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I am a veteran I'd say. I started with Webook in 2008. I ran across an add for Webook by happenstance (or fate) while I was viewing one of my favorite myspace pages. (some people might not know what myspace is lol). I signed up for Webook because is was free and was SO EXCITED that there were people all over the world that shared my love of writing. Like most writers I didn't want my ideas and work to be stolen so I did wait a little bit before I posted my first project. Once I did, I kept on going also participating in co-writing in other projects and read/rating page to fame submissions. I was bummed when WeBook abandoned us and though I am stoked that it's back it's not the same. Many of our counter parts are scattered to the winds on other cites, Wattpad, is one that I signed up for. I'm hoping that as Webook reawakens it growns better and stronger than it was before!
I like Webook because it does offer an open format to help writers get feedback on their works where as the other sites I ran across seemed to be more for self publishing meaning more finalized works are usually posted on those. The only issue I have with Webook is the free formatting does encourage a lot of people to NOT finish their pieces.
I love Webook still and plan on sticking with the community. I do offer "NO STRINGS ATTACHED" feedback on my project:
I wish all my fellow writers the best. If you need something don't hesitate to let me know!
I was looking for a community site where I could see what other authors were working on, and a place that I could submit to literary agents easily. WeBook seemed to be the place to be.
Also, I write because there are some stories I want to see out there that haven't been written yet :)
As for why we write, I found the diversity of the answers fascinating, particularly Alina’s answer that she needs it to make her a better person. I have no idea why I write. I’ve always written in some form or another since I was a small child. It’s just part of who I am. For me the critical question is what do you want to do with your writing? I like to think I’m a pretty good writer, but I also like to think I’m clever, handsome and devastating to women. The only test of whether I’m deluded or not is whether other people agree. So I don’t write primarily for myself, but for an audience. If nobody wants to read it, I should maybe take up landscape painting. I don’t say at all that this is a test other people should set themselves. We all write for different reasons. But it’s a test I need. I enjoy the act of writing; mainly I enjoy the act of discovery of things I didn’t know myself as the story unfolds. I’m partly an audience to my own work.
Which brings me to the interesting question in Kazume’s last post: how do we set about writing? Short stories usually depend on an idea, and then I tend to write them all at once and then edit. But novels are different. I’ve written three novels now. The first two were apprenticeship pieces as I learned the craft, and will probably never see the light of day. But I wrote each of them very differently.
The first was very plot driven. I knew exactly where it was going at almost every point. Nothing surprised me as I wrote it. And to be honest, I didn’t enjoy writing it as much. I set myself a word length every day and worked until I’d reached it.
But the second, the second was gloriously different. It has very little in the way of plot, apart from a simple search that tracks all the way through it from the first chapter to the last. I wrote a “cartoon” for ir, in much the same way that artists do sketches for full paintings. Only 7,000 words, so almost a short story. And then I let my characters out to play to flesh out the cartoon. They constantly entertained and surprised me with what they did. I didn’t set myself any writing targets, but visited my characters when I wanted to get away. They developed a life of their own. They wrote the book.
I found the device of the cartoon so helpful I used it for the third novel. This cartoon was about 10,000 words. This book is heavy on plot, with a relentless (though hopefully not obvious) central idea, and this means there’s a pre-determined arc for the story. But it is also full of characters. There are eight point of view characters, instead of the one in each of the two previous novels. And there’s room both for my characters to assert their own individuality, tell their own story, and surprise me, as well as carrying their part of the overall plot.
I think I enjoyed writing the second and third novels more than the first. It brought me closer to what some others have said about why they write. I could almost have let the books languish in first draft after I’d had my fun with them, But the need to test my writing against readers’ comments is what keeps me editing, pruning, and at times slashing. Redrafting is a completely different experience and pleasure for me than writing. It’s the difference between finding a rough diamond in the dirt, and cutting and polishing it to make a jewel.
So, as far as I know at present, that’s how I write.
I'm also in agreement with you poppop. Trust I feel isn't the correct word for how to approach feedback. You have to be critical of the feedback you receive because not all feedback is right or helpful. I feel feedback is a tool writers should use to view their own work from another point of view. It is up to the writer, then, to decide whether they like that point of view or if they like it the way it is. As the saying goes, you should take it with a grain of salt.
Gosh AlinaVoyce, I think most of us are all gun-ho about eventually reaching that point in our careers when our writing can support us and be our one and only dream job. I agree that only select few reach that status, but here's to hoping. All we can do is keep writing and dreaming up new stories to tell. Who knows, maybe one day we'll all have a bunch of books for sale in bookstores.
Don't you love it when all of a sudden you're hit with the writing bug? I love it when all of a sudden I have to write because I have a character in my head screaming at me to write their story or else. Sometimes it gets quite fierce. That's the nice reason to always keep a pen and paper at your side and/or carry a notebook computer or iPad with you wherever you go.
