LitReactor Community Spotlight: January 2015

Welcome to the new middle-of-the-month time slot for the Community Spotlight. This was done partly to make for less confusing titles, partly because it allows me a little flexibility, and partly because I already have an end month obligation to the carrot monster that lives in my refrigerator.

January is the month of new beginnings and goals, so this tends to be a pretty big month for writing resolutions. I'm looking forward to some big stories from all of you, so if you've been stuck in the "I'll do it tomorrow" cycle of starting up on your next major project, stop procrastinating and get started. These spotlights aren't much fun to write without being able to brag about you guys.

Announcements: Writing Workshop Point System Has Been Modified

As I announced in my last spotlight, a major request we've seen 'round the boards has been to take another look at the Workshop's point system.

Previously, the system was set up that you had to earn 15 points to submit a new piece for critiquing. Points were earned by reviewing work from other authors, and those authors would rate your feedback. The best critiques would earn three points, which meant that at least five high-quality critiques were needed in between submissions. Of course, good critiques often take a lot of time and work to create, and some members felt this slowed things down a little too much.

We agreed, so the new system allows critiques to be awarded points under the following scale:

Very helpful: 5 points
Helpful: 3 points
Not helpful: 0 points

That means in order to earn your fifteen, you only need three top-notch reviews instead of five. This should hopefully increase the general flow of the workshop and reward our best reviewers with more opportunities to submit their own work. We may still tweak it as needed, but it's up to you guys to field test it and let us know how it works. If you haven't signed up for our workshop yet, or haven't visited in a while, now's the time to get back in the game.

In the Forums

Book Club: Lost in Space: A Father's Journey There and Back Again by Ben Tanzer

Have you checked out the LitReactor Book Club yet? Every month we start discussion on a new book, often by authors and publishers that have some affiliation with LitReactor. Discussion on Lost in Space: A Father's Journey There and Back Again by Ben Tanzer has already begun, so if you've read it, chime in. If you didn't make it this time around, don't worry. Next month we'll be discussing Our Love Will Go the Way of the Salmon by Cameron Pierce. Check it out! The Book Club is a great place to get to know our members and get involved in the community.

What scares you?

I remember being rather impressed with Saw II when it came out. It was a pretty solid horror sequel, which is rare enough, but there was one scene in particular involving a pit full of used hypodermic needles that I knew would really get under the skin of many audience members (pun perhaps intended). It wasn't an especially gruesome scene, but needles are a touchy subject for many people, and that made the scene pretty terrifying. Being effectively subtle with horror can make the difference, so help us scare you. Let us know.

Has Anyone Dealt with Harassment on LR?

I've been working as the community manager for LitReactor for a little while, and most of my job consists of developing new projects to annoy my boss and editing the phrase "crotch meat" out of Josh's posts (it comes up a lot). You are all pretty well-behaved, and I don't have to bring the hammer down often. However, harassment is one of the few things we take seriously here, and if you feel like there is an issue that needs addressing, please feel free to PM me at any time. It's true that in a community of writers and critiquing, feelings may get hurt, and perhaps you just need a mediator to clear the air. Either way, I'm here to help, so please don't hesitate to contact me if you feel someone may have crossed a line.

Community Spotlight

Every month, I will compile a list of those who sent me their accomplishments through the form submission page and post the results. If you want in, then do something amazing and tell me about it. You get the free publicity, and I get to brag about how awesome our community members are. The order of the list is decided by which submissions I get first, so get on it!

Bridge To Voreth's Promise by L.W. Flouisa

A story four years in the making, L.W. Flouisa has released her YA dystopian novella Bridge to Voreth's Promise. It's available in full through a site called Wattpad (I just used Facebook to log in without any trouble). Most people around this site don't need a whole lot of motivation to read anything dystopian, but there's more to it than that.

A young boy explores their own gender identity, in a world where individual
identity is second to the collective integrity and safety of the group. Where
what it means to even be an individual thought is constantly in question.

When the Nadine opens a portal to a fantasy universe, a woman in black asks
her how she was able to create the bridge. Yet when she reconnects to the
game, they are even more surprised about what they find. The game universe
has restarted itself.

L.W. Flouisa is an illustrator, short story, and novella writer who has finished three books. She seeks to write a middle grade dark fantasy series in the near future.

A Look Forward to February

There is a degree of urgency here: Get writing. Quickly. February's coming up, which means Valentine's day, which means that all of you people are going to be making stupid eyes at your significant other instead of writing. You'll be useless. I won't be. I have a cat. But I worry about your productivity. Love sucks that way.

If you do manage to get something hammered out in between gross make-out sessions and mashing your genitals against each other, don't forget to send me the details. Community submissions are among my favorite kinds of emails to receive, and much better than any ridiculous Valentine card you bought at Wal-Mart. Show me some love, and see you next month.

Nathan Scalia

Column by Nathan Scalia

Nathan Scalia earned a BA degree in psychology and considered medical school long enough to realize that he missed reading real books. He then went on to earn a Master's in Library Science and is currently working in a school library. He has written several new articles and columns for LitReactor, served for a time as the site's Community Manager, and can be found in the Writer's Workshop with some frequency.

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Comments

Redd Tramp's picture
Redd Tramp from Los Angeles, CA is reading Mongrels by SGJ; Sacred and Immoral: On the Writings of Chuck Palahniuk; The History of Sexuality by Michel Foucault January 22, 2015 - 1:25pm

I have a cat too Nathan! Hooray for productivity!

Cool to see the what scares you thread in here, I think it's a fascinating topic, and one that can be super insightful when it comes to writing.

L.W. Flouisa's picture
L.W. Flouisa from Tennessee is reading More Murakami January 22, 2015 - 5:03pm

Also note, for those note finding the link, I'm reserializing it:

http://www.wattpad.com/myworks/31244449-voreth%27s-promise-saga

 

Just don't want anyone to feel cheated with a broken link.

Happy Feb everybody.

Nathan Scalia's picture
Nathan Scalia from Kansas is reading so many things January 22, 2015 - 8:47pm

Thanks, Josh. I fixed the link in the article, and it seems to be working.

JonAwriter's picture
JonAwriter from Yoe, PA is reading Amelia Peabody's tales February 25, 2015 - 3:57pm

Nathan, I'm from the pre facebook, computer knowledge was stored in punchcards/magnetic tape and a typewriter was the only font I knew, generation.  I'm still playing catch-up.

So saying, I was tracking info online and found a science article on guns and the Knowledge of them. I liked it.  Therefore, I signed up to get updates, I joined.  Not something I do much of either.  I also copied it for future reference.  By the time I got to the point I could pose a comment, I'd lost my place and wound up here.

You were asking about science questions.  As a writer I make up what I want, but I prefer sticking to reality based scenarios.  I get turned off quickly by obvious mistakes and the not so obvious bugs me, whether in books or video.

The Dead Earth, Scorched Earth or Barren Wasteland often portayed in apocalyptical tales is something I've recently eyed in a story.  The question is what Event could reduce the planet to a point where it barely sustains life... but does.  If an Event happens that would usually be the end.  Period.  What events would allow a Little Pocket of humanity to survive?  What hope would exist for growth, recovery?  I had to use the Outside Help fallback.

Even though the setting is kind of the backdrop of the story, it must be believable.