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Ten Ways to Empty the Green Room (authors hate #6!)



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Mon Jan 30, 2023 8:47 pm
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Nate says...



Total clickbait ;)

The Green Room is mostly chapters right now, and that's really hard to review. What could be done to encourage people to review more of them, and empty the Green Room by the end of February?

Some ideas I have just to jumpstart discussion:
- Threads like this one!
- Earn more points for reviewing longer works. Maybe earn as much as a 1,000 points for a really long work.
- Make leaderboards more prominent by including the top 5 in the sidebar on practically every page
- If a work is not reviewed after three months, remove it from the Green Room
- Group chapters by novel instead of having them appear individually.
- Include the word count and max review points next to each literary work when browsing
- Increase the point cost for posting chapters, and decrease it for poems & short stories

Thoughts?




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Mon Jan 30, 2023 8:51 pm
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Nate says...



On a sidenote, the issue of reviewing chapters has been an ongoing one since writing books became really popular in ~2009. And to my knowledge, no critique site with an open membership has managed to solve it. But, we can try!




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Mon Jan 30, 2023 9:19 pm
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IcyFlame says...



What about a character limit for posting a new work? It could be pretty high as most chapters are a reasonable length on here but I’ve definitely come across a fair few that are so long they’re daunting to review.




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Mon Jan 30, 2023 9:46 pm
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fatherfig says...



I'm not sure about removing the books from the green room because that would just ensure that some books never got reviewed. I think that would kind of drop some engagement levels.
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fantasies says...



i think perhaps you could focus on organization (novel chapter groupings perhaps) and maybe the word limit as well. reviewing very long works can be frustrating.
i do think some of these things could help in a way, but put them into deep consideration. they have flaws.
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Mon Jan 30, 2023 11:56 pm
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Rook says...



I wonder if we could start a movement among novelists to include a synopsis/what new readers need to know at the beginning of each chapter.
Or maybe we should make novels a sort of completely different beast on yws. I'm not sure how much reviewing chapter by chapter actually helps anyway. It'd be nice if there was a format for novels that was easier to read/more accessible/comfortable. Like including a link to the next chapter at the bottom if the page so you don't have to search in the sudebar for it.
This is something YWSers could do themeelves. I think a lot if it would have to be managed through a cultural adjustment.
It dies beg the question: why do so many people write novels, so few people want to review them, and why are professionally published novels the things most people read in their spare time (rather than published poetry for example)? Something doesn't quite seem to fit.
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Tue Jan 31, 2023 2:00 am
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Snoink says...



Most of the novelists who get read on YWS trade novels and review them, I think. So like... @Spearmint is reading my novels and I am reading hers. So maybe some group that pairs aspiring novelists with each other, or at least allows the novelists to share synopses of their work to gain interest?

We novelists have to stick together! ;)

Earn more points for reviewing longer works. Maybe earn as much as a 1,000 points for a really long work.


That... would actually be helpful. In order to post a single chapter, that can take like... 2-4 literary posts, since you have to break up the chapter in small chunks, otherwise no one will read it. This costs a lot of points. Which you can make up by reviewing, granted, but you have to review about 4-8 chapter sections to gain enough points to post a single chapter, broken up on parts. Which is exhausting, because each chapter section is like a mini short story. So increasing the amount of points you earn might be extremely helpful because it would make it more fair.
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Tue Jan 31, 2023 2:08 am
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winterwolf0100 says...



I think removing novel chapters from the green room would just discourage authors who never got feedback on their novels, and I also think that increasing the point total for reviewing a novel chapter would be great, possibly based on the word-count of the overall chapter? In terms of increasing the number of points it costs to post a chapter of a novel though, I think this would just decrease the amount of people who post their works on here rather than encouraging reviews for novels.
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Tue Jan 31, 2023 3:43 am
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Snoink says...



Okay, here's a more in-depth response because I am on a legitimate computer now, lol.

- If a work is not reviewed after three months, remove it from the Green Room


ONLY if you have another place which sounds even cooler to put it where you can get double the points that you would otherwise get. So, like... the graveyard and you can get a max of x2 the regular points.

- Group chapters by novel instead of having them appear individually.


