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Edited
This is the soundtrack to this post. It makes it more awesome and serious. Open it in a new tab before reading. vvvvvv

https://youtu.be/PtdYKkgl6H4?t=39



*********

I'm back.

Done sulking, and done being the good guy. No more contests, no more chatting it up in the forums, no more caring how well I'm getting along in the community. Any former friends who want to disown me, feel free.

I got banned from the Newbies Academy for speaking my mind and not blowing smoke up people's asses.

I'll be writing for myself now, and treating this place as a repository for a portfolio. Personally, I'm ready to throw off the shackles of political-correctness and start producing some goddamn art.

I only wonder what kind of wonderful, amazing, brilliant things you guys could produce if you weren't worried about offending someone?

In future...expect violence, sex, suicide, death, and political commentary. Don't like it? Don't read it.

Why am I posting this publicly, you ask? Because after speaking my mind, I was swept under the rug by big-hearted feel-goods who think being polite is more important than being honest, and I wanted to make it clear that I'm no longer that weak. Things have changed.

I'm not the dumb, weak, white-male that a progressively feminist society would have you believe. I'm an opinionated, intelligent, well-read individual who won't bow down before -anyone-, and if someone doesn't like it, they can go complain to Tumblr.

((I can hear the hate already. Bring it on. If admin decides to ban me for this, I expect a refund of the membership renewal I just paid for.))
  •   1 comment
You rock! *Wink* The soundtrack rocks pretty hard, too. *Headphones*. I was wondering where you went (though I knew the why) and was hoping you'd return, despite past events. Glad you're here. And, really and truly, Write On!

So, I was just thinking...

(I'm going to get skinned alive for this)

I've been away from WDC for quite a while, and I've spent the last few days catching up. In particular were some reviews, more than one of which were from members of the NAG.

And...I don't know if this was just my mood at the time, or if something has changed since last I've been here, but they were...what's the word?

"Insulting"? No...not purposefully.

"Patronizing"? Well...again, not intentional.

"Useless"?...*snaps fingers* That's it!

I had these giant, fancy, pretty, emoticon and image-filled reviews that LOOKED impressive-as-heck...

And had absolutely no subject matter whatsoever. In fact, it was a waste of my time to read them, and even more of a waste of time for the people who wrote them to construct.

Platitudes and vague compliments don't help ANYBODY! I'm not saying you need to break everything down to the least typo, but please...

be HONEST. Give your opinions! Say how the piece made you feel! Point out when it broke your immersion or when it made you uncomfortable. Talk about it for a moment, in other words.

Don't say,

"I thought your piece was really well constructed, and I liked, "-insert quote here", it really made me feel like you understood what you were talking about!"

That was paraphrased from an actual review I received. And it told me -nothing- about what my writing was actually like. It's a cut & paste comment that's probably been used on hundreds of reviews, especially for those people who have gigantic signatures in their templates and are out to prove how beneficent they are.

You know what....I'd rather you be honest than pretty. I don't care what group you're from, or what review raid or contest you're participating in. When I see a review like that, with a few hurried lines in the midst of 50kb of WML I feel cheated, like you're more interested in POSTING a review than WRITING it.

In short....don't review me if you're just going to tell me that it's good. I don't CARE if it's good. I want to know what I need to FIX. That's the POINT of reviews.

If you DO want to tell me that it was good and you enjoyed it...then at least put in the effort to make me believe that by, perhaps, mentioning something that happened after the first three paragraphs and telling me how it made you feel. Those kinds of honest reviews are always welcome, and are rarely accompanied by extraneous BS like advertisements and promotions.

/end Rant
  •   9 comments
However, when the template is nothing but colored fonts, copy / pasted WML for smilies, port-links, signature images, etc., with a few vague lines of personalized message, it reads more like an e-mail advertisement or the coupon weeklies you find in your mailbox. There's a -small- chance you may find something useful in them, but for the most part, you just delete / trash them.

It is this habit in particular I was attempting to bring to light, and show that it is less than helpful.

There is certainly something to be said for being polite and welcoming, and I really do understand that to be a major backbone of WDC. But when politeness becomes dishonesty, pats on the head, A's for effort, and lies of omission, all in the name of not wanting to hurt feelings by pointing out how an author could improve, it's counter-productive.

There is nothing wrong with encouraging someone, but I feel it's more helpful and useful to encourage them to do -better- next time. This is where the all important "constructive criticism" comes in. It is entirely possible to point out errors and mistakes, or even just be honest with your thoughts without being hurtful or offensive. The problem is when it is avoided entirely out of timidity or a misplaced concept of "kindness" that does more harm than good.

