Small spiders. Heights. Durian. Bugs in general. Waking up at, or before, 5am. Shots. Big spiders. Deep water where I can’t see the bottom. Did I mention spiders?
There are very few things in this world that inspire the same level of horror in me… But this does.
Are you ready?? Brace yourself.
Submitting a story for critique. *cringe*
This has got to be one of the scariest things for me as I try to improve my writing. I get butterflies in my stomach. I break out in a cold sweat, the cursor hovering over the ‘send’ button. I hold my breath like I’m about to get a shot as I click ‘send.’ (Or like I’ve just seen a spider.) And I immediately need chocolate, just like the kids in Harry Potter when they’re up against the dementors. I don’t know if other writers suffer from this fear, or if it’s just me. Despite that, it really has been the very best tool I’ve found for learning about writing. Whether I’m being critiqued, or critiquing someone else’s work, I’m always learning something.
Every critique I’ve gotten has been very detailed, and pointed out several things I did well, and several more I need to work on. The writers doing the critiques take their time, and always have helpful suggestions. You can submit one chapter at a time, or even trade a finished story with someone else for a full critique. I’ve never gotten a mean or rude critique, but I won’t lie – you do get honest feedback. And some of it is not always fun to hear, but they are always respectful. Neither of the websites below tolerate what they call “flames.”
I’m beginning to wonder if I have a little masochistic streak in me, because I keep going back for more. “Demons of Harsh Reality” indeed… 🙂 But I do really love and appreciate those kind, patient people who critique my stories, and I am truly thankful for all of their help.
So, here are the sites for you to check out:
Critters – This website covers a very wide range of genres – graphic novels, non-fiction, mainstream, and romance are a few – but seems to really specialize in sci-fi, fantasy, and horror. It doesn’t seem quite as user-friendly to me as Romance Writers Community, and I think the point system they’ve set up has more rules. For example, I think after several weeks of not submitting a critique or chapter, you’ll be marked as suspended until you catch up on critiques. I don’t think that’s such a bad thing though, since that kept me in line with deadlines to meet every week. My only complaint is that there aren’t enough romance writers signed up right now to make it possible to keep up with the points system in the romance workshop every week. Otherwise, it’s a really great resource for getting some serious critiquing done.
Romance Writers Community – This is the website I submit my stories to now. It’s a romance only online critique group with a couple thousand members. Writers usually get an average of five critiques per chapter. They have a point system as well, but no deadlines. You have to critique two chapters before each chapter you send in. So far, I don’t have any complaints about this site. It’s user-friendly, and you get e-mail notifications about each new post. They also have active moderators that will contact you directly, and in my experience within one day, if there is any problem with your post, whether it’s a critique or chapter. I also really like that you can submit any sub-genre of romance too – paranormal, historical, young adult, mainstream, etc. And they have a few different forums, each focusing on a different thing – the main group where you can ask craft questions, the critique group, a social group, a reading group, and a writing prompt group.
Good luck, and happy writing! 🙂