YES. Like, having the updates like, "This novel has been updated!" is a lot better because the people who haven't read the book will be able to go to the beginning chapters that they might be intrigued by, if they want to binge read the novel, and the people who are already reading the novel will be excited to read the newest chapter.

- Include the word count and max review points next to each literary work when browsing


Estimated reading time might be good too? I know there are some codes that estimate that...

- Increase the point cost for posting chapters, and decrease it for poems & short stories


ABSOLUTELY NOT.

I said this on my previous post, but you cannot post a chapter on YWS. Typical chapter sizes generally run from 1500 - 5000 words. A regular chapter is too big. Like... for reference... my prologue is about ~2600 words, which is right in the halfway point. Look how friggin' huge it looks on YWS:

Conqueror Rising: A Prologue

That's already intimidating! Now, consider that normal chapters can be twice that long. OUCH. And if you have something slightly longer than your typical chapter, it looks even scarier.

See how long this section is?? It's about 6k:

Conqueror Rising: Chapter 1.3

(Yes, this chapter is friggin' long... there is a reason why I joke that this is my unpublishable monstrosity, lol.)

The only reason why I have any reviews at all for this chapter is because I'm an established member on YWS with a good reputation. Otherwise, I can assure you that absolutely nobody would want to touch that section. Ever.

Novel section lengths of ~1000 words get eyeballs. Anything longer looks terrifyingly long on YWS.

So logistically speaking, what you need to do is post the chapter in short sections that are preferably in 1k sections. So, in order to post one chapter on YWS, you already are spending waaaaay more points than you would on any other literary endeavor on YWS. If you increase the point cost for posting chapters, you are going to force YWSers to post their entire chapters in one post and that is going to ensure that absolutely no one will ever want to review their novel. Ever. This would absolutely kill the novel forums.

DO NOT DO THIS.

What about a character limit for posting a new work? It could be pretty high as most chapters are a reasonable length on here but I’ve definitely come across a fair few that are so long they’re daunting to review.


I would also say no. The people who post longer stuff (like me!) generally know we are doomed and that only a dedicated few will want to read it, lol. It's okay... *cries softly in pillow*

Or maybe we should make novels a sort of completely different beast on yws. I'm not sure how much reviewing chapter by chapter actually helps anyway.


It helps me. :) I like seeing how people react chapter by chapter! Of course, I usually frame the chapter like a mini short story, but with cliffhangers, lol. Though, sometimes it's nice to have feedback as to the whole work.

I think one nice thing that novelists can do is to kind of state what sort of comments they are looking for. I think most novelists don't really expect a line by line edit... but like, comments on characters, people noticing discontinuity, and other little things would be nice, usually.

It dies beg the question: why do so many people write novels, so few people want to review them, and why are professionally published novels the things most people read in their spare time (rather than published poetry for example)? Something doesn't quite seem to fit.


The hero's journey! Escapism! A good story! You can't beat a good story. ;) Besides, flipping through pages is nicer than scrolling through an endless text, haha. Our eyes wander when we're on the internet.

But like... reviewing novels is not everyone's cup of tea, lol. For one, you're never sure if the novel is even going to be finished, haha. Or, even if it is finished, it may never be posted in its entirety on YWS. (I don't post my whole novels on YWS, though I tend to pick up reviewers that seem interested in my story and ask them if they want to be beta readers off site.) Sometimes there are GIANT continuity errors that make readers frustrated. And other little things. If you have to read through and see the same dumb grammar mistakes in every chapter in an unpolished novel, you might not want to read the entire thing, no matter how good the story is.

Also, reviewing novels isn't really... something that is dealt with very much?? Like, a helpful review for a novel is entirely different than a short story. Writing a helpful review for a short story, it's not too strange to write a review that is 25%-50% of the size of the story. But if you do that for a 100K novel, you're going to die a slow death. Reviews for novels need to be shorter and only focused on the important parts so that it can catch the interest of an agent/publisher. Let the people who are paid do the longer edits do that and get paid! ;)

Anyway. Those are my two cents...
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Tue Jan 31, 2023 4:14 am
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Carlito says...



