Note: My friend and I set out to prove that you can have as many reviews as you want- by writing in the romance category at Fictionpress and setting your rating to mature. We did not mean any offense by this, we just wanted to open the eyes of the people at fictionpress to show them that mature romance stories should not be the only ones getting reviews, 'scenes' or not. We noticed that our spiritual category was suffering one-sidedness... people thinking that if they post a story, all they need to do is sit back and wait for the reviews to come in. No, the way Fictionpress works is to submit stories AND give encouraging and constructive feedback to the others looking to better their writing. And that is what this was written to emphasize.


Project Mature Content

The average amount of reviews that a story, 20,000 words or more, rated M and in the romance category on Fictionpress receives is 100.18.

The average amount of reviews in a story in the spiritual category at Fictionpress, any rating, any number of words, is 2.16.

What is wrong with these facts?

The idea for "Project Mature Content" came when my friend Rachel and I were discussing the benefits and drawbacks that come when using to get feedback and constructive criticism on our writing.

It happened like this:

"You know, it seems like the spiritual section at fictionpress has dwindled a bit in the review aspect lately. It used to be so awesome, with reviews rushing into my email account with each new chapter—and now it's like everybody would rather receive reviews for their own stories than give them to others," Rachel said to me one day at school over a plate of "fake" spaghetti for lunch. We picked at the meat balls with our forks and pretended to be eating them—we'd heard not days ago that a plate of spaghetti at the high school was like eating two giant Big Macs at McDonalds. And both of us are rather conservative where eating is concerned.

I, however, had noticed this at fictionpress as well. I took a swig of milk from the carton sitting near my right hand. "You know, you're right. I have tried to submit reviews to all the stories I can—or at least the ones that I like. Either way, I know that there are tons of stories in the spiritual category that are more than desirable, unless of course the people of fictionpress hold their reviews back for only the best of stories—and even if that was the case, I know that your story, Rachel, would be getting tons of reviews!"

We didn't want to sound selfish or anything—both of us submitted reviews as much as we could. I was trying to point out that others weren't getting many reviews, either, even if their stories were better than awesome, and even if they weren't awesome, they should be at least getting some constructive criticism.

The only conclusion I could draw from this bit of information? Fictionpress simply has too many writers and not enough readers, and who says that writers can't be readers?

"My Sci-Fi story hasn't been doing well, either," Rachel added miserably.

"Well, it has nothing to do with the quality of your book," I replied with firmness. I knew that a lot of authors were sensitive about their works, and Rachel was definitely one of them. I was almost angry at the members of fictionpress for not encouraging my friend to write; I had read her stories, and they were wonderful.

"What about your historical? Your humor? Your fantasy?" she inquired about the other books I had written. Okay, so I have a lot of usernames that I write under, but that is another story.

"My historical is doing fine because it is oh-so-mushy and romantic, but I hear that that's what the ladies like these days," I joked, knowing very well that I liked, on occasion, a little romance now and then—maybe a full-blown, sappy romance novel… okay, forget I mentioned that.

"But your others?"

"Come to think of it, not that well."

And so we sat there in silence, pondering this latest discovery of ours.

"Don't you think it would be awesome if we could get people to start submitting reviews as well as stories? I mean, it would be a real writing community—people putting a little bit of themselves into it with their writing, and helping others make the best of their writing."

After a couple of days of scanning fictionpress and the categories did I finally come up with a solution.

"Project Mature Content," I announced aloud another day after basketball practice as we sat in my car, waiting for the vehicle to warm up. We sipped my mom's low-calorie juice that she'd slipped in my backpack that day before practice, and ate some trail mix that she'd oh-so-sneakily reminded me to eat. She's one of those health nuts that always buy the low-fat, low-calorie, and low-taste foods.

"What?" Rachel asked incredulously.

I grinned. "I know. Far-fetched. But it will work."

"Wait, explain this to me? You're not making sense."

Again I smiled. "I think it's somewhat… funny that stories labeled as "M" always get more reviews than the ones that are rated for everybody to read."

"You mean mature content?"

"That's what I said, didn't I?" I smiled to soften the sarcasm in my words. "Yeah, isn't it crazy that a world drawn by sex would also like more the stories that involve it?"

I was glad that she didn't giggle at my usage of the "s-word." Hey, it was high school and everybody should be used to it. They made use of it every weekend, but for some reason it still inspired blushes and giggles in everyone when actually spoken.

"So, what are you going to do?" Rachel was still a little bit confused. She bit into a rather hard almond and reached into the bag to get another handful of trail mix.

"You mean what are we going to do," I corrected. "And we are going to write a story, rated as mature content, and see just how many reviews we get."

And that is what we did. We wrote it together—don't worry. There weren't any 'scenes'… just hints of one. Yes, it was probably a very sappy romance, but apparently the people of the mature romance category thought it was great. We worked hard on that story, putting aside all of our other books we were writing and had written to work on it. Within a few months, we were able to hit chapter ten—our goal.

And you wouldn't guess how many reviews that came pouring in on our story. We got 56, in just ten chapters of our story.

So, although you might find what we did to be slightly insulting, we designed our project simply to inform.

Isn't there something a little bit wrong with the fact that people who write sex scenes get more reviews that those who don't? I'm not saying that it's wrong to write about those things—suit yourself (even though the Bible says that sex before marriage is wrong). I mean, it sells. But shouldn't Christian Fiction sell just as well?

So, that's the point we are trying to make. Why don't we make the spiritual category at Fictionpress a place where people can get feedback for what they're writing? If you submit a story, try and read others' as well. So let's change the fact that the mature romance category gets more reviews than ours, no competition intended of course.