Readers who are afraid of scaring the author

Is it just me or are there others who are afraid to give criticism or ask questions and end up making the author lose love for their own creation? English is not my first language, actually I’m really bad at English because I’m bad at following grammatical rules in my language too, so i’m always afraid to ask questions and end up sounding rude unintentionally. I love The Porthecrawl Witness book, the story is amazing, the ros easy to fall in love with, everything about this book is perfect! But the author got stressed with some (probably several) readers who kept asking about a route in the game, and they had already warned that they was going to write one route at a time. I understand the readers because I also wanted to know when that route was going to be written, and I also understand the author for not liking having to answer questions about it. I was sad because this upset the author to the point that they went on hiatus and blocked the option to submit asks on Tumblr, now they has decided that they will turn what would have been two books into one because for them it will be less stressful and it will make them worry less about selling only what the public likes (and they still hasn’t decided if they are going to publish the book for free or if they’re going to put a price). Am I the only one who feels guilty about this? as if I was partly to blame that the author decided it was less stressful to write just one book? In my mind, an author’s work has to be something they feels good doing, not pressured or stressed, because you feel that when you read the book, just like you can feel when the writing and creation ended up being stressful for the author and they accelerated the process just to be able to finish. I’m always afraid to ask something that might trigger the author to feel more uncertain/insecure about their work and want to give up.

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Uncertainties will always be part of the writing process, I think, and it’s not really something that a reader can do much about aside through the feedback you provide. Just because one wants to be an author, it doesn’t mean that person would always like what they do, and that’s just… something the writer needs to go past at some point. Of course, sometimes the stress can build up to an extent where all the motivation is lost, and lacking the support they’ve been expecting from their own readers can make that worse.

As an author, though, encouraging feedback and fair criticisms are equally important to me. The former lets me know that someone has appreciated my work, and the latter assures me that someone has been paying attention enough to ask me questions or point out something that’s quite out of place. Every time I get an ask on Tumblr that encompasses those, it serves as another form of motivation. I’d prefer those than getting no feedback at all, which is kind of a scary notion to me.

(I do still get uneasy when someone asks me for the next update’s schedule, though😅)

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I would say we learn by doing, and we also learn by screwing up. Keep in mind that you must learn, otherwise, you are just repeating a crappy cycle over and over and piling up the guilt there.

A lot of people wear the title of ‘Author’ and forget that most ‘Authors’ didn’t get an education on how to be one, and what it takes to be one. I sure like hell didn’t get any training in the subject.

The same could be said about being a reader. So on that front, one should keep in mind one thing: You are both a bunch of noobs.

Another thing is, what Author A want is and can be different from what Author B wants or need. Author A for example doesn’t mind criticism and want peoples to point out his flaws so he can get better. Meanwhile, Author B wants criticism but they never experienced public feedback, so the chances are 50/50 of their stress rising and their work suffering from it.

That’s something one must keep in mind because it is important.

If someone tell you this, you must respect it. Because this here:

Is plain Harassement.

You shouldn’t.

The author already answered the question: They will write one route at a time, therefor they cannot tell you when that route you want to know about will be written.

Of course!

That’s like me telling you: I will give you a sneak peek later, once I’m done here with my work.

And you keep asking me when is ‘Later’. Guess what? I said ‘Later’ because I don’t know how long it would take for me to finish my Work. Therefore, it will be ‘Later’. Asking me about when is ‘Later’ will not make ‘Later’ get here faster or become a clear date and time.

The same applies here. The author said they will work on one route at a time. They don’t know how long that would take and when they will reach the route some readers want to know about.

well yeah…since, hello I wasn’t there :sweat_smile:

Only the author can answer that one. Maybe you and the others readers helped the author make this decision, or maybe it was the author’s decision alone. Who knows?

The funny thing is most artists (be them authors, musicians, painters…etc) all have a tendency to over-stress themself big time. That’s why outside feedback and questions from their fans can tip the balance.

I have yet to meet a writer who is zen lol well maybe those who have too much self-confidence and a big ego :stuck_out_tongue:

Or those who have been at it for a long time, though it feels often to me like they traded their passion and spark for some zen and I don’t know if that’s really better since they come off as Jaded mostly.

