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Poll re FAKE First Year Together: Justice
Dee Blue waves
brit_columbia
Okay, I did kind of screw it up down there in the title area. :P I had a paragraph which was way too long and didn't make it into the poll, mainly because it was in the wrong place. Anyway, what I wanted to say was that if I successfully posted this poll and it worked, etc. etc. , then I would feel confident enough to post another poll! Also, if you want to say something else about Justice that you feel was not addressed in my six m.c. questions, then please feel free to add it in the comments. Ditto if you're not a livejournal member, because I believe that one has to be a member in order to take the poll. I could be wrong about that. Anyway, please give me feedback because I'm really not sure if people are liking this story or not. It would be very helpful for me to know, one way or the other. Thanks!
Poll #1728549 This is my first ever poll, and I still can't quite believe it's going to work, so I shortened it considerably and made it just about Justice. If I successfully post this, and people are able to participate in it because I DIDN'T screw it up technically,
This poll is closed.

Which of the following best describes your feelings for the story Justice:

(a) I am enjoying Justice.
37(86.0%)
(b) I'm waiting for it to be finished before I read it.
2(4.7%)
(c) I read it from time to time.
4(9.3%)
(d) I have not read any chapters of Justice.
0(0.0%)
(e) I stopped reading it because I didn't like it.
0(0.0%)

How do you feel about the current length of the Justice chapters?

(a) They're too long. They should be shorter.
0(0.0%)
(b) They're not long enough. They should be longer.
3(7.3%)
(c) They're just the right length.
38(92.7%)

Would you prefer to see more frequent updates, but with shorter chapters?

(a) Yes.
10(25.0%)
(b) No.
18(45.0%)
(c) I don't know.
12(30.0%)

How do you feel about the plot of Justice?

(a) It's interesting.
39(97.5%)
(b) it's too complicated.
1(2.5%)
(c) Plot is not important to me.
0(0.0%)

How do you feel about the large cast of characters?

(a) I like stories with large casts.
17(38.6%)
(b) There are too many characters to keep track of.
9(20.5%)
(c) The size of the cast is not important to me.
18(40.9%)

How do you feel about the amount of sex in Justice?

(a) There is too much and should be less.
0(0.0%)
(b) There is too little and should be more.
18(40.0%)
(c) There is just the right amount for a story of this type.
20(44.4%)
(d) I would prefer there to be no sex whatsoever in this story.
0(0.0%)
(e) The amount of sex is not important to me.
7(15.6%)

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A few elaborations:
I've never noticed your chapters being too short or too long, but during re-reads, I find that shorter chapters are easier to read and locate bits of information in.

As far as the question of frequence vs. length, it doesn't really matter. I'd hate to see you get all rushed and churn out a crappy chapter just to meet a deadline, so I guess I'd say, take your time, we'll still be here when you're ready!

As for the cast size, I like all of your characters, so I wouldn't say cut any of them out, but the length of time in between chapters does make it a bit difficult to recall exactly who everyone is and what their importance is to the plot. Your character lists are very helpful here.

Hope this helps!

Thank you, it's really helpful. I've observed that you're a reader who doesn't shy away from epic-sized stories, and I'm the same type of person, which is why I always seem to end up populating my multi-chapter fics with so many extra people. Not everyone likes that, however. Some readers prefer a story to revolve as closely as possible around two main characters, or three if there's a love triangle or a nemesis. I'm curious to know how many of those types of readers are actually persisting with my stories. I've probably lost a few along the way, which means they'll probably not be around to take this poll, but oh well.

I appreciate your comment about shorter chapters being easier to re-read and locate info in. I didn't consider that point, so that's useful for me to hear!

I'm wondering whether to make these chapters shorter and update them in about half the time I currently do. I can't update the long chapters any quicker (because they take so much time to write and re-write), but I'm just wondering if quicker turnaround times would help to keep the momentum up up for the readers.

I don't mind the longer wait, because then there's longer chapters, and they're the kind that might need some rereads and gives time for speculations anyway.

I just don't want you to rush out shorter chapters, and then have it seem loosely connected and less well-honed than your chapters have been on average.

