Review Request: The Archive of Unusual Events

12 months ago | Stable (Member)

Hi all,

I'm looking for feedback on my story at https://theunusualarchive.wordpress.com/

It's short (200 - 300 words) but regular entries about the paranormal events that probably aren't constantly happening around us. Probably strongly influenced by SCPs and Ursula Vernon's The Hidden Almanac podcast.

So far no one has seen it apart from a few friends (I've added it to the queue here, but since that goes back to May I expect it to take a while), so I'm interested in your feedback. Especially about whether it's interesting to you, and whether the short entries maintain enough interest that you want to come back and read more! I'm a little concerned about that because it's light on characters by design - I'm kind of feeling my way around the character of the Archivist and how I can introduce others that he can interact with. It's also pretty much impossible for me to end on a cliffhanger, so that's two traditional ways of getting readers back that I'm missing.

The tone is supposed to be academic, but with some dry humour. I'm also a little wary of power creep, so I'm starting entries relatively small before we hit all the potentially world ending weirdness.

The website is pretty basic, but I'm not much of a designer so I went for simple, I did want a side bar so I could encourage people to sign up.

So yes - I'd love to hear any feedback, or advice you can offer about writing serials and/or getting the word out about them.
Thanks in advance!

The Archive Of Unusual Events
https://theunusualarchive.wordpress.com/

Read responses...

Responses

  1. ChrysKelly (Member)

    Posted 12 months ago

    I've only read a few, but I'm loving it. I'll do you a proper review later on.

    Where do you get the topic ideas? I'm very into paranormal/mythological things and I haven't heard of most of this.

  2. Team Contract (Member)

    Posted 12 months ago

    I don't understand what these are supposed to be. Or the point of them. Are they fictional articles? Is there some common theme? Or story? I don't get any sense of a character either. Perhaps I'm missing something here.

  3. LadyAnder (Member)

    Posted 12 months ago

    I find this sort of thing pretty interesting as I'm a fan of dry humor. However, I'm strange in my reading tastes sometimes and usually if it is something I like that means it's in a bit of a niche. What you written isn't something you come across frequently and it isn't a bad thing it's just usually, readers will be hard to gather. However, I wouldn't think the short entries would be enough because honestly, having something goes on for wouldn't be necessary for this kind of writing unless the subject demands a little more to be written.

    I can't tell you much about the whole writing serial or getting word out.

    A slice-of-life fantasy novel--> https://hyruhhaserial.wordpress.com/
  4. Stable (Member)

    Posted 12 months ago

    Thanks you two - ChrysKelly, they're my own ideas. I love the bizarre side of fantasy and fairy stories and wanted to make my own weird happenings, that's a large impetus behind this.

    Team Contract - that's the response I was a afraid of! The idea is that this is an archive keeping track of all the weirdness and supernatural events happening in the world, but if I have to explain that on here I've obviously not done a great job introducing it on the site. Did you start from the beginning or just read the top? The only character so far is the archivist who writes the articles, but as it's supposed to be fairly academic it's going to be difficult to bring in more personal interaction. Any character development is going to have to be in the asides and notes, so a little subtle.

    The Archive Of Unusual Events
    https://theunusualarchive.wordpress.com/
  5. Stable (Member)

    Posted 12 months ago

    LadyAnder - you must have posted as I was writing mine. Thanks for the comment, but I didn't understand the end, you don't think the short entries would be enough for what?

    The Archive Of Unusual Events
    https://theunusualarchive.wordpress.com/
  6. GeneralRincewind (Member)

    Posted 12 months ago

    http://forums.webfictionguide.com/topic/types-of-exposure-how-long-did-it-take
    Previous post dealing with exposure

    Your serial is quite well written, with a nice style of prose. I liked the dry humour and would definitely read more. It does feel a bit short and disjointed though, with some of the events described too short. Maybe double the word count and give more information?

    And also it was kinda hard to find the first post, which was apparently an important post, context-wise. You should make a link to it and create a table of contents.

  7. LadyAnder (Member)

    Posted 12 months ago

    Sable- Sorry that was a mistype on my end. I meant to say that the short entries "would" be enough.

    A slice-of-life fantasy novel--> https://hyruhhaserial.wordpress.com/
  8. Stable (Member)

    Posted 12 months ago

    Thanks Rincewind, good information! I've added a link to the first post in the sidebar saying "Start here", hopefully that will make it more visible!

    I'm hoping any disjointedness will ease out as I get into the swing of this, it may be a skill thing as short form is a little different to long, but I'll definitely keep your advice there in mind.

    LadyA - thanks that makes sense now. :)

    The Archive Of Unusual Events
    https://theunusualarchive.wordpress.com/
  9. GeneralRincewind (Member)

    Posted 12 months ago

    @Stable Yeah , the visibility is much better. But it's still a bit hard to find. Maybe put it on your main page bar instead, to make it easier for first time readers to find.