The good news is you are aware of what happen and not blind to repercussion of your actions.

Second, see this as a lesson and go from there.

Being afraid to give feedback isn’t abnormal, been there, and done that. In this kind of case, you can still give Positives feedback and just not give criticism.

But one thing you need to keep in mind: You must learn to respect an author’s decision.

If they tell you ‘‘I don’t know, I’ll tell you later’’, asking them again and again and again is not a good thing. It’s bad and you need to stop.

I’ve seen artists give up because of these kinds of behaviors where people just wouldn’t back off. And you know what? I despise this behavior. It breaks my heart to see an artist give up out of frustration, or due to stress, because some idiots on the Internet and Social Media couldn’t be assed to keep their mouth shut and back off when they were already given an answer.

So I beg you, to learn from this and not let it happen again!

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Reposted from r/twosentencesadness:

The reader chickened out again, too nervous to send an email to say how much the story had meant.

The author looked at her empty inbox, unsure it was worth writing when no one seemed to care.

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hmm, a bit early to be rambling like that old man :smirk: maybe some coffee would help? :coffee:

But seriously, what are you on about?

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It’s from a super-short story subreddit where you have to tell a sad tale in two sentences. Just to reflect that there’s always two sides. Readers don’t want to bother writers, but writers sometimes really want to be bothered. Within reason, that is.

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True. And once peoples get compliments and such, it can become addictive fast.

You start seeking it more, work harder maybe even in the hope you will get more ‘Compliments’.

It is a slippery slope to beware of.

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Well, it’s also the fuel that makes some writers go. The money I have made here is good, but it couldn’t just be the money that convinces me to keep writing. If I put the same amount of time into the eBay store I could probably make 2-3x as much. But that’s not fulfilling in the way that this is, and the reader feedback is a large part of that. Call it ego, and you certainly won’t be wrong, even if that is a bit oversimplified. But positive reviews, stories from readers about what your writing meant to them, it fills you up in a way few other things can. You’re right that it is addictive. But you’re wrong that it is something to beware of, I’d say. If it is what gives you the motivation to keep plugging away, it’s valuable, and there’s not a lot in the way of down sides except for the potential emptiness when the readers stop talking (or when they never started at all), or they turn against you. Still, if there was no chance of failure, it wouldn’t really be meaningful when you succeed.

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I mean beware of the addiction it brings. That’s what one should always beware of, less they get lost in the feelings addiction bring and lose what they were about.

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Not everything a person gets addicted to is inherently bad. I personally have a raging dependency on oxygen consumption, and sincerely hope I don’t kick the habit anytime soon. And to some extent, reader feedback is writer oxygen.

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I’ve found there’s little in life that can’t be addictive in some way, so I wouldn’t withhold feedback on account of that.

As for the broad strokes of the topic, if the author says they’re not going to do something, there shouldn’t (in an ideal world) be multiple people who continuously ask them the same question over and over or try to argue with them about how they should include said thing. I’m sure it would be really annoying to have several pushy people trying to control how you write your story. There’s a difference between that and normal, healthy criticisms and suggestions.

Now, that said, an author should be patient with new readers who haven’t seen what they’ve said about said topic and don’t know that it’s been asked before. Take it as a compliment that so many different people want to know. It probably means they really like a certain facet of your story.

Beyond that, more feedback is almost always better than less. Even if it’s not all actionable feedback or if it’s just some feel-good compliments that don’t go into any particulars, it still gives the author a general sense of how their work is being received. Even (most) criticisms generally mean the person is interested in your work and wants to see you succeed.

Silence is the real bane of authors most of the time. I’d know since it happened with my last WIP (for good reason, I really didn’t do a good job with that one, so please don’t think I’m complaining or blaming anyone). Nothing kills motivation more than thinking that nobody likes, cares, or even reads your work. It gives the impression that you’re wasting your time because, even if you finish your work, it’ll be for nothing. So why bother?

TL;DR: If the author makes a decision, respect it and don’t argue with them about it. But otherwise, don’t be afraid to give feedback. It really helps motivate the author, whereas no feedback does the opposite.