That was the main point of my "rant", and when I was writing it, it was done in a passionate moment. In hindsight, I wish I had written it more like I just did.
Finally, though I refuse to remove this note, I apologize for it's tone. It was written and posted in a moment of frustration, and although alcohol may have been involved, it is not to blame. I laid my opinions bare for all to see, and even in the sober light of day they are still true.

I -may- have contacted a couple (three) user personally and responded immaturely in the heat the of the moment, and I will apologize if they are still active and respond back to ask me why I was being such a donkey.

Otherwise, consider this a public apology for being rude, but nobody can say that I wasn't honest. It does seem that some users believe that aesthetics make up for lack of content, and I believe that the fact that WDC allows for 1500-character templates with 100 characters of personalization to count as a "review" is ridiculous.

If I knew how, or thought I was the right person for the job (considering my personality, I doubt it), I would coach reviewers on how to make it count, but since that's not going to happen, here's a tip that sums up what I was trying to achieve.

"When you're reading a piece, and have a thought...note it."

If a particular line strikes you as odd, tell them why. If a word stands out as incorrect, tell them. If there are plot inconsistencies, tell them.

If you truly want to simply leave a positive comment, to let them know you liked it, be thorough about -why- you liked it. Don't just say, "I liked this, you did a good job!"

And with that, I'm retreating for awhile. Sorry for all the drama and disappointment I've caused, even for those who agreed with me. That was a bold move, considering how I worded things, and I'm proud to count you among my friends here.
Aw, I wouldn't worry about it too much, man. It's your newsfeed and you can post whatever you want in it- as long as it's accurately rated. People are allowed to disagree with you, and you're allowed to disagree right back. *Wink*
I'm (almost) BACK beeooo...err..nah, I won't go that far. So, here's the deal. I've written some decent stuff in the past...people liked it enough to gimme some ribbons and stuff. And here I've been ugly and not done anything in a while, or even responded to a forum post. What kind of person am I?

I'll tell you...I'm the kind of person who's about to renew their membership, just because they believe in writing as both art and vocation, even if they don't happen to have time for it (plus I'm too damn lazy to clean out my port for a more limited membership).

And....I'm going to write something this weekend, because I'm going to be snowed it. It might not be long, or serious...but I'm going to write SOMETHING, and post it, and........and you should read it and laugh at it, and laugh via comments.

And....most of all.....

I'm sorry. I'm sorry to the friends I've made here that I've been away for so long. I'm NOT an important person, and probably everyone has forgotten me by now....but I haven't forgotten YOU...and believe it or not, I've thought about you guys every single day, because I have the Writing.com bookmark at the top of my internet browser, lol. And I think...."My God, how I've let those people down, especially with my last story..."

Except, I knew how it was going to go. Before I ever joined Writing.com, I had tried to write about J'on and his alter ego "Slasher" (Oh, don't laugh, I came up with the name when I was about 9-years-old), and it always resulted in failure. That story is one I desperately want to write, but it's also like banging my head against a brick wall. I know all the details, but not the generalities, which is a first for me.

And you know what...

That alone scared me away from Writing.com. Simply because...

I couldn't...

finish...

that...

story.

Please forgive me, my friends. I shied away, I cowered, I hid in the shadows, because I had promised so much and delivered so little.

I really DO want to be part of this community, and dammit, I'm going to earn my place here, and write some piece of random bullcrap this weekend, even if it's complete nonsense, and while I'm doing it, I'm going to renew my membership for another year, without begging, without pleading for GP, because I don't deserve your charity.

At this point, if I want to remain a part of your community, I need to pay my way...and I am honestly ashamed that it has come to that. I really thought I could be so much more when I first joined here.

Regards, JSJ
  •   2 comments
Good to see you *Smile* I'm trying to come back as well!
Hey,no need to be hard on yourself--it does stop the muses flow. We all do what we can when we can. I have a friend who writes a lot of things at once and sometimes she says the one piece won't come--so she works on something else. Until someday, it happens. no blame or shame. What is ,is.
If stuck, go review! WDC honours that too. *Wink* Have fun what ever you choose.
*Balloong* Happy first WDC anniversary!*Star*
*ConfettiB* Happy WdC anniversary Jonathan. I hope to see you back here soon *ConfettiP*
I just visited your portfolio. I'm impressed with your love of carnivorous plants. I have poor light in my apartment, but have always wanted to grow at least one carnivorous plant. Maybe it would eat some of the creepy crawlies that find their way in. Are they hard to grow? Are they poisonous to cats?
Congratulations on your spot in the Showcase, very well done! I hope you're enjoying WdC. Write On!

