Where is everyone?
Oh, dear, that is sad, Alfie. I have developed over the last couple of years to a point where my prose is at an acceptable standard. I have been published in a couple of places, including a national newspaper. Two years ago I won second place in a short story competition in The Lancashire Magazine, last year I won it, so I call that progress. On other sites (Facebook based) people offer crit and it is accepted as an honest, well-meaning desire to help. We all have our ideas as to what makes a good story. When people offer an opinion we have the choice of accepting some/all of it or ignoring it completely. Writing is a long term learning experience, so, if we're learning then someone/thing must be teaching. My advice to thin-skinned egoic writers is if you can't take the heat stay to fuck out of the kitchen. Rant over.
P.S. I have just posted a new piece that may well upset those of a delicate disposition it's called "No One's Prize" your opinion will, of course, be welcome, should you choose to voice one.
If submitted pieces of writing I read with an open and critical mind has the effect of giving me the incentive to do so, I always have the “courage and tenacity” to sometimes to tell the author what his or her creation awoke in me after having read it. The impressions it left to be cogitated over as an aftertaste.
This applies to both the author’s ability to present the content in easily-read, regular or novel English without typos and other glaring grammatical errors that may detract from following the intention-of-thought enjoyment, and my understanding of the content messaging, how it aligns with, contradicts, or adds something to my own knowledge of the subject matter. I think the content messaging is equally important as the accepted rules and regulations of the structural presentation, and after discussion it is equally invaluable as feedback.
For me, I accept that there are many reasons why prose writers and poets submit work on a showcase creative writing site that also has the facility for comments, including critique, and discussion.
The strange thing is when reading all the above comments is how is how I’ve seen many, new authors especially, submit work and openly declare they would like help with improving, who then receive no reaction, no encouragement.
Some, poets especially, trying to adequately put in words very personal feelings about, for example, family and love relationships, or emotional situations that have special meaning to them, are confronted with someone, even if skilful in producing their own type of work, have no proven pedagogic ability with which to give the relevant help that’s needed. The interfering person, though meaning well, tries to change the sensitive content messaging in a way that reflects their own assumed take on things that to the author leaves them cold. Better in such circumstances would be a comment that just says: for me, if I get your gist, that part just doesn’t seem right, and leave it for the creator of the work to cogitate over. Coming back to a piece of work with fresh eyes often works wonders where improvement, like clarity of meaning, of word choice, of phrasing, is concerned.
And then there are strugglers in the art who have invested their life-energy, their interest and education in other areas of life, who just want to simply experiment with a new art form or practice their limited knowledge of the language, whose main interest and enjoyment is to meet the challenge of just writing something that is entirely theirs, and which will remain very much their own work. And why shouldn’t they have this right of pride-in-the-attempt feeling? Okay, they can shut off comments at submittal, but they might like the social interaction of friendly discussion, without the feeling of being part of a formal Masterclass!
Some people are just takers and like comments on their own work, but seldom venture to comment on, or offer help with, the work of others. Some are rude and unfriendly no matter how help or criticism is offered. Okay, these characters, unless their work is exemplary, will soon lose any available interaction with others?
And lastly, if you enjoyed reading a piece of work, why can’t you just communicate that to the author or poet. Why is that a problem for those whose want to ego-trip as experts, who feel their valuable literary assets and accomplishments are being ignored or underestimated, are a wasted asset on the site? Everybody just submit work and comment when the feeling to do so arises, when, for any reason, the literary creation moves you!
Hi, Alfie, I appreciate your kind interest in my work and I never shrink from honest critique. My view is that if I cannot take crit, then I've no business calling myself a writer. I also hold that I am the final judge of what goes into my work. Yes, I'm keen to improve and I do study all well-meant comment looking for ways to improve. However, I have past experience of, for instance, a lover of the Oxford comma who raved at me for my refusal to adopt it. (Not on this site) So, you may say what you will pro or anti, I don't have ego issues when it comes to commenting on my work. At least it tells me someone read it! (Yes, that was an exclamation mark)
All the best mate, and crit away.
Hi lovely ones 🙂 I was one of the old crew that was here in 2005 and I was here for a few years. I left due to family circumstances and because I took a long break from writing. I have come back because I would like to carry on with my novel. Its been a long time in the making, but it's on my bucket list!
