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Insecurity in Writing


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So, how do you deal with insecurity and/or jealousy? I write fanfic, so everyone else's stats and all their comments are open, and I can see the attention other stories are getting compared to mine. And it's maddening. And yes, I know it's ugly, I know it's not kind or productive. But still, I'm not a perfect person, and it's something I have to deal with. 

I know the answer is "write because you love it," or "write because it's therapeutic," and "don't worry what other people think." But...how do you get to that point? The truth is, I do need to write. My mental state is loads better now that I've found a venue in which to write. For background, I've tried for years to write, and I'm not lacking for ideas. Writer's block isn't even a problem. The problem is that I never thought anyone would be able to read the things I write. I could write a novel, but I would never be able to sell it. I would have a heart attack or a stroke if I tried to sell myself like that. I have friends who write, and they spend every weekend at this con or that one, marketing their writing. Trying to meet people to get their original work out there. I know everyone says this, but I could never do that. It takes me days to pick up a phone do do something as trivial as making a doctor's appointment. 

Then I found fanfiction. I know, what took me so long? But honestly, until November, I had no idea it was a thing. And once I found out, I've not been able to stop writing. But still...I wonder if it's something I should do. Am I embarrassing myself? Should I put myself out there like that? And when I read other peoples' works, and the comments, I find myself going down the rabbit hole of comparison, and I want to delete my writing and throw my computer out a window. 

So anyone who's dealt with this, can you give me any words of wisdom? And although I do write because I love it, that's just not good enough. I also want to entertain people. And if I'm not doing that, a big piece of why I write just isn't there. 

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This is really a hard one to answer. I've been writing fanfic on and off for about 17 years (has it really been that long?) God do I feel really old all of a sudden. :D I knew my stuff wasn't that great when I first started out in fact it makes me cringe just thinking about it. I've had one really bad review that shook my confidence pretty badly but that was some years ago now, I just roll with the punches.   

I think I got lucky as I used to write for fandoms that were pretty small and I knew most of the other fanfic writers to some degree or other as well. But I'm writing a Star Wars fic which is sadly on ice indefinitely I suspect unless I can get a new beta reader sorted for it.... Anyway the amount a favs and follows it has is just mind boggling and I know full well it's got some serious flaws that I want to try and fix.  

Best advice? 

Write because it's a something you enjoy, a story you want to tell and if other people like it, well that's just a bonus really.

I've upset a few people with my Star Wars fic because of some of the things I've done, but most seem to like my idea of crazy :D 

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I think we all feel a little insecure when it comes to our own work. I remember I used to compare my stories to the ones of really popular authors and feel terrible. I'd have that thought process of, 'Wow. If I could write like that then my story would be so much better too!' Every now and then, I do doubt my work and pick out all the little flaws. It could be anything from 'wow, that's such a lame idea. What would [insert the author's name I like here] do if they were writing this? I'm sure it would be so much better!' Then I have to remind myself if they were writing it, then it wouldn't be the same.

I copped a lot of abuse on fanfiction over the years leading to me abandoning my account several times in the process. I had people telling me that I needed serious beta help because my plots don't mistake, my characters have no emotions, my writing is emotionally stale etc etc. I like to say I'm pretty proud of most of my work, but when I received a review that was everything but positive, it would really shake my self-confidence leading to long periods of doubt. I invest a lot of myself into my work - life experiences, dreams etc etc, so it does hurt a lot to have that mocked. It didn't help I was criticized a lot as a child by the people around me at the time and that's been hard to shake off even now.

It's tough seeing other stories do so much better than yours. There were many times I just cancelled stories because I couldn't even get one third of the readerbase, but then I had to remind myself (and fellow friend writers too), that some stories are always going to do better no matter what. It's like that number one song played all the time on the radio - some art just appeals to a broader range of people because it's easy to understand and follow. Some of the best stories I've read had low stats because the plots were so complex, you couldn't absorb it all in one reading. In the end? Stats only mean one thing - it's popular. Think of the really popular stories as chart topping singles.