I wonder if we could start a movement among novelists to include a synopsis/what new readers need to know at the beginning of each chapter.

I've wanted this for so long!!

I used to review a lot of novel chapters and follow a lot of novels here and it was always somewhat cumbersome to keep track of which books I was actively following and trying to read as new chapters came out. A lot of authors have gotten into the practice of tagging readers on their wall when new chapters come out, but if I don't have time at that moment to read the chapter then I forget it's there. I kept a list outside of YWS of the novels I was following and reading for people and what chapter I was on so I wouldn't forget and miss things.

I'd love a way to follow a novel easier. Perhaps a way to subscribe to a novel so you get a notification when a new chapter or segment comes out? Or a tab or something that shows what novels you're following in an easy to access place so you can see them and see when they've been updated? I'm thinking back a million years ago when I followed a ton of stories on fanfiction.net and it was easy to see what stories I was following and when they were updated so I never missed a chapter I wanted to read.

Like I mentioned at the top, I'd also love "notes" or something at the top of a novel chapter with a very brief summary of what's been happening in the book, and/or the level of feedback someone wants to receive. I'm happy to jump into the middle of a book and review an isolated chapter, but it helps to have a little context about what's going on without having to jump back to the beginning. I know some authors do this already, but I'm thinking when you go to submit in the publishing center having an extra box or something to fill in that forces you to include that information would be helpful. Even outside of helping people that jump in the middle, it would be helpful for a reviewer following a story too. I know I'm usually reading a bunch of things at once and if a book is getting updated say once a week, I may not remember everything going on in the book from week to week and it's nice to get a little refresher before I jump back in.

I realize none of this will help clear the green room by the end of february :) I also have no idea how daunting any of this would be to do code wise!

I think most people gravitate towards reviewing poetry and short stories because it's much less of a commitment. If someone is like oh I have it in me to write 1 or 2 reviews today, it's a lot easier to commit to reading a few poems or a short story then jumping in the middle of a novel and trying to figure out what's going on without spending extra time going back.

One other option would be bringing back the Novel Workshop thread. For people with finished books, it might be easier and more effective to look for people willing to read the whole thing in one go rather than posting it chapter by chapter. I do think chapter by chapter feedback is useful! The only downside to utilizing the Novel Workshop is that I recognize that many people post as they're writing and like feedback as they're writing rather than waiting until it's finished to get feedback.

My will review for food thread is dedicated to offering beta reads for finished books, but I'm somewhat selective in what genres I like to read. Perhaps the Novel Workshop thread could become like will review for food but exclusively for beta reads? So people interested in doing beta reads could post a thread about what types of books they're willing to read? People with a book they want betas for could also post a thread asking for readers? There might be less posting of novels in the publishing center that way while still giving people the chance for feedback. But at the end of the day, I think there will always be people that want to post as they write and there will always be people that want a slower reading experience so novels in the publishing center will never become obsolete. I think big picture wise, making them easier to follow and keep track of will help!
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Tue Jan 31, 2023 5:08 am
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Rook says...



I guess what I meant when I said I didn't know how helpful chapter by chapter reviews are, was that I didn't know how helpful a review from a random stranger who hasn't read any of the other chapters is.
They can help with grammar and stuff, but like what has been mentioned, that's not all that helpful, especially for a first draft. Reviewers who come in halfway aren't able to give helpful feedback about characters, pacing, etc. They just don't have the context. But these are the things the author actually wants to know about.
So when I said maybe novels should be a different beast, I was thinking of somehow, they should be collected together under one "work" and the points system, etc. should work entirely differently for novels. How? I'm not really sure. I guess I'm picturing the way my creative writing group for novels does it: we have a google doc with the whole book there (Except that's too many words for one doc to load quickly, so we split the novel up into about three or four parts), and you can jump to chapters on a side bar, but it's easy to just scroll up to look at what happened in the last chapter and easy to just keep scrolling when you finish the next chapter. And then you can make comments to the side by highlighting, which is useful for smaller edits. And then at the end we have space for people to leave longer comments about the overall work, characters, and more general thoughts.
I'm not saying we should clone google docs, but that experience is more seamless as a reader and reviewer than the literary work system we have now, that definitely works well for poetry (I can't speak to short stories).

