Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Fimfiction story rankings

After reading PresentPerfect's Fimfiction post, I wandered off to my own story list to see if there were any round numbers in their current rankings. Answer: no. But then I thought I'd see how my various fics compared to each other. Unsurprisingly, I have nothing in the top thousand and nothing right down the bottom. But for my 23 completed stories (the other two are anthologies), this is how they shape up.

I'm well aware that the Fimfiction rating algorithm is far from being a properly reliable measure of stories' relative quality. I'm also well aware that taking any of this stuff too seriously is a bad idea. Rest assured that I'm not! So take my mini-analyses with plenty of salt. Here we go:

1st: It Doesn't Matter Now (3,237). No surprise there, given that it's my RCL entry.
2nd: Shining Armor's Amour's Armour (7,326). Really? Really? Dearie dearie me.
3rd: We Who with Songs Beguile (11,341). This one makes a bit more sense, frankly.
4th: The Unbearable Lightness of Bucking (12,619). I'm actually rather happy with that!
5th: Where They Understand You (16,166). This was a pleasant surprise as well.

6th: For an Angel to Pass (17,117). I think this one is a little overrated.
7th: Starlight Repeatedly Teleports into Custard (21,047). Huzzah! :D
8th: Like a Flower to the World (23,817). Not critically acclaimed, but fairly popular.
9th: This Fragment of Life (27,861). Shows the power of utter idiocy, I suppose.
10th: One Hell of a Party (28,107). Seems about right, considering.

11th=: To Be the Candle (28,877). I wish this was a couple of places higher.
11th=: Ever Let the Fancy Roam (28,877). This too. Yes, the same rating as TBtC!
13th: Kicking Back (29,563). A really silly story. Fairly placed, I think.
14th: The Light that Ignites in the Dark (30,328). I have affection for it. but fair.
15th: The Book of Ended Lives (32,091). I did think this fic would do better.

16th: By the Seashore (37,160). My lowest fic to get an R from PP. :P
17th: More than Alive (39,043). Not too bad for such a niche-appeal story!
18th: Clouded Minds (44,786). A concept I still like, despite the iffy writing.
19th: So Many Different Ways to Prey (49,395). Newborn Cuties crossover in top 50k!
20th: The 20 Percent Solution (55,122). My first ponyfic, and you can tell.

21st: Ra Ra Raspberry (55,766). Joke relies on knowledge of a specific song.
22nd: The Ballad of Wyvern's Rock (82,333). Mediocre epic poetry, so fine.
23rd: Sunset's Sales Snag (85,308). Boo! This is not that bad a silly fic!


  1. Yeah, not taking things too seriously, but that last one is far likelier to be a lack of attention than a poor rating. The main thing keeping many good stories from floating very far up is a low number of views. The sweet spot is sitting around 200-1000, I think. higher than that is little more than putting a huge bullseye for downvotes on your story, unless you just have such a massive number of views that you can absorb them easily. I've had 4 or 5 stories crack the top 100, I think, and a few have made the top 10, but with only a couple thousand views, a single downvote takes a huge toll from there, dropping you 300-500 spots. Things are a lot more stable (heh) once you get below the 200-300 mark. That's usually where I'd look for suggestions on what to read, though there's still a fair amount of overhyped material there, so it pays to know what you're looking at.

    The other order of business: "It Doesn't Matter Now." I shall have to give this a read. You might consider submitting it to EqD. An RCL induction almost always means it's good enough, though there have been some exceptions. The 2500-word minimum is a soft limit, if that was what had been deterring you. The farther below that it is, the higher quality it will take to clear the bar, but we've posted several stories around 1500 words.

    1. I'm being silly where Sunset's Sales Snag is concerned, as the low rating is partly my fault. (I mistagged it and didn't spot the error for a little while, by which time it had picked up enough downvotes to have the worst +/- balance of any of my fics.) It's not exactly a great fic in any case, so I'm not too worried: I wouldn't put it higher than about 18th in the list.

      It Doesn't Matter Now did spend a bit of time in the top thousand, I think. It slipped back after its RCL feature post on Fimfiction, amusingly enough. I know a couple of its downvotes came in at that point, so perhaps that was the reason. Also, Titanium Dragon reviewed it and didn't like it all that much, though that didn't seem to shift things significantly.

      As for submitting the story to EqD... the word-count limit was in my mind, yes. I knew it was a soft limit and if the story had been 2,300 words, I'd probably have sent it in – but 1,300 words seemed just too far below the bar, so I never seriously considered it. Still, the worst that could happen is that it gets rejected and I'll be no worse off than I am now, so maybe I will have a try. I'll turn the idea over in my head for a little while, I think.

      Mind you, I never expected IDMN to be picked up by the RCL in the first place. The PM from Chris was a complete surprise. So what do I know? :P

    2. Ah, Titanium Dragon. Yeah, I won't say too much there, only that he's very hit or miss with what I'd consider good stories. Plus he's got a thing for billymorph, for some reason.

    3. And I have now read "It Doesn't Matter Now." Very bittersweet. I like the juxtaposition at the sadness of all existence coming to an end with the spirit's sense that it's supposed to be that way and Pinkie seemingly being completely okay with it, plus I can definitely see her persisting in this way to make one last person happy. Plus the spirit speak to cycles of creation and destruction, opening up the possibility that all of this will come to pass again. I noticed a couple of little detailed things that I didn't make notes of, so I'd go back through and look for those again, but they're all quick fixes. I don't see any obstacles to posting it.

      To give you an idea of how soft a limit 2500 words is, keep in mind that most stories don't make it in on the first try, so even when a story sits at 2300 words, we're often going to point out things like telly language that will take some extra word count to address anyway. Even so, 2300 words id so close that it's not worth quibbling over; as long as the story is close to our quality threshold, it's not going to be a reason for rejection. Down around 2000 words, it would have to be something we feel at least somewhat enthusiastic about recommending, and 1500 would have to be a no-doubter. We're pretty much not interested in anything below a 1000-1200 range. You've got something here that's memorable and thought-provoking, and the fact that you did such in a compact package isn't something to hold against it.

    4. Thank you. I think you've probably convinced me to go for it. I have a few days coming up when I won't be able to concentrate on much (non-pony reasons; nothing terrible) so I'll probably submit the story next week.

    5. Your story's going up either way, but if you want us to hold it until you give us the okay, we can do that. But if you just want to grab the quick fixes now and leave it at that, then that's fine too.

    6. I sent a quick reply to the feedback email earlier saying I was going to make a few tweaks after reading the suggestions, but that I didn't know whether I'd get it done before I went on holiday for the Easter break. It's looking as though I'll be able to do it the tweaking this weekend, though.

    7. Yeah, I saw the email. I just didn't know if you wanted us to wait. We're willing to post it now.

    8. Well, I've made the changes tonight, so it doesn't matter now! (Yes, yes, slow hand clap, Logan.) Only little tweaks, and all in line with the suggestions in the email. But if you're okay with the story as it stands, I'm fine with you going ahead whenever suits you.