be printed, I might be pushing up the daisies.
    However to write merely for the hard disk denies one the little buzz when an acquaintance says: 'Barry I enjoyed that piece' but those guys are unlikely to ever say: 'sorry, you got it wrong'.

    As for exact grammatical correctness, I have decided to stop worrying about that if it interferes with the writer's style. After reading some of what the modern generation writes I have come to the conclusion that grammar is no longer very relevant. My 1950s English is already becoming a dead language.

    I already feel cut off from the generations following along after me. They think differently and their values are out of step with my own. Apparently to most of them, as an Old Man even older than their dad, I am invisible until a I make a loud noise or I wave my arms about. But it would be nice to think that if I am hidden down an Internet connection that I could make contact with some of those who do read.

    It is also nice to make contact with some similarly minded individual who lives on the other side of the world.

    Barry

    Ps I have made note of the email address. Thank you.
     
  10. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hello Barry
    I hope you've decided to give us on the forum the benefit of the doubt!

    By the way, I wouldn't worry that your English is particularly dated, or that you are particularly 'aged'--my 75yr old father still enjoys teaching English, in his retirement job working for the town municipality workers where he lives in France, and he also writes for various yachting magazines and the magazine produced by his old regiment.

    There are many older readers who appreciate a writer who has a strong grip on the old-fashioned grammar basics--and younger ones too, no doubt!

    So, looking forward to seeing a few snippets of your work, if you have the time and inclination. I do know what you mean about feedback, it's nice to get a response, particularly if it's constructive criticism.
     
  11. thewordsmith
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    thewordsmith Contributing Member Contributor

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    BarryG, I think, after a certain "breaking-in" or "Honeymoon" period, you will find a fairly erudite and eclectic group here from wannabes to serious-but-not-yet-published to marginally published to successful, multiply-published writers. There is also a wide spectrum of interests, abilities, and outside talents from which one may draw.

    Sometimes the responses my be slow in coming - people have other demands on their time than this forum. Also, there is no accounting for what may intrigue someone enough to open a post, read, and respond. Or, when they do respond, it may not be the kind of response you were hoping for. If that's the case, toughen your hide a little, give the replies a bit of distance, then review your work with a fresh eye and a mind to what others have said. Much of the comments you receive may seem mean-spirited. If so, put them in your virtual shredder and move on. Some may seem to have no bearing on your writing and what you are trying to accomplish. Again, send them to the virtual shredder. Still others may feel terribly harsh. Ask yourself if there might be any validity in the comments. And remember, if one person sees a problem with it, chances are they are not so unique that there are not others who would see it the same way! Store that information for future reference. Lastly, you may find some who simply love your writing - or at least like it a lot. Those, too, need to be put away for future reference.

    Bear in mind that, with the exception of the occasional troll (which, thanks to wise and diligent moderators, don't survive here long!), other posters gain nothing from telling you there are problems with your writing. If you are looking for insight into your possible writing problems, do it with an open mind and accept that the people here will respond with open hearts. If, on the other hand, you are looking for blanket praise of your work and are not, truly, seeking to learn how to improve it, you might be right and this may not be the place for you.
     
  12. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    so i'm your elder by a couple of months, then... which means less than nothing, i guess... ;-)

    anyway, since you write only for fun and not for a career, or to make money at it, i have to wonder if this is the right place for you... or rather, if it's the only place for you, since this isn't a site meant for just displaying one's work...

    people don't come here to read others' writings, but only to get help with their own and/or to help others with theirs... so, in addition to sticking around, which i hope you'll do regardless, you may want to join some sites where you can just be 'read' and have your writings enjoyed by someone other than yourself... if there are such places, i'm sure others here will clue you in to which are the best...

    meanwhile, enjoy what we have to offer here and drop me a line if you just want to chat, or need any help with anything...

    hugs, m
     
  13. Barry G
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    Barry G Senior Member

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    Well, Folks, I appreciate all your good wishes but I am still bugged by the viewing figures.
    I guess it must be because I am virtually blind to the target audience.
    Temporarily I have run out of ideas as to what subject and in what vein I should write.

    REB used a word I have never used before: 'vignette' ie a short delicate literary sketch.
    and 'vignetting' seems to mean making a precis of. I shall have to think about that concept.

    It might appeal - who knows?

    Barry G
     
  14. s.knight
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    s.knight Banned

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    Try flash fiction and short stories. Turn those anecdotes into gems.
     

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