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This 128 message thread spans 9 pages:  < <   1   2   3   4  5  6   7   8   9  > >  
  • Re: Very quiet community?
    by Astrea at 10:31 on 24 June 2012
    Sorry guys, I still can't make myself be bowled over by the wonder of what is /supposedly potentially still hidden in the mysteries of the Private Lounge.

    Why not just tell me? Why not allow trial members have a look at the most 'valuable' part of the site - after all that's the money shot.


    Um. Still think you're misunderstanding. There are no wonders and there is no money shot. Sorry about that!

    Now, I do see what you're saying, perhaps we've got into the habit of posting in private members something that could perfectly well be visible to everyone. With me, it is just a habit, and I'll do my best to be aware of it from now on.

    But PM isn't some temple of occult knowledge holding the secret gen on getting published - it's just what's been said already, somewhere where people can start talking about aspects of the whole writing game a) without having to self-censor if they feel a whinge coming on and b)where the discussion can wander into varying degrees of silliness as the mood takes them.

    I've been here a couple of years now, still unpublished, but any question I've had about any aspect of the writing business, no matter how daft, has been cheerfully and helpfully answered, no matter where I've posted it. No, there probably aren't huge household names on WW - just a wide cross-section of writers with solid publishing records behind them.

    Nothing self-promoting about it at all - and really, if that was the name of the game, surely they wouldn't be posting in PM anyway?


  • Re: Very quiet community?
    by Terry Edge at 11:15 on 24 June 2012
    However, it's fair to say a published children's or SF writer on the forum wouldn't be familiar or of interest to me, although it presumably would be to aspiring children's writers.


    I'm probably misreading this but as a children's and SF writer, I'm not sure why a writer wouldn't be interested in the experiences of writers in any genre. I'll learn from anyone; just came back from a workshop where all the tutors were literary fiction tutors, and I got a lot out of it. I've also got a lot from workshops taken by genre writers, including those who write very commercial fiction which, I'm not interested in as a reader but have still learnt much about the craft and business from them.

    You've complained quite a bit on this thread about the existence of the Private Members forum, and been somewhat critical about the status of the published writers there (not that those writers themselves have been claiming any particular status as far as I can see). And while I might agree with some of your points about the way this site is run, I'm not sure you'll actually get a lot from it if you really aren't interested in what a large number of its writers have to say about writing.

    Or to put it another way, as Theodore Sturgeon once said in reply to the question, isn't 90% of Science Fiction crap? - "Yes, but then 90% of everything's crap."

    Terry
  • Re: Very quiet community?
    by greentown at 15:24 on 24 June 2012
    [Um. Still think you're misunderstanding. There are no wonders and there is no money shot. Sorry about that!]

    No misunderstanding Astrea - that's exactly the point I was making - there is no mystery - so why hide what the members are saying.

    I think if you check back to the very beginning of this thread, you'll see I asked the question why does there appear to be so little activity on this forum.

    Members responded that there might appear to be little activity - on the public face - but really that was only because all the really juicy, valuable stuff was on the PRIVATE side.

    I suggested that probably wasn't the best place to keep the good stuff if the site was interested in recruiting new members.

    A number of people then gave various reasons why they felt they needed a private section.

    Then we all said lots of other stuff - the end result of which was no further progress.

    You and I would probably never see eye to eye on what constitutes self promotion (You seem to view the term as though it is an insult. I find nothing wrong in it at all) and the subtleties of using websites, blogs, forums, social media and so on for below the line marketing purposes.

    [I'm probably misreading this but as a children's and SF writer, I'm not sure why a writer wouldn't be interested in the experiences of writers in any genre. I'll learn from anyone; just came back from a workshop where all the tutors were literary fiction tutors, and I got a lot out of it. I've also got a lot from workshops taken by genre writers, including those who write very commercial fiction which, I'm not interested in as a reader but have still learnt much about the craft and business from them.]

    I think you are misreading me.

    If I was going home and the number 69 bus was the most direct route, you'd advise me to wait for that bus wouldn't you? You wouldn't say I should just get the first bus that comes because they all buses go somewhere.

