LitReactor Community Spotlight: Jonathan Riley
This week I want to focus on a member that truly embodies the word “community." Jonathan Riley has been a member of LitReactor since July of 2012. The first major activity he was involved in was the site’s popular Scare Us! competition, where he won prizes for being one of the most active reviewers, and also for his original story. I noticed him among the reviewers because I couldn’t help but notice him. Every story I looked at had a review from Jonathan Riley. What’s more, I tried to start a (friendly) rivalry between him and one of the other most dedicated reviewers, sean of the dead. I’m proud to say that, while the rivalry perhaps died down, the friendship has endured. The rival reviewers met up in June and not a single punch was thrown. It was beautiful.
The Scare Us competition got me interested in reading again, and more importantly, reading with a critical eye. I enjoyed helping people with feedback and suggestions, because even though I wasn’t sure how to offer helpful advice, people seemed to respond positively to what I did have to offer. This sparked my interest in joining the LitReactor workshop, where I’m quite active throwing around my opinion, and it inspired me to offer more reviews in LitReactor’s Teleport Us challenge. I was awarded accolades by the LitReactor staff for the time and effort I spent to help other writers in both challenges. It wasn’t entirely selfless. I learned a lot about how to look at my own writing more critically by reviewing others work. I spent hours reading on how to review, how to write, how to offer advice and I’ve improved. Plus there were prizes. Very cool prizes.
Mr. Riley has racked up 256 points in the workshop with his diligent reviews. This is only slightly less points than I have, which makes me think I should spur a rivalry between the two of us.
Jonathan isn’t just a great supporter of the writers here on LitReactor. He’s also a writer!
I’m relatively new to writing and the world of publication, aside from working as executive editor for the University of Tennessee at Martin’s literary and visual arts magazine in 2004, I hadn’t done anything related to writing other than jotting the occasional poem, for nearly ten years.
Jonathan has always had a love for writing. He told me his mom has a scrapbook of grade school compositions he wrote, which I think is adorable. Writing stories was always his favorite part of school. The scrapbook even includes the first poem he ever wrote.
I was in third grade, it was to a girl. It was really cheesy but makes me laugh.
The coolest thing about LitReactor is the community. Not only are there talented members of the workshop that put a lot of work into writing helpful critical reviews that can really help a writer improve their story, there is always something going on in the message boards. “Flash Me!” was one of my favorites. War was really cool too. I enjoy the picture threads and the I’m alive threads. The people here are very interesting and I’ve actually made tons of friends and found new authors whose work I’m a huge fan of.
The members aren’t the only cool thing about it though. The staff is great too. The magazine is fantastic. I enjoy writing tiny stories for the monthly Flash Fiction Fiction Smackdown. I love reading columns and articles, especially the ones geared toward improving the craft. The craft essays are also a great tool that I’ve benefited from. The new workshop feature was a really cool idea too. I’m so excited to see that up and going. (Somehow this just turned into how much I like LitReactor, sorry back to me)
Back to you indeed!!
In February, Parable Press published his Flash piece entitled, Rocked. In August, they sent out a call for applicants to assist them in reading, since they are no longer a fledgling but a growing (and paying) market. It makes sense that our award winning reviewer would get the job.
His second publication was published in July by a literary journal called Mixitini Matrix, which concentrates on publishing artistic and literary collaborations.
He was also accepted in Solarcides Flash Me! Anthology. It’s a flash piece called “Comfort Zone”.
One of the biggest holdbacks as a writer for me was not having a network of friends to trade criticisms with. I experienced the workshop atmosphere in college, but once I returned home, I was no longer surrounded by like-minded people. When I discovered LitReactor I found that again. I never really quit writing. I always have thoughts going on inside my head, constantly creating in my mind, but now I’m actually getting those thoughts on paper again and it feels really great. It’s awesome to have friends to share it with and help through the learning process.
A beautiful sentiment to wrap up this spotlight. I always say, the best part about LitReactor is people like you. And Jonathan Riley. Make sure to check out JR's published works and read some of his writing in the workshop. He'll return the favor tenfold.
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