Sometimes it also comes down to the pairings, the genre, the fandom etc. Sometimes it's just the way you write - some works are just easier to follow because they're so simplistic (hence why Twilight was so popular). My friend, who also writes fanfiction, always said, 'everyone can write - but not everyone can tell a story' and I always have to remind myself when I'm feeling doubt, 'that no one else can write what I'm writing now. If I don't write it, then no one ever will.' You can be told how to write a story - but no one can teach you how to craft one. I went through this period of time in my early years of fanfiction writing when I decided to write what other people wanted - yes, my stats went through the roof, and a lot of people in my fandom knew who I was, but I wasn't happy. My work was hollow because it wasn't me. I was just writing for the trends and to be popular. Eventually, after a major event in 2008, I took some time off and asked myself, 'what kind of writer do I want to be? Do I want to be known for copying the trends to be relevant or do I want to write what I would want to read despite having hardly any readers?'

I'll end this by saying this - If you want to write, do it. You know that you can. Write for you - don't write for the trends and what other people want. Don't write for the numbers.

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So weird. I've tried to reply twice and it keeps erasing my reply. Later I'll probably log in and my reply will be there 3 times. @AquilaTempestas And @OfficerDonNZ, And @belmakori, thank you for  the advice and commiseration. I think the biggest takeaway is that I can't control what other people like, or what they think, or what they do, and that's true. So, what do I want to do about it? 

I've been thinking about it since I wrote the OP, and I think my main issue is that I feel like I'm the tone-deaf kid in the choir who has no idea he's a terrible singer, so he sings at the top of his lungs. And when people smile at him, he assumes it's because they like his singing, so he keeps it up. I don't want to be that kid, you know? 

I have three stories out, and they're all getting likes and follows here and there. And decent comments, but nothing that makes me think I've really hooked anyone.  I've never gotten a bad review, which makes me think people aren't really reading the things. But then again, when I review, if I don't have anything nice to say, I say nothing. If I have criticism, I send a PM. But some part of me feels like these likes and even the good comments are pity likes. Like, they're giving me just enough encouragement so I'll keep embarrassing myself and give the more established writers something to laugh about. I don't want to be the tone deaf kid. If I suck, I want to know. Does this make sense, or am I stupid anxious about something that just takes time? 

I'll never write professionally, so it's not like I'm saying this to get discovered or get advised on publishing, but I wish there was someone out there I could send my work to. Someone who would tell me one of two things. 1. If you love it, do it, but bless your heart, honey. Find your gifts elsewhere. Or 2. You tell a good story, and you make me want to read more. You're new, so obviously you need polish and experience, but the talent is there. No one is going to laugh at you. 

Is there such a thing out there? 

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6 hours ago, AquilaTempestas said:

I'll end this by saying this - If you want to write, do it. You know that you can. Write for you - don't write for the trends and what other people want. Don't write for the numbers.

This is pretty much what I was going to advise. I write for me. To get the story I want to write out there. Write what I want to read and what I think the fandom is missing. Reader opinions are secondary. 

@AquilaTempestas have had quite a few discussions over feeling inadequate and doubting our writing at the time we were writing for the same fandom.  In my opinion, it was market forces.  People like smut and sex sells. No matter how poorly written it might be.  That was what it was coming down to in terms of the fics receiving the largest number of hits, reviews and kudos.  The readership had fixed ideas of what pairings and content they wanted to see. Which is hard on writers not writing the popular stuff. 

Essentially, the audience is fickle.  Write for you.  And praise and critiques from writers I respect means much more. 

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No matter what, every writer has gone through this stage in writing. We all like getting appraisals and approvals of our work, and as human beings we are always aiming to improve and make our work better, if not, perfect.

The biggest issue in insecurity in writing is self-doubt. Unless you do not believe in yourself or your potential, there is simply no way getting that insecurity out of your existence. Every writer needs that one loyal friend who can give them the support they need, they also need that one critique who is not afraid to tell what is missing, inadequate or unnecessary in their work, but they are never crushing your feelings. They always cheer you on, they motivate you and with those people, insecurity in writing automatically reduces, and if we're lucky, it even vanishes.

13 hours ago, MyBlueSkye said:

I know the answer is "write because you love it," or "write because it's therapeutic," and "don't worry what other people think." But...how do you get to that point? The truth is, I do need to write. My mental state is loads better now that I've found a venue in which to write. For background, I've tried for years to write, and I'm not lacking for ideas. Writer's block isn't even a problem. The problem is that I never thought anyone would be able to read the things I write. I could write a novel, but I would never be able to sell it. I would have a heart attack or a stroke if I tried to sell myself like that. I have friends who write, and they spend every weekend at this con or that one, marketing their writing. Trying to meet people to get their original work out there. I know everyone says this, but I could never do that. It takes me days to pick up a phone do do something as trivial as making a doctor's appointment. 

