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I have a one month free membership and have posted a couple of questions and thankfully had a couple of replies from EmmaD.
I'm really surprised however by the apparent lack of activity on the forums - when I look at the recent activity section, only one or two posts per day for the whole website!!! Is it all happening in 'The Lounge' and if so, why?
Is this usual? Am I doing something wrong, asking the wrong questions or am I just on the wrong kind of forum?
At the moment I'm weighing up what I can get from the website but it doesn't seem as though many people are very 'outgoing'.
If this isn't the right kind of forum for literary fiction bods, can anyone advise on a more suitable community?
The forums have been quieter than usual in the last month or so. I'm not sure why.
I think it possibly is the case that postings are often made in the Private Members and Lounge areas (which are quite busy) that could more appropriately belong in the general forums, but it is understandable that people sometimes don't want what they are talking about to be open to more public scrutiny.
The critique groups however do show more consistent activity. I'm lit fic too and I got a lot out of the Novel II group (that particular one's not there now) in earlier days but am not looking for that feedback at the moment. However, the groups would be considered by many to be the most valuable component of the site.
I'd say it is a worthwhile site to be a member of (especially once you're into the private areas) and I'm not aware of any appropriate substitute website elsewhere.
As regards the paucity of response to your posts, it's probably the case that, rightly or wrongly, members might not make a big effort to frame a reply to a temporary not-yet-paid-up member on the basis that he/she may not stay around. A slightly self-defeating approach, I know!
Despite a slow start, I'd stick with it if I were you. Hope that's helpful.
I agree with Chris. Whilst a temporary member can select one group and get alot of benefit out of that group, I think the forums largely tend to be behind closed doors for precisely the reasons Chris has pointed out.
I've been a full member now for over 2 years and I've learnt so much, have found such a great support network that I think the subscription is well worth the money. But for someone on trial membership, you're just not getting the whole experience.
Cheers for the replies guys.
In terms of assessing the value of the site to me, all I can do is look through the threads open to me on a trial and see that many of them are dead or dying. And even on what I would expect to be really busy threads (say Getting Published) - not much is happening.
I understand what you're saying about people being 'shy' and posting more in 'Private' but it doesn't really help to promote the website - I'm concerned that I might find that it's pretty quiet in private too.
Perhaps it would be worth having some threads that full members want to contribute to in the public domain?
Or allowing trial members to see a list of 'recent activity' in the Private Groups so that I can actually see whether there is more activity even if I can't participate.
Just my initial thoughts as it's been fairly disappointing so far... but hey let's see at the end of the month
I've gained alot from being a member of WriteWords. Much of the help has come from being a reciprocal group member (critique groups), but other times I've posted a general query in, say, Technique Forum and my queries have been responded to.
Good luck with your decision.
I would say a lot of the activity happens in the private and lounge forums.
Groups can go through quiet spells, too, but I know Intensive Critique is usually fairly busy. As the name suggests, members do fairly in-depth critiques of each other's work on a quid pro quo basis. Are you a member of any of the groups? Or maybe you could do a post introducing yourself, likes and dislikes, book-wise, what you're currently reading? Sometimes this kind of post will bring more responses than a very specific query that not everyone will be able to answer.
I've been a member for a couple of years, and as Sharley and Lorraine have said, it's been well worth the subscription fee - there are a number of published authors on here, and they're always been friendly and helpful whenever I've had queries. I'd highly recommend the site to anyone.
Hi Greentown, welcome to WW.
I would say that most of the "chat" and banter (and moaning) tends to go on in the lounge and the private members.
Moaning because that's precisely when people want to be behind closed doors, and not want their angst about rejections and their agent's inadequacies splattered all over the web for google alerts to enjoy
And chat and banter, because as far as I know, the lounge is the only non-writing dedicated part of the site (...? is that correct? I know the group threads are supposed to be for writing only, and as far as I know most of the public forum categories are fairly technical).
In terms of the chat threads, I would say WW is a bit of an iceberg, with a tenth on view in the public forums and the remainder under water. I don't know what you do about that, because a large number of people on here are not anonymous (particularly the published writers) and they deserve a space to talk frankly.
The other big reservoir of activity is the groups - and I see you aren't a member of any at the moment, is that right? A huge amount of chat and advice goes on in the groups, either on the group threads, or in the actual critting part of the site. If you try joining a group and uploading a piece of work I think you'll find there is a lot of activity bubbling beneath the surface, although the groups are very variable in terms of traffic - I'm a member of children's and we are currently the most active group on the board (no thanks to me, I have to admit, as I've been rubbish at critting recently due to real life events - but take a look at our group to see what a lively group looks like.)
Obviously you may not write children's lit, but take a look at the group list and see where you fit in. Fast First Draft is also very active and that's a cross-genre group. However it's not a critting group - it's designed just for support and mutual encouragement when you're in the thick of drafting. That doesn't mean that it doesn't also include some excellent advice.
I think the quality of advice and support on WW is second to none, personally, but if you want more in the way of chat and controversy, and a faster moving discussion forum, you might want to look at Authonomy and similar?
Hope you stick around anyway
Thanks again for the feedback all. Please don't take this as being sarky, but this is the kind of level of response I was hoping for with my other posts.
There may well be areas of the site where people give a quicker fire response to questions - like The Lounge? - but it would be really good if these could be viewed by potential new members - otherwise it can appear a bit quiet.