    By the same token, if I was to ask you for the best person to get advice from on getting literary fiction published, you wouldn't argue that I should look for a children's fiction author would you?

    I didn't say there was nothing to learn from any other writer but life is about choices. Mainly I have limited time on the planet and I would like to achieve X. I don't want to squander my time because I don't know when it's going to run out so I try to maximise my efficient use of what time I have by being discerning in my choices - so to learn about literary fiction, I would seek out a writer of literary fiction.

    I'm not dissing anyone else so I'd prefer not be made out to be an arrogant fool.

    I am certainly getting the impression that I've touched a raw nerve with a lot of MEMBERS which makes me think a lot of people have asked the same questions before and had the same answers. No doubt those people have happily moved on to different forums - and the Members are probably not very concerned about that.

    The 'MEMBERS' do seem a bit over-sensitive to the slightest of criticisms - and who can learn if they cannot take criticism?

    I haven't 'complained' about the existence of the PRIVATE section of the forum. I have queried its existence as the best way to encourage new members but then perhaps the prevailing view is that there's nothing to be learnt from new members? There's no 'value' in new members.
    I think you've already said that the exisitng Members are comfortable as they are.


    [Or to put it another way, as Theodore Sturgeon once said in reply to the question, isn't 90% of Science Fiction crap? - "Yes, but then 90% of everything's crap."]

    I'm not familiar with the quote but it seems an appropriate comment.
    I sometimes find that 100% of everything is crap but if we start at 90% then potentially there's 10% worth something on this (or any) site.
    Various Members have suggested that the 10% might be in the PRIVATE area - I'm suggesting that any site making those sort of claims should offer trial members some means of verifying that - other than your own good word.

    I don't really see why this notion is so controversial.

  • Re: Very quiet community?
    by Terry Edge at 15:46 on 24 June 2012
    Apologies; probably my somewhat over-sensitive sensors reacting to what I thought was an anti-genre attitude. However, I'm not sure about the number 69 bus analogy. Obviously, the 69 is only going one route. But I don't think a children's writer and a literary writer are necessarily going two separate routes.

    I was an SF writer looking to get published a few years back and, yes, of course I sought advice from the SF community. But I also looked for it from any writers who've gone about (in this case) trying to get short fiction accepted. The submission process is not that different, after all. So, actually, I would argue that you could get advice from a children's writer. Not just on the submissions process but also on the craft - if they're a good writer. What's the difference? Good writing is good writing. Or at least, why not get advice from literary fiction writers AND children's writers?

    I wasn't calling you a fool; sorry if that's the way it came across. However, I just don't think it's wise to limit your sources of information to one genre's writers.


    Various Members have suggested that the 10% might be in the PRIVATE area - I'm suggesting that any site making those sort of claims should offer trial members some means of verifying that - other than your own good word.

    I don't really see why this notion is so controversial.


    I'm not sure if this last bit is aimed at me. But if so, I haven't said I think your notion is controversial. I think I said I agreed with some of your views about the site. But ultimately, you and I are free to decide if we want to be part of it, or not. You may well be right, that the site isn't very conducive to new members. If so, then presumably it will die off one day, or the existing members will form their own forum elsewhere.

    Terry
  • Re: Very quiet community?
    by greentown at 17:24 on 24 June 2012
    Apologies to you too Terry Edge - Truce?

    I think we're probably talking at crossed purposes with very different views of what we want or enjoy on a forum.

    As I've said previously, while I'm happy to give crits to people who want them, it's not something I'm looking for.

    That's not out of arrogance. I've done that crit thing and I'm kind of just not into it anymore. I don't want to chop and change my work to suit a dozen different views of what something needs to be published.

    Of course, publication is a goal and an important goal, but I want to be happy that my own work is entirely my own work and that there is sufficent integrity and sincerity behind it to convince me that it has some artistic merit, that it's not, as Jessie J might say, just about the money!
    To live with that I've decided that I want to do it my way.

    So on a forum, I don't really want to engage with lots of serious stuff about point of view and multiple perspectives and the differences between omniscient narrators and close 3rd person narration.

