Looking for Stories to Review

So as I've said in other parts of the forum, I was in an overwhelmed "emotional coma" until recently. I was coping with a lot -- baby twins, new responsibilities at work, care for my aunt when she was ill with cancer, and then helping deal with the funeral and her estate when she passed away.

I stopped writing, I stopped reading, and I stopped reviewing, because I was too drained.

In January I started posting chapters of my stories again, once a week, and now I'm starting to do random ones every few days while still keeping the once a week (Wednesday) update. That means my brain is growing more active, and I'm looking for things to read to build my momentum back.

Here's the thing -- there are 10 pages of "unreviewed listings" and I thought I should start at oldest first, because they've been waiting the longest. That seemed "fair."

But I've changed my criteria for "fair" -- because life's too short and I only have so much energy, clearly, I need to set better priorities. I don't want to do a "random" review of an old story that maybe is no longer being posted or maybe the author won't notice.

So I'm asking the community -- who here, who participates, who cares about WFG, needs a story review? Who has something new up that no one has looked at, or something old that hasn't been reviewed in a while? Who is inviting a friend to come post their stuff, and wants them to receive a good welcome?

I've reviewed over 100 stories without any kind of sorting mechanism other than a) looking at what's oldest (sometimes) and b) looking at what other people are reviewing and providing an alternate perspective as needed. Now, I'm saying I want to support WFG's supporters -- if you're here, you care, I want to read what I haven't read.

Get me a reading list and let's put this reawakening mind to work.

Any volunteers?

I need to do some more reviews too so I'll be keeping my eye on this thread! Gavin, what you've been through sounds roughly similar to my recent experiences too. Just saying... I empathize. Life can be so rough sometimes. Hang in there. Your brain will reactivate soon enough and nothing will be able to stop you! And congrats on the twins!!! Wow.

I nominate SGL's Tales of the Big Bad Wolf. It's been going since 2010, and it has a few reviews, but nothing in depth. Yet it obviously has a readership who cares and vote for it regularly on TWF, and SGL is an active contributer to this site.

I thing 2012 was a bit of an off year for WFG in general. A lot of us were absorbed with life events and coming on here and reveiwing less, but as we go into 2013 I'm seeing a resurgence gathering some considerable momentum already.

Well I'm trying to participate, but I'm pretty new to these forums. Sadly with two open writing projects, a blog, and two kids, plus a full time job (never mind all manner of familial medical dramas) I'm not going to have time to do much in the way of reviewing myself.

That said, I like to think I've got some new ideas in what I do. Mind the Thorns is reader directed (it's up with one review at 4 stars) and has been a roller coaster to write, mostly because I find I don't often like the top choice every week but I'm honor bound to write it anyway. Regan is turning out to be a bit more of a middle aged Bella than I'd like but, whatchagonnado?

Bastion is waiting for approval and it's kinda like most other webserials with weekly updates except that I'm mixing images, videos, and personal logs with the prose week by week. It's another "how can I do this different" experiment I'm still not sure is going to work.....

Just to toss a few of my projects in your direction with the understanding that self promotion is a little ungentlemanly of me.

@Fiona -- Thanks!

@Mr.Osterman -- "whatchagonnado" -- I'd suggest maybe not writing a reader-directed vampire story if you don't want it to end up like a middle-aged Twilight knock-off. Writing something because you're "honor bound" seems like a waste of time compared to something you're passionate about, but that's just me. Being flip about it doesn't change where the responsibility for your rollercoaster actually lies. So basically I don't think you'd want me to review it, if that's your commentary on your own story.

I do suppose that it does come off a little flip, and you are right to the degree that if I really did not want to risk things going Rollercoastery, I could have just ~not~ offered up passive options and only ever left my heroine the choice of 3 direct actions. That was my own fault because I believed that those would be the least likely picked. ANd as the story evolved with Regan being more of a planner and a talker than a do-er and a fighter, it got harder to feel I was writing a consistant story by just saying "nope, from here on out Regan's gonna kick tail and take names."

On the other hand, I do have passion for the project over all. Writing with in the constraints of the weekly poll is good because it provides a certain amount of "make it work". In addition, even if some readers really want another Bella, they can't have here because Oster-pires are not Meyer-pires. Mine aren't all pretty and happy and there's a good deal of drama and infighting that Regan cannot escape. I'm a little proud of the world they live in and I think if I try to tackle urban fantasy I'll do it in this world again, even if Vampires kind of have run their course.

So the critique is fair, I did sound a little flip about the whole thing and that was me not putting on my best writer face for making a sales pitch. Truth is I also feel that quitting now isn't an option. I know how many projects I've started that stalled and I believe that it is important to see a task through. Maybe there will be aspects of my character I won't like. But I ~will~ take pride in having a finished novel that I wrote on a schedule (mostly) with the constraint of letting my readers build their ideal heroine.


And see that's just passionate and honest enough that I might check out a vampire story. I respect that comment a lot, well said.

I don't know if I can suggest another work, but I'd love to see a review of Eclipse Court:


Or Shirley Meier's more recently listed Kyrus Talain:


Reading the existing reviews of Eclipse Court and checking out the opening chapters, I can't help but feel I'm missing something. I'm left wondering if I'm unable to shift mental gears and adjust to the writer's style, or if it really is as unreadable as I'm finding it.

If it's the former, I'd love to have some light shed on what I'm missing (if it's really five star worthy, despite some awkward prose), and if it's the latter, the current reviews could use a differing opinion to balance them.