I understand people being defensive, but the thread activity visible to trial members is fairly slow - like in Technique - 2 or 3 posts this entire month so far.
Is The Lounge like a general chit chat sort of place?
Thanks FloraPost - I think we cross posted.
As a triallist, I think I can only join one group - and I'm not really sure which one would be best for me - I can see you've got more activity in the Children section so as you say, I guess I've got to hope for a good group.
Anyone have a thought on which is best for someone whose main interest is novel writing but does the odd short story, all in contemporary literary fiction?
I think the other factor to consider is that the speed of responses depends on what question you ask - your question about where to submit literary short fiction was quite specific and tricky - I think the honest answer is probably people simply didn't have anything to add to Emma's response. I clicked on your thread but I can't think of any journals that take short literary fiction off the top of my head so I didn't have anything to add.
Whereas, as an eg, Toast's question about the shitty first draft got a lot more answers in a shorter space of time, I suspect just because a lot more people felt qualified to contribute. We've all been there! <Added>
Oh sorry - totally failed to answer your main point!
If you just want to knock around styles and get feedback, flash fiction is quite active. Or maybe short story?
I don't know about novels - do we have a crit group for that at the moment, anyone know?
Probably the Intensive Critique group is best for novels if not children's. Actually I've posted both short stories and novel chapters in IC and have received good feedback on both.
I guess I thought that lots of people on here would have submitted short stories to different journals over the years and would have some interesting experiences to relay - negative and positive.
You know, along the lines of, well I sent a story to The Erotic Review and 3 months later.... or I sent a story to McSweeny's and they wrote back and said... and so on. I thought there would have been lots of those kind of responses.
Perhaps the 'literary' criteria is the problem? Maybe not as many people are in to literary fiction.
Or as was previously said, maybe people don't want to share those experiences with a 'newbie' or they've shared a hundred times in the 'Private' areas.
Personally, I'm not looking for critique although I'm happy to critique for others.
Really, I'm just interested in generally shooting the breeze about writer chit chat and with the option to share experiences of people trying to get published. But if I'm looking for similar types of writers maybe there aren't many literary fiction folks about?
Sounds like the bit I would be more interested in is probably the Lounge type stuff but I'm not looking to take advantage of anyone's 'expertise' so probably wouldn't expect to pay to access that - especially without knowing more about the content and so on.
Hi Greentown - lots of pointers, I hope, to where the action in on WW. Certainly Private Members and the Lounge are always busy - the former is for writing-related stuff, and the latter for absolutely everything else, although in the nature of things it's not an absolutely distinction.
The Groups, too, are places where members feel that they're in a closed and therefore relatively private and supportive environment. Writing is personal stuff - even for those who don't have a public existence as a published writer - and lots of people find the groups a more comfortable placenot for just concerns and wobbles, but also technical queries and discussions. It's also true, perhaps, that replies to technical questions, for example, are particularly valuable from people who already know your work.
Having said that, I do try to keep an eye on the main forum, and respond where I've got something useful to say! As Flora says, some topics will always get a broader response than others. There are a lot of literary fictioneers on here, though, as well as several handfuls of us who teach it, so I do hope you'll stick around.
Mind you, the CW teachers are mostly madly marking end-of-year stuff, and we have had a spate of births, lately, and
I know at least one normally very committed member is moving house ... domestic stuff gets in the way of the most determined writer on occasion. Normally in June I'd say that nice weather makes everything on the net slow down a bit (it's certainly my experience on FB/Twitter/blog stats.) But that's perhaps not quite so true this year. <Added>
Crossed with you, Greentown. Lots of breeze-shooting does goes on in the Lounge and Private members.
Hi there, welcome to WW
I think a lot of what you're saying would be best addressed to one of the people who adminster/ run the site - e.g. David Bruce. Ordinary members can't do anything about changing what's available for trial members to view or letting them join more than one group. Maybe send the administrators a private message?
Personally I've been a member here for years and I still post work for critiquing, but in children's. I agree it's a pity that some of the forums are not more active but once people get published they tend to prefer not to post in forums for critique, since they're getting read by their agent/ editor anyway, and generally end up chatting in the lounge or PM - which is probably where your sort of questions would get answered. We do have a lot of published literary fiction authors, compared to most British writers' sites, but as I say they tend to hang out in the lounge/ PM.
"I'm just interested in generally shooting the breeze about writer chit chat and with the option to share experiences of people trying to get published"
yeah, see this is what we talk about in the Lounge/ PMs - it doesn't get discussed in the public forums because, well, if you want to bitch about an agent it's best if it's not Google-able <Added>
The other thing is that a lot of us have been here for ages, so it's like chatting to friends, and the same few people tend to be active in the lounge/ pm and it's not necessarily the same people who are active in the groups. <Added>
Come to think of it, i think we don't have that many short story writers per se. I think we tend to be mostly novelists, who may write the odd short. Or children' writers!
This 128 message thread spans 9 pages: 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 > >
|I'm looking for similar types of writers maybe there aren't many literary fiction folks about?|
Well, I'm one.
In your position I think I'd just pay up and join fully, then you can have a proper look around. If you're still not impressed, you've only lost 20 quid. But I doubt you will be unimpressed. I wouldn't give up WW for anything.