A Reader CommentsbySuite21men©
Copyright 2010 Suite21men
In cruising through the stories on Literotica, I come across compelling arguments for voting and leaving comments. One author's essay on this subject had 45 comments with the readers explaining why they don't comment. I was going to comment also but I ended up with too many words. (3538 to be exact.) Hence, this essay. (After reading what I just wrote about those 45 comments, some might think I have nefarious reasons for broaching this subject. Please rest assured, I just want to speak as an avid reader of Literotica.)
Like, I guess, most people, I started reading at an early age. Picture books at first. Then, picture books with words. Then, words with pictures. Then, words creating their own pictures. One of these picture/word books was a copy of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by Loyd Frank Baum. At the time, I cared less for the author. I was enthralled by the story. Later on came the Tom Swift series. Wonderful science fiction for a young boy. In recollection of those stories, no particular author comes to mind though research finds Edward Stratemeyer as the driving force. These series were like Literotica's Chain Stories in which a different author writes a different adventure adhering to certain precepts. The pseudonym of Victor Appleton, then later Victor Appleton II was the named author.
Then I discovered Tarzan's adventures courtesy of Edgar Rice Burroughs. He was the first author I equated to his writings. Liking where he took me, I looked eagerly to the next copy I could get my hands on. I never once thought about trying to communicate with him. He was a disembodied man (well his name sounded mannish) who, once again, transported me to places that were magical and enthralling.
In time I discovered Upton Sinclair. He wrote The Jungle describing life in the meatpacking industry. (As an aside, I still remember the smell of that paperback.) That book opened my mind to a lot of things. Did I feel compelled to contact him? Compose a typed or handwritten letter, and send it through the USPO to the publisher and hope for a chance of getting any acknowledgement? Well, no.
Many authors and many books came along afterwards. Including works by David Herbert Richards Lawrence writing under the name of D. H. Lawrence. He, in my opinion (open for discussion), set the standard for erotica as literature. He was before my time and had probably passed on when I discovered his writings. Once again, I felt no need to communicate with him via the publisher's address. I say him/he cus I saw his picture once. He rook rike a mang.
Multiple books written by multiple authors entered my mind. Specific names matter little in this missive. The point is, to this day, when I read a print book, I have no desire to jump through the hoops to contact the author.
But, I think of famous authors that are alive as of this writing—Stephen King, Ann Rice, J. K. Rowling and the list goes on and on. I wonder what percentage of their readers contact them; commenting on their stories or lifestyle as revealed in various interviews and articles concerning them. I also wonder how many 'book clubs' spend time drafting a letters to authors about the stories they loved or hated or somewhere in between and mailing it off to the publisher's address hoping to enter in a dialogue. And I wonder how many authors write back
Computers enter my world! BBS's Free sex stories. Anonymous authors. I was curious why they desire to present their work but enjoy it nonetheless. Of course, along that time, Penthouse Forum appeared with all those contributors relating their 'experiences'. In the letters to the editor of Penthouse and subsequently all the other print publications that followed the trend of publishing personal sexual experiences from 'readers', no comments were found by this reader about any of the experiences published, nor did I feel the need to say anything to the writers of the stories I was reading. I was still questioning the motivation of these artists while enjoying every word.
The internet comes along and in 'recent' times, I found Erotica Readers and Writers Association (ERWA). Once every month or so they publish quality short stories on their web site. At the end of every story, they say 'Authors live for feedback! If you enjoyed this story, please send comments to' the author's name (in red (click here)). All of a sudden, I can now communicate directly with the writer who brought me to those fabulous places if I so desire. I am also returned to high school and given the assignment of writing a book report. 'This counts as twenty-five percent of your grade.' Odd concept this reversal of roles. The reader becomes the author and the author becomes the reader. The pressure is on. I never wrote to an author before. Ah, but what can I say. "Cool story, man."