Which brings me to new topics to keep this going! Where do you like to write your stories? Where do your ideas come from? Do you feel like you have to write? Or do you write whenever? Do you outline your story? Or do you write beginning to end?
Are you ready for my answers to those questions? Because this could take awhile. ^_^
I like writing down ideas wherever I am, whether that be at work, a friends place, my bedroom, the kitchen, anywhere. My ideas just pop into my head all of a sudden. Usually, I am pondering something for school or a story I just read or something someone said and suddenly and idea comes to me. I call it having a genius moment. It's like light bulbs are lighting up like Christmas lights in my head. One right after another. And as they keep forming I have to write them down. At least jot down a blurb of what I was thinking to remember later. When I return to ideas I get so overwhelmed because I have ideas written everywhere! On note cards, in my school notebooks, on post-its, on receipts, on scrap paper, on napkins, you name I've probably used it to write down an idea at some point or other.
When I started writing, I liked writing stories from beginning to end. I gradually switched to writing sections as they appear in my mind and then work on the order later. To help, I've been doing a lot of research on organization/outline ideas. I've found a method I like and has helped me sort out how to write more complex stories. So I suppose I do half and half. I write randomly, but I also take the time to outline at various stages of completion. (If you're interested in what organization methods I use I'll be glad to share, but I figured this is already long enough for you to read so I chose to leave it off... for now.)
I write because it's a necessary part of who I am - simple as that. The fact that my stories seem to entertain others is the icing on the cake for me and when they tell me they've enjoyed something I've written that gives me a buzz and an extra kick of motivation that never gets old.
I'd love to get to a point where my earnings as an author allow me to make it my main career...but I'm enough of a realist to know that only happens to a gifted few. So I'll just keep on doing what I'm doing, writing out the ideas that come to me and learning as I go.
BTW I agree with poppop on the trust issue. Critique groups made up of people I've 'known' on WeBook for years are always going to be the most trusted avenue for recieving feedback, but sometimes getting a review from a new reader gives a fresh perspective that can be exceptionally useful. I'm at a stage now where I'm confident enough (most days) to take what I need from a review, whether it's left by a long-time crit partner or by a new reader. I'm even a fan of those 'OMG that was AMAZING - quick, write more!!' reviews - because, honestly, how great is it to know you've entertained someone and they can't wait to read more?
Some here have review groups and I am sure trust has come from that organizing. But otherwise, I doubt it. We are strangers, anonymous words on a screen. What advice people listen to (writing, parenting, politics – anything) is what rings true to them.
I am too a college student and have written hundreds of papers in many different topics and difficulty levels. Under your assumption that although college students write they are not writers/authors you forget a whole genre of writing: non-fiction. What about Masters or PhD students who end up publishing their work? Or Undergraduates who submit thesis? It may not be on a national scale, but I have written 2 different thesis and am working on another. The two I have written are available to the public to read. Would you consider that writing? Or not? I think it is unfair to say someone who is writing dissertations, thesis, reports or papers is not a writer. True, they are not getting paid to write, and in most cases they are paying to write, but I still believe you are a writer as soon as you put pen/pencil to paper.
Now we bring up Patterson's argument that he is not a writer, but a storyteller. Now that is a distinction I think. Writers write and can write about anything. Storyteller's tell stories. Now they can tell their stories orally or they can write it down and share it with the world. In either case, both can become authors. Not everyone can become authors, and I agree there are some authors out there that shouldn't be authors at all, but what to do?
As for those people who are writing feedback like "OMG that was awesome!! Please read my twilight knockoff!" I think they are young, and perhaps a little immature, but no less serious. I think they need some years of experience and finding themselves before they can really mature as writers. I think some people are more serious than others about their writing and expect nothing but the best. I also believe there are writers out there that only care about the money. HELLO you're a writer! It's one of those jobs you shouldn't expect to get rich from. You should do it because you love it and you have something to share with complete strangers. I write because I love to write. I have always had a vivid imagination and as such, I have characters and their stories demanding to being written about. I also love history. When I come across something in my studies or browsing through old archives sometimes I come across something that has been in the dark too long and needs to be told. In both cases I do not expect to make money off of my writings. All I want is to share my thoughts and imagination with someone. Of course, if by some lucky star I make money off of my writings, I won't argue or complain. ;)
Hostess time: So why do you write? What makes you a writer, author, storyteller? Do you only write for money? Or do you do it because you love it? Since I didn't get to it but it is equally important, do you think feedback is an issue of trust? Also, do you find feedback honest? distrustful? annoying? helpful?
Do you trust the person giving the feedback, both in terms of understanding what you need and also that any comments are given in good faith and are intrinsically honest?
Conversely, as someone giving feedback, do you place your trust in the writer to be honest about any merit the feedback has?
Because without these two things, I think most feedback is an irrelevant waste of effort.
What was the topic? It doesn't matter. I'm going to take advantage of the next few minutes and work on my latest novel. Bye.
