lunabee34: (fancrone by chinashop)
[personal profile] lunabee34
It's become clear to me that I probably need to completely overhaul the summaries and tagging (maybe not so much the tagging) on just about everything I've posted to AO3. *sigh*

When I uploaded most of my old fic, I just kept the original summary which many times was just a sentence or two from the fic or even just an announcement that I'd written the fic for someone.

I've seen enough discussion of fic summaries on meme at this point to realize that I'm not doing myself any favors with those kinds of summaries, but wow is that a massive undertaking to contemplate.
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(no subject)

15/6/17 15:57 (UTC)
karmageddon: (Candles)
Posted by [personal profile] karmageddon
You might start with the top ten most-read things, then after awhile, the next top ten, or a handful of sentimental favorites. I'd imagine (though I don't know for sure) that for most people with a lot things on Ao3, 90% of their clicks are on the same 5 things?

(no subject)

15/6/17 16:40 (UTC)
elfin: image: kitten text: i read your fanfiction.  you are messed up. (fanfiction.kitteh)
Posted by [personal profile] elfin
lol my summaries. If I write one that's more than 5 words long it's a miracle.

(no subject)

16/6/17 18:17 (UTC)
elfin: image:  olivia;  text: invincible (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] elfin
*high five*

(no subject)

15/6/17 17:00 (UTC)
sholio: sun on winter trees (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] sholio
Not that you can't do whatever you want with your fic, of course .... but does it really matter enough to be worth overhauling your entire fic list? I mean, especially with older stuff, people usually find that sort of thing because they're either reading everything for their ship/fandom/character, or reading someone's back catalogue, or following a rec -- so the summary/title/etc doesn't matter all that much.

I've also ended up with exactly the opposite takeaway from all the many discussions of titles and summaries over the years, which is that people have so many different opinions that there's no real point in trying to follow the trends. As per recent discussions, a lot of people really vocally hate tumblr-style tags on fic, but in younger-skewing fandoms, most of the popular fics have them (because that's what people are used to, even if the Fandom Olds complain about it). I kinda think people complaining about quote summaries is similar to that. Or people complaining about song titles on fic. Or people complaining about titles on fic that are too short/nondescriptive. Or people complaining about original characters in fic. Or people complaining about popular pairing tropes in fic. Or or or.

... I mean, it's worth knowing that some readers object to fic-quote summaries. But some like them. I'm basically neutral on them; I don't find them better or worse than any other kind of summary. They don't tell you as much about the actual plot as a descriptive summary, but they're an advertisement of the writer's style and they tend to suggest a certain kind of fic -- that is, people don't usually use fic quote summaries on 20K casefic-style fics; they usually use quote summaries on short mood/character pieces, and I'd think in those cases, a few lines from the fic is actually MORE useful as an advertisement of what's actually in the fic than a bunch of summaries along the lines of "John thinks about death" or "A look at Mary and John's relationship over the years").

Obviously it's fine to change them if they're bothering you, or if you think you might be actively losing readers because of them. Or maybe just go back and polish up the summaries on your most popular fic, like [personal profile] karmageddon said. But ... idk. I don't really see a point in completely overhauling how I do things because a relative few strangers on the internet said I'm doing it wrong.

(Case in point: the recent discussion about posting unrelated drabbles in a particular fandom as chapters of a single fic instead of their own mini-fics. Some people really vocally HATE that, but I'm not going to stop, because it works for me as an author; they can just not read my fic if they hate it so much that it prejudices them forever against me. XD)

(no subject)

15/6/17 17:27 (UTC)
musyc: Silver flute resting diagonally across sheet music (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] musyc
*points to [personal profile] sholio's comment with a THIS gesture* I often use a quote from the fic, because sometimes ... well, I can. I'm not going to sit and agonize over a summary when the summary is "this is short and mostly porn".

Also remember, whichever meme it is that you're reading, the people who complain about those sort of summaries are people who want to complain about them. There are oodles and oodles of people who you'll never see saying a word about quote-style summaries because said people have either neutral or positive feelings on them.

(no subject)

15/6/17 19:13 (UTC)
kore: (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] kore
I absolutely hate writing summaries and it's really depressing to read that so many people won't even give fic a chance without them, or if it has a few words they don't like. I usually get away with using a quote from the story itself, but a lot of people don't seem to like that either! Bah.

-- Also this carbon dates me but I remember back on email lists and fic sites when you didn't get ANY fucking summary, or if you did it was like one line. This whole "Give us summaries like I'm a publisher deciding whether or not to read your book!" trend needs to die.
Edited 15/6/17 19:13 (UTC)

(no subject)

17/6/17 00:17 (UTC)
kore: (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] kore
Yeah, it's probably one of those things where a minority population complains a lot about something that most people do. I mean, I look at the summaries on AO3 even for fics that have a lot of kudos and hits, and most of them aren't that great! or they're terse, or quotes from the fic, or whatever. I rarely see these one-paragraph masterpieces of absolutely honest and eloquent communication everyone seems to demand before they'll even freaking click through.

