Joshua Chaplinsky's picture
Joshua Chaplinsky from New York is reading Stories of YOUR Life June 3, 2014 - 7:09am

Otherwise, Josh will take another one of my fingernails, and I only have four left.

Daddy needs to complete his necklace.

justwords's picture
justwords from suburb of Birmingham, AL is reading The Tomb, F. Paul Wilson; A Long Way Down, Nick Hornby June 3, 2014 - 7:29am

^ Nice!

avery of the dead's picture
avery of the dead from Kentucky is reading Cipher Sisters June 4, 2014 - 8:41pm

I'm thinking of doing the Crime Us contest, looks fun and I have some ideas, but I just have one issue...

Nathan Scalia's picture
Nathan Scalia from Kansas is reading so many things June 4, 2014 - 8:46pm

I'm apparently missing something. What's the issue? Just the typo?

Rob's picture
Class Director
Rob from New York City is reading at a fast enough pace it would be cumbersome to update this June 5, 2014 - 6:54am

DAMMIT.

Kirk's picture
Admin
Kirk from Pingree Grove, IL is reading The Book Of The New Sun June 5, 2014 - 7:08am

Fixed it. Thanks for noticing. Honestly, I'm surprised we made it to our third challenge with no one seeing that...

Utah's picture
Moderator
Utah from Fort Worth, TX is reading Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry June 5, 2014 - 7:13am

Who is Ben?  And why is he so judgmental?

Nathan Scalia's picture
Nathan Scalia from Kansas is reading so many things June 5, 2014 - 7:18am

Our users have eagle eyes. Dwayne has single-handed oh written my hit list for spam bots since I took this position. Our community is cool.

Utah's picture
Moderator
Utah from Fort Worth, TX is reading Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry June 5, 2014 - 7:26am

SO THAT'S why I haven't been getting spam-kill emails from Dwayne lately.  He's found a new go-to. 

You're right, Nathan.  Sometimes I think that most of Dwayne's activity on LR is lurking for spam-purge.  I actually found one the other day that he had missed, and got so excited.  It was like finding a unicorn!

 

Dwayne's picture
Dwayne from Cincinnati, Ohio (suburbs) is reading books that rotate to often to keep this updated June 5, 2014 - 11:25pm

Not really.  Most times I check the participated and then the all discussions one.  If one is suddenly brought back from a year ago it is spam.  It takes me about two minutes, and I was doing that just checking stuff out before I noticed the spam.  The spam takes it to about three minutes if I find any.

smortz's picture
smortz from NY now live in SF is reading Choke, Joyce Carol Oats July 10, 2014 - 7:54pm

Could someone critique "The Morass is always Greener".  Ask and ye shall receive.  Thank you all.

smortz's picture
smortz from NY now live in SF is reading Choke, Joyce Carol Oats July 12, 2014 - 2:31pm

Some of my feedback shows as "Comments" and some stories allow me to Review.  How can I determine which stories need to be reviewed.  Thanks.

Adam Jenkins's picture
Adam Jenkins from Bracknell, England is reading RCX Magazine (Issue 1 coming soon) July 13, 2014 - 3:32am

You are best off posting these in either of the Arrest Us threads going on. There's a Pimping thread where you can ask for reads.

I'm not completely sure what you mean about the comments and reviews. You can pick a story (there is a random button too), read and leave a comment, then click either thumbs up or thumbs down. Comments will show as comments, votes will show as reads.

Nathan Scalia's picture
Nathan Scalia from Kansas is reading so many things July 28, 2014 - 5:21pm

Hey all,

I have ZERO submissions for the monthly spotlight column. That's free publicity that isn't being used, like so many college scholarships that still eat at my memories.

You remember how to submit, right? Fill out the form here, and impress us with your feats. Get spotlighted. Earn rep. Easy as pie.

Nathan

Nathan Scalia's picture
Nathan Scalia from Kansas is reading so many things August 30, 2014 - 10:13am

Hello all,

It's that time of the month again. Yeah, that time of the month.

I'm looking for people who want to be featured in the August spotlight. What have you done that you want people to know about recently? Any new stories published? A new agent? Let me know about it!

So say we all.

Nathan

Nathan Scalia's picture
Nathan Scalia from Kansas is reading so many things September 30, 2014 - 7:22am

^Ditto of the above. Change August to September. Get me things to write about before end-of-day tomorrow.