Now sex sites aren't the only places I visit. I read a lot of online news. A lot of times at the end of an article, I am offered the opportunity to leave a comment concerning what I read. Well, as long as I register. I suppose that's good after seeing some comments that are not moderated. Comments from 'enterprising' people unethically promoting their whatevers. Others leave nasty comments that have nothing to do with the article at all. Then, again, even some registered comments are from people in their own distorted world who read something that wasn't written and leave snide remarks dissing what they imagined they read. The glory of instant communication where one can stick their foot in their mouth faster than you can say tweet.
Literotica enters my life. Or is it the other way around? Fascinating site. Stories from people who have written hundreds of works and people who have written only one. Imaginations or embellished experiences from both female and male writers from 18 to what, 80? 90? The results of a much touted sexual survey recently hit the news. I suppose I shouldn't be surprised that the findings almost mirrored the subject matter found gracing the visions we find on our screen when we browse Literotica.
In this free erotic story site, Literotica asks us to vote for and comment on the story we have just read. What? I need to comment? Way-ell—ok. What's this? I need a Title for my comment? This is getting difficult. I just read I don't write. Now I need to write something? What's goin' on here? A secret U.N. plot (like those free Denver bicycles) to force me to become an author instead of just flipping through my 'picture books'?!? If the exciting proliferation of new Literotica authors almost every day are any indication, that plot seems to be working. I can just see and hear those secret U.N. plotters gleefully rubbing their hands together while cackling vicious laughter as they drag another one (me) down into the fold.
From what I have deduced, Lit has four major ways to tell the author how ya feel about the story/author. they are:
3. Your Handle/Publicly
4. Your Handle/Privately
The most controversial, with some authors, are the anonymous replies. Laurel and Manu understand the concerns one has in responding to the author in a venue that exists in our sexually suppressed culture. Want to say something about what you read but don't want to ever, ever, ever let your mother know? Be the Anon dude. Some readers abuse this ability and some Lit writers deny their existence, but, for the reader it is an easy, noncommittal way to say something if the story moves them. Especially if one wants to say something but is not interested in a dialogue with the author wherein lies the beauty of the anonymous post. I post comments as the Anon Dude mainly because I am not interested at this time in carrying on a conversation with that writer. Just want to say something 'bout the story before I move on. Writer's rightfully claim they can't respond to the comments or questions the Anon Dude posts. Sort of like wanting to meet that sexy person over there but they disappear before the nerve is worked up to say something. Not seeing too many questions from all commenters other than 'When's the next Chapter coming?' and the like, I imagine the questions the Anon Dude has are rhetorical and don't really need an answer. I have also seen the occasional 'flame' from Anonymous but I have also seen mucho mo insightful and intelligent comments from that Anon Dude. Literotica authors have the option of not allowing the Anon Dude to post and if they are that concerned they can activate that setting. This site is the only place I have found (not that I have actively looked) that such an easy, and/or intimate connection can be had between an author and a reader.
Speaking of moving, I can apply the metaphor of One-Night-Stands (ONS) to the short stories I come across. The great ONS have certain qualities. The right posture (spelling and grammar), desirable smells (someplace you want to be), the physical attraction (the overall tone of the story), and the discovery and release of multiple emotions (discovery and release of multiple emotions), all of which, plus more contribute to the fabric of the world that is being woven with words. When browsing stories in the Literotica 'Lounge', I see all sorts of prospective hookups. Enticed by the title or even more so by the description. (She looks hot. I want to check her out.) Clicking on the story, I start reading. (Well, her breath stinks, she is drunk, falling all over herself while she tells me how sexy her boyfriend is. I slink away at the earliest possible convenience. Like, now. Do I mention my discomforts to her? Naw. I just want to get away.)