And as for the smex, well, Goodness knows I love a good droolsmexytymez, but if we were only ever concerned with the sex, we wouldn't be here, we would be trolling some r-18 fanfiction site for the juiciest dirtiest smut we could find. We're here for the writing!!! The poetic prose! (and how they match with the sex 8D).

Thank you for being here for the writing! Not that I have anything against people showing up for lemons, since I love writing lemons, and announcing that there is a lemon in a chapter is like hanging out a sign that says 'Free chocolate'. Actually, I should qualify that. I love writing lemons about Dee and Ryo because they're in love and all their sex has an emotional-connection component. I don't think I could ever write about total strangers having hot one night stands.

I've been thinking about posting shorter chapters more frequently so as to reduce the chance that my readers will forget about this story in between posts. I know that if I could post as often as say, once a week, the story would be easier to follow and it would always be at the back of more readers' minds than it currently is. I feel that due to the complication of the plot and the space between posts, it's harder for readers to pick up the threads with each new chapter.

On the other hand, however, if I were to post once a week, it would probably have to be in two thousand word bursts, and getting the chapters beta-read would be more problematic. Also, because the story is so involved, I could probably only handle one plot/theme point at a time, instead of throwing in two or more to keep readers with different tastes happy. The end result might be something much choppier. I've been unsure what to do, hence this poll.

Thanks very much for the feedback!

Hello dear! It's been along time since I was actually able to take a moment to talk to you. I have been keeping up with the chapters (I think there were two or three I wasn't able to comment on) and I'm glad you came out with this poll to get some more constructive feedback from your readers.

As far as length and frequency go, I think the way you're going right now is just fine. The chapters are long, yea, but not absurdly so and the frequency with which they are posted allows for the readers to go back and re-read for clarity or for memory (as is my problem).

I love the large cast and all o the different plot lines you have going on; it makes the story just that much more interesting. Also, it gives you the ability to focus solely on one aspect of the story at a time, instead of having to lump all the side stories together along with the main plot.

Like Bikky's battle to get the laptop being an enhancement to Dee visiting the apartment of the young man who thinks Abernathy is really Ryo. Each are interesting to follow on their own, but when you think of how they tie to the overall plot of stopping Abernathy, it makes perfect sense.

Besides that, I like being able to see little snippets of what might happen when you go along a certain vein in the story. Such as the man in the wheelchair stalking Thomas, then miraculously being there to help Bikky get away from Abernathy's goons. We know we're going to see that character again, somewhere down the road, but for now we can focus on something else going on in the same universe.

Really, it's all terribly engaging and I love it!

Inu-spike! I read this comment with delight a couple of days ago, but I had such a deadline-y week that I couldn't get back to you until now.

I'm glad to hear you're still reading. I wasn't sure if you were still interested.

Thank you very much for your feedback, and all of the examples. It's very helpful for me when people are specific.

I needed to do this poll because comments and feedback have been falling off for the last few chapters and I've been starting to wonder if people were silently feeling disappointed or dissatisfied with this story, and if so, what exactly I could do about it.

It seems as though most people either like or don't mind the large cast, but a significant percentage so far wish there were fewer characters to keep track of. My own personal reading style inclines toward big, epic-style trilogies with huge casts who weave in and out of each other's lives, so this is naturally reflected in my writing style! Perhaps you're that type of reader, too?

I know not everyone likes that, however. I've had people say that they gave up on particular books because the books were too demanding in terms of number of characters and/or number of plot threads. Those readers would probably lean toward a leaner type of story.

I used to be able to post more frequently, but partly that was because I used to be able to get by on a lot less sleep than I do now. I'd say that at least 50 percent of A New Day and Slave To a Gladiator were written between midnight and three a.m. Probably more than 50 percent, actually. I just can't do that anymore, so I have to post more slowly nowadays.

I have been considering a shift toward shorter chapters, so I put the questions about chapter length in the poll. It seems most people (so far) like the length, but about 25 percent of readers would be willing to have shorter chapters to read if I could update more often. I may yet try that if that percentage goes higher, but we'll see. I'm planning to keep the poll up for a little bit longer in the hopes that more people will participate.

