5 Types Of Comments Writers Don’t Need

Not every comment is a good comment. Today, let’s talk about 5 types of comments that can seriously ruin your online experience and why you shouldn’t write them.

I’ve been regularly writing and posting stories online since I was twelve, and I can honestly say I’m glad I do. Through writer’s blocks and dwindling interest, through insecurity and panicked Nobody-will-ever-read-this-what-have-I-done’s, online communities have proven me wrong time and time again. I’ve found endless support, constructive criticism and invaluable friendships on various sites and forums. And frankly, I don’t think I would still write if it wasn’t for them.

With all that said, we all post content on the internet in the hopes that someone else will read it and — if we’re really lucky — comment on it. Comments mean interaction with us, the writer, but also with the content we post. In that sense, comments are worth more than gold.

For the most part.

Unfortunately there are comments that are neither encouraging, nor helpful, nor good, nor do they possess any other, redeeming quality. Comments that don’t aim to help, comments that leave you feeling raw, hurt, and uncomfortable. Comments that may cause you to stop writing altogether.

Comments that really, if you ever find yourself writing one of these, don’t post them. Just don’t. Here we go:

Number 1: Flames
Those are really just a nice term for comments that contain insults, threats, and no redeeming quality whatsoever. Prime examples include “This is worthless,” “My cat could write something better,” and “You’re stupid.” They’re known to include swear words and rarely even deal with the actual content of the post in any significant way. They can also contain homophobic or racist language, religious or self-righteous condemnation, and lots of other fun stuff guaranteed to ruin an unsuspecting writer’s day.

Number 2: Non-constructive criticism 
This one definitely earns its place among those dreaded comments. The bad thing about this type of comment is that, often enough, the person writing them thinks they’re actually being helpful. This encompasses every comment that can essentially be summed up with “I don’t like your story.”

You can be as polite as you want and list as many reasons as you want, that still does nothing but tear the writer down. And for what? Because you didn’t like it. Which is your right, but it’s also your personal opinion. If you don’t like a story dealing with magic then I could write the next Harry Potter and you’d still think it sucks. Here’s the thing: a negative opinion that offers no helpful criticism only serves to discourage the writer. They don’t learn anything from it — except that you don’t like it and they should probably just give up.

Number 3: Demands for more 
Now this one’s a little trickier because many consider them compliments. After all, when you beg a writer to post the next chapter or write a sequel, you do it because you love their work, right? You’re just being appreciative, right? Funny because when I post an 8k long chapter and fifteen minutes later I get a “MORE” or “UPDATE PLEASE“, I don’t feel very appreciated. At. All.

Here’s the thing: Yes, it’s nice to know that your readers are interested and want to see more of your work. But demanding it — or worse guilting the writer into it — is a shitty thing to do. Especially when the writer is only doing it as a hobby and you can read everything online for free.

There’s a difference between saying “I love it, I can’t wait for the next chapter.” and “Where’s the next chapter? When are you gonna update?” Both express your desire for more, but the latter makes you sound like a bratty child.

Number 4: If you don’t continue I’m going to kill myself.
This one is such an outrageous example that it deserves an entire category of its own. Because. What. The. Ever. Loving. Fuck.

Let me make one thing very, very clear: Threatening to kill yourself is not funny. It’s never funny, and especially not on the internet where the recipient of your threat doesn’t know you and has no way of guessing exactly how serious you are. It’s a shitty, inexcusable thing to do. I don’t care how much you love a story. I don’t care how much it’s helping you cope. I don’t care what other excuses you can think of.

Your mental health does not hinge on the continuation of some story on the internet. Your mental health is not someone else’s responsibility. Especially not that of a total stranger, who’s been doing you a favour by sharing their writing with you for free. Do you have any idea what you put the author of your favourite story through when you write such a comment? Any idea at all?

If I ever see another comment like that again it will be to soon.

Number 5: Spam, self-recommendation and the likes 
Out of all types of comments listed, I consider these the least harmful ones. Sure, they can be annoying, but the worst they cause is the disappointment of the writer, when they realise the comment they were looking forward to answering has nothing at all to do with the content they’ve posted.