What makes a writer different from an aspiring writer of someone playing writer? Poppop had a good concept - a writer writes. But most writers don't write all the time. So if I wrote yesterday and not today, was I a writer yesterday but not today? If I spent the last few months working on something that didn't actually include writing, but was about the marketing of my writing, does that make me now a marketing person and no longer a writer? When a writer is on a book tour, are they no longer a writer? Most importantly, was Edgar Allen Poe a writer when he wrote the Raven, or only when it sold? Was Steig Laarson a writer when he died, or did he become one when the trilogy was published?
We're all writers. And we're all largely equal in that. So long as we are all equally striving to be the best writers we can be. Now, is every writer on WeBook doing that? Of course not. We're all in different places in our lives, and there will always be people who want to be writers more than they actually want to write. And, yes, there has been a huge influx in the amount of people actively attempting to write and be published. From old to young and back again. In my home town, we have a huge percentage of the population that is retired, which means 80% of those who always wanted to be a writer now have time to pursue it. The even print out clever little business cards with their names and the title "Author" next to it. Does that make them an author? Does it make them not?
I don't care much for titles. Maybe in certain places they mean something. Maybe being the CFO instead of the CEO costs real people real money, but being called an "aspiring writer" or "writer" or "author" never really has meant much to me. I want to write, and I want to get paid for the privilege. That's it. Everything beyond that is semantics.
I read an interview with James Patterson (whose writing I personally can't stand) where they brought up Stephen King stating that Patterson wasn't an author. Patterson said, "No, I'm a storyteller."
None. When we have gotten to the point that we argue about bullshit like that, about titles, we have too much time on our hands.
But how do we decide if someone wants to be a writer more than they want to write? Trial and error. I agree with both Eddie and Sue that it's about attitude. About wanting to learn. I disagree that Eddie is aspiring towards anything but sainthood - he's a writer, all the way - but if someone is willing to learn, they will. If someone is throwing themselves at it all the way, writing in their attic on their birthday - because being left alone to write was the only gift they wanted - then they deserve to be helped. And, Dochie is right that our helping and feedback is not always entirely selfless.
For me, I just love a good story. It is no less enjoyable if I happen to not be the one who wrote it.
If a WeBooker actively takes notice of advice given or argues their case but still manages to improve the piece by accepting that something needed fixing (just maybe not what I/others thought) and then continues to post work, I'd assume they're serious because they've taken the criticism and then kept going. The 'where they're at' question is a little more difficult, but if they take criticism well, their grammar is pretty much okay, vocabulary non-repetitive and plot progression believable, then I'd guess they're a more mature writer (age/experience or attitude) and that they also possess a certain level of dedication/passion for what they do. If they don't take criticism well, don't make any attempt to improve and keep making the same mistakes that've been pointed out to them over, and over, and over again - I'd probably decide that they're not really that interested and are just playing around.
How about Kazumes question, “how do you determine that someone is just starting out, playing at it, or serious about writing?”
For me, I'm only an aspiring writer because I have not perfected my craft yet. I aspire for a reader to get lost in one of my stories. I aspire for someone to tell me that words that I wrote moved them to tears, or to laughter, or caused them to cheer. That is what I work towards and why I'm still an aspiring writer. As for the author part, I really don't care. The business is too difficult currently for anyone, other than the select few (most who don't deserve it), to make any real money at it. I have a job I love and which pays me well enough so I can write without the pressure to sell my stories. What more can an aspiring writer want.
I appreciate the 5 star breakdown. That helps. And I agree that getting a 3 on the page to fame which means you're going to get no where translated to giving just 4s and 5s. Either I don't rate enough peoples works or recognize peoples writing on the PagetoFame because I have yet to find a work I know outside of PagetoFame so it's easy for me to stay objective. I have noticed, however, that I feel like I change the way I rate according to the mood I am in when I am rating peoples works.... It's so terrible and unfair, but it happens. I wish there was a better way of rating instead of the 5 star system...
I also agree that if you can't take criticism then you shouldn't be a writer. Most of writing is criticism. Get it, vent about it, and then learn from it. I fine most feedback helpful to my own writing. It helps me know what areas I need to work on and what is working.
Hostess time: So, sense it was brought up, how do you determine if someone is serious or not about their writing? How do you rate on PagetoFame? Do you find it difficult to stay objective and honest? Or do you feel obligated to give someone's work a 4 or 5? Do you, like me, change the way you rate depending on your mood? What do you think?
As a side note: I feel like I should rename this conversation to feedback discussion haha. Keep it up, it's very interesting and I think helpful to anyone reading.
It's more than just semantics.
A knucklehead is an anonymous nobody,,, we are all knuckleheads on the net.
Each morning I am an aspiring writer as I sit at my desk, sipping coffee, waiting to begin. If at the end of the day, if I have written, I am an accomplished writer.
