Opinions about World building. thoughts, pros, and cons

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Re: Opinions about World building. thoughts, pros, and cons

Postby Spica75 » Sun Jul 23, 2017 3:51 am

A bad example of an infodump is the prologue to Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings which is little more than an encyclopedia entry on hobbits (an incomplete one at that) and about as interresting to read.


Much worse, at least encyclopedias you usually learn at least something interesting.

#####

I'd much rather have stuff like:

Grammar: ★★★★☆
Story: ★★★☆☆
Characters: ★★☆☆☆


Preferable certainly. But even though the possibility of doing that has now been around for nearly forever, it's still very rare, mostly because it just isn't standard in any of the easy to use software packages.
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Re: Opinions about World building. thoughts, pros, and cons

Postby Cheb » Sun Jul 23, 2017 1:53 pm

Its convenience invites laziness, inaccuracy

Reader are *already* lazy. The figure I provided (1 review / 100 readers) is roughly accurate, taken from me analyzing stuff a while ago.
Likes let you know the number of people who actually approve vs only loud malcontents being detectable.
Especially if likes are on a per-chapter basis.

Thus we know that Taylor Varga has approximately 160..180 loyal followers. And so on.
Often the story quality vs reader's criticism skill ratio makes making useful comments *hard*. While making shallow comments like "good work" is frowned upon.
So likes are extremely useful.

Also, likes are essential for authors who doubt themselves. Me, I'm fine with criticism only. Because I know there are 99 more guys just reading.
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Re: Opinions about World building. thoughts, pros, and cons

Postby Spica75 » Sun Jul 23, 2017 2:04 pm

Thus we know that Taylor Varga has approximately 160..180 loyal followers. And so on.


Much more. My experience is that less than 1/4 adds likes/etc.. And then there's usually around twice as many "guests" reading as there are people logged in.

Reader are *already* lazy. The figure I provided (1 review / 100 readers) is roughly accurate, taken from me analyzing stuff a while ago.


That's generally a good guideline to use yes. It fits reasonably well much of the time.
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Re: Opinions about World building. thoughts, pros, and cons

Postby Pata Hikari » Tue Jul 25, 2017 4:03 am

Crescent Pulsar S wrote:Grammar: ★★★★☆
Story: ★★★☆☆
Characters: ★★☆☆☆

Actually no, this is a bad idea.

First off, Grammar is not a thing that should be rated. Grammar is either good or bad. Unintentional bad Grammar simply makes a story harder and more unpleasant to read. It's not something that deserves a scale.

And Story and characters are basically the same thing. You can't rate them separately. A story is, essentially, the actions of the characters, and their reactions to the world and other characters around them.
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Re: Opinions about World building. thoughts, pros, and cons

Postby Spica75 » Tue Jul 25, 2017 9:21 am

Pata Hikari wrote:Actually no, this is a bad idea.

First off, Grammar is not a thing that should be rated. Grammar is either good or bad. Unintentional bad Grammar simply makes a story harder and more unpleasant to read. It's not something that deserves a scale.

And Story and characters are basically the same thing. You can't rate them separately. A story is, essentially, the actions of the characters, and their reactions to the world and other characters around them.


Some people don't realise when they're writing bad, or even terrible language or grammar. While others have such quality that they go far beyond normal.
It should probably be language overall rather than just grammar, but close enough.

And then there's the ones apoligising for their poor English, while writing better than many native speakers, you definitely want to encourage them that no, their English is actually bloody damn good and better quality than the vast majority.

Story and characters are most definitely not the same thing, you can have an amazing story and dreadful characters and vice versa. The rating for characters is how well they are portrayed, how well you manage to write them into living people, not for what part of the story they make up.
Characterisation tend to be my own weak point, so i'm extremely well aware of this, as i can often manage a decent story, but getting the people to "look good", much harder. And i've read writers with the exact opposite problem, they write awesome characters and then totally screw up the story into a horrible mishmash of boooring.
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Re: Opinions about World building. thoughts, pros, and cons

Postby gsteemso » Tue Jul 25, 2017 11:33 am

I think the only questionable detail of the three-axis rating scale you suggest is the naming of the categories — as mentioned, “story” and “characters” would more accurately be called “plot” and “characterization,” and I agree that trying to usefully evaluate a person’s mechanical basics (spelling, punctuation, grammar, etc) as a simple number rating is beyond futile. At a minimum, you’d need something with clear labels associated with each number of stars. I’d start with a list reading something like (“indecipherable” / “barely intelligible” / “passable” / “well written” / “eloquently masterful”), and refine it from there.
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Re: Opinions about World building. thoughts, pros, and cons

