Friday, December 4, 2015

A Timeline Author’s Plea

Guest post by Alexander “SpanishSpy” Wallace.
I am no Turtledove, no Stirling, no Harris, no de Camp, no Conroy. I have no monetary incentive to write alternate history. I write timelines on AlternateHistory.com, and previously the alternate history wikia, for a sheer love of the genre, much like many other hobbyists. I have a busy life; alternate history is a passion. I research and write and develop stories for hours in my spare time. I believe this would sound familiar to many others in the community.

This is a labor of love for me and for many others. When we post our work on the internet, we do so with hopes, hopes of approval from our fellow alternate historians. We fervently wish for the approval of others who are more learned than us, more knowledgeable in the realm of history.

Sometimes, we get that validation. Comments come in, and we see the fruits of our labors. However, often, this is unfortunately not the case.

I can tell there are people reading my timelines, for the hundreds to thousands of views would pay testament to that. And yet, I can go days, weeks, months even without getting a single comment. One would think that readers would have questions or comments about something that interests them. But there is nothing.

I can think of few feelings more disheartening than pouring hours of work into a timeline and receiving no feedback for months. I do not exaggerate; I have filled whole AH.com pages, twenty posts, without a single comment, and other works can average a comment a page. But I keep working, because I love the craft.

It gives the feeling that our work is at best ignored, at worst actively looked down upon. Am I being too wordy? Not detailed enough? Too heavy on expository heavy? I do not know. And I can’t know. And it leaves a feeling of utter abandonment, especially when there were previous comments.

I believe I speak for many writers when I ask the readership of AlternateHistory.com and of any other alternate history site out there when I say that comments are not only encouraged; they give reason for us to continue writing. We have no editors, no proofreaders, hardly any confidantes to share our work with before it goes public. It is with the readership that our efforts are appreciated or abandoned. It is with the broader alternate history community that our vindication rests.

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Alexander "SpanishSpy" Wallace is the author of several works of alternate history on alternatehistory.com and the alternate history wikia, including the 2014 Turtledove Award Winner for Best New Speculative, The Rise of the Tri-State World Order: A Timeline of Orwell's 1984Emancipation and Exodus, and Scorpions in a Bottle, as well as other works. 

1 comment:

  1. I think this is the same with any online work - traffic and comments help you keep writing.

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