Effort · 7:06pm
So I set up this little experiment a few days ago. The results have been interesting, but I'm not sure what to do with them.
You see, I've been feeling like my efforts here are inversely proportional to the reception that my stories receive. Most of the things that I've spent the most time on are less popular than the things that I've just pumped out.
For example, I spent quite a while on The Carrot Dog Fight. Not that popular. I spend next to no time on Cheerilee's Thousand. Quite well received. I spend five months writing Resolution on and off. Not much interest. I wrote Apple Ninjas and Other Vital Concerns in about a hour and a half. It was nearly the top story of all time at one point.
It was in that mindset that I wrote Second Birthday. Since I'd just put out Resolution the week before, I thought it would be interesting to see how an idea that I just let flow out of me with minimal tinkering was received. And it did pretty well, though it certainly has a greater percentage of downvotes than I normally get. There are a few comments in there basically saying that things weren't resolved well enough, and there is probably some truth to that. The whole point of that story was just to throw it together and see how it performed, so it's not as tight as my normal stuff. I do feel a bit guilty about that, but I wanted to see the results. I'll probably re-write it at some point because it will bug me.
Anyway, what I'm left with is uncertainty. On one hand, the results were what I generally expected. I think there is something to be said for the purity of an idea that comes out all in one or two writing sessions. It's very fresh in your mind, so it's hard to lose focus and let the story meander. On the other hand, it is a silly comedy about the Mane Six and Spike, so the chances that it was going to do well were pretty good. Maybe I should have thrown up an off-the-top-of-my-head dark story to compare against Resolution.
But I'm still left with this generally feeling that the more I try to clamp down on a story—the more I tinker and smooth—the less people end up liking it. It leaves me wondering if the ideas get too muddy or watered down by all of that work. Or is it a case of digestibility? Are stories that are more raw and simple just easier to digest, and therefore get more interest? I dunno. It's probably not any one thing, really.
In the end, I'll still write what I want to write, regardless of how I think it will be received. I mean, if that was a main concern, I certainly wouldn't have spent half of this year writing a dark story about Adagio. But it is a little disheartening to spend session after session writing something that you know people aren't really going to be into when you could be churning thirty ridiculous stories about Twilight having a secret second birthday. There's nothing for it, though. In the end, popularity here is a very hollow thing, though it doesn't stop me from wanting to have my stories loved. I've been to the top of the Fimfiction mountain a few times, and you know what? Ain't nobody remembers it but me. I try to keep that in mind when I'm writing. In the end, all there generally is as a record is your stories. Maybe all that care and attention turns people off and maybe it doesn't, but at least I'm left with things I'm generally proud of.