But that's a ton of coding and just ease of reading and reviewing stuff. As for how the points work....

What if there was a question about how many chapters you read before you get to the review? Like if you jump in at chapter 43, and you actually WANT to read all the previous chapters, but not necessarily review every single one, just do a more in-depth review at chapter 43, maybe you could get more points for having read them?
Vs if you want to jump in at chapter 43 but not read the other chapters, you'd just say you read the 1 chapter and only get the points associated with that.
This doesn't really help with the green room issue, but like I said, maybe novels could be a different beast and have their own version of the green room? I dunno! It's deffinitely a really tricky problem!
Instead, he said, Brother! I know your hunger.
To this, the Wolf answered, Lo!

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Tue Jan 31, 2023 5:31 am
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alliyah says...



Great topic Nate! And great discussion so far on many points.

As a disclaimer - I do not post novel chapters and review prose fairly infrequently because poetry is really my jam - but I've been observing the late-novel-chapters lingering in the GR for quite a while and have thought on it a lot too.

I think the best thing we can do to keep reviewing up in general is continuing to have monthly Review Days. And I also think it really is helpful every 6 months to have a friendsgiving/gift-weekend to deplete the point market too. Right now I think there's so many points in the yws-economy that offering more points or requiring more points is not very motivating.

- Earn more points for reviewing longer works. Maybe earn as much as a 1,000 points for a really long work.


I feel pretty iffy about this idea. For 1000 points could a user still get away with just commenting, "I think this is about cats. Keep on going with those characters. Thanks for reading my review." I would almost feel like we'd have to have a higher standard of reviews for such works and I think if posting long works still cost the same we'd actually have a worse problem of more works from the increase in points, and still the same amount of reviews.

- Make leaderboards more prominent by including the top 5 in the sidebar on practically every page


Not sure it'd motivate people to review more, but I still like this idea as long as it features more than the top 2 :)

- If a work is not reviewed after three months, remove it from the Green Room


I actually really like @Snoink's suggestion with this, that maybe it could move out of the green room to the "Grave Yard" or "Review Diner" or "Review Raceway" or something and then have double the points offered. I feel like this would be an attractive option for users who are short on points to get a little extra without it being an excessive amount of points. For a while we had works that were like 9 months old in the GR and that made me feel really sad / discouraged / guilty @_@' it'd be nice to have a place to get those works kind of highlighted. (I wouldn't call it the grave-yard though, that feels sad; maybe the "Spotlight Room" or something)

- Group chapters by novel instead of having them appear individually.


This would be very helpful if there was a better way for chapters to link up together. I would also love to see some sort of "follow" or "bookmark" option for novels.

I wonder if we could start a movement among novelists to include a synopsis/what new readers need to know at the beginning of each chapter.


More users seems to be doing this recently - even for poetry I have started leaving a "first comment" with some author notes and what I'm hoping to get from a review. Could there be a designated spot for an "Author's Note / Note to Reviewers"? I'd be much more apt to review a novel if I had some notes from the author saying what they're looking for for feedback and a brief synopsis on what happened previously in their novel.

- Include the word count and max review points next to each literary work when browsing


