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Author Topic: Long posts  

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I was inspired by a discussion in c-box which shocked me... It's the first time that we got a warning against long posts. What is wrong with posts being long,

- if the people really have something to say?

- if there are enough details to transpose the reader in the environment the writers are describing?

- if the posts add something new and do continue the story?

There is Hemingway and there is Tolkien, and there is a place for both of them and many others.

Elena

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Information topic
  • Date: 02/10/13
  • Time: 05:54 AM
  • Number of visits: 2415
  • Number of Replies: 9
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Re: Long posts

« Reply #1 » Published on:October 02, 2013, 11:45:59 AM

Daenelia

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You mean: it is the first time you see a warning about long posts being boring to read. There have been plenty of discussions and reasons on why posts that are too long (or too short) are not a good way of telling a story.

The long story we write is the collection of chapters. The chapters are collections of posts that take place in a certain setting. A post in a chapter describes a scene. If a post contains more than one scene you better have a damned good reason to include both in one post.

Concise writing is what we practice. There is no need to go into agonising detail about every little breath or facial expression or thought about the way the wind lifts up the hair as a character steps out of a doorway.

Use only what you need to tell the story. Trust the readers to understand and fill in the details you leave out.

Details are awesome in books and novels, not so much in Steamhawke posts.

The reasons are plenty for this:
- Steamhawke is a collective of writers and readers. Writing a long post takes too long and may take you to beyond the current time frame (meaning you have to backtrack and that is exactly what we want to avoid).
- You want to entice readers to read your posts, as they are also your fellow writers: posts that are too long get skimmed. That is a fact. It means that all your carefully inserted information is missed and might as well not have been included at all. Pack a punch by including a few details and tightening your post to a readable chunk. (Because the effort of making a long post interestign takes too long and too much editing.)
- We are not writing a novel :)
- Though there is room for diversity in style, there is also a need to conform and adapt to the standard we have held up from the start of the site 2 years ago. This worked fine with all the other members. I dont see why it all of a sudden should be a problem.

Again, this is not up for discussion. This is how we write. This is what you joined.

edit: because 'long post' is a hard quantifier, I take 4000+ words (even if it is split over a 3-parter) with little story movement to be (too) long. 1800, especially if action packed, is average if written between 2 people (or even 1).

But mind you: we have no word count either way. Make those words count towards the story, not in numbers.
« Last Edit: October 02, 2013, 03:33:35 PM by Daenelia »
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Re: Long posts

« Reply #2 » Published on:October 05, 2013, 07:42:46 AM

Elena

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If details are awesome in novels, this is what we are writing here together, a sort of adventure novel.  :)

And there are readers who love details and longer posts/ chapters, equally how there are some who donít. Who is to say what is story movement and what isnít? Everything can move the story, even discussions which may seem, to some people, as "boring". They show something about the characters, they set the ground for future plot twists, they clear up things, so even they are necessary. If you don't see the purpose of discussion x at moment y, it doesn't mean that you won't see it in the next chapter or in the same chapter after a few other things happen.

And why writing "concise", when it needs to show characters' depth, how they are thinking and, in some cases, how what they are thinking is radically different from what they are saying or doing?

I havenít joined Steamhawke (or any other writing community) ďto write conciselyĒ, because it is not how I write. I add details, I try to bring people there with me, to see exactly what I am seeing in my mind. I have joined to WRITE and further the story together with the others, with my own style and insight.

Writing a story should be about the meeting of different characters, styles and actions, and about each of the writers involved finding something fun and interesting in the collective endeavour. If the imagination and inspiration get restrained into a maximum number of words, then what is left? (And everything pertaining to writing and style can be a discussion on a writing-related forum, so I find offputting the "This is not a discussion" attitude).
« Last Edit: October 05, 2013, 07:44:33 AM by Elena »

 

Re: Long posts

« Reply #3 » Published on:October 05, 2013, 07:26:30 PM

Vertigo

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I've been rather upset by all of this. I get praise for certain long posts that were divided to fit the "bit sized" request, which I've done for two months with no comment. Now I get a blanket response that all long posts are somehow bad, that the divides are bad (even though I explained them and didn't get a complaint), and I suck for doing them. It's also targets everyone who worked on a multiparter with me, which is everyone except Brem, Ash, Mar, Five, and you. Since Brem and Ash are practically inactive, Mar is new, the only ones who really haven't participated in that experience are you and Five. Blanket statements are dangerous.

