April 13, 2003
You know, there comes a time when a person just needs to rant, get some things off his chest and just let it all out-- some free-floating hostility as George Carlin describes it. Before I get to what I need to address, I want to state that when I began writing these Messages of the Week about a year ago I had no intentions to turn it into my own personal bitch session, but dammit, there are some matters I can no longer hold back on any longer. With no further ado, here's what's been pissing me off this past week:
It's gotten to where I really detest seeing requests come to me which are to be sent to Hotmail accounts. I have seriously considered refusing to send drawing sets to anyone who furnishes a Hotmail address because I know damn well that I will likely be wasting my precious time with them. If any of these people are wondering why I stopped sending them drawings, this is why.
A review of the addresses which have been filed as failures shows that fully half of the failures come from Hotmail addresses (12 out of 24 failures filed so far). Not to pick on Hotmail, Yahoo addresses are also bad for being too limited for me to rely on for fulfilling drawings requests (5 out of the 24).
To be fair I should note that out of 41 completely fulfilled requests 8 of them have been to Hotmail accounts. I realize that it would not be fair to exclude people who rely on Hotmail for anonymity or because it is the only account they can use without someone (e.g. parents) finding out. Therefore, I won't start excluding those of you who use Hotmail or Yahoo. I think the problem stems from the fact that these people are not checking their email daily and downloading the files and clearing them out of the inbox in a timely manner. I know I can't expect everyone to check his email daily, but perhaps if you submit a requests for drawings and list a Hotmail address you should check at least once a day if possible.
Perhaps the worst offender of all isn't the user's fault. I know that Hotmail accounts are spam magnets (I usually have about 10 to 20 spams in my Yobrepaid account that I have to clear out each day). Add to this the Klez virus that takes up at least 100K every time it lands in someone's mail.
I guess my point to this rant is that if you use Hotmail and want me to send you drawings, fine, but just be aware of the limitations and be sure to check your email daily, if possible, and keep the inbox from filling up so that I can continue to send drawing sets. Incidentally, I changed some options on the drawings request form to allow for less frequent emailing of drawing sets.
If any of you have submitted a request for drawings and have not received all of them please submit a new request and indicate which sets you are still wanting to receive.
Before anyone thinks I am being overly pedantic, I certainly do not expect perfection and I understand that a few errors may creep into a story. I know my own stories may not be perfect in the eyes of a publisher or an editor, but I still think I do well enough to demonstrate that I am educated and that I write intelligently. I like to show that I care about what I write and I try to adhere to basic writing standards.
Still, the problems I am seeing in so many of the stories are absolutely inexcusable. The most common errors I see are the following:
When a character is speaking, his or her words must be enclosed in quotation marks. Again, when quotation marks are not used it becomes difficult to determine when the character begins speaking and where his or her speech ends. Also, while I am on this portion of my rant, a quotation mark is a ", not a ' . Only use a ' character when a quote occurs within another quote. Also, it's important to make it clear who is doing the speaking. So often I get a story in which there is no indication when the speech has shifted to another character.
Another common problem I see is where commas are used in place of periods. This is fairly easy to correct, but it's still irritating, nonetheless.
I've also grown tired of seeing people end every sentence with an ellipsis (...). Ellipses should only be used sparingly and only when appropriate; they are not a substitute for periods. An ellipsis is usually used to either indicate an omission in a quote, or to implicitly indicate that a passage continues beyond what was actually written.
When a noun is plural IT DOES NOT REQUIRE AN APOSTROPHE! Likewise, when a noun is expressed in the possessive, an apostrophe is needed. There are other rules about single possessive versus plural possessive, what to do when the single noun or the person's name ends with an s, etc., but I don't have the time or the patience right now to give a detailed lesson. Oh, and while I am on apostrophes, remember to use them in contractions (e.g. don't, can't, wouldn't, what's, etc.)
I also learned very early on that the first word of a sentence is always capitalized. I don't know why so many writers neglect to observe this simple rule of writing. This problem is often compounded by the people who don't bother to use periods to separate their sentences.
Proper names are always capitalized (unless you're k.d. lang or e.e. cummings). Again, this isn't one of those obscure rules of writing only known by the most pedantic of writers. It's one of the fundamental basics of writing and there's no reason for people not to follow this simple convention.
