Recently, I wrote the following stuff for a photo web comic I created inspired in "a softer world.":

  1. To break up and stay friends means to throw away a possession and turn it into something that can be useful again...It's disturbing how the word "recycling" fits into that so well.

  2. Living a busy life, full of stress, sweat and sacrifice, can make us think ...that we are actually doing something worthy with our lives.

  3. He took away the girl I secretly loved for years. I told him, crying, "she was all I ever wanted!" He told me, smiling..."finders keepers."

Only one person liked number 1, 20 persons liked number 2, and no one liked number 3 (based on the number of Facebook likes).

Each of them have been published for 1 or 2 days.

Most of my reader are Taiwanese and foreigners living in that country. I would like to hear opinions from writers here.

I'm really puzzled about the big difference. I don't see anything special about the number 2.

(Sorry I referred them as "writing," I'm not sure if I should call them 'paragraphs').

  • Vote to close as subjective and unanswerable. – Ralph Gallagher May 7 '11 at 18:08
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    I agree with Ralph. Why don't you ask this question on Facebook, and see whether the people who 'liked' them will explain? – Kate S. May 7 '11 at 19:13
  • I believe you mean "inspired by" a softer world. As a longtime fan of ASW, I misread that first sentence as a claim of ownership over the comic. – kevboh May 7 '11 at 19:43
  • Vote to close because readers' liking may not be purely related to writing style (it may simply be the reader's identification with the message). I think #2 was liked because there is wisdom in it. – HNL Jan 11 '12 at 8:14
  • I can't speak for others, but I dislike #3 because of the number of ideas that I can't identify with. How can someone "take away" a girl that was "secretly" loved? Why cry to the person who "took" her, unless he thinks she is an object that the other guy can "give" back? If she was what he always wanted, why didn't he do something about it? - But then I also can't exactly agree with the other guy either - since his response "finders, keepers" doesn't question any those ideas and is basically a dick response saying, "too bad" – DoubleDouble Jul 9 '15 at 17:54

Well, as you pointed out on EL&U.SE, in No. 3 you mean "crying" not in the sense of shouting out loud but weeping. Possibly your readers are a little skeeved out at the prospect of a man weeping in front of a victorious rival for the affections of a woman. Not only that, but he wasn't even man enough to give voice to his feelings, preferring to keep them "secret" for years. Not only that, but it's really bad writing: pure, over-amped bathos. And the parallel structure ("I told him, crying ...", "He told me, smiling"), instead of strengthening it, merely serves to emphasize what is bad about it.

No. 2 is simpler, more straightforward, and not a bad sentence (though I don't exactly think the ellipsis works here to good effect). It also has interesting, human hooks: life, stress, sweat, sacrifice.

No. 1 is just opaque. The logic is muddy, there are two infinitive clauses in a row, and it's all very abstract. I doubt most readers even read it all the way through.

  • Thanks for the critics. What do you mean with 'pure', over-amped bathos, 'opaque,' and 'muddy logic'? – Alexandro Chen May 7 '11 at 16:52
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    Pure means undiluted or unadulterated, over-amped means overblown, opaque refers to something capable of hiding things from view, bathos is "an effect of anticlimax created by an unintentional lapse in mood from the sublime to the trivial or ridiculous" [NOAD], and muddy means something that is mixed up or not clear. – Robusto May 7 '11 at 18:36
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    Also, I believe you mean thanks for the critiques. A critic is a person who judges the merits of something, and a critique is a written or spoken analysis such as might be made by a critic. – Robusto May 7 '11 at 18:40

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