Then I found fanfiction. I know, what took me so long? But honestly, until November, I had no idea it was a thing. And once I found out, I've not been able to stop writing. But still...I wonder if it's something I should do. Am I embarrassing myself? Should I put myself out there like that? And when I read other peoples' works, and the comments, I find myself going down the rabbit hole of comparison, and I want to delete my writing and throw my computer out a window.

(Fun fact Heather, you can also edit out quotes and emphasize on what part you are to answer, just a little tip :D)

You and I share the same feeling, even today when I am getting high appraisal from majority of the writers in the community (be it here, in the Beyblade or in the wrestling fandom) I feel insecure, and you know what? This insecurity can actually improve you. First off you are in a constant battle to prove to your inner critique that yes, I am that damn good. Second, you are also improving and eliminating your weak points bit by bit, third you find it fun to actually see what others think of your work, thereby giving you motive to write and maybe adopt something different in writing (like a new fandom, a new from of writing, or even a new language). But the point is to never doubt yourself, my rule one in writing, you doubt yourself you lose the game. So just keep on believing, keep on writing, and if you are to take certain pointers from how others write, then do it. Don't blatantly look down upon yourself that no I cannot improve, they are so much better than me, I suck etc. (ps, this was me initially when I joined this forum :D) just learn from them, improvise, write and be happy ^_^

 

11 hours ago, OfficerDonNZ said:

Best advice? 

Write because it's a something you enjoy, a story you want to tell and if other people like it, well that's just a bonus really.

I've upset a few people with my Star Wars fic because of some of the things I've done, but most seem to like my idea of crazy :D 

That's the thing, not everyone will approve of your writing, not everyone will approve of the ideas you come up with. In fact, sorry to bring out the dark perspective of it, but actually some people will be hell-bent upon criticizing everyone who write for a spefiic fandom *cough* Farla and her group of pokemaniacs *cough*. For that matter, everything has good people and bad people in it, and I'm sure giving it time (and yes, time can definitely vary, it can a short time or a long time too) there will be good people who wiil read your work and appreciate it.

 

9 hours ago, AquilaTempestas said:

I think we all feel a little insecure when it comes to our own work. I remember I used to compare my stories to the ones of really popular authors and feel terrible. I'd have that thought process of, 'Wow. If I could write like that then my story would be so much better too!' Every now and then, I do doubt my work and pick out all the little flaws. It could be anything from 'wow, that's such a lame idea. What would [insert the author's name I like here] do if they were writing this? I'm sure it would be so much better!' Then I have to remind myself if they were writing it, then it wouldn't be the same.

I copped a lot of abuse on fanfiction over the years leading to me abandoning my account several times in the process. I had people telling me that I needed serious beta help because my plots don't mistake, my characters have no emotions, my writing is emotionally stale etc etc. I like to say I'm pretty proud of most of my work, but when I received a review that was everything but positive, it would really shake my self-confidence leading to long periods of doubt. I invest a lot of myself into my work - life experiences, dreams etc etc, so it does hurt a lot to have that mocked. It didn't help I was criticized a lot as a child by the people around me at the time and that's been hard to shake off even now.

It's tough seeing other stories do so much better than yours. There were many times I just cancelled stories because I couldn't even get one third of the readerbase, but then I had to remind myself (and fellow friend writers too), that some stories are always going to do better no matter what. It's like that number one song played all the time on the radio - some art just appeals to a broader range of people because it's easy to understand and follow. Some of the best stories I've read had low stats because the plots were so complex, you couldn't absorb it all in one reading. In the end? Stats only mean one thing - it's popular. Think of the really popular stories as chart topping singles.

Sometimes it also comes down to the pairings, the genre, the fandom etc. Sometimes it's just the way you write - some works are just easier to follow because they're so simplistic (hence why Twilight was so popular). My friend, who also writes fanfiction, always said, 'everyone can write - but not everyone can tell a story' and I always have to remind myself when I'm feeling doubt, 'that no one else can write what I'm writing now. If I don't write it, then no one ever will.' You can be told how to write a story - but no one can teach you how to craft one. I went through this period of time in my early years of fanfiction writing when I decided to write what other people wanted - yes, my stats went through the roof, and a lot of people in my fandom knew who I was, but I wasn't happy. My work was hollow because it wasn't me. I was just writing for the trends and to be popular. Eventually, after a major event in 2008, I took some time off and asked myself, 'what kind of writer do I want to be? Do I want to be known for copying the trends to be relevant or do I want to write what I would want to read despite having hardly any readers?'

