Update – Best Intentions, May 3

Had been quite some time since I updated Best Intentions, eh?

Well, in my defense, I finally found a job, which makes paying my bills a bit easier, but also makes my online life tad more difficult (or, if you prefer, make my muse go on holiday in nearly everything I’m trying to write).

But, let me at least tell you what I’ve learnt during the feedback gathering.

First, I had been more curious that is polite (ha, ha!) and asked about my readers age. To the date when I’m writing this, more than half of the folks who took the time to take the survey had been in age category 21-30. Looks like most of my readers would be of the same age like me, oh my!

Second, I was curious about how people stumbled upon my fic. Most of the people replied that they found it while browsing for new fics to read, either on FF.net or on AO3, few of them wandered to my story from the prompt itself, and then there had been people who found it in someone else’s bookmarks and decided to give it a try. Thank you, folks, it’s good to know where my readers come from!

Third, I was curious about perception of the soulmate trope. Do people like it, or not? According to this particular survey, people do like it, with only one person not being very fond of it, and another person being indifferent to the trope as it is. Which I think kind of figures – why would people otherwise bother with reading of themes they do not like, right?

Fourth, I was wondering – is my story one of the reader’s subscriptions, or is it more like – ooh, an update shows up in the general feed, let’s read it variety? Majority of the respondents have the fic subscribed, which makes me feel warm and fuzzy, how many people can’t wait to read more and want to be notified about new chapters, and it also gives me a kick in the direction to work on it more, so I could get more people curious about how I will continue the whole story.

Fifth, I wanted to know, if my readers actually read more of my works, so they could compare the stories and decide whether the way I write is overall interesting, or if judging by this one fic my writing either sucks or is quite decent. 44.8%  of the respondents reported that they indeed did read more of my works (which made me squee), with 20.7% of responses were of the short but definitely telling “no”, with another 32.8% saying that while they had not read anything else written by me, but certainly plan to do so. The single last “no and I do not plan to” made me a bit sad, that someone is not enjoying my writing so much – but, that is life, right?

Sixth, I asked people what they think (judging by the story so far, or judging by everything they have red by me so far) are my weak points, and waited with bated breath for the answers. The replies had been voted on like this:

  • story pacing followed by
  • grammar
  • word confusion
  • plot and
  • spelling

To my great relief nobody voted on “bad writing in general” option, which you can imagine had been my greatest fear. Like this, although my writing still needs a lot of work, it’s not bad enough to put people from actually spending their time by reading my works.

And last but not least I wished to know, if there had been something people wanted me to know (but were afraid of writing it in the story comments before) – suggestions on what they would like to see in the fic, their observation and things like that.

In my opinion, this had been the most interesting part of the whole survey, for from what I’ve gathered from being around various fandoms (either as an author or a reader), it’s that people tend to be hesitant about voicing an opinion that could be viewed as negative by the receiver of such an opinion, so they mostly stick to the general issues like “there are some things that need to be worked on a bit more” or simple, short comments without anything that could be viewed as critique of any kind. I know the pain of wanting to be helpful in my comments and getting only insults back because someone else’s writing is obviously perfect and there is absolutely no need to dare to insinuate otherwise, but sometimes I still yearn for at least a tiny bit of constructive and concrete critique (because the “some parts need more work” comment is anything but helpful in the end without anything in particular mentioned after it :/ ).

Anyway, the comments ranged from light-hearted (but very warm and nice) comments of telling me people like the story to wishes for an update and wishing me a nice day to a spot-on observations about the fic and suggestions about future progress.

First, I tend to get very jumpy in the plot, and cover long spans of time in very short paragraphs, which is nice when you want to progress quickly, but story-wise, it’s a bit too short for others to really enjoy such a thing, and leaves the story with a feeling of vagueness.

Which means I get to rewrite some parts of the story and add at least a bit of something here and there, making the plot and story flow at least a tiny bit better.

Second, some people commented that I tend to get Viola too much of a Mary Sue. Which is a fact I’m aware of, and am already working on that part of her personality. Although, it makes me wonder what will people think of her, when I really get geared up for my 30 AUs of Bilbo and Viola series – some of the AUs I have planned will probably ring of Mary Sues and Gary Stues more than a glockenspiel.

I also got a little Plot Ring ™ in one of the comments, which I will have to expand into at least a snippet, because it’s just so awesomesauce.

And, hehe, I also got scolded for starting way too many interesting stories and not finishing them. I know, that’s just plainly rude, and I hate when others do it, too – but please, bear with me – none of my stories are truly abandoned, even if there hadn’t been progress on them for a very long time.

Thanks for all the fish, folks, it really helped me a lot.

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