Monday, 22 December 2014

So. Farewell then, Twilight's Library

E. J. Thribb (17½) is really having his work cut out this last week or so. First Everfree Network bit the dust, and now it's RIP Twilight's Library. This news came as a complete surprise to me; many others, especially Fimfiction insiders, probably saw it coming, but not me. Not only did I not read the TL staff forum, I didn't even realise that such a publicly-viewable thing existed until a few hours ago. So all the drama of the last few days is something of which I was blissfully unaware. It's a great shame.

As I've said in my Fimfiction blog, I feel the loss of TL (in its present form, at least) quite keenly. After all, I'm a middling-to-good author (I think) who likes to write sub-2,000-word shortfics. I'm not good enough to get picked up by the RCL, while EqD isn't interested in stories that short. TL was pretty much the only significant place I could submit one of my stories and feel that a) I had a decent chance of acceptance but that b) it wasn't guaranteed. There must be other writers like me out there, now feeling somewhat similar.

Depending on what, if anything, picks up the slack, I think one thing this will do is make reviews even more important. I love getting feedback, more than anything else; obviously I prefer positive feedback, but negative is much better than none. With TL dead and few, if any, other options for writers like me, the only way we're going to get such feedback, rather than just the odd like/favourite, is by having fics reviewed by an actual person. (Or pony, depending.)

The demise of TL has made me think about the future of Ponyfic Roundup. I enjoy doing it and it's not (usually) an excessive amount of work. I might tweak things a bit, especially in terms of ratings: does anyone really care whether a story gets 7/10 or 7.5? A simpler, star-based system has considerable merit in my eyes. But the PR reviews will continue and, especially since most of the mooted replacements for TL concentrate on new fics, I'll continue to feature many older stories.

I'm proud of the fact that all five stories I submitted to TL were accepted first try, and those ribbons will always mean something to me. Just because getting into Twilight's Library didn't require pro-level writing skills doesn't mean it was worthless; far from it. To me, at least, it was a source of encouragement and I really will miss it. Also, It Doesn't Matter Now was the featured fic at closure. That somehow amuses me.


  1. It's a terrible shame what happened to Twilight's Library. It's a common story, though. What started as a good and noble idea slowly morphed into a terrible grind as fewer people did an ever-expanding amount of work. I feel for these submission review/quality control-style groups. There's just always way, WAY more people craving those reviews than there are willing people to provide them. They almost always shut down fairly quickly. I'm amazed Twilight's Library lasted so long.

    If anything has been proven to me by watching the way this fandom operates, it's that groups like Seattle's Angels have it right. By allowing their members to hunt down fics and then talk about why they should be read, it keeps the group fun, and participation up. On the flipside, though, it's tough for authors like you and me. Middling-to-good is where I operate, as well, and we tend to fall into a fandom blind spot. Not bad enough to get the troll eyes. Not good enough to make our name a must read. Just good enough for someone to read, nod to themselves, and then immediately forget who we are. At least, that's how I feel about it a lot of the time.

    Twilight's Library was one of the first places I got any level of serious recognition, and I really appreciated what they were doing. It's true that they've been in trouble for at least six months now, but I was really hoping the new changes they were discussing were going to change the group for the better. Seems like too much negativity was built up, though. I hate to see it go, but sometimes people need to step away and calm down. With that kind of user base, I'd be surprised if it didn't resurrect in a different form down the road. Nearly 4,000 members is nothing to sneeze at.

    1. we tend to fall into a fandom blind spot.

      ...says the guy who has several fics with over 5,000 views! :P But seriously, I know what you mean. Maybe that's part of the reason that I tend to favour authors like that in my own reviews: because I know how it feels to be stuck in that middle category and want to give that neglected group a bit of attention.

      (Which reminds me: I don't seem to have reviewed any of your fics for PR. I read and liked Awaken, Scootaloo, but that was before I started this. I may have to do something about that, though I wouldn't go holding your breath given the size of my RiL list these days!)

      I'd be surprised if [TL] didn't resurrect in a different form down the road. Nearly 4,000 members is nothing to sneeze at.

      You're probably right, though I wonder how many of those 4,000 even look at the place these days. And of those, how many would be interested in a group with a very different focus and method. Myself, I think something like The Last Roundup is the most interesting of the ideas floated so far. I really don't see any need for another SA or Royal Guard.

    2. Trust me, the only reason I have so many views is because I'm very aggressive about pushing my stories. Almost everything that I've written got less than a hundred views and something like ten to thirty upvotes, then dropped into oblivion until I got it onto EQD/The Royal Guard/Whatever else I could think of to get views. Most people don't bother, and that pretty much the only difference between us.

      As always, I'd love for you to read my stuff if you are interested. I'm always eager to here what people have to say, good or bad.

      The poor Last Roundup. I'm hoping they aren't dead already, but there's not a lot of activity. Lots of ambitious groups are on the wane recently...

    3. Fair point: I'm just not that sort of person, and though I could probably push myself to be, I don't much feel like it. As I said when commenting on Chris's post from yesterday, when you come from a fandom (furry) where 100 views on a story would be considered amazing, it's hard to get worked up about not having tens of thousands!

      Well, the two fics of yours that caught my eye when I had a browse just now were The Door Jam and The Carrot Dog Fight, so both of those will go on the RiL list and I'll get to them... eventually!

  2. Heh. I'll be interested to hear what you make of The Carrot Dog Fight. I'm glad you picked A Door Jam, too, since that's my favorite.

    1. Did I just reply in the wrong spot? I think I did. It's apparently too early in the morning for communication.

    2. Ah well, given that I made a mistake in my own last reply ("The" Door Jam?) I can hardly complain!