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bruh that just made me remember the stuff I did back then.

I used to be a writer for fanfics for fun and I don’t really care for the story as much but I still wanted to write it, then the comments started getting to me stuff like “Oh what’s your plan on this and this plot.” or “When is the next chapter?” I thank you that you liked the story dear reader but it doesn’t come across to me that you appreciate my hard work if you get what I mean because all they say is the ‘next update’ it makes me feel ignored idk might be just me.

Like at least talk to me about the plot do you like it at all? or did you like the characters?

One more thing that stresses me out (in a good way) are comments like “Loved the story!” My heart does a backflip and then I freak out internally not knowing how or what to reply back.

The rising stress gets to me and vice versa. As an avid reader of choice games do not want to bother thy great writers because I understand that they do not want me to bother their day by my mere existence jk :upside_down_face:.

I later backed off from writing as much as I could cuz of that. Now i’m currently doing art to just get my mind out of the gutter for a while.

Might come back to write something now though… very motivated these past few weeks.

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Well, being a person who has had many opportunities to interact with the authors, I can say the following:

  1. It’s always good to be courteous when first interacting with an author. Or even have criteria when passing these comments in a group chat of the test or private chat
  • Personal case: Ever since I was contemplating a new Wip test forum or even from the whisper of an idea in “Interest Check Thread” I always show my interest in these projects and encourage them to continue doing so if they wish.

I usually ask (always clarifying that it is a voluntary response) what they want to create, how the universe of their story works, questions about events in the story or the characters it presents. And whatever the creator wants to reveal, I’ll settle for that. And I don’t bother again until the next advances that the author wants to do voluntarily.

It is also good if friendly greetings and goodbyes are usually given.

  1. Sometimes as readers we have thoughts derived from a work and that is also shared with the author. We usually denote the rhythm of the story, the presentation of the characters and some doubts of what we see in a WIP test. For example, the operating system of his fictional world, the enemies or the stories that precede the present history of the MC.

-Personal case: I was capable of sharing all the thoughts derived from any WIP test and with that I had the same fear of oversaturating the author with the complex thoughts that my brain revealed. Because I am usually a person who likes to learn things and with this learning my mind reflects and begins to associate it with things of daily life or in this case, WIP works.

Two examples that I can mention was when in a WIP about superheroes and another about zombies; I ended up sharing with one of the creators reflections on Plato’s book “The Republic” just because one of his characters loves the theme of virtue and along with it the virtues that Plato said we should defend in an “Ideal” Republic and on the other hand, I dedicated myself to investigating the history of the zombie genre as well as seeing several examples of zombie fiction to find out if the infection will work in a similar or different way, among more similar examples.

What I want to express is that as a reader I am not satisfied with giving applause or recognition to a creator after his update, but I also start to investigate in depth aspects of his fiction as well as issues that as a reader have left me as well as the of his characters, my speculations about what is going to happen among other constructive criticisms always with the greatest kindness and objectivity possible.

This is my advice, kindness and objectivity in a comment to a work by any creator on this website.

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Well, this would be a tip for this aspect of reader comments. If we are going to give comments on a work, we must accompany the aspects of the work that give rise to our opinion.

For example, if you liked a character, and you want to comment on it, accompany that comment with the aspects that you liked about that character.

The same goes for comments that are not positive such as “I’m confused” or “I don’t understand what happened”, always clarify what generates these impressions in a work, contribute more to the compilation of aspects of a work by any creator to take into account aspects that may be relevant later or at least don’t leave loose ends for the reader.

If you don’t have these types of comments, then we can simply limit ourselves to leaving Likes or sharing a work with someone else as a form of support.

It’s what I say, I don’t know what you think as a creator.

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Uwah thank you so much for clearing such feelings up for me.

I now understand that some people just want to express their feelings even if it’s too short.I always forget that they actually LIKE the pieces I make, because I tend to always look on the bad side of things.

I know that the readers mean well when they ask stuff and give out advice (still trying to get rid of that bad habit.)

I cannot thank you enough, this feeling was destroying me ever since. Who would’ve thunk that all I needed was a change of view and a bit of understanding from people on the forum.