Congratulations on being in the showcase!
Hey nice going, Newbie Showcase!! *Smile*
Resource for Those Who Use Religious / Mythical / Magical Themes

To preface this, I am not plugging any kind of product, merely sharing a website / online library that has been of tremendous use to me in the past, and which I recently rediscovered.

I often include minor mythological themes in some of my stories. Some are obvious, some subtle, but most of them require a modicum of research before inclusion, to make sure I have names or events right in my head.

I have enough in my physical library to cover most Grecian and Norse themes, but anything else often requires several trips to Wikipedia, and depending on how obscure the subject is, can take an hour or more to find an article or essay relevant to my needs.

That's when I remembered this place; an online compendium of transcribed texts of religious, mythological, and magical nature from around the world:

http://www.sacred-texts.com/

Most, if not all, of the texts are available free to read on the website. There is no membership of any kind required. If you have constant access to internet and don't mind having several tabs open, that may be enough for you.

If, like me, you prefer to have the bulk of your reference material in hard-copy, they sell collections of texts for modest prices, often based around a common theme, whether you're interested in Religion, Myth, or the Occult.

Even though it personally makes me shiver, I could easily see some of the occult and magical texts being used as reference for those of you who regularly write High / Dark Fantasy, and wish to include a little more realism in your world's fictional spells, incantations, rituals, etc.

For my own purposes, it's a great resource to find translations of creation myths and stories of various dieties and demigods from cultures around the world, whether they're ancient and long-forgotten, or still in existence.

I hope this is able to help some of you when it comes time to do research for a new story. :)

Regards,
J. Thayne
Cinn  
Happy Birthday! *Cake* I hope you have a great one! *Smile*
*Confettig* Happy birthday my friend! *Confettio* *Smile* *Heart*
The first version of my new cover for "An Axe to Grind". Commission was finally finished (took longer than I thought), but I'm super happy with it.

** Images For Use By Upgraded+ Only **

The background is an altered / filtered photograph (royalty-free; I'm very conscious of things like that).

I may still tweak it a bit later, as I'm not really happy with the way the text looks at the moment. I may also upload a 300x300 image since WDC's auto-scaling just murdered the resolution.
Edited
So here's the deal.

I may not be around much the next month, because I'm trying my best to work on a project.

March happens to be NaNoRenO (a spinoff of NaNoWriMo, for the medium of visual novels.)

I've decided to try adapting my novella "An Axe to Grind" into this medium, which means not only must I completely re-write it, but I also have to develop a number of art assets for it.

Not being a professional, or even -good- artist, it takes me 20x longer to draw / ink / color / shade anything; and despite the fact that I already have an inked pose sheet done for my characters, I'm in the detail phase which is causing me so much despair and anguish that I'm taking days off in order to stall, because I'm brain-locked, and can't focus because of the stress.

Besides that, I have to essentially learn a new programming language for the Ren'Py engine, which I'm using to build said VN (Visual Novel).

It's a pain...a huge, huge pain. But...I'm trying. So, my actual writing and involvement in this site may suffer for a bit because this is what I'm working on.

I would really like to succeed in this, because it would be another outlet for my creativity and writing if I can learn enough to produce a finish product.

I promise that if I'm able to actually get it done, I will provide a link to download the finished product once it's finished, which will probably be a novel experience for most of you (unless you go google VN's after reading this and play a few, lol).

In the meantime, I could use some small amount of support and encouragement.

I'm not disappearing completely. I'm still going to at least be reading / reviewing some stuff here, there just may not be any new uploads from me for a bit.

Cheers. :D
  •   2 comments
Great good luck! Your presence will be missed, but sounds like you're leading the way for many of us.
Sounds awesome! Good luck with it *Smile*
Well...I finally bit the bullet and decided that...for my own satisfaction, I would commission an artist to create a cover image for one of my stories (An Axe to Grind).

I know (even though nobody, to my knowledge, has read through it all the way) that the end is kind of weak. I was a little stumped, for sure...but I plan to change that in the future.

Ideally, I would like to polish, and expand upon it until I'm ready to pay to have it edited and, finally, published as an e-book. You have no idea how proud I would be of that, and I think this story, with some tweaking...could do that.