Writers don’t need these comments for obvious reasons — which is why they made the list — but I wouldn’t rain down the fires of hell on you for leaving them either. (Honestly, I have nothing against self-recs, as long as you offer useful feedback before leaving it. But I think every writer has their own policy on how they handle these comments.)

*

What’s the point of this entire post? It’s a simple one. Despite what a lot writers say, not every comment is a good comment. Writers are allowed to defend themselves against their readers too. They don’t have to sit back and take it. And they especially don’t have to be grateful for any comment at all. The list above is the reason why.

No, I’m not trying to convince you to stop commenting. As a writer, I know how helpful and encouraging comments are. What I ask of you is only that you think before you write.

Ask yourself if you would be glad to receive a comment like the one you just wrote. And please remember: This is the internet. You don’t actually know who’s sitting on the other end of that line, reading your comment, and taking every word to heart. You don’t know if it’s a twelve year old who just posted their very first story ever, or a sixty-four year old with multiple published works. You don’t know.

Comment. Be honest. But don’t be a jerk. It’s that simple.

 

Do you have experience with negative comments of this kind? Was there ever a comment that ruined a story or post for you? Or is there a type of comments I forgot about? I’d love to hear what you think!

Yours, Alex
a.k.a. The one who has spent more time thinking about comments than writing content lately

 

 

10 Lessons I Learned By Watching ‘The Avengers: Infinity War’

When I watched The Avengers: Infinity War for the first time last week, I wasn’t prepared for how much the movie would teach me. (And yes, that’s only 65% sarcasm.)

When I watched The Avengers: Infinity War for the first time last week, I wasn’t prepared for how much the movie would teach me. (And yes, that’s only 65% sarcasm.)

10 life-saving lessons in particular stuck out to me. Being the generous person that I am, I have decided to share my newly gained wisdom with the rest of you. You’re welcome. One never knows when the rules of how to survive in a superhero universe comes in handy. And should you ever find yourself in such a universe, ignore my advice at your own risk. 

Now, without further ado, here they are, vague spoilers included:

10 Lessons I Learned By Watching The Avengers: Infinity War

1. If I am an obvious Slytherin™ with no back-up and have been surrounded by the enemy, and consider taking the most Gryffindor-ish action possible, I will remember that such actions only ever work for foolish Gryffindors™ and plot-protected characters. I will sneak off the ship while everyone is busy with said foolish Gryffindor™ instead.

2. I will not make promises regarding dates and dinner reservations if I am a Superhero™. The universe itself will take this as a personal challenge, and frankly, I should know better.

3. If I live in a world, in which the existence of aliens, space-traveling Superheroes™, etc. has been proven, I will ensure that my Standard Superhero/Supervillain/Antihero/Unimportant Bystander™ Kit For Beginners™ includes the equipment an average person needs to survive for six months, if they were to be randomly dropped off on an uninhabited planet at the far end of the galaxy. There is no excuse to not be prepared for such an occurrence.

4. Flip phones are virtually indestructible and will therefore be part of my Standard Superhero/Supervillain/Antihero/Unimportant Bystander™ Kit For Beginners™. Any allies, friends, potential love interests, and other people I’d like to contact during the impending end of the world will receive one as well.

5. When everyone agrees that the Evil Villain™ should not get his hands on The Ultimate Weapon™, I will not hand said Ultimate Weapon™ over as soon as one of my loved ones is threatened, unless I have already decided to join the Evil Villain™ in his quest.

Should this not be an acceptable course of action, I will either
a) use the Ultimate Weapon™ to free my loved ones and or defeat the Evil Villain™
b) destroy the Ultimate Weapon™ immediately or
c) kill my loved one quickly and painlessly before the Evil Villain™ can use them against me.

  • Addition 1: If I don’t have the stomach to go through with options a), b) and c) should the situation demand it, I will quit my work as a Superhero™ immediately, and either become an Antihero™ with my own agenda or fall back into the role of an Unimportant Bystander™.
  • Addition 2: Any team member, ally, friend, potential love interest or stranger who wavers in the face of a threat against myself or someone else they care about, will preferably be killed immediately. Should this not be possible for practical, plot-related or moral reasons, they will not under any circumstances receive possession of the Ultimate Weapon™ ever.

