• Member Since 3rd Jun, 2012
  • offline last seen January 21st

Dusty Sage

I've been writing online for thirty years. One of these days I might actually get good at it.

More Blog Posts189

  • 14 weeks
    Falling behind

    I'm getting to the point where just keeping up is beyond my dwindling capacities. I'm not sure what's going on, but I suspect I'm not going to like it when I find out.

    Anyway, I apologize for having been such a lousy correspondent this year.

    2 comments · 34 views
  • 28 weeks
    Having gone wandering off somewhere

    Of late, I seem to have been overtaken by events: my health has taken a turn for the worst, I wrecked my car, and the guy they hired to help me out at work has moved away. (Another guy has drawn the short straw.) I'm still alive, but it's not something I much feel like bragging about.

    0 comments · 41 views
  • 69 weeks
    A night at the beer garden

    I mean, I'm not allowed beer anymore, at least not until I get off some of these damnable medications, but our little table had massive fun discussing Jenga, photography, classic and modern weaponry, beer (of course) -- and ponies. Apparently they'd read my stuff. Who knew?

    23 comments · 172 views
  • 81 weeks
    Newer avatar

    Regular visitors will remember that I'd asked the estimable LeekFish to knock out a sketch for my, um, OC. I posted it here, and it was well received; our own Twifight Sparkill came up with an idea, and heck, there's no reason you shouldn't see it here, especially since she's revised it to give me a more, um, scholarly look. (The LeekFish original is still in the sidebar at

    Read More

    2 comments · 112 views
  • 84 weeks
    Back in the Real World

    I think I would rather spend two weeks in the Everfree, trying to avoid everything that can kill me, and in the Everfree I assume everything can kill me, than one more minute in a hospital room.

    That said, their definition of "on the mend" doesn't quite coincide with mine.

    7 comments · 174 views

The dreaded dropoff ratio · 2:22am Jul 24th, 2014

I am always fascinated by Bad Horse's blog posts, and this one is no exception. I zeroed in on this particular statistic:

The number of people who read chapter 2 is usually 40% to 70% of the number who read chapter 1. The exceptions to this rule are not good stories, but very, very bad stories. For this gem, for instance, it's 93%.

And this conclusion of his contains about 55 percent pure burn:

All the effort I've made to write "well" then seems silly. It's just setting the difficulty level higher. And that is the sort of thing that makes sense mainly for people who write for themselves, who are playing solitaire (to win) rather than hearts (to have fun with other people).

I am minded of Janis Ian's reference (in "At Seventeen") to "cheat ourselves at solitaire," which, on the face of it, sounds like my approach.

That said, I went to gather the numbers -- on The Sparkle Chronicles, simply because there are more numbers to be gathered -- and minded the decline:

Chapter 1 - 2299 views.
Chapter 2 - 1454 views.
Chapter 3 - 1368 views.
Chapter 4 - 1377 views.
Chapter 5 - 1264 views.
Chapter 6 - 1628 views.

Chapter 2 readers, compared to Chapter 1 readers: 63.2 percent. In the ballpark, though not in the Major Leagues. (I assume the burst of enthusiasm for Chapter 6 is due to people wanting to make sure it's over.)

Of course, the startling statistic is the fact that all these numbers have four digits; I was expecting maybe a couple of dozen reads, and no more, before the rest of the world lost interest. We have since established that I am no good at projecting these things.

Report Dusty Sage · 287 views · Story: The Sparkle Chronicles ·
Comments ( 2 )

I would love rates that high. Of readers who start Quizzical only one in 20 finishes.

I expected a much steeper dropoff than I got. Then again, Quizzical was -- what, 11 chapters?

Let's see what I get for Second Act:

Chapter 1: 921 views.
Chapter 2: 636 views.
Chapter 3: 1137 views.
Chapter 4: 739 views.

Already anomalous: Chapter 3 has the most reads. (Then again, it's the "technical description" of the ponification process; I suspect some folks looked at that just to make sure it wasn't Conversion Bureau stuff.)

Chapter 2/Chapter 1 ratio: 69 percent. Go figure.

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