  10. Team Contract (Member)

    Posted 12 months ago

    @Stable - I started reading this from the top down. I think that explains my first impression. I took another crack at this reading from the first entry up and "got it". I think having site navigation that puts the first post dead center and a contents slider will go a long way to defining what this is. I'd also suggest adding a bit more personality to the first post so that it's clear to the reader what is going on and how tongue in cheek it all is. Even if its some personal note like: I'm attempting to rebuild the archive from memory, so trivial details such as eye witness accounts may or may not be accurate. Just some suggestions.

  11. Stable (Member)

    Posted 11 months ago

    Cool :) I've made it extra-super-obvious by putting a sticky welcome post right at the top since I couldn't figure out how to add it as a menu item. Cheers!

    The Archive Of Unusual Events
    https://theunusualarchive.wordpress.com/
  12. Scott Scherr (Member)

    Posted 11 months ago

    Hello Stable.

    On the surface, the archive articles themselves are interesting and sporadic immediately creating a state of 'busy' on your webpage that makes this reader want to know why all these events are happening. The impression I received was that something significant occurred prior to the destruction of the first archive that might shed some insight or some common link to these seemingly random paranormal stories. And that is the problem I see with where you're headed with this.

    The articles alone work really well as teasers toward a potential deeper story, if you chose to take the archive in that direction.

    Just a suggestion: You may want to consider writing an actual story, along with these events, that starts before these events went global... maybe even leading up to the destruction of the archive and how it all happened. By doing so, you could characterize the archivist and anyone else involved with the archive, giving them unusual backstories which make them uniquely qualified to investigate and explore these events. The possibilities are endless in this regard.

    I just believe that by themselves, the articles are not enough to keep the readers coming back for more unless you explore the 'why' through some sort of fascinating story, at least from a serial novel perspective.

    Just my initial thoughts,
    -Scott

    Author of the apocalyptic series, Don't Feed The Dark. http://freezombienovel.wordpress.com
  13. ChrysKelly (Member)

    Posted 11 months ago

    Wow, I really disagree with everyone else here.

    I think what you've done so far is great and super subtle, and I instantly loved the two characters you have introduced so far (second one is best). I would argue against posting longer entries and I would definitely argue against any "proper" story approach.

    What you have the chance to build here is - there really isn't a term for it, but let's call it a pattern story.

    These articles read almost like press releases or newspaper articles but for a very limited audience - the people who know how to contact folk to research pools of darkness. Already, I feel like this is a small, worldwide group of teams of researchers and possibly adventurers, with a sprinkling of con men and a possible underground black market thrown in.

    What you could do is continue to post short snippets as you have done, but sprinkle your articles with the subtle comments you've already included, to introduce us to more members of this small peer group. And as the readers read the articles, some will take only what is given at face value, but others will read more deeply, see the more subtle connections, and a pattern will begin to emerge that gives all the articles an over-riding shape - you could have the "story" be the actual background that only the most observant of readers will notice and piece together. If that makes sense.

    I think that would be incredible. And very difficult to pull off. And even harder to market. You would need to know the plot in detail before writing it. And then you would need to include only enough details for readers to piece together the evidence, and make it subtle enough that most folk wouldn't even know it was there.

    What might help (this is totally cheating, but cheat anyway) would be to create a forum discussing the "meta-archive" and (this is the cheat bit) set up a few fake reader accounts to post and discuss what certain subtle references really mean. Have different viewpoints emerge, arguing about whether this means that or this or something else. Have a troll. I wouldn't do this until there were enough articles up that there could be a few arguments about what it all means, and I'd set the forum in the readers world, so they know they are discussing a story and not acting like the event is true. And I'd do it in a way that real readers can easily join and start posting their own theories.

    As I said, it will be very hard to market, and I suspect most readers wouldn't "get it." But for the ones that do, you could create something very special.

    Or not. It's your story - write it anyway you want.

    Incidentally, I tried to review it and discovered I don't know how to post reviews on this site. Does anyone know of a post that explains the process?

  14. Stable (Member)

    Posted 11 months ago

    Thanks Scott and Chrys - those are some interesting ideas.

    I agree that there probably has to be some amount of story in there. I have a few ideas in that direction myself, starting with the progression of events already mentioned and moving up from there. As I see it, if we think of each small entry as an episode of Star Trek (I just used this simile in a review but let's go with it) I could be like the original series and just have standalone episodes that reset each time, but that's a little dull. Or like Voyager or DS9 I could have an overarching plot surrounding side stories, one-offs and so on. I think that's what's likely to happen. To some extent though I am just having a lot of fun at the moment thinking of what weirdness to write about today.

    Chrys, your forum-story idea is inspired, but probably more work than I'd want to put in. I'm tempted though! To post reviews on here you need to go to the page about each story. Mine hasn't been processed yet and won't be for about a month (probably) which is why I got impatient and started this thread.

    The Archive Of Unusual Events
    https://theunusualarchive.wordpress.com/

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