simon morris's picture
simon morris from Originally, Philadelphia, PA; presently Miami Beach, FL is reading This Body of Death, by Elizabeth George October 29, 2011 - 9:56am

I was surprised and frankly disappointed at the number of members I discovered who have not reviewed a single story. It is the majority. I am not omniscient but I would suspect that they are new to writing and have not yet discovered that the road to publication runs directly through the living room of reviews.

It is by reviewing and reading the reviews of others that we learn all the techniques that are needed to get our work into a viable publication.

You--well I, anyway--can't learn technique by just writing because l found that I repeat the same mistakes over and over unless I see them in a place where my own ego isn't involved.

Maybe this can be a place where people will share their resistance and help each other. I will never forget my first crit group. It was a live group and we all called meeting night the night of the long knives. We broke each other down in order to build each other up. It was a live group. Internet hadn't been invented yet!

I was there to work on a nonfiction book (that is what I wrote until very recently) and when it was finished, the first publisher to read it, contracted it. The rules there: Three reviews before you were allowed to submit and that ratio continued throughout the time we remained in the group. I was not the only writer in that group who found publishing success by learning how to critique and recognize how to upgrade and tune up a story. I won't give you the names of the other writers, but one of them, a few years ago, did write a little tale of a character with a tail which became a best seller and a box office smash movie.

Posting is also a risk but it is a worthwhile one because others can see in our work what we cannot. Our ego gets in the way. I mean, to a parent, something that resembles rolled up dishrags to others, is their beautiful baby!

Speak out andf then please jump in. The few of us who are very active cannot carry the group forever and this concept is too good to pass into history because of fear or apathy.

misskokamon's picture
misskokamon from San Francisco is reading The Moonlit Mind October 29, 2011 - 12:03pm

A lot of us can't review because of our membership status, as far as I understand. But maybe I'm wrong? I don't have access to workshop submissions under my basic account--none of the submissions I've attempted to read, anyway. But I'll be getting one soon! One of the reasons I want a premium membership, and possibly the biggest reason of them all, is so I can read everyone's work. I'm not able to get one until the end of November. Well, I can get one mid-November and I may just do that, but I'm trying to earn it as a reward for various tasks I plan to accomplish that month. (coughnanowrimocough.)

I love seeing what everyone can do, and when someone posts a snippet in the community forums I crave the chance to read everyone else's work even more. I don't know if I'm allowed to give an in-depth review of whatever is posted in the forums, or if that would even be appreciated, so I've been holding back and waiting for the day when I purchase a proper membership.

From what I've seen in the forums, we have a few students and younger folk floating around as well. Is there some sort of student discount so they, too, can get a premium membership? I'm not a student, but I certainly didn't have a lot of money when I was in college. And for high schoolers, it's harder for them to find the money for a membership. (My folks didn't even give me lunch money when I was in high school. I had to steal it from my mom's purse every morning until I finally found a job.) A discount for college students and for the under 18 age bracket could bring in more reviewers, and more eager to be reviewed. (But I haven't checked to see if there is a discount already in place.)

But I agree with you completely. The review process is important if any of us want to grow as writers. As nervous as I am to one day share my work, there is no way in hell I'd shop a manuscript around that hasn't been critiqued by others. It needs to be torn down first. Then I need the tools to rebuild it! Once it has gone through that process a few times, I'll know I have a strong piece of work.

misskokamon's picture
misskokamon from San Francisco is reading The Moonlit Mind October 31, 2011 - 4:32pm

I broke down and bought a membership today. I'll start reviewing as soon as I get home from work! Yay.

.'s picture
. October 31, 2011 - 6:45pm

Congrats on joining the workshop!

Mike Mckay's picture
Mike Mckay is reading God's Ashtray October 31, 2011 - 7:00pm

Congratulations to everyone in the workshops. Soon late December or November I should have a decent job by then, I despise seasonal employment their pay isn't even worth it.

Have a safe Halloween everyone.

ReneeAPickup's picture
Class Facilitator
ReneeAPickup from Southern California is reading Wanderers by Chuck Wendig November 2, 2011 - 12:22pm

I would say the majority just don't have a membership, and I would bet there are at least a few, like me, who are putting it off until we feel we have the time to read in depth and review well, rather than sitting down and flipping through as many as we can to earn points.

I also haven't submitted anything, either. *shrug*. I definitely got the full membership FOR the workshop, I'm just not in a place to give anything or get anything from it at the moment.

Bobby Detrick's picture
Bobby Detrick from Bakersfield CA is reading World War Z and The Hunger Games April 15, 2012 - 3:41pm

Just bringing the post back up.