I skimmed through those multiparters and only Camaraderie feels slow to me. Yet, a lot more happens than at first glance. It's really the set up for the Chago/Miyra/Melisande/Nate plot. The first part is there because Melisande isn't in the mood to discuss anyone's problems, it simply doesn't work with the timeline. So Elena and I felt like it was wrong to just have Chago go up and ask her this stuff. Setting up a little sword fight calmed her down and set up the song writing plot (we also see a new playful side to her). So then comes the separate post on Chago with his thoughts on Miyra, new details about his past love, how it compared, and the resolve to do something about it. The last post is to show that yes, Nate has every intention to go through with his plan and that Miyra already knows. We also get the build up of Herring and Melisande's problems in the future. Do you think he's going to want to be friends with someone who participated in the slaughter of his people? There's even little history lesson on Espania, the Old West, and the Merovingian Kingdom from Dottie, building off of Chago's diary entry. Plenty is going on, it's just a slow burner.

Why not wait for a while so the first part wouldn't exist? Ash/Miyra came back and when we were talking about ways that things were written could go, she wanted to start right away. So Elena and I agreed to give her more to work with and get the ball rolling. We didn't exactly know when the chapter would end, and didn't want to kill Ash's new found enthusiasm by asking her to wait. Two weeks can be a long time to wait in that situation. So Elena and I got kind of stuck with having to address Melisande's understandable terror and had to get through it in a way that we thought would be interesting. If it wasn't addressed, then the entire scene would be strange.

Elena and I are working on a two parter. First we had to establish some details about Kanesville and how our characters felt about the new location. Then there are details of a specific location that is important to the murder plot, and the reveal on Elena's character's past (which took the least amount of time - if it was still Harling Pass we'd probably have about half of the words we do). The second part is a tone change that results in a potential direction for Melisande as the murder plot continues, and a prelude to the first murder.

I was warned about potential long posts when I was finished with my second post. It was originally going to be an opening. Remember that, Dae? I asked about what word count we were talking about and was given 1,500 (so 1,800 is a new one on me). Quickly I found, I was the only one following any word limit, but was never told to stop. Outside of Elpis, the cuts aren't random, but location or tone/discussion changes. I also checked them all and they average 3,300 words. So yes, they are two parters, even more than I thought. The divide on Elpis was because I had just a little under 3,300 words and was told big posts aren't often read. So there you go.

As far as boring goes, a good chunk of that is style. I've found some of the past few of Five and your own posts to be rather bland and fluffy. One doesn't really drive the characters or plot to new a point. That's my personal definition of a scene (a unit of change), unless you want to get into the three point structure of a scene that is then complimented by the three point sequel, which is frankly not what you're talking about here. You and I have very different ideas of what is "concise." It seems we have different opinions on what exactly a "scene" is (professional writers seem to have this problem too when I searched). That being said, a good chunk of your stuff I have found to be awesome. Like just about everything with Colton and seeing you both run with what Tals and I came up with. I enjoy writing with both of you. One doesn't hit a home run every single time. Such is life.

The other points I disagree with. The problem with Camaraderie is that it's a slow burner not because of emphasis on little details like constant facial expressions or objects. The only time I really did much with little details like that was in A Chance Encounter with the wind and Melisande's hair. It was meant to build up the poor visibility that caused Nate to jump to conclusions. I forgot to mention that her hair made it impossible for him to see what they were doing, but that was actually corrected in Camaraderie. Still, we see the wind gradually build up to the end and he has to squint to really even see what's going on. The wind hints that something is going to happen with a pay off in the end.

I'll address the points:
- Long posts don't take very long. It depends on the writer and having time. Camaraderie took a couple of days. Part one of The Kids Are All Wrong? Tals and I slogged through the gun conversation for almost a month because life was kicking us in the ass. The rest probably took about a week (Tals said she had time, we were pressed for time to do anything with Ashrieda and the bounty hunters, so it made sense to just continue to a more satisfying point). The Doctor Is In took two weeks because Vex was busy, but Vex was new and Hyren and I didn't want to upset him/her by writing for Mistake and posting it. A Chance Encounter was also quick. Elena and I work fast. The entry we're working on would be done now if you hadn't brought this up. Elpis was a one and done since it was finished in Word before I posted it. That took less than a week.
- Yes, I realize the longer something is the less likely it is to be read or someone doesn't see something. That is the reason for the divides. We've discussed this. Also if the title is X:Y it's a multiparter telling you to grab a seat. I'm estimating that may help with them being read or at least understood because of the warning. The only exception are the diary entries because I got pretentious with names (Elpis = hope, Xanthippe = yellow horse, etc.). Though I can still edit those, or do something a bit different for them when they get put in the chapter section. Oh and the fight scene as well. It will be fixed with the edit.
- No, I think we are writing a novel. A digital collaborative one, with each separate post acting as a page (very large pages) inside a chapter. As time goes on, these chapters will be divided into separate books or some other similar word. This might be a cultural and age thing, but ever since the late '80s here in the U.S. everything a citizen creates is automatically copyrighted (with some limitations, but not much). This was extended to digital works with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998. Just because I'm not making money, it's for fun, and collaborative doesn't change the fact that under U.S. law everything on the site, including this forum post, is considered a digital publication. We have different mindsets there.
- Yet, out of all of those people, how many are still here? Tals, Hyren, and Brem's player sort of. It's important to remember different people have different styles not only individually but with others. Do I write with you the same way I write with Hyren? No. Also while the site has existed for 2 years, things change with time and progression.

