Just a quick follow-up to yesterday’s post about Scribophile. Yesterday evening I posted part one of my story “An Experiment in Dreaming” and in the first 24 hours received three lengthy, detailed critiques. On Scribophile, a new member’s first post is “spotlighted” so this will probably not be typical. Once a posting receives three crits, it drops off the new member spotlight (though it’s still eligible to make it to the main spotlight, via some kind of queue, or other spotlights such as the “good critiquer” spotlight, another way Scribophile gives incentive for people to give good critiques).
I wrote a second critique today, and haven’t heard back from the writer of either story I critique. I tend to pull no punches in my crits, though I always try to be 100% constructive. Most people like that, some people get hurt feelings. Either way is OK with me. If I hurt someone’s feelings with an honest, well-intentioned crit, I won’t bother them again. Most people see it for what it is, which is an honest, good-faith expenditure of my own time and mental energy to help them make their story better and more publisher, and possibly also to teach them something about how their writing is received by an objective observer.
I posted the second half of the same story earlier today and haven’t received any critiques yet, because it’s not going to go on the new member spotlight (because it’s not my first post), and it’s not yet eligible for the main spotlight (not sure yet how long that normally takes). It could end up in the “good critiquer” spotlight before it makes the main spotlight, if I attain that status. I know I was yesterday’s overall top critiquer (measured purely by length of critique in terms of word count) so maybe I will attain some kind of overall “good critiquer” recognition. Who knows, not counting on it.
One of my FB friends with whom I’d shared complaints about The Cult forums also signed up at Scribophile so we’ll see if his experience is positive as well.
Lastly regarding yesterday’s snark about people on The Cult emulating Chuck Palahniuk, writing gimmicky attempts at “transgressive” fiction, I thought I’d make perfectly clear that I don’t consider Palahniuk himself a gimmicky writer. I think he’s a very strong stylist, a great storyteller, and the essays of writing instruction he posted for members on The Cult were really fresh and informative. The problem is the many youngsters misundertanding what Chuck is all about, focusing on the rough edges and harsh details while they miss the heart of what he’s doing. I remain a big fan of Chuck P.