Author Trust, Writers Page

Authors we trust, because we know they'll treat us right, plus some information about the writers page
Posted by Douglas, Nov 17, 2007


Author Trust, Writers Page

Posted by Douglas, Nov 17, 2007
This post was written in 27 minutes.

This week I won't spend any time pointing out my favorite writing samples from the writing prompt. As it turns out, my favorites were everyone else's favorites as well.

I did want to talk for just a moment about writing, and particularly writing on this site. I was reminded this week of a quote from Douglas Adam's So Long, And Thanks For All The Fish. Adams was writing about how authors often fill their writing with unneccessary detail. He concluded his rant (Adams has many rants) with: "It's guff. It doesn't advance the action. It makes for nice fat books such as the American market thrives on, but it doesn't actually get you anywhere. You don't, in short, want to know."

And I thought, that's a pretty good description of a lot of books I've read. I'm currently reading a book by Dean Koontz who writes suspense/thriller novels. In his early years he hadn't caught on to the fact that his readers "don't want to know." I found myself skipping entire paragraphs, because he would go into detail about every piece of medical equipment the doctor had at her disposal, and I had learned - from experience with this author - that he was never going to do anything with that information.

So why would I bother to read it? And, by extension, I have to wonder, why would he bother write it?

It's a far cry from his later works which are much leaner and meaner. It's a far cry from books like Orson Scott Card's Ender's Game, which is so carefully written that nothing is in there unless there's a reason for it.

The funny thing is, if Orson Scott Card wrote a paragraph describing all the doctor's equipment, I wouldn't skip it. Why? Because I've learned to trust that this author isn't going to waste my time.

This idea of Author Trust is particularly true here at Fifteen Minutes Of Fiction. Most of us are strangers to one another, which means that we start out with a very little "Author Trust" for one another.

To make matters worse, the internet is a venue which, by its very nature, creates a short attention span.

So here are some suggestions for our writers here at FMOF.

You can help build Author Trust by making your writing easy to read. This includes doing the following:

1. Check for spelling mistakes.
2. Check for grammar mistakes.
3. Check for sentences which, while grammatically correct, are awkward to read.
4. Insert paragraph breaks (two carriage returns) in appropriate places. When I see a piece of writing which has monstrously huge paragraphs (or no paragraph breaks at all!) I'm not interested in reading it.

Also, try to make your writing very "lean" (not much fat on it!). Remind yourself of Douglas Adams' wisecrack about information we don't want to know. TMI (too much information) takes on a whole new meaning for us as writers on the internet!

On a completely different subject, a couple people have asked why I'm not displaying all the authors on the Writers page. The answer to that question is that the only people who aren't displayed on that page are writers who are either brand new on the site, OR don't have any public writings.

However, that will eventually change. Currently we're averaging about 10 new members per week. Work out the math on that, and you'll realize that if the majority of those people post public writings, by this time next year we'll have close to four hundred people listed on that page.

And if you have time to browse that, you've got too much time on your hands. ;)

Eventually, the writers page will probably be modified to display only writers with a certain popularity cutoff. When I do that, I may also create a new writers page for "New Writers". But that won't happen for a little while yet.

Posted by Douglas, Nov 17, 2007


Rabbit Stu
Nov 17, 2007
When I'm finished writing my silly little poems, I don't usually make them public right off the bat.

Usually I click the "Revise" button and then go through it again and again, looking for better ways to word it, to make it flow better, and have a better rhythm.

I even read my poems out loud to myself. If I can't read it out loud without stumbling, I know there's a rhythm problem.
   ~Posted by Rabbit Stu, Nov 17, 2007
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