It seems a lot of the old ones are sadly no longer here. The atmosphere seems different too, which is sad because this was a lovely place to be.
Where is Sunken? Is he still around?
Yes, I remember you from the old days, your user name at least as way back then, there were so many, you could get 10 - 15 comments tagged on your work, both experienced, published poets who offered friendly advice as mere suggestions, that were never experienced as an imposition, and others who were just witty and sociable like Sunken; came here myself with the old BBC Poet's Corner crowd in January 2003, nearly all have fallen away through the years. I too came back after a few years break due to work demands, and even then there was change in the air. As people dwindled away for various reasons, one usually found a particular person, like with Sunken, to go in a witty repartee with, and later, I had the privilege of great old timers like Bozz, and Gerry, and Mike and Nemo for this purpose. I suppose change is inevitable and nothing good lasts forever, but I too, hardly recognise myself these days compared to how I felt on site then. One is drawn into the swamp of the bad atmosphere, one even finds oneself contributing to the deteriorating social interaction, even though it feels all so wrong and meaningless and against everything that we all enjoyed before, a real mojo killer. Multiple accounts seems to have made a mockery of the old feeling of knowing individuals and their friendly personalities, and their work styles. Now there's just confusion and negative click-building again.
Richard's made a really good job of getting back the old site facilities and user-friendly presentation possibilities again. As a site design it's still the best around, but people submitting their work and offering friendly, useful or just sociable, comments, is what gives the site its vitality and freshness, and contributes to maintaining a convivial, creative atmosphere. As you say, sorely lacking now.
Hi Gothicman 🙂 Good to see you again. I remember you too. It's such a shame that some people have spoiled such a lovely place. It was always good to come here and have a chat to others and to comment on others work and have comments left on my own. I too learned a lot from people like Suken, E-griff, Rupe, Stormwolf, Ginger and many others. It was a good community of writers. There are always trolls and childish people out there that have nothing better to do than cause trouble. Shame, but it's life I guess and the norm for some people.
Yeah, so I heard about E-griffs several accounts. I'm not gonna get involved in all this because I don't really know fully what has gone on. I just think it's such a shame that a site as lovely as UKA has suffered so much. At the end of the day we are here to write and progress and have a laugh, but not at other people.
Yeah, I sort of get the gist of it all, but not fully. I'm not here to argue or piss off anyone. I'm here to submit my work and maybe discuss things pleasantly, read others work when I get peace to and chat to some of the newbies and the old members that were here when I first came across UKA in 2005.
I hope that the differences can be settled between members because it UKA that is and will suffer and that is sad because it used to be such a fab place to be at one time. I feel sad that it's come to this. 🙁
Although your post was written in sarcasm, you are not far from the truth and I think it's time to start a clampdown/clean-up of the nefarious behaviours that are quite clearly ruining MANY (most) people's enjoyment of this site and keeping UKA friends from continuing to use the site, while causing others to basically wash their hands of UKA.
If I didn't own/run this site, I would be one of the many to have vacated UKA for those very reasons.
There is enough shite in this REAL world and we shouldn't have to put up with the same shite on the internet if we can do something about it.
The trouble with the internet as a medium for communication is that the normal constraints of social etiquette are non-existent and allow those with big gobs to say stuff that would get their head smashed in if they were to say it face-to-face.
In real life we have the ability to remove such trouble-makers from the room... tell them to leave the pub or get security to chuck them out.
Opinion is great. Robust argument is wonderful, constructive criticism is the best. Abuse, bad behaviour and foul language are not the way to conduct yourself if you want to remain in a community that wants and demands respect, consideration and emotional control.
Yes, I understand that one has a right to reply/retaliate to a perceived abuse received... yadda, yadda... but there is 'reply/retaliate' and then there is utterly vile and over the top 'replying/retaliating' - sort of like using a sledgehammer to crack a nut.
UKA should be a friendly, family safe website to come and post/enjoy/discuss all types of writing. At this moment UKA is anything BUT family-friendly.
I'm afraid that the time has come for 'the needs of the many to outweigh the needs of the few.' - as the wonderful Spok is oft-quoted.
If this is seen as an attack on 'free-speech' (and I suppose it is a tool to 'limit' free-speech) then so be it. But even free speech has to be limited if/when it steps beyond what is socially acceptable.
soz and all!