Voting and Libraries

The posts I’ve always hated in Stories OnLine and Literotica are those related to voting. But at the same time I’m also fascinated by them.

The reason I don’t like them is fairly obvious. The whole purpose of such posts is to provide an opportunity for those who don’t think their ratings are high enough to moan about them and for those whose ratings are high to boast .

Well, my votes are absolutely nothing to boast about. Neither on Literotica nor Stories OnLine do I ever get especially high votes. Obviously, I’d love to be immensely popular, but  as I’ve seen no correlation between popularity and quality I’m not sure it’s a goal worth striving for.

However, amongst the various metrics that Stories OnLine provide is one that shows the number of readers’ libraries my stories are in. Bizarrely, I’m doing rather well at the moment in being represented in readers’ libraries. My present novel, The Anomaly, is represented in three times as many libraries as it has attracted votes. (For the curious, these numbers are still modest, but it does mean that nearly 200 people have put this novel in their library which is actually quite flattering)

However, it still seems strange to me why this should have happened  with my current novel.  It’s attracted significantly more library entries than all my other stories and none of them has ever achieved triple digits before.

Obviously, I’d like to hope that at long last I might have posted a story that’ll get into the SoL Top Twenty, but I guess that when all’s settled down my fiction will remain as determinedly unpopular as ever.

However, perhaps I’m being hypocritical to admit I even care, given that I do very little to actually write the sort of story that normally gets a high rating.

Sub-Editors

Although I’ve used sub-editors in the past, for the fiction that I’m currently unleashing to a mostly uncaring world, I’ve not used their services at all.

The reason for this is mostly because my experience with sub-editors has been fairly mixed. Those sub-editors I contacted through Literotica and Stories OnLine were worse than useless. I don’t know by which criteria they thought they were qualified, but it wasn’t because they had any great understanding of the English language. Those sub-editors I used through Ruthie’s Club, notably Ruthie, Neil Anthony and Nat, were very good, but in fact made remarkably few changes to my stories. Most of these were either mistakes that I should have noticed anyway (and these weren’t too many) or differences of opinion concerning grammar and spelling that had more to do with the breadth of the Atlantic Ocean than anything else. The fact is that the sub-editors were responsible for amendments to less than 1% of the finished product, which, although an excellent contribution towards the 100% perfection we all aspire to, somehow lessens my debt to them.

However, one thing I most definitely miss isn’t the need for stylistic amendment, but rather that elusive thing: the informed second opinion. It’s good to hear someone say that such and such a story is good or, on the other hand, that it isn’t. As an author you need to hear that before you release your fiction to the world at large.

What has become more obvious, though, is the need for the quality of fact-checking that I’ve never really carried out sufficiently exhaustively. I’ve come across it before in my story Neighbourly Love  where I was confronted with a long list of corrections of assumptions I’d made about American culture by Uther Pendragon. In the case of my current epic novel, The Battle for the Known Unknown, I’ve been criticised by readers on Stories OnLine and Literotica for my ignorance concerning military rank and the properties of water under extremes of pressure.

If I’d had the services of a sub-editor then maybe these errors may never have happened.

That’s something I really miss.

 

 

The Love of Chris

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Teen Spirit

Like many authors on the internet, I submit my stories to more than one site. And one site I’ve been contributing fiction for over 10 years is Literotica. Every now and then readers comment on my fiction or set one of my stories as a “favorite” (spelt that way because the site is American).

Recently my short story Teen Spirit  was given such an honour . In celebration of this accolade I display the illustration by Brett Empty from the now defunct pay site Ruthie’s Club. 

However, I always look at the details for those who “favorite” my fiction and usually the reason why my story has reached favour is less to do with plot, characterisation or writing style, but sexual fetishes and the like. In this case, I could see no pattern at all.

That was until I had a closer look at the by-lines of the other stories this reader had “favorited”.

All of them without exception were about “Chris”. And it didn’t seem to matter whether “Chris” was short for “Christopher” or “Christine”.

I’d like to think that the Chris who is the subject of Teen Spirit, a socially maladjusted 19 year old, was the kind of Chris that this reader loves the most, but I suspect that any story about “Chris” was all it takes for this reader.

I can’t pretend to understand why.

 

Welcome to Bradley Stoke’s blog

This blog is a new venture for me, so it’s bound to be somewhat clumsy to start with.WordPress provides a lot of useful facilities and allows for a lot of customisation, but all this choice and flexibility gives me even more opportunity to make mistakes.

Nevertheless, this isn’t the first time I’ve published stuff on the internet or even written a blog. Several years ago I was fairly active on certain newsgroups and the inquisitive can easily search for my past entries by searching on Google Groups for the user name “Bradley Stoke”. I’ve also written a few blogs on my Stories OnLine site (http://storiesonline.net/library/authorBlog.php?id=967).

However, I thought I’d have another go at keeping a blog, principally because I’m currently publishing some new fiction on the internet and I didn’t think the Stories OnLine blog was quite the place to do that. The reason isn’t the quality of Stories OnLine’s blog service (which is pretty good), but the simple fact of association with the type of blog that generally appears on the site. I don’t expect my blogs to exactly conform to what you’d expect to read there.

So, what will my blogs be about?

Well, my first objective, of course, is self-promotion. I want to advertise the fiction I’ve written and encourage more people to read some of it.

However, there is another (even nobler) purpose which is to provide a kind of service to curious readers. When I’ve strayed into an author’s page, I’ve often wanted to explore further and that’s a facility I’ve never provided before. Very few of my blogs or posts on the internet have had much to say about my fiction. Nor for that matter about me.

However, don’t worry. I don’t intend to write much about me. The primary focus will be my fiction and to address the questions that readers have raised about it.

I won’t have much to say about the person behind Bradley Stoke. You won’t discover much about my state of health, my tax affairs, my relationship problems or my opinions about my neighbours. After all, what’s a pseudonym for if it isn’t for me to remain anonymous? Perhaps the real Bradley Stoke is Nicola Adams: top Olympic medallist. Perhaps the man behind the nym is Sir Roger Penrose: premier mathematical physicist. Or perhaps Bradley Stoke is the son or daughter of Mr and Mrs Stoke, West Plains, Missouri.

Who knows?

And, to be honest, who really cares?