Going on RIGHT NOW Have you signed up for our new Crit Groups?

Leslie

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We've got a new crit group matching program starting Monday! If you have not checked it out, please do. We aks you to complete a questionnaire and then match you with a set of crit partners. We're also providing some crit training and best practices based on some of the critique classes that have been taught here.

Read all about it here!

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lrdavis

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Yes, yes, YES!
looking forward to it
Lyn
 
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lrdavis

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This was a program back in January and it is over.

However, there are SIGs that are operating and might be in your genre.

What genre (scifi, romance, mystery etc) or category (childrens, YA, NA etc) do you write?

I can put you together with the heads of the SIGs.

Lyn
 
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lrdavis

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SIGs are Special Interest Groups that have groups of similar people who exchange crits etc.

Lyn
 
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lrdavis

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We run Kidlit -- that is my SIG. We haven't done much recently because my computer was going bad since last November and gave up the ghost a month ago.

I just got a new one, however, so we will probably strike up the SIG again.

:)
I'll send your name into Leslie to add to the KIDLIT SIG.

I write MG, too, although this bootcamp I am writing NA--trying a new endeavor, after a class I took.

Lyn
 
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lrdavis

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@lesliedow

I have been chatting above with @sladuke about the KIDLIT SIG and she would like to join it. Could you add her name to it? She writes MG and would like to interact with other MG writers.

I'll try to revive its activity, especially since we have a huge KIDLIT group this bootcamp. Maybe you could promote the KIDLIT SIG at the end of bootcamp, too. We can extend the excitement of bootcamp into the SIG.

Thanks,

Lyn
 
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Leslie

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Sounds great, Lyn! Definitely spread the word and I will add her to the group.

Thanks!
 
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Eliza Fyre

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    That's a good question. I feel like I am floating a drift by myself and need feedback from other writers. I belong to a few RWA writers groups but they focus more on workshops. They are extremely helpful and I love going to them, but I'm missing that critique element. In the end I think I would be happy with finding a small group with similar interests. :)
     
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    Leslie

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    Hi everyone!
    We are working hard on a new crit partner matching program. We did try a group crit and found that while it worked for some people, it didn't work well enough to make us happy. :(

    So, it's back to the drawing board for this. This part of our behind the scenes discussion on what we liked and didn't like...I would LOVE to have all of your input on this!

    :)

    In my experience these are the ones that I have tried :
    1) Anonymous big crit groups where it's a feeding frenzy. The only people who do well there are really tough. Critters is like this and I still have nightmares about my experience with them! *shiver*​
    2) Team crits like the RWA subchapters do where you post chapters and people crit them. You often do not get the same person critting twice and it's really frustrating to make sense of it. And the cliques...OMG the cliques. :(
    3) Crit events where you are matched with others somewhat arbitrarily...these small teams or groups often do not last past the event. This is what we did in January and as of now, one (maybe two) of these groups is still together. :(
    4) Partnerships where you find your "soul mate" CP and you live happily ever after (or at least for a few years usually), but there are not any real matching programs for this so it's totally ad hoc.​
    Did I miss any of them? If so, please add them. OK, so this is what I am thinking. We change our crit event to a crit partner match by doing event. Ever heard of speed dating? We do that but with crits in a totally positive and very structured way.​
    It goes like this:​
    We match up people in some way, likely by genre.​
    We have them trade the following:​
    1) three chapters (that way you get an idea of writing technical level, structure, and voice)​
    2) an outline (or notes if this is a pantser) but something that shows how they plan a story. (Personally, I cannot imagine being stuck with a pantser, I am so structured that would make me crazy and I bet vice versa!)​
    3) A statement of how that person would like to work with a CP. How often to trade information, do they want to sprint together, etc.​
    We have them work together for some small amount of time, 3 days? a week?​
    The goal is to set up partnerships of no more than 3 people to crit together. Maybe we do the speed dating thing for a month, 3 weeks? Not sure here.​
    Then set up structured lessons for 4 weeks or so.​
    Then provide support and suggestions for another month.​
    The lessons would follow Liz's three pass and Melinda's class.​
    1)How to critique the story, not the prose --This is I feel the fundamental of what everyone needs to learn. how to evaluate a story, not the line edits but the story. Liz Pelletier is just AMAZING at this and I always refer back to her first pass edit, whenever I get a new story to crit)​
    2) How to critique plot, character, and setting as part of the story critque.​
    3) Then use that to write an editorial letter (based on the story critique in #1)​
    4) How to line edit-- this I feel is the least important because if you write a good story with engaging characters, you can find people who will line edit your work.​
    But I think the focus needs to be on how to crit the story and the story elements, not so much on how to line edit. Too many people go right to the line edits.​
     
