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  1. OJB

    OJB A Mean Old Man Contributor

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    Suggestion Mentor Forum.

    Discussion in 'Support & Feedback' started by OJB, May 17, 2017.

    I don't know if this site has the capability to do something like this, but I would like to suggest that we have a Mentor Forum.

    A Mentor Forum would be where a Mentor (Someone accredited with published work, or who the Mods deem worthy) works with someone who is struggling with a piece they are working on. Unlike a workshop, this would be an intensified one on one where other people would be able to read the thread, but only the Mentor and the apprentice are allowed to post.


    -OJB.
     
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  2. thirdwind

    thirdwind Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    I know a lot of people already do this sort of thing via PM. I'm not sure what the added benefit would be of having a separate subforum for this.
     
  3. OJB

    OJB A Mean Old Man Contributor

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    Yes, you could do the same thing over PM or Email, but it cuts 3rd party observers out of the mix, preventing them from learning by following the thread. That is the added benefit of making it a forum.
     
  4. jannert

    jannert Who? Whooo? Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I am all in favour of mentors, but what I think might not work (unless the mentors are working only on short stories or other short pieces here) is the short length of original posts.

    A mentor really needs to see the whole story, in order to consider what needs to be tackled, kept, added or discarded. So unless the forum was willing to permit an entire novel to be uploaded, I don't think it would work very well. If only snippets or partial chapters are allowed to be uploaded, the mentor will end up only doing what the workshop already does ...critiquing writing style, SPAG errors, and trying to guess where the story is going. The shape and flow of the entire story would never get touched.

    However, it might be something to consider, if that problem can be overcome in some way.
     
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  5. Lifeline

    Lifeline North of South. Contributor

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    I'm going to add something here:

    Critiquing and responding to critiques can be intensely personal. I wouldn't want to discuss certain aspects of my work with anyone but my trusted Alpha/Betas. I certainly wouldn't want random strangers to see this conversation. That means I wouldn't respond like I should to a critique—which would nib the benefit of critiquing one-on-one in the butt.

    Sorry, but there are even a lot of senior forum members I've never spoken to, or only in a superfluous fashion. I trust six people with this kind of interaction. Not random strangers.

    ETA: @OJB I see why you say that this kind of mentor-forum would benefit all who read. It'd be a good idea if there is someone who'd make their critique-process public :)
     
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  6. Tenderiser

    Tenderiser Not a man or BayView

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    We are allowed to post full novels, aren't we? It's not *recommended* because a) first rights and b) shorter pieces attract more critique, but there's no rule against it AFAIK.

    The issue would be that there's probably a maximum post length, but you could overcome that with a string of posts.
     
  7. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

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    I'm not sure I really like the idea of a mentor for a creative endeavor. I think I may be kind of alone in this, but... who among us is qualified to really guide someone else in their writing? I think critiques make sense because there's a group of people so the author gets a sort of consensus (or lack of consensus, but at least a variety of opinions). But one person? There are a handful of writers in the world that I'd submit my work to in order to be "mentored" - none of those writers, to my knowledge, are posting on WF.org.

    I just don't think there's sufficient expertise here for anyone to be qualified as a mentor. That's not a knock on the WF.org membership, it's just a reflection of how lofty I think someone's credentials should be before they're considered mentor-calibre.
     
  8. Tenderiser

    Tenderiser Not a man or BayView

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    [​IMG]
     
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  9. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

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    Okay, the Grumpy Cat can mentor me. NOBODY ELSE!

    (How can I get such a good frown, Grumpy Cat? Teach me!!!)
     
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  10. OJB

    OJB A Mean Old Man Contributor

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    Oh wow, this thread has gotten some attention. While this idea might not take hold, I'd like to address the questions and concerns posed as I think this is a great idea to just discuss. Also, I expressed this idea as I know it is Daniel's goal to help the membership grow and succeed, and this is just one possible venue that could be explored in order to achieve that goal.

    Yes, Jannert, for this idea to work, the entire story would need to be posted. It could be a chapter a day, or all chapters posted one after another before the mentor comes in to express their opinions and offer their advice on the piece. The Mentor and apprentice might agree to a chapter at a time or the whole thing. That would be between them.

    Yes. I understand the concern about people seeing your inner workings. I feel the true advantage of this is for new writers to be able to look at this mentor threads and are able to gain new insight into their own writing.


    I am going to be blunt, if a person is needing a mentor than their work is probably not strong enough to be published in the first place. The idea of having a mentor is not about getting this 'one story' to the point where it is publishable, it is more about getting the writer to the point where he can produce work after work that is publishable.

    BayView, I would actually nominate you for the position of Mentor, if this forum came into being. You have published works, you're intelligent, and are at the point that some people dream of achieving. Yeah, maybe you are not Stephen King famous, but you can't deny that you had success and have knowledge that could help other people achieve success.

    Also, some writers are weak in certain areas and need mentoring on a particular subject. I'll use myself as an example. While Imagery and Story Structure is something I have a strong understanding of, but subtext (The emotional and personal motivations behind a character's actions) is actually a weakness of mine as everyone who has read my stuff says visually it is beautiful, but emotionally it is hard to connect. Having read @Tenderiser (I hope you don't mind me tagging you for this example) work, her subtext is kick ass. So I would ask her to 'mentor' me in terms of subtext on my story. A mentor doesn't have to focus on every aspect of the story, just on the aspect that the writer is struggling on.

    -OJB.
     