[/lazypost]

Nathan Scalia's picture
Nathan Scalia from Kansas is reading so many things October 8, 2014 - 10:58am

Hey all,

I just went on a spam-crushing massacre through many of the articles, namely by looking at those with the most comments. Generally, spam hits en masse, and I deleted upwards of fifty spam posts on a single article in several cases. If you guys see any more, let me know; I like it when things look clean and orderly.

Now that Arrest Us has ended, I'm finally looking to start working on the featured workshop story. For those who are newer, the concept was that we would look through our member workshop for some of the best short stories, and these could get a shot at getting published (paid, of course) on the site. Unfortunately, the project didn't take off quite as easily as we hoped, but it was popular enough for me to want to try bringing it back.

So, while I'll be going through the details and thought-testing some ideas with the leadership, I wanted to give you the opportunity to provide your own ideas and feedback. Are you interested in seeing this feature come back? If so, what sort of format would you like to see? Would you be willing to opt in to this with some of your stories? Let me know.

-Nathan

Chacron's picture
Chacron from England, South Coast is reading Fool's Assassin by Robin Hobb October 8, 2014 - 12:12pm

I'm all for the featured workshop story coming back. It's been a while, but the way I remember it, it was just a matter of ticking a box that said 'Please consider this for the featured workshop story' (which I never ticked because I workshop mostly novel excerpts) and I always thought it would be nice if there was some sort of nomination system for the people providing the critiques to perhaps name one story per month that they think should be considered. Needn't be anything complex, perhaps a PM to you would be enough. For the record, I'm not currently a workshop member but I want to get back into it soon, so I'd gladly nominate a couple of stories per month out of what I get time to read.

Dwayne's picture
Dwayne from Cincinnati, Ohio (suburbs) is reading books that rotate to often to keep this updated October 15, 2014 - 3:40pm

Maybe the goal shouldn't be to be published EVERY month?  Mix it up?  One month some swag, one month publish, one month a free year's membership, and so on.

Anna Gutmann's picture
Anna Gutmann from Ohio is reading American Gods October 15, 2014 - 9:59am

I'm an active member in workshop and just from my standpoint I think a workshop story contest type thing would be really awesome. I myself have never submitted a short story (I submit novel excerpts chapter by chapter as I write) but this type of thing might convince people like me to flex our short story skills and submit something new.

On another subject, I've been getting some comments/concerns recently from the more active members of workshop saying that three points is definitely not enough for reviews anymore. I've started another thread to see if there is a consensus on this front or if it's just my imagination. I'd maybe keep checking back on it to see where the vote tally heads. If the points system needs to be tweaked, it might be good to do it before you launch any type of short story contest so that people have enough points to submit their stories in the first place. Then again, I don't know what tweaking the points system entails, or if it's even possible.

Thanks for making LitReactor such an AWESOME community! It has definitely changed the way I write and network. Don't know what I'd do without it now.

Aud Fontaine's picture
Aud Fontaine from the mountains is reading Catch-22. Since like, always. October 18, 2014 - 2:35pm

Oh my goodness I totallly have some thoughts on some of this business!

First, I would totally be down to see a showcase type thing. Like Anna I mostly do excerpts but I'd love to see some of the short story people get some recognition for their badass skills. Plus, anything that gets the people in the community talking to each other, interacting and thinking critically about each other's work can't be a bad thing. This is an awesome group of people and I feel like anything that makes 'em even more cohesive would just be a bonus. 

Second, I personally don't think alternating the "prize" is as good of an idea. I mean, yeah it's fucking awesome to get published and get paid and all that but I'm not sure "prize" is exactly the right way to look at it and treating it as such kind of cheapens it a little. In my opinion. Obviously. A featured story feels more like it'd be an opportunity to recognize someone for their talent and just kinda show your appreciation for their skills so I don't know about everyone else but I'd kind of rather get to see that story get published (like it'd clearly deserve since it's, you know, feature-able) than just get some swag thrown at the author. Swag doesn't seem as meaningful as getting to see your hardwork pay off in all its glory. 