With all that said, I agree knowing a person's level helps in evaluating their work and should temper ones approach to criticism. However, one should be polite when giving feedback. But if a person requires an English/Literature/Grammar/ refresher course, perhaps they should not be putting their stuff online to be critiqued?
Today's Quote (from the Los Angeles Review of Books)
“Literature isn’t music or painting; there are no idiot savants in literature.”
If the top editor of the top publishing house can discourage you from writing, You Are Not A Writer.
I spend a lot of my time reviewing, simply because I want to try and help others as I've been helped on this site. To me, this is an incredibly important part of WeBook that deserves to have time dedicated to it. I accept that some people won't agree with that, but if I ever thought that my efforts weren't appreciated or considered of value, then I'd probably stop. Feeling 'of use' often transcends the hope of reciprocated feedback, because just knowing that something I've said has helped is often enough to keep me critiquing that writer's work.
Also, I find it especially difficult to rate authors who are writing in a 'second' language. On the face of it, sometimes, the writing is a 2 star, but if you factor in just how amazing it is that they are attempting this? Gut reaction from me (often curtailed) is 5 stars all the way...because I'm useless at languages and if giving them encouragement is enough to keep them going, then so be it. Sometimes it's just too counterproductive to list every single fault...and give the stars to match.
Personally, I like the way that Goodreads allots their 'stars' (1 = didn't like it, 2 = it was okay, 3 = liked it, 4 = really liked it, 5 = amazing) This again would give a basic response that could then be built on with a written critique. However, I agree that 3 stars on WeBook wouldn't give the author the idea that the reviewer liked their work - and I hold the PageToFame competition to blame for that, because a 3 star rating was enough to downgrade an entry. I think that's what initially started the idea that only 4 and 5s are worthwhile.
Ouch... Poppop, you've hit a nerve that forced me to respond to. The challenges are tough to rate when there are so many friends (and acquaintances) submitting. I’ve even gone so far as to not rate them, based on my being prejudiced toward their writing, but is that any fairer? I try to be objective but I know I’m either overcompensating or being too easy. I’ve even taken a stand on another project that cost me dearly, but I did what I felt was right. Damned if you do, and all of that.
Then there are the projects that are really bad, both on the challenge and posted projects. Do you rate them fairly and risk discouraging a fledgling writer? I try, when posting feedback, to query the writer as to what stage of writing they are in. If it is poorly written then it might just be because it is a rough draft (mine usually are), but it could also be that they are just learning grammar and structure. Knowing which helps to tailor your response. Personally, I could do without the star rating system. It is too subjective. Used the way it should be and you are judged to be too harsh, but giving everyone four or five stars dilutes the system and makes it irrelevant. So, what’s the answer? Anyone?
I still think it should be incumbent upon the people … Use the boards, send a message to your friends alert your writings group of feedback circle … update the profile … This is supposed to be a social network … be social :o)
As for the star system, people do whatever they want … but originally a 5 meant perfect, ready for publication and were supposed to be given out sparingly. Now it seems (particularly in the challenges) you get 4 just for showing up and 5 if you are a friend …
Well everyone is entitled to their opinions! Yup, I totally just took the easy way out of that argument.... Ok maybe I'll take a stab at it, why not, right? That's an interesting way of looking at the star system as a way to show your gut reaction. Knowing/understanding the way someone is using the stars can go a long way to helping authors understand what they mean by it.
Yes, I agree that a lot of members on this website just want to have praise about their work....but who doesn't? You can't tell me you don't want someone to like your work and tell you that they liked it. I might find the type of feedback where someone only writes "great!" annoying and not constructively helpful, but it does give me a boost of much need confidence every once in awhile. And who would want to attend a website that is completely anonymous where people only write critiques of your work? Not me. I'm quite happy here on WeBook.
Like buttons are lazy. They're made for a quick, immediate response to whatever is presented to you. In the sense of a social network like facebook, I believe like buttons are not a bad idea. In the context of rating someone's work I don't think they are necessary.
Alright, so I've got a few votes for a last 10 projects visited function, anyone else? How do you feel about a list of the last 10 projects you visited on you profile? How about a like of you top 10 favorite projects? What about a like button? And if you use the star system, how do you use the stars to rate? Like what makes one project a 3 star vs. a 5 star?
All these buttons will do is make it less necessary for you to put words on a page. And that doesn't do anyone any good.
But it's a fool's game. Everyone likes to collect imaginary points, feel validated, and it's never about being a better writer, it's about being flooded with dopamine because your reward pathways have been activated just the way you like it.
So... yeah. People can whine about me because all I do is post to the forum, but really there's little wrong with that. I don't want to participate in the validation game.
I look around at this site and others and I sometimes I wonder what it has to do with writing. So many writing sites have nothing to do with writing at all, they're actually about imitating writers, playing writer, calling yourself a writer because you acquired a typewriter and alcoholism, playing cliche, validating yourself, winning competitions, getting published, making money. People blather on about how scared they are that someone will steal their work. Blather on about what Hemingway had for breakfast. Blather on about how much they love other people's work so they can get that rush of getting a little notification on one of their own pages. Whine and bitch and moan when you get a critique you either don't like or don't even understand.