Now see, that edit of yours makes a bit more sense. You had a problem with Camaraderie when you reread it and under the stress of your house stuff made a blanket statement. Yet, why you won't just come out and be more specific I don't understand. Still the c-box stuff and your response to Elena feels very much like, "You're doing something I don't like. You suck for doing it. I'll punish you for not doing what I want." I felt it, Elena did, as well as Hyren. It completely killed the interest Elena and I had for this scene that will set up the murder plot. We really don't know what to do right now. We feel like we're walking on eggshells.

As for why I signed up to Steamhawke? It was because a few months prior I suffered a nervous breakdown because of that family drama. I couldn't move out because of a scary and potentially serious health problem. How it happened was because I let an alcoholic and other person who lived in the house who loved him compromise me to the point I felt broken. What snapped me out of it was the increasing thoughts to harm myself terrifying me. After a short time in therapy, I found my old interests flooding back. I joined because I wanted to learn to have fun again. To cope with the alcoholic I lived with. To find my authentic self. To engage in relationships with people very different from myself. To embrace their authentic selves, useless sentences, redundant paragraphs, and all.

My therapist is amazed at how well I've been doing. When I saw my friend in Chicago, she was pleasantly shocked at the person I am now. We had only spoken to each other once on the phone after she moved out of my house about three years ago. I wanted to use the opportunity to rekindle our friendship. Yes, I credit this little rpg as one of my stepping stones. However, I will leave if I feel the rules you put on us are unhealthy for me.

Steamhawke is a very different game for you and Five than it is for the rest of us and it's not because it's that you're both admins, it's because you both live together. Looking through the most recent posts, I found something. Out of the last 7 posts, only half of one post is anything other than you or Five. So, maybe why I find much of these works dull is because it's a sea of sameness. Dae, you and Five have a very similar style and way of going about things. I checked chapter 8, and 19 of you and Five's posts have been solo or together. Amount with others? 11. Also much of those with others decrease as the chapter continues.

So in addition to all of the house moving, you guys really haven't been interacting with us. This is a massive problem when conflict arises. Frankly while you both think you're blunt, direct, and concise, I often find you both blunt, abrupt, and vague. That is how silent rules happen and why I think you're so frustrated. While the forums help, you don't know how we operate really. I've had to ask for clarification many times on things because I wasn't getting that detail I needed that was either never thought of or just assumed. The best way to counteract with that? Write with us more instead of each other and alone.

So being proactive, I decided I'm going to write with both of you right now. There isn't an actual post start in either, but suggestions on what we can do at the moment. Then you can decide where to go from there.

Since this is massive, I'll try and say what the point of this post is and what I want from it. I want for when someone has a problem with what I do to discuss it with me. I don't want a response to each and every one of my points as I am not seeking an argument. I simply want to be acknowledged for the person I am at this very second and have my reality recognized even if disagreed with. The response that would thrill me the most from you, Dae and Five, at this moment are three small words: "I see you."

Now, Elena and I have some writing to do. I would like to chat with Mar and Hyren on things. I have two posts to edit to fit the new setting. I have a partially written diary entry to finish (though it won't go up until we can figure out how to put the other two in the chapter section). Elena and I also have to try and contact Ash. Not to mention two bios, wiki stuff to write, and map stuff. Now I also get to write two posts with you two, Dae and Five, assuming you want to. I look forward to it.

We'll figure out what to do with my diary entries. As a group, we'll figure out what to do with the personal log section. We will all do our best to remember that when collaborating with others they will challenge us, that there often is no right or wrong, that sometimes it's better just to let the chips fall where they may, our egos are often fragile, and we will be better people in the end because of that initially painful conflict. This stuff doesn't have to be a big deal.