Anyway, I really appreciate your comments, as I said. I'm glad you're willing to re-read chapters to get a handle on the tangled web of plot developments. That makes you a very committed reader indeed! And thank you for loving it. It's a lot of work, so naturally I want people to love it. And if they don't love it, I really want to know why just in case it's something I can fix.

Hi! I couldn't answer the poll because I don't have a livejournal account... But I feel a bit responsible when you write people have been leaving fewer comments. I know I'm not always good at commenting.

So, for the first question, I'll of course answer (a). The story is engaging, the plot is exciting and I like the characterizations. You are definitely the best writer I have found so far in the FAKE fandom.

As for the second and third questions, I can't really say. I think you should work at the pace that feels best for you.

The plot is very good. Since I found this story quite recently, I have read all chapters so far in one go (well, I DID work, eat and sleep, too, but you know what I mean - I never had to wait for you to write so far). This has made it easier for me to follow the plot, no doubt. I don't mind a complicated plot as long as you manage to remember all the plotlines and give an answer to those things I'm now dying to know! It's always a risk to start reading unfinished stories. As a reader one can only hope the author knows how everything will end! It's always sad to finish a good story, but it's still worse if a story doesn't have an ending.

The large cast... Hmm. Sometimes it has been hard to remember everybody, but on the other hand, your original characters are engaging and well-written. They have added important aspects to the plot. I think it is good as it is.

The last question then: the amount of sex. I'm tempted to write that it should be more, because I enjoy reading it, but on the other hand I could give the same answer here as with the chapter length - write the way you think works best! Generally, I think it is important that the sex scenes and the plot work TOGETHER. If sex scenes are just put in randomly, without connection to the participant’s mood, personality and so on, it just disturbs the story. I don't think this has been a problem for you. In this story sex is an important part of the plot and character development, I think, especially for Ryo. In the beginning, he is insecure and rather passive, while at the same time he resents being passive. Is it degrading to be penetrated during sex? (I find this a very interesting and important political question, by the way, and a link between homophobia and contempt for women) In this context, Sweet Frustration and Stand-Up Guy are important to the storyline. Jackhammer's parole officer (I've forgotten his name now...) will perhaps play a part in resolving this question too? So in conclusion, I wouldn’t mind more sex as long as it continues to work as well with the story as it has so far.

Thank you for writing!
/Stina

Hi Stina,

You know, I just had to click on an option called 'unscreen to reply', which I've never seen before. But if I had to unscreen you, then that means that for some reason, your comment was screened so that I could see it but others couldn't. That never happened on any of your other comments, so I don't understand why it would have happened now.

Anyway, I just wanted to let you know that I will reply in more detail tomorrow. Right now my body is insisting that I go to bed. First it was a long day at work, and then I went to a birthday party. I hope I can sleep deeply and not wake up in the middle of the night regretting all the crab dip!

Thank you very much for your long and thoughtful comment. I'm really sorry that you've caught up on all the chapters, because it must be frustrating having to wait now, when you didn't have to wait before. In a way, it kind of breaks the spell. And it does get more difficult to recall plot details as time goes by.

I can remember all the plotlines, never fear! Thanks for not minding my complicated plot. In future writing I'll try to make the plots less convoluted.

I acknowledge the risk that readers take when they start to read my unfinished story. Even if I stop writing fanfiction, I'll finish out Justice.

I so agree with you about sex scenes working with the plot! One of the things that I don't like about M/M fiction is the endless parade of sex scenes that seem just thrown in, and often at the expense of the plot. The authro could have written all those sex scenes separately, and then used them to pad out her very thin plot. The sex gets given 80% of the weight of the story, and it shouldn't.

Ryo is trying to decide if penetration is degrading, and so far it seems like society certainly thinks so, particularly if the 'penetratee' is a man. This is upsetting him, since it is a new concept to him. Most females, as they grow up and become sexually aware, expect to be sexually penetrated at some point in their lives, so they have a lot of time to get their minds around the concept. Ryo has come to it late, and as a man. The question of whether or not it's degrading for either sex IS an important political question, and thank you for being aware of it.

I'm so glad that you find this story engaging and exciting and that you think I'm doing a good job with the original characters. Thanks for all the encouragement and feedback!

Hey there, Brit!