It's got fuck all to do with writing really. It's about the shell of bullshit which accretes on the event horizon of writing.
So, y'know, whatever. Attach more buttons, bells, whistles. Have more games. But it's not going to improve your skill.
Want to know what the ideal writing site is? No accounts, no stars, no points, no likes, no names, no games. No ego. You can post, and people can peel apart the work, and if it hurts your feelings then you can suck it up and fuck off. Anonymous, free of validation, and nobody has to put up with the whining shit.
Feedback isn't just paying it forward. Giving feedback directly improves the ability of the writer, in two ways. It gives them an opportunity to crystallise the nebulous notion of 'like' and 'dislike' by justifying their feelings, and it gives them the technical experience of finding the reasons for those feelings and exploring what they feel works and doesn't work with a piece of writing.
When I read some formulaic bullshit, I want to be able to see exactly where it is formulaic bullshit .As if by magic, it becomes more difficult to write formulaic bullshit. In addition, in making that abstract gut reaction make sense in written form, you've improved your ability to write the difficult things.
If you just slap a number of stars on it, you've gained none of that. And the person reading that star review only sees something pretty difficult to interpret. So I really have to question what has actually been gained?
Have you ever looked at a facebook newsfeed when people are posting statuses? It's narcissistic, people make populist statuses so they can collect thumbs and feel better about themselves. People post pictures of themselves hoping they will accreted likes so they will feel better about how they look. It's... wrong. Basically. It's horrid. And when it comes to writing, there's no distinction. People post work hoping for stars and praise and that's not what feedback is supposed to be about. And that's pretty much why I don't give feedback on Webook, or post work on Webook. Because I don't need the validation of a bunch of stars, and I don't want to give actual feedback only to have it either ignored or catch someone's whiny, bitchy bullshit about how they hate me because I didn't praise them like mommy did.
So, if you want to talk about what Webook can do to make feedback better, then (and this is just my own opinion, based on no authority) I think that you should stop asking for stars, bells and whistles from whoever runs this site, and make a direct appeal to the community to drop the narcissism, and give feedback, not wank people off, or expect to be wanked off, because at the end of the day no publisher gives a shit about how many stars you collected on a website, or how many times you got a fuzzy feeling inside because someone wrote that your work was 'rely good'.
So, yeah, if that's playing provocateur, then fine. But if that's the sort of opinion which provokes you, maybe you're doing it wrong.
Of course, with regard to spelling...there is the UK/US differences to consider and phrases can be a mine-field too. e.g. I've been pointing out to authors that 'could care less' should be 'couldn't care less' thinking that was a typo! It was only recently that I discovered it's another difference between our 'English' languages! So now, with things like that, I usually add a (?) to the end of a comment when I'm not sure if it's right or not and I always say that my comments are 'suggestions' because, at the end of the day, it's up to the author whether they agree with me or not.
I like the idea of having a 'last 10 projects visited' list on profile pages too - not sure how difficult that would be though (from a computer programming POV). I do think the Reader Shout Out section could be utilised more, though I'm one of those yet to use it. If I have a 'reader thank you' to make, I either leave it in the feedback box or send them a personal message.
BTW - I regularly go missing for a day or so - Black Dog Days are the bain of my existence...and I'm not good company when I'm convinced I can't write anything worth reading. That's when I step away from WeBook, until I'm feeling a little more confident OR when my family get sick of me being down and end up screaming "JUST WRITE SOMETHING!!" at me. ;)
But, yeah ... something ...
On the shout out front .. Eddie Tol posted and I had a look ... so it can work ...
We should promote the Reader Shout Out section more often... I think that's a good start. But it would be nice to have something more readily available on our own home pages instead of having to surf through all the posts in the forum. Maybe a current list of the last 10 projects you visited and commented on and another list of the top 10 projects you liked....
What do you think? Thoughts? Questions? Ideas?
The star system is a joke ...
NavarCrow, don't feel bad. I'm always disappearing and reappearing on here. I feel like we all do that once in awhile. I think I'm on here more often because facebook has official made me angry so I don't really get on there anymore and WeBook has been improving so why the heck not? Besides, I find the people on here more intellectual and interesting than the morons on facebook. So welcome back and join the ever going conversation about feedback.
Now back to being the hostess lets keep this going. Do you think it's a good idea to have a function in your profile that tells people what projects you're reading/active on and which projects you liked? And for the creative side of us all, what do you think something like that will look like?
As for him, he's all over these boards playing provocateur ...
Of course, that kind of feedback is great. And, possibly most people do the same, ie comment on things they like about something.
I find the "This is awesome, keep writing' kind of feedback very motivating. It's also encouraging that someone read my work and they liked it. Who would have thought a complete stranger would like what I wrote? So I don't mind it.
