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I suppose I'm here to express my doubts about the viability of a writing arena. As the title says, writing is not like art or avatars. Both of those, for better or worse, people can get an idea of in about three seconds: long enough for their eye to process some visual data to their brain and then their brain to maybe consider it for a while. It's not terribly work or time intensive. With writing, one has to actually read, which takes time and effort. I'm just not sure how many people would be willing to put in the kind of time it takes to actually read a story, especially with Gaia's not-especially-conducive-to-readability formatting.

The other thing I wondered about was the purpose of the arena. It's not a competition like the avi arena, but... what is it? If it's just for people to read and give critiques, don't we already have the OP/L and the OS/P for that? I actually find Gaia's usual post format more readable than the arena format, which would make me prefer the forums instead of the arenas for reading, and the forums seem more conducive to getting helpful comments. The OP/L especially is pretty good about constructive feedback if a writer asks for it.

I tried to go in the arena and read some stories, but the sheer volume of virtually unreadable stuff made it difficult to stay around long. I think the art arena has some sort of minor vetting process for entries, shouldn't the writing arena have something similar? Especially since it's easier to plagiarize writing than art in many cases. Is there a way to implement minor quality control? I understand that it would take A LOT of time for whatever mod gets stuck with reading the stuff people send in, but... isn't that the root of the whole problem anyway? I just think reading takes too much time (and I say this as a writer myself, not as someone who hates to read) to work in an arena format.

Maybe I'm just Not Getting It, and someone can explain to me what I'm missing (or how to find the good stories on the arena, which right now seem to me like trawling for pearls on a planet where oysters went extinct a few millenia ago).
Well, I can't say I know the developers' reasons for the arena, other than to cover the gap and avoid complaints from writers who wonder why they have been left out of the arena privilege. I will, however, go far enough to say that the arena, for better or for worse, brings in the people who would normally not post their works in the OP/L or the OS/P. A lot of these people don't post because they suck major donkey balls and would or have been harshly criticized, even flamed in the forums.

It's another venue and you can avoid some overly harsh criticism in the arena. Stars tell you if people are generally enjoying it or not, and the comments say a little more. They do not, however, bump entries to the top, which means you can avoid being seen by some of these people. The speedy service also means judges will say as much as they can in a small space, making overly harsh crit a little less likely (in the people who actually criticize and don't simply flame). Yes, it can be considered a popularity contest, but so is the real industry, so more stars do actually mean something to some extent as long as you take them with the tiniest grain of salt.

And gold.

But honestly, I don't think my arguments are strong and I pretty much agree with you. But we'll see how it goes, anyway.
You know, I was just in there and read a few of the entries. Sad to say, I only got through the first paragraph or so before I went on to the next. I think in all, the writers will need a strong opening for most readers to even think of finishing a story.
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It's really a wreck right now and I'd be happy to discuss ANY ideas for 1) making fiction entries better and 2) ensuring that the non-fiction arena is for non-fiction.

I have taken a vow to skip ALL fanfics and only vote on original stories. I'm afraid the writing arena will be like the avi arena is most weeks: The most popular cosplays always win.

And I have also vowed to report EVERY fiction entry in the nonfiction arena. Sheesh, people, if you can't read *simple* directions, you should not claim to be a writer!
~Immortal Ophelia~
You know, I was just in there and read a few of the entries. Sad to say, I only got through the first paragraph or so before I went on to the next. I think in all, the writers will need a strong opening for most readers to even think of finishing a story.


Wow, that bad, huh? I love reading, and I love writing, and I absolutely hate it when people can't seem to grasp either, at an age where they should be able to >.>
I haven't been to the arenas to read anything lately.
I don't do a lot of reading online; I go to the professionals at bookstores.
This sounds like a valid reason to continue to <.< [/snooty]
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stellacadente
It's really a wreck right now and I'd be happy to discuss ANY ideas for 1) making fiction entries better and 2) ensuring that the non-fiction arena is for non-fiction.

I have taken a vow to skip ALL fanfics and only vote on original stories. I'm afraid the writing arena will be like the avi arena is most weeks: The most popular cosplays always win.

