Re: Are stories on Royal Road a waste of time?

#1
Obviously clickbait title, but I want to discuss whether there can be anything "useful" gained by reading stories on this site as opposed to reading literature or more acclaimed fantasy/Sci-fi books.
Now, this is a pretty dumb way to word the topic because "useful" could be interpreted in any number of ways and categorizing by usefulness is, well, useless.
But I think that it is also a very blunt and honest way of saying it because frankly many of the stories here can be aptly described as "time wasters".
I am not saying that all the stories are bad or that the writers are bad, because I don't believe I could write anything better than most stories on RR, and I do enjoy a lot of them. But I am wondering if there is anything to be gained emotionally, intellectually or practically from any of the stories, or are they simply "time wasters".
This is not limited to RR, most young adult books could also be questioned, and a lot of adult fiction can be described as a "time waste".
But the difference is that those aren't also riddled with grammatical mistakes and bad writing.
I would also like to hear your experiences on your matter, and how you feel about it(if that wasn't obvious).
Sorry if this is poorly written or if it offended anyone.

Re: Are stories on Royal Road a waste of time?

#2
No, sites like this is where I can find the less polished fiction, but it is free, portable and more variable than what is in the city library. 90% of anything is crude, and then you have an individual taste on top. So, only the insane volume of creative projects pouring onto the web really provides the satisfaction of finding something right up your alley, even if it is the smallest alley.

But if you do not like it, you don’t have to read, I mean, no harm, no foul.

Re: Are stories on Royal Road a waste of time?

#3
Read everything, it will only help you as a writer in the end.  

William Faulkner once said:

“I'm a failed poet. Maybe every novelist wants to write poetry first, finds he can't, and then tries the short story, which is the most demanding form after poetry. And, failing at that, only then does he take up novel writing.”

Maybe, we as fantasy writers are failed poets, failed short story writers, failed literary Fiction Authors and only settle on fantasy because that was where our hearts were the whole time. And by failing I don’t mean incapable of writing it, just the simple fact that the direction of our spirits don’t point us in those directions.

Re: Are stories on Royal Road a waste of time?

#4
I have one question-

DID YOU ENJOY WHAT YOU READ HERE? 

If you did, then that's your answer! 

Many of our generation grew up detached from most normal interactions that makes us more wholesome as people. 

Part of that is due to the overindulgence in internet and part due to the competitiveness of today's world. It leaves little time for even children to interact normally with the people around them. 

The time get we spend thrusting our head in a digitalized world. Our interactions, if you can call them that, also mostly happen there. 

That's why good things written by the new generation are few and far between. After all, how can you express yourself better or expand your imaginations and horizons without the proper life experience? 

Still, those trying to write something seriously, realize those inadequacies and perhaps get out more, trying to experience more of what the world has to offer, breaking the boundaries set around. 

It might not help them become the best writer out there, but it would still hopefully make them a better person, and creative platforms like these that don't really  ask too much of them, help them do that.

After all, this is a generation that hates commitments with a passion. 

So no, I don't think its a waste of time. 

Re: Are stories on Royal Road a waste of time?

#6
" But I am wondering if there is anything to be gained emotionally, intellectually or practically from any of the stories, or are they simply "time wasters". "

Yes, there are things to be gained. Even if it was a waste of time. Every new experience you have can help you learn about the different perspectives people can have. Stories are made from the experiences, impressions, and influences a given author has, filtered through their creativity. If someone has been exposed a lot to gaming, guns, engineering or chinese culture for example, this might show in their writings, even in the type of story they prefer to write.

Exposure to different experiences like this are a valuable resource to us as a human being, even though any advantage to it might not be directly noticeable or even quantifiable.

One of the advantages to the current generations in the world is the internet. It allows for the exchange of ideas and experience (and ads and spam).

Writing stories is one of the more expressive medium on the internet. Even badly written stories expose you to thoughts and ideas that might be foreign to you, and thus help you grow. 

This is not to say that all ideas or impressions you can get this way are good. But the fact that you have this option makes you for example able more experienced in life than a medieval rich merchant could ever be. Or the Spanish Inquisition.