As for what do you think constitutes feedback, I'd have to say any comment on your project. That can be if someone rates your chapters or if they leave a one word comment (ex. More!) or if someone gives you an entire essay for a comment. I agree that I like to get longer comments that give me something constructive to look at (besides writing can always be improved, right?), but I do accept shorter comments that are encouraging. I'm just excited someone is reading my projects and they like it.
Keeping with my role as hostess of this lovely thread, I'll keep ending with questions: What kind of feedback do you like to give? What about receive? And as asked earlier, what do you think constitutes feedback? All comments and thoughts welcome!
Can't 'enforce' it. Who would want to?
If not for feedback (reaction) why come here? As for meaningful that is entirely too subjective. Good story. Well written. Entertaining. All can be as meaningful as a full page of copy edit … even more so if the person knows not what they are talking about. Much feedback here sounds like it's coming from a “Continuing Education Night Class Seminar” or some such place …
But about returning feedback: how would you enforce it and make it meaningful? And while we're about it, what constitutes 'feedback' anyway? Anyone can write a lame comment in the box.
I am going to disagree, by joining a site like this returning feedback should be a given.
As a side note: I noticed somehow this conversation got Stickied... and now it's been unsticked :( So sad. I was shocked it was stickied in the first place but it did make finding it a lot easier.
For the record, I do. :o)
As for it being obligated, I doubt anyone just goes out and posts feedback randomly on people's projects. There are a variety of reasons for commenting, but I would ask, if people don't want unsolicited feedback, why post for feedback and not keep it private? If they seriously don't want feedback but just readers, sites such as Wattpad are better. Webook is kind of set up for reciprocation.
I think the value of reciprocating is often underestimated. I think it can be a good way of seeing what works and what doesn't in a neutral zone (for the reviewer at least).
There's no way of knowing *who* returns reads then sneaks away. But there's no point commenting if there's nothing to say..
When I first joined WeBook, I started quietly writing away and reading/leaving feedback on the projects that were in my own genre of writing (figuring that those were the authors who were most likely to return my feedback and enjoy reading my story). Lets just say...my story truly sucked and I didn't write as well as I thought I did! :) I don't remember it being a problem to get feedback, although I did come across authors who didn't acknowledge or return the feedback I left them - so I usually left their projects well alone. My time is precious, afterall, so why waste it on people who take me for granted?
When I hit on the idea that I'm currently busy with, a 5 book series, my genre changed and so did my reading arena/feedback field. That was when I found my first true WeBook friend, a wonderful lady who seemed bowled over by my interest in her work and, not only that, but she started to read and encourage me! Through her I got to know a few other people, some who stuck around and some who disappeared over time. When there got to be a few of us, we formed a writing group and started commenting on each other's work (and some of the feedback was pretty brutal - but always constructive. I know I had to take a deep breath sometimes!). I think there was about six of us to start with and that grew to around twelve. And that's when the problems really started.
There is a thing as too much feedback (that you want to return) - can you imagine having twelve writers, all working hard and putting up their work? That's eleven other writers you have to leave feedback on...and believe me, you end up doing very little writing of your own because you're too busy leaving your feedback on everyone else's work! That, I think, is why the group finally imploded.
Eventually, after a few more false starts, about four of us formed another group and from that point on everything settled down again...until WeBook disappeared!
BUT then came the resurrection...and a whole new chapter started. I'm still in touch with my original friends (thankfully we were also all on facebook, so didn't lose contact during WeBook's 'down time') and we still critique each other's work, but if you really want to get yourself noticed, make new friends, and find writers you like to read and others who like what you do...then get yourself active in the monthly challenges.
Each month you write a piece to the challenge guidelines and start critiquing those left by others. On there, authors actively help each other to improve and, although there are still those who take but don't return, the ratio of response is much higher.
I now have people from the challenges who are reading my latest book/project and offering me invaluable insights - and I'm returning the favour. Not only have I still got some of my original friends to look to for advice, I have others who are quickly becoming new friends.
And with regard to those who don't respond to my Challenge reviews? I tend to just shrug it off. It's only half an hour of my time...and I won't be doing it for them again or bothering with their work if that's their attitude. It's a good way of sussing out the 'good' WeBookers from the 'bad'. :) Just be careful you don't get back into that trap of too many friends and projects you want to read - because you'll never get anything of your own written!
As for people returning feedback, you win some you lose some. I came across the same problem when I first joined WeBook. I was enthusiastically reviewing projects thinking maybe the author would return the favor. Some did, most didn't. I also felt like I was putting too much effect in for nothing. It was frustrating. It was annoying. It was disheartening. I gave up after awhile and returned to my cave of a room to write in peace. If someone read my work, great. If they didn't they didn't. But I was going to keep writing damn it and that was that. Even though I stopped actively looking for projects to review, I never did let myself become one of those people, I always return the favor of feedback.