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    PauletteN

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    I agree with you on critiques needing to be more about the story and not the mechanics at this early point. I've had critiques that focused on my comma usage and not on whether the scene worked or not. In an early draft, who cares about commas (okay, some of us do at all stages) when it's probably going to be rewritten anyway. Early stages should be more about characterization, logistics, continuity, and overall believability.
     
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    lrdavis

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    Without totally copying Scribophile, is there any way we could do something similar to their site here? Have a place to post your 500-3000 words up for critiquing. It costs 5 karma for every submission. But you have to earn that karma first, by
    1) contributing to the community by earning credits by posting and receiving positive responses--Scrib calls it karma.
    2) critiquing at least five other submissions 1 karma for each plus .001 karma for each word over 150 words.
    3) winning a contest and earning the karma (x # of karma) Some kind of algorithm must compute it all.

    We could do something similar, by having people earn points by participation in boot camps, sprints, SIGs or other things. We could also set up a critique forum for people to give their secure chance to be seen and critiqued by a variety of eyes.
    I actually have received some of my most eye opening critiques from people outside my genre.
    We might call them 'boons' or the Latin 'benes' or use karma.
    Just thinking aloud.
    Lyn
     
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    Mako-clb

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    First, I like the idea of having crit partners who might be outside the genre. Sometimes you get a different perspective on your story that way. Plus, just because someone doesn't write in a genre doesn't mean they aren't familiar with a genre. I read a lot of sci-fi, but I don't write a lot of it.

    Second, I really love the idea of everyone getting some training on doing story critiques. Maybe it could be a quick intro with an option to sign up for the full class after, sort of like getting a free sample at the grocery store to get you to buy the product. I admit that I could use at least an intro to story crits. I'm more used to doing line edits since part of my job is proofreading.

    Third, I'm not familiar with Scribophile, but I'm not big on the idea of karma points. Sorry, lrdavis. While I understand the idea of making sure there is a fair give and take among crit partners, I think it encourages people to provide quick critiques that are not as well thought out and might be flattering just to gain karma (or whatever we call them) points.

    Last, but not least, I just LOVE the idea of speed dating for crit partners. I think it's a great way to, at the very least, eliminate potential partners who you just don't mesh with and also get several different opinions about a submission. May I suggest that, for the initial speed crits, there be a word limit or word-count range rather than a specific number of chapters because some of us write long chapters and others write short chapters. By doing a word-count range, you know that everyone has to submit and crit similar length stories. It's easier to evaluate potential partners that way.

    And, now you know why it is rarely a good idea to ask for my input on anything. :wink:

    P.S. I'm a pantser, so please don't insist on an actual outline. When I was a student and had to provide an outline, I actually had to write the essay in advance just so I could create the outline. :cry:
     
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    Leslie

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    Hi Mako,
    Thanks for the comments. I agree with most of what you have. I write romance but I also dabble in time travel and YA Scifi and I adore UF, even if I don't write it. I feel like I could crit any of those genres and would be happy to since I read widely in them.

    WRT line edits vs story crits: What we've noticed is that people are usually not bad and often very good at line edits. I think it's what we all learn first when
    critting. :) But IMO what really makes the difference between a good CP and an AMAZING CP is one who can read what I wrote and then see where my story went off the rails. LOL. That is what the acquiring editors are taught. I have been told over and over by acquiring editors that while they don't like an author with line edit issues if the story is strong and the characters are compelling, they will acquire anyway. For me, this is where the rubber hits the road. I want to be the author with that strong story, clear voice, and compelling characters.