6. If I want to question the Evil Villain™ on the whereabouts of my potential love interest, significant other, partner, sibling, parent, friend or another relevant being, I will wait until such a time, when said Evil Villain™ is properly secured and contained.

  • Addition 1: This also goes for any Evil Henchmen™, Antiheroes™ and people whose allegiance I’m uncertain off.

7. If I am a plot-protected character, I will not worry about ridiculous things, such as my possible immediate and violent death. I am a plot-protected character for a reason.

  • Addition 1: I will also not waste everyone’s time attempting to sacrifice myself, as the plot-protection will kick in and inevitably kill someone else in my stead at the last possible second.

8. If I have a Powerful Device™ that allows me to see the future, I will use said device. I will then do everything in my power to ensure that the future I prefer comes to pass, and share the necessary knowledge with the necessary people.

  • Addition 1: Should my death be an inevitable part of my preferred future, I will not die with an unnecessary dramatic line as my last words, unless this truly is the only way to ensure my preferred future comes to pass. Otherwise a sarcastic quip or a heart-felt “Fuck you,” directed at my killer will suffice.
  • Addition 2: If the Powerful Device™ allows me to control time, I will use it to my advantage as needed.

9. If a known Evil Villain™, Evil Henchman™ or another person whose allegiance I am uncertain of states or implies that one of their own has died, and I have not seen this death with my own eyes, I will not believe them.

  • Addition 1: Instead I will expect the supposed dead to lurk in the shadows and attack from an unexpected side. I will adjust my plans accordingly.
  • Addition 2: If there is a single being in this universe capable of creating illusions, mind-confusing spells, reshaping reality or similar talents, I will not believe a proclaimed death from anyone without concrete proof, even if I’ve witnessed said death with my own eyes.
  • Addition 3: If a being has successfully faked their death before, I will expect them to do it again.

10. If another being of sound mind is willing to sacrifice themselves for the Greater Good™, they are not being pressured into this decision, and I’ve deemed this the most practical way to achieve the Greater Good™, I will allow them to sacrifice themselves. I will not go to ridiculous lengths to keep a single being alive in the face of a global, universal or multi-versal crisis. Instead I will sincerely thank them for their sacrifice, and proceed to go through with said sacrifice.

  • Addition 1: If I have joined the Dark Side™, pressure is an acceptable method to convince said being of the necessity of their sacrifice. Similarly, a sincere “thank you,” though polite, is not necessary.

 

[This list should be considered an evolving work in progress, not a conclusive list written in stone. It is open to change, additions, and clarification among other things.]

.

But despite — or maybe because of — these lessons, you should really give the movie a shot, if you haven’t seen it yet. The Avengers: Infinity War offers a mad, but scarily reasonable sounding villain, a lot of snark, high stakes, a gun that actually does go off (as well as one that doesn’t), and the usual threat of the end of the world as we know it. 

And if you have watched the movie, I’d love to chat with you about it in the comments!! (Sadly I suspect my friends are getting tired of discussing the same topic every day. I know, I think they’re crazy too.) And if you have any lessons to add, I’d love to hear them!

Yours, Alex
a.k.a. the one who has a slight obsession with the MCU and its snarky occupants

 

Review: The Accidental Movie Star by Emily Evans

Let’s start with some basics: Accidental Movie Star is the first book of the Accidental series, though — like all books of this series — it can be read as a standalone. It has 258 pages and is divided into 21 chapters and an epilogue. You can currently buy the ebook on Amazon for less than two euros.

The Accidental Movie Star.jpg

A short summary
Ashley’s plans for her summer in LA with her father are simple. Interning on a major motion picture? Check. Being the nameless girl that hands spoiled actors their coffee? Check. Giving up your dignity for the sake of polishing up your college application? Check.

Until she reluctantly befriends Caz, one of said spoiled actors Ashley has so little patience for. And the director asks for her honest opinion on a kiss scene. The words, “Hey, you. PA. Show Caspian how to kiss,” may also be involved.

‘O.M.G.’ may be an insufficient way of putting it — but it’s a start.

