Is it me, or does a delicious Gingerbread latte on a crisp fall morning make everything better? I’d say yes, wouldn’t you?
This morning, as I drink my warm nutmeggy sweetness, I will be critiquing a wonderful novel. Critiquing? You say? Where does one go to critique or get critiqued?
One word: Scribophile. A website geared toward writers helping other writers. An author can earn karma points–their version of money so to speak–through critiquing other authors’ works. Once they receive enough karma, they can post chapters, short stories, novellas, poetry, or scripts to be critiqued by others.
Personally, I’ve found the website to be a huge resource to my writing. Not just to shine up my stories but also to meet writers from all over the world. It’s a great community of people with a similar passion for words. Plus, I get instant access to forums where I can ask questions.
The free membership has limitations but is a great way to test out the site. I’ve seen so many dropout after the first month or so because they couldn’t handle the critiques. Give it a shot and see if you can “cut it.” If you can … the premium membership opens the door to post entire novels (chapter by chapter), and anything else you’d like critiqued. Maybe even your kids eighth-grade paper … Not sure if that’s cheating, but hey, why not!?
So you’ve signed up. Now, what?
Here are few words of advice for a Scrib newbie.
- Join a Group. AN ACTIVE group.
- Once you join a group… commit to critiquing an entire novel. Maybe get your feet wet to check out a few single posts here and there, but critiquing a whole novel not only builds up karma faster but it helps another writer out tremendously and builds your rep points. (rep points are how experienced and active you are within the Scrib community)
- So you have karma, now you want to post… Put your first post in the main spotlight. Put all subsequent posts in a personal spotlight. (The main spotlight, after your first one, can take a while to get your work back in there. Since the spotlight gives your critter more karma, having your posts in a personal spotlight keeps them, well, in a spotlight! *Most critters want karma, so they are more prone to critique work that is in a spotlight. Plus, this will help you to build favorites!
- Proofread. Run your work through Grammarly or skim it for spelling and grammar mistakes several times before you post. Why? You do yourself an injustice if your work is littered with those kinds of mistakes. Sure, everyone makes them. I was terrible at grammar. Terrible! But when a critter has to spend all of their time fixing those mistakes, they miss the story. 🙂
- You’ve gotten your first critique. A few suggestions: Make sure you thank the person, regardless how you feel about the critique. If you don’t agree with something– don’t argue with them. They are doing you a favor. Ask for clarification, but don’t state your case trying to defend something they didn’t like. Everyone has their own opinions. Trust me, you’d rather have a bad critique than a bad review on Amazon. Eek!
- What should you do with the feedback? Sort through what you agree with first. Fix it. Then wait for your next round of critiques. If you see consistencies … you might want to strongly consider changing them.
- What if the feedback is in regards to your writing style? Everyone writes differently, BUT, if people tell you, for example, that you have too many adverbs, “to be” verbs, passive voice, and long sentences, I have one thing to say: Research! Sulking doesn’t help you improve! If you have a love for words and storytelling, boost your craft. Read other’s works, books on writing, take a class, practice … lots of ways to shine up your skills.
- At the end of the day, the story is yours. Most critters will say this up front, but always remember it’s your story so, “take what you want, leave what you don’t.”
- If the feedback is too much and you find yourself grumbling, angry at critters, constantly battling to prove your writing is stellar, or not fixing your mistakes because your writing is already perfect … well, my uncle was an amazing Italian Chef, and he had a saying: “Se non sopportail calore vattone dalla cucina” — If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.
All in all, if you are seriously considering making writing a career, I think Scribophile is an invaluable tool. Check it out and let me know what you think! If you are already on there, I’d love to hear your experiences in the comments.
ALSO, find me on Scribophile! I’m always looking for a critique partners. 🙂
*sips Gingerbread latte, pinky out* Until next time! Happy writing! 🙂