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Thread: SFFH Workshop

  1. #1
    There is no tomorrow RedMage's Avatar
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    SFFH Workshop

    Welcome to the SFFH Workshop! This is a place where any active and regular forum member can bring their story for a critique or beta review.

    Here’s how it works:

    Joining the SFFH Workshop
    Participation before submission.
    This Workshop is for regular and active members of SFFWorld. This does not exclude new members, but it does mean that we cannot give you a critique or review before you do the same for us. After all, as a new forum member, we are just meeting you. Offline, it is not considered polite, nor does it improve any blossoming friendship, to ask for a favor when you’ve only just learned a person’s name. The same is true here.

    New members joining the Workshop need to provide 3 critiques or reviews before submitting their own work.

    You can perform these critiques/reviews on Workshop stories or on entries to the current flash fiction and short story contests. Links to contest entries can be found in the contest threads, or you can browse the Stories sub-forum directly, which is where those stories are posted. (edited June 2014)


    There are two things we look for when we bring a story to a workshop: Critique and Review. By “critique”, I mean writing mechanics: grammar and punctuation issues. “Review,” on the other hand, is about the story itself; your characters, plot, subplots, politics, technology, magic, etc.

    1. Critique
    What we mean by “Critique
    As above, a Critique focuses on the mechanics of your writing. Grammar and punctuation. Responses may be line-by-line or a more general assessment of your writing ability and what might improve it.

    Works acceptable for Critique include Flash Fiction, Short Stories and, possibly, Novellas, depending upon their length and Workshop members’ abilities to take on lengthy projects.

    How to get a Critique
    Works up for Critique should be no more than 5,000 words at a time.

    Post your work in a new thread in the Stories sub-forum*, then link that thread to this Workshop thread with a post stating the following:
    • Title of work:
    • One sentence pitch:
    • Length of work (word count):
    • Genre:
    • Intended audience or intended purpose (blog, for magazine submittal, anthology, etc):
    • Type of feedback requested (Critique, Review, proofread, other):
    • Specific questions for the reader:
    • How you would like your feedback (if in the Stories sub-forum, provide link here, or indicate if further communication should be handled via private message):
    • Deadline for feedback (days, weeks, or months):
    • Other pertinent information you would like to share:


    *Title your new thread in the Stories sub-forum in a similar fashion to our Flash Fiction and Short Story entries. A good format would be “Workshop--Critique--Story Title”.

    2. Review
    What we mean by “Review
    In asking for a Review, you ask the Workshop to comment specifically on your story. Character, plot, world building, etc.

    Novels are appropriate here, as are Novellas, Short Stories, and Serial works.

    How to get a Review
    Simply ask for one in a post in this Workshop thread. Tell us:
    • Title of work:
    • One sentence pitch:
    • Length of work (word count):
    • Genre:
    • Intended audience or intended purpose (blog, for magazine submittal, anthology, etc):
    • Type of feedback requested (Critique, Review, proofread, other):
    • Specific questions for the reader:
    • How you would like your feedback (if in the Stories sub-forum, provide link here, or indicate if further communication should be handled via private message):
    • Deadline for feedback (days, weeks, or months):
    • Other pertinent information you would like to share:


    To protect your longer works, you may not want to post your story on the forum. Rather, Workshop members should Private Message (PM) each other with email addresses to which the writer of a piece for review can send their story to. The reviewer should reply to that email alone with their thoughts and questions.

    If you do post your work on the sub-forum, please do so in no greater quantity than 2,000 words. Again, this is to protect you and the story you have written. You can post these samples in the Stories sub-forum, following the same process as for a Critique request.

    Etiquette
    Those of us who are submitting writing and receiving comments need to remember that we asked for comments. Whether we agree with them or not, we need to thank those who have given their time to examine our work. Similarly, critiquers and reviewers need to consider their comments before sending them to the writer. I think we can all acknowledge that there are some works that have significant problems and, after spending only a few minutes with the work, we as writers ourselves are wanting to rewrite the piece in the way we, ourselves, would write it. And should the submission be one of those significantly problematic pieces, spending hours and hours with the work just to give feedback can make one a bit annoyed and/or upset, which can lead to some comments that come across harsher than they were intended. So here's our Workshop Etiquette Policy:

    • Always thank those who took the time to look at your work. Please do this publicly on the threads in the Stories sub-forum so we can all see that you are grateful, that the Workshop has done at least something for you, and so that we validate that you are abiding by our Etiquette policy. You can make a public thank you individually or en masse. Should one or a number of Workshop members have helped you more than others and you wish to give them some more personal gratitude, you can do that in a PM or email. Then the next time you submit a work, you may state specifically in this Workshop thread that you would especially like X and G to take a look at it.
    • Responses to a work are not always right, or fully explained. People do have questions regarding the responses they get to their work when it is up for critique or review. Critiquers and reviewers cannot know all that the writer knows, especially about things they were not given to look over. We recognize this! As the writer, you know everything about your work, the critiquer and reviewer does not. Should clarification be needed on a response to a Critique submission, the writer should post that in the Stories sub-forum as a reply to their own story (if your work is on the sub-forum). Make it public, keep the discussion open. Those having their work reviewed off-site need to remember this, too, and take this same stance in their private responses, either through PM's or emails, to their reviewer(s).
    • Be cordial and polite. As much as possible, everyone should try to keep their critiques, reviews, and responses as cordial and polite as possible. We want to helping each other, not hurt or alienate any member.
    • Inflamed discussions need to be brought to the public Workshop. As a critiquer/reviewer, should your responses be met without gratitude or even anger on the writer’s part, you always have the option to not reply to them. This is Forum-wide policy and is not different for this Workshop. No one is under any obligation to reply to a thread, PM, email or any comment, if they do not wish to.

      Should a situation become inflamed the parties, involved need to notify me (RedMage) in a PM. As this Workshop's organizer and leader, I will discuss the issue with both parties, also by PM's, and attempt to reduce tensions. Should it be a problem discussing your issue with me, please notify one of the other Workshop leaders (tmso, SteveW, Wulfen) so they may do the same. If a situation proves to need their assistance, a forum moderate will be brought into the conversation.

      (Mods, this is not to keep you out but simply to keep the discussion of a problem between friends and to bring you in if/when it becomes an overall behavioral issue rather than just a concern regarding a specific instance.)

      Further, I will post a notice on this Workshop thread at the time such issues arise to remind everyone of this Etiquette Policy when the more serious situations cannot be defused. I will do my best to make these notices as professional as possible and, as above, not attempt to hurt or alienate anyone by them. However, my continued notification of problems with a particular person, either in their critiques/reviews or their responses to such as the writer will earn that person a personal mentioning on this Workshop thread so that the group may be aware of the need to be especially delicate in the handling of their Workshop interactions with that person.

      Lastly, here is an article from Critters on good, useful ways to give feedback that will help the author of the piece being workshopped: Critiquing the Wild Writer: It's Not What You Say, But How You Say It


    As a final note on Etiquette, I must inform you that you need to bring a thick skin to the Workshop. If you just finished your first chapter or scene and are looking to see what others think of it, then this is not the place for you. Certainly, congratulations for completing that first bit of writing. But requests to look at such work come across to others as you looking only for good comments, i.e. a pat on the back.

    If what you are wanting is a thorough examination of your faults, be they grammar, sentence structure, plot or character construction, then we can do that. But you must realize that that is what we are doing---taking a serious, hard, long, deep look at your work and while we will comment on what you do well (so that you can stop worrying about it!) we are also trying to find what is wrong so we may help you and your story. In submitting a work to the Workshop, you are acknowledging that you understand this and can therefore accept the comments that you will receive.

    In closing, let me ask those of you who have read this far, and who are still wanting to continue, to do a further service for this Workshop: Please maintain this thread solely as the working Workshop. Questions may and should be asked, but please direct them here to the current operating framework of the Workshop. Any problems you encounter or changes you foresee needing to be made should be discussed in this thread.

    Thank you and we all look forward to working with you soon.
    Last edited by RedMage; June 24th, 2014 at 10:51 PM. Reason: Updated how to join the workshop

  2. #2
    shire dweller NilsDesperandum's Avatar
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    Reading request - Shadow on the Sun
    Circa 10-12,000 words


    Okay then. Time to get this machine up and running!

    My WIP has lain dormant until just recently when I have returned to it with the intention of moving the story forwards. What is nagging me, though, is the fact that the concept started out as a series of potentially standalone short stories. From chapter 3 or 4 onwards I'm fairly confident that the tale hangs together with the introduction of further characters and a bit of direction. The opening parts are still pivotal, however, and hopefully provide an acceptable opening. What I could really use is a complete read through of the short prologue and say the first two or three chapters to help me establish to what extent modifications may be required to get the whole thing correctly into its stride. The prologue is probably a couple of thousand words, if that, and chapters typically run out at three to three and a half thousand, so I'm looking for a bit of commitment from someone, but there's certainly no urgent timescale on it. I'd appreciate a read through of the further chapters at some stage in the future, but that's for another time.