Re: Are stories on Royal Road a waste of time?

#8
obran Wrote: Read everything, it will only help you as a writer in the end.

But we have a choice in what we read, and we can't read everything.
Don't you believe that perhaps reading something that gives you more than simple entertainment would be better to read?

april18 Wrote: I have one question-

DID YOU ENJOY WHAT YOU READ HERE?

This is why I said that calling something a time waste is useless; what is useful changes by person to person.
But again I want to ask whether enjoyment is enough.
You mentioned the inability to commit, and I think that reading something for the enjoyment of it, and nothing more, is unhealthy.
It shows, in part, the inability to commit to something hard, to something that might not give us that enjoyment that we want.
I also want to clarify that I am not judging the writers, but the readers. Writing, no matter what it is, is great.
But the act of reading something is entirely different, even if they are inherently connected.

batotit Wrote: lol, whether or not you wasted your time in RR can only be answered by you, and no one else.

I am not asking the question because I want someone to get an answer, I am asking it because I want to read the opinions of others and change my views based on that.
And again, I don't mean to offend anyone by this, it is a simple question(which may be a little bit harsh).
Evanar Wrote: Yes, there are things to be gained. Even if it was a waste of time. Every new experience you have can help you learn about the different perspectives people can have.

This is something that even if I wanted to argue with, I could not. We learn from everything whether it is good, bad, wasteful or enlightening.
But I feel that it is also an excuse because I could say this about anything.
I do agree that the choice matters more than the act, though(if that is indeed what you meant), the fact that we can choose whether to read on Royal Road already enriches our experience.
obran Wrote: No one expects the Spanish Inquisition.

Our chief weapon is surprise... surprise and fear... Our two weapons are fear and surprise...and ruthless efficiency... Our three weapons...

Re: Are stories on Royal Road a waste of time?

#9
Toma Wrote: But again I want to ask whether enjoyment is enough.
You mentioned the inability to commit, and I think that reading something for the enjoyment of it, and nothing more, is unhealthy.

You got it wrong. I wasn't talking about about just enjoyment. Enjoyment is just the first step. after all, we experience the world with our five senses first, only after that do we try to dig deeper, trying to see what lay beneath. 
If you aren't enjoying an experience how can you be invested enough to search for its depths? Reading is not a life threatening endeavor after all, nothing is forcing you to continue, so enjoyment is an important aspect of it.

Besides, who says enjoyment always have to be simple? Searching for deeper meaning is also enjoyment, albeit a different sort of it. Like mountaineering, which is a hard thing, but those who do it still enjoy the whole experience, not just reaching the top. 

Enjoying is important and contrary to popular belief, never a simple thing. Never think of it as just a waste of time. 
 

Re: Are stories on Royal Road a waste of time?

#10
april18 Wrote: Enjoying is important and contrary to popular belief, never a simple thing. Never think of it as just a waste of time.

I agree that enjoyment has many forms, that it is useful and important to us, but I think that there is such a thing as too much.

I am not against enjoyment in general. Enjoyment is an abstract word, its meaning changes between people and context; the enjoyment I am talking about is the straightforward kind, the easy kind where you get almost instant gratification without further thought or contemplation.
The kind which I believe the books on this site grant, the kind which I call a "waste of time". Not because they literally waste your time, there is no such thing, they are a "waste of time" because I feel that I am the one wasting myself by reading them.

Obviously, this is a personal problem and its partly why I wanted to hear the opinions of others. I would like to hear your reading experience on this site specifically, your reasons for reading here, what kind of enjoyment have you derived from reading? if that is fine, of course.

Re: Are stories on Royal Road a waste of time?

#11
I believe in finding what you like as a reader and i believe in being a book omnivore.  Life is long and there are lots of good books.  I know with myself I go through stages.  When I'm depressed, I tend to read fantasy.  When I want to push myself I tend to reach for Contemporary Poetry.  When I lived in Chicago, I dated an theater major for a while and during that time I read hundreds of plays.  I love Raymond Chandler and reread all of his detective novels every few years.  My parents are big into literature and will send me stuff like Karl Ove Knausgård's or David Grossman, some of which I read, some of which I don't, but I grew up reading Saul Bellow alongside David Eddings.  And I worked at Politics and Prose a well-beloved bookstore in Washington DC for 8 years and read pretty much everything I could get my hands on there.