I don't base reading fic on tags or titles or summaries or "is this epigraph from a song"* anyway. If it looks vaguely interesting, I click and read the first couple paragraphs, or what might be the first page if printed out. If there aren't any huge dealbreakers, I'll give it a chance. I wonder if maybe some of this behaviour is based on "peak fic" -- there's so many more choices and you couldn't ever read all the fic on AO3? I don't know.


*well, if it's Mumford and Sons or the Avett Brothers, that doesn't help. I also don't like Richard Siken titles. But it's not a dealbreaker.

(no subject)

17/6/17 17:17 (UTC)
executrix: (aletheia)
Posted by [personal profile] executrix
Ah, but compared to the Platonic ideal of the exchange letter, hand-crafting the ideal summary out of the finest materials is a cinch.

(no subject)

15/6/17 20:19 (UTC)
china_shop: Lolcats kittens saying Don't Look! (Don't Look)
Posted by [personal profile] china_shop
Yeah, this is why I avoid the meme. Those kinds of opinions tend to get in my head and worm around uncomfortably, even if logically I disagree with them. ;-P

(no subject)

17/6/17 00:19 (UTC)
kore: (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] kore
Yeah, I can't read the "things you hate in fic" or "things that throw you out of a fic" or "worst fic cliches" threads. It's all just the subjective and vehemently expressed opinions of probably half-a-dozen people in a a particular thread, anyway.

(no subject)

17/6/17 00:39 (UTC)
china_shop: text icon that says, "In my day, we downloaded fic onto paper" (download fic on paper)
Posted by [personal profile] china_shop
Exactly. I'm happier when I can forget that there are people out there critiquing every move I make online. ;-P

(no subject)

16/6/17 02:09 (UTC)
umadoshi: (fangirl (bisty_icons))
Posted by [personal profile] umadoshi
(That is SUCH a good icon.)

I think [dreamwidth.org profile] sholio's right. There's no pleasing everyone on this. (Or on anything, but fic summaries are a vivid example. Wildly differing opinions all over the place!)

I haven't got any useful personal experience, really; Newsflesh is the only fandom I've been in recently enough that my experiences in it aren't completely outdated, and the fandom is so small (and my fic makes up such an uncomfortably high percentage of what's on AO3) that if someone goes looking for fic in the fandom, they're gonna see mine, and either they'll care or they won't. But FWIW, I despise writing summaries passionately and do generally fall back on "[short quote from the fic] + [one- or two-sentence summary] (with content info in the tags)".

(Also--not based on this precise post--I'm sorry you have a cold. ;_; I hope it's vastly improved by morning. *hugs*)

(no subject)

17/6/17 15:40 (UTC)
umadoshi: (kittens - sleeping)
Posted by [personal profile] umadoshi
*snags icon!*

Yay, I'm glad you're starting to feel better! *hugs*

And that sounds like a good plan. ^_^

(no subject)

16/6/17 02:12 (UTC)
unforgotten: (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] unforgotten
Agreed with the people who say that opinions vary on this issue (as well as any other issue dealing with how you present your fics - tags and warning and on and on and on). You get a lot of really loud opinionated people discussing things on meme, and there's no telling how many of them they are, or if the percentage of anons with that opinion is anywhere near the percentage of fandom with that opinion. I'd hazard a guess that not only is most of fandom not on meme, but most of meme doesn't care enough to even read those threads. :P

What I would suggest is to not worry too much about your previous fics, unless there are certain fics whose summaries just bug you. Fix those, if you can think of a new summary you think is better. But there's no need to change the summaries on your entire backlist unless you're having fun changing a few and decide to keep going. Going forward, though, you can experiment with new types of summaries for any new fic you post and see how it goes.

(no subject)

17/6/17 00:24 (UTC)
kore: (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] kore
You get a lot of really loud opinionated people discussing things on meme, and there's no telling how many of them they are, or if the percentage of anons with that opinion is anywhere near the percentage of fandom with that opinion. I'd hazard a guess that not only is most of fandom not on meme, but most of meme doesn't care enough to even read those threads. :P

I think that's a good point. It's the people who care enough to post about that stuff in the first place who are commenting, and that kind of filters out a lot of people right there. For all we know a thread about "fics without summaries suck" could have five people posting in it and fifty people silently disagreeing. Or, as you say, just not caring to read it.

And, like sholio said, it's also mostly personal preferences, since AO3 leaves this stuff wide open. It's not like writing an academic precis or having to tag something specific to a house style.

(no subject)

17/6/17 01:38 (UTC)
independence1776: A dog wearing glasses resting its head on a notebook, thinking, "Anyone seen the plot I lost?" (Lost plot dog)
Posted by [personal profile] independence1776
It's almost pointless posting here now given you've decided what to do, but I may as well.

I have several how-to-write-summaries metas bookmarked (because writing summaries is a Pain) and every single one of them suggests quotes from the story as a valid option.

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