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I think this illustrates perfectly that even when you say something positive to another person, they might take it the wrong way. You never know what’s going on in another person’s head.
It’s best not to overthink, be polite and be engaged.
Not everyone can handle a sudden spike in popularity, even when the attention is positive, and that’s not something you as a reader can do anything about.

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Don’t worry about us authors – we have a thicker skin than you might expect! :sunglasses: :+1:

(It’s kind of a job requirement :sweat_smile:)

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I agree with this, both from a reading perspective and a writing perspective. It works for both positive comments and constructive criticism.

I think the only thing that irritates me as a reader is when an author gives two conflicting answers, then pretends one of them doesn’t exist, instead of addressing the issue. As much as I grumble when people won’t answer something because “muh spoilers” (I’m a spoiler whore, lay it on me, especially since it’ll make me more likely to read and not complain if I know how things will go!) or even because the author simply doesn’t know yet, it’s understandable. And we have to respect those answers.

But when two answers are given and one of them is blackholed, it irritates me. At least acknowledge it, yeah? Even if it’s a matter of, “well, things changed as I got deeper into the story because the characters blah blah blah” then it’s better to say so than just pretending whoever brings up the first answer is on crack and imagined it. I mean, saying the planned plots have been altered due to character behavior is totally valid, and something I understand. What I don’t get is someone saying they never said the first thing when I can literally pull it off of the internet and show it to them. Just say, “I misspoke” or “plans changed” and that’s that, end of story. Otherwise, I am like a dog with a bone.

Definitely a job requirement. I think what value an author places on feedback depends on the author, and what type of feedback they accept. Some don’t like any input at all other than being told everything is great and that they’re awesome. Any other feedback or questioning of why things are the way they are is dismissed (or worse, treated as an attack). Understandable, yes, but when I write, I need to know if something isn’t making sense or characters are seemingly ‘wrong’ from their normal behavior–no need to be a dick about it and say the whole thing sucks (if you hate it that much, don’t read it), but constructive feedback helps, even if it’s something that isn’t going to result in a change to the story. If nothing else, it gets me to delve deeper into character motivation and thoughts. Maybe it’s not that way for other people who write, but I can’t be alone in that.

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I really understand you because I always think too much about everything, including the impact of my words on other people. But I think it’s really important to overcome your fears and give useful criticism to the author. Otherwise, they will not be able to correct their mistakes (they will be at work, since we are all people) and the shortcomings will continue to exist in the published game/book and so on, which will only attract more negative criticism, just from people who will not be so polite like you.

It’s not your fault if you understood the author’s boundaries and stopped bothering them about the route!

Writing will always be stressful to some extent for the author. You just need to be attentive to your criticism and not be rude.

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Oh yeah definitely. If you post content and get zero comments or likes, that’s even worse than someone replying with crit. Easy to start thinking no one has the slightest interest in a project and stop publically updating it. If you want an author to feel insecure about their work that’s the absolute best way to make it happen.

One of the purposes of this forum is to beta test. One of the requirements of that is authors accepting their work may not be perfect and listening to feedback. Some of us have thicker skins than others. In fact someone going through and picking apart all the bits and pieces is often very appreciated. I’m super grateful if someone comes back to me with a list of typos and bugs for example. So if someone says please give feedback good or bad then please do so! In saying that the sandwich technique is nice if you can. (Try to say something good and bad about a project rather than just bad.) If you don’t like something and heaps of people have brought it up and the author has acknoledged it, also try not to negative pile on.

Ok flip side of the coin is too much enthusiasm. Authors love people people being invested and they post their work here because they want it to be read, but if someone has said “no” to a request, they usually have a reason for it and it can become a bit stressful or even derail projects entirely if requests continue to be pushed as authors try to implement requests they hadn’t planned for, especially if their heart isn’t in it. Muses are a fickle lot :stuck_out_tongue: So yeah, you should be able to feel you can ask, but if an author politely declines a request for particular content to be added then it’s usually best to let it go. Requests for update ETA’s are actually against the forum rules. Some authors don’t mind people asking (and will indicate so), but continuing to ask, especially if the author doesn’t know themselves, is not a great idea and is why it became a rule here.

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