• Member Since 16th May, 2013
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PaulAsaran


A southern-born technical writer with an appreciation of ponies. What more do you need to know? Writing motto: "Go Big or Go Home."

Jun
22nd
2017

Paul's Thursday Reviews LXXVIII · 10:14pm Last Thursday

Well, the weekend with my parents was bust, but I fully expected that. Ignoring those days, I am pleased to say that I have stuck to my guns and managed at least 1,500 words/day for two weeks running. I've had to knuckle down and ignore all the distractions that so easily come up. Proving that I still have it in me to do it gives me a sense of pride, not to mention a feeling that my goals are as attainable as ever.

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Reading Progress

Just Essay's
Appledashery
10.60% (110,123 / 1,038,413)

mylittleeconomy's
Twilight Sparkle, Unicorn Economist
29.12% (45,576 / 156,512)

Review Requests

Rules for Requesting Reviews

Want to request a review? There's no 'correct' way to do it. PM me, comment on my blogs, comment on my user page, it's all good. As soon as I've acknowledged the request I'll go into my Review Schedule and add yours to the queue. Just remember: requests are always first come/first serve, so don't be surprised if you're waiting a few months when my request list has gotten overwhelmed.

On that note, I strongly discourage waiting for the request list to empty before making one. There is never any guarantee that the list will shrink in the first place, so all you're really doing is guaranteeing it will take even longer for your story to get reviewed.

I don't care about genre, maturity or even length. You can even request your own stories – in fact, most requests are from the authors themselves. When it comes down to it, there are only three rules:

No Clop
Have I read clop? Yes. Do I review clop? No. My reviews are for stories, not blatant fap material.

This doesn't mean I won't read a story with the sex tag, it just means that I won't read a story that is all about titillation. You request a story that has sexuality interlaced with an actual story and we're in business. Heck, I'll even accept a story where sex is part of the story's dynamic (Xenophilia is a good example). But if it's just sex for the sake of sex? No dice.

Incompletes
As a general rule, I avoid reading incomplete stories. However, it's not something I enforce too strongly when it comes to requests. If a story has gone on hiatus or has been cancelled, I'll consider it fair game. If an author has specified that a story is going to be huge (like, say, 300,000+ words) and has only barely begun, I'll consider it.

If a story is known to be close to completion, I may throw it onto my Incomplete bookshelf and wait for it to finish before scheduling. I don't want to start reading something, finish and review it just for it to finish a week later.

Generally speaking, Incomplete stories are in a murky grey area for me. As such, I reserve the right to accept/decline these as they come.

This is Me
The review you are getting is based on my opinion only. I don't care if a story has a 1,000/1 upvote ratio, if I think it's bad, I will say so. There are no retries or second opinions, and if a review is negative you don't get a take-back. I stopped caring about hurting authors' feelings a long time ago and I'm not inclined to be nice because we're friends, so be careful what you wish for. Above all else, I strive to be fair and honest to everyone, even if that means putting your baby on a pike.

That being said, bear in mind that these are indeed my opinion. My views will be altered based on past experienced, personal preferences and certain biases. This is an inevitability when it comes to reviews. I try to balance this by recognizing when my opinion is based on my own personal biases, but I can make no promises.

Review Schedule and Rules


Rules

Revised 04/08/2017

This section only covers how my schedule works. Information on review requests can be found above, and information on Author Scoring can be found below.

Most weeks on Thursday I will review 5-6 stories. What stories are reviewed and when are based on two schedules: The Review Schedule and the Reading Schedule.

Review Schedule
The Review Schedule does two things. First, on the right it provides lists of all the stories currently queued for review (explained below). On the left is the current schedule, featuring at least the next five scheduled weeks. Anything beyond those weeks has yet to be scheduled, and anything before has either already been released in a blog or has been reviewed and is awaiting publication.

Stories in the schedule are color-coded as follows:
Yellow means the story is either being read or is coming up soon to be read. I will highlight stories when I am one week away from beginning them.

Green means the story has been read and a review written.

Black means the reading/reviewing of this story has been delayed for some reason. These are uncommon and may lead to a blog being postponed.

