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Pray that there's intelligent life somewhere out in space, because there's bugger-all down here on Earth.

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Random Ramblings CXXXIX · 6:05am Feb 23rd, 2017

To say I'm disappointed in the reception Rarity Pays For A Burrito has gotten would be a massive understatement. In fact, I'm damn angry. Mostly at myself. I made a gamble. I was so excited about sharing it. I should have released it later in the day when more people would see it. I failed my story. And I'll never have another chance for it to reach the audience I feel it deserves. I would delete it and resubmit, but I think the story is fine as-is, so I can't even do that.

I know it is a much better story than a friggin' 20% dislike ratio. NO other story of mine is this hated, except maybe When There's Smoke -- and I can at least understand why people didn't like that. Hell, Orangeglow got a better reception, and that fic is one big F-you to Donald Trump (who seems very popular on this site). What did I do wrong? I don't know.

The people who leave dislikes on my stories without bothering to explain how I might be able to improve irritate me. Each bit of red is a dagger into my gut.

I wish I knew how to get Rarity's Burrito story more exposure. I think if more people read it, they would like it (and hopefully improve that godawful green/red ratio).

Whatever. I hate myself. I'm a failure as a writer. I evidently can't even make my signature series any good anymore. I think I'll just give up.

Still, I made a promise. Next blogpost (unless something comes up), I'm posting a synopsis of the first part of my mythical Pinkamena fic from 2013.

Report Soufriere · 171 views · Story: Rarity Pays For Burritos · #rant
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Comments ( 5 )

Hey man,

Brian Blessed says it best: Don't let the bastards grind you down. I'd post a link to him saying it at enormous volume, but I don't know what the nsfw boundaries are regarding the word 'bastard.'

It's infuriating when that happens, isn't it? I made the mistake of believing that my third story would be auto-approved (didn't actually happen until my fourth), and so what should have been peak time to hit the new stories column on the main page instead ended up being 6 a.m. on New Year's Eve, and no one saw it. Happily, I've found that viewing figures have been steadily doing their thing and it's not looking so bad after a couple of months - so people are either finding the story by searching for the tagged characters, or looking in the groups its been added to. I stuck it in a rather silly total of 25 groups; could that be a viable strategy for the burrito story? I see it's so far in six, it could perhaps be added to these five as well, and probably numerous others?

That's about the only way to counter the problem I can think of. I mean, you could write on the pages of everyone who's left comments on any of the other Burrito/Recovery stories and let them know you have a new one, but that might look a bit desperate. And 15% dislikes doesn't suggest a bad story, just one that a few people objected to, for whatever reason.

And you're in good company. Also with similar like/dislike ratios are:

The story of mine I mentioned above, when I think it's one of my best (and it's by far my longest).
The story I proofread that offers a wonderfully detailed journey into Sunset's psyche, and some uncompromisingly brutal Dazzlings.
The only story on this site for the best ship ever.
The best rendition I've seen of Sunset joining the Dazzlings.
The definitive TriAgio story, which recently came up in the Sucker for a Cute Face comments as being highly regarded by the siren fans.
My favourite horror story on this site.
The only story that's ever made me like an OC (but that's not to say that its portrayal of the main characters isn't the focus of the story, and absolutely beautiful).
The 125-chapter-and-counting hilariousness that is, to me, the definitive HiE work.
The biggest, most ambitious, most detailed, and probably most lovingly created siren story on the site, which is exceptionally well-written.

So these things happen. There's more to whether a story is good or not than just how green that bar is. I realised, upon reading this post, that I hadn't left a like on it myself, so I went back and added one. If nothing else, you might find that if it's mostly a matter of people missing the story because it was released at a bad time, then many might go back and read it if you bring out the next burrito instalment.

I would say, if I may be so bold - give it three months, and then see how the numbers look. If you add it to enough groups, it might steadily climb. My one is now catching up with my main, ongoing story; I'm not sure how I feel about that.

4438483 - You've got some good points there. And I appreciate the pick-me-up.

I've never been good at managing putting stories in groups -- in fact, I don't think my very first story is in any at all -- because I just don't really follow many groups myself. The only ones I'm in that I actually receive updates on are Sunset Shimmer and Maud Pie -- which is a bit weird since I almost never read Sunset stories anymore due to not wanting to be accused of plagiarism. All of the others I just joined so that I could add stories to them, and I typically choose the biggest or most-trafficked. I might try joining the groups you've listed and posting "Rarity" there too.