 

Re: Long posts

« Reply #4 » Published on:October 05, 2013, 08:52:53 PM

Five

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I'm not going to reply to every one of your points, Vertigo, because I don't want to take the thread off topic.  Suffice to say that if the atmosphere in Steamhawke is making you unwell again, then your health comes first and you should get away from it.

We started our own site because when we tried to get into writing again, the experiences we were having on forum RPGs was just awful.  We do think that with Steamhawke we've made something quite different to other sites out there, and if that's a little pretentious, then that's fine.  We are also certainly going to keep writing lots of stories with each other.  I don't think it's worth trying to analyse who wrote what because I have wrote about half of the Daenelia stories myself.

Until now, we haven't had much trouble writing with other people despite the lack of written rules.  We are not always going to reach out to other members because we generally don't have the time.  We're very happy with having 5 or 6 members who want to write for Steamhawke.  If that was 2 people or 20 we'd be just as happy, the stories will continue either way.

 

Re: Long posts

« Reply #5 » Published on:October 07, 2013, 09:31:57 AM

Daenelia

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Not attacking you, but I want to put you straight about something that is unequivocally false.

Quote
Steamhawke is a very different game for you and Five than it is for the rest of us and it's not because it's that you're both admins, it's because you both live together. Looking through the most recent posts, I found something. Out of the last 7 posts, only half of one post is anything other than you or Five. So, maybe why I find much of these works dull is because it's a sea of sameness. Dae, you and Five have a very similar style and way of going about things. I checked chapter 8, and 19 of you and Five's posts have been solo or together. Amount with others? 11. Also much of those with others decrease as the chapter continues.

We just ended and started a chapter. The posts you see around that time have been in our  dashboard for ages because we waited and waited for the right time to end the chapter, both in terms of story and in terms of our personal life.

This happens every chapter end and start since the beginning of Steamhawke. This is why we call ourselves 'story leaders'.

I actually started complaining this chapter that I rarely get the chance to write with Five. That's right: there are months in which we have NOT written anything together.

If it bothers someone to be on a site run by a couple who live together, then why join, or why stay? There will always be that 'advantage' of us talking over plots and posts while doing the washing up. Trust me, we tried to only talk about Steamhawke using PMs and IMs. It just doesnt work. We live together, this is how we run Steamhawke and tbh: for us it is a HUGE plus.

But do not use our living arrangements as any kind of argument as to why long and boring posts are acceptable or should be applauded. It's apples and pears.


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Re: Long posts

« Reply #6 » Published on:October 07, 2013, 12:57:59 PM

Daenelia

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Quote
I checked chapter 8, and 19 of you and Five's posts have been solo or together. Amount with others? 11. Also much of those with others decrease as the chapter continues.

I decided to check too :) I get different numbers for chapter 8.

Five solo: 5
Dae solo: 6 (including 3 going-away posts for inactive characters)
Five and Dae together: 5

Dae with others: 10
Five with others: 4

Conclusion; I write a hell of a lot. With others. Other than with Five. Dont bs me.

edit: I need to do more work.
Posts between Melisande and Daenelia: 4.

Edit 2; omg, I finally figured it out...
Posts between Five and Melisande: 0.

« Last Edit: October 07, 2013, 02:52:19 PM by Daenelia »
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Re: Long posts

« Reply #7 » Published on:October 07, 2013, 07:27:16 PM

Vertigo

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First let me say, I'm addressing Five throughout this post, then addressing Dae separately, and finally both of you together. The problem with my behemoth was that at times I was just addressing Dae and at other times both of you. So I want to point out who I'm addressing where. Now with that out of the way:

As far as addressing each point, please don't. All of it is really just to clear the air. I have no intention on making this any worse.

It isn't atmosphere, Five. It's actions. I haven't had a problem until you both started really getting ready to move. Sure the whole Kanesville/Wagon Train/Doomsday plot/Murder plot confusion kind of sucked, but it didn't bother me much because I knew it would quickly be resolved. I felt welcome.

I lurk on rpg-d, so I've seen Dae's comments on how she feels you both run things, felt that was true and comfortable. Then things started feeling strange as the move approached and I could tell you were both stressed. That's when this authoritarian stuff slipped in along with as far as I can tell, deferred aggression. Amusingly enough it didn't really get to me until after I got back from my trip. Arguments like this suddenly feel petty, useless, and strange.

