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Thomas Gray has rightly said:
“Full many a gem of purest ray serene,
The dark unfathomed caves of ocean bear:
Full many a flower is born to blush unseen,
And waste its sweetness on the desert air.”
FictionPress.com provides a place for such gems – undiscovered writers in this case – to showcase their works of fiction and receive recognition for their work.
More and more writers are being born into the world today, and all of them struggle to receive some appreciation for their work and gain some recognition. FictionPress.com, a website where over a million talented writers find a home for their original literary works, grants them both these prospects. This ever-growing network of approximately 1,200,000 pieces of writing is fast becoming popular among people of all ages from all over the world.
FictionPress was originally part of its now sister website, FanFiction.net, under its own category of “original fiction”. However, once the number of fiction pieces started escalating in this category, FictionPress was branched off into a separate website. FanFiction – as its name suggests – is a site dedicated to people wishing to write fiction pieces based on characters from their favourite authors’ books, and it is clearly the more popular website of the two, with over 2.2 million users worldwide.
Apart from hosting fiction pieces, FictionPress showcases poetry of different genres as well. The fiction section has 21 genres (general, fantasy, romance, and young adult being the most popular), while the poetry section has 15 genres (the general, life, and love genres being more popular here).
The site has a set of guidelines for every registered user (registration being free) who wants to publish their work, involving a run-through of the rating system derived from FictionRatings.com – the ratings being K (the content meant for ages 5 and up), K+ (for ages 9 and above), T (for ages 13 and above) and M (for ages 16 and above). The writers are asked to strictly adhere to these guidelines, so that readers get an idea of what to expect from the contents of the fiction.
There is no editorial board for the site, meaning that all the works that are published have to be edited by the writers themselves. There is, however a ‘Beta system’, through which writers can seek the help of registered ‘Beta Readers’, who help in the editing of a story.
FictionPress is the perfect place for writers to know what to expect of their writings from the audiences, especially if they intend on getting their fiction pieces published in print. Each writer is entitled to receive reviews from their avid readers, which can either be a simple compliment on their style of writing, or even a detailed review with constructive criticism. This helps the writers to work on and improve their writing if it is needed. The reviewing system is such that each chapter that an author uploads can receive only one review per reader, ensuring that spamming does not take place.
Many authors on FictionPress add a personal touch to each chapter whenever they update, either giving a general update on their lives outside of the FictionPress world, or clearing up any doubts the readers might have over the previous chapters. Another quirk on this site is that there are many authors who like to include character pictures for their stories. This definitely helps their readers picture the stories better and derive some sort of satisfaction from having a clear image of the main and/or supporting characters. Adding character pictures can help the authors write their stories better as well. Once they are sure of what they want their characters to look like, they can better picture the characters and play out the scenes in their head while writing. Character pictures may be pictures of models, actors or actresses.
A major disadvantage of having your work published on a public platform such as this, however, is the wide spreading crime of plagiarism. Many of the sincere authors who are intent on getting the public’s opinion on their work have to face the unfortunate incidence of having their work plagiarized.
The more popular an author’s story is, the more chances there are of it being plagiarized. It is always the stories with the most original and creative plotlines that become the most popular and most often plagiarized. Over the past, many readers have had to see their favourite stories or novels being removed from FictionPress by the writers themselves, in order to avoid further plagiarism. It is sad but true that many of the truly talented writers have had to do exactly this – removing their work from the website.
FictionPress has, however, attempted to get a hold on these plagiarists once they have been reported by the readers of a particular story, and have banned them from the website; due to this, many authors have built up their courage to once again publish their work here, just for the sake of their readers. This shows a bond that is created between the authors and their readers through the course of a story, where the authors feel compelled to give their readers more to read and to return the favour the readers feel compelled to report any plagiarized work that they see on the website.
Despite this one main disadvantage (of plagiarism), FictionPress continues being one of the most popular online publishing websites. There are many genuinely talented writers here, many of whom publish their works here just to receive feedback from people of all age groups. There are other writers, however, who become more confident about their work once they have received a significant ego boost from their faithful readers as well as the critics, and move on to the ‘real’ world, where they get their works published in print. These are the ones who go on to make a name in the world and fulfill their dreams.
FictionPress is therefore a portal for many to move from a so-called ‘ordinary’ world to the world of fiction. It is where writers find a release for their pent up creativity and readers get to fulfill their satisfaction of reading a good story. It is also a site for those undiscovered writers all over the world who are looking for feedback on their work from unbiased readers as they tread tentative and unchartered territory.
“Writing is an exploration. You start from nothing and learn as you go.” – E. L. Doctorow.