Word count might be helpful!

~~~~
Other random ideas:

I don't know if this is feasible idea - but I've sometimes thought YWS would benefit from more people tackling "comment" feedback rather than feeling like they have to leave a four paragraph essay review or it's not worth it. Could we make leaving a comment maybe 10 points or something to incentivize it? Most of the other poetry sites I've interacted with would call the way we review "workshopping a poem" and are more likely to leave a three sentence comment - so I think we are missing out on a particular type of feedback style on YWS when it's sort of "review or nothing" - 5 or 10 points isn't a lot, but I do think it'd get people to do it. I also think at least getting a comment would help encourage authors who have their work sitting in the GR so long to at least get some interaction with their piece. I'd even like to see a "Comment" spotlight or something. Right now I think a lot of folks feel like to mark something as a review it needs to be a four paragraph in depth essay on the work - and to do that for every chapter section is very intimidating.

You know how we used to have the "buddy system" and then during NaPo we have "NaPo Buddies" where people pair together to mutually support - we could have some sort of system like that for novelists where folks looking for a reader who are also willing to read a novel themselves could choose to pair up together?

I also wonder if there's a way to incentivize reviewing an entire novel? Could that be a challenge that gets users into some hall of fame? a special trophy? there's a kotgr one but that's only for if you do a GR review for ever chapter of a novel which is nearly impossible. I think it'd be neat to recognize both completed novels (an extra tag maybe?) and reviewers who review through whole novels.

One voice I think would very much add to this discussion would be @KateHardy because they have actually managed I believe to review through multiple YWS novels which not many folks have and are just a reviewing machine. What motivates you to get through a whole novel? What would make it easier?
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Tue Jan 31, 2023 9:17 am
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Nate says...



What if for novels, you had the same kind of sidebar that you have for roleplays / storybooks? There'd be the cover art, chapter summary, characters (maybe notes instead?), novel synopsis, and then the chapter list. That'd replace the "about the author" and "share this" sections, but I think both of those are pretty much ignored. I think that goes a bit of the way toward what @Rook and @Carlito suggested.

Years ago (a decade ago!?), @Carina also posted a lot of great suggestions that I regularly refer back to: Wouldn't it be cool if YWS...

Of course, all of this wouldn't help clear the green room, but would at least make YWS more novel friendly, which would help in other ways.

@lliyah ->> I like that idea of points just for comments!




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Liminality says...



Novel chapters

- Earn more points for reviewing longer works. Maybe earn as much as a 1,000 points for a really long work.


I think I'm in favour of something similar to this for novels: having an increased point incentive for reviewing later chapters of a work could be a good idea. I know when I review something like chapter 43 of a novel, I'm doing extra reading by reading maybe the prologue, chapter 1, sometimes chapter 2, and occasionally also chapter 42.

Though I think the thing about getting more points is that it results in more works being posted, so the total works in the Green Room might remain the same (hence not 'clearing' it). But it might help works get in and out of the GR faster, if that's also a good aim. c:

Comments

I'm also in support of points for comments! So long as there's still the Green Room system of works needing to have 2 reviews before they are removed from GR (but can have as many comments as pleases)
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KateHardy says...



I've been summoned xD

Sorry for taking a while, but I wanted to gather all my thoughts before I replied here.

So I do tend to review and post mostly novel chapters so I've been on both of sides of this problem before.

So just to comment on those solutions.

Revamping Novels

The idea of redoing novels to be easier to follow is great. I think one of the things that ended up stopping me from reviewing certain novels halfway along is that the authors end up taking gaps in between chapters, understandably so, we all hit those writer's block walls. But when that happens and then chapter 25 ends up appearing six months after chapter 24, most often the reviewers who reviewed upto 24 are either missing (which is a different matter) or they just don't realize or have forgotten. So making it easier to follow a full novel and know when its updated would be great.

And then having a chapter summary and novel synopsis be required would be great for newer reviewers to tackle later. I personally tend to go back and review a full novel when it comes to a chapter 20 something in the green room but I understand not every reviewer has that much time on their hands so that would help. It won't be great feedback because it really is impossible to give a good review on chapter twenty besides on grammer and basic things that aren't always that helpful but it'll be something. To that end I love the comment idea so someone could leave a bit of feedback in something like that.

I agree with Snoink there in that you really must keep a chapter part to 1000 words or less if you want it reviewed at least in recent times. And regular updates. The one or two novels I've posted in their entirety here that did get reviews were because I had a set day of the week I always posted in and I had about three reviewers who actively followed it and reviewed it. Tagging them on my wall every week to let them know something was out and keeping it coming in short 1000 word chunks every week on the same day managed to get all of those chapters fully out the green room in less than a week for each chapter part.

