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Total posts: [16]
1

Online story exchange:

tl;dr — Send me your stories so I can read+review them!

Introducing: probably the geekiest thing I've ever attempted

One of the problems faced by an aspiring writer (particularly one who publishes on the internet) is getting other people to read your work. Sure, your stories may be an undiscovered gem — but the rest of the world doesn't know that. Mindful of Sturgeon's Law, they may not even give you a chance.

A partial solution to this problem is the "review circle", whereby authors get together and agree to review each other's work. However, this has the potential to get confusing really fast, with the complexity of keeping track of stories and reviews growing as n.

And so: I would like to invite you to try out FictionCircle, an online platform I set up to solve some of these issues. The idea is that you can "pay" people points to review your stories, and you can use the points you earn from reviewing others' stories to promote your own in turn.

The site is very bare-bones in its functionality (it doesn't even have its own domain name), since I mostly wanted to throw something workable together in time for NaNoWriMo; but it'll do the job. If this turns out to be successful, I'll be able to add some more elaborate features.

Both original and fan works are welcome. Whether you're planning on doing NaNoWriMo, or whether you have some old stories written long ago that you want additional publicity for, feel free to sign up and publish as many stories as you like.

Lastly, as a little early-adopter incentive: I will personally review the first 25 stories that are published here. Can't wait to read them!
Want some reviews? Send us your stories!
 2 Ralph Crown, Wed, 26th Oct '11 12:50:44 PM from Next Door to Nowhere
Short Hair
You do know that there are people on the Web already doing that, right? I was on a site 10 years ago called Critters. People would post their stories or book chapters, other people would read them and post critiques, that kind of thing. The catch was, you had to average three crits a week to be eligible to post your own work. And this was specifically for scifi/fantasy/horror.
Under World. It rocks!
 3 chihuahua 0, Wed, 26th Oct '11 2:14:08 PM from Standoff, USA Relationship Status: I'm in love with my car
Writer's Welcome Wagon
This sounds like Critique Circle...but without all the other features. But it allows fan-fic.

It isn't a concept I had seen often, but since I don't have any stories ready for critting right now, I may have to wait—

No e-mail is required? One account coming up. I'll keep watch of it and crit anything that comes in.

Hmm...looking at it...I'm not sure if the credit system will work or not. You may have to give people a large amount of credits at first, just to establish the economy.

You may have to flesh out the rules. What is allowed? What is not? How can you request another fandom?

Oh, and if you need a moderator to deal with stories, I'm available.

edited 26th Oct '11 2:25:49 PM by chihuahua0

Shadowed Philosopher
Can I just post 'stories' that are links to my stories on FF.net? I don't feel like reposting every chapter.

Edit: Made an account. This actually looks interesting. A thought: If it ever actually gets big enough to matter, then you probably want to somehow prevent people from scamming points off people with 'reviews' on order of "good job". My first thought was to have the author decide whether the review is worth paying for, but that just shifts the good-faith problem from the reviewer to the author.

Edit again: As a matter of interface, you probably want the page you get to by clicking a story's title in the listings to actually contain its first chapter. Otherwise it's rather annoying clicking twice, and the page as it's currently set up doesn't actually provide you any new information that's not in the listing.

edited 26th Oct '11 3:32:43 PM by alethiophile

Shinigan (Naruto fanfic)
@Ralph Crown: That seems a lot more formal and professional-oriented than what I'm going for; this is more geared towards hobbyists and fans (although pros are certainly welcome!).

@chihuahua 0: Everyone gets 100 points for signing up; I figured any number is as good as any other. I will probably be fairly generous in giving away free points to early users (for things such as referring your friends), but I'll have to curtail that eventually to prevent inflation.

Right now, there's only one rule: Don't write unhelpful reviews on stories offering nonzero rewards for reviews. Other than that, anything goes — it's too premature to come up with a complete rulebook.

You can add a new fandom by clicking the "Add another" button that comes after the fandom list on the front page. As long as you're logged in, you can add as many as you like. (It seemed the easiest way to populate the list at first.)

@alethiophile: Links are totally fine. You can even directly embed external images (for instance, if you're making a comic / graphic novel), or include links to PDF files, YouTube videos, etc. (We don't currently support direct embedding of YouTube videos, but we may in the future.)

Regarding spam reviews, right now it just says that reviews should be "constructive"; my thinking is that any paid review must display at least some evidence of having read the work in question. For now, it's easy enough to moderate reviews on a case-by-case basis, but if it turns out to be a problem then I'll add some kind of "flag as spam" feature.

Also, I changed the story listing links to link directly to the first chapter. You can still access the "title page" by way of the arrow navigation at the top; this may be useful for editing your own story, or for linking people to your story from off-site.

edited 26th Oct '11 5:52:04 PM by Eio

Want some reviews? Send us your stories!
 6 chihuahua 0, Wed, 26th Oct '11 5:57:16 PM from Standoff, USA Relationship Status: I'm in love with my car
Writer's Welcome Wagon
I guess the pay for reviews will probably start at 5-10 points once more members come. That leaves room for 20-10 reviews in total, but once more members join, I bet the economy will balance itself out. It'll just need some monitoring, to prevent a group of users draining the coffers, and then bailing.

I'll be bookmarking your site once I get my main computer back. I'm intrigued by it. Hopefully, your site will bloom.

Say, are you advertising this anywhere else?

Shadowed Philosopher
Thoughts on posting of stories: It badly needs a way to upload existing files. It's actually nice that, unlike FF.net, you can just type something out in your browser and post it, but copy-and-pasting 10k words at once straight from the FF.net page or the word processor will quickly get old.

