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Brainstorming Site Features for Authors


Myr

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I've been working on software specifications for future versions of our Stories system.  I'm looking to have a brainstorming here to see if there are new features we need and would be able to implement.  This will be an official brainstorming though, so here are the rules:

  1. Go for quantity: This rule is a means of enhancing divergent production, aiming to facilitate problem-solving through the maxim quantity breeds quality. The assumption is that the greater the number of ideas generate the bigger the chance of producing a radical and effective solution.
  2. Withhold criticism: In brainstorming, criticism of ideas generated should be put 'on hold'. Instead, participants should focus on extending or adding to ideas, reserving criticism for a later 'critical stage' of the process. By suspending judgment, participants will feel free to generate unusual ideas.
  3. Welcome wild ideas: To get a good long list of suggestions, wild ideas are encouraged. They can be generated by looking from new perspectives and suspending assumptions. These new ways of thinking might give you better solutions.
  4. Combine and improve ideas:As suggested by the slogan "1+1=3". It is believed to stimulate the building of ideas by a process of association.

(courtesy of Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brainstorming)

 

The focus on this brainstorm is: How can make our software better for authors?

Already planned, but details are not all worked out yet:

  • Reading stats for Stories.  So authors will be able to tell how many people are reading their stories during a month.
  • Stats on tag and genre popularity by month for readers
  • Posting Queue improvements for setting future story posts, as well as automatically dealing with our posting limit allowing you to post all your chapters in one go and let the system post them when allowed.

 

Any ideas you have related to those items or anything else that would make things better for authors here, please post the idea.  Please follow the rules above.  I'll weigh in we compile ideas over several topics.  Sound good?  Go...

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Perhaps some marketing ideas:

  • separate book blurb section
  • Cover art
  • for the artists, advertising banners attached to the stories, that we can use during promotions 
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perhaps a controlled rating system where there was a small set of multiple choice responses?

sort of a Please Rate the following:

  • characterization (did the author make you love or hate a character?  did the author make you laugh/scream/shout or otherwise connect?)  scale of 1 to 5.
  • Plot (did the author have a strong plot or were you more lost than the author was?) scale of 1 to 5.
  • Recommend to others? how likely are you to recommend to others, scale of 1 being least likely to 5 being most likely

Kind of take the writing and shyness out of some of the possible ways to review

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Showcase off some of the Non-Promising/Signature/Classic Authors who make up the bulk of Authors on GA.

 

Have a FrontPage widget that randomly showcases a top reviewed completed story.

 

EDIT: (yes, the top one is a little self-serving, but I was thinking about others when I wrote it.)

Edited by BHopper2
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Perhaps a 'supplemental materials' section attached to each of an author's stories where they can post related media such as: YouTube promotions, original artwork, music or multimedia, etc.

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Perhaps some advice to new authors on how to make Story Comments part into a small discussion topic like lomax did with Twelve Gays.

Or allow authors to have a general topic to discuss their first 2 or 3 stories, since it can be rather daunting to start a new topic if you doubt anyone will use it.

Spoiler

I cheated a bit and did a joint topic for Puppilull's Thaw and Frost series when she started the second story. And Litlover used her Crave topic to discuss subsequent stories too. It worked well.

 

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14 minutes ago, Timothy M. said:

Or allow authors to have a general topic to discuss

Can you clarify here?  Anyone can post anything they want in Story Discussion forum or the other story forums.  After the 4.3.0 forum update when Clubs are more visible, doing a reader's club might also be a viable path.

And working to get more authors involved in this club. 

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When you go int the Story Topic Forum the first topic you see is this

 

It says you can only do one story per topic. What I suggest is loosening this rule and give authors a chance to have at least related stories in the same topic. Or maybe simply say they can create a general topic to discuss their writings. Or it could be one topic for all short stories and one topic per longer multi-chapter stories or series.

Edited by Timothy M.
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10 minutes ago, Timothy M. said:

It says you can only do one story per topic. What I suggest is loosening this rule and give authors a chance to have at least related stories in the same topic. Or maybe simply say they can create a general topic to discuss their writings. Or it could be one topic for all short stories and one topic per longer multi-chapter stories or series

Actually, it says you can have one thread per story.  That is not the same thing as that post was specifically to prevent new posts per chapter on a story.  I've clarified the topic.

 

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1 hour ago, Myr said:

Actually, it says you can have one thread per story.  That is not the same thing as that post was specifically to prevent new posts per chapter on a story.  I've clarified the topic.

 

Thanks - and helping authors to find ways to discuss their stories is great. It's one of the reasons I like the new comment system so much. Us readers can have a small discussion among ourselves and with the author for each chapter. It's fun when that happens.

 

OK getting back on topic. Suggestions for story features:

 

is there a way the author could highlight their favorite comments on chapters ? 

If choosing more than one genre, could we get to decide the order of importance ? Ie to indicate this story is Drama with a touch of Romance, or Romance with Mystery and Horror ?

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Some thoughts on speeding things up for updating story details...

