The Dilemma of Online Writing
When one takes a course in creative writing the emphasis is on originality. One is encouraged to go as far as they can to create new worlds, new metaphors so that the experience of the reader is as close to unique as one can achieve.
Trite expressions, standard similes are to be avoided. The same structure for each paragraph is contraindicated.
Overtime, the instructor reads styles and can perceive which student wrote the item by the pattern, as unique as a fingerprint.
This is how it is in real life.
In real life, clever titles, grabbing open sentences, spoken dialect, captures the reader and gains the 'A' and perhaps even publication in hard copy.
Discard this advice if you write online.
Unlike real life, where one writes for the eyes of other mammals, in cyberspace one writes for the A.I. of search engines.
One can not use the clever title, for a user would not enter that in a search engine.
Hence "Gone With The Wind" is discarded for "A Story about the American Civil War."
Most so called 'writing' sites are actually 'publishing sites'. The work submitted is not read by a human editor who needs to be impressed.
If there is 'moderation' it is either a synonym for 'delay' (i.e. Virily) or such is done by an A.I.
In those which are not actually moderated, (i.e. Virily) the work goes from last keystroke to screen without the slightest 'vetting'.
Those sites which have human moderators may check for spam, plagiarism, grammar, spelling, but are not to interfere in the writing which may be trite, repetitious or of low literary quality.
In short a moderator is NOT an editor. ,
Once published, to gain the eyes of readers requires networking. This means being picked up by tags, keywords, SEO phrases, etc.
Original work fails in these categories. Trying to Stumble, Digg, Reddit, etc. is finger exercise.
Google is what counts, and the Google software is not going to find 'Gone With The Wind', (save in a 'hurricane' search, and then way down on the 3876 page). Google will find "Story About The Civil War in America" when people enter the term Civil War or Story about or America.
So what are you writing for? Your own amusement? Or to Make money?
Amazing, isn't it?
The Newbie, who wants to write online will find a so-called 'writing site' and race to read the 'Top' writers. The Newbie will scour the front page.
What exactly is there?
On some sites it is the most recently published stuff, totally unvetted or sorted. On others it is pedestrian pieces, stuffed with Search Engine Optimisation words.
One finds themselves skimming nothing that might be remembered five minutes after reading.
It seems unbelievable but, in modern times, it is true.
In ancient days, the Front Page always had top items. That is until the Front Page became the garbage dump of SEO words.
Today, instead of reading pieces superior to what you could compose you find virtual rubbish.
These are the top Earners.
Perhaps in reading one might happen onto a piece that is brilliant, and it's way down in the back of the line.
Because it wasn't written to get Google. And Google brings the hits. And the item that gains five hundred hits is more valued than the one which gains fifty.
No matter how much crap it is.
And then there's the Fellow User....
Added to this level of 'writing' there are the other users of the site...
- There are those who set themselves up as Arbiters of other's work
as if they have some right...
- There are those who Shill for Rip Off Sites trying to trick you into joining
becoming vicious when they are thwarted.
- There are those who read your work, then semi-plagiarise it.
- There are those who will attack to attack demanding sources and proof
for the most mundane articles
- And of course, there are Trolls who will attack to attack, leaving comment
after comment, using dual after dual...
And all this for a few cents per hundred views.
Alas, the days of Brilliance have passed
The modern use of writing sites is to create a wall paper on which to hang ads. That is the purpose.
The articles chock full of SEO words are picked up by Google and touted.
One does a search of 'What's Trending' gets a few terms, and then pops them into a template.
For example, today everyone is talking about electric cars. One writes an article;
"Everyone is talking about Electric Cars. I'm sure you have been thinking about getting an Electric Car. Some people are worried about Electric Cars..."
On and on for 1k words, the term 'Electric Cars' popped into every sentence.
The repetition of the term will attract search engines, the article will be listed as number one, and people who enter the term will be directed to the meaningless empty article.
With one million hits, for example, the article, which says nothing, is number one.
This is the situation today.