State of the Art -- Where Has the Fiction Gone?

in fiction •  19 days ago

Fiction on the Steem Blockchain Ain’t What It Could Be.


This doesn’t come as a surprise to those of us at TWB. We’ve watched for the past year as the fiction tag became less and less reliable as a source of good reading material. We’ve watched talent hemorrhage from the blockchain, gifted writers fleeing for higher ground to avoid flag wars and political drama. Creative writing itself was even called into question as a legitimate art form. Certain investors made it clear that their opinion of content creators is that we are takers, parasites on the platform whose presence is neither welcomed nor desired.



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The whole while we’ve said little, just letting the Wild West of Steem run its course. Because that’s essentially the dynamic we have here—it’s ridiculous to expect any type of expertise with a technology that’s so new. Cryptohounds know crypto. They don’t necessarily know social markets. The Writers’ Block knows writing. We just happen to have a lot of connections to social markets as well, because writers have been entrenched in them for years.

Once we at The Writers’ Block understood that we’re not dependent on either the current user interfaces or the Steem users alone to succeed as one of the world’s first blockchain-based writing communities, we knew that trying to change the paradigm was not the best way to expend our energy. We need solid blockchain technology, and it doesn’t get more solid than Steem. Aside from that, it’s up to us to build a world that’s hospitable and inviting to writers and readers alike, and that’s exactly what we’ve been working on with Wordrow and Steemhouse Publishing.

Mass Appeal? Heck No. Mass Exodus.


However, nearly every serious or professional writer in TWB has made an independent, personal decision to post no more of their best fiction on the blockchain. This is quite understandable, but troubling. It means the predictions we made early on about Steem losing its best content (and therefore its mass appeal) is happening. Investors say they don’t care. Shitposts earn more. Well, this may be true in a short-term view, but in the long run it will spell the eventual lost of interest in the platform altogether.

So fine—investors don’t care about that, either. They’re looking to buy low, wait for a pump, and bail out at a profit. Who cares if the platform fails as long as they make their coin, right? We understand that this is the prevailing attitude of many, and so be it. But blockchain technology will still exist when the easy come, easy go investors have gone, and that’s why TWB is digging in for the long haul.

Once we have our own front-end interface to promote, free of the detritus caused by bad actors on the Steemit platform, we can start to market the blockchain as a positive place for serious writers, where earning may or may not meet their expectations, but readership certainly will. See, there’s a built-in market for fiction all over the Web. The mainstream publishing industry is flourishing. Not to mention the fact that everybody wants to write a novel these days, and thanks to self-publishing, almost everyone can. People looking for writing communities and editorial support scour the Internet for peer review groups like ours.

What’s Our Point?


Our point is that fiction on the blockchain has a place. We hate the absence of all the writers who populated the feeds when TWB first formed, even though we saw their mass exodus coming long before it happened. But rest assured—our vision is solid. We’re working hard at TWB to make posting on the blockchain worthwhile for authors of short form fiction, and for novelists looking to build audience engagement. There’s still a lot of work ahead, but our future does not depend on Steem politics. It will be controlled by the market, by mainstream readers and the salability of our own brand. Want to get on board? Check out our Discord community by clicking the animated gif below. The future is what we make it, and we’re going to make it amazing.

 








Posted from my blog with SteemPress : http://www.writersblockcentral.com/uncategorized/state-of-the-art-where-has-the-fiction-gone/

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curation rewards are set up so that a curator loses ROI if they take the time to read a fiction piece.

if your blog doesn't get noticed in that first hour...SOL

Now having said that, I think there is a future as far as writing here.

But right now I don't see a lot of immediate rewards for creators. For myself, that's fine...I see my efforts here as a long term investment in the platform.

For most writers? Exodus

How many years in the Steemit desert LOL

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I initially came to steem to write .( having never really written before)
My first posts were way more fiction, and travel stories, more than anything.

Then the other stuff took over, and (real life issues), and the strange thing is - I noticed my 'creative juices' drying up.
I've noticed that I can't really do both simultaneously, real life and fiction(I keep trying).
Different parts of the brain, or something..

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Agreed completely

working on @informationwar slowed me big time on anything else, but then again non-fiction requires a great deal of time in research as well.

