Hi everyone! Long before I discovered this site (today), I used to pin my writing up on a site called Writer's Cafe. Has anyone else heard of it? The reason I bring this up is because I left there due to the site's lack of a "serious critiquing system." They operate off of an "I'll leave you a review if you leave me one" system.
If you haven't heard of this site, basically people post their writing up, complete with a fancy picture and wait for others to "review it." Now, in my opinion partaking in that site is like fishing with a fluffy cloud on the end of one's pole, instead of bait. No useful results are achieved, and one only ends up teasing the fish with something comforting, instead of a hook, which would be realistic.
I'm trying to open myself up to the types of criticism which would benefit serious writers and that site didn't have it for me.
Glad to hear it. And welcome to LR. The workshop on here is second to none. The essays on here are worth the price of membership alone. The workshop members are extremely helpful and honest so bring your thick literary skin. I would suggest trying it out for a month, I mean it's only 9 dollars ;)
I find people are generally really good at the old reviewing over here, Sure, I've seen some pretty brutal critiques, but always delivered in a way that was constructive.
I have never used the 'not helpful' button. Not once. Not has anyone ever marked one of my reviews that way. Never seen anyone throw a hissy fit over a bad review at all.
People are very friendly here, but also they are mature when it comes to workshopping. They take it seriously. I've never been to this Writer's Cafe site, mainly because the admins here (and at the Cult before here) run such a tight ship that I have never felt the need to jump overboard and swim for another vessel.
I wouldn't say that some of the reviews are "brutal" but more thorough. Some members here really dig in deep and sometimes I have to take a little time away from my story to digest it all.
There were a couple incidences at The Cult where I was pretty pissed. The first and only time I ever used the "Not Helpful" button was because the guy who reviewed my story basically just said that it was cliche and that I should write about more daring stuff. His advice had nothing to do with helping me improve the story I posted, which was pretty shitty. The second time this guy basically tore one of my stories a new asshole, but I didn't give him a "Not Helpful" because he did bother to offer some suggestions, even despite the fact that he said my story "sounded like something a high school student would write". I did confront him, though, and I felt a lot better afterward. Either way, both those guys weren't in the workshop for the right reasons.
Thus far, Lit Reactor's been fantastic for quality members who know how to critique. I haven't come across anyone who's here merely for stroking their own ego. Like wickedvoodoo said, everyone here is friendly and passionate about writing, and that's the most important part. I've had a fantastic time here by participating in the workshop as well as the community, and it's great being able to meet other like-minded people and share in our brilliance together.
Well, it's nice to get real feedback unlike in the early days when I used to post my stuff up on storymania.com and my reviews were "Cool story". "I liked it" or "That sucked." Those two or three word reviews did nothing for me, not to mention a story I put up there ended up getting plaigarized by some douche years later.
If you're looking for serious writers seriously critiquing serious works, I'd venture this is currently the best place on the web for you. The workshop system itself is great, and the community here is active and largely talented. I'd pay three times the price they're asking to continue to be part of it. Definitely check it out, at least for a month -- I'm confident it's here you'll find what you're looking for.