  11. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

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    I think the "certain subjects" aspect would make this more manageable, but I'd still be worried that the mentor's advice would be given more weight than it deserves. I don't think I have anything definitive to say about much of any aspect of the writing process or writing itself... I can say what works for me, but I absolutely do not expect that to work for other people. And "works for me" may not be absolute, either... I'm still hoping to find some magic change that will allow me to effortlessly write best-sellers...

    But if we broke it down into small enough sub-categories, maybe it would work? I'm not sure.
     
  12. Rosacrvx

    Rosacrvx Contributor Contributor

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    I get what you're saying, but sometimes we choose our mentors because we value their opinion more than that of anyone with "credentials". I know I do.
     
  13. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

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    You know you do, but do you know you should? (I'm not trying to cut on your mentor(s), just speaking hypothetically). Like, how do you know your mentor is giving you good advice? Just because it feels right? If your feelings are so accurate, why do you need a mentor at all?

    I'm not at all saying that everyone with "credentials"--especially with the word in scare quotes!--should be trusted to give good advice. I'm leaning more in the opposite direction, positing that hardly anyone, credentialed or otherwise, should be trusted as the soul source of advice. I think getting opinions from a panel makes a lot more sense, even if it is more unwieldy.
     
  14. Wreybies

    Wreybies Thrice Retired Supporter Contributor

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    So, here's kindov' my issue with this: There's another forum I occasionally frequent that has something similar. Not exactly the same, but similar. What I've noticed is that it invokes a sort of hierarchy of whose voice is more important than other voices in that forum. Hierarchies.... ugh. In that forum, this hierarchy is the fuel that keeps the dynamic alive as regards their Mentor program, but not in a good way, in a sycophantic way. Without the sycophancy, it's hard to keep anything like this alive since everything in a forum environment is voluntary and without obligation so 1) we can't really guaranty any sort of level of "customer service" (for lack of a better term), and 2) when it does run of its own accord it seems to give birth to lateral behaviors that are undesirable.
     
  15. OJB

    OJB A Mean Old Man Contributor

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    Hello Wreybies,

    This, in essence, would be the crux of it. All mentors would be voluntary (but mod approved), and, for the sake of example, if we were to do this, just because someone requests a mentor does not mean mentors are under any type obligation to take on someone's work; it would just be like how no one is obligated to critique a piece when it is posted to the workshop.

    I do understand the pressure and trouble that 'vetting' someone to be a mentor creates, and that was why I was unsure if this idea would be suitable for this forum or not. Where I have seen this done, Mentors were either published writers or college/university literary professors -the bar being set high as a way to make sure that keyboard jockeys were not volunteering and giving out harmful advice.-

    Speaking from experience, I had a college English professor mentor me on grammar mistakes and flawed logic in my writing. It was a great experience, and I still send my chapters to him, time to time, when I have a difficult chapter. I thought the idea might provide some benefit to people here.
     
  16. Rosacrvx

    Rosacrvx Contributor Contributor

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    Because that's the advice that speaks to me, the advice that I understand. It's like with everything in life, really. Why do you listen to the advice of some and not others? Because you admire them, because they know you, because you know them, because you're on the same wavelength. Because they get you and you get what they're saying.
    Is this a mentor in the way that's proposed in this thread? Probably not.
     
  17. Tenderiser

    Tenderiser Not a man or BayView

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    Maybe we could just have some kind of thread or forum with 'Critiquer Profiles', where people willing to workshop manuscripts (privately or publicly) can offer their help? There could be some kind of standard template where they list what genres they can help with, their particular areas of expertise (in their opinion, obviously couldn't be verified), timescales, approach, etc...

    There's a thread like that on another popular writing forum and I've done a lot of beta reads through it. I think it's more helpful, for both sides, than putting out open calls for readers.
     
  18. Rosacrvx

    Rosacrvx Contributor Contributor

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    I like the idea of the standard template. It saves a lot of time if both parties know what to expect beforehand.
    Now that I think about it, I think I've seen something along these lines on the forum before.
     
  19. Lifeline

    Lifeline North of South. Contributor

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    I think this overlaps with what @Daniel is mulling over with the individual profile tabs :)
     
  20. Tenderiser

    Tenderiser Not a man or BayView

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    No, this one is specifically for people offering critique (usually beta reads) at that time. So when a forumer has something they want feedback on but don't want to post in the workshop, they would look at the thread to see who's offering at that moment. You wouldn't trawl through everybody's profile in the hopes of finding someone offering to beta read your genre. :D
     
  21. Lifeline

    Lifeline North of South. Contributor

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    I distinctly there being a field 'Seeking critiques'. As in these tabs are a lot of information to be filled out at our leisure, this could be expanded to include 'offering critiques for...' :)
     
  22. Tenderiser

    Tenderiser Not a man or BayView

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    As I said, I don't think people seeking betas would trawl through everybody's profiles - especially those who aren't regulars and don't know who's active.
     
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  23. Komposten

    Komposten Insanitary pile of rotten fruit Technical Admin Staff Supporter Contributor

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    But then, the forumer could just post a thread in Collab (if they meet the reqs) asking for a beta reader (which is the point of that section of the forum).
     
  24. Tenderiser

    Tenderiser Not a man or BayView

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    I wondered how long it would take you to argue against a suggestion I made, Komp! Happens every time.
     
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  25. Komposten

    Komposten Insanitary pile of rotten fruit Technical Admin Staff Supporter Contributor

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    :bigoops:
     

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