    The reason I'm more interested in finding Lit Fic writers though, is just the sense of having some kind of shared world view.

    I don't read children's fiction and when I visualise it mentally, I see illustrated big text books for 3 to 7 year olds or something like that. I don't think of Harry Potter or Enid Blyton and I suppose to be very blunt, I wouldn't have a lot in common with a children's writer because I'm constantly thinking of how to communicate with an adult reader on adult topics.
    We're both firing arrows but our targets are entirely different.
    We might share an interest in getting published but most likely (and there is no insult implied) our 'life' interests, our reasons for writing what we write, are going to be very different.

    I did post on the Getting Published area of the site about journals for Lit Fic writers and got a few general suggestions from EmmaD.
    Fair enough. I suppose I was hoping for more direct, personal experience or recommendation.
    If that's available in the Private section - I'll never know - but when I ask the question in the public forum and nobody responds with a personal experience - what am I meant to think? Essentially, that nobody on here has experience of submitting to Lit Fic journals?

    Now as a SF writer you might agree that it's not easy getting short stories published. My limited knowledge of SF though, tells me that it has a very big fanbase and that they do actually read a lot of short stories and there are consequently a lot of journals and mags for SF.

    The same doesn't apply with Lit Fic - it doesn't have a devoted fanbase and short stories are not particularly popular. They are seen as generally practice for a novel - which is fine because a lot of the time that's what they are. But there are only a small number of mags that publish that kind of thing and nobody on the forum responded with any experience.

    I suppose what I'm saying is I'm not looking for tips or anything like that. I don't want ideas on how to 'market' my work more efficiently - you know - I'm happy to pass or fail as I go along.

    I'm just interested if someone comes along and says I got a story in The Barcelona Review last month. And I'll go wow! Well done, I'll go and have a read. And I'll say that story was really powerful. You know, you nailed that middle-age sense of self-doubt and rising awareness of mortality.

    I won't ask who they sent it to, or what the editor's name is or how to try and gain some advantage to lift me magically to the top of the slushpile. Not my bag, and if I die unpublished because of it - well, that's my lookout.

    So, when I say to you guys I'd be interested in knowing what goes on in the Private section before I join up - it's a genuine curiousity to discover whether there are any like-minded people in there.

    The answer to my question on Lit Fic journals didn't bring any out of the woodwork.

    I'm not after a freebie!

    Is this what's getting up people's noses and making them defensive about the privacy thing?

    I don't know. I get a real vibe of closed-downness and 'get away stranger!' simply for commenting on the barring of trial members from seeing something which is supposed to be a main selling point of the website but which also (this is a matter of fact remark and not hostile at all) may have no value to some people at all.

    No website can be all things to all people and I'm sure that's not exactly news to anyone - I haven't pulled anyone's trousers down in public! - so I don't really understand why people are taking it so personally and getting all humpy.

  • Re: Very quiet community?
    by greentown at 17:40 on 24 June 2012
    [But ultimately, you and I are free to decide if we want to be part of it, or not. You may well be right, that the site isn't very conducive to new members. If so, then presumably it will die off one day, or the existing members will form their own forum elsewhere.]

    That's fair enough. Do people think I'm asking them to change their whole forum just for me?

    I'm not. You know, I've got the message! It's not for me. I take the hint!

    But is it so wrong to ask the question? I asked my intial question about the quietness of the site because I wanted to know.
    Anyone would think I'd come round and smashed your windows or peed through the letterbox.
    You know, I accept that you all say you're happy as you are! I'm not claiming to be the messiah - come to enlighten you.

    I still hold with my view that the site appears very quiet from the public message boards and if any of the members or the site owners are at all interested in getting new members and earning a few extra quid along the way, then my feeling would be that the site would be better if you had some busier threads open to the public and be more selective/restrictive about what's private.
  • Re: Very quiet community?
    by EmmaD at 18:48 on 24 June 2012
    Greentown, I'm sorry if that's how it came across, because I don't think any member was trying to say anything, except to answer your perfectly legitimate question - about what goes on in the members-only bits of the forum - in ways which would explain why it seems to work well for the members.

