Getting the word across

I’ve been trying out a couple of sites where you can get your work critiqued by folk who don’t know you – thus getting around that difficulty of asking friends or family to give an ‘honest’ opinion. Yeah, right, as if that’s going to happen!

They don’t want to hurt your feelings OR they don’t actually read much OR they do read but they know nothing about the genre in which you’re working. So their views don’t add up to a hill of beans. Sorry, folks, that’s just the way it is.

So online communities where you can get some kind of feedback from people who don’t know you, but are interested in writing, and may even know something about the genre you’re writing in … it’s what the internet was created for!

I mentioned Critique Circle in my first entry on this blog. Here you have to critique 3 other pieces of writing before you get the opportunity to upload your own. It goes in a ‘Newbie’ queue initially, then when that piece has had six reviews you can start posting your work to a forum that’s more specialised. So my new book, The Secret Place, is going up now on to the Mystery – Crime – Suspense forum. Pieces stay a week in the visible part of the forum before being archived. I’ve had 12 crits on one chapter – some of them helpful, some of them disposable, not because they were ‘negative’ in tone, but because the comments were opinionated and not detailed enough. Here’s the home page:

Critique Circle

The other site is I think a UK site, because it’s backed by the Arts Council of Great Britain. The way this one seems to work is that you review someone’s opening chapters, which then gives you the right to upload your own. If it’s a chapter from a novel, then it must be between 6K and 10K words. If it’s a short story, it can be less. You get feedback in the form of a straightforward review, but the reviewer also rates the story 1 – 5 on a number of factors such as believable characters, dialogue, plot development etc. Then, each month, the highest rated chapters get a free critique from ‘literary professionals’, including agents and a published author. There are a few more hoops to jump through for this site, but as with Critique Circle it’s free and works well, so it’s worth giving it a go. The site is here:


I’m sure there are similar sites elsewhere but if I carried on looking for them, I’d never get anything else written, would I? Oh, I was forgetting, that’s the premise of the Idle Writer …

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