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Work Room - Week 23

The new topic is up: http://therealljidol.livejournal.com/785896.html

By this point, you should have a pretty decent idea of what you want to do, and how to accomplish it.

What have you done though that you have been pleasantly surprised has been so well received?

Or shocked that the general readership didn't seem to like better?

What surprises have there been in how other people appear to see your work, and how have you applied that (if at all) moving forward?

Comments

( 99 comments — Leave a comment )
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agirlnamedluna
Sep. 30th, 2014 01:48 am (UTC)
I have the distinct feeling that the day I write a sappy romance (and I have for fanfic!), people will be so stunned we won't have any contestants left.

That said, I thought last week's piece got a great response, which I wasn't expecting. The dragon has gone over very well too, and the psychopath ship.


For this week, I have nothing yet. It's shaping up to be a busy week as well, so let's hope I get something written as I cannot stay up until the deadline, at all!
yachiru
Sep. 30th, 2014 01:59 am (UTC)
I did a Jesus/Judas piece a lonnnggg time ago and somehow people didn't think I was batshit crazy. I'm always surprised anyone likes anything I write. Especially the weird stuff.
halfshellvenus
Sep. 30th, 2014 02:46 am (UTC)
Hey, that piece was hilarious!

And something that you were egged on to do in the Green Room, so... :D
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kickthehobbit
Sep. 30th, 2014 02:12 am (UTC)
I was really surprised at how well my piece for Week 1 did. I figured people would be put off by the ending of it (nonfiction, you find out at the end that the neighbor kid that had told the bad joke ended up being murdered and the case was never solved).

I don't think there's anything I've written that has left me shaking my fist and going, "You don't appreciate my artistic genius!" ...but that's not my temperament, anyway. :)
halfshellvenus
Sep. 30th, 2014 02:47 am (UTC)
The ending of that story was sad, but there was such soulfulness and sincerity in the telling, and while you didn't expect the ending... it fit.

It was one of the best for the prompt, I thought.
(no subject) - kickthehobbit - Sep. 30th, 2014 04:25 am (UTC) - Expand
anyonesghost
Sep. 30th, 2014 02:14 am (UTC)
From reactions, I tend to do best with first drafts -- especially the ones written when I'm jet-lagged out of my mind. If this hypothesis holds true, I'm going to win a Pulitzer for my next entry. (As soon as I know what to do with it. All I can think is that the entry I just wrote really would have fit nicely into this week's prompt!)
fodschwazzle
Sep. 30th, 2014 02:59 am (UTC)
That sounds almost like you're playing "Apples to Apples" or "Cards Against Humanity" in luckiness. It's always the card you want that you've already played. Except for the fact that you'll be just fine this time as well.
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halfshellvenus
Sep. 30th, 2014 02:56 am (UTC)
My crack piece on "No True Scotsman" did better than I expected. I was on the verge of pulling it back and taking a bye all day long, and it wound up tied for second in the main tribe voting. \o?

kickthehobbit
Sep. 30th, 2014 04:29 am (UTC)
I LOVED THAT PIECE, OH MY GOD.

...er, sorry. I mean, I know what you mean, and I've been surprised at the things I've posted that I have thought about withdrawing and how well they've done. Last week, for instance, I thought about pulling it after two of my closest friends went, "...Jenn, I don't like it"—but et voila, I got a lot of really positive feedback from the Idol community. :)
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_luaineach
Sep. 30th, 2014 02:59 am (UTC)
Woo hoo!
fodschwazzle
Sep. 30th, 2014 03:00 am (UTC)
It's hard to expect much in the vacuum of the internet. I'm all too happy with what's worked, and what hasn't worked has happily not murdered me yet.
tonithegreat
Sep. 30th, 2014 04:12 am (UTC)
I feel the same way.
ellakite
Sep. 30th, 2014 03:57 am (UTC)
I've been pleasantly surprised by the positive reaction I've gotten to all my pieces this season -- I know I sound like a broken record, but I've *REALLY* been having difficulty finding my muse this season, and feel like I've been "phoning it in" each week.

Each of the previous seasons I've done, by the time I reached Week 20 I usually had at least one piece that I *REALLY* felt proud about. I can't say that's happened yet this season...
reckless_blues
Sep. 30th, 2014 03:58 am (UTC)
I'm never sure what people will like. I haven't noticed any strong patterns emerging regarding my stuff this season, and I don't check how I'm doing in the polls (although people are always saying they don't know why I don't get more attention - that's probably why I don't check most weeks, that would just make me nervous). Because of that I just write whatever's on my mind.

I'm surprised one I did early in the season - The Mouse, the Cherry Tree, and the Surgical Student - did well. That story was about a Chechen vet in his twenties and the whole aesthetic of that piece was based on the kind of thing you'd find on the Russian internet from Udaff or wherever, by angry young male amateurs, having been badly translated into English for some inexplicable reason...I thought it would be pretty unappealing, but people seemed to like the main character. In Exhibit B I did a nice, sweet slice-of-life story about playing around with my kid cousins, I got a phenomenal response to that.

