It's open nomination time at Diarist.net (second quarter 2004), and I'm trying to decide who I'd like to nominate. (This is not a "subtle" hint for y'all to nominate me, because I don't write romantic entries, I'm not a new journal, and I don't even think of the Fifteen Minutes series as being journal entries--they're more like comedy that hijacked what was coincidentally a journal.) When I was looking through last quarter's nominations, I noticed several people being nominated multiple times, and some very well-known names, which is fine, but since the awards are given four times a year, that suggests to me that Diarist.net is trying to spread the love around. So I think that I--and you, and we--should dig up really good entries from people who don't have so many readers, but deserve them. (Again: this means "not me.")
However, if you do want to vote for me in some way, you can click here and vote for me at Diarist.net's Clix. The link will register your vote and take you to the top 10 ranking, and I've really enjoyed the journals I've started reading from the list, so go check some of those out. There you go: everybody wins.
Fanstory.com has turned out to be a lot more helpful than I thought it would be. (Despite the implication of the name, it's for original fiction and poetry.) There is a problem with rating inflation--think of school, where a lot of people consider B to be a failing grade; almost everyone's got four and five stars, even though the work is (IMO) kind of crappy at times. You can read and review for free, but you have to put down about $5 a month to have a writer's account (which I did, on a trial basis--I'm taking one for the team here so I can investigate it for writer_girls). Usually, "Give us money" sets off alarms with me, but... it seems to be on the up and up as far as I can tell.
You can only put up two pieces a day, and there's a complex system of points and "member dollars" and incentives you can put on your pieces to get more people to read them and blah blah blah, but the bottom line is, your piece will stay on the front page until it gets three reviews. That's what all the incentive crap is for--to guarantee that everyone gets reviewed. That's a hell of a lot more than you can say for a site like Fiction Press. Of course, I expected the reviews to be total fluff, but I keep getting pretty tough reviews, actually--the last one I just got on Black Ribbon chapter 1 basically said, "Your first paragraph has a cliché and the bit about the ormolu console is too wordy. Other than that, it doesn't so much suck." And that's the thing--if you can get strangers to review you, it's often helpful because they're willing to say things that your friends won't. (I'm surprised that people had problems with the shortness of "Famine," actually--that's not a complaint I've ever heard before, and now I'm getting it in spades. Of course, as with all criticism, you're always free to take what is useful to you and discard the rest. The Black Ribbon criticism mentioned above? Is on the money.)
If you writers out there are interested in checking it out, I'm over here. Poke around and read some of the feedback other writers have gotten before you commit to anything.
I got on a kick of playing puzzle/adventure games online while I was on my de-stressing regimen:
Samorost: I adore this one. I only wish it were longer, or that there were a sequel.
The Quest for the Rest: An easy bite-sized game from the Samorost makers to promote some folk band.
The Dead Case: Pretty involved and interesting, although the graphics aren't as great as some of the others I've played.
Vector Park: Gorgeous, but it really isn't a game in the sense that there's an objective (well, there is with the Levers game), and I never really know if I'm done. Basically, I wish there was an actual puzzle to solve.
Found Lost: Intriguing, and great atmosphere/graphics, but... sort of a lame ending. Also presumes you're dumb enough to walk into a dark scary house on Halloween night with nothing but a flashlight.
The Crimson Room and The Viridian Room: Seriously, just go through and click everything. And then go click it again. And then go click under it. And there's at least one thing in each game that you still won't be able to find. If you get stuck, there are walkthroughs online that will help you, but I'm not linking to them. Too big a temptation--you need 'em that bad, you know where Google is. (P.S. I've heard that The Blue Chamber is not that great--very short, and not really worth ponying up about $4 for. Wait for the next full release.)
The Mystery of Time and Space: I got stuck on this one, but the guy who recommended it thinks it's the best game he's ever played, EVER, so that's got to count for something.
Grow: I love this one, but I'm not sure it's possible to beat it--or rather, what's the most you can accomplish? I don't know. Like, a fusion between this and Vector Park would be awesome. There are other games on this site, but I haven't explored them all yet. ETA: Whee! Solved!
Die Anstalt (Psychiatry for Mishandled Plushies): I cured both the stuffed animals. I was so proud. Bonus: their druggy trip-outs are hilarious. Ooo! Dolly is new!
Orisinal: Several games--I haven't played many of them yet, so there's more to explore here.
So... you can tell what kind of games I like. If you know of anything similar, let me know.