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Lack of quality writing.

Talo Segura

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Tim Trent, the owner and controller/manager of IOMFATS (a gay writer/story site dedicated to male teenage romance) was interrogated by a reader about allowing a book to be serialised online when it was not complete, but in progress.

His reply was that, his site, and he believed other similar gay story sites, were suffering from a lack of quality story submissions. Quality is, of course, subjective, which he recognised. Nevertheless, any site which operates a selection process, must presumably reject some stories.

Al Norris who runs Castle Roland (along with the others on the admin team) replied to this comment: "I agree Timmy. While quality from website to website is quite subjective, for more descriminating sites like yours (and I hope I may include my own), there is a decided lack."

Some seven months ago I put up the beginnings of a story (not the first chapter of a different book I have submitted today) and this forum posting was taken down to be scrutinised for sexual content. Following the procedure on this site, if one member of the admin team flags a concern about story content another member needs to read it, so there is no bias of opinion.

After one month, I received a reply, essentially telling me: "...the direction I see it going here is of a story that has too much sexual content. To be fair to the person who reviewed this first submission, it was said that he would be willing to read further chapters if I thought he was wrong. The last exchange between us was myself saying I was unable to understand the comment of too much sexual content.

I did not submit more chapters, I received no further reply, it seemed obvious it was not open to discussion. To be clear about the point I am making, it is this; you need to follow up and encourage new writers, like myself. It's fair to criticise and say, I don't like your story because... but if you can't follow up, you lose people. I went away to find another site to post on. I knew my story was not a masterpiece, far from it, but to be told it had too much sexual content made me angry, and remember two people reached that same conclusion.

So point number two: what is sexual content? I can see you thinking: that's a pretty obvious answer. Exactly what I thought myself, sexual content equals graphic sex scenes. My story submission had none. This leads me to believe that language is regarded as sexual content, my story had too much sexual language. There is a huge difference between sexual content, graphic scenes, and sexual language, graphic words.

The site guidelines clearly state: - We do not host pure sex stories,  i- Sex stories feature no discernible plot, ii- Sex stories use overly graphic descriptions of sex to accomplish a titillating result. 

I have no desire to open up a debate on sexual content, simply a debate on nurturing potential new authors. It takes a little time to read and reply, but when you receive a criticism of your own reasoning, you need to come back to answer it and suggest a positive way forward. Perhaps saying, submit more if you disagree, you feel is enough. I'm not so sure. Speaking only from personal experience, my first writing attempt was rejected here and elsewhere, not for the same reasons: here for too much sex, elsewhere for too much dialogue. 

A suppose it is fair to say both site rejections were polite, but that still killed me, poetically, not literally. I think new talent needs nurturing and from my own experience that nurturing did not come from site owners and their admin teams. I found it from fellow authors and readers when I found a site open to all without quality restrictions. I don't draw the conclusion that you should not have quality criteria, but you might review how you deal with submissions.



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Talo, you are where I was two years ago. I was recovering from a couple of serious health issues and felt so alone as  my soulmate had just died. I remember sitting up at night and writing stories that included a lot of sex in them, and yes, I was missing the physical sex a lot, but I realized when proofing the stories that it wasn't the SEX I was missing, it was the closeness and the future that he and I had mapped out for ourselves, a future that was no longer available to us. Yes there was a site that accepted those sex stories, but the more I read and the more I wrote, always comparing those stories to what I had read on other sites, I realized that it wasn't the actual sex scenes I was looking for in a story, it was the characters and how they developed, how they interacted with each other and those around them. What redeeming qualities did they have that made me want to read about their lives. In addition I had dozens of cases I had been assigned as a court advocate for children involved in all types of legal difficulties, most of those were custody cases. So I blended them, restricting the overt sex in my stories to the older couple once or twice in the story, but making reference to other sex obliquely, or just inferred. I guess I was exposed to really good writers for years on end, both in the libraries I worked in and on line at the sites you mentioned (in fact, my very first story was rejected by IOMFATS because I focused on the gay couple setting up a home for their growing family and not on the children themselves they were providing a home for, I had totally forgotten it was a site about teens!!!) I always advocated for authors to have Beta readers to get an unbiased opinion about what they had written, and in fact I have been lucky to have been one for a very famous published author and his son. Having someone to talk to about your writings is important. Good luck, you have an inquiring mind, and that would be a terrible thing to waste. Art

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When I first began writing a story, much of the base material came from my own experience and background. I think that goes back to something my English teacher at Grammar School said... "Write about what you know"! From that point, for all my English Essay  submissions, I wrote descriptive essays. When it came to the formal British end of Schooldays exams, I did exceptionally well scoring grade 1's now known as A*. It would appear that I had listened to and I benefitted from that advice.