    That is a GREAT idea about line or word limits and not chapters! Yes, definitely! Thanks!!! :-D

    Yes, Pantsers! I used to be but now I find I just finish more stories if I have a t least a rough outline. As a pantser, what would you like to see from another pantser? @RJ Garside, @Riley Darkes and I are all plotters. :p
     
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    Fray B Kalms

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    As a fellow Pantser, I'd like to see a general overview of where they want the story to go.

    Example: When I first come up with a story I have the beginning and end or sometimes the middle and an idea of the end but no idea about the rest.

    So having some sort of story guide or general summary would be useful in critiquing another pantser when they "go off the rails" with plot. I agree with the comma usage being less important (though it does drive me crazy, as well as multiple spelling mistakes in one sentence) but I do survive quite easily just focusing on the story and key elements. I also love the speed dating idea though I do worry about time constraints, when I did Critting there were teams of two (matched by genre) and not everyone matched up exactly or even closely eg. I had a Supernatural/fantasy and my partner had a Sci-Fi, I did get an objective opinion but having to explain every chapter why I referred to my main character as a monster as well as a human (he was a vampire) was rather draining.

    I do think there needs to be some sort of differential between skill levels and those who may not be able to meet the 4 week critiquing guideline, as often I had to wait a few days before they saw my post let alone responded to it. And that made critiquing back and forth a little difficult.
     
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    Eliza Fyre

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    I like the idea of the speed dating because I'm hoping to find some soul-mate/ long term relationships out of the event. :) (Maybe it's the romantic in me)
    I can't help but add I used to be a pantser. Now I morphed into a pantser-plotter. :)
     
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    Leslie

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    Hi Eliza,
    Me too! I was an avowed pantser and now I have plotting charts and excel spreadsheets. But I still head off into the weeds when I get in the throes of writing.

    I think the speed dating thing might work. I want to be sure that we have enough rules and moderation so everyone has a fun, positive experience, but I've been looking into how real speed dating works and I think we can pick up some pointers there.


    If you run across any, definitely let us know!

    :-D
     
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    Eliza Fyre

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    Well I have to blame some of the workshops here at savvy authors from turning me from a straight pantser to planter or pantter or plan-otter. lol. I blame this website. But yes, I am much more productive. (Evil people.)

    Until you mentioned speed dating for critique writing partnering I have never heard of it. I think it's brilliant.
     
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    Leslie

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    LOL. Well we do try! Not to be evil of course...but to help when we can.

    :batman:
     
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    Eliza Fyre

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    ha. :ROFLMAO: Savvy Authors, "Trying to change pantsers... one person at a time." (JUST KIDDING!!) Don't freak out my fellow pantsers. I still love you. :)
     
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    Hi-
    I just tuned into your thread. How would you know if a story "goes off the rails" if you're not reading chapters?

    I'm tottering on quitting. Yeah, yeah...I know. "Don't quit!" yada yada. But...I just can't find...something. It's not about giving up on my stories or running out of ideas. These beasts live in my brain (and heart) and wear me out most days while they bounce around inside me.

    Too many "adulting" obstacles and realities, I think.

    Seems everything I've tried to hold onto the last strings of this rope either escape my grasp or lash out. Or just flat out let me down.

    Having said ALL that...I have 2 novels/1 novella of an adventure/love story series that I pulled to re-title. I really wanted a good dev edit or at least feedback (like this thread suggests). I'd also like to try my hand at *reading story* rather than offering line edits.

    Not sure if my situation appeals to anyone. (I'm also not sure I could overlook a blaring correction. It's ingrained.)

    I've tried to dig into Story Grid but analyzing my own work against it has proven difficult. Too close, maybe? IDK. My biggest issue is the idea that "all stories are the heroes journey," which I just can't buy into (Mr. Coyne said it--I didn't.)

