Sometimes you need feedback on more than just the 250-500 words of your story at one time. Okay, we always need more feedback than just those few words, but lets face it, it's hard to get feedback.
If you're lucky, you've found one or two people that give you constructive criticism. It hurts, but you know they're right so you revise and polish. But how many times can you give the same story to the same people? At what point do they know your story as well as you and so miss certain flaws because they are no longer depending on the words in front of them?
For the last two months I've been taking advantage of a great (free) site. I know there are lots out there and you just need to find the one you are comfortable with. After trying several different sites, I've settled down at YouWriteOn.com.
Here's why in the order of importance to me:
1. The YouWriteOn Top Ten Chart writers as listed on the first of each month will be read exclusively and receive feedback from editors from Random House & Orion who publish some of the world's bestselling authors, including John Grisham, Bill Bryson & Ian Rankin. Over YouWriteOn's history, members who have developed their writing on site have achieved book deals with Random House, Orion, Penguin and Harper Collins.
That was actually all the reasoning I needed. But here are a few things I've learned and enjoyed since joining the site.
2. You move up the chart based on your dedication to hard work. If willing to read and give honest reviews of other members stories you earn credits to assign to your own stories.
If I can't review for a week or two, I don't feel guilty for being absent. When I return I can review and get as many credits as I have time to put into the process.
3. Most of the reviews I've received have been helpful and thought provoking.
This is a website of writers. They may be in different stages of their writing, but they know something about how to write good stories. They catch things I've missed. They ask questions that in answering help strengthen my story.
It's kind of hard to ignore ten complete strangers who say X doesn't work.
And, here's another option for some great feedback. Janice Hardy, author of the Shifter series has a weekly Real Life Diagnostics post on her blog. She has three in her queue right now, so it's a good time to sign up. Click here if you want to read her review of one of my story openers.