Scribophile: An On-line Critiquing Site
Review by Judy L Mohr
At some point in every writer’s career, one needs to get the feedback of others. Does your story make any sense? Are there glaring plot holes that need to be filled in? Are you using the correct grammar and sentence construction to get your ideas across? Some will say that this is what an editor is for, but editors don’t come cheap. The next best thing is to get the critiques of others, but friends and family rarely provide constructive, objective advice. You need other writers to read your work.
Scribophile (http://www.scribophile.com) is an on-line critiquing site dedicated to helping writers improve their stories and develop their writing in a supportive environment. All members of the site are writers, new and experienced.
How does the site work?
Scribophile works on a karma points system. If you want others to critique your work, you first need to critique the work of others. Longer critiques will earn more points, and you will earn even more points if another member likes your comments, or finds them constructive, encouraging, enlightening or thorough.
It takes 5 karma points to post a work for critique, which normally takes 3 to 5 critiques to earn. However, critiques are not the only way to earn karma points; you can also earn them through competitions and occasionally another member gifts you some.
On the site, there are also many discussion forums and groups. Some groups are genre specific (e.g. Celtic Romance, Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers Anonymous, Fight Club), while others are for the purpose of connecting writers of all genres together (e.g. One-For-One, The Novel Exchange, On the Tip of My Tongue).
Posts to forums and discussion groups will earn reputation points. A large number of reputation points earned over a short period will propel your posted works into member spotlight, alerting the membership to your writing, increasing your opportunities for critiques from a variety of writers.
Why does it work?
To be a good writer, one must be a good reader.
Many of us have heard this said often, but here’s what it means in my mind. While reading the works of others, we often see things that don’t work for us as a reader and we start to see those aspects in our own writing, along with how to correct them. So on a site like Scribophile, if all you do is read, never posting your own work, you are still learning about your craft.
What does it take to be a member?
It is free to join Scribophile, however free membership will restrict the number of works that you can post on the site for critiquing to only three. There are other restrictions on your posted works too, but this one is the biggy.
Premium membership costs $65 USD, which roughly converts to $90 NZD. Those who take part in NaNoWriMo are typically offered discounts to the site. In 2014, winners were offered two months of free Premium membership. (Yet, another incentive to achieve your NaNoWriMo goals.)
Who can benefit from this site? And are there any downsides to the site?
Every writer, at any stage of their career, can benefit from Scribophile. As I said above, you don’t need to post your work to keep learning from others.
The one thing to remember about Scribophile is that it is open to anyone. As such, any posted works you have up for critiquing will be looked at by a variety of people, and not everyone will like what you have written. As long as you keep in mind that even a bad critique can provide insight into how your writing is being perceived and what you might do to improve it, then you will find the Scribophile site a good resource.
For more information on Scribophile visit their site at www.scribophile.com
Kiwi Judy L Mohr writes fantasy and science fiction filled with adventure, dark monsters, humour and romance. She is also a freelance editor, working on projects from writers around the world. Judy is currently the president of the Christchurch Writers’ Guild, but is also a member of SpecFic New Zealand and the Scribophile on-line writing community. Recently, she was appointed one of the NaNoWriMo Municipal Leaders for our region. You can visit her at http://judylmohr.com, or follow her on twitter (@JudyLMohr).