    Maybe I should sign this as "hopeless" lol
    DiDi
     
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    OH, and my 2¢ about speed dating/critique partners idea. I like it. I tried Scribophile but several of the responses felt like obligations more than an interest to help. Some did offer good points. I'd be willing to explain (or share them) if anyone who isn't familiar is interested in understanding it.

    What if each person filled out a questionnaire--like eharmony or match, but not as involved--so that the group could choose who they might like to engage. Also, would it have to be a mutual selection, or could someone crit a person who isn't critting them back?

    thoughts...
     
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    Eliza Fyre

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    I wanted to post something to your first post. Like you I'm a writer. I haven't published any books... yet. Through most of my life I have written stories. When I graduated from college I majored in English with a concentration in creative writing. (I graduated back when the internet was new and foreign thing and if you wanted to get published you owned a large book of publishers that could be used as a weapon). Back then getting published seemed like an impossible task. So before I even submitted my first novel, I quit. Yes, I kept writing for the next twenty years working on various ideas, but I told myself "I will write for me".

    Recently I realized that I will always write, whether someone reads it or not. Someone on Savvy Authors has a tag under their name... It says something like, "I write, therefore I am a writer." It's how I feel. I've become more determined than ever to get my book published.

    Now I'm older and wiser wishing I never gave up.

    Having said this I understand what you are going through. My stories sometimes feel like they are missing something that only an experienced writer can pick out. All I'm saying is don't give up. If the story idea is still picking at your brain... then there has to be something there that's worth while. Yes, it might need polishing or someone to help you streamline the process... but if you are still writing, then it still needs to be told.

    I heard the term "Pre-published" and I totally love it. It suggests I will be published, it just hasn't happened yet. I'm not sure if your stories have been published or if you are still working on that first book, but don't get discouraged. :)

    I like the idea of a questionnaire, I am interested to see how the critique groups might develop. Good luck on your writing. :)
     
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    Hi Eliza, Thanks for the reply. I'm glad you didn't give up either! Love your mug, BTW. :)

    I'm not sure where "prepublished" came from--so I'm not sure what to do with it...lol. To explain, I published my first book on Amazon in February, 2014. I pushed to finish the next two within the following year, and almost made book 3 live by Feb, 2015 (close enough to call it, anyways). I never could afford a good editor. I had an English grad and a creative writing grad who pursued more but never published her own work (to my knowledge) as betas and their insights were good, of course. Since then, I've buried my Dad and quit film school after Mom fell the first time--the second time she was in the hospital for almost a week. I work a crappy-paying job (when the company lets me...which means the hours suck--therefore the pay sucks.) That's enough of a pity party.

    Bottom line--I'm NOT writing. Well, I am in my head, but not where it counts. I'm still holding that last thread, I guess. Good news--actually, today the new storygrid podcast was a Q&A that answered a lot of my questions about using the grid approach to story dev and I look forward to the world giving me the chance to try to apply it. Irma and retrieving Mom this weekend will likely slow any progress. Time will tell.

    I've always found that interested readers inspire me to write. I haven't had any in a long time. That's why I'm here--I guess. Maybe I'll find a crit partner who can give me feedback and find the stories interesting enough to feed the muse so maybe I can put the books out again.

    I'm anxious to see where this goes, too!
     
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    sladuke

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    Well, somehow I have missed all the conversations on this thread! Sorry to be late to the show.

    I am on Scribophile, and I have limited success with it. I need to be patient and will eventually, if I participate long enough will find a group of people I trust to work with consistently. Because that is what I need, people who read my work all the time, help me go back over changes and give me feedback. Drive by critiques are not as helpful, although they are always welcome.

    I would like a small group of people 3-4 total whose work we read together and help support each other in our process and growth. Long term.
     
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    Leslie

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    Thanks for the feedback. Once the WriterCon is over and RJ and I have time to breathe we are going to get the details for this written up and published. We're going to start running the crit dating right after the first of the year.

    We're so excited!


    thanks!
     
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