Writing style
If I had to describe Emily Evan’s writing in this novel with one word, it would be simple. Because that’s what it felt like, at least to me. The vocabulary, the descriptions, the phrasing. None of it is flowery or long-winded, if anything, it’s the opposite. Short, to the point, and delivered in the lovely dry voice of the main character, Accidental Movie Star definitely won’t become the next big Shakespearean theatre piece. Reading it feels uncomplicated and easy. There are no overly long sentences, no getting lost half-way through the page as the author deviates from their original point.

It’s all very straight-forward, to the point of sounding clipped. A lot of ‘picturing the scene’ is left up entirely to the reader, with the author providing just a cue here and there to set the mood and give us a vague idea of the characters’ surroundings. The focused, no-bullshit tone works very well with main character’s voice, and sets a fast pace.

In that sense, the writing came across more as a tool than an art form — not out-of-place in the book I was reading, but not particularly noteworthy either. It’s an easy read, that doesn’t require your complete focus to understand its content.

For writing style I’m going to rate Accidental Movie Star as a 5 out of 10

Plot
I’ll be brutally honest with you: the plot is exactly what you’d expect after reading the summary. By which I mean, a down-to-earth girl who is allergic to drama gets dropped in the shiny, superficial world of the L.A. movie stars. And predictably falls in love with one of said dramatic, spoiled actors.

In that sense, ‘predictable’ is a good way to sum up this novel. Because while I enjoyed reading it, I was never caught off guard or even just surprised by the way the story developed. This doesn’t make the book bad, but it’s definitely not a deep, profound read that has you question your ideals or keeps you awake until five AM in the morning. It’s a light, entertaining story. Nothing more and nothing less.

However the author has added quite a few elements that made the essential re-hashing of the well-known super star falls for ordinary girl trope very enjoyable. There was no unexpected twist or a complete reinterpretation of the familiar plot. But the various details Evans’ added, from the funny texts back and forth between Ashley and her best friend at home to her mom’s revelation near the end, made the story come to live all the same.

I especially like the way Ashley’s and Caz’ relationship develops, because despite the various outside forces that push them together in one way or another, their growing friendship doesn’t feel rushed. It also doesn’t feel too focused on simple physical attraction — something I often see in these types of novels — and I appreciate that.

Additionally, Ashley doesn’t get caught up or overwhelmed with Caspian’s fame. If anything, paparazzi and screaming fans are an afterthought to her, definitely not a real concern. Having the dark side of fame acknowledged, but seeing Ash treat it as a given, ultimately negligible fact, was very refreshing.

Although now that I think about it, there is one twist on the recognisable trope after all: through the first half of the book, it’s Ashley, who is slowly working herself into Caz’ world and gaining his trust. I’m more used to it being the ‘bad boy’, who’s trying to get the ‘good girl’ to open up, and I liked the way the author switched up the roles here. That it makes complete sense, considering the treatment Caz is clearly used to, makes it all the better.

On the other hand, I didn’t like the inevitable conflict at all. I admit, the author has done a good job of laying the groundworks for the escalation right from the start. But the eventual confrontation still came out of nowhere for me, and seemed mostly ridiculous. I suppose it underlines Ashley’s claim that actors constantly seek drama — but it wouldn’t have hurt if the narrative proved her wrong for once.

For plot I’m going to rate Accidental Movie Star as a 6 out of 10

Characters
Ashley is one of these main characters, whom I didn’t take an immediate liking to. From the start, she keeps complaining about how superficial and unnecessarily dramatic actors — and people in LA in general — are. Those and similar complains continue on through the story, and could have easily make her come across as shallow and judgemental as she accuses everyone else of being. But somehow her dry, matter-of-fact statements ended up being funny more often than not.

A look at the supporting characters proves Ashley right again and again. From fellow workers on the set like Boomer, Cutter and Olive to Caz’ co-stars Petra and Lorene, everyone appears ridiculously flat and two-dimensional, to the point of being more of a caricature than a real person. I’m not sure if that’s the intention or not, but it makes for an entertaining read, even though the sheer amount of shallow personalities is exhausting at times.

