I’ve not been using it for very long but as some of my facebook network have joined up I thought I’d write about how I see it working.
At first, when I joined I found it hard work. Difficult to navigate around and understand. It seemed that I had to spend hours on other people’s work before I could post my own and I wasn’t sure that the return would be worth it.
I now feel quite positive about it, though I’m still relatively new and finding my way around.
Writing Crits on Scribophile.
You need to write certain number of words in a critique to get any Karma points at all, but the more you write the more you get. At first I read a few pieces of work and they were so good that my constructive comments couldn’t earn me anything. So obviously I needed to find writer who weren’t so good at writing!
Fortunately that doesn’t mean awful. I’ve found at least one writer who writes gripping stories with great characters and loads of humour. It is a joy to read his work and I’m looking forward to the next installment. This writer for the most part is technically accurate, however, gives me loads of scope for suggestions. I’m fairly certain he is finding my feedback useful.
I have just read about 10,000 words by another writer who is, I think, far better at writing than I am. I spotted a few things I didn’t like, annoying repetitive words. I just pointed them out to him as I know he will know how to correct them without me suggesting how I might rewrite those sentences, there was nothing wrong with the sentences and perhaps he wants to keep the repetition, it’s his story after all. So, just when I thought I’s be sending him fan mail rather than constructive criticism I found something else, something more important, perhaps. The character remembered an event, clearly, and described the event. Jack obviously knows what this event means to the character but as a reader I wasn’t clear on two points:
First, from memory did the character like the event at the time? Second, it it still a good memory or not? Almost ten thousand words in the really good writer had forgotten to make it clear to the reader just what this memory was all about.
A third aspect of the critique process that I have found surprisingly useful but I didn’t think of it at first was positive feedback. If I’ve read a sentence or paragraph that is amazing, or funny or just stands out as the best I now comment on that and I find it useful to get that sort of feedback. We all have doubts about our work so it is good to know the bits that unknown readers pick out as the best bits.
Practice. When you get into being really constructive, read examples of others critiques and get crits on your own work, you will become better at it. Write more words in a crit and earn more Karma points.
How Much Work Is Required on Scribophile?
I do find it is quite time consuming. I haven’t timed myself but in order to earn the 5 karma points I guess I might have to critique 3 pieces of work and it might take about 4 hours in total. But I am sure some people could do this in half the time and on just two crits.
The time commitment put me off, at first. Now I’m committed to finding something I would enjoy reading, then it doesn’t seem like a burden. If someone is putting their book on there I can look forward to the next installment.
Is It Worth the time commitment?
I don’t know, yet. I’m still giving it a try. But this is my experience.
The feedback I’ve got back is very mixed. I’d say I can probably dismiss half the comments out of hand, for example they want to know details that are yet to be revealed as I have only put a fragment of my story up for crit.. Also fragments. Perhaps someone points out I’ve written in fragments, not sentences. I know that already, it was deliberate, but fair comment as some writers might not realise. And many suggestions would make my story worse rather than better!
HOWEVER, they are all suggestions. And I would say I’ve had some useful comments, pointers, tips, proof reading from EVERY single person who has looked at my work. A few people have made comments that were incredibly useful to me, beyond that single piece.
For me the time commitment to look at other people’s work means I am not likely to place a whole novel in 3k word chunks on there but I can post parts of my work on there. With the beginning being so important to hook readers it seems a good idea to get feedback on the beginning of any story.
The personal benefit of critiques of your own work is not the only aspect. Don’t forget the networking, collaborating opportunities.
I am still relatively new to scrib so I still see myself as testing it but my experience so far has been positive enough for me to pay up with real money.