It doesn't help that Steem is at a low value, so everybody took their toys and went home ;>

A really big appeal of this place was the engagement

I think I'm going to gripe about this every time it is close to relevant
By giving better rewards to curators for "discovering" "good" content, the platform makes posts over an hour old increasing less value for an investor/curator to read/discover/share/reward

So the reward motive for creators drops off a bit, as well

anyway, I'm here for the long run, and I hope some of the stuff in development pans out, but I'm not expecting any immediate return on what I do

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I think you're spot on. This is an essential flaw of the platform. Fortunately, we can built interfaces that successfully address that problem. I can't wait to get Wordrow online. I hate that it's taking so long.

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Wordrow?

Sounds interesting.

Do you have a brief overview or link?

Hopefully, when the devs finally get around to communities, that will help a bit; and as always, if the price of Steem goes up, then people will flock back to the platform

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Here's an article that talks about it some, although I don't think we'd released the name of the site yet. :-)

https://steemit.com/thewritersblock/@thewritersblock/triangletheorywherewegonext-tk9lph91o5

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This has happened through inappropriate use of our tag and being named in posts that have nothing to do with us.

happened to us in informationwar, but like the post said, pretty common across the board.

I like the "triangle" concept, and I'm looking forward to the site coming up; do you have an estimated launch date yet?

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We're hoping to launch from Poland next week at Steemfest. But that depends on the developers. Fingers crossed. . . .

We've already launched the publishing house and will announce our first novel at Steemfest, too.

Here is a post that appears to fit in with this one, just FYI: The Alchemy of Imagery - Collaboration Across the Blockchain :
"Over the last few months, I have been finding myself moving more and more toward writing fiction. So I was acutely aware that I wanted to enter into a collaboration that inspired the poetic muse."
and
"Steemit is a community driven eco-system. Everything from the reward system, to the witness voting and decision making at a core level is at least partly informed by consensus. Collaboration is built into steemit, as without collaboration between witnesses and steemit inc, or between curators and content creators, there would be no system to drive the steem economy.**"
and
The many collaborations happening across steemit are like the life-blood pumping oxygen to a healthy eco-system so that it can grow.

I definitely think there is a place for fiction writers and creators on the blockchain.

However, I will say as a writer it just really never has interested me that much. I started with a Novel years ago and completely got bored with it.

My creative juices lie in general opinion commentary. Ranging from current events and news to human behavior and psychology. And just blogging in general about myself and human interest stories.

Although I do think there is a place for fiction creators, I believe most people come on the internet to get non- fiction material i.e. news, stats, facts etc..etc..

I think it is a narrow niche you are attempting to capture. But still viable.

I find that the attention span of most of the readers on the blockchain is very short. I actually started the hashtag #lostart and asked the question, “If reading is a lost art?” Most of the readers want to be entertained and read short stories about current events and investing in cryptocurrencies.

When I write short poetry, I have more interaction and comments than on longer fiction stories. Some of the more interesting stories also disappeared from the TWB and contest feed.

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@pyemoney, I think it's very true that online readers are definitely looking for shorter work, because even I don't like reading whole novels on the laptop unless I'm editing. That being said, I think that opens up a whole new market for us. At the same time, books sales are flourishing. Ebooks for reading devices like Kindle and print books are both popular products. Right now the industry is still dominated by the Top Five publishers because they have the best marketing reach. But if we leverage a combination of short fiction to get the attention of readers who browse online, and use it to introduce them to new authors with longer work on the market...well, I think we might be on to something.

I quite unwittingly read myself out. I used to ride a train to work, and started reading mammoth anthologies, that sort of thing. One day I realized that while I had read hundreds of stories.. I couldn't remember any of them. Just snippets here and there. Unfortunately my memory difficulties have gotten worse over the years, and so it's pretty difficult to find anything that really catches my attention. I've had a copy of Grapes of Wrath sitting around for months.. I totally mean to get to it, but it just doesn't happen. I think that part of the issue is that with the rise of clickbait (of all sorts), people's attention span and retention has simply gotten weaker.