  • allow adding/modify tags by author/staff from Story Detail page (table of contents)
  • Create a Series interface that allows an author to add/edit series from Story detail page (table of contents)
  • Allow quick editing of story description from story detail page
  • Allow Series details to be entered on the first story, but does not show to members until the series has more than 1 story in it.

 

 

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15 hours ago, BHopper2 said:

A system that allows Authors to combine sperate stories, into one body of work, while keeping Comments, Follows, and Reactions.

 

This is something I'd like too, especially if Anthology stories could be included. My three Angel and Imp stories could then be strung together.

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5 hours ago, Timothy M. said:

My three Angel and Imp stories could then be strung together.

There is something called "Series" already in the system.

See, Cia used it on related Anthologies:

https://www.gayauthors.org/stories/browse/series/seeing-you-series/

 

Just give us a Series Title and the story order and the staff will edit it for you.

 

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I have now written a blog on Series which will post next Tuesday, Jan 9.  (Tomorrow's is on Computer Security)

But here is a sneak peek at part of it:

 

Series Title on Step 1 of Story Edit

 

Reminder:  Do not set Series number to 0 and do not add Series Title and Series Number until at least 2 of the Series are already in the system.

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4 hours ago, Myr said:

There is something called "Series" already in the system.

See, Cia used it on related Anthologies:

https://www.gayauthors.org/stories/browse/series/seeing-you-series/

 

Just give us a Series Title and the story order and the staff will edit it for you.

 

 

2 hours ago, Myr said:

I have now written a blog on Series which will post next Tuesday, Jan 9.  (Tomorrow's is on Computer Security)

But here is a sneak peek at part of it:

 

Reminder:  Do not set Series number to 0 and do not add Series Title and Series Number until at least 2 of the Series are already in the system.

 

Yeah, i did know about the series system, but I could never figure out how to do it, so a blog post sounds good.

But from your other post I assume if any Anthology stories are involved, we can't do it ourselves, but have to bother an Admin. Is that right ?

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41 minutes ago, Timothy M. said:

Anthology stories are involved

Anthologies must be edited by staff, yes.  It takes a minute or two, so it's not a big deal.

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I'm looking into adding a "World" field for stories.  You'd be able to tie stories together that are written in the same universe but aren't necessarily in a series together.  I think most authors have stories that fall into 'related' stories.  

 

I'm also considering some options to make Series more robust.  Like "Create a Series" which has Series name and description and perhaps its own banner.  And being able to add stories to the series, instead of having to edit the story to add the series.  It would also be a similar thing for the World option I mentioned above.  A place where you can describe your universe.

 

Any other thoughts?  I've included everything suggested here into the hopper and have been considering how we could do such things where feasible.

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1 hour ago, Myr said:

I'm looking into adding a "World" field for stories.  You'd be able to tie stories together that are written in the same universe but aren't necessarily in a series together.  I think most authors have stories that fall into 'related' stories.  

I would love this feature. With the Worldbuilding that I've done for Guardian Force Saga and The Fairie (see my blog), I would love to have this feature. I am defiantelly going to be adding a lot more to the Fairie world once The Half-Elven Warlock is finish. Not to mention your PsiCorp stories, could benefit from it.

 

1 hour ago, Myr said:

I'm also considering some options to make Series more robust.  Like "Create a Series" which has Series name and description and perhaps its own banner.  And being able to add stories to the series, instead of having to edit the story to add the series.  It would also be a similar thing for the World option I mentioned above.  A place where you can describe your universe.

I like this as well. Great idea!

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World and series are related but independent items. We need to make sure they're separate. As an example, I have a trilogy (series) and a related short story (world). I wouldn't want the short story to be mixed in with the series. L.E. Modesitt Jr's Imager Portfolio set of novels is another example: two series of novels in one world. His Recluce stories are also good examples, with several series and standalone novels set in one world.

 

With a series, I would like to see some flexibility with the numbering. The order written is not necessarily the series order (eg. Star Wars movie series). The series order (often the chronological order) may also not be the best order to read the series (again, Star Wars is an example).

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I would like a story end note that only appears when a story is marked as complete. I would use this as a final thank you and author notes when I finish a novel. The current chapter end note box is not always big enough for this purpose and so I have, reluctantly, been adding these to the end of the last chapter text.

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6 hours ago, Graeme said:

With a series, I would like to see some flexibility with the numbering

I'm not sure what you mean here. You can set series numbers to anything you like.  See blog post. 

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6 hours ago, Myr said:

I'm not sure what you mean here. You can set series numbers to anything you like.  See blog post. 

Thinking about it, I think the 'world' feature would address my concerns. I generally consider the numbering of a series to be the chronological order of events. This means if I go back and write a short story or spin-off that fits in earlier from a chronological perspective (eg. a prequel or something that gives some background to a  character in the series) I would have to renumber all the following stories in the series. That's cumbersome and it's the point I was trying to make. I would still need to do that for a prequel, but the 'world' feature would handle any spin-off. 

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