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Monica Byrne
Posted on Monday, October 22, 2007 - 09:28 am:   

Hi everyone!

What online resources are available for critiquing stories?

I've been looking at Clarion Circle, which offers professional critiques for a fee. I also recall a post about an online community of writers that critiques each others' work for free, though I'm having trouble finding it now.

I'm wondering what's been helpful for you, and what you'd recommend, for someone who hasn't (yet!) had the opportunity to attend workshops and such.

Thanks!
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Jeff Stehman
Posted on Monday, October 22, 2007 - 11:21 am:   

www.critters.org is a huge on-line critique group. In order to have a story critiqued, you need to keep your critiques/weeks ratio at 75% or higher--in other words, average three critiques every four weeks.

It helps to have an idea what you're getting into with Critters. If you receive twenty critiques, you'll probably have a few really good ones and a few that are clueless. The rest are most useful for providing consensus--if several people don't get the ending, there's probably something wrong with the ending.

Some people find it very helpful, some a waste of time. Depends what you're looking for. I've learned at least as much by critiquing as I have by being critiqued (although I've run into significantly diminishing returns on both this year, my 3rd or 4th).

There are a few other large on-line critique groups (the names of which escape me), and a host of small ones.
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Gordon Van Gelder
Posted on Monday, October 22, 2007 - 11:45 am:   

Here are a couple:

http://onlinewritingworkshop.com/

http://www.thenextbigwriter.com/

JIM BAEN'S UNIVERSE also has a critiquing program, I believe.
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Bronwyn Elko
Posted on Monday, October 22, 2007 - 01:09 pm:   

Another is on myspace. Urbis.com/

Urbis uses a credit system: you receive credits for every story or poem you critique. You spend credits by unlocking reviews of your own work. Reviews tend to be very good, very bad, crazy and everything in between.

Ditto that you learn as much by critiquing the work of others, the more diverse the better (I think). Urbis has tons of grist for the mill.
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Sam Hidaka
Posted on Monday, October 22, 2007 - 11:13 pm:   

JIM BAEN'S UNIVERSE also has a critiquing program, I believe.


Yes.

The JBU Slush Forum on Baen's Bar is a combination submission venue and online workshop.

In the first 9 issues, JBU has published 28 "Introducing" stories. And there are several more in inventory. All of those Intro stories were submitted through the slush forum -- as will all future Intro stories.

Many of those Intro stories were the first pro sale for the writer; some of them were the first ever fiction sale.

#

To be eligible for an "Introducing" slot, the writer must have fewer than 3 pro-level short form SF/F sales and no novel sales.

Anyone can submit through the slush forum, whether eligible for an Intro slot or not.

#

There are no fees.

There are no rules about who can post stories, though you do have to be registered on Baen's Bar to have access (registration is open to anyone; it's like registering to the Night Shades forum, or the Asimov's forum).

There are no rules about how many times a writer can revise a story and resubmit it. (Of all the Intro stories so far, only a couple of them were forwarded to the senior editors on the first posted version. The rest were forwarded after revisions based on the critiques. One of the Intro stories in the debut issue was forwarded to Eric Flint on version 14.)

There are no rules about having to critique other stories (though the practical reality is that those who do critiques get more critiques in return).

#

There are no formal rejections of stories posted in the slush forum, since a rejection of an early version would remove the motivation to revise.

If 90 days pass since the most recent version of a story was posted, and the writer hasn't been notified that the story has been selected to forward to the senior editors, the writer can take that as an implicit rejection.

A writer can withdraw a story at any time, by simply stating so.

A writer can post a story for critiques, without submitting it to the magazine, by simple stating that intention. It doesn't happen often, but it's perfectly acceptable. If you want to workshop a story that you intend to submit elsewhere, that's fine -- and if you make the sale, everyone will be pleased.

#

What sets the JBU slush forum apart from any other online writers workshop is that every story will be looked at by multiple members of the editorial board.

And the majority of stories will receive comments by one or more members of the editorial board. Some people find that helpful.

#

Sam
Wrangler of the Bar-Barian Hordes
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Don Mead
Posted on Tuesday, October 23, 2007 - 05:45 am:   

If you've been to one of the major workshops (Clarion, Viable Paradise, Milford's, Orson Scott Card's, James Gunn's etc) or if you have at least one pro sale, you can join Codex, which is free. You'll get fewer critiques than the bigger sites, but you'll find they are significantly more useful, and you'll always get critiqued by one or more pros.

http://www.codexwriters.com/index.htm
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Monica Byrne
Posted on Wednesday, October 24, 2007 - 09:12 am:   

I finally joined the Online Writer's Workshop, and am really pleased with their format so far. Thanks for the suggestions, GVG, and everyone else!

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