I (Heart) Scribophile!
What is Scribophile? I ask most of my fellow RWA-San Diego Chapter members if they have heard of it, and surprisingly few know what I am talking about. In fact the total so far is zero.
I like to say that Scribophile (affectionately known as Scrib to initiates) is like Facebook for writers. Almost. There are two levels of participation, free with lots of limitations, and Premium with unlimited posting of your writing and messages and so on.
The way Scrib works makes it fair for writers of many levels. Once you are a registered member, you maybe join a few of the groups in your genre, and read some of the fun in the forums.
Watch out, the forums can suck your time away worse than Facebook, because it’s all about Writing!
So there you are, registered, and looking at all the posted work: Chapters, novellas, flash fiction, poetry, sometimes even query letters are posted for feedback. You read something, and you write up a critique. There are three choices of critique forms: In line, so you can comment word by word (my favorite), Freeform, and Template, where categories are set out for your comments and input. Also the author may have asked for a special something, like focusing on the pacing or the relationship or so on.
When you decide you have something relevant that will help the writer, you do the critique. Depending on how long a critique you write, you get Karma points. When you have earned 5 karma points (for me, that is about 3 critiques) you may post a chapter or short story as long as it is no more than 3,000 words long.
You will find that most writers who post their work on here want thorough critiquing. They want to know what doesn’t work, when they have misused a word, or when their description of the action is physically impossible. The general belief is that an all-positive critique on a first draft is hardly worth the time put in to it.
On your profile page, usually you will get a thank-you from the writers whose work you critiqued. You can mark some people as your favorites, and get notices when they post new work. You can send private messages to individuals. And you can list links to your web page, your blogs, your books, just about anything goes on that page for you.
When you post your work, you get to choose if it will wait in line for the “spotlight” or go immediately to a personal spotlight. Works that are in the spotlight earn more karma for the critiquers.
Your first work posted will go straight there, but after that you are in the queue with everyone else. Your work stays in the spotlight until you get a certain number of long critiques. The personal spotlight means that only people who have made you a favorite or are in groups with you can critique the work. So you have to make up your mind which works for you.
Overall, Scribophile is fun, and an awesome place to find critiquing groups. It is not unusual to find someone there whose critiquing you resonate with, and make arrangements to work with them through email. You can create your own group for just your critique buddies. But the real magic is that you can find others going through whatever stage of writing you are in. You can talk with like-minded writers, and you can enter contests for more karma. You can have fun!
I hope to see you there, I don’t use a pen name or handle, but many people do. Do look for meif you join, and let me show you around my favorite on-line writer’s retreat.