cupidsbow (cupidsbow) wrote,
cupidsbow
cupidsbow

The Art of Succinctness

So, I posted my space pirates epic the other day, and felt this real sense of liberation when I hit the post button. See, Afflection fandom is small, and I knew I was writing the story for just one person (and myself, always myself). Very few other people were going to read it, no matter how good, bad or indifferent it might be.

I'd forgotten how sweet that was. The thing is, I love my work to be read. Well, to be honest, I more than love it. After being happy with it for myself, having it read as widely as possible is what I usually aim for. Writing in SGA fandom has been a gift that way, because there is such a huge built-in potential readership.

But posting something without any of that expectation was... strangely enjoyable. There was none of the usual performance anxiety, or worry that I'd stuffed up, or competition with myself to see if I'd get more comments than another of my stories, or... etc etc etc. All the usual background crap that I try not to focus on because it takes away from the joy of writing, but that nonetheless lurks at the back of my mind like a slimy mental slug. The space pirates story was free of all that; it only had to please one person, and it did, and I'm really, really happy!

It has made me think though. (Yes, yes, I can hear your complete lack of shock.)

For a while now, I've avoided the whole "add a summary to your story" thing, because I'm so fucking bad at writing them. However, it occurred to me as I was posting the space pirates story that if people weren't familiar with the fandom, the lack of any teaser would, in effect, give them no reason to take a chance and click through anyway. As I wasn't really looking to pick up new cross-over readers in this case, I didn't bother doing anything about it.

But.

It would actually have been a good story to try and bother with, because it hits a lot of the buttons readers in SGA would like (space opera, killer robots, super-powers, threesome UST, crack :).

I'm not going to try and retro-fit a summary now. That story is over, the window in which I could have tried to pick up cross-over readers is closed. But still. Clearly this lack of summaries is a weakness in my work, and maybe it's time to try and fix it.

I've read some good posts on this in metafandom in the past, but I'd like to take a quick survey of my f-list to see what you guys want in a story summary.

Poll #970473 Story Summaries

Do you use story summaries to help pick what to read?

Yes
99(64.3%)
Sometimes (if I don't know the author/fandom, it's a non-otp pairing, etc)
49(31.8%)
No
5(3.2%)
I need to explain my choosing process in comments
1(0.6%)

What I want in a story summary is:

A teaser quote from the story
7(4.6%)
A tag line (eg: "in space no one can hear you scream")
1(0.7%)
An idea of the genre
11(7.2%)
An overview of the plot
24(15.8%)
Something else I'm commenting about
3(2.0%)

Something else I want to say about story summaries:



If you have any other thoughts on story summaries, or picking up a cross-over readership, I'd love to hear it.
Tags: discussion, poll, writing
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