Third, I also have thoughts on the point system but have been too lazy and/or busy to comment on Anna's thread. I don't necessarily think that three points is too little (but then again I'm literally swimming in points right now so that might bias me a tad) I just too often feel guilted into giving it when it's not quite earned. Like, you know when you get a review where they clearly put effort in but it's nowhere near on par with like, the crazy awesome reviews you wish you could give a million points to but it seems rude to only give the not-as-impresive review two? Yeah, I don't like that. So I think rather than just increase the amount of points people get, why not just lengthen the scale a little? So there could be like a "not helpful" "vaguely helpful" "helpful" "very helpful" and "holy shit so helpful I could die please just write all my stories thank you very much". Obviously, I'd suggest giving them different names, but I think you see where I'm coming from. I just think it'd be a great way to repay the people that put a ton of time and effort into fixing your story while still showing appreciation for the people who do a perfectly adequate if not mindblowingly spectacular job. 

So, yeah. I'm done rambling now. Thanks for doing stuff and things, Nathan! It's super cool of you.

Dwayne's picture
Dwayne from Cincinnati, Ohio (suburbs) is reading books that rotate to often to keep this updated October 18, 2014 - 8:50pm

Decent idea, but that changes the whole system.  If points go up to 5 (or whatever) you'll need to up the cost of posting a story.  Some people give unfair points no matter how good your review. Changes can make someone who gets mad you don't 'get' their story even more of a time sink.  Plus you'd need to convert existing points.  I have enough saved up for I guess 11 stories, and if tomorrow I could trade them in for fewer stories I'd end my subscription.

voodoo_em's picture
voodoo_em from England is reading All the books by Chelsea Cain! October 20, 2014 - 6:43am

Regarding the workshop story: nice to see it could potentially be back. Yes it should be every month and yes the selected story should get published (and paid). Also guest judges now and then is a fun idea. Hope it is more successful this time. Also regarding short stories vs excerpts: some times a novel/novella excerpt works well as a stand alone story too.

Dwayne's picture
Dwayne from Cincinnati, Ohio (suburbs) is reading books that rotate to often to keep this updated October 20, 2014 - 3:38pm

I'm down with that idea Voodoo.  Or anything to spice it up, I don't care what the prize is or if there are a few winners or what.  I get that some stuff has to be cheap, that the site is a business.  Still,it seems easy enough to come up with 12 cheap prizes to take care of the next year.

Nathan Scalia's picture
Nathan Scalia from Kansas is reading so many things October 21, 2014 - 11:56am

We're thinking through a whole lot of different ideas, but the way that I'm approaching this, it's not so much a game or contest as a method of selecting stories that we want to publish from our members. In the vast majority of publishing mediums, the prize is being published, and being paid for being published. I hadn't considered giving any prizes in addition to being published on the site for our entire readership, and I'm not yet convinced that I should consider it, but everything's on the table at this time.

Changing the point system is a little outside of my area of responsibility, but it's definitely something I can bring up with the leadership. However, I will tell you that you'll have the best chance of success if, instead of saying, "the point system isn't great", you tell me a system that would work. How would you want to divvy up the points to ensure that we get accurate ratings, but also ensure that there needs to be some work towards earning more submission points?

Finally, I will say that, as of this post, I would have no problem with novel pieces, so long as the piece can stand on its own. That's subject to change, of course, but I thought I'd at least let you know the position I'm currently advocating.

Dwayne's picture
Dwayne from Cincinnati, Ohio (suburbs) is reading books that rotate to often to keep this updated October 21, 2014 - 3:31pm

I'm not so much saying 'give prizes' as I am 'do almost anything to spice it up'.  I like the workshop, and feel I get a lot out of it, but that doesn't mean it doesn't get boring.  If publishing doesn't work/isn't popular, whatever try something else.  If prizes and publishing are both a no go, a theme section would be great (this month is non fiction, this month is neo noir, whatever).  Just whatever to mix it up a bit.  

Nathan Scalia's picture
Nathan Scalia from Kansas is reading so many things October 22, 2014 - 12:13pm

I think having a story published would make the feature popular enough, but we'll see after it's run a few issues. I'm not saying that prizes won't happen, but I don't really have enough data to see if that's warranted yet. If people really don't care about having their workshop submissions posted on LitReactor, then I'm more likely to suggest scrapping the project then finding gimmicks to get people to like it. But I have a feeling people will like it.

Nathan Scalia's picture
Nathan Scalia from Kansas is reading so many things October 23, 2014 - 9:34am

This is your friendly reminder that the end of the month is closing in, and we're still looking to fill up our community spotlight column for October. Have you done anything cool? Published a book? Gotten a new agent? Spent the night in jail because your writing was too awesome to be legal? Let us know.