Next story! Again, an interesting title with an interesting description. (Ooh! That sensuous, sexy woman over there!) Clicking & Reading. (She is flirting with me—touching me, breathing huskily.) Still reading. (She entices me to a dark corner during our seductive dance, her grinding against me. My heart is palpitating as I grind against her.) Reading more intensely with rapt attention. (Our kisses drown out the band as we slip into a dark hallway and close the door.) Oh! I'm liking this story. (Hands introducing themselves to the other's bodies. Exploring, feeling, probing, rubbing the treasures found. Coaxing the precious nectar to rise to top. Coupling with the intensity of lovers that have been celibate for years until that Oh! So! Ultimate! High! consumes us.) Wow! What an image this has left in my mind! (We make ourselves socially acceptable and are tightly bound to each other as we leave the establishment. In a caravan, with me leading the way and her following closely, we arrive at my home, tearing off our clothes and once again consummating our sexual joy.) This story most deservedly deserves a five. (In the morning we go out for a sensuous breakfast before we go our separate ways.) I need to comment to the author on the pictures she/he has painted in my mind. (We exchange contact information.) I favorite the author. (We go on multiple dates.) The author ends up on a best seller list with a book dedicated to me. (We get married and live happily ever after.)
Two extreme and silly scenarios, but, stories, when one thinks about it, could be considered as One-Night-Stands. No matter how long they are, they are always finite in their existence. Finis (The End) will always be on the last page whether it is written there or not. Can you imagine reading the same story by the same author all your life. Not the same story over and over, but a continuing one that only ends when you die. Of course, there are exceptions. Peanuts comic strip for one. Sixty years and counting. The TV show As The World Turns is one also. I am sure there are others. With the proliferation of writers on this site, I am addicted to the New stories and love to read one after the other. The time spent on the 'book report' and thinking about that number detracts from my time plowing through this fascinating foray of fantastic fun.
As a songwriter, not being content with the feedback I received from family, friends, and from strangers during open mics in my small town, I decided to join a songwriters group in a city about an hour away. Once a month, I would take a song that I had written and recorded on my home studio and make the drive and listen to the comments from my peers. The meetings were quite civil with the exchange of helpful hints, constructive criticism. After about a year of making the journey, I brought a song. It was played and when it was over, one of my 'peers' launched onto at least a fifteen minute tirade about how awful my songs were and why did this non-profit let me be a member, etc. During this speech, I am thinking of what one of the greatest manipulators of the English language wrote which, sadly, rings true to the political and religious 'leaders' of today. 'Methinks thou doth protest too much.' Old words but the meaning is still very clear. To this day, I don't know if he hated my songs (me?) because my songs are so good or because my songs are so bad. I don't think they're that bad. At any rate, I was surprised with the emotions my songwriting persona unleashed.
In those meetings, people were generally sober. Some might have had a slight buzz on, but mostly it was a clear headed affair. This is not necessarily the case with the person in front of their reader screen. Everyone who clicks on a story is looking for something and that something is as different as people are different. That something is also dependent on the mood of the reader. Songs can run the gamut from 'highbrow' Classical to 'lowbrow' Country to the multiples levels between. Just like the categories in Literotica. To continue that analogy, a Blues lover will not find joy listening to something in the Opera category especially if that person is jonesing for the Blues. They are not going to be happy and in their drunken rage will be nasty to the author. 'I read your story Man Love in the Gay Male category and I was shocked and disgusted and outraged when that man put his cock in that other man's mouth blah, blah, blah, etc.' What's an author to do with a comment like that?
When I got inspired to write for Literotica, it was for fame, power, money, hot women, and stretch limousine rides to fancy banquets at high class hotels (complimentary suites) with thousands honoring my work shouting 'We love you, Suite21men!!!' when I finish my speech. All women swooning when I walk past acknowledging their presence. All men bowing to my existence. My hand cramping from spending all day signing autographs. My picture on the cover of Rolling Stone. Yeah, right. I write because I have a story to tell. A world to explore. The more I write, the more I enjoy that wondrous, sweet power. Creating the worlds. Growing the characters. Deciding their fate. It is as close to being a god as a human can be. And, gee willikers, no one gets hurt 'cept maybe the characters. Brainwashed by those secret U.N. plotters into believing I am an author, I can even write my own bible. 'And on the seventh day while looking at his creation, Suite21men puffs his pipe and says, 'Man! This is some good shit!''