I know that I am new and that it is a little rude to ask so soon, but I would love it if you (or someone else) would review my serial at Jukepop Serials, "The Watchmage of Old New York." Here is the link. http://www.jukepopserials.com/home/read/357

There are five chapters up, but I put 2 chapters' worth of story under the first one. Jukepop makes people register (for free) after one chapter, and I wanted to give people a little more before they bit down and registered. I'm just cool like that. It's on the Editor's Choice list too, so it's probably not terrible.

Thank you very much.

Fiona - I appreciate the plug. That was very kind of you although maybe really hard for a reviewer since it's voluminous. Dx

You mentioned a gap in reviews for 2012. Do you know roughly at what page in the "subset=age" category 2012 starts at?

(Example: http://webfictionguide.com/listings/page/2/?subset=age )

ETA. Nevermind. I think it's page 11-12ish...

Hmm... I'll have to investigate this Jukepop serials as I do like to write in that style. I have to wonder about competing for "prizes" based on votes and page views and if the quality there is higher than, say, Wattpadd.

@Mr.Osterman, I've been happy with Jukepop so far. On Duotrope, it says that they take about half of the submissions, so quality is mostly likely higher than on a personal website

As a reader, IMHO Jukepop is much better in terms of quality control. There is no argument there. Giving the site owners the ability to vet material makes for a different and less painful experience for the readers.

The focus of JP though has been vastly weighted towards genres that Wattpad seems to have embraced. Chicklit, romance, historical romance, slice of life, --> find it on Wattpad. Horror, mystery, more mature fantasy -> find it on JP.

I currently follow works on both platforms but I'll be honest, I skew to the demographics currently weighted more heavily on Wattpad. (I signed up for alerts for one story on JP, fifteen on Wattpad.)

The other thing is as a reader is that JP has yet to transition to having a library of finished works. This is something that they must encourage because it drives retention of readers as well as opens up a sub-market to readers who hate serials.

MrOsterman: JP requires six months of exclusivity on their site,a fter which (I was told by folks) that they can post elsewhere.

JP is good in one respect -- having far fewer stories to spread visitors across poses an advantage for writers who are part of their system. I think the spread of reads is much better across JP (from what I can see of voting behavior) than Wattpad.

Wattpad is so big that getting read is not just about an author writing well, but doing a lot of other things in the community and then it still comes down to luck!

But Wattpad doesn't require exclusivity. And that is one key reason why several of us are watching JP, but not doing our major projects through there. I really don't like being exclusive . I may, at some time, pitch another project there but not my main one.

I haven't tried JukePop because any service that requires that I exclude content from my site (for any length of time) is automatically out of the running. My site first, all other services second. This is also why I haven't considered Kindle Serials.

It's a little funny how I ended up on Jukepop. I am not a serial writer. I am a novelist and short story writer. I wrote a short story, that turned into a long story, that turned into a novella. I didn't know what to do with it. novellas are very hard to sell, and this one was only 15,000 words. So I looked around on Duotrope, and I found several sites that would publish it as a serial. Jukepop paid the best (man's gotta eat), So I went with them. Since then I wrote another novella about the same characters, so that I can continue the serial. I kinda like it, it makes me feel like Charles Dickens (with less talent ;) ).

Hi, just wanted to pop in and say thanks to G.S. Williams for reviewing Starwalker. I really appreciate the comments on the writing and technical aspects of the story, even though the theme and protagonist aren't your cup of tea.

(And thanks to everyone else who has taken the time to review my work, too. I am grateful for all of them.)

I really wish that I was able to get more involved here and do reviews myself. (Currently, I'm lucky to keep posting most weeks!) I have the greatest respect for those who give their time to do this. Great job. :)

Kess - thanks for noticing. I'm glad my weird bias against AI didn't prevent you from seeing the positives as well. I wish you the best and will keep my eyes open for your future projects.

Gavin - Thank you for taking the time to review and comment on some of the writing. I did end up revising the first four chapters a bit in the compilation, although not to the extent that I think you prefer.

May I ask how far you got with the story? Given that it takes a few days for people to read it from start to finish (based on what I've been told), it seems appropriate to question what you did end up reading and reviewing particularly as the first few chapters are heavy on exposition.

I read faster than most people, and I analyze writing patterns with considerable depth. I read all of chapters 1 through 5 (which is really some 14 sections) and then I bounced around to see if there was much structural change. There wasn't - you tend towards multi-clause sentences with gaps between subject and verb, which reduces experiential emotional resonance. It is indirect, which makes the text more oblique.

The text tells instead of shows,the clauses separate subjects from their verbs, and dialogue is formal to the point of feeling stilted. That tells me that the story is walled off from its own emotional core. Given that stories should lead to catharsis, escapism or an emotional conclusion, it feels unsatisfying.

Jane Austen wrote repressed characters, but showed the repression, and its affects. This story is repressed, because its telling the surface and not showing depths. This almost feels Victorian, but that conflicts with the 1304 date which doesn't come across as necessary; it is clearly fantasy, not historical fiction, and guns weren't in use for hunting in Europe until much later.

I can do a sentence by sentence analysis if you like.

Thanks for clarifying. Chapters 1-5 are definitely expository in nature. They were also the ones I disliked the most when I went back and compiled the text because they were largely about worldbuilding and not exactly fun ones. It's going to take a lot more time before I can go back and figure out if I can take some of that out of there or not. It might be possible but as I just finished it two weeks ago I believe that the structural editing and revision should wait.

That said - if I might give feedback on your review is that I honestly had no idea what you read. Five of thirty-four chapters is good for an impression but not for a decision on the emotional tone of a book.

Also , somehow you did miss that this is not set in our world. There are two moons and the time periods are set that way intentionally.