Observations of a Picky ReaderbyBarns10©
Hello! I have been a Literotica reader since 2007. I have been overall impressed by the quality of writing on the site and I appreciate the work everyone does in creating their stories and admire the courage it takes to post a story. I commend all those who have used Lit to develop as a writer. That said, often I am a picky reader and have noticed things I don't always have the opportunity to critique or comment on. This has led to creating a list of tips based on my experiences as a reader for writing stories, getting a story read, and maintaining long term readers. I hope it helps someone!
Tips on writing a story
1. Its pretty obvious, but there is nothing more important than thorough proofreading and/or finding someone else who will read through your story before publishing. Mistakes happen, but if you have too many it becomes unreadable for many.
2. If your story is location specific, know the location you are writing about. If you can't visit the area yourself then take the time to read up on your location, check out blogs written by people who live in the area, and Google location pictures to get a better sense of what makes the location unique. If you can, find someone on Lit who is from the location to read through your story to make sure the location rings true.
3. Be mindful when using dialect in your story. Too much dialect or too poorly done can make the story unreadable, but when it is well done it can transport the reader.
4. I think writing Science Fiction and Fantasy short stories is very challenging and I respect all those who write in this category. You have to build an entire world and society within a few short pages. Take the time to fully think through the world you want to create. The best in the professional writing field, Tolkien, Lucas, Rowling, are the best because they themselves know every detail of the worlds they create to the point where they can be consistent throughout their stories.
5. The number of named characters should be proportional to the length of the story. If you are writing a multi-part story consider providing a list of characters at the top of each new chapter.
6. Be consistent within your story. Nothing is more disorientating than when a major detail, such as someone's name, changes within a story. This is something proofreading can fix, and is more important than grammar or spelling.
Tips on getting your story read
1. Under no circumstances allow a story's title and description to have any spelling or grammatical errors. Nearly 100 percent of the time I will bypass any stories with such errors. If an author can't proofread this section, the quality of the story itself is automatically in doubt.
2. Think before you use a pun. I think coming up with a title is often the most challenging part of writing. If you have a clever and rarely used pun that fits your story go for it. On the other hand, avoid using puns as a lazy titling device. Puns that include variations of cum particularly fit this category.
3. Pick an accurate category for your story. It seems obvious, but occasionally you will find a story that should have been in another category. Almost everyone is particular about what they want read. Additionally, if your story could fit two categories such as a Fetish Romance, put it in the category that best describes it, but include the other category in your description.
4. If you write a Text With Audio story consider providing the text or also publishing it under another category without the text. It may pull in more readers for you if there is a non-audio version.
5. For any categories that may be offensive for some readers, such as Incest, Nonconsensual/Reluctance, or BDSM, if your story is a milder form of the genre (i.e. sex with step-family or in-law, role play reluctance, light bondage or spanking) consider putting that in your description to pull in more readers.
6. Consider who you want your audience to be. Do you want it to be predominantly one gender or one sexual orientation? This will have a significant impact on who actually reads your stories. Sexual fantasies are often very specific to the groups you want to write for. For example, fantasies for women or men are different than women and men.
7. Don't give away surprise endings in the description.
Tips on getting long term readers
1. Write! Probably the worst thing as a reader is when you are reading a multi-part story and the author quits writing. That said, we know writers have lives and that the writing process takes awhile. This is not in reference to authors who just need time to write and often, bless them, take the time to update us.
2. Unless it is part of a personal writing exercise (in which case more power to you), be careful of not writing the same characters in all of your stories. Different names will not hide the fact that the characters have the same quirks, insecurities, or idealistic qualities. Even best selling authors have this problem.