Like any muscle or skill, a choice becomes a habit becomes a reflex. And the constant flow of info, coupled with the dreaded FOMO, almost necessitates that one adapts to fleeting moments, in order to keep up with what's new. Fifteen minutes of fame has now become 15 seconds of fame. With the attention "market" so to speak, becoming so flighty and vapid, creating a poignancy, a "depth of stimulus", so to speak; seems quite difficult. Granted... I've never really written fiction of any length.

But I've been kicking around the idea of serialized writing, like the pulps of the 30's. Small, evocative snatches of stories that hold the attention in tiny snippets. I think that may be what I try to go with. While that's definitely going to be a challenge, it may be the right way to go, as far as I myself am concerned.

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@yestermorrow, I really hope you'll join TWB, if you haven't already. I haven't seen you there yet, I don't believe. Your thoughts about serialized fiction dovetail precisely with our plans for the Wordrow front end, which is still in development but hopefully we'll have something to show by next week. I think those "small, evocative snatches of stories that hold the attention in tiny snippets" is the way of the future. Wordrow is designed specifically for this, so hopefully you'll have a solid platform for such things in the very near future.

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Awesome! Count me in!

Posted using Partiko Android

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Awesome! Count me in!

Posted using Partiko Android

This needed saying. I think good fiction does have a place here, and it can get well-rewarded too! I think for folks like me, it's a question of "Would I rather have this published in a journal so I can somehow someday get some sort of literary clout?" And if the answer is no, Steemit gets to gnaw on it.

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I'm glad to hear you say this, @caleblailmusik. I think where TWB differs in thought from others is that we think BOTH scenarios have merit in today's market. It's not an "either/or" situation. I think what the real shocker for people will be is when we emerge with that "literary clout" from a journal published right here on the blockchain. And that is exactly where we're headed.

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I would love to see that!

You have my well deserved vote @thewritersblock . Keep up the good work, even though there has been an exodus of good writers here. They may eventually return when they feel it is worth their time and effort.

Many regards.

Most times, people who write don't read, and people who really have an interest in reading don't have much in terms of sp...

So sometimes, even after coming up with a great work of fiction, some would rather use the wafrica tag, or bigwaves, etc. to get valuable upvotes. Add that to the almost always required tags in the case of contest entries, and theres little or no space left to make use of the fiction tag. But then again, some still write nevertheless. We may be
down, but never out...

By the way, What's up with the art prompt contest?

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actually people who write and write well, read a lot. Notwithstanding some who claim differently, you can't write well without reading A LOT.

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Most times, people who write don't read

Bingo. You nailed it. This is a problem I've seen all too often in writer communities--authors marketing to each other. We have to get outside that bubble and into the vast universe of readers if we want to find an audience.

And ah, yes...the art prompt contest. That got lost in the shuffle last month. We did pick a winner of the art portion, and I think GMuxx is working on a post about that now, so thanks for the reminder. We're going to hold off on the writing part until after Steemfest.

Good to see TWB is still going - thanks for the update.

I enjoyed writing a few pieces for the writing prompts that u guys put out, but that was a year or so ago, and since then work got in the way.
However, I should have more time for fiction writing in the New Year, so I hope some iteration of the platform u have been working will be up and running soon?

Regarding posting fiction on Steemit, I've thrown up the occasional piece, but the best work isn't suited for this platform. If you spend a long time crafting something, you envisage a) getting reads b) getting paid.

a) This isn't happening on Steemit as there are only a handful of people willing to read longer form fictional content. You've got a better chance of getting reads on Medium, Reddit or some niche communities.

b) its foolish to publish your best work on Steemit, because even if you snag a whale, you will probably not earn over $50 in the current market. Better to self-publish and promote, and the chances are you will earn (a lot) more if it is any good.

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We are definitely hoping for a beta version of the front end by next week. Haven't heard back from the developer in a few days, so fingers crossed!!!

I definitely agree with your assessment about posting fiction on Steemit. So fingers and toes crossed that we'll have Wordrow to offer very, very soon.

However, nearly every serious or professional writer in TWB has made an independent, personal decision to post no more of their best fiction on the blockchain.

I'm in this boat. Steemit is a public display of writing practices. My best stuff is locked away. Why the hell would I hand over first-publishing rights of a novel to steemit for a one-time pittance of $1?