I stared reading Gay stories on the High School section of 'Nifty' You'll find the first attempt at 'William' buried there somewhere. Another friend told me about Mozilla Komposer, a tool for doing nice HTML submissions without knowing a thing about HTML... Wonderful to me!! My submissions with colour backwash backgrounds went down well. They looked professional compared with the RTF format set in courier typeface of many other stories on the Nifty archive back then ( 2008 - 2010 ).By adding a web-based yahoo email address to chapter ends, I started getting emails from fans with a few critiques and some flamers too..

I  attracted the attenion of a retired English Lecturer. He took on the task of editing my version of the English Langage back into better readabilty. Tautology in particular. I had  very bad habits there. I was spotted by other sites and was invited to submit the story to them. I've only completed two stories, the first of which has just begun relase here with  the second following on in due course. The third in the series is 'under constructon'. With three chapers written. I lost my editor... for a while I lost the muse... I also had eye trouble, now corrected with surgery. The muse appears to be slowly eturning! I would agree totally that 'having someone to talk to and critique/edit your writing is important. I would have continued in all my bad habits if not 'red lined' on many occasions.

Regards to all budding Authors... if you've a muse... follow it. I did! I became an ardent fan of Mike Arram's writings, I first discovered them  on the Nifty Archive and later at IOMfATS. I wrote to Michael and discovered we were often in the same city.  I wrote several times enthusiatically praising his stories ( especially the 'Henry Series'  beginning with 'Henry in the Outfield' ) We met and talked in a cafe. He simply said, If you've an idea write it out, see where it goes... I did and the results are now out there for all to enjoy... With grateful thanks to my pipe smoking English teacher Mr Russell for the basics all those years ago. He is remembered in both my stories to date, as a main character has his surname.

Paul Jamison

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17 hours ago, Art West said:

Talo, you are where I was two years ago. ...writing stories that included a lot of sex in them,

I understand what you are saying, but I am not where you were two years ago. Perhaps I was not too clear about what I was saying. I wrote, am writing still, a first submission, that was thought to have too much sexual content. I could not, do not, understand that comment, because the story has no graphic sex scenes. 

Trying to make sense of this point of view, and I have been trying for months and months, I could only conclude that too much sexual content includes talking about sex and using sex words. If my conclusion is correct, then stories which either have a lot of sex in them, or talk about sex too much, are all deemed as unacceptable. 

My point in this thread however, is not about sex in stories, but about supporting and encouraging new writers. How do I know what type of stories are acceptable without some discussion and advice. For example, you have your characters swearing and talking about having sex every chapter and it's too blunt, gross, not what we like.

In the absence of any help, 

2 hours ago, Paul Jamison said:

I would agree totally that 'having someone to talk to and critique/edit your writing is important.

as Paul points out, I was angry and floundering. It was a hardspot to come back from, like being told you did something wrong and getting punished, without really knowing what you did wrong.

Anyhow, I did come back, but as I said, thanks to readers and fellow writers on an open site, no selection process. I wrote and completed a book, I've put up chapter one here in the submissions thread, it may appear once approved. I purposely wrote this,  my first completed book, without sex, and just the tiniest of mentions. I made the mistake of one of those tiniest of mentions being in the opening chapter and including the mention incest. Once again, not here, but on another site, they jumped down my throat at the very word. Luckily, I was able to persuade them that there was no incest it just gets talked about, phew! Every chapter and everything I write is still scrutinised on that other site before publication, but I'm used to that now.

It's quite funny, because, before trying my hand at writing, I read a lot, here and elsewhere. And I read stories with much more blatant sexual content in them than I wrote myself. End point, it's hard and difficult to get started, but possibly people are simply too busy to give feedback?


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I know I was lucky in my very early 'Nifty- High School' days. I attracted the interest of a sane and well educated man whose grasp of english was way better than mine. I'd have to admit that since school days i'd forgotten more than I dare admit abut grammar rules... and as for speech contractions in dialogue I had to learn those all over again.

I had help, advice, constructive criticism and some downright rude and a little offensive coments from some who obviously  wished for more 'stimulating' material.  I was about telling a story not detailing a sexual escapade. Some were unhappy with that... but, then as they say, it takes all sorts!! Being an ex boarding school boy I developed a hard exterior so it bacame water off a duck's back. so to speak. Some of it stung a bit but then going back to history ... You can please all of the people, some of the time and a few of the people most of the time.... etc etc ! With that in mind all us author's plod on doing what we feel is right for us...


Paul Jamison

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The Farewell Symphony by Edmund White is chalk full of opulent sensuality and many erotic references.   Interestingly, the narrator of the story, based loosely on White's life, has a novel rejected by publishers.  Hate to think of Edmund White giving up writing a novel because someone rejected the human sexuality of his work.   

A rejection must feel disappointing after working hard on something.  But even if your writing didn't find a home on a couple of Websites, why not keep on doing what you are doing?   If you tailor your effort to create stories that seem like the rest of the content on those Websites, is that really what you want?

I read a little bit today and will read more.  To me your writing seems unique and the characters vivid.  


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