    The link to the Stories sub-forum post is here Now modified to reflect the above though, as I was receiving in-thread crit on the excerpt rather than offers to read a larger slice of the novel

    I would be grateful for a PM from any takers

    And, Red, I hope I've set this all up in line with procedures

    ND
    Last edited by NilsDesperandum; February 17th, 2013 at 05:20 AM. Reason: Trial and error

  3. #3
    There is no tomorrow RedMage's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NilsDesperandum View Post
    And, Red, I hope I've set this all up in line with procedures

    ND
    You did great! Not that you had to give us all that but, thank you!

  4. #4
    @PeteMC666 PeteMC's Avatar
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    Nils, have you taken the excerpt down now or am I being thick and not seeing it?

  5. #5
    shire dweller NilsDesperandum's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NilsDesperandum View Post

    The link to the Stories sub-forum post is here Now modified to reflect the above though, as I was receiving in-thread crit on the excerpt rather than offers to read a larger slice of the novel
    ND
    Pete
    I modified the approach, as above, as I don't think what was being requested was coming across clearly.
    This, from the Restarting the Workshop thread, also explains:

    Quote Originally Posted by NilsDesperandum View Post
    Further to the recent comments above I agree that, in the case of a reading request, a description of the story coupled with an explanation of what is being sought is more straightforward than posting an actual excerpt. I have now modified my post in the Stories sub-forum to mirror the one in the Workshop forum and have added a link back to the Workshop thread for clarity. Please see what you think. I believe that this is a clearer method of explaining what the submitter requires and will save the thread from being added to with unrequested, although good intentioned, critique.ND
    ND
    Last edited by NilsDesperandum; February 17th, 2013 at 06:47 AM.

  6. #6
    @PeteMC666 PeteMC's Avatar
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    Oh right, fair enough

  7. #7
    shire dweller NilsDesperandum's Avatar
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    Thanks to those who have kindly offered to have a read through for me. We are now in touch via PM

    I am quite confident that this will prove sufficient for my needs. So, any other readers in waiting, suggest you hang out here and wait for the next story to come along!

    ND

  8. #8
    There is no tomorrow RedMage's Avatar
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    Reading Request---Into the Dark, ~6,000 words

    Ok, I've got something. A short story I wrote, originally for Tim Marquitz 2012 anthology. Fading Light I think it was called though I may be wrong. It's a short, 6,000 word dark fantasy tale. (Or, at least, I consider it dark fantasy) Because I wrote it with the anthology in mind I did gear it toward that but, when I ended up not submitting it, I tried to retool it a bit to make it less specific.

    Anyone want to give it a read? I would like to submit it elsewhere at some point, though I don't have a specific market in mind at the moment.


    *No link to the subforum, we're taking another look at how we're doing the Reading requests. *

  9. #9
    Registered User SteveW's Avatar
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    RedMage you have a PM re. your read request.

  10. #10
    G.L. Lathian G.L. Lathian's Avatar
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    RM, I'll have a read when I get some time.

  11. #11
    There is no tomorrow RedMage's Avatar
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    Thanks for the offers everyone! I've got 2 PM's so far and have sent my story on to both of you. More readers are appreciated! Cononomous, just PM me when you're ready and I'll send it on to you.

  12. #12
    Greymane Wilson Geiger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RedMage View Post
    Ok, I've got something. A short story I wrote, originally for Tim Marquitz 2012 anthology. Fading Light I think it was called though I may be wrong. It's a short, 6,000 word dark fantasy tale. (Or, at least, I consider it dark fantasy) Because I wrote it with the anthology in mind I did gear it toward that but, when I ended up not submitting it, I tried to retool it a bit to make it less specific.

    Anyone want to give it a read? I would like to submit it elsewhere at some point, though I don't have a specific market in mind at the moment.


    *No link to the subforum, we're taking another look at how we're doing the Reading requests. *
    Feel free, RM. I'm open to a read-through.

  13. #13
    There is no tomorrow RedMage's Avatar
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    Thanks Wulfen! Mind PM-ing me where to send it?

  14. #14
    Registered User SteveW's Avatar
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    Does anyone have any thoughts on offering up entries for this years anthology to the groups for reading or critiquing before submitting them?

    Is that a no go?

  15. #15
    There is no tomorrow RedMage's Avatar
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    I'm not familiar with how tmso is running the Anthology this year so I'm going to let her comment on that. All I will say is that the Workshop is open to and already has participants who are also looking to submit to the Anthology.


    EDIT: You might ask, though, if anyone who is not doing the Anthology would be willing to look over your work for you, then PM them the details rather than post a thread such as Nils' and my own above. I, for one, am not doing the Anthology. Novel writer here, works shorter than ~20K words are hard and come few and far between for me.
    Last edited by RedMage; February 17th, 2013 at 10:07 PM.

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