It helps that the characters are at least aware of their own lack of personality. As Boomer puts it so nicely from the get-go: “You’re in LA, babe, everyone’s an actor.” (Pos. 288, Chapter 2)

As the story progressed, Ashley grew on me more and more. Mostly because she didn’t just complain about despising the dramatics of Hollywoods’ best and brightest, she actually followed through. Through the entire shooting of the movie and her various adventures with Caz, Ashley stays remarkably un-dramatic. There are no tantrums or endless bounds of insecurity from her, but instead factual observations delivered with dry humour.

For example, when faced with nasty rumours, Ashley’s only reaction is a quick text to her friend: “Hollywood gossip says I slept with someone to get this job.” Her best friend’s response being: “It’s an unpaid internship. You must not be very good at it.” (Pos. 677, Chapter 6)

There are quite a few other examples, but the bottom line is, Ashley remains consistent on her stance regarding drama — and behaves accordingly. It makes for a very refreshing and often humorous read.

In that sense, Caspian is the opposite of Ashley, yet not. As their friendship develops, more about Caz’ personality is revealed, and he soon becomes a ‘real’ character with a lot more depth. Yet he still retains his tendency for the dramatics Ashley accuses him off, and does often behave like a spoiled child. Ashley calls him out on it all the time, and he does seem to grow more aware of it as the story progresses, but those traits never really disappear. It, unavoidably, causes serious problems between them.

While the supporting characters did mostly annoy me (Powder and Marissa being notable exceptions), none of them were ever portrayed as acting completely outside of reason. And I really did like the consistency in Ash’s and Caz’ characters. They were still the same people at the end of the book as they were at the start. They’ve grown a little — but some things don’t change:

He said, “If I wasn’t nice, you’d probably kick me out and make me get into my own car.”
“I would.” (Pos. 2475, Chapter 19)

For characters I’m going to rate Accidental Movie Star as a 7 out of 10

Recommendation

Overall, I give Accidental Movie Star 3 out of 5 stars

All in all, I recommend Accidental Movie Star if you’re looking for a quick, fun read, likeable if not always fully-fleshed out characters, and a lot of digs against the big and the famous of LA. Few misunderstandings make for a straightforward book with a familiar, but still nicely done plot.

If you want to fully immerse yourself into another world, this is probably not the book for you. But if you’re looking for a light summer romance to read at the beach that will make you smile, then Accidental Movie Star might be it for you.

Bonus: If you end up liking the book, there are six more in the Accidental series that all follow a similar set-up.

Have you read ‘Accidental Movie Star’ or any of Emily Evans’ other works? Because I would love to chat about them in the comments! 😉

10 Reasons Why This Blog Shouldn’t Be Published

Exactly what it says on the tin. Plus 1 Reason Why This Blog Should Be Published Anyways.

Do you sometimes struggle with making a decision? Because I do. I question myself all the time. So you can probably imagine how easy it is for me to start a blog. Or rather how easy it is for me to think of excuses not to do it.

  1. I’m fairly sure you’re supposed to have a rough plan for a blog you’re starting. There is no such plan.
  2. I’m tired (never the start of a good story or decision or text, ever).
  3. It could end up being a total flop with no one reading it.
  4. Right now I already don’t have a lot of free time. Adding another responsibility seems foolish.
  5. There are already thousands of blogs out there, what could I possibly offer that they don’t?
  6. What if people don’t like what I write? What if they get bored?
  7. Considering my track record, I’ll probably abandon this project in a few weeks at the latest. So why bother?
  8. Come to think of it, what am I supposed to write about all the time?
  9. WHAT THE FREAKING HECK AM I DOING?!?!?!?!?!!?!?!??!?!?
  10. (To further stress reason number 2, I didn’t even notice that I only had nine points until I re-read the list this morning.)

Now that I’ve given my self-doubt all the time in the world the time to talk me out of this, have indulged all my fears and self-pity, let’s give it up for The 1 Reason Why This Blog Should Be Published Anyways:

  1. I want to have this blog.

That’s why I’m scared. That’s why I care so much. That’s why I’m freaking out. I want to do this. And you know what? That’s more than enough reason to go ahead and do it.

 

Have you ever been too afraid to do something? Because sometimes I feel like I am like that all the time. Do you regret not doing that something?

Yours, Alex
a.k.a. the one who isn’t regretting publishing this post but try telling that to the panicked voices in her head