Postby Ellen Kuhfeld » Tue Jul 25, 2017 1:27 pm

I judge stories by whether an editor would be tempted to buy them. It really helps to build a good story -- but at the same time, you must avoid writing a bad story. Editors get more submissions than they can use, so they look for reasons not-to-buy stories. If the first page has obvious problems, the manuscript can be stuffed into the return envelope with a polite rejection slip, and sent back. Even if the story itself were glorious, bad grammar will get it tossed. I've run into stories that were both bad and good.

There is one fanfiction (name not mentioned) that gives an interesting example. The story is quite good -- but somewhere around the middle, somebody must have given him a thesaurus, and mentioned that using "said" all the time was not optimal. From that point on, the writer used "droned" instead. This might be appropriate once in a while, but a lot of the speeches were things best not droned. ("Damn you!" Fred droned.) That's silly. "Said" is one of those invisible words, like "a" and "the".

Most of the examples of stories that were both bad and good could be found, of course, among the fanfics. They do manage to make it into pro markets sometimes. I've run into two shining examples:

Harry Harrison can tell a story like nobody's business. His prose is passable. By now, he has enough of a reputation that editors know that, and know people will buy them for the story.

And then there was Rissa Kerguelen, by F. M. Busby. Decent writing, but predictable. At one point I said to myself, "things are going too well. Somebody's going to come over that hill, shooting." Three pages later, they did. I didn't predict the aircraft they'd be riding in, though. If your story is as formulaic and predictable as a Harlequin Romance, sell it to Harlequin. That way I won't be tempted to buy it. I'd rather deal with Harley Quinn.

Characters can be important, but they're not always that important. The protagonist of Poul Anderson's Tau Zero was the theory of Special Relativity. The people were there to give it human interest.

Offhand, I'd be tempted to give scores for story and writing. Might toss in one for proofreading and copy-edit if it seemed necessary. Or perhaps -- the good, the bad, and the ugly. That's judgemental, but then, so are most of us.
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Re: Opinions about World building. thoughts, pros, and cons

Postby Spica75 » Tue Jul 25, 2017 3:43 pm

There is one fanfiction (name not mentioned) that gives an interesting example. The story is quite good -- but somewhere around the middle, somebody must have given him a thesaurus, and mentioned that using "said" all the time was not optimal. From that point on, the writer used "droned" instead. This might be appropriate once in a while, but a lot of the speeches were things best not droned. ("Damn you!" Fred droned.) That's silly. "Said" is one of those invisible words, like "a" and "the".


Ouch. That's outright painful.

If the first page has obvious problems, the manuscript can be stuffed into the return envelope with a polite rejection slip, and sent back.


Lord of the rings. :twisted:
:mrgreen:

Ok, it's not language that is the problem, just hideously boring first half of the book. Still, it feels like the perfect book to use "drone" a lot, either in it, or describing it. :P

Characters can be important, but they're not always that important.


True of course, but generally a good story AND great characters both together makes for a much better experience.

The protagonist of Poul Anderson's Tau Zero was the theory of Special Relativity. The people were there to give it human interest.


Mmm, a story can be just fine or great with zero characters, and at the other side of that spectra, the extremes of characters without story, there are slice of life and comedy stories with barely a hint of story in it, that also manage to still be very good.

All of it CAN work, but most of the time, i think having both is preferable.

Offhand, I'd be tempted to give scores for story and writing.


I would still prefer to add Characters as a score, as it varies so greatly, but yes, Writing is much better than Grammar.
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Re: Opinions about World building. thoughts, pros, and cons

Postby Crescent Pulsar S » Thu Jul 27, 2017 1:27 am

Just to clarify: when I said "I'd much rather have stuff like," I wasn't saying just those three things, or even those incarnations specifically. I was just trying to get across the idea that I would prefer something of that nature to the like/dislike crap. If someone's willing to submit their opinion anonymously instead of leaving a comment of any significance, I'd much rather have some real idea of what it is rather than being left to wonder where in one extreme they actually fall, and why, since I highly doubt every like is a standing ovation and dislike a barrage of tomatoes. This sort of thing, like a lot of things, is not something meant to be perceived with black and white lenses.
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