I am proud to be exclusively a literature artist. I really don't know how to do anything else. Here on DA, Literature is not necessarily under appreciated by most of the people in the community, it is just widely ignored. I think, really, many of us are completely okay with that. For the most part, we aren't here for popularity.
We are here for each other. We don't have thousands of followers. We don't have millions of faves. But for the most part, we have been able to find other artists that help us to refine our art. I've said it before and I'll say it again: I truly cannot express the appreciation and love that I have for my friends who consistently critique my work. One ~monstroooo, ~ChibiDomo, or any other of my adamant critique-rs is worth a thousand faceless, nameless followers.
We are a community of our own. There are many groups here on DA that inspire writers to not only do their best, but to help others as well. %WritersInk was one of the first communities that I joined. It has a Weekly Roundup that features several selections from that weeks submissions, and a Writer of the Month that features someone that is active in both submitting and critiquing the works of others. There are wonderful people like `thorns who hosts Chat Tours and gives prizes out at every turn, many of them from her own pocket. There are communities like ~FocusOnLit, another group that is dedicated to encouraging people in novel length endeavors, grouping members into teams as mini support groups. I met the wonderful ~ME-Jones through this community, another of my wonderful critique-rs.
We have each others' backs. We throw our money into this site as prizes to encourage others, and into communities so that we can properly organize them. We pass along news and contests through our journals and through as many communities as we can. We are quick to congratulate those among us that win contests, get featured, or get published. We (used to) fav any and all news articles regarding literature when we could, as well as link them in our journals for others to see.
We would prefer a comment over a thousand favs. I don't mean a "this is da bomb" or a comment with an emoticon. I mean something that is related to our work. Even if its just a few sentences about why you liked it, why you didn't like it, or what could be done to improve. We are more likely to comment than to +fav. I know that I have often commented on a literary work that I loved and forgot to +fav it, as opposed a visual work where I am more likely to +fav it than to comment. I can't necessarily say something intelligent about a work of art, as I am not a visual artist. I like what I like, I +fav what inspires. With literature, I comment on what inspires. And I want you to be even better. So I leave a few words, because just that is enough to encourage someone that was maybe questioning whether or not they should continue with this thankless art form. In fact, many of my closest friends here on DA I have gained from commenting on their works. And if you have browsed through literature and noticed the comments that are on a piece, they are much different from the type of comments on a visual piece usually are. More often than not, there is a conversation between artists about style, about substance, about themes, and about what can be done. It is a back-and-forth, an exchange of knowledge.
We see DA as a workshop, a way to improve and to get and give inspiration, not as an untouchable display.
With the new features introduced by Sta.sh writer, I at first found myself a bit confused and therefore ambivalent. I was simply going to wait it out until everything calmed down and then I was going to try it out. I was doing a pretty good job ignoring all the rage and hoop-la that was going on. Until this. This all actually comes as a response to $spyed's journal entry here: spyed.deviantart.com/journal/A…, and this section in particular:
THE LITERATURE COMMUNITY. One of the biggest factors in building Sta.sh Writer, and merging Journals with deviations was the simple fact that we could bring a massive amount of much needed support to the Literature community. The hottest button ever pushed at deviantART is our lack of support for Lit! Considering technical limitations, merging these systems brings a huge amount of support to Literature tools that can just as easily be used for writing Journals. Lit deviations can soon be skinned. Thumbnail support for Lit deviations will get a bunch of benefits. This poll didn't take that in to account, but I did. And I think when all is said and done, deviantART is going to be that much more amazing because of this change...
Now, I was just skimming through this article to really figure out what was going on with this sta.sh thing. This quote, one of the very last things in the article, seemed like a complete afterthought. A bandaid slapped on to a problem that no one seemed to understand. The wording doesn't even make sense. I actually barely understand what is trying to be said here. Each time I read it, it seems more and more as if the admins are equating a work of literature to a journal. As someone who writes for a living, I find this completely demeaning. It is bad enough that people will now be throwing things into the literature section because they don't exactly understand the difference, but it seems as if the admins are even encouraging this view. And, as I have stated previously, the fact that most literature deviants will comment as opposed to +fav'ing, worthy literature will be bumped off of the main page due to the fact that people, wanting privacy in regards to their journals, will now be dumping them wherever they wish.
Yes, being able to skin our deviations will be nice, I do prefer to have more control over the way my literature is visually presented. However, it will make no difference if no one will see it because it is now hidden under the fact that some popular visual artist just got an awesome new pair of boots. And the very nerve of lumping Literature in with Journals is disheartening. It seems as if the DA Admins themselves don't value the members of their literature community, as they seem to be claiming. Yes, this will appeal to members that are stoked about making their poetry pretty. But me? I'm a writer who is now studying their form at the graduate level, and you just said that my life's work is the same thing to you as a journal. Oh, and I get pretty thumbnails, I think. I don't know. You really weren't clear on what you said. Making it so that my deviation can be pretty is not support. It is pointing in the distance and telling me there is something shiny there for me to look at.
