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Moments You've Started To Read A Story And Found Yourself Backing Out Quietly...

#9
(06-12-17, 06:05 PM)SJ Reaver Wrote: Rape. I still remember the night where the random button brought me to three fictions in a row, all if which had the MC randomly raping someone in the first few chapters.

Whoa! That's crazy. If I ever encounter that I'll be giving out my first 0.5 on here.
An Urban Fantasy Set In A Unique Universe
Eight God Engine
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#10
(06-12-17, 06:05 PM)SJ Reaver Wrote: Rape. I still remember the night where the random button brought me to three fictions in a row, all if which had the MC randomly raping someone in the first few chapters.

Ouch... you won the pain lottery three times in a row.
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#11
(06-12-17, 06:05 PM)SJ Reaver Wrote: Rape. I still remember the night where the random button brought me to three fictions in a row, all if which had the MC randomly raping someone in the first few chapters.

That is not an immediate "silently backing out thing" for me , but it better be hella important to the character building, and not just some random gratuitous violence. 
Rape can be incredibly off putting, and putting it early in a story will cost you lots of readers if they haven't had time to get invested yet.

(06-12-17, 07:05 PM)batotit Wrote: lol, in my experience readers don't back out quietly. They will tell you full on why they are dropping your story and why you lost him.

I've yet to have that happen. Is this something that people only do if they are already well invested in the characters? 
I personally feel that my reader retention is pretty low when I look at my story's stats, But I have very few comments actually criticising my work. even tho I actively engage with, and have made clear that I welcome it so I can try to learn from it.
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#12
(17-12-17, 11:05 PM)Antice Wrote:
(06-12-17, 07:05 PM)batotit Wrote: lol, in my experience readers don't back out quietly. They will tell you full on why they are dropping your story and why you lost him.

I've yet to have that happen. Is this something that people only do if they are already well invested in the characters? 
I personally feel that my reader retention is pretty low when I look at my story's stats, But I have very few comments actually criticising my work. even tho I actively engage with, and have made clear that I welcome it so I can try to learn from it.

I think that usually you would get those sort of heated comments when the reader feels like you've betrayed one of the expectations they had for your story. For example, if you promise that you have an OP protagonist who'll nab a whole bunch of girls, yet in the actual story the protagonist never follows through, you're bound to get a bunch of angry comments.

Or, if you were setting up a plot arc that promised specific things like adventure, mystery, heavy action sequences, but then change your mind and go another direction - the readers would notice that and might call you out on it.

Readers will only tell you why they dropped if they feel really strongly about it, after all, so there does have to be something compelling in your story that the readers think you aren't doing justice (though whether they're right or not depends on what the author wanted to do).

In most cases, though, losing readers is simply a case of them moving their mouse up and clicking X.

If you're worried about the views stats on your story, then it's very common in every media that the first parts of a series gain the most views, but the middle and last parts have the least. No matter how great a series is, it's pretty much impossible for each part to have a 100% retention rate. If you check out youtube/lets play series for example, "Part 1s" typically have maybe triple more views than "Part 4s".

What's more important is if you have a core number of minimum views (loyal readers) for each part. Even if some chapters get 2,000 views, and some get only 400, as long as there's consistently at least 400 views on every chapter then you can be assured that those are 400 loyal readers. I noticed that when you add descriptive names in your chapter titles, more 'random' readers are attracted to buzzwords like revenge, battle, god, date, etc etc that signify that some exciting event happens in that chapter. However, the setup chapters that are equally or more important than those climactic ones may get lower views, even when they're directly preceding. So, in that case, it's simply that there are some errant people that only want to see some cool explosive scenes and don't actually care for the whole of your story - and you can ignore them.

However, a bigger issue would be if your first few chapters have maybe thousands of views, but the later ones barely break through the hundreds. That would mean that you do have a retention problem.

If people aren't saying why they stopped reading, then that would usually indicate a pacing problem in the story. In other words, the story is delivering exactly what the premise said it would, but it's either doing it way too slowly or in a way that's not interesting enough.

It's very common that when you first get an idea for a story you think up of all the cool things that go into the introduction, but when you near the middle you've run out of interesting details to add, so the events and dialogue get shallower and slimmer. The things that happen might drag out longer because you're adding filler to make up for not knowing what should happen next. By that point the reader's interest will also wane, and they will eventually stop reading and look for something that can deliver a satisfying arc more quickly.

I'm looking at your fiction page now, and it looks like you're doing very well with consistent and face-paced releases. To be honest I feel like you should just keep writing and not worry about reader retention; it's more important to have a finished story that you enjoyed making.

If improving your story as you go is more important than getting it out there, though, then I suggest either finding an editor to help you check grammar and paragraph structures, or that you try using something like Grammarly. With a quick glance I can't judge the contents of your story, but it might be worth trying to improve the visual appearance and readability. When there are spelling/grammar errors, the reader might stop to think about whether the word/sentence was written correctly, or the error might even cause them to not know what the sentence is supposed to mean. That's a big distraction that can pull people out of the flow of your story, and it's something that's relatively easy to fix compared to the hard task of imagining and creating the events that happen in your book.
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#13
Editing. Man oh man, editing. I don't need sentence structure to be perfect (English is a pretty loose language, after all), and I don't even need the author to speak English as their primary language - but if words are constantly misspelled (or even missing), it throws me. When I finish the stories I'm working on, I'll look into hiring an editor regardless of how good a job I THINK I did, for that very reason :) Moving on though...

Characters that don't learn their lesson and continue to make the same mistakes or - often more bothersome to me, continue to cause or be involved in the same misunderstandings, have caused me to back away with a sigh plenty of times. Love Triangles often play a part, and I am tired of those for other reasons, but there are always misunderstandings with those.

Don't get me wrong - making mistakes (even more than once, depending on perspective and situation) and dealing with misunderstandings can be a good mechanic for storytelling - but when the MC never learns? I'm out. I'm a logical individual, and when I make mistakes, I strive to learn from them and not repeat them. When I am engaged in a misunderstanding, I don't just let it go - I confront it, and work with the other party to resolve it.

I can let some of my own logic go for the purpose of a story, but only so far. I don't have time for MCs that waste my time with consistent repeats of those tropes.
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#14
Excessive narratives at the beginning of stories, or, "info dumping", usually makes me quietly bow out.  I understand that many stories take place in fantasy settings or other worlds which may require time to build in the reader's mind, but some writers seem to think that the definition of "prologue" is:  "Explain everything about the story ahead of time because I'm too lazy to explore it gradually as the story progresses."  I'm not interested in being bombarded by history lessons before a story begins, unless, the history itself is engaging and treated as part of the "present" story.  I prefer to be thrown into a tale that isn't immediately buried beneath loads of information that isn't relevant yet, making the pace of the story like slowly hiking through a swamp before I'm introduced to characters, plot, etc.  Too much "explaining" at the beginning is like starting a race where the story momentum is so painfully slow that your storytelling has already broken down on the side of the highway.
Author of Don't Feed The Dark - an apocalyptic serial novel. 

Former member of The Order of Phantasmal Architects - a collective of unusual, excellent and diverse stories

 
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