Fortunately, it's an amateur artist, who's trying to get their name out there, so it's not like I spent a fortune on it or anything. I saw their portfolio though, and liked their style, and I'll be doing some post-editing in photoshop (my specialty), to fill in the background / title / etc.

Hopefully in a week or two "An Axe to Grind" will have a nice, custom cover-image to go along with it, and hopefully inspire me to go back over it.

Of course...what would be even more helpful *wink, wink* is if you guys would push yourselves, for my sake, through it's entirety, and give me honest, harsh, and heartless feedback on each and every thing you find wrong, or think could be done better.

I know there's already an auto-reward set up for it, but you should know, I -always- respond back to my reviewers, and if it's thoughtful and helpful, usually send a few more. So if GP's are all you care about, a well-spoken and critical review will net you some more. ;)

(At least until I run out, haha...then I suppose my responses will just get longer and longer to make you feel appreciated) XP
  •   3 comments
Don't run out of GPs! Review others to get what you give *Wink*

I'll add An Axe to Grind to my list.
@ 1UppyEar

I don't plan on running out, and believe me, in the short time I've been here, I have, and will continue, to give lengthy, honest, rambling reviews, lol.

Even so, it seems like I give away twice what I earn from reviewing, so I'll probably have to resort to buying some eventually...unfortunately. While I'm perfectly willing to support WDC via my paid membership, the GP thing strikes me as a F2P thing, like the myriad Facebook games. It's just something I can't abide.

While I have them, I'm glad to toss them to people, and more than happy to receive them, but I feel a little cheated that they're sold for real money.

HOWEVER...what makes up for this, and what I'm coming to terms with, is that WDC allows them to be used for real things like account upgrades, shop purchases, etc.

So...even though it's a money-making scheme, I realize this is somebody's living, and you know what? They're being very fair about it.

So, in the end, there are no hard feelings, and I hope nobody thinks less of me for speaking my mind about it. I'm an emotional type, and the slightest thing is likely to set me off, but I do try to always take the other side's perspective of things. This is exactly how I would set up a website if I were smart enough to do so. XD
Yes, I'm with you (in theory) regarding the silliness of the GPs. Only recently have I started to find they very useful, but that didn't happen until I topped 30k. For some reason - and I think it was more because at that point I started to find my way around here better and increase my reputation activity level - after that point I started to not only gain points much quicker, but also be more generous with giving them out. I actively starting to do activities that would get me points not because I wanted the points per say, but because I knew there was an auction coming up in a couple months and I wanted to be able to bid in it. I also think that, with a novel, I'm going to have to use points to pay people to review longer chunks and/or the thing in its entirety, so accumulating and saving points has become a higher priority. I *could* buy them, of course, but prefer not to spend "real money" at this time (above what I'll be paying to maintain my current level of membership, which is expiring soon!) *Smile*

I also reward well for good reviews, on top of the auto-rewards (hint, hint) *Wink*
(Second time writing this since WDC logged me out while writing it and I lost it all *sigh*)

So...I had to take a couple days away from re-writing the "Axe to Grind" story, due to a small hitch that made me seriously question my decision-making capabilities.

What was this 'hitch'? Oh...nothing...just a really...graphic...sex-scene. *FacePalm*. (sigh)

This story is most definitely not erotica, even if my constant use of the F-word in character dialogue pushes it into the GC content rating.

The scene happened as a natural result of character development, and I think I just took it too far, haha. I think the final decision will be to cut it from the uploaded version, or...perhaps offer an 'uncensored' version available with a passkey upon e-mail request.

Maybe it's dumb to even consider that. Intellectually it doesn't bother me, and I'm perfectly capable of being an adult about this kind of thing, but it's just not something I'm entirely comfortable including in my stories. Still, I'd rather it be accessible to more people than are perusing the erotica content of the site.

So, I guess it comes down to whether or not it contributes to, or detracts from, the story as a whole, and if I can fill that gap properly, or just allude to it.

Something to think about.

Anyway, It's rolling again. Hopefully I'll get completely back into the swing of it (taking short breaks every few paragraphs to think). In a couple-three days, I hope to have a proofread first draft ready to be uploaded (probably sex-scene-less) :P
  •   1 comment
Screw waiting around for two or three days. I'm amazed at what I can accomplish sometimes when I buckle down and work my butt off for 10 hours, lol. Done and DONE!

...ish.
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