    As to changing the site, the moderation here is very light-touch, but I'm sure the management are reading this and taking note of what you've said.
  • Re: Very quiet community?
    by Terry Edge at 18:59 on 24 June 2012
    Truce agreed!

    I understand the crit fatigue but giving them is not a requirement on WW.

    Totally agree with being happy with one's own work, writing with integrity and sincerity, doing it your own way. Same with me.

    Understand wanting to share with writers working in the same genre. However, I still believe it can be limiting to exclude what other genre writers can teach/advise. Enid Blyton and J K Rowling aside, the kind of children's writers I have in mind aren't firing arrows at entirely different targets. Their readership may be different, but the skills of communication are the same.

    I saw your post about Lit Fic writers, and I nearly added to it. If I recall, Emma suggested Duotrope and you said you couldn't find Literary magazines via it. I've always been able to do so (I write some Literary fiction shorts). The reason I didn't comment was partly time and partly I didn't fully understand what you were looking for; sorry about that. But without wanting to speak for Emma, I've not noticed her ever withhold help from a public WW forum for the sake of putting it in the Private one instead.

    Now as a SF writer you might agree that it's not easy getting short stories published. My limited knowledge of SF though, tells me that it has a very big fanbase and that they do actually read a lot of short stories and there are consequently a lot of journals and mags for SF.


    Yes, SF (and to a lesser degree, Fantasy) has a lot of short fiction markets, but you're right, it's not easy to sell to the quality SF magazines. I sold a story last week to one of the top mags, which, they told me, received 800 submissions for that issue. I think I'm a pretty good writer, but it took me over 100 rejections over 18 months to sell my first story.

    I've sold 6 this year so far - which I'm hoping is something going exponential! - and I have around 40 out there in circulation. So, this is me sharing my experience at getting stuff published: in essence, write a lot and keep it out there.

    The same doesn't apply with Lit Fic - it doesn't have a devoted fanbase and short stories are not particularly popular. They are seen as generally practice for a novel - which is fine because a lot of the time that's what they are. But there are only a small number of mags that publish that kind of thing and nobody on the forum responded with any experience.


    I expect this is true. But there are magazines and journals which are recognised as good markets; and some pay 'pro' rates (usually seen at 5c per word or more). I've found quite a lot of Lit Fic magazines via Duotrope and other search devices.

    I suppose what I'm saying is I'm not looking for tips or anything like that. I don't want ideas on how to 'market' my work more efficiently - you know - I'm happy to pass or fail as I go along.


    I half understand this! As said, I write exactly what I want to write; never think about 'the market'. But at the same time, there are professional ways to submit your work that will give it a better chance of acceptance.

    I won't ask who they sent it to, or what the editor's name is or how to try and gain some advantage to lift me magically to the top of the slushpile. Not my bag, and if I die unpublished because of it - well, that's my lookout.


    I think here you confuse two different things. The only thing that will lift you to the top of the slushpile is having a known name, and even that won't guarantee a sale (unless you're Stephen King). But that doesn't equate to not using the editor's name, if you know it, or mentioning that you know a writer she's published recently and like their work, and what the mag is trying to do (providing you actually do, of course).

    Is this what's getting up people's noses and making them defensive about the privacy thing?


    I have to confess I've not really been following this part of your argument. You haven't been getting up my nose, and I don't think the private forum on this site is anything particularly revolutionary or busting with secrets.

    I guess I'm not sure why you're so intrigued about how this site presents itself. Or maybe I've just been here so long that I accept its various eccentricities.

    Terry
  • Re: Very quiet community?
    by Steerpike`s sister at 19:17 on 24 June 2012
    Terry speaks for me too here:
    I have to confess I've not really been following this part of your argument. You haven't been getting up my nose, and I don't think the private forum on this site is anything particularly revolutionary or busting with secrets.

    I guess I'm not sure why you're so intrigued about how this site presents itself.


    I'm a bit puzzled as to what exactly you want from the members. We're not site administrators - even if we wanted to we couldn't give you access to the private members forum. You should email David Bruce if that's what you want, put your arguments to him. But you've definitely got the wrong impression if you think people are not contributing to your thread because they want to save their insights for PMs. The reason people don't reply is because they don't think they have anything helpful to say, or they don't have time, or they don't see the thread. It's really nothing sinister!

