Looking for Feedback in All the Wrong Places
I have a beta reader who gives me great feedback on the overall scope, characters, plot and pacing of my manuscript. But it is always a good idea to get as many different points of view as possible. So I went on a hunt for more beta readers, particularly those who can give me suggestions on the technical side of writing, such as sentence structure and grammar.
On some of the sites that I checked out, the feedback consisted of ‘good book’ or ‘I liked it’.
Ummm… thanks but that’s a little vague. Are you just here to read books for free?
I need feedback from writers that are better than me, writers that can teach me things.
Hitting the Motherlode
I found Scribophile at the end of December. It has helped me connect with some really good writers from all over the world, who have taught me how to become a better writer. And everyone is super welcoming!
If you are a writer and you haven’t heard of Scribophile, I need to tell you about it and you need to listen.
Before I posted my work, I checked out the critiques on some posted works and was very happy with what I saw.
The critiques on Scribophile are well thought out, and aimed at improving your writing.
In one of the forums, someone said he’d posted a really crappy piece of writing on purpose to see how it would be critiqued. Basically, he was testing the site to find out how worthwhile it would be. He was impressed with the feedback he received and joined.
You don’t get away with crappy writing on this site, although, the critiques are gently given. You’ll receive pointers on how to improve your manuscript from comments on the plot, pacing, point of view, characters, description, dialogue, etc. as well as grammar and sentence structure.
One drawback is that you are only permitted to post a maximum of 3000 (plus or minus a few) words. It is near impossible to get feedback on your entire manuscript as a whole unless you can find someone who is willing to follow the entire manuscript through.
How Does Scribophile Work?
Joining is free which is an obvious bonus.
You can post your first 3000± word chapter, short story, poem, etc. as soon as you join. To be able to post another one, you are required to acquire points, called karma. These you get by critiquing other posted work on the site. The critique has to be a minimum of 125 words, which is very easy to do–my critiques are normally 200+ words. You get 1 point for the critique and extra points for every word over 125. When you have built up 5 points, you can post your next piece of work.
This way everyone has to critique if they want to have their work critiqued. There is no free ride. Critiquing others has made my writing much tighter.
You earn extra karma points if the writer thought your critique was thorough, enlightening, encouraging, constructive or if they simply liked it.
If you are unsure about joining because you are nervous about critiquing other people’s work, don’t be. There is a ‘How to Critique Fiction‘ guide that you can follow.
You can also just give the writer feedback on which parts you found interesting, if you liked the character(s) or hated them, thought the dialogue was realistic, or if you would continue to read further chapters. Any feedback is helpful to a writer, especially feedback as a potential reader. And your critiquing will improve with practice.
Don’t let your insecurities stop you from joining Scribophile. Joining will only help you with your writing.
Have you tried Scribophile or a similar website? What has been your experience?