Wednesday, January 21, 2009


Hi all,

My weekly critters email had a link to a survey on online critiquing.

I completed the simple survey, which I don't think will be that informative for the masters student conducting it, unless a lot of people, like me, write lengthy comments in the comments box at the end.

The survey listened 10 online critiquing groups - I know there are hundreds more than that - including one which I am already a member of:

The names of two others got my attention:

Online Writing Workshop for SF and F
Other Worlds Writers Workshop.

I went and had a look at both. The Online Writing Workshop costs money, $45 (US?) a year and I have an aversion to paying for critiques. It said that if you were really lucky one of their professional editors might choose your story to critique.

The Other Worlds Writer's Workshop guidelines spoke to me, so I went and joined up, through Yahoo, which I try to avoid because of their fascist tendency to hand over information to governments who trample over people's human rights.

Yahoo informed me that OWWW only has 45 members, but hey, they might be committed, and one of the problems with is there are just too many people so it is hard to create a critiquing relationship with anyone.

The other listed online writers groups were:

Absolute Write
Comprehensive Books and Writers Forum
Critique Circle
Internet Writing Workshop
Slushpile (just the name doesn't evoke much confidence)
Short Story Group.

I dream of finding the perfect critiquing group, full of science fiction writers who are committed to giving and receiving quality feedback. This group would have a mixture of published authors and non-published writers and have other Australian members. The members would be informed about what is happening in the world and what is predicted to happen in years to come, and therefore, most of them would be centre to left in their politics, because I find the more informed people are the more concerned they are about the world and where it is heading, and I am yet to meet a right winger who cares much for anything but themselves.

I don't give myself much hope of finding this perfect critiquing group, but I will continue to search. Until then, what I need is constructive feedback on my writing, preferably from people who are familiar with science fiction.



Satima Flavell said...

OWW can be pretty good, depending on how lucky you are. Sometimes you strike a time with plenty of keen, good critters there; others they are mostly beginners; or at least, so many beginners that your chances of getting good crits are not high. I've been on it for two periods of six months each and I'd say I got my money's worth out of it each time. It has produced some fine writers, including Elizabeth Bear, Karen Miller and Charles Coleman Findlay.

Have you checked out Authonomy? It's a big commitment and is at least in part a numbers game - a lot of your time will be spent making friends, as on Facebook, to find like-minded writers who will crit your work and vote for it. The voting can take you onto the desk of an editor at Harper Collins. They are just now preparing the books of the first three authors to be chosen, and it pleased me to see that these three were not voted in but were chosen by scavenging editors:-) I've joined but not participated yet as it looks like being very time consuming.

I've been pretty lucky in that I am in two good groups. Both contain published authors and serious wannabes like me. They do meet face to face but we tend to do most of our critting by email and in one of the groups at least it's a fairly hit and miss affair. One of them is closed but if you're interested in the other one, contact me privately and I'll tell you more about it: satimafn at gmail dot com

Graham Clements said...

I have heard of Karen Miller, she's the Aussie Fantasy writer who is doing very well in England, isn't she?

I will have a look at authonomy but the time commitment might be a problem.

I will be contacting you too.

And as I said in another reply to a comment I only just noticed, I will be looking at why blogger is not sending me emails when someone makes a comment on my blog.

Satima Flavell said...

Yes, Karen is doing well everywhere, here and the UK and now in the States as well, I believe. You can find her on Facebook and LJ and of course she has a website. Nice lady, good writer.

I don't know how you make Blogger tell you about responses to posts - I must have ticked something, somewhere, at some time...

Graham Clements said...

Blogger now notifies me with emails - I ticked a box about moderating the comments.