I need to cut down on the amount of time I spend on forums.
Firstly, it eats up a surprising amount of time to reply to a bunch of stuff related to my work, and that’s despite having very little released yet. Secondly, I go to 40K forums, and have for years, for conversion ideas and painting inspiration. Add the natural cycle of forum clickage to my newfound commenting habits, and you’re racking up a lot of lost minutes. Thirdly, I’m aware that familiarity breeds contempt, and as someone wisely said: “You’re not their mate. It’s going well now, but when you do something wrong, the fact you’re there and they know you will make it easier to tear you to pieces.”
And I think there’s a serious truth to that. But still, I’ve been addicted to various forums for about 10 years now, and I enjoy answering questions, offering a little behind-the-scenes insight, and just generally talking to people about the fact we all like the same sort of stuff. That’s not the problem, really.
The problem is, I’m probably doing a bit too much of it, lately. Since I quit WoW a few months ago, fucking around on forums has taken up increasingly more of my time. Today, that sort of came to a head when I realised I’d spent 3 solid hours going across various sites, answering questions, generally chatting, and checking out how some guy had painted up his Black Legion. (Awesomely, by the way. They were painted up most excellently killerish.)
But 3 hours, man. That’s not good. This is not optimal. So I’ll work on it.
Recently, the BL website came back without forums, and I couldn’t be happier. I wasn’t a massive fan of the place anyway, the undercurrent of entitlement was a little ragged and raw, the amount of fanfic I got asked to read was unbelievable (although, please note, I’ll do that for my friends or nice people in a heartbeat, if I have the time), and too many people liked books I didn’t, so it was hard for me to take people’s opinions seriously. This is why I never read my favourite authors’ reviews, by the way. I got tired of going across various genre forums and getting throat-deep in shit-pits over the fact Robin Hobb isn’t boring, David Gemmell had more than one storyline, and Dan Abnett would be the next Frank Herbert by now if he didn’t do licensed fiction. “Have you read Legion? No? Then fuck off, because it’s liquid genius. On one hand, it’s one of the best sci-fi books of the decade. On the other hand, you smell like a rhino’s balls.”
But seriously, folks.
With the demise of the BL forum, I’m mostly pleased because adding another forum to my track list would bring me closer to one of those writers who just talks about writing instead of actually doing it. You know the type. If you’re at university on a writing degree, you probably are the type. We’ve all been there.
Here are the forums I go to. It’s a list that may or may not help any lost and lonely ex-BL forumite looking for a new home.
1. Heresy Online.
This place is killer. It’s quiet, but far from empty, and has a fairly sizable population. So far, all the reviews and chats I’ve either seen or been part of have all been decent conversations. It has a modest but keen BL section, in addition to all the various gaming/hobby stuff. I’m really keen on it, even if I’ve had to cut back on my posting there to get some actual writing done. But so far: smart people, good talking, nice conversion ideas to steal. This’d be the one I recommend to wayward BL forumites.
(They also have a cool medal thing, where, like, you get all these medals under your name if you do certain stuff on the site. They look fun.)
2. Bolter & Chainsword.
Definitely a hobby forum rather than a BL one, but the various subforums get a fair bit of discussion. On a forum this size you’re always going to get some… ineloquent debate… but I’ve been going to B&C for years now, and I’m an unashamed fan. The people that comment on the novels run the gamut, obviously, but the standard of debate is usually pretty damn high. The positive response to Soul Hunter there has absolutely floored me, with some really insightful discussion – whereas during the novel’s actual writing, it was the one place I was secretly certain they’d want me dead.
The king of 40K forums. Insanely huge traffic, and often referred to as Warsmear or Warsneer. When it’s good, it’s absolutely great. When it’s bad, it’s 6,000 kids screaming at each other and 12,000 adults sighing at how shit everything is. I do my best to check back there, but it’s a lot of effort to sift through everything, sometimes. So many of the users seem to hate absolutely everything – although I have to say, Soul Hunter’s reception there has been pretty much as awesome as everywhere else, thankfully.
It’s kinda weird, but as a wiser man than me once said: “Gamers are haters”.
I don’t post there, but I’ve looked around for a few years. I don’t really know why. They hate a lot of stuff, too. Unless it’s not popular, in which case, it rocks. RPGnet used to be like that.
5. The Black Library Bolthole.
I’m divided about this. Some BL fans are on this mental, sneering tirade about the death of the official forums, and it’s difficult to look at people behaving like that and respect them, even if you know they’re the people that might be buying your work. I also hate the site’s colours, and can’t work out how to edit my posts, because I’m a glorious retard. And since it’s the most recent (only been lurking there since BLL), it’s difficult to muster enthusiasm for adding another site to the cycle, especially when it’s currently rammed with self-important, misguided people whining about the Death of Everything because BL decided it was bored of moderating forums. It’s also the closest thing to an official BL site, though it’s currently fairly humble in size.
On the other hand, it has an Ask the Author section that I should probably at least try to engage in, and is run by Sarah, who I adore – despite the fact she’s a LARPer.
So consider yourself updated.