This week I have something special: Tell me and the other Gather Writing Essentials editors how we can serve you better.
How are we doing?
Have the prompts helped?
What would you like to see more of?
What would you like to see less of?
What would you do if you were a Gather Writing Essentials member editor?
This feels more like a commentary prompt than a story prompt. Which makes my post a commentary of sorts. With hopes that you are looking for honesty, my commentary post will provide you with honest answers to your questions. Keep in mind these answers are mine alone, and do not reflect the views of other writers/readers on Gather. With no apologies to anyone, here goes.....
You ask how "we" are doing. The collective you are doing fine; individually - that's another story. By fine I mean you are putting out the prompts promptly most weeks, and most of you are reading them and taking time to comment and critique. Some of you are sensitive to those who want to hear, "Great story! Good job!", while knowing others want an objective, honest critique no matter how painful. Some of the people who submit stories here have not all had the opportunities to learn writing techniques, and as they write and read and are encouraged, their writing abilities grow with each story written. It's nice when a newbie's work is featured because it's encouraging. I think a wise editor knows when a writer needs encouragement more than criticism. A wise editor also knows when to toss in some necessary critiquing. I tend to be my own worse critic; no one can tell me something about my writing I haven't already noticed myself. I rarely delete my stories because no matter what others might think of them, I like most of them. I've deleted only the ones I'm not ninety-five percent satisfied with; the ones that feel "off" somehow. Those need reworking on my part.
The prompts have been helpful to me - good prompts, that is - because I have so many stories inside that only need a bit of a push to get out. Even if my stories veer from the prompt, that's fine, for me. The prompt, at least, got them out. Which is all I am looking for. I tend to not respond to open prompts unless I have something specific in mind that hasn't found an outlet in one of the specific prompts. Including one that would allow me to veer off course with said story.
As far as what I would like to see more of, I would enjoy seeing more genre specific prompts. Again, this is even if I respond with a different genre. If one of the editors geared a prompt towards young adult romance, that's fine, especially if my response ends up being an adult sizzler taking place in the 52nd century. I enjoy writing sci-fi and horror, but if a prompt was pushing in that direction, more than likely I'd have nothing in mind but a screenplay for a child's action/adventure movie. Once again, that's fine, because at least the prompt has set my mind racing. When you had "nature" as the prompt, my response was not Autumn leaves or bonfires; instead, it was a futuristic loosely based Adam and Eve type tale. Yet I saw it as nature because it dealt with an artificial world vs. "the real thing". Nature - the real thing. The best prompts, for me, are ones where I see myself and not the editor. Prompts that ask questions are good in that sense. It would also be nice, although realistically, you editors are extremely busy, but it would be oh so nice if occasionally an editor read some stories written for another editor's prompts, and commented. Perhaps when one of you has a sick day? LOL.
Personally, I'd like to see fewer works included in the prompt that are the editor's own paragraphs or chapters from his or her already published or up and coming book. IF I want to read work by the editor, I'll read it. IF I would like an example from your work, I'll ask. This is completely different from those of you who tell a tale which leads directly to the prompt.....
Your last question needs to be a prompt in and of itself.....and I feel a story coming with that one........