In regards to Journals and News: Before, I could glance down at the bottom of the page and see a list of popular news, and among those articles there was at least ONE regarding Literature features or contests. Frankly, I will trade my pretty deviations just to see a literature news article down there again. But I most likely never will. Because it doesn't matter how many of us do our best to +fav something, we Lit artists are severely outnumbered. In this same entry (above), it is noted that there were only about 40 news articles posted a day. Am I the only person that is completely ok with that? When have you picked up a newspaper that was as thick as an encyclopedia? News is news, and frankly, most of the communication between and within the Lit community was done AS NEWS FEATURES. So, how are you helping us, DAdmins, by destroying the one thing we had that would get us some attention outside of our own tight-knit community? If someone posts a News Journal regarding features from a group or Author Interviews, and we pass that around journal to journal, it will still easily be overrun by the +favs of any visual artist's daily journal about how delicious their dinner was. We will now be forced to dig to find our News articles, and it will never go outside of our community. You have hindered, not helped.
It seems as if the admins do not actually understand what is going on right under their noses and are now patting themselves on the back ("The poll didn't take that in to account, but I did.") for acknowledging us. We were doing just fine before you glanced this way and demeaned us, but thanks for that.
I realize now that I probably went a little overboard in my assumptions here, and yes, some of what I said was a bit of a stretch. Our dear admin probably didn't mean to say that Journals are the same of Literature, but the implication was there. We're writers, we can probably understand implications better than we understand what is stated outright. I don't see anything wrong with sta.sh, but I don't see how it helps us in any way. Which is why that I was angered by the idea that the Lit community is being used to buffer complaints, and people that aren't even in our community are then willing to accept that DAdmins were trying to do all of this for us. I thank the people that are willing to deal with change for our benefit, it is very kind and supportive and that is very much appreciated. But the admins did not help, and by claiming to have done so they are using us as a distraction.
Here are a whole TWO THINGS that would actually benefit the Lit community. These have been derived and honed from comments made on this journal. More to come, as they appear.
- Regarding News: I'm aware that DA will not go back to the way it was before. But instead of putting just the most popular journals at the bottom, simply default that footer feed to most popular journals in the news category. That doesn't seem like a stretch. Sure, right now when I click on the lit news what comes up is a journal about someone offering pixel adoptables. But, at least having it so that the actual news has a CHANCE to make it onto the footer would be a step.
- Get someone on your admin team that is from the Lit community. Just look at the wonderful volunteers we have. This step would allow for some kind of insight into how the Lit community works from the inside, since it is obviously different from the way that most of DA works. That not feasible? How about you just open a line of communication between the Admins and the Lit community volunteers. From what I understand, it seems as if they aren't allowed to say anything to Admins unless someone in the community contacts them. Why won't the admins contact the CVs, instead, to at least find out what it is that would actually help us? Suggested originally by =bowie-loon123 here: fav.me/d4eefk2
Really, is that too much to ask?
Thank you for all the wonderful support. I think the mass amount of comments and the intelligent discussion that is happening here is a fine example of what the Lit community is about.
A few quotes taken from comments on this page regarding literature and the community:
For me, literature is equally if not more impressive than every other art that exists out there. I find it extremely hard to invent a bunch of characters, a world, a whole universe that is - as far as one can say that - original, and on top of that, create a story that keeps people interested until the last word. Your (as in all the writers) work should be equally regarded as any other artwork. ~MithrandirMoon
When you are treating art like journal entries, you are treating the art community with disrespect. We are just as much of artists as painters and drawers, and we need people to understand that we belong as just as much as anyone else. ~chibilvr091
I agree that the Literature community is very tight-knit and that a comment is worth a thousand faves. I'm fairly new to deviantART and I haven't had a real chance to fully immerse myself in the obscure and sadly under-appreciated literature world here, but I recognize its importance and value with ease. That being said, I realize that these things hold little relevance to the point at hand as they were merely examples used as tools to get your point across, but I still felt the need tell you how much I agree with them, because they are indeed very important to those of us who count ourselves within this community. *Dreamscape195
Literature deviations with preview images and backgrounds get more views, that's true. But at the same time, literature is about the words that are on the page, not the image that's behind it. ~SpiritGlade
There are some amazing writers out there. The ones I have found need to be publishing their work or writing their own books. They should be encouraged. *Bluesilver84
A comment is more beautiful to me than any +fav could ever be, and a three paragraph comment telling me about how to adjust my rhythm and word choice is worth more to me than all the money in the world. Writing is my inspiration to continue happily through high school, it allows me to tell the world about how I feel in such a subtle way that it creates an intimacy with the reader. No visual art, to me at least, can convey the emotions that a stunning piece of literature can. I believe that a sentence is worth a thousand pictures, that so many ideas can stem from a simple series of words. !trustinparanoia
One of the beautiful things about literature is being able to imagine in the white space between the given details. To allow words to be building blocks for pretty mental (or, in some cases, literal) pictures. ~toxic--sunrise
I asked `LadyLincoln, one of the most prevalent Lit News writers, if this merger made her feel dishearteaned about putting so much effort into a news article considering the lack of quality control. Her reply was this:
Yes, it does. I wonder if I should continue. Then I recall why I started doing so in the first place. I am here for my community - to try and help make a difference, even if it is in a small way. And should it only reach one person and has impacted them in some way, I have done something wonderful and that is what truly matters to me. `LadyLincoln
Keep 'em coming.
This entry was, surprisingly, awarded a DLD! Please check out the other artists that received this recognition and the article here: fav.me/d4f966y
Thanks goes to `NicBelroque for being one of the first Lit deviants to help get the word out about this article.
& thanks to `AssClownFish for the support.
& thanks to everyone else for comments, favs, and plugs. It is much appreciated.