Wake Up and Smell the Fiction
Ronald C. Flores-Gunkle
75

Ronald, I hear ya. In the past (many months ago) I complained about how difficult it was to find fiction on Medium. That was a complete waste of time. Nothing has changed and I doubt it will. Eric Beversluis was correct in his response when he said, “…. the fiction tag is no guarantee of anything.” I’ve quit clicking on that tag. The last time I did less than 10% of what showed up was actual fiction. Most of the rest of it was articles with titles like, “How to get tens of thousands of recommends on Medium by writing fiction,” or something like that.

Hey, if you get 10 recommends on a piece of quality fiction on Medium you are doing extremely well.

As for your 4 points……

  1. There are numerous fiction publications on Medium. Forget about them all. Let your work stand on its own. Being part of a group imprisons you within the walls of that group. You might get a tiny handful of extra readers but it is highly unlikely they will ever click beyond your story to see what else you have written. Start your own publication with nothing but your own writing. You can make tabs for “fiction only” or “essays” or whatever. Be bold and stand on your own feet.
  2. I don’t care for this. I don’t want other writers’ personal critiques and notes. If someone wants to leave a response they can do so at the bottom of the story. (And I especially detest the whole ‘highlighting’ thing. It’s rude.)
  3. I don’t do “beta readers.” I have a strong aversion to the whole concept. I have never used “beta readers” in my 40+ years of writing and I never will. It’s all about one’s insecurity as a writer. If you need feedback in any way then you truly have not fully opened up your inner writer. “Beta readers” may be helpful to the novice writer as far as structure and grammar go but they can never help you go within to surrender to that inner writer.
  4. Nothing makes me want to throw up more than a workshop full of writers. I’ve been to enough gatherings of writers to now avoid such things like the plague. The essential question is, “Do you write for other writers or do you write for readers?” Forget the other writers. If they are at workshops showing off and socializing with other writers and writer wannabes then they are not writing. They’re too busy being writers. The real question is, “Do I write with an expectation of return on investment or do I write for the sake of the story coming through me? As an empty vessel, do I surrender to the story coming through me or do I try to retain some kind of mental and egoic control over it?”

The best piece of advice I can give is to never, ever listen to any advice that I might give. As for Medium, if you’re looking for good fiction to read then be prepared to dig, dig, dig, dig deep to find the good stuff. The Medium staff seems to have an aversion to fiction. If you’re posting good fiction don’t ever look at your stats, don’t count the little green hearts. Just post it, let it go, and don’t look back.

One last thing: “Fiction” and “Non-fiction” are terms made up by booksellers for the sake of organizing their stock. They are not real.