The Joy of the Fishtank

For those of you who don’t know, Desdmona’s Fishtank is an online workshop for authors of erotic works. The principal is simple, you read and comment on five stories by other people, and then you are permitted to submit a story of your own to be read and commented on by other people.

I’ve been a member since the middle of 2004 and have found it an invaluable tool. I make no bones about it – if it wasn’t for the fishtank, I wouldn’t be selling my work now. I wouldn’t have an appreciation of some of the finer points of writing and I’d probably still be giving my stories away, cause I doubt anyone would want to buy them.

As it is, I’ve learnt a hell of a lot and made some very good friends amongst the people there. The fishtank is where I first encountered Cassie Exline, Mat Twassel, HL Berry, Jenny Mount, Shanna Germain… The list goes on.

But there are times that I love and hate the fishtank in equal measure. Like now for instance. Allow me to elaborate.

This past weekend, I posted a story to the fishtank for review and asked the other fishies one question – Does this piece stand alone. The piece in question is currently titled “Extended Family” and is 4500-ish words long. I won’t go into details, but at the moment, the story ends at a point which could be considered an ‘open’ ending – leave the reader hanging. I do feel it is an ending, but I’m not sure if I want to leave the characters there or if I should tell the rest of their story. Trouble is, I’m not certain what the rest of their story actually is, so I’m not that keen on groping the dark (so to speak – actually, groping in the dark can be fun with the right person) until I get a handle on where the story is headed.

So, I thought, I’ll ask the fishies. I phrase the question thus : Does this story stand on it’s own as it is, or do I need to carry it on. Not should I carry it on, but do I need to.

Obviously I was hoping they’d all tell me that I could leave it alone now and be done with it.

And that’s exactly what one reviewer who I have great respect for said. Quite emphatically.

However, another reviewer who I have equal respect for, has said the exact opposite – equally emphatically.

So there you have it – the reason I love and hate the fishtank in equal measure. I now know the story is a good one – but I’m no closer to making a decision about carrying it on or leaving it alone.

Oh, such is life. See ya.

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