Commentary and Philosophy Non-Fiction posted July 24, 2014

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A Rambling Essay or Something Like That

Poor Prose Writers, You Still Here?

by michaelcahill

This is just a rambling rant or a ranting ramble. One could call this the frustrated ravings of a Fuschia. I like to call this, Julia.
I'm thinking I should call this a poem and get some quick generic reviews from those people that don't read the poems either. Even in fake reviews, the poets have an edge! I think it would be highly amusing to receive a review for my two-thousand-word story that said, "your haiku was in perfect syllable count. I loved the imagery. It was very moving in a moving way as it moved me. :)))))."
There is a real imbalance here between poets and prose writers. Then there is a further imbalance between writers of stories and short pieces and those that write novels. The money is all the same, so I can't imagine why someone would choose to read a twenty-five hundred word contest entry paying fifty-two cents over a seventeen syllable haiku that pays the same.
As a writer of both poetry and prose and one that is here to learn, it put me in a dilemma. When I started writing poetry here I learned new forms here that I practiced, posted, and reviewed. I fanned poets I liked and those that liked me fanned me. Time never seemed to become an element. I could easily review all of the people I followed and answered all of the reviews I received in a timely manner. I had time left over to review new people as well. I kept eyeing that right side of the screen, the prose side. I also wrote prose. I had a lot of stories and ideas for books. I secretly fancied myself a novelist. But, I didn't know anything about the process. I didn't even have a decent foundation in basic grammar and punctuation. Well, those of you that know me are well aware that I don't have any sense. Of course, I decided to start writing prose, including novels.
That has turned out to be a good thing for me. It has also turned out to be a terrible thing for me. I've entered the world of prose and novel writers, which I love, but it has buried me. I don't pretend to read the people I follow, I actually do read them. Hell, I follow some great writers. It isn't a task at all to read excellent writing by excellent writers. It is, however, time consuming. After reading, I would like to offer something helpful or intelligent in the way of a review. There isn't much to critique with the people I follow. But, people like to hear what is working well and what a reader found enjoyable too. These are people that have helped me improve my own writing beyond what I could possibly imagine.
It takes longer to write prose and novels as well. There is more editing. There is also the matter of all the poets that I am already following and the poetry that I am still writing and posting. The prose has taken away from the timeliness of my responses and reviews of poetry too.
Well, I can go on and on with the problems. I'm sure I'm not the only one aware and suffering from this. The question is, what can be done to make this more equitable? Surely, a review of a four-line poem doesn't require the same effort as a review of a two-thousand word short story. Yet, the reward is the same. It guarantees that the prose piece will be ignored. I recently entered a contest that attracted some top quality work. The entrants had a long time to prepare and perfect their entries. The entries were in the neighborhood of two thousand words and they were excellent. I decided that I wanted people to read the piece that I had submitted. I promoted it all the way to the first page at considerable cost. I received twelve reviews. Two of the reviews did nothing but complain about the length. Another review informed me that they skimmed through it and, though they didn't really read it, they thought it probably wasn't worth reading. That left nine reviews that I paid over a hundred bucks for. In the meantime I wrote a nice little eight line poem and put the nine ninety-five certificate on it and received thirty-four reviews.
I can't say I blame someone that would prefer to read a dozen poems in twenty minutes for twelve bucks as opposed to one story for fifty cents. I review prose because I enjoy it. There is certainly no financial reward in it. Yes, I realize it is fake money. I know that I am supposed to conclude my rambling little essay with a conclusion and possibly some suggestions for a solution, but I don't have any.
So, I ask you. Do any of you have an idea that might make reading prose and reviewing it more attractive to readers and reviewers here?


There is a real problem in the middle of all this rambling. It is a piece of cake to get a review for a poem. It is almost impossible to get a review for a piece of prose no matter how well written it is.
Pays one point and 2 member cents.

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