I'll end this by saying this - If you want to write, do it. You know that you can. Write for you - don't write for the trends and what other people want. Don't write for the numbers.

That is it, no matter what, what we write will never be written by anyone they way we have written it. It will just lack that originality and that spark, you know? Take the patent truth or dare story, almost everyone has written a version of it, some is better than other, but all in all this defined who the authors were, what were their styles, how they plot characters ad story-lines etc. In essence it gave an idea to the reader about who the author was, all by reading different stories written around the same subject.

I agree with Aquila, write what you want to write. Do not sucker up to others just to get views and reviews, believe me some of the most "famous and most viewed fanfictions" are actually written rather poorly, but they are read why because...

2 hours ago, Lady Mechanika said:

In my opinion, it was market forces.  People like smut and sex sells. No matter how poorly written it might be.  That was what it was coming down to in terms of the fics receiving the largest number of hits, reviews and kudos.  The readership had fixed ideas of what pairings and content they wanted to see. Which is hard on writers not writing the popular stuff. 

Essentially, the audience is fickle.  Write for you.  And praise and critiques from writers I respect means much more. 

 

2 hours ago, Lady Mechanika said:

Another point I'd like to make is that certain fandoms are completely saturated.  There are simply so many writers it can be hard to break into them or write something a little different.  

Because of that, my variation of a movie quote which I believe is completely applicable at this entire situation is "A person is smart, people are stupid."

Unfortunately, fanfiction is now tarnished by people who have no sense of writing, and just write about sex and nothing more. Either that or they flame-write about what they like and what they do not like, they try to impose their will on the reader. Writing isn't what is it used to be anymore, unfortunately since everything is not sex-driven people prefer nasty ill-written mistake-laden smut rather than clean professional and wholehearted work. And they also tend to force certain fandoms which is not cool at all, and about the whose saturated part, I agree. Unfortunately fandoms like Naruto, harry Potter, Beyblade etc have too many authors which write, and most of the stuff is biased and not worth reading, there are a few stories which are really good, but unfortunately they are literally one in a million.

8 hours ago, belmakori said:

To me, writing has always been about entertaining someone, whether it was myself or others, that was always my goal.  I saw reading as a form of entertainment

At the end of the day, I agree, we write for ourselves, not for others. We write because we want to write, because we need to write. We are true dedicated writers who are aiming to improve, who are willing to take constructive criticism who are cool enough to ignore the bullshit around us (the flamers) and who write because they feel they want to write, because their minds are always clouded with ideas and they are always thinking "oooh this idea seems good, maybe I can write about it."

That is what a write is about, writing about what they feel and that they see, not writing because they want to impress anyone ^_^

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Thanks, everyone! A couple of things: 

1. I would love to take constructive criticism, but I can find no one to give me any. The people who read my stuff tell me it's good, most of the time. But I know it can't be completely good, because I'm just starting off. But these people also aren't huge readers, my friends. My husband doesn't read at all beyond what he has to read for work. And my friends who do read, don't play Skyrim, which is my fandom. So...there's no one I trust to give me that criticism. Is there somewhere out there I can find it from a reliable source? Believe me, I do want to improve. 

2. Lol, sex and smut. I absolutely love to write this stuff. It's in my stories, although I have been told it's tastefully done. It's not plot-what-plot, although, I think that has its place too. It's just probably not the droid I'm looking for. 

3. I take good things from authors who do good things. The other day I read a fic by an author who is great at romantic tension, and I took notes. I also take pointers by reading my favorite original authors. I mean, when you look at it, everything is fanfiction to a certain extent. But I love reading good works. I suppose my angst comes not from recognizing someone has a good work and happy for them that they're getting attention. It's reading the works that I find maybe a little subpar that people are fawning over, and I can't understand why. It makes me think that my stuff really does suck (like I'm the tone deaf kid) and I'm not aware of it since I'm not getting the kind of attention these other stories get. I didn't want to say that because I was afraid it would make me sound snobby, but the topic was broached a little in the above comments, so I went with it. 

