helpfulsnowman's picture
Community Manager
helpfulsnowman from Colorado is reading But What If We're Wrong? by Chuck Klosterman April 4, 2018 - 12:39pm

Welcome to LitReactor. Or, as Jose puts it,

Welcome to the pit.

We’re a nice bunch of people. Most everyone here is interested in reading and writing, and lots of us come to books from a similar handful of authors, then end up reading and writing all sorts of different things. If that sounds like the path you’re on, this is a great place to find travel companions. 

My name’s Peter. I’m your Community Manager, and my job here is to help you get the most out of LitReactor. You’re paying for this, and I want to make sure you’re getting your money’s worth.

Below I’ve highlighted a few things new users will want to check out.

Craft Essays

This is what brings a lot of people here in the first place. This is the cheapest MFA lecture set you’ll ever find. I’ve highlighted a few below, including Chuck’s original 36 essays, which also have homework assignments to go along with them. Poke around the craft essay section, see what you find.

36 Writing Essays from Chuck Palahniuk
Chuck Palahniuk (2014-2015)
Craig Clevenger
Stephen Graham Jones (scroll down to see his content)
Other Craft Essays (tons of great stuff in here, Jack Ketchum, K. Tempest Bradford, Joshua Mohr, Richard Thomas)

Online Classes

Keep up with our online class section. We’ve got a great lineup of teachers, and the class content and offerings are always changing. Pro Tip: We have occasional instructors with VERY big names, and those classes sell out quickly. Follow LitReactor online to get the updates early, and do not hesitate because your seat will be taken by a person of action!

Classes generally work with some combination of recorded lectures, Q&A, assignments, and workshopping between peer students and instructors. Different instructors roll differently, so take a look and find a class outline that looks right for you.

Tips to get the most out of classes:

Just sign up. Do it. Take the plunge. Find something that looks interesting, find something that looks totally outside your wheelhouse and give it a whirl.

Once you start, commit. Really do it. The more you put in, the more you get out. I know that sounds like a high school gym coach, but high school gym coaches are right about 2-3 things in their lifetimes.

Don’t miss out on interacting with your peers in the class. Your class peers will become people you can rely on, help out, and just be generally chummy with later on.

Magazine

This is where you’ll find some additional essays, interviews, book reviews, and so on. This portion of the site is updated every weekday, sometimes multiple times in a day. Check back, take a look, and you can comment at the bottom of any article using either your login here or Facebook. Also, dig through the archives. If you’re interested in a topic, use the search at the upper right. There’s a TON of quality material here going back several years.

Community

You’re already here, so you probably know the basics.

You can reply to any thread, and you are also free to start your own threads on a topic of your choice. Just click the “Add Discussion” button at the top of the screen. Threads get bumped to the top of the page based on how recently someone has commented.

As far as behavior here goes, don’t be a jerk. Unacceptable posts go by the Supreme Court pornography rules: I know ‘em when I see ‘em. People will argue here and express differing opinions, and that’s acceptable, but please contact me if you’re being targeted. 

If you cross the line, most times I’ll contact you first with a warning, then you’ll get a ban. In the last few years I’ve only had to do this once. So don’t be that guy, don’t be the cautionary, once in a while tale I tell.

Also, we’ll get the occasional spam. This comes in two forms:

1. Straight-up “hiring packers and movers in Dubai” type spam. That stuff I delete as soon as I see it. You can PM me if you see it, or comment with “#skynet” and I’ll find it soon enough. I’m sorry if you’re a user looking for packers and movers in Dubai, but it seems like you’ve got a lot of great options.

2. Multiple posts by, say, someone selling a book or someone posting for contributors to a magazine. Post your stuff, but keep it light. If people are interested, they’ll find it. And we have an official whoring thread for anyone who gets a story or a book published. That’s the place for that stuff.

If You Need Help

If you’re confused or something doesn’t seem to be working right, please PM me and we’ll see what we can do. I can’t fix everything and can change very little about the way the site operates, but I’ll do my damndest.

If you’re being harassed here, in the Workshop, or through direct messages, please PM me and let me know. I’ll probably ask for some details. This is not because I’m doubting you, I just have to get a better sense of what’s going on so I can take the appropriate action. It’s also okay to PM me if you’re feeling unsure about an interaction, don’t want me to take action but want me to be aware of it in case something happens in the future. I’ll take your lead in those situations.


Adapted from a document by Courtney, Howie, Matt, Typewriter.

R.U. Sirius's picture
R.U. Sirius from Mill Valley California is reading Bullshit Jobs by David Graeber, Born To Be Posthumous by Mark Dery October 22, 2018 - 8:57pm

ummm, hello?  Not sure what I'm doing here but when I saw endorsements from Palahniuk and Gaiman I reached for my wallet. I've interviewed them both btw.

