| Essay Non-Fiction
posted August 3, 2015
Quantitative Analytical Essay Thing
IT NEVER HURTS TO ASK
"When something ain't broke, don't fix it" comes to mind here. With that in mind, I have ideas to improve an already excellent experience. Yes, I have complaints. Indeed, I've been known to go off on lovely verbose rants spewing enough hot air to steam a picnic weenie. But, we are word people and sometimes we just can't help it.
There are two types of improvements as I see it. Number one would be improvements with policy and procedure i.e. practical improvements. Number two would be improvements concerning our own approach and commitment as members.
I offer these as practical improvements to consider:
1: There is a decided preponderance of poets here at Fanstory. This is clear when perusing the rankings and available postings. We like trophies, ribbons and recognition in general. I suggest the site increase the trophies awarded for poets at the end of the year from five to ten. Awarding the top ten poets would more accurately reflect the achievements of these authors relative to the number of competitors. As an incentive to the site, the competition for the additional five trophies would surely generate increased posting and reviewing as poets within striking distance, see the possibilities unfold.
2: While we are on the subject of awards, please allow access to our shiny medals and ribbons. I see no reason why it cannot be noted on a piece that it was a Poem or Story of the month nominee. Why not add that a piece was a second place winner in a site contest or even an honorable mention? These are great accomplishments and should be noted. In that same vein though perhaps less practical, how about a link in one's profile showing honors and awards? How about a testimonial from the site stating how wonderful I am? Well … too far. I'm serious about the other matters though.
3: We desperately need a reviewing tutorial with front-page access. There is a listing of recognized reviewers on the front page. I think that is fine and an important matter to highlight. However, few of the listed members are active and the list isn't even up to date. Wouldn't this space be better served by highlighting a link to an extensive reviewing page? The page could include the list of Recognized Reviewers, Fanstory reviewing standards as well as tutorials on proper reviewing. Perhaps there might even be a forum-style discussion site there.
4: In response to the many members who complain about the inequity of competing in contests against more experienced members, I suggest this: What if we were to have contests offered at different skill levels? Advanced contests would pit previous winners and accomplished writers against each other. Intermediate and beginner contests could pit individuals at that level against each other. I admit I haven't thought this through, so the mechanics and determining factors would have to be hashed out. I throw the concept out for discussion. Personally, I want to compete against the best. But, then, I deserve a good thrashing … or so I've been told.
5: There are many published authors on this site. I feel we should be offering a great deal more attention to them. I propose a link on the front page that would take us to a listing of available books for sale by Fanstorians. It's an opportunity for us to support our fellow members with purchases and reviews. It is certainly a feather in the cap for FanStory to feature the success of its members.
6: I would like the site to offer my portfolio to me in printed form for a reasonable fee. I realize there is a "print" option available on all of our works. But, I would just as soon pay Fanstory for a copy of one of my novels in book form. This is another idea I haven't thought through, but I throw it out for discussion.
The following are suggestions for improvements that we can make as members simply by making the commitment to do so:
Here is where I have to resist the temptation to go off on a mad rant. I read a great number of complaints about this site. I rarely read one that couldn't be solved by our own efforts as members.
I've said it more than once, every tool and resource to improve one's skill as a writer is here at Fanstory. There are experts in every aspect of writing from grammar to publishing right here. I came here going on two years ago with zero grammar skills, no knowledge of any form other than free verse poetry, having written very few short stories and never a novel. Everything I've learned, I've learned right here. Whatever level one might say I am at; there is no denying that it is a far cry from where I started.
With that in mind, these are the commitments I suggest we make going forward:
1: The voting is capricious to say the least. Is it too much to ask that an entry be given at least some consideration? How many of you read every entry before voting? Isn't that the least the entrants should expect? I propose that we commit to reading every entry BEFORE placing our vote.
2: Contests have rules. Should that not be a factor in considering who to vote for? I propose that we have a rudimentary understanding of the rules BEFORE placing our vote.
3: Finally, these are WRITING contests. Subject matter should not in and of itself determine your vote, quality writing should. Is it fair that a poorly written piece about a popular subject emerge with a win over a superbly written piece about a less popular subject? I propose that we base our vote on the quality of the piece and nothing else.
4: Puppy pictures … don't get me started.
1: There is a natural tendency after being here for any length of time to settle in to a pattern. Once we have an established fan base we often stay within that base with our reviewing. It is understandable. It is often all we can do to answer reviews and review those we fan. I'll be the first to admit to being a horrible failure this year at keeping up with my reviews and responses. Things do happen in the real world. However, in a general sense, it is the lifeblood of our site that the more experienced members take the time to review the newer members. The welcome I received her as a newbie meant the world to me. I propose we commit to reviewing as many works outside of our fan base as possible on a weekly basis. Even if it is one or two a week, it could make a huge difference if we all made the commitment.
2: How about we stop with the generic cut and paste reviews. It's a violation of site policy and an insult to the author to disregard their work like that. I propose we crack down on these bogus reviewers and report them. Aren't you tired of being slapped in the face?
3: It is also site policy not to consider content or offer your opinion of such when reviewing. We are charged with reviewing writing quality and mechanics. If a topic offends you, don't read it. You are not welcome to use a review as a means to put forth your opinion. Write your own piece if it means that much to you. Let's commit to reviewing writing quality and mechanics.
4: It isn't necessary to be an expert in form to review poetry. A poet is just as interested in the feelings and reactions to their work. Still, be careful. If you don't know about form, don't refer to it. Don't tell a haiku author their piece is too short or a free verse poet their piece doesn't rhyme. Know what you are speaking about before you speak. That seems fair, doesn't it? Let's commit to staying within the knowledge we have and offering opinions based on that knowledge.
Let's hope that those who write essays STOP writing before they sound so preachy you want to throttle them!
I suggest these changes...
and 2 member cents.
I've noticed some duplication in the many fine entries. That's a great thing I believe. It shows that many of us share the same concerns and ideas. I urge you to read the other excellent entries. Lots of fine ideas. Thanks for reading.
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