At the other end of the spectrum of capitalization error makers are people who capitalize words which don't require it. There is no need to capitalize numbers which are spelled out, for example, nor is it necessary to capitalize the time when it is written out. Most common nouns not occurring at the beginning of a sentence do not require capitalization, but yet I see people do this all the time.
A space should follow every comma, period, question mark, exclamation point, and closing quotation mark. Not doing so causes more spelling errors to appear than there really are. A quick find/replace fixes this, but I shouldn't have to do this in the first place.
Don't abuse the word well! So many times I see a story where every other sentence begins with "Well, ..." I usually strip these out of a story completely unless they are properly used and in a sparing quantity. Removing them does not change the context of the story.
A story that starts out in first person and then shifts to third person is a real joy to edit. Few tasks are quite as excruciating as having to change every "he" to "I", every "him" to "me", and so on. Equally as annoying are stories which do not maintain a consistent verb tense. Most stories are written in past tense, but somewhere along the way a story may suddenly shift to present tense. It's things like this that make me wonder how it is that I don't drink.
Because of all of these and other problems I didn't take time to list, I don't know who is to blame for seeing such poor writing on a widespread scale. I can only theorize that at least one or more of the reasons could explain it:
In spite of all the frustration and aggravation I sometimes must tolerate to put stories from other people on this site, I do it because I'm a nice guy and I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings or make anyone feel that his story itself isn't worth posting because of how it is written, however poorly it may be. As long as I feel the ideas expressed in the story are worthy of inclusion on this site I will post them after going to the sometimes painstaking effort to improve their readability. I never criticize authors individually and I don't want anyone to fear that I will come down on him for submitting a story that is not well-written. I just ask that those of you who may recognize yourselves as one of these writers to take some time and consideration to make your submissions easier for me to read and so that I can enjoy them along with everyone else.
I doubt any of this will encourage people to improve their writing skills and take the time to deliver something that is easy to read and understand. I just hope it makes people aware that I don't just dismiss these problems without giving them any thought.
As for fictional stories, the sky's the limit since you are free to include as much information as you want since it doesn't have to be true. Also, a story part or chapter should be longer than just a few sentences. If you are updating a story in progress and submit new material for the story please make it worthwhile for other readers. In other words, don't just submit one or two paragraphs at a time and then call it an update.
Still, some people try to send me stories about girls wearing diapers. I've also been getting diaper sighting reports with girls. Even some of the survey responses have come from girls (Sister survey responses excluded since, of course I expect these to come from girls who presumably and preferably do not wear diapers). I know there are people out there who disagree with my site's restrictions in that I only accept materials about boys in diapers on this site, and I know there are people who even hate me because of this (and fuck them if they do!), but the fact is, I am simply NOT INTERESTED in girls wearing diapers and I never will be. Therefore, I will not post anything in which the primary focus is on a girl who wears diapers. I know that some stories make a passing mention of such girls or some surveys will briefly acknowledge this. In cases such as this I will sometimes let them pass, however grudgingly I may feel about them. Some people may feel that by allowing girl stories that this will open up a greater variety of stories. Such a story would stick out like the opposable digit of a clumsy carpenter whose aim with his hammer is poor (okay, that was a stretch). It would be like suddenly hearing a Garth Brooks song on a heavy metal radio station.
I have stated it before and I will state it again. My limitation to content with only boys in diapers on this site is not to say that I do not recognize the fact that some girls also wear diapers. I'm just not interested in them.
While being a natural-born girl who wears diapers is one thing, to be a boy who acts like or is treated like a girl for wearing diapers is another matter altogether and is one that I personally have a very difficult time with accepting. I know there are people who are like this, and I have received a few stories and survey responses which are indicative of this gender aberration (all of which are certainly rejected for this site). I will spare readers of having to read my personal diatribe regarding my feelings on feminizing boys who wear diapers, and instead I will just leave it at asking that those of you who wish to submit stories or participate in surveys which are indicative of such behavior, to save yourselves the time and trouble of doing so for they will be deleted as soon as they are determined to be not acceptable for this site.
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