I have to admit, I'm one of those guilty parties that's fallen into 'Lurker' mode, I'm afraid. I read every chapter, usually within a day or two of its initial posting. Most of the chapters are very engaging, and I enjoy them immensely. A few of them leave me confused, though (part of that whole huge cast thing you've got going on, I think) and I have to backtrack to figure out what I missed the first time around.

I really need to go back to Justice Chapter 1 and start from the beginning, but I haven't had the time yet. I'm getting the feeling that I'm missing a huge part of the plot, so I have to go back and re-read. That's not a bad thing, though, and I'm actually looking forward to it. I'm one of those people that will read a story as it gets updated, but will then go back and read the entire thing all at once after it's been finished. It's amazing how much more sense the connections make when everything gets read at the same time.

Regardless, I am really enjoying Justice. And the little comments/updates you tend to make now and again (yeah, I read them, too, when I get an alert in my e-mail). The characters are well defined, and you obviously have a lovely, working method of keeping track of everybody and what they're doing, and why, which is very very impressive. I can't hold a large cast together for anything, so I'm always impressed by those who can.

As for the whole sex thing, I really enjoy it when Dee and Ryo are together, but that's not really the main focus of this story. If it was, I'm pretty sure the entire thing would have been finished by now. Besides, I've got Slave to a Gladiator for that. Lol! So you're doing just wonderfully there, too! Just enough to keep it entertaining, and to show that neither man has lost interest in the other (although I want to shake the insecurity outta Ryo sometimes).

Take whatever time you need between updates, I'll definitely still be here. I can't make any promises on my commenting consistency, though.

Hmm...re-reading this comment, I'm not entirely sure it answered any of your questions, but at the very least, you know I'm still here, right? Happy writing! :D

Thanks for taking the time to write this feedback for me. I appreciate it very much.

--It's amazing how much more sense the connections make when everything gets read at the same time.-- The main problem with posting a multi-chapter story with big waits in between chapters is that regular readers have plenty of time to lose the threads of the various sub-plots. It's a totally different reading experience for those who come later. I hope this story stands the test of time and is still getting hits ten years from now. It's designed to be read all at once, but it's the regular readers who keep me motivated.

Unfortunately because of all the plot details and the supporting characters, it means that regular readers do have to go back and re-read earlier chapters periodically, or else they find themselves getting thoroughly confused. I don't know if people who read the chapters all in one go also get confused. I would like to know.

I'm very happy that you're enjoying Justice and I'm relieved to know that you're still interested and still reading! Thanks again.

Haha. I find that usually, when I read it all in one go, I don't lose plot threads so easily, because all the connections are still there. It makes it a lot less confusing. I've had quite a number of stories that I've had to go back and do that with, and I find that I read parts that I didn't remember reading the first time, and that it pulls pieces together for me.

The only time re-reading gets really hard is when you have a 50+ chapter "novel", as I call them. I have one story that's on chapter 74, I believe. It'll be rather...daunting if I go back and read it all together later, because the author's still working on it.

I tend to prefer either: really short stories (5 chapters and under), or really really long stories. It's almost as if...the shorter stories are designed that way, so that's good, and it makes for a pleasant way to kill some time. After a certain point, though, I tend to feel that the fiction needs to be longer, because as the chapters continue, more plot is added, and if it ends too soon, there're too many loose ends. So most of my reading is long ones like yours, and then short ones in between the longer updates. I can have well over a dozen stories going at one time, but they're usually spread out among fandoms, so I can still keep the individual plots separate in my head. :)

One of the things that impresses me the most about your writing is that you make these extremely long chapters that are interesting from beginning to end. It does not get boring or mediocre in the middle or faze out in the end. If anything, I have a hard time putting it down to get important things done. I do think there should be more frequent up dates, but completely understand that it takes great effort, time and brain power to create such long, yet awesome chapters. I would not sacrifice length for frequency and likewise would not like for you to sacrifice quality for frequency. I am always pleased to come back and find a new chapter up. Great story! Keep at it; hang in there.

Thank you! I've been floating on air since I read this comment. Of course I want my chapters to be interesting and not bore people. I try my best to construct chapters that carry the reader along from beginning to end, although sometimes I think there might be sections that are necessarily less interesting than others because of plot expediency.

Thank you for weighing in!

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