The journal stuff rubbed me the wrong way, along with the handwringing over my diary posts. When I talked to Dae about the diary stuff on c-box, I felt great afterwards! Issue solved, at least mostly. Then this stuff with Mar. It shocked me. When we wrote together on Brains and Brawn, you were incredibly nice and we worked quickly to end our post because of your business trip. It's fine that you felt the post was over and Mar didn't. Such events happen. For Mar though, this was his intro post to his character and very important to him. Of course he was upset. His response hurt you. My comment on the situation was because you and Elena were getting in to schematics that really didn't help. I just couldn't help but think that if it wasn't for this house move stuff, the situation wouldn't have happened.

Then just a few hours later, Dae's c-box comments come in on long posts. What bothered me the most is because it and Dae's first response in this thread felt like a threat. Otherwise, I probably would have silently rolled my eyes, chalked it up to stress and moved on. So now we've gone from goofy problematic behavior that has snowballed into potential micromanagement from my perspective.
 
The reason why I brought up you both posting a lot together lately is because of how I felt it all fit. Here was my logic: As you both got closer to your move, you both turned inwards because now you have time to write with each other, but also because it's quicker and easier. As it gets closer, the stress builds causing you both to be less emotionally available to the rest of us. As the stress builds, minor stuff on Steamhawke that were just annoyances begin to stand out. As it feels more of a problem, members begin to feel picked on. It all begins to snowball.

> I don't think it's worth trying to analyse who wrote what because I have wrote about half of the Daenelia stories myself.

That's why I clumped both of you together on the posts I saw. I don't know if those solo posts really are or how collaborative they are. Yes, I did get the numbers wrong. Oh boy did I screw up there! I checked again and got 17 vs. 13, pretty much the same as Dae's 16 vs. 14. The shift starting in early August. Since I've only been around since the end of June, that is a large chunk of my experience. It wasn't my intent to accuse that you only write with each other, just that I noticed a trend. It was in August I noticed you were both feeling stressed with the house move and when I posted that diary entry. I hope you can see why I reached those conclusions.

No, I have no problem that you both write together and I recognize that it makes everything run quickly and smoothly. I haven't found it to be a problem until the past current events and seeing what I saw was a correlation. I felt there was a correlation when they were most likely parallels. I never said for you to stop writing together, just that the frequency felt like it was leading to potential problems. Again my personal perspective isn't truth and I never claimed it was.

It was actually Elena who pointed out you've been writing a lot lately together. We've been chatting about this stuff privately (which is why "this is not up for discussion" is a really bad idea) and just right off the bat had the exact same feelings and very similar thoughts. My thoughts on my post aren't just my own, but also of someone 16 years older than me, almost half the world away, with a very different culture and language from my own, that I haven't met and am only starting to know. This isn't just me feeling this.

It's not writing together that is the problem, it's the stress the house move has been doing to both of you and how it is hurting us all. Both of you especially. This is what I believe to be the true topic at hand.

Thank you so much, Five. Your mention of bad experiences that caused Steamhawke to happen make me feel comfortable that such threats came from a base reaction and will not pass. This is what I was most concerned about. It seems I hit a nerve when I thought I was extending out an olive branch and you're not being angry about it was impressive. I really appreciate it! I look forward to writing with you again and I'm enjoying where our chat is going.

Dae, all I can say is I'm sorry I hurt your feelings. This was not my intent. I recognize that you are under a lot of stress and I am making things worse. These two posts you left here and the one in the journal thread didn't hurt me at all. So don't worry about it. Five and I have written together, Brains and Brawn, just for the record. Since you are so stressed we can return to this once you feel better. No need to push this now. I did notice something in your journal thread post that I thought was illuminating for when you are ready though. Let me know when you're ready to see what I saw. It pointed out my own problematic language here. I think you might find it interesting and amusing actually!

As long as threats of punishments and micromanagement are out the door, I'm good. This is just minor discomfort that will pass soon enough as far as I'm concerned.  I don't handle threats very well, but you can be angry with me all you like. It's not really us though, it's the situation at hand that caused the emotions to surface. Things will get better once it's resolved. We will all become closer once we work through the issues this has caused.

 

Re: Long posts

« Reply #8 » Published on:October 16, 2013, 10:01:57 PM

Hyren

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I write what I want! Do your worst!

 

Re: Long posts

« Reply #9 » Published on:December 10, 2013, 03:26:32 PM

Daenelia

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I write what I want! Do your worst!

What do you think the worst is I could do to you, Hyren?
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