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1 hour ago, MyBlueSkye said:

Thanks, everyone! A couple of things: 

1. I would love to take constructive criticism, but I can find no one to give me any. The people who read my stuff tell me it's good, most of the time. But I know it can't be completely good, because I'm just starting off. But these people also aren't huge readers, my friends. My husband doesn't read at all beyond what he has to read for work. And my friends who do read, don't play Skyrim, which is my fandom. So...there's no one I trust to give me that criticism. Is there somewhere out there I can find it from a reliable source? Believe me, I do want to improve. 

2. Lol, sex and smut. I absolutely love to write this stuff. It's in my stories, although I have been told it's tastefully done. It's not plot-what-plot, although, I think that has its place too. It's just probably not the droid I'm looking for. 

3. I take good things from authors who do good things. The other day I read a fic by an author who is great at romantic tension, and I took notes. I also take pointers by reading my favorite original authors. I mean, when you look at it, everything is fanfiction to a certain extent. But I love reading good works. I suppose my angst comes not from recognizing someone has a good work and happy for them that they're getting attention. It's reading the works that I find maybe a little subpar that people are fawning over, and I can't understand why. It makes me think that my stuff really does suck (like I'm the tone deaf kid) and I'm not aware of it since I'm not getting the kind of attention these other stories get. I didn't want to say that because I was afraid it would make me sound snobby, but the topic was broached a little in the above comments, so I went with it. 

Oh me too, I always yearn for constructive criticism. Well maybe you can try out fanfiction.net, there are lots of Skyrim authors there.

Oh I love it too, though I'll be honest, if you go and read some of my initial smut, you'll be baffled to know that it was ridiculous mix of sexy and immaturity ^^`

That is what I'm talking about :3 learn, learning will definitely improve your and my writing. The more we learn, the more we want to imply and the more we improve. No we get you, we all feel the same way, no one writes fanfiction a hundred percent confident knowing that their work will be loved completely. But that doesn't mean that your work might suck too, as you said you are starting off and it takes time in the beginning. But as you proceed, you get better and better.

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25 minutes ago, MasKaiHilFantic said:

Oh me too, I always yearn for constructive criticism. Well maybe you can try out fanfiction.net, there are lots of Skyrim authors there.

 

 

I'm on that site and AO3. No one on FF has said anything critical at all, and I've asked for it point blank. One person on AO3 went through chapter by chapter and I actually made some changes based on what she said. It was nice. I get a lot of hits, don't get me wrong, and I'm grateful for all the readers and lurkers. But a little feedback every now and then wouldn't go amiss. 

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34 minutes ago, MyBlueSkye said:

I'm on that site and AO3. No one on FF has said anything critical at all, and I've asked for it point blank. One person on AO3 went through chapter by chapter and I actually made some changes based on what she said. It was nice. I get a lot of hits, don't get me wrong, and I'm grateful for all the readers and lurkers. But a little feedback every now and then wouldn't go amiss. 

Im not familiar with the fandom but Id be happy to read and provide some feedback on technical stuff.  I'm sure there are Skyrim fans on here who may be able to help. 

Oh and I have nothing against sex and romance.  I write it myself ^^. But it seems a sure fire way to garner hits even if its poorly written.  

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Maybe people just don't really want to hurt other peoples' feelings? Or maybe people just want to read stories and be left alone. Eh, I suppose I can't blame them for that. My insecurities are mine to get over. Someone posted something on FB a while ago - what other people think of you is none of your business. I guess that's true, and another facet of the whole "I can't control what other people think and do, I can only control myself" mantra I've been trying to master over the past few years. Well, I'm turning 42 in a few weeks, so I suppose that's the year I'd finally master the answer to life and everything if I'm ever going to do it. 

Thanks for letting me vent and for listening and venting with me. It honestly helps a lot. 

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People a ffn can be ignoring, comes from someone who actually vented about fanfiction and no one wanting to read good stuff anymore, i.e. me. People there can be real jerks too, and I mean real jerks. They would blatantly call you off and derail your work, because of that most people have switched to AO3.

30 minutes ago, MyBlueSkye said:

Maybe people just don't really want to hurt other peoples' feelings? Or maybe people just want to read stories and be left alone. Eh, I suppose I can't blame them for that. My insecurities are mine to get over. Someone posted something on FB a while ago - what other people think of you is none of your business. I guess that's true, and another facet of the whole "I can't control what other people think and do, I can only control myself" mantra I've been trying to master over the past few years. Well, I'm turning 42 in a few weeks, so I suppose that's the year I'd finally master the answer to life and everything if I'm ever going to do it. 

