I just realized why I've been falling so incredibly far behind on replying to comments-- well, a factor, anyway, besides the non-negligible "work" and "sick" and "laptop died" and "holidays require insane amounts of family gathering" and "broke-ness requires insane amounts of knitting and other handcrafting for family Christmas presents" factors. I think it has to do with the fact that the content of comments to my stories has been trending away from "I liked A, and I thought B was a really nice little bit of dialogue" (which makes me want to immediately reply with "YAY! Thank you! Will you be my new best friend?") to "Ooh, I wonder about X, and I speculate that Y, and-- actually, you know what I'd REALLY love to see? A story where Z." To which the proper reply, in my show-don't-tell world, is not "Indeed, X! Though not, I think, Y. As for Z, maybe LMNOP. Thanks for commenting!" The proper reply is for me to write an XYZ (LMNOP) story
But then writing the story takes a lot of time, and then I feel weird about posting the story before
I've replied to comments, and then if I do post something else there are more wonderful fascinating comments to catch up on, and it's all a vicious behindness cycle. And it's not like I feel ok about just
replying to the comments that are all "Loved the story!" and then posting more stories instead of replying to the speculative/story-inspiring ones. That seems discriminatory and callous, and to imply that I like praise better than inspiration, which is untrue!
And I guess I also hate to have my replies-to-comments sound boilerplate, when each comment is so individually neat and exciting-- I want my replies to reflect that. And then I get performance anxiety!
Anyway, I really do still intend to get caught up on replying to comments, even if I have to resort to just saying "hopefully this was addressed in the story I posted after you said it." :P But with that being said, here's another, brief story I wrote to try to answer many different comments and questions and speculations. I hope it stands as an answer to one of yours. ( In nature, there are neither rewards nor punishment. There are only consequences. )