I started submitting stories before the auto-approval thing happened (and was eligible immediately). I've never had a story rejected, but the moderation queue did screw me over at least once by not posting Sonata Dusk Eats A Burrito until literally ten hours before the Season 5 finale aired -- I'd submitted it days earlier hoping to avoid that because I expected a rush of Starlight Glimmer fics (which is exactly what happened). I was disappointed because Sunset's half of the story had taken off beyond almost anything I could have imagined, even though I had to go back the next day and fix a continuity error and then change tags, and I felt Sonata's half was better-written… except for its lack of music references that I'm still kicking myself about.

I also believe in a sort of bandwagon effect -- whatever the first few votes are influence how everyone else reacts regardless of the quality of the story. In "Rarity"'s case, the first or second vote was a dislike for some reason, and that just killed whatever momentum it could have had.

This is actually the first Sunset Shimmer story I've written that hasn't done well by my standards. Sure, the upvotes are slowly increasing. When I wrote this blogpost, it was 12 likes vs 3 dislikes (thus 20% dislike, which is very high for me), but now like you said it's closer to 13% dislike, which I can take. I'd still love to get the readership up. I'm not about to beg, though. That would be spammy and make me seem like a tool. The non-reception of A Day In The Park really hurts too because I spent over a month on that fic -- yeah it's only 1600 words, but it's a technically difficult story with nearly three dozen musical references in it, including for almost every one of Adagio and Sonata's lines. Most of the songs referenced are from the 60's and 70's, which is why you might not have recognized them.

To be honest, as far as time goes, I'm still shocked that my first story in the "Recovery" arc, Highs & Lows still gets the occasional upvote and favourite. Moth was absolutely right when he said it wasn't a good story. I was angry with him for a while since he told me on Christmas, but I eventually took his criticisms to heart and I like to think I'm a better writer for it. Lows & Highs still getting love makes a lot more sense, as I seriously tried on that one. The "Sunset" burrito story also still gets attention on occasion. That's nice, of course, but baffling since I wrote it over two years ago and the followup Siren stories get mostly ignored. I mean, sure "Adagio" and "Aria" may not be as well-written as the first two -- though I still tried -- but, well, this site is weird sometimes. :derpyderp1:

4438523 Huh, I hadn't even realised you could belong to groups and not receive updates from them. I too like to keep my group-related newsfeed quiet and only receive notifications that I'm really interested in, so my usual procedure is to publish a story, join every relevant group, add it to all of them, and then leave them again after a few days. Keeps my newsfeed tidy, but still gets the story out there.

I have to ask, is plagiarism really that much of a concern for fan fiction? I kind of figure most ideas have probably already been done before, and it's not like anyone makes any money out of it, so as long as you give a shout out to anyone you were inspired by, perhaps in the author's notes or possibly the title page, I think it's probably fine. I did once put off reading a story as I didn't want it to influence my own, but ultimately read it anyway, and I think it helped - my own is more than different enough, but reading the existing one puts me in the right mood to write more of mine.

That does sound very annoying about the story not being aired until right before the finale! I do find it frustrating the lack of crosstalk with multiple works of the same author; where viewers will read one and love it, but not many will then check out the author's other stories. Just seems a bit shortsighted. So Sunset's side doing well but Sonata's being overlooked, yeah, it's surprising and disappointing, but that's sometimes how this site works. Also, I've noticed a distinct trend in views depending on the popularity and screentime of the characters involved. So the sirens are well-liked by the fanbase, I think, but ultimately they're only in one film, and the community of regular siren readers on here isn't enormous. But Sunset has four films to her name, and was apparently so loved by the fandom that she's the reason Starlight was introduced in the main show, so her side of the story probably has a much larger fanbase of readers. I've found that my story featuring only the sirens was quickly overtaken by one I wrote focusing on Sunset. That can also be the nature of the magnum opus dissonance thing, that the story you like more, or think is better written, has no bearing on which story will do best.

I know what you mean about the bandwagon effect, although I thought there was now a system in place to counter it, where the like bar would stay grey until 10 votes had been received? Although I remember I got a couple of dislikes on my last one within the first hour and thought it might be done for too, so the system perhaps doesn't work as well as would be ideal. I also figure that when your story shows up on the 'new stories' column, it's appearing to every user on the site, not just those who enjoy reading that kind of thing. So early downvotes can be inevitable, in some cases, as we generally accept that not every story will appeal to every reader. Whereas after that, people search for the character tags or find the stories in groups, so it's more likely to appeal to them. A friend of mine has a story which sometimes picks up dislikes when it's updated, and therefore appears on the main page, but doesn't most of the rest of the time.