New blogs are scheduled on Saturdays, adding to the set schedule. I will always have at least five scheduled; otherwise, the amount scheduled is based upon how many I need to fill in five weeks of reading material in the Reading Schedule. Sometimes this leads to a lot more than five weeks being scheduled due to an abundance of short stories.

Reading Schedule
Built upon the Review Schedule, the Reading Schedule is entirely meant to tell me when I should be reading what stories in order to keep up with the reviews. As a general rule, I read 6 stories weekly. However, the exact number is dependent upon my wordcount limit, which is 30,000 words/day for most weeks (see exceptions below). I may read more or less depending upon the size of the individual stories that need to be read.

The first tab shows the stories mean to be read in a given week. Once all the stories for a week have been read, that week is removed from the schedule. Note that this is highly generalized; stories are frequently read before the given week they are meant to be based upon individual wordcounts.

The second tab shows the actual, day-to-day reading requirements set upon myself. This is an easy way to see exactly what I'm reading on any given day (as well as whether or not I'm behind/ahead). Only the next five weeks are actually scheduled, including the current one, but the total number of weeks presented is dependent upon the number of review blogs scheduled in the Review Schedule (giving an idea of how far ahead/behind I am). Segments colored dark green have been read. Any other colors indicate the coming week in which that story is scheduled to be reviewed; check the Thursday of any given week to find its corresponding color. The first day of the week will also be colored if it is a special week type (explained below).

The third tab is the 'wordcounts' tab, which I use as a means of controlling exactly how many words go into each day while also making sure I'm not falling behind or ahead of where I need to be to keep up. Without this I'd have a lot more trouble making sure I don't overload any given day with material.

Reading Schedule: Week Types
There are four different week 'types', which are color coded. The most common is white and is a regular reading week with a 30,000 words/day maximum, or 210,000/week.

Pink weeks are 'Vacation' weeks; on these weeks, no reading is done whatsoever and the entire week is painted black. These occur roughly once every 9 weeks. Even I need a break every now and then!

Black weeks are 'Workaholic' weeks that increase my maximum wordcount to 40,000/day, or 280,000/week. These are meant to be for catching up when a series of big stories start threatening my review schedule. If a black week is scheduled but not needed, I'll likely stick to the regular maximum.

Dark Red weeks are 'Bibliophile' weeks. These extreme weeks double the maximum wordcount to 60,000/day, or 420,000/week. Like the black weeks, I'll only go that far if I deem it necessary to keep up or take some pressure off my schedule. They also are great for taking big chunks out of those ridiculously long stories that sometimes pop up. *coughProjectHorizonshack*


Review Categories

The reviews are currently divided into four categories. Each category is described below. If any of the categories are emptied, the extra opening will be filled in by one of the others based on my own discretion.

To Read List / RiL
These are stories that I placed into my To Read list for later consumption. There's no process to this; if I see a story that looks interesting, it goes here. These stories are always read by the order they are entered into the RiL. This is by far my largest list, so anything new that goes into it can expect to wait a LONG time. Even reading 2-3 RiL stories a week, new entries are likely to be waiting more than a year.

Note that there are only ever 100 stories in the spreadsheet's RiL list at any given time. It would be too much of a hassle for me to go into the spreadsheet and update every time a story catches my attention, so I don't bother. Instead, every time a new week is scheduled, I update the spreadsheet's list then. Those of you wanting a look at the real list can check my "To Read Later" bookshelf, which is public. Just be aware that stories from the other lists may also be present there.

This list is stymied by a 'Only One Per Author' rule, which dictates that no author can be in the RiL more than once. This is largely an attempt to keep the RiL from exploding into an even greater size than it already is, but it also serves to keep my reviews spread out and not focus on any one author. Sadly, policing this rule has been trying, and you'll find a number of authors who have managed to slip through the cracks.

Requests
Stories that have been requested by other authors. I read one of these every week. See the rules for requests above.

Sequels/Completed
One story is reviewed from this list every week. It holds two story types. First, any story that is the sequel/prequel/side story to another that I liked will go here for fast-tracking. This is largely to ensure I don't forget the important bits of the prior story by the time I get to its companion. (Note: This is by far the best way to get me to read a lot of your stories in as short a timeframe as possible.)