So I think the above solution works wonders to create a similar situation but with every novel to match every writer's speed and account for times where writer's simply can't update because they haven't been able to write.

More Incentives to Read Older Chapters and Review Larger Parts

For this I think points is the way to go but slightly differently. Perhaps if you could earn more points in a review for length it might incentivize reviewing longer parts. Anythign past 2500 words is just too draining to leave a good review on cause it takes roughly half and hour per 1000 words to properly understand that novel and review it. Often for later chapter it takes upto an hour because you want to fully do it justice. Even with my personal style of reactive feedback it takes about that long so people who dive even deeper will need even more time.

So I think the solution would be to let it go upto a 1000 points provided you wrote 10,000 characters worth of review. Because I've reviewed some 10,000 word monster chapters which were basically the entire novel posted as one and written reviews upto 25,000 characters and its very disheartening sometimes when it gets the same points as 1000 character review for a tiny 500 word short story. I personally don't really review for points because...uhh...*gestures vaguely at sidebar* but for situations like review day or users who are looking for points might take more interesting in longer novels if they could write one long review for 1000 points instead of ten small ones. (The fact that this review day the team won on points despite being like 8 reviews behind is a great example of people using higher value reviews in times like that).

Now I agree this will cause spam... probably a lot. But hopefully that'll only be newbies who will get spotted and dealt with and the ones who remain will respect the system. It might end up leading to more works though so yeah in the long run it might not solve the problem but I could see this turning review days into more effective tools for clearing the green room of such behemoths.

For older chapters. Points could come into play again I think. Perhaps it could be made so that if you comment on an older chapter of a novel you get five points extra for a later review for each comment you've made. (Of course you'll have to limit it to one comment per chapter part to avoid gaming the system). But this could give people more of a reason to skim older parts and leave some feedback on them and therefore hopefully have more context to work with when they review a later part and a result they also get themselves some more points.

Possible Badge for Finishing a Novel

I think this would be lovely. I've finished about five maybe six novels in my time and one did net me that green room badge and the second is about to net me the other, but to achieve that its really hard and you have to be reviewing every single day. And hunting those badges played a major role in me sticking with some of these.

To up the incentive for the average reviewer to follow a single novel having some recognition for finishing a novel would be great. A badge for one upto five novels might be a great incentive for people to follow a novel given a new system is implemented to make that easy to do. With this current system it might be too hard for people to track.

And because of course lots of novels are rarely uploaded in their entirety perhaps a 10 point addition to each subsequent review you do. Like if you've review chapter's one to five, chapter six would net you 25 extra points. Unless there's stories with over a 100 chapters (and I've been following one with over a hundred parts so it does happen) you won't get too ridiculous with the points and even if does I feel like a person who followed a novel for a 100 chapters which you would expect to take at least a year deserves the extra points.

And because that was far, far too long let me summarize really quick.

- Revamp Novels to be Followable with Synopsis plut Chapter Summary - YES PLEASE
- Let Reviews Go up to 1,000 points using the same system so needing 10,000 characters to achieve a 1,000. (Maybe make this exclusive to the novel/short story sections)
- Comments Getting Points - YES
- Expansion of Comments Situation Where Using the Same Follow Idea for Novels, having commented on earlier parts gets you more points for reviews of later chapters.
- Badges for Following and Fully Reviewing a Novel and Maybe a Hall of Fame too
- More Points for Doing Multiple Reviews in a Novel (Maybe 5 for having commented and 10 for having reviewed, or 2 and 5 because 10 might add up fast)
(All three points above rely on a novel revamp happening because following might be too much work otherwise)

And ending on some final, final thoughts.

On the idea of a Second Place to Send really old pieces. I think I would be in favor for that too if you got more points. Otherwise it would just ensure there's another place that fills up. And if there was no place at all it just means a bunch of pieces go unreviewed.

The idea of novel reviews being shared also is very true. Most often my novels get reviews from the people whose novels I review. So newbies especially the ones who don't know will post entire novels or massive, massive short stories without ever reviewing anything and that just rots in the green room forever. This might even cause some of them to never come back so maybe a little line of advice in the publishing center that says "Oh your work is X words long, which is hard for reviews to understand, please consider splitting into smaller parts" might be helpful. I understand that will come with issues but I think a warning that tells people what to expect would hopefully avoid the problems that a hard limit would cause.

So that's that. If anyone of these ideas made absolute zero sense, please ask me to explain them further. Thank you for sitting through all of that.
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The worst bullies you will ever encounter in your life are your own thoughts.
— Bryant McGill