I will confess that sometimes life carries me away for awhile (like it's trying to do right now, why is college so time-consuming?). When I return, I make it a point to go through my old reviews to see if I missed chapters being added to works, or if I wrote I would read it later and haven't gotten to it yet then I will attempt to get to it now. I may not get to some projects right away, but I do get to them eventually.
Maybe the Golden Rule of returning feedback is still being honored today, maybe it isn't. Well fellow WeBookers, do you return reviews? Or do you pick and choose which reviewers you will return the favor for? By all means, let's try and keep this thread going!
Well boo bloody hoo. Agreed. But what I did was turn the whole thing around. I began to look at it differently. Why should people return feedback? Maybe people did look and read then quietly think ooh no and sneak away. And, I began to think, what could these people offer me? A rewrite? How would that *help*? No, I've concluded that sometimes it's for the best when people say nothing.
However, this has only happened to me once so far. Everyone else who has ever given me feedback I have returned the favor. And while some of their projects aren't projects I would have started reading because they interested me at first, they do tend to be interesting and I can still comment on the story or writing. Not only does it open up my mind to new possibilities for my own writing, it also helps my editing process too.
I suppose what I am saying is, it depends on the person. Some people find it very hard to read things they do not like from the very beginning and end up not being helpful but hurtful in the end. Others, even though they don't like it, can give constructive feedback for perhaps a chapter or two before they just can't do it anymore. Still others may find it interesting want to keep reading as much as possible.
Personally, when someone reads my projects I want them to comment no matter what they feel. I want them to tell me if my writing held their interest or did not. That's probably why I like Page to Fame because it forces you to rate projects you are not interested in. So when I get a 2 or a 1 I know either this story needs work because it is not catching someone's attention or I need to come up with a better first page to really grab the reader. And in some cases, I just remind myself that not everyone likes to read the same things I do. But in the end I still get feedback that makes me want to write better and tell better stories. Which is what I believe this website is all about. Having a community to help motivate you to write better.
So fellow WeBookers, how do you feel? Do you leave feedback on projects you don't like? Or do you just walk away without writing anything? Do you appreciate it when people leave constructive feedback on your project?
I do loads of reading on here but I hardly ever comment. Maybe I should say: I start to read loads on here but give up. Not necessarily because it's bad writing, but because it's just not my bag. Commenting or giving feedback would not be particularly helpful to that writer I feel.
But what would happen if everyone waited to read the people who read them first? It wouldn't just be a very long wait, it would be the end of sites like this that rely on people to make that initial contact.
I'm not getting at you, but I also feel this mutual *reading* isn't necessarily what's best.
Here's what I mean. I've recently read a couple of books by Justin Cronin. I think these books are dead ace and can't wait for the next one. I'm not the only person who thinks like this but, conversely, there are people who don't like them and would rather staple their eyelids together than have to read another word of his.
Still, I wouldn't expect Mr Cronin to be interested in my shit just because I happen to like his. He wouldn't necessarily have anything of value to offer me. However, he may well like something someone who doesn't like his writing has written (hope that's clear...) and feel he could help that person.
How do you feel about the idea of a writing community? Do you have a particular group of people you go to for help when you hit a 'rough' spot? or do you go for nice walks outside somewhere to find inspiration?
I continue to return because the idea of a community of writers that work together to help each other is in my opinion the future of writing. And as far I know this is the first site to accomplish that in any way that is measurable. That and the peopleI have met throught this site are some of the coolest people I have ever encountered.
So here's another question for people out there, Did you join WeBook because there were actual people writing new, intriguing stories with fresh material instead of fan-fiction? How do you feel about fan-fiction?
It's like finding a baby website and getting to be one of those people who "liked it before it was cool" even though it's technically been around for a while. It's nice to find a website that actually has real writers and good stories and isn't just filled with fanfiction, erotica written by people who've never had sex, and poems about eating disorders and cutting.
Hmmm I never really thought about how different British English and American English is but now that you mention it, I used to read a lot of stuff by Daidri (not sure I spelled that correctly) on here who was also from Britain. I could never wrap my little American mind around how she used sit and sat in her story. It was just so strange. But I really enjoyed her story 'Light' regardless.
I'm quite impressed that members recognize my name! Here I thought I was not out in the open enough for people to remember me. Well, that goes to show I'm actually a lot more active than I thought. Thanks for putting up with me.
Fit birds? hmmm.... Why fit birds? O.o
I think WeBook does a nice job pulling in people who are looking for a community. The set up does allow you to establish almost a support group for writing. At least that's how I feel sometimes when I'm feeling like I'll never finish a story. Then I remember all those great comments people have posted on early chapters and I have an epiphany moment. People are liking this story, therefore I must provide them with more! It's such a great little motivator.
Which moves me onto more questions. (Those of you who have just arrived, please keep telling us what drew you to WeBook, I still liked to read it!)