And I have also vowed to report EVERY fiction entry in the nonfiction arena. Sheesh, people, if you can't read *simple* directions, you should not claim to be a writer!


I've pretty much been doing the same thing, though I've also started skipping anything that's fantasy because it's all the same.
Now I'll admit I've seen a couple of original fantasy entries. So if the description doesn't completely turn me off (and most of them do), I'll check out the first couple of paragraphs and then see what I want to do from there.
Well, I do original writings and I'm having a hard time trying to get everything down. What really impresses me of a writer is making a short story complete and meaningful without the pish-posh inserts that make the reading difficult to understand. Unfortunately, I don't really have the capacity to make a short story because I tend to make a lengthy story (WIP: 300+ pages razz ).
I'm enjoying the arena, to be honest. I've gotten more feedback there than I ever did with other accounts on the forums.

Although I am very frustrated with the amount of material that gets posted in the wrong category, and fanfiction just makes me sick. I don't like the genre anyway, but it drives me crazy seeing it up on the arena.

But the spam is also killer! The problem with the arean is that it's drawing out the gold whores who just post spam and then think "omg! im a riter lulz!" User Image User Image It's just painful, and frankly insulting to every writer who takes the time to put real effort into their work. Such is life, though.

I'm really kind of irked with the vague guidelines about posting. "No sexual or explicitly violent content" I find is a bit vague, and very discouraging. I've come across stories that are described as "yaoi" or slash, and I've been on the verge of reporting before I start to think "I have some rather mature content in my stories. No explicit sex, but I allude to it..." I'd like some clearer indications of what is permitted and what isn't permitted content wise.
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Although I am very frustrated with the amount of material that gets posted in the wrong category, and fanfiction just makes me sick. I don't like the genre anyway, but it drives me crazy seeing it up on the arena.


And wouldn't fanfiction be breaking some of the "only your own work" rules anyhow? I don't want to report it because I'm not sure (again, same issue as you have with the explicit content), but at the same time, I don't like how some of those people are skiving by without even using characters that came out of their own heads. I take great pride in how vivid a life I give my own characters, or at least attempt to give them, and wouldn't want to see anyone else use them. Ever.

I can't imagine any published author would.
Bacillus Anthracis


And wouldn't fanfiction be breaking some of the "only your own work" rules anyhow? I don't want to report it because I'm not sure (again, same issue as you have with the explicit content), but at the same time, I don't like how some of those people are skiving by without even using characters that came out of their own heads. I take great pride in how vivid a life I give my own characters, or at least attempt to give them, and wouldn't want to see anyone else use them. Ever.

I can't imagine any published author would.


The argument could technically be made that fanfic is their work, since they're creating a story with pre-existing characters, but I agree with you. I'm not a fan of fanfic because as a writer, I know how much work goes into creating a character, and then to have some rabid fan murder a character that I've spent months, or even years perfecting because they feel the need to present their "interpretation" of my work. Gag me with a spoon already.

On the other hand, I rather enjoy fanfiction that's set in an already established universe, that tells untold stories and doesn't make use of pre-existing characters.

It would certainly be nice to have a ruling as to whether or not fanfiction has a place in the arena. I suspect that the ruling would be in favor of fanfic writers (sadly), but it would still be nice. Even to see them put up a disclaimer in their descriptions would be better.
When I heard Gaia would be adding a Writing Arena, I was excited about the potential of it.

Then I remembered that this is Gaia and it seems like everything good here is always being pissed all over by gold-whores and the constant influx of n00bs (who in many cases don't really know better but never seem willing to learn). Not to mention flamers and trolls and cyber seekers. I haven't even posted on the forums for probably a month because it just never seems worth it.

So, yeah, the Writing Arena is good because it forces people to write a good beginning or risk being passed over, which is a valuable skill to have. It also forces people to maybe review their work once or twice before submitting it because you can't be serious about writing without understanding the concept of rewriting. And it gives people a very concrete (if not well-justified) measure of how other people are responding to their work.

However, if anyone can post without any regard to the quality of their work, the arena will just become a big joke and lose any worth it may have had. (Maybe if the first twenty votes rate the submission at an average of less than five, it's removed? I'm sure someone will come up with a good idea that's actually viable.)