Second, this is also the home of completed stories. Sometimes I'll see a story that looks interesting but is incomplete. As a general rule I avoid reviewing incomplete stories, so I'll track them and wait for their completion. Once a tracked story is completed, it goes here for fast-tracking. Naturally, a lot of big wordcount stories tend to end up here as a result.

Recommendations
This section was originally created for the Review Round Robins that were once put on by the site. Since the Round Robins are officially defunct, I see no reason to continue this practice and will be accepting no more of them. That being said, I'm not about to abandon these stories, so I will be reading one every week until the list is emptied. This will take a veritable eternity, but I don't mind; it's been a great source of reading material so far.

Long Stories
Regardless of the category they come from, any story that is 200,000 words or longer will go into Waiting Status (indicated by the story being colored orange). Experience has taught me that attempting to tackle these big stories as they come is a surefire way to cramping the schedule and forcing blogs to be postponed. This, in turn, leads to a lot of stress as I struggle to find ways to accommodate them.

The solution I've come up with - currently in a test phase - is to set those stories aside. I place them in a list of the next 30 weeks of reviews (found in the Reading Schedule) so that I can better manage when I read them. This ensures they don't overlap too egregiously and allows me to better plan out my schedule. This comes with the unfortunate caveat that those stories will be reviewed later than originally intended – possibly much later – but does wonders on making my life easier in the long run.

Author Scoring

A while ago, I started implementing a means of scoring authors based upon how their stories landed in my bookshelves. This was originally planned as a process for selecting followers, but it ended up being far too stringent and difficult (and there were some people who just deserved the attention). So I changed it! Author Scoring is no longer about getting me to follow you; I'll do that on my own if I think you've earned it. Instead, it is now a system for authors to make certain milestones. Follow the link above to see the Author Scoring spreadsheet, which includes a list of stories with their rankings and a list of authors with their scoring calculations/placement.

But don't think it'll be easy! With the aid of a certain blue pegasus, I've conjured up a set of five ranks for authors that are selected based upon how well they score over time. The points are accumulated by bookshelf:

Why Haven't You Read These Yet? = 4 Points
Pretty Good = 2 Points
Worth It = 1 Point
Needs Work = 0 Points
None = -1 Point

For every story of yours I review, it will receive one of the above ranks and the points that go with it. Ranks are determined as follows:

Anyone who has yet to achieve a rank at all gets a None ranking. Nothing to see here, folks.

The first ranking is Cool. You can earn this ranking if I've read at least 3 of your stories and you managed an average score of 1.9.

The second ranking is 20% Cooler. You earn this ranking if I've read at least 5 of your stories and you've maintained an average score of 1.9. This used to be the requirement for earning my follow, and it is much harder to achieve.

The third tier is Awesome!. This score can only be earned if I've read at least 8 of your stories but you've managed to maintain an average score of 1.9. Good luck.

The last tier – the epic scale which permits you to lord over all others – is the RAINBOOM rank. To get this epic rank, I need to have read at least 10 of your stories and you need to have managed at least a 2.1 average score. So not only do you have to somehow get me to read a lot of your stories, but you must also land at least one story in the rarely granted WHYRTY? bookshelf. Considering nobody's managed to reach the Awesome! tier yet, I don't see anybody getting here anytime soon.

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Comments ( 431 )
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2455182
Double your weirdness, double your fun.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YQeFPw-noAc

Check it and see why I didn't embed.

2455168
Eww, friendship! Clings to tree branch and hisses

On an unrelated note: go to sleep, you fool!

2455153

I have you now, ScroogeAsaran!

I'm not leaving your page until you either give me another $1,400 or discover the joy of friendship. Alternatively, you can be haunted by the Three Praas. I don't even know what I'm doing anymore. I haven't slept in three weeks. I forgot how to use a toilet. The mice are overrunning the third floor corridor, guv. We can't hold for much longer. Death be not proud, for he knowth well that he watcheth pony. Cracker barrel cancerous caging stomach.

2455135
Nooo! Too much socializing and helpfulness and niceness! I'm allergic!

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