    <Added>

    PM isn't some temple of occult knowledge holding the secret gen on getting published - it's just what's been said already, somewhere where people can start talking about aspects of the whole writing game a) without having to self-censor if they feel a whinge coming on and b)where the discussion can wander into varying degrees of silliness as the mood takes them.



    Exactly.
    From what you're saying, it sounds as if this probably isn't the right forum for you. But there are loads of others out there, as you say, and I'm sure you'll find a good one to belong to. Best of luck!
  • Re: Very quiet community?
    by EmmaD at 21:47 on 24 June 2012
    The reason people don't reply is because they don't think they have anything helpful to say, or they don't have time, or they don't see the thread.


    Yes, that's my experience - although Terry is right to say that I'd never consciously not respond to a post that I have a (I hope) helpful response to, wherever it's posted.

    <Added>

    or rather

    "that I have an (I hope) helpful response"

    <Added>

    Aargh! PC crashed.

    Meant to say that one of the perennial problems with online interaction, as we all know, is that you can't SEE when people are friendlily shaking their heads because they've heard your query but - as Steerpike's Sister says - either don't have a helpful response, or haven't time to shape one just at the moment (particularly, say, if they need to ask another question before they can help much).
  • Re: Very quiet community?
    by greentown at 07:11 on 25 June 2012
    Thanks for the replies folks.

    Terry,

    I think the simplest way to express what I'm NOT looking for is 'competitive advantage'.
    I accept that competitive advantage is probably exactly what many peole on the site are looking for.
    When I say I won't use the editor's name - I'm not being a 'literalist' and address my letter Dear Sir/Madam - NO -
    I mean I won't attempt to claim a special relationship where one doesn't exist.

    In short my work will stand or fail on its own merits.

    I can't agree with you that a children's writer and a lit Fic writer share a literary world view in anything but the loosest of terms.


    Again, you seem determined to read everything as a personal slight - WHY? - I don't want to always have to pick replies apart point by point so I'll leave all the other misreadings of my posts there.

    One last round up of one point for Terry, Steerpike, and EmmaD.

    The privacy issue or The PRIVATE Members section.

    Again I'm not entirely sure why the three of you claim not to understand the point being made as other people oon the thread have managed quite well.

    Let's explain one final time.

    This is a paid for site.
    I said the site appears very quiet.
    Members (including you EmmaD) replied to that post to say that the site is quiet on the public boards - but very active in PRIVATE Members section.

    I replied, - trial members should be able to see the PRIVATE section befor they pay. TRY BEFORE YOU BUY - it's not an alien proposal.

    At which point some sensible people agreed.

    You three are now claiming you don't understand what I was saying!

    I can only suggest you read back from the beginning more carefully.

    At no point did I say the MEMBERS were the Site Administrators and that they should FIX my comments about seeing the PRIVATE section.

    It's a straighforward simple, direct PURCHASING query - SHOW ME WHAT I WILL GET FOR MY MONEY PLEASE.

    Is that clear enough?

    Please do not persist in claiming you do not understand - it does you or the website no credit.

    But this thread has helped me a great deal in confirming that the internet is not the right place to try and have sensible discussions.

    Like I didn't know that already - DUH!
  • Re: Very quiet community?
    by Account Closed at 08:17 on 25 June 2012
    Wow Greentown - no-one is taking what you say as a "personal slight". Where do you read that?

    You are suggesting a different way of running things.

    People on here have variously agreed (more threads could be posted in the public members area) or explained why the current set up works for them. That's all.

    However if you don't want to participate in critique and have no interest in writers working in other areas then I'd venture that you might not get the most out of the site no matter what the technological set up, as that's where this site really comes out strong, in my view.