Nathan Scalia's picture
Nathan Scalia from Kansas is reading so many things November 30, 2014 - 2:29pm

Hey all, last chance to get into the November spotlight column. Tell me what you've done. Besides committing gluttony, I mean.

http://litreactor.com/contact/community

Nathan Scalia's picture
Nathan Scalia from Kansas is reading so many things December 11, 2014 - 8:07pm

VICTORY to the community feedback thread! Check out what we're changing based on your feedback:

http://litreactor.com/columns/litreactor-community-spotlight-november-2014

voodoo_em's picture
voodoo_em from England is reading All the books by Chelsea Cain! January 9, 2015 - 2:48pm

Any news on the return of the featured workshop story as mentioned back in October?

Nathan Scalia's picture
Nathan Scalia from Kansas is reading so many things January 12, 2015 - 11:16am

No, there is no news yet. Yes, it is still being worked on.

The nice thing about contest events is that they happen once, so when we are setting them up, it's pretty easy to specify dates, team member responsibilities, and so forth. We can put a lot of effort into planning and maintaining them, because they're only happening once in a while.

The featured workshop story is lot a contest that runs continuously with results once a month, and that complicates things quite a bit. We want it to be simple enough so that it doesn't require too much work from anyone in the process, but we don't want it so automatic and impersonal that we're abandoning the human factor in judging art.

Basically, while I'm not looking for perfection, I am looking for something that's stable enough to last beyond me, or is flexible enough to survive the changes that happen around here in staffing, membership, and work flow. I've got a pretty good template so far, but I'm still playing with it. I'm planning on finalizing the draft by the end of the month. As soon as we have something to announce, I will make sure you guys here about it.

Thanks for asking. Make sure to keep me accountable on these things.

Hannes Hummus Holmquist's picture
Hannes Hummus H... from Sweden is reading your stuff January 30, 2015 - 6:30am

So I'm a bit confused here. I've been looking for the service announcement where all of a sudden my very helpful reviews are giving me a 5 pointer.
What does this mean for myt accumulated 71 points? Did they just lose like 40 % of their stock value?
Is it only necessary to write three reviews now to submit a piece? I don't quite get what the purpose of this restructuring was. I already get less feedback than I need on what I submit, isn't this just going to make members even lazier?

Dwayne's picture
Dwayne from Cincinnati, Ohio (suburbs) is reading books that rotate to often to keep this updated January 31, 2015 - 6:44am

Yes and maybe.

Nathan Scalia's picture
Nathan Scalia from Kansas is reading so many things January 31, 2015 - 10:36am

Keep an eye on our spotlights, and you'll see the news there.

http://litreactor.com/columns/litreactor-community-spotlight-january-2015

I guess your banked points were "devalued", if you want to look at it that way. My expectation is that since reviews are worth more than they used to be, you're likely to see less burnout and increased activity from more than the usual customers. It was a highly requested change, but we're still treating it as probationary to make sure it actually accomplishes what we hoped.

Hannes Hummus Holmquist's picture
Hannes Hummus H... from Sweden is reading your stuff January 31, 2015 - 10:50am

Fair enough, but couldn't stocked points been multiplied at least? That is a lot of hours work in reviews I put in that was just cut

Dwayne's picture
Dwayne from Cincinnati, Ohio (suburbs) is reading books that rotate to often to keep this updated January 31, 2015 - 6:56pm

@Nathan - I spent dozens of hours to get my hundred plus points. To get that number now would take 2/3 the time. I'm not upset, but that is devalued. 

Joshua Chaplinsky's picture
Joshua Chaplinsky from New York is reading Stories of YOUR Life February 1, 2015 - 10:02am

I'm neither here nor there on the point change, although I haven't found it very difficult to accrue the points I've needed to submit.

Dwayne's picture
Dwayne from Cincinnati, Ohio (suburbs) is reading books that rotate to often to keep this updated February 1, 2015 - 10:45am

It seems like it goes in waves.  I've had like 5 not helpful at all and 3 came in two weeks.

Hannes Hummus Holmquist's picture
Hannes Hummus H... from Sweden is reading your stuff February 2, 2015 - 5:20am

My problem was never with reviewing people's work. It was with that people weren't reviewing my work enough.
Checking the score board I'm among the top ten reviewers on this site and I still don't have a piece of work up with more than three reviews. 