Sorry, barring Dark Side Of The Moon, Wish You Were Here, the highlights of early Alice Cooper and a couple of dozen songs that everyone knows, my music taste pretty much takes a hiatus from 1920 to 1980, so that would explain it.

I rather liked Highs & Lows, I forgot which one it was exactly from the arc, so I just reread it, and I think it's quite fun. It's out of character for the way we see Sunset on-screen, but it wouldn't be much of a manic episode if it weren't. And I liked her casually explaining to Rarity why she used to hate her. But if the criticisms helped you become better, that's the best outcome. Alas, we learn from mistakes, rather than triumphs.


I have to ask, is plagiarism really that much of a concern for fan fiction? I kind of figure most ideas have probably already been done before, and it's not like anyone makes any money out of it, so as long as you give a shout out to anyone you were inspired by, perhaps in the author's notes or possibly the title page, I think it's probably fine. I did once put off reading a story as I didn't want it to influence my own, but ultimately read it anyway, and I think it helped - my own is more than different enough, but reading the existing one puts me in the right mood to write more of mine.

No, it really isn't, especially since (almost) none of us make any money doing this, nor should we. And most writers here don't get too salty if they end up influencing others, so long as they're not ripped off wholesale, which I try to avoid. It's more that I prefer my ideas be my own as best as I can manage, to the point I don't use prereaders (though I'm strongly considering doing so for my bigger stories).

I've gladly given credit in my Author's Notes to the two Siren stories that influenced me the most – The Evening Sonata and The Dazzlings Are Insane, the former also somewhat influencing how I imagine Sunset's living situation. I suppose I could read more without feeling too guilty. We're all influenced by everything around us.

Also my background -- working for a newspaper and then earning a university degree (while never once ripping off anyone else's work) -- probably made me hypersensitive to plagiarism.

That clause of yours I bolded is the gist of it right there. Plausible Deniability. It's why I don't read Sunset stories unless I know they won't be anything like what I would write. This happened with Fractured Sunlight, as I had (and have) already planned a story about what happened to the EQG-verse's Sunset and didn't want to be accused of ripping off a super-popular fic. Of course that was before that story got all shippy, which mine will not be (at least not with those two). Now it's in my "Read Eventually" pile. Turns out I put a LOT of great Siren stories in that pile as well, but that's mostly for lack of time on my part to read them.

Y'know, after nearly three years, I still can't choose a Best Siren. My fave is Adagio, but I found Sonata and Aria more fun to write.

4441051 Each to their own and all, and of course if that's how you're happiest working then that's completely fair enough. Sorry, the implication I got from what you said before was that Sunset was one of the two characters you liked reading about enough to follow a group for, but sadly couldn't do that anymore because of plagiarism fears.

My take on it is that if a reader has already read a story they think very similar to yours, plausible deniability won't really change that. If the material seems familiar enough to them that it dampens their enjoyment of the story, then it will still dampen it regardless of whether the similarity is due to plagiarism or coincidence. And if they accuse you of copying it from elsewhere, they have only your word that you didn't, when most people just copying others' stories might well deny it anyway. If there does happen to be a story out there already that's reminiscent in some ways of something you're going to write, then perhaps it's best to know about it so you can warn readers in advance; just a note somewhere in the description saying that you know it's along the same lines as another story, but you think it's different enough to be worth telling. That's the only way I can think of to head off any criticism that your story is too familiar; because they've already been advised of that going in. Anything else and they might leave a downvote anyway, whether the similarity was coincidental or deliberate.

Lack of time to read gets all of us, I'm afraid. I veer between periods of reading a lot and periods of writing a lot, usually interspersed with periods of messaging and commenting a lot, and rarely with things I'm actually meant to be doing outside of this site.

It's a fair point that the other sirens might be more fun to write, I can't really comment on that one as I haven't written for all three of them yet. But I think if you like villains, then it makes more sense to prefer the mastermind to the minions (there's the odd exception to that which springs to mind, though, like Oddjob or Jaws). Adagio is Best Siren in my book (as if the display picture didn't give it away), as she's the cleverest, and has a habit of making everyone else in the room look and feel inadequate when she walks in. And while Sonata has the most funny moments on-screen, it's easy for Adagio to have plenty of her own in fiction, as her intelligence allows her to dance in conversational circles around everyone else, often with amusing results. And I'm very fond of Aria, but I really can't see what she offers that Adagio doesn't offer more so, and so would struggle to see her as the favourite. But that's my take on it.

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