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What Makes a Story Appealing...

Posted by BoOkWoRm24 , 11 April 2012 · 460 views

Alright so first off I want to say hello to everyone as this is my first blog entry. I am going to tell you now that I have no intention of blogging regularly. I am going to blog when I feel I have something to say. Right now I feel like I have something to say.

As a writer I must admit that a question that commonly crosses my mind is how can I make my stories more appealing? When it comes down to it I write because I love writing, but I would be lying if I said I didn’t care about people seeing my work. The obvious answer here is to get a banner and chapter images from TDA so that it looks the part. The second thing to do is clean up the grammar errors and make sure the writing itself is well done. But what happens after that? Do you just hope that you have readers and people like it? There isn’t much else that you yourself can do about getting readers.

I was thinking on this today and started to think about what draws me to a story. To be honest the first thing is the banner on the archive. If it’s pretty I open the story up and check it out. Beyond that though, I also find myself reading a lot of next gen fics. The concept of continuing the Harry Potter story was what brought me to fanfiction after all. It is also true that a lot of these fics can be a bit repetitive to the point where there are clichés for each character and plot line. The few stories that I am following like a stalker are exceedingly original.

When I took a look at my on fics I found an interesting trend. First a little backround- I am writing two novels at the moment. The first is fairly original as it is about Voldemort’s son who goes to Hogwarts at the same time as Harry. The second is a next gen fic about Albus, Rose, and Scorpius. Although I think my plot is original as well as my take on Albus, on a whole there is probably quite a few clichés in the other aspects of it. There are only so many ways you can write James Potter, Rose Weasley, and some of the other members in their family.

If I look at my reads for each story I have found that my next-gen fic has received much more than the one on Voldemort’s son. I remember the first few chapters that I published for the one on Voldemort’s son. I got about 20 reads and then I would publish a chapter and it would go through without a single new read. My next gen fic has six chapters published and is already above 200 reads. On the other hand if I look at the reviews the amount of random reviewers was much higher on the Voldemort’s son fic. I got three random ones when I published just the first chapter. That number has been growing gradually as new chapters come out. I think I have three total random reviews on the next-gen fic. The rest were all requested and/or from review battles. Also if you look at the favorites I have 8 for the Voldemort’s son fic and 2 for the Next-gen. Now you have to consider that the Voldemort’s son one has been out for a much longer time and has many more chapters out then the Next Gen one.

After analyzing this very carefully(because I’m obsessive over my stories like that) I’ve come up with a theory. While Next Gen fics are much more popular, they are also easy to come by. I think people go through and read the beginning but don’t have the urge to come back because it isn’t the most original thing in the world. The other story though it doesn’t attract as many readers by its cover, it retains its readers. People don’t see as many of that type of story so they need to follow it in order to get more of it.

I am going to conclude this with a question or two for any readers out there. What type of stories do you follow? Do you read a lot of something popular but follow a few really original stories like I do, or do you do something else? Have you seen a similar trend with your own stories?
Any who thanks for reading my first blog entry
-BoOkWoRm24

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These were some really good points! Original stories definitely have more devoted readers, while unoriginal fic readers aren't as devoted.

I'll admit, I have favorited multiple next-gen stories, but I haven't bothered reading them when new chapters come out. Sorry, I wish that hadn't sounded too harsh, but it's true! Yet those ever-popular Next-Gen stories have 100+ reviews and lots of favorites. But then there are those rare, unique stories that become well-known.

And what's best about a well-known unique story is that nobody can copy the idea because everyone would know they were copying. Heck, there are so many next-gen stories that are almost identical in plot and characterizations!

My first story ever published was a next-gen, and I'll admit, it was only for reviews and favorites. Maybe my plot was very unoriginal, but I had three chapters and no reviews, and under fifty reads. (I deleted that story shortly after a few weeks of publishing it.)

Then I published a unique Hogwarts era Fiction that took place during the war, I was surprised at the progress. Much unlike my old next-generation fic, I had over thirty reviews and a good amount of favorites by three chapters.

And although your Voldemort's son fic isn't as popular as your next gen fic, I think it's a very good, original idea. Originality is all that matters. But wait: originality does have it's limits. It neads to be original and realistic. I guess readers simply thought your idea was too unrealistic?

Sorry if I went a bit off-topic....Anyway, loved this blog! :D
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I usually don't read the really popular fics, most that I've come by are Humor, Romance, Drama and while I'm a fan of Drama I don't like humor much (ironic since I love the Weasley Twins :p ) I like Dark fics with gripping stories. Original ideas and twists also win me over. I admit I don't like next-gen much my favorite era is Hogwarts era or Marauders.

In conclusion I personally value originality and characterization above anything else. :)

By the way great blog!
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I find myself agreeing with a lot of this post.

I haven't finished reading any next gen fics. I didn't like how JKR ended it and maybe that's why I tend to avoid next gen fics. I've always been drawn to AU and redo stories, but only the ones that are shockingly good. There's so many time travel and slightly AU stories that they tend to blur together and only the great ones stand out.

I've finished two stories. One's about 66k words and got some good reviews and one is 260k+ words that took me three years to finish. Funnily enough, it had good reviews and everyone says they were interested, but once the story jumped the shark, everyone started posting more and more reviews. They weren't interested as much in the AU as they were in something completely different.

That's not to say people are only interested in completely different things, but I do agree that people may enjoy a good story, they tend to remember and really think about the ones that are different and stand out.

That's why I tend to read stories that are low on reviews but have an incredibly different plot. I've ready so many stories over the years that I can instantly spot an archetype or a potential plot arc from just the very beginning, so even if they're a magnificent writer, it doesn't really capture my attention.
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xxJazminexx
Apr 11 2012 03:39 PM
I also like most of the aboves find myself agreeing.

I only have two novels and I cant really compare them because one is a Crossover of HP and THG but the other is a Next-gen. Actually I think my next-gen is doing well (Its only on 2nd chapter).

I tend to start reading next gen and never finishing because I find a lot to be similar and most are in the light-hearted, fluffy genres and I like to read one-shots of these but when it comes to novels I find with these (fluff especially) there is never a proper storyline and the story never really goes anywhere.

On my favourites I have a mix of popular and not so popular. I like to give every story I read a chance, no matter how unoriginal they look. That's why I like de-cliché'ing storylines (Example: My Next-gen is a story of Teenage pregnancy but not the usual story xD)

For me, reading stories I need to feel like the story is going somewhere and it isnt pointless. Originality definitely helps in this aspect.
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