If it's true that only having to write three reviews will stimulate the workshop to in general be more productive than that's great.
Still doesn't this mean people will not write more reviews but just submit more stuff themselves? Every piece is moved from the spotlight of ther submission board faster, so it's not like the general reviewing should go up.
But I guess time will tell. 

Hannes Hummus Holmquist's picture
Hannes Hummus H... from Sweden is reading your stuff April 27, 2015 - 5:40pm

.

Nathan Scalia's picture
Nathan Scalia from Kansas is reading so many things October 20, 2015 - 9:11am

Hey all,

Just reminding you that we're always looking for feedback and ideas on how to keep a steady community engagement with our members. All ideas are welcome, and I do my best to relay my thoughts in a timely manner, so if you have something you want to pitch, let me know.

Anna Gutmann's picture
Anna Gutmann from Ohio is reading American Gods October 20, 2015 - 12:05pm

I think the workshop story contest is a great idea in terms of engagement, and I still have hopes that plan will be revived. As long as it's announced clearly enough (maybe shoot a PM or email out to all current workshop members), I think it could definitely boost engagement and perhaps even bring older reviewers back again. The question I have is how far back will you be going when picking a winner? Will only the stories submitted within the announcement window count? Would probably be a good thing to articulate stuff like this when you make an announcement, as well as word count or genre and things.

My general feeling is that anything like this could help boost engagement in the workshop, and is worth a try.

voodoo_em's picture
voodoo_em from England is reading All the books by Chelsea Cain! October 20, 2015 - 2:19pm

Not to make assumptions, but how it worked last time was the writer chose whether or not to submit their story for consideration. And it applied to anything submitted in as designated time frame. For example, one month Craig Clevenger was the guest judge, so all stories that chose to opt in and were put up in the work shop that month were considered and finalised dowen to three which were then passed onto craig to pick a winner. The winner's story was then published (and paid for) by LitReactor.

And yes it's a very cool idea, but I think there were a lot of issues with it. It would be great to have it back tho :)

Natso's picture
Natso from Mongolia is reading Moby Dick October 20, 2015 - 8:16pm

On an unrelated note, can I submit a book review--in Bookshots? I'm about to finish reading David Wong's Futuristic Violence and Fancy Suits and I remember reading somewhere that we're welcome to submit articles or ideas. I like the Bookshots format, matter of fact I've been leading a similar book review blog in Mongolian for some time. FVaFS is an awesome book that was recently published, so I think it's timely, too.

Can I submit a review? Who should I talk to?

Brandon's picture
Brandon from KCMO is reading Made to Break October 21, 2015 - 11:36am

Cath Murphy runs Bookshots, but I believe the only reviews that go up are pre-release. You might check with her though.

Jimothy Scott's picture
Jimothy Scott from Canada is reading The Anatomy of Story by John Truby October 21, 2015 - 7:10pm

Paid reviews might help. Hire some people and make it their jobs to read every story in the workshop. Then everyone will at least get X amount of reviews. It's probably not a feasible idea. But I think that probably the main problem right now. Everyone using the workshop feels entitled to more or at least a certain amount of reviews. It’s not right but it’s the vibe I’m noticing

Jimothy Scott's picture
Jimothy Scott from Canada is reading The Anatomy of Story by John Truby October 21, 2015 - 7:16pm

Also I'm all for some kind of workshop contest. Strang Photon and some other members were really pushing thunderdome for a while but it seems to have fizzled out

Natso's picture
Natso from Mongolia is reading Moby Dick October 22, 2015 - 2:17am

Thanks, Brandon!

Brandon's picture
Brandon from KCMO is reading Made to Break October 22, 2015 - 7:06am

Paid reviews might help. Hire some people and make it their jobs to read every story in the workshop. Then everyone will at least get X amount of reviews. It's probably not a feasible idea.

There are a couple problems with this. The first is that money to hire reviewers isn't in the budget, and so workshop memberships would be the ones to incur the cost of this. The pricepoint of a workshop membership would be too high and we'd end up losing members. The other issue is that you guys should never have to outright pay for a review. I'm not talking about just in this particular venue. I'm talking ever. An author should NEVER have to pay for a review. You should also never have to pay to have your work read by an agent or publisher.