For those of you who are serious about writing, nothing is more important than revising your work, to make it better than how it first began. The real trick is to find readers who will offer you supportive, constructive feedback.
I recently joined Scribophile, as many of you might be aware, so for today I’d like to talk about the benefits, as well as some of the faults or downsides of the site. Scrib isn’t the only site you can use to get critiqued, but I’ve tried out a few and I think so far this one is my favorite.
Scribophile is free for those who don’t want to spend the money, although of course there are a fair few perks for those willing to pay. Essentially, the site is broken down in a way that I find quite appealing: If you want your work critiqued, you have to earn karma points, which you earn by critiquing the works of others.
The karma system makes it easy to post things, while also ensuring that people give as much as they’re willing to take.
You can favorite writers, and follow along their writing journey by getting notifications every time they post a new chapter. You can join groups, where like-minded individuals can come together and ask questions and get the opinions of others.
Obviously, there’s the benefit of getting several experienced (or perhaps not so experienced, but every critique usually has something of value, even if you have to go looking for it) eyes looking over your chapters and telling what works and what doesn’t. Is there enough description? Does the dialogue feel strange? People will answer these questions, acting as your beta readers. And since they don’t know you personally, the Scribblers won’t really be worried about offending you. Most of them are really nice, from what I can tell, bu they’re there to help, not to coddle.
Scribophile’s also got a blog where its authors write out some writing and publishing tips and advice for newbies. Even better, it’s got contests that you can enter to help get your name out there.
The groups are nice too, although I haven’t yet had time to explore the forums or anything. As you can likely tell if you’ve been following my blog, things have been a bit hectic around here 🙂
I think perhaps the largest issue I’ve had with the site is simply finding a chapter 1 or chapter 0 (prologue) in the mess of half-finished novels. I have no problem reading Chapter 4 or 5 or even 28 without having read the preceding chapters… not really… but it’s sort of difficult to comment on a chapter and how it contributes to the plot, character arcs, etc. if you don’t know what came before.
I’ve taken to looking at the New Members Spotlight, since these people generally (for good reason) submit their first chapter as their first submission.
My other issue, and a relatively small one at that, is that a chapter only stays in the spotlight until it gets 3 critiques. It’s good for everyone else who is waiting for their turn at being critiqued, but it would be nice if an author could get four or five critiques, rather than 3, because the more eyes that have looked on it, the more opinions you have. You can use extra karma points to put it back in the spotlight, but I haven’t quite figured out how to do that yet.
Anyway, overall, it’s a nice site to use, because it’s an entire network of authors who can offer support when you need it, and can offer advice as well. If you’re thinking about joining, look me up. I’d love to see and critique stories you might be working on.