The critique process is integral to any author’s pursuit of a clean and polished manuscript. Many writers join critique groups and meet face to face on a regular basis for honest and varied feedback about their writing. These groups are also great opportunities for networking and learning more about the publishing industry, especially for aspiring new writers like myself.
In addition to meeting with the SCBWI Andover group once a month, I decided to join an online critique group. Scribophile is “a writing group that works!”. It has integrated all of the positive aspects of social networking into a website that allows a writer to seriously workshop their “baby” chapter by chapter.
The website design is friendly and easy to use. They provide a helpful list of things to do on the homepage in order to get started on the website. I started at the top of the list and worked my way down. Some features of the site include:
The newbie chat room is warm and welcoming. Within minutes I had chatted with at least five or six scribophiles, all offering encouragement and helpful advice.
Every piece you post is put in the Spotlight, and will stay there until it has three critiques. To post your own piece you have to earn karma points. You earn karma points by critiquing others’ work. There are options for just commenting on someone’s piece or giving an in depth line-by-line analysis.
When someone critiques your work, you reward them with a thank you. You can return the critique, send a gift (fun little .gifs), write a personal message or scribble on their scratchpad (like writing on their wall). There is also the option of rating the critique itself, as thorough, enlightening, encouraging and/or constructive. In true social networking fashion, there is a “like” button as well.
Scribophile has frequent contests, informative blogs, active genre specific groups, friendly forums and the academy, where you can get all sorts of helpful info about writing and publishing. This site is free to join, or for $65 a year you can upgrade your membership for lots of extra perks.
Scribophile is an online critique group with a social networking flair, and hosts a busy and vibrant writing community. It’s easy to join, and easy to stay.
What have been your experiences with online critique groups? Please feel free to share your thoughts here at Writers’ Rumpus!