Thanks for letting me vent and for listening and venting with me. It honestly helps a lot. 

Maybe that too, I mean a lot of people don't want to hurt someone emotionally, there have been cases of people who mistook criticism and made a fuss over it.Hopefully you'll be able to achieve your goal and be able to get over it :)

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Also, if anyone here gets bored and wants to read my stories, I obviously would be honored, but I feel like people, once they're connected to you, really don't want to hurt your feelings, you know? And I think that's a good thing. Which is why I don't really want to use friends as beta readers. I have a friend who I'm a beta for, and I never tell her the truth. I don't like her writing. But I would never tell her, because I know her, and I know that she would shrivel up and die and possibly never write again if I did. So I point out things that maybe would be better written another way. And I point out questions I have. But if she asks me if I like it (and she does) I tell her I do. I lie. And lie. And lie some more. 

True story, this friend has refused to read my stuff because it's fanfic. I've beta read and edited for her and her husband for years, and when I finally got up the nerve to put myself out there, they were all nah. 

But I'm just not sure I believe people who are connected to me. They're more than likely to say "oh, it's good!" And just hope i believe them to save my feelings. Ugh, being a person is hard some times! 

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8 minutes ago, MasKaiHilFantic said:

People a ffn can be ignoring, comes from someone who actually vented about fanfiction and no one wanting to read good stuff anymore, i.e. me. People there can be real jerks too, and I mean real jerks. They would blatantly call you off and derail your work, because of that most people have switched to AO3.

 

AO3 does seem like a more peaceful place, that's for sure. I started there, and then started on FFN a few months later. It's amazing how much easier the AO3 interface is to use, too. 

I read a review of a story a month or so ago, and it wasn't bad. Grammar mistakes, and some creative license with some of the characters which some people just hate. The only review of it said "this stinks." Honestly. What a jerk. That's not at all constructive. 

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Ugh. There's one on AO3 published about the same time as one of mine. Same subject matter, and I just found it today. It's getting so much more attention. And I don't think it's good. I'm trying to do some soul searching and figure out if I'm just being jealous and petty (there's good chances). 

Coming to terms with the shitty side of myself is difficult! I guess recognizing it is half the battle? 

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9 minutes ago, MyBlueSkye said:

Ugh. There's one on AO3 published about the same time as one of mine. Same subject matter, and I just found it today. It's getting so much more attention. And I don't think it's good. I'm trying to do some soul searching and figure out if I'm just being jealous and petty (there's good chances). 

Coming to terms with the shitty side of myself is difficult! I guess recognizing it is half the battle? 

In my experience, a lot of stories that are poorly written tend to do a lot better because they're easy to follow.

Either that, or that author knows a lot of people and in return, gets a lot of views too.

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All the Wise Old Sages of the forum have had their say, and they've said well, so I doubt I can add anything more without being repetitive, thanks to my lack of experience. But you're a fan of Elder Scrolls, and I've been having a discussion with @Maximsk about the same.

Building on what @AquilaTempestas, in most fandoms, especially Elder Scrolls, people absolutely hate it when you set foot outside the normal boundaries. Maximsk's stories are amazing- nothing like you've ever seen before- but they're so -different- that people can't handle having to read something that's not just another damn retelling/silly PWP and appreciate how good it actually is. Seriously, sort by reviews and all the top rated ones are plain retellings, or have more smut than necessary. 

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The top stories in my fandom a are filled with Hollywood cliches too. Let's have the typical hot guy eventually falls for geeky girl. Or better yet, let's have a love triangle yay featuring most popular characters!

These can be done well mind you. Sometimes they can be enjoyable if theres some development happening and it's realistic. However, most of the time, in my fandoms, it's high school level drama. 

Though I suppose that makes sense since people in my fandoms tend to be teenage females. Fandoms like Smite and Dark Souls are too small...

There is a story in Smite that is really popular for a small fandom. Too bad it has absolutely nothing to do with the game and it's just utter garbage with randomness galore.

Supernatural was another fandom I used to write for. Most of the popular stories here were about incest. That alone should be enough to say "popular doesn't mean good". If it is about sex, or features some popular pairing (because eventually they are going to have sex), then it's going to sell well.

Now if your story has complex plots, strong character development, and a plot that goes against the trends, tough luck trying to find an audience. Most people don't want to try something new. Most people don't want to spend too much time thinking about a story either.

 

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