There should be E-mail alerts for various things; received reviews, at least, and adding other things doesn't hurt if you can turn them off if you want to. It's nice that no E-mail is required, but having an optional provision for alerts would be a good idea.

It would be nice to have some way of tracking hits on your stories; I know that for me, looking at the hit-counter on FF.net has this vaguely hypnotic quality that certainly makes me more involved there, and it's an interesting thing to know.

This looks in retrospect like "list of features FF.net has that this doesn't"; I know that this will have some good things FF.net doesn't (hopefully eventually including "actually useful reviews"), but at the moment it's kind of unpolished. Hopefully none of these things will be too hard to write; the hardest I can see is document conversion, and there's got to be a library for that somewhere. Am I correct in assuming that this is being basically written by you? If not, where's the code coming from?

It looks really nice so far. Have joined, will probably continue to post whatever I put up on FF.net here. Maybe it'll do something.
Shinigan (Naruto fanfic)
 8 chihuahua 0, Wed, 26th Oct '11 7:11:39 PM from Standoff, USA Relationship Status: I'm in love with my car
Writer's Welcome Wagon
Oh, and one more thing: Don't forget to say what type of content is allowed or not. If you allow mature content that is legal (IE, not involving underage sex), there probably should be some sort of tag. This is in the cases where users decide to put up some slash or lemons.

Shadowed Philosopher
A note: In the code that creates new fandom entries from user input, you might want to make sure to filter the literal short names 'all', 'original' and 'fanfic', which are special in the code. I'm not sure what would happen if someone put one of these in, but I'm willing to bet it wouldn't be good.
Shinigan (Naruto fanfic)
Paragraph by paragraph:

7: Scraping from FF.net / Fiction Press won't be that hard, since the HTML is already there and clearly demarcated. On the other hand, uploading and converting files into HTML is likely to be more complicated. I agree that this is probably the most immediately useful new feature to add (since people like yourself are going to want to do just this).

Email alerts: this is probably next in line after hit counting (see below).

Believe me, I know what you mean grin At times it's become almost an obsession... It's easy to keep a count of the number of page-loads, which may suffice for the moment, but it's probably not exactly what you're looking for (since refreshing the page 1000 times will increase the count by 1000; although it's reasonable to exclude hits from the author's own username). Tracking unique hits again will require a more elaborate mechanism.

You are correct, which is why unfortunately I must prioritize work for only the most important new features. On that note, I don't suppose anyone here is familiar with Django... ;-)

Thanks for your feedback! I too hope that this can get off the ground, and the support of early-users like you will help make that happen.

8: Again, this is something that's going to have to be figured out as we go along. At the moment I'm relying on people's common sense and judgement. I would be delighted if the site grows to the point where this becomes an issue.

9: Already taken care of. Try it and see what happens grin
Want some reviews? Send us your stories!
Shadowed Philosopher
Re: keyword checking: Cool. And are the list of words-that-do-special-things-in-URL and words-that-you-can't-add-as-a-fandom read from the same place? Two identical lists not getting updated at the same time is one of the stupider bugs that happens.

I figured you were using Django from the URL schemes (and from the apparent easy defaults that Web Faction likes). I actually am at least marginally familiar with it; if you want help with something I could probably help you, though the time I can commit is limited by my actual writing and accursed homework.

Edit: Re visitor tracking, I seem to recall reading at some point (can't find it now) that FF.net counts unique visitors by, basically, tracking all the unique I Ps that load the page, and clearing it out daily (the same IP loading it five times in one day doesn't count five times, but the same IP loading it today and tomorrow counts twice). That should be easy enough.

Edit again: I recall something...from before I figured out the published/unpublished distinction, I looked for Shinigan on the listings and didn't see it, but the Naruto category listed on the front page still had an associated 1 instead of 0. Not sure if you want to count unpublished stories there or not, but it's something to look at.

edited 27th Oct '11 12:25:44 AM by alethiophile

Shinigan (Naruto fanfic)
Here's a small thing maybe you could do: write a Python method called "ffnToHtml" that has one input (a URL corresponding to a chapter's page on FF.net / Fiction Press), and outputs a string that is the HTML of the text for that chapter. That seems like a neatly modularizable function that doesn't require mucking about with the database or setting up a git repository or anything funky like that. If you could do that, that would be awesome.

More details in PM.

Fixed the unpublished story count thing.

Again I'd like to encourage everyone to shamelessly self-promote your stories here — it's a little free publicity at least, and there's no such thing as bad publicity...
Want some reviews? Send us your stories!
Shadowed Philosopher
[up]You know, I actually already have that. [lol] I wrote a scraper a few months ago that uses Python and just grabs everything off the site to put onto Kindles. How can I transfer a file to you?
Shinigan (Naruto fanfic)
You can just email me a .py file (Admin@ficcircle.webfactional.com).

edited 28th Oct '11 3:06:55 PM by Eio

Want some reviews? Send us your stories!
FFN/FPC importation is now enabled; thanks alethiophile!
Want some reviews? Send us your stories!
 16 animemetalhead, Fri, 28th Oct '11 11:25:38 PM from Ashwood Landing, ME
Runs on Awesomeness
Checked it out earlier today, I'll probably join once I have something post-worthy.
No one believes me when I say angels can turn their panties into guns.
The system doesn't know you right now, so no post button for you.
You need to Get Known to get one of those.
Total posts: 16
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