Fanfic: I think it's a great way to start writing. If you're not concerned with characterization and world-building that makes it easy to just focus on the story and dialogue. Once you have that down, move on to the other stuff. As in, start writing your own stories. I just never really understood the popularity of fanfic because I always saw it as part of someone's learning process. Not like real writing, more like practice. (Sorry, fanfic writers.)
Pouncequick
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And wouldn't fanfiction be breaking some of the "only your own work" rules anyhow? I don't want to report it because I'm not sure (again, same issue as you have with the explicit content), but at the same time, I don't like how some of those people are skiving by without even using characters that came out of their own heads. I take great pride in how vivid a life I give my own characters, or at least attempt to give them, and wouldn't want to see anyone else use them. Ever.

I can't imagine any published author would.


The argument could technically be made that fanfic is their work, since they're creating a story with pre-existing characters, but I agree with you. I'm not a fan of fanfic because as a writer, I know how much work goes into creating a character, and then to have some rabid fan murder a character that I've spent months, or even years perfecting because they feel the need to present their "interpretation" of my work. Gag me with a spoon already.

On the other hand, I rather enjoy fanfiction that's set in an already established universe, that tells untold stories and doesn't make use of pre-existing characters.

It would certainly be nice to have a ruling as to whether or not fanfiction has a place in the arena. I suspect that the ruling would be in favor of fanfic writers (sadly), but it would still be nice. Even to see them put up a disclaimer in their descriptions would be better.


I suppose the argument opposed to yours is: No author uses completely their own work. If you write a fantasy story, you invariably use some of the conventions of that genre. If you use an "elf", you are using a pre-existing concept; you are NOT the first person who ever dreamed up an elf, or what an elf is, and when you use it, most people understand what you mean. This is no different then using a character that the audience is familiar with, since in most cases, only very basics of that character are taken from canon. Also, to write, you should be reading 10 times as much as you produce to give you a basis for the writing. In those books, you get ideas, and you use those ideas that are pre-existing.

When you write, you find a way to put those ideas together in an original way, which is the same thing that fanfiction does.

Also, as for creating characters, then yes, you are using a template of a character, but to be able to WRITE them, you need to delve far deeper then what canon could ever give you. A lot of the time, all a ficcer has is a pre-existing visual of a character and a few traits. Maybe a voice, as well? The rest is all their own.

Fanfic is a genre, the same as Fantasy or Mystery is, and it adheres to specific guidelines of that genre, the same as mystery or fantasy does (what would a mystery be without a plot twist at the end and the revealing of WHO actually DONE it? It's the same as a fanfic without borrowing some of the conventions from the show/book/etc that they are using from canon).

When any fiction is written, it adheres to a specific genre. In fanfiction, we just use a canon as our genre.

So, if you understand that NO PLOT is truly original, then maybe you'll have a little more sympathy for fic writers?
~Immortal Ophelia~
You know, I was just in there and read a few of the entries. Sad to say, I only got through the first paragraph or so before I went on to the next. I think in all, the writers will need a strong opening for most readers to even think of finishing a story.


How true. Ask any author, professional journalist, etc. The first paragraph or first few sentences are the most important. I have to agree with one of your quotes OP, I wish Gaia was a bit more supportive of the writers. Not just Gaia, but many other sites. Deviant Art could even do better to support it's writing community. There isn't even a forum on DA for writers! This has always ticked me off. If you think about it, art can be pretty easy. You can take a doodle and call it art and people will love it because it looks, "cute" or "pretty". Mastering the written word is hard because you're not using pictures to help the reader visualize the scene. You're using a language and grammar and spelling. People should appreciate that. I have nothing against artists and I love art, but understand that the written word is an art too.
Posting any kind of story to be written in an arena setting is just bullshit. I can almost understand the poets wanting to do it, but the sad fact of the matter is this:

Outside of the writers forum, (and a lot of the time, in it, as well) there is nothing but pure, unadulterated chaos. There are just too many idiots running around this site for any kind of good to come out of something like that.
I must admit to posting my poetry in said arena, just to see the end result, and as much as I hate to say it, the situation ended up much as I thought that it would.

Such is the way of things, I assume.

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