    (For the record I also disagree about this imagined divide between children's and SF. There is a huge amount of overlap - many children's and SF writers are literary writers in their own right. And indeed many writers - Jeanette Winterson, Salman Rushdie, Margaret Atwood to name just a few - operate across several boundaries. Not that any of them are on here, but it shows that there is no hard-and-fast divide between the genres. I realise this is not your central point though!)
  • Re: Very quiet community?
    by Catkin at 09:29 on 25 June 2012
    I can't agree with you that a children's writer and a lit Fic writer share a literary world view in anything but the loosest of terms


    Tell that to Alan Garner!


    Greentown, there are many, many situations in life where we have to pay the money before knowing exactly what we're going to get for it. It's called taking a risk. In this case, the risk is a very small twenty-quid risk. I honestly can't see why that merits so much hand-wringing. It's ... twenty pounds, you know? Hardly a massive investment decision.

    I took a risk on joining a closed critique group that cost me 400 for a year. It was utter crap. I wasted the money. I still don't regret taking the risk.

    I don't even think I took a risk on joining here, because I could see that the Groups would be useful, even without seeing the Private Members areas.
  • Re: Very quiet community?
    by Terry Edge at 10:01 on 25 June 2012
    However if you don't want to participate in critique and have no interest in writers working in other areas then I'd venture that you might not get the most out of the site no matter what the technological set up, as that's where this site really comes out strong, in my view.


    I echo this point. Apologies if I've missed something you said earlier, but you don't appear to have mentioned what you can bring to the site, only what you want to get out of it. One of the successes of WW, I believe, is reciprocity.

    I haven't a clue why you think I'm taking everything as a personal slight. But something like this:

    I can't agree with you that a children's writer and a lit Fic writer share a literary world view in anything but the loosest of terms.


    I find professionally staggering. Are you seriously suggesting that a children's writer hasn't a clue how to write compared with a literary fiction writer? If so, I think you're going to find it hard to learn very much. Apart from anything else, Sturgeon's law holds true for literary fiction as it does for any genre. I learnt how to really write from my first editor - a children's fiction editor. She didn't just teach me children's fiction angles; she taught me how to use words and punctuation better - a skill that is transferable to any genre.

    I'm teaching a creative writing group tomorrow. We're going to look at Point of View. As an SF and children's writer, are you saying I shouldn't be teaching them?

    I replied, - trial members should be able to see the PRIVATE section befor they pay. TRY BEFORE YOU BUY - it's not an alien proposal.


    Okay - it's not that I don't understand your point; what I don't understand is why you keep banging on about it. I get it. It's a proposal. Why not join and propose it? Or propose it before you join? Or just accept this is the way it's done here and go somewhere else if you don't like it. There are I don't like about the site but I've made the decision that on balance it's worth being a member.

    I think the simplest way to express what I'm NOT looking for is 'competitive advantage'.
    I accept that competitive advantage is probably exactly what many peole on the site are looking for.
    When I say I won't use the editor's name - I'm not being a 'literalist' and address my letter Dear Sir/Madam - NO -
    I mean I won't attempt to claim a special relationship where one doesn't exist.

    In short my work will stand or fail on its own merits.


    This bothers me a bit. I feel you have a tendency to interpret things in a more negative way than they're intended. I understand and admire that you want your work to stand and fall on its own merits. But I feel a little tetchy that instead of noting that I'd said the same thing, you're implying (well, stating, really) that I'm looking for competitive advantage. I'm not: I'm looking for acceptable and positive advantage.

    Meeting an editor at a conference, say, and having a good conversation with her, then mentioning it in your cover letter later is not only good practice, it's good practice that editors themselves often recommend. It's a natural advantage: it shows to the editor that you're serious enough about your work to attend conferences, put yourself out to learn from the professionals, etc. Which, especially these days, is part of the publishing process.

    Or to put it a bit more bluntly: given you're trying to get published, don't you think there's benefit in you listening to what the published people here are saying?

    Terry
  • Re: Very quiet community?
    by Steerpike`s sister at 11:27 on 25 June 2012
    it's not that I don't understand your point; what I don't understand is why you keep banging on about it. I get it. It's a proposal. Why not join and propose it? Or propose it before you join? Or just accept this is the way it's done here and go somewhere else if you don't like it.


    Ditto. I think we're talking at cross-purposes here, not sure there's much point continuing the conversation, I'm afraid.
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