Katrina (my muse, (not a personhood)) and I really enjoy what we develop in our scribblings. We write for ourselves and the story becomes our baby. If Katrina and I decide to post or otherwise publish, it is because we think our offspring is worth sharing. (Our baby grows up and goes out into the world.) Now I know why those authors put their work out there for all to see. (Of course, all our writings are potential Pulitzer Prize postings, you betcha.) After being published on Literotica, comments are nice because, if for no other reason, it means (I can assume) that my work was read all the way through. However, to me, they are the icing on the sweet, sweet, sweetcake Katrina and I have baked.
Um, that cake got et last night after we uh, well, never you mind. Everybody (not just authors) loves praise for their efforts. If not praise, then helpful advice on how to tweak our stuff to get that praise. When Katrina and I create our work, we think it is the best told story ever and expect glowing comments because the reader was so deeply affected by our take on the sexual experience. When we submit, we dream of awards, high scores, the green (yellow) E, the red H, the blue (green) W, and multiple comments telling us of our Nobel Prize potential and what a genius we are and how our stories effect the human psyche, bringing about whirled peas and glazed donuts. (Maybe the color discrepancies are because I use a Mac. Possibly with a MS OS the colors would equal their descriptions.) Some authors on this site beg for votes and comments affirming their writing prowess. Some even have the audacity to tell the reader to give them a 5 or don't vote. As a reader, the latter attitude bugs me. Almost wanting to give a 1 just because of that statement but I move on. Impassioned pleas notwithstanding, I think a reader has to be moved by the story itself before one could expect them to take the time to thoughtfully (or not) fashion an observation of it or, for that matter, even take the time decide what to give as a vote.
Finally, I must expand my comments on voting. Literotica has a scale of one to five:
1I Hated It!
2I Didn't Like It Much.
3Liked It - Keep On Writing.
4Really Liked It - Good Read!
5Loved It – One Of The Best!!
Voting is comparatively easy on Literotica once the reader decides what number to use, although there are times I would prefer a 1 to 10 scale. Click the appropriate star and less than three seconds your secret ballot is completed and you're ready to move on to the next story or whatever. The hard part is deciding on the number to click. I have read a lot of stories on here and probably have never voted until I joined the community and started posting my own work and felt comfortable with this site. Still, with some stories I read, even though I made it all the way through, I have a tough time committing to a number. I spend so much time thinking about it I just want to move on. When I do vote, I can't seem to use 1 or 2. With those two descriptions, I didn't make it past the first paragraph or two. Not necessarily the author's fault. I cared less for the tone and direction. Just not my thang. Most second person stories fall in this area. I never know who 'you' is. 'You' never feels like me. Sometimes, it is the author's fault. When their editor is named Spiel Cheek. When the language being used is so full of wrong spellings, grammatical errors and other obstacles in this reader's way. I would rather move on to the next story rather than take the time to grade this person's work and tell them why I gave them a 1 or a 2.
So that leaves me with 3, 4, and 5. If a story is good enough for me to get to the end, I usually give it a 4 because I 'Really Liked It. Good Read!' unless there are obstacles thrown in my path. Then it gets a 3 'Liked It - Keep On Writing.' The author coveted 5 'Loved It – One Of The Best!!' is reserved for one of the best. Oooh, that's ambiguous. Depending on my mood it might be one of the best stories I read in the past hour, day, week, or more. I could decide to compare it to all literature I've read, but I really don't think that would be fair to these fine Lit authors. So now, in the spirit of this voting game, I try to compare it to what I have found on Lit and I have found some good stuff here. Stuff that draws me in, plays with my emotions and libido and makes me glad I entered that author's world. It gets a solid 5. (10 in my fantasy world) Hmm. Maybe I'll write the author and tell her/him how their story inspired me to...