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.

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

#16
The anime male power fantasy isekai harem stories are probably a waste of time for most people, but for their readers they're good escapism from real life, which is (for most readers) the trials and tribulations of middle school and high school. The same goes for Wattpad and its awkward self-insert romance stories and dystopian YA. It's pure escapism, though since it's all self-published as web fiction it's gonna be lower quality than traditionally published work (usually). That isn't necessarily a bad thing.

But there's some darn good stuff on this site you can find. Actual literary fiction, some of it. There are books on here and on the rest of the internet better than the average traditionally published novel, which is great. You just have to search for it. Web fiction is great.

And absolutely, it's not a waste of time for the writers-- with one exception. For a huge majority of the writers on RRL, they're young people trying to learn how to become better artists, and using publicly-published works to test out their skills. So you get a lot of stories that start as first drafts, get five chapters in, and are abandoned, but it doesn't mean the writer didn't get anything out of it. They probably shouldn't have POSTED that story, but writing it helped them improve and that's important. For others, serially publishing a story online is how they show the world their work and gaining an active readership is one of their favorite things. It's only a waste of time for those looking to make money; there's probably a single-digit number of writers on RRL who make any significant amount of money, so anyone who goes in thinking "hehehe I'll make a buncha cash off litRPGs!!!" is wasting their time, for sure.

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

#17
That would be huge thing to discuss. Stories tend to bring moral lessons aside from telling a fictional and real life. But due to different kind of genres continuously increase on their numbers. Different things change. One is the author's target audiences is in the matter. Many of them now writes what their readers want. Still, no one can judge how the readers would think and react.

As a reader like me, looking for something to read--preferably adventure/fantasy, I tried to read the blurb either their synopsis. But I prefer synopsis. Blurb hides where the story goes. Synopsis reveals the ongoing ending. And I hope authors do fulfill those promises. So I state why, the story that I'm looking if it is and may be not a waste of time: 
Adventure genre -- author of this genre, for my opinion must learn how flash fiction work, to improve themselves. If slice of life is applied, I quit reading the story. In every 100-1000 words written in the story I prefer there is some good action, or interesting things happened or revealed there. And goodness, I hope they understand what is adventure genre. Like "mystery as genre" and "mystery" differ to each other. 
Fantasy genre -- Right on this new era, I do prefer reading the impressive first person of those talented writers, that can make you feel like you are the character instead.
if it is written in third person, I prefer the awesome omniscient-third person, that narrates poetically or an author know how to handle a third-person omniscient well.

That's why it's still our decision to read their stories or not. Might be readers like me are decreasing XD and are now going to play games (such as RPG, Etrian Odyssey, Dragon Quest, Final Fantasy, etc...) and read manga (The breaker, Guntz... etc...) and watch anime, (like Lupin the third, Cowboy beboy, Detective Conan, Etc....) There I can feel the adventure genre. It may be a waste of time to someone, but someone might like them. (thumbs up)

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

#19
Debate forum so obviously the point is to be rather contentious and pick one side or another, but I'll point out a giant gaping problem with the original proposition. "Emotionally." Well, there's something emotional to be gained from a "time wasting" story. I've read a lot of YA fiction. In fact, I think the most fun stories are YA stories. Percy Jackson is one of my favorite series. Now, there's no great moral lesson in Percy Jackson, not anything a 28-year-old like me wouldn't already know, but the characters, setting, the portrayal of Greek gods in modern times, it's INTERESTING. There's an emotional investment there that makes it enjoyable to see conclude. So, if one of your many choices is "Can a less polished story give a reader the same amount of emotional investment and payoff?" The answer is a simple "Well yeah."

It doesn't even need to be good or well written. I know, because when I joined my first fanfiction site in my late teens I was reading very typical Isekai stuff where some Joe Schmoe becomes a magical god that solves problems all of the show's competent protagonists are suddenly too stupid to solve because Joe is such an amazing prodigy. I read and genuinely ENJOYED those stories, at the time. Now I know they're cliche, and just from remembering them, it gives me an idea for a comedy where a Gary Stu type character goes to a world of something he loves and then discovers his special power is that he makes other people stupider than he is. So from the absolute worst, most ridiculous, poor grammar stories you could possibly find, I have come up with an idea, which then also gives those stories more worth than the emotional investment.

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

#20
Bigmouth Wrote: Debate forum so obviously the point is to be rather contentious and pick one side or another, but I'll point out a giant gaping problem with the original proposition. "Emotionally." Well, there's something emotional to be gained from a "time wasting" story. I've read a lot of YA fiction. In fact, I think the most fun stories are YA stories. Percy Jackson is one of my favorite series. Now, there's no great moral lesson in Percy Jackson, not anything a 28-year-old like me wouldn't already know, but the characters, setting, the portrayal of Greek gods in modern times, it's INTERESTING. There's an emotional investment there that makes it enjoyable to see conclude. So, if one of your many choices is "Can a less polished story give a reader the same amount of emotional investment and payoff?" The answer is a simple "Well yeah."


There's a lot to be said about the sheer Fun Factor in a story. I'm way bigger on movies than any other creative medium, but I've known for years that my mind settles much more quickly on something that's a blast than something that's amazing, but a lot of emotional investment upfront. Like, the movie Zodiac (about Ted Cruz in the 60s and 70s) is fantastic, but it isn't something I have the energy to watch too often. On the other hand, while recent movies like Solo, Ready Player One, John Wick 2, or Avengers Infinity War aren't exactly "deep" or "meaningful," they're also really good time with cool action scenes and cool characters and cool visuals. So, while this doesn't advocate the people who read the same exact poorly-written ripoff stories by a hundred different authors, it means that sometimes you can get really good enjoyment out of something that isn't necessarily going to strike you to your very core.

In short: You don't have to watch a Godfather Part II every day. Sometimes you need a Con Air. (Though isekai litrpg harems in this metaphor are the Transformers movies, so IDK why y'all keep watching these but they keep making them)