Read what you like.  There is nothing wrong with stretching yourself.  But there is nothing wrong with reading what you like either.  

I know Fantasy is looked down on, and self-published Fantasy is pretty much the bottom of the literary barrel (except for self-published romance) but honestly who cares.  The way I look at things is that right now we are in a golden age of this sub-genre.  Like the era of pulp and Robert Heinlein, Alfred Bester, Isaac Asimov, and e.e. "Doc" Smith.  There is a lot of crap to wade through.  But there are hidden gems worth discovering, which is why I'm here.  

Re: Are stories on Royal Road a waste of time?

#12
HAPPY NEW YEAR!

I used to read all kinds of things. There was nothing specific about what I read. I even read the writings on the newspapers that the vendors used to wrap snacks in. I have even read 'Mahabharata' and 'Ramayana'; kind of like the 'Iliad' and 'Odyssey' of India. I used to read whatever I could get my hands on. Those times were different, I had time on my side. 

Sadly, nowdays I find myself binging through most of the things I read unless they truly grab my attention. But that's because I lack the time. I don't like that of course. But to find good quality work and thoroughly enjoy them, requires commitment, and that requires time. But in today's world not everyone has a lot of that.

But we still want to find a few quiet moments all to ourselves, doing things we like, have some simple moments of enjoyment. And if we enjoy reading meaningless crap at that time, what's so bad about that? Its still meaningful as it gives our mind the simplest form of relaxation that we need.

I am not a firm believer of 'good' or 'bad', though I do have my likes and dislikes. So I still try to read all kinds of things depending on my mood or state of mind, kind of like listening to music. 

If we are wasting our time and gaining  nothing in those moments is a matter of different viewpoints.

I believe, we can find meaning within the shallowest things if we try hard enough. But are we willing to do that? 

BTW. Forgive my rant as I I am not an expert writer, but I do hope you get my meaning. 


Re: Are stories on Royal Road a waste of time?

#13
An interesting discussion.
I think I understand what you were asking in this sentence: "But I am wondering if there is anything to be gained emotionally, intellectually or practically from any of the stories, or are they simply 'time wasters'."
I'm not going to talk about the "time waster" part because I think it's already been touched upon well enough in the previous posts.
For my two cents on whether there is of anything "substantial" to be gained from reading a RR story which makes us ask questions about life or think of philosophical things, I think those stories are out there. But a good majority of it, and it's not just RR in this case, is simply for enjoyment. For the most part, they aren't like literary stories that question society or human nature, etc. However, I'm sure lots of young writers would say that they didn't first set out to write an intellectual or emotionally significant story, it was for fun, to explore a world they envisioned. Accumulated life experiences may induce those more substantial elements that are found in "literature."

As least for me, my first stories weren't definitely anything close to "literature." However, now I am trying to include those deeper elements in my stories because I've gained an appreciation and great interest in psychology and philosophy. I love such discussions and seeing different perspectives. Although I didn't think of it along the terms that you mentioned, when I created that story, I now wanted one which wasn't just a "culmination of imaginations" as I would say, I wanted one which made readers ask questions about the world and experiences that they lived in, the people around them, and what their hopes for the future are too. But I don't do this in an overbearing or obvious way. A fantasy story is still fantasy no matter how many other genres and themes are mish-mashed with it. I still want my readers to be immersed in a different world.

I've always loved fantasy since I was a child, and I attribute all my creative outlets and ideas from those stories that dared me to dream and create a world and life that I could be proud of in the end. Everyone gains something different. And for me, that's what I got out of fantasy. It's kinda of like Harry Potter. A million fans could jump on me for a thousand reasons why this book changed their lives, and I'm sure there are plenty who would view it as a silly, un-educational children's story. I know of both, and I say this having read the books. I'll aspire to reach those heights of success in my own way. Even if I don't, that's okay. I'm just a daydreamer who loves storytelling.
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