1. Autonomous

    Autonomous New Member

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    Sample Chapters Etiquette

    Discussion in 'Support & Feedback' started by Autonomous, Sep 9, 2017.

    Hi,

    I'd like to submit a sample of a short story for critique, and I am wondering what the etiquette is. Do you always give the first chapter? Or just a sample from anywhere? I'm also about to set up a web site to promote my writing and maybe get some interest, but don't know whether I should give out whole chapters of my work on it or just give a synopsis. If anyone has any advise, I'd be very grateful.

    Many thanks, John
     
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  2. big soft moose

    big soft moose An Admoostrator Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    you should have got a pm from @Wreybies on joining that gives you the full SP but in essence to use the workshop you need to have been a member for 14 days and to have 20 posts (or purchase supporter membership) , and you also need to post two genuine critiques for every piece you post - the 2 for 1 rule applies even to supporters.

    That aside once you have access you can submit as much or as little as you like and it can be any chapter, but my advice is ti to keep it to a couple of thousand words or fewer because long pieces don't tend to get as much crit
     
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  3. Komposten

    Komposten Insanitary pile of rotten fruit Supporter Contributor

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    As @big soft moose said, we don't really have that much etiquette when it comes to the Workshop. We have some requirements for posting there, listed in the Forum Rules. Also keep in mind that you should never post multiple stories in the same thread. The same applies to asking for critique for chapter 1, and then 2 pages of critiques later ask for critique for chapter 2 (this would be done in a separate thread). If you want to post of a revision of a story you have posted, add it to the end of the existing thread and add "Revision in post #X" to the top of the original post. Don't replace the story in the original post with a revision! It should always contain the original version, otherwise the critiques in the thread will not make much sense to other people that read them!.

    You can post any part of the story you like, or the whole story if you so wish. It can be a good idea to mention where in the story the part you post comes from, so people will know if they should treat it as a beginning, mid-section or end when reading it.
    A related recommendation we usually give is to keep your post short (maybe below 1500 words?). This is not a rule, and you can post 5000 words if you so wish. However, the longer the piece you post is, the longer it takes to review it, and the fewer reviews you will get.

    As for posting stuff on your website, it depends entirely on what you want to do with your work. If you want to try to get a story published (by a magazine/publisher, not self-published) it is generally a bad idea to post it online first (why should the publisher pay for it when anyone can read it for free?). If it gets published you could probably link to the published version from your website, but always ask your publisher about what you may or may not do.
     
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2017
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  4. Autonomous

    Autonomous New Member

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    Thanks @Komposten , that's very informative. I look forward to being able to do that. :)
     
  5. Tenderiser

    Tenderiser Not a man or BayView

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    As the others said there's no etiquette beyond the critique-and-be-critiqued rules, but the convention is to post a full short story. If you post part of a short story, it's difficult for us to critique anything but mechanics (spelling and grammar) which is often the least useful type of feedback for accomplished authors.

    Same for websites, really. You'd usually post full short stories for free and then links to buy longer works or other stories, if applicable.
     
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  6. Wreybies

    Wreybies Thrice Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I would add to all of the above that one remember we are a workshopping forum, not a pinup forum, hence our requirements. Members will engage your work under the impression that you have posted it because you want help with it, whether in general or in the form of a particular question. This will be their frame of mind, so be ready for it.
     
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  7. 123456789

    123456789 Contributor Contributor

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    There are rules (left to mods) but there is also etiquette.

    Etiquette: 1. Just post your story. No inaugural dress needed.
    2. Let the critic decide how he/she wants to critique your story.
    3. Always thank the critic, even if you don't like their critique.
    4. NEVER argue with the critic or try to explain what the critic is missing
    5. The critic should be able to provide in text examples of his critique, if asked


    Personally, I think a lot of the most important critique can be achieved just by looking at the first few paragraphs. By then the reader should have a pretty good idea of the voice, writing mechanics (which is way more than just spelling and grammar), story telling style, etc.

    I think this sort of laser focus is most important for writers still finding their voice for a story, where breadth is probably preferable for those who have already established their voice for that piece and need to see if the story itself is working.
     
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  8. big soft moose

    big soft moose An Admoostrator Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    the only exception to that is if you are posting a chapter from mid way through your book, you might ant to give a story so far synopsis at the beginning so critics have some idea what the blazes is going on
     
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  9. jannert

    jannert Retired Mod Supporter Contributor

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    Yes, that is very important to do. Otherwise people will critique your sample as if it's the beginning—which is a waste of time for them AND for you. (In fact, it might be a plan to tell us when it IS the beginning—just so we're sure.) By all means, however, tell us if your sample comes from later on in the story. See if you can bring us (VERY briefly) up to speed as to who your characters are and what has already happened that affects this particular scene.

    I agree with @123456789 that you don't need to go on and on about how your writing is probably terrible, and we should be brutal to be kind, and etc. I would hope that we would all be courteous and helpful, and that kind of direction shouldn't be necessary. However, I do think it's okay to ask for help in specific areas, if you are struggling with one aspect of the writing. The critics will look at other things as well, but this will bring their attention to something they might otherwise have overlooked.

    It's always difficult to critique (at least for me) a snippet of a piece. As @Tenderiser mentioned, what often gets overworked is the SPAG side of the writing because that's actually most of what a critique-giver sees. It's hard to critique things like story flow, or character development, because we only can see a tiny part of the whole creation. It would be like critiqing a portrait if all you can see is a portion of the sitter's dress. You'd be inclined to focus on the skill it took to depict a fold of material, and entirely miss the 'point' of the picture.
     
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2017
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