I'm not a beginner but I'm in beginners mind or seemingly incipient alzheimers

Trying to finish my book about Mondo 2000... almost a decade in process. Not sure if I'm communicating. Not sure who I want to communicate for. Not sure why I should communicate other than that I've promised to write this freakin' book.

Am I permitted links

http://www.mondo2000.com

https://rusirius.bandcamp.com

Anyway, hello!

Ken aka R.U. Sirius

 

Kedzie's picture
Kedzie from the SF Bay Area is reading The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien October 23, 2018 - 12:36pm

Join the Workshop and post a few chapters from your book (under 5,000 words to get max readers). You'll get some insightful critiques.

Kedzie

R.U. Sirius's picture
R.U. Sirius from Mill Valley California is reading Bullshit Jobs by David Graeber, Born To Be Posthumous by Mark Dery October 23, 2018 - 6:58pm

"The Workshop" ... is there only one?  is there one for nonfiction. thanks for any guidance...

Kedzie's picture
Kedzie from the SF Bay Area is reading The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien October 26, 2018 - 5:20pm

Yes, there's only one Workshop.

There is not a separate Workshop for nonfiction.

Memoir, autobiography and other forms of nonfiction tend to get less critiques than fiction, which is unfortunate, because these forms often feature some of the best writing on the Workshop.

I'm reading your piece now and really digging it.

Hope to have a review up on the board this weekend.

Kedzie

Peskyleo's picture
Peskyleo from the American Midwest is reading Anything I can get my hands on January 4, 2019 - 11:31am

Hello! Exploring the community.

Carol Mcelligott's picture
Carol Mcelligott from US CA LA is reading Eragon-4 January 5, 2019 - 7:44am

Hi everyone!
Wanna know something about how to write really interesting!)

Super_Dave's picture
Super_Dave from the Detroit area is reading The Blood of Olympus, by Rick Riordan March 26, 2019 - 5:12am

Greetings, one and everyone!

My name is Dave, and I'm a writer. At least, that's what I'm trying to be. I majored in English in college, but haven't written much (besides D&D adventures and a few blog posts) since graduating. I'm trying to get back into the habit and improve my skills, with the hope of someday being talented enough to actually sell my work and see it published, maybe even start freelancing as a side-hustle. Toward that end, I've come here to show off a bit of my writing, and see how it could be made better. I don't have a very big portfolio (at least, nothing that I'm comfortable showing off), but I've entered NaNoWriMo and won four times out of five, so that's got to count for something, right?

Anyway, I'll be posting some of my writings in the forums soon, I just haven't decided what. Please be honest with me; I want to become a better writer.

Peculiar Julia's picture
Peculiar Julia is reading The Master and Margarita May 9, 2019 - 4:00am

Hi - I thought I'd jump in before the community disappears (is that right that the forums are closing?)

I'm a new basic member. I'm very active on another critiquing site, but I'm thinking of moving on. Is there anywhere I can see how the workshop actually works? What's the critiquing interface like? I'd also like an idea of the level of critiquing and the variety of writing (as if no one is writing or critiquing my kind of thing then however great the site is it's not much use to me). 

TLDR: how can I assess whether Litreactor functions well as a critiquing site if I can't access that area without paying a month's membership?

helpfulsnowman's picture
Community Manager
helpfulsnowman from Colorado is reading But What If We're Wrong? by Chuck Klosterman May 9, 2019 - 8:07am

I can do my best to answer your questions.

On a basic level, you'll get a text review and 5-star review for each of these content areas: Concept, Structure, Characters, Dialogue. The scores that go into those make for an overall score. 

The text review is usually a few paragraphs long, and the feedback is really helpful. You've got a good number of writers in there who are looking for the same thing you are. 

Lots of writers will also do LBL's, which are line-by-line reviews that point out specifics, often address grammar and so on, stuff like that. 

The better the score, the more people who will read it, and the more you review others, the more reviews you'll get when you put something up.

Things tend to tilt towards the Palahniuk-esque as that's the origin of the whole endeavor, but I've seen many a piece pass through the workshop that is different. It's less common to see something like epic fantasy. There's a lot of horror, crime, dark humor, and so on, but there's always room for other stuff too, and you won't get lambasted for something that doesn't fit the typical entry. 

I'd encourage you to give it a shot. I'm obviously biased, but the price of entry is worth it for the craft essays alone. 

Peculiar Julia's picture
Peculiar Julia is reading The Master and Margarita May 10, 2019 - 4:19am

Thank you @helpfulsnowman you are truly helpful :)

Lots of writers will also do LBL's,

Does the review system allow you to go inline?

helpfulsnowman's picture
Community Manager
helpfulsnowman from Colorado is reading But What If We're Wrong? by Chuck Klosterman May 10, 2019 - 5:42pm

The review system allows you to download a copy of the piece, and depending on the file type, readers can do LBL. So, I'd recommend a .doc or .docx format, which most users can open and comment on.