There are 41 posts on the Sir Tortuga Household Blog right now, only two or three of which are ‘filler’ posts. It seems to have a small if silent following — which pretty much describes my erotic writing career. I know most amateur authors complain about comments (and the lack thereof) and I hate whining, but I’ve never gotten more than a handful of comments about any one story. Choices has generated the most comments over it’s life (I first wrote it over ten years ago, and I still get a random comment or two from its place on ASSTR.)
Choices also has a very low rating on Stories OnLine, which I think explains the comments, there’s something deeply unsatisfying about the story, yet it is obviously well written and constructed. It’s supposed to be unsatisfying and disturbing, so I know that story is a success. It might seem odd that I see an extremely low rating, and very bad scores as a success, but really it means that I touched something in someone, and they reacted.
What upsets me is mediocrity. I’m sure that there are a set of users on SoL (maybe around 5-10% of it’s user base) that religiously rate stories. Stories which they liked but don’t stand out for them, for whatever reason, get a rating around 7 or 8. SoL then grades on a curve, and lowers the score based on the average rating at the time the ratings were given. Most of mine score slightly above average, but not distinguishably so. The (now two weeks behind) Sir Tortuga Household blog gets that sort of rating, although it seems to have a small, but loyal following.
Again, not complaining, but I bet off more than I could chew with this: daily posts, no definitely end to the story — and in fact a story that takes some time to develop and mature, leaving me gaps to fill real-world things in as I can. Daily writing, and so on. I thought that it would settle out to a low hum, as has happened when I did daily writing on Cult Of The Turtle. But the simple answer for me is that fiction writing takes more creative effort than opinion/essays so that’s not happened. I’ve felt a bit tapped and unable to work on other projects (and still manage to work and have a social life;)
These things are related of course, as once or twice a week I get a good comment or tweet about the blog, and I get a bit more energy to go forward. It’s not vocal enough for me to get the real energy I need, but it’s something (and thanks to everyone who has said something to me about it).
This is an In Media Mortem as opposed to a post-mortem, because I’m not ending the blog. I’m thinking about slowing my pace, though to two or three posts a week, but I don’t know if that’s a good idea or not. Haven’t made up my mind yet, but I feel other projects clawing at me for attention. This has always been a problem — in the middle of working on my (horrible, first draft) Kadja novel, I got the desire to write a complicated bit of code for managing writing a novel. Still a good idea, but I had to push it off — as I’d made a commitment. Kadja, though, had a projected end. SirTortuga’s Household Blog does not. Foolish me.
So, the project takes a lot of energy, and occasionally triggers my fears of mediocrity — although not always, certainly — and I’m struggling with what to do with it. I don’t know how to get people to read it (or to tell if they are, sometimes). I think it’s good, and I think SoL isn’t my market. Certainly all of my feedback has been from #fucktoyfriday readers, which seems reasonable as it was inspired by that.
So most of the time it feels like I’m missing some part of the internet where I fit, which is funny to me, as the internet is where I went 20 years ago in order to fit. It’s just much bigger now, which forces us to find tighter, more niche communities.
Like I said, this isn’t a complaint or a request for praise, but sort of a thought about a big project. It’s getting close to novel length — if you assume an average post length of around 800 words, that’s close to 33,000 words. Another month, and I’ll have broken the novel length, and that feels really good, too.