I think maybe people like things they can access easily, my more realistic stuff seems to do better (science fiction seems to be the real kiss of death around here, not poetry). Lately if I have any goal when I sit down and write for Idol, it's to make everything as honest as possible. If I write about myself, I feel like I'm just blogging, I try to make up for that by pushing to scrutinize myself as deeply as I can. That level of penetration is hard work and unflattering - did I stop talking here because I was ashamed; or because that twinge of guilt made me tired of the conversation and embarrassed and I just wanted everybody to shut up? I'll always go for the second level of detail. And if I want to write fiction, if a fictional character does something because it's the kind of thing that seems right to me, I try to be honest with that too, and ask these same questions, and expose as much as I can about what they're thinking. So I try to make stuff I write accessible and familiar in the sense that it's about human behavior. (Not always, sometimes I just want to write a mood or an archetype or something.)

I worry a bit that my stuff is a little dense and inaccessible, or too hard to read in some other way.
eska818
Sep. 30th, 2014 04:09 am (UTC)
I just wanted to take the time to say that I think your stuff is beautiful. I haven't been making the time to comment lately, but I'm too awake at the moment to sleep, so here I am, letting you know that! <3
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kathrynrose
Sep. 30th, 2014 04:15 am (UTC)
I never know what people are going to like. It seems like the pieces I work the hardest on, and am most proud of often get less of a response than ones I just blart out there and post.

I have noticed fiction does better than non, which frustrates me, because nonfiction is easier for me. ::shrug::

In other news, the topic is apparently a movie title. I got nothin.
kickthehobbit
Sep. 30th, 2014 04:18 am (UTC)
I Googled and pulled up this, which helped me understand it a little better. (It's a good song, too, which helps!)
(no subject) - xo_kizzy_xo - Sep. 30th, 2014 12:31 pm (UTC) - Expand
tonithegreat
Sep. 30th, 2014 04:15 am (UTC)
I am surprised that recurring cast pieces don't do better here. Boredom with serials makes sense, but we've had some folks who I thought did well with almost-serials, in that they were part the same story but also stood alone, and yet they still don't seem to pull in the votes that a comparable stand-alone pulls.
kickthehobbit
Sep. 30th, 2014 04:23 am (UTC)
With serial work...I can't speak for everyone on this, but even in stuff that's supposed to "stand alone", I still feel like I'm missing something, because it's got a larger context behind it than anything that truly is stand-alone. I know that when I've written stuff that's been set in the same "universe" (I feel so weird typing that!), there have been bits and pieces of context that I haven't been able to fit into the storyline because they're not super-relevant—the piece I wrote for "If you have come to help me you are wasting our time", for instance, tied into something I'd done for the last season of Idol (though it wasn't key to the plot to know that). I feel obligated to go and read backstory and refamiliarize myself because of that, and I know that not everyone does—some people have a hard time just reading from week to week, and so they might feel pressed to 'catch up', even if it's something that's supposed to stand apart.

There's also the risk that what you think is stand-alone doesn't give enough background on the characters or their motivations to make sense to someone that hasn't been keeping up with the serial. You're the author, so you know exactly what's what, and you can try to put everything in, but in a timeline like we're on for Idol, it's difficult. Sure, you can get someone else to read it, but anyone that volunteers to beta is probably going to be familiar with the other writing, and they might not notice what's missing, either.
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favoritebean
Sep. 30th, 2014 07:42 am (UTC)
Hi Work Room,

So perhaps it's due to the lonnnnnng rehearsal I had tonight, but I'm grasping at straws for ideas on the topic.

Grasping and... failing?

Am I alone in this?
waltzmatildah
Sep. 30th, 2014 08:18 am (UTC)
Am I alone in this? NO!!! You are not.
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waltzmatildah
Sep. 30th, 2014 08:17 am (UTC)
I once posted a fanfic that had been so freaking difficult to write let alone, I imagine, for someone outside of my headspace to read, and yet it ended up being the instigator for someone to watch an entire show they'd never even heard of prior. That was kinda cool and TOTALLY unexpected.

The fic in question was over 8000 words that deliberately alternated between POV and tense and included one character who was basically a ghost and just, yeah. My beta was pretty much the genius who ended up getting it over the line!

As for how other people see my work... Prior to Idol, 99.9% of the writing I've made public has been fanfic and for only a handful of fandoms. I have a reputation in those fandoms for being the Angst Queen, and even won an 'award' thing once titled exactly that! It's proved a difficult habit to break, tbh. Though, I can't say I've ever made a concerted effort to try...! Hey, what can I say? I'm partial to some fictional angst!
suesniffsglue
Sep. 30th, 2014 01:09 pm (UTC)
This time through idol, I've been more stylistically consistent than years past. Most of my entries seem to get about the same results. I have always stayed away from poetry, so I was nervous to submit one piece this time around, and it did a lot better than I was expecting, so I was really glad about that!
roina_arwen
Sep. 30th, 2014 01:38 pm (UTC)
People seem to like my sense of humour and wordplay, and my cock-eyed optimism seems to sneak in regardless, LOL. It's sometimes hard to tell from commentary what people like or don't, but as an overall arc I think my stuff is pretty well received.

I'm always open to constructive criticism, and am still completely unsure of where to take this prompt!

Edited at 2014-09-30 01:38 pm (UTC)
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