Alright everyone, now that you have found WeBook, rediscovered it, uncovered it, what ever the case may be, how do you feel about it? Does it keep you motivated? Does it frustrate you? Are you thrilled with the community? The new developments? PagetoFame (P2F or PTF... I didn't know it was abbreviated either way, but it does make sense) Any comments, critiques, fun shenanigans? Let's keep this thread going for fun. ^_^
Anyway, like many others, I googled and found webook. And you know what? I posted my book and people seemed to agree – that it was indeed bloody fantastic. Then, oh yes, a few people ventured to have a different opinion. There was an occasional – this isn’t that great, actually. Or even, the hurtful, it’s crap. What? What? Huh, I thought. These idiots don’t know what they’re talking about.
But then gradually I realised they were right. The book was pretty crap, actually.
So I wrote another book, but the feedback feedbacked the voice out of it. I started to become disillusioned. Then webook began to disintegrate: the vote fiasco, the P2F scam, the mass decamping of thousands of disenchanted members. I joined another site which I felt offered more what I wanted but stayed on webook, mainly interacting with a few who remained on the forum.
Eventually, I didn’t feel there was much point anymore so left completely. Then, because I’d *liked* the webook page on facebook, I saw an announcement that it was back. Intrigued – mainly because I didn’t realise it had gone away – I took another look. And saw some of the people I’d got to forumise with from before. So I decided to give it another chance.
I think people are beginning to have fun again on webook. There’s still some way to go, but the new team appear to have a vision – hate that phrase but can’t think of a better way of describing it – and seem to be implementing it bit by bit. They also listen to members, and actively seek out their views. Whether this is a genuine attempt to reflect the community’s wishes and rebuild accordingly or just a PR exercise remains to be seen but, so far, the improvements make it worth staying.
At some point, Kim Reeves and I really hit it off in the forums, so I became more active. I "met" several others about the time it was obvious the WeBook team wasn't committed to their own plans. So I joined the "coup" Eddie mentioned. It was a lot of fun. We were just a group of writers that started a project to help each other out and encourage each other to grow. For the first time, I was getting real feedback on my writing. When the "coup" fell apart, several of us kept going with a private project, reviewing each other's novels, chapter by chapter. Some stayed on, some left, but over time we settled into a small but core critique group that was dedicated to each other's growth and success. I was still trying to figure out what kind of a writer I was at the beginning and posted a variety of stuff until I finally found my voice. My voice still varies book to book, but I am more consistent in what kind of books I write-- women's fiction with a multicultural bent.
I was shocked and upset, as many of you were, when WeBook shut down last December. I kept in touch with my few remaining critique partners, and Alina's husband set up a site for us, but we all went rushing back when WeBook came online again. During that dark period, I learned that WeBook has something totally unique. If P2F fails, if the new staff doesn't deliver on their promises, as long as the site continues, we will have the most important part of what makes WeBook so unique and that's the Projects. Other writing sites have places where authors can upload their writing for critiques, but I worry about publicly posting something I wish to one publish. The private projects that we can control who views our work is an invaluable tool. If it wasn't for that tool and my critique partners, I couldn't have progressed as far as I have, and I also wouldn't have the tight friendships with my people-- other writers.
Few things I do have a definite purpose, so I'll say joining WEbook didn't really have a 'why'. I think I started off just going around the forums taunting people. I still enjoy that, actually.
Uh, I dunno, forget. It was 2008... I think? Maybe earlier.
Writing's one of the few things I'm not totally shit at. I've always wanted to be writer, although, for sporadic periods of my life I have written nothing, and I suspect that shall be the story of my life.
I love telling stories... so did my grandfather, actually. He used to tell the best stories. I think I get whatever I have from him.
The trouble is having a story to tell.
I'm the only person in my family who writes, and barring my mother's occasional romance novel and my sister's obsession with The Hunger Games, the only one who reads either.
I don't really want to get famous, or rich, or even have lots of people read my book. But I'd like to die knowing I wrote the thing I was born to write, and that's all there is to that.
I am also saddled with an introverted and shy personality that is difficult to overcome. There has been a lot of self-doubt and not a lot of encouragement to fuel my burning need to put pen to paper.
I found this site on accident using an internet search engine because I wanted, and needed, a small outlet to test the waters. Kinda find out, have confirmed, whether or not I had developed any skill over the years while shuttered away in the safety of my home--wishing, and dreaming, and wondering.
The jury is still out on the skill, but the relief I have found in finding a community of people who are on the same threshold--wishing, and dreaming, and wondering has been uplifting in a way that I cannot describe.
I found this site because of my niece, who is a writer (but not active on WeBook - her loss), and fell in love with the concept. My enthusiasm started to wane, then Page To Fame was launched and I was hooked again. I read and rated with a fervor, believing I was about to be discovered and connecting with fellow writers. Then it became apparent that there was no pot at the end of the WeBook rainbow and, after a failed coup, left WeBook. I came back when I received an email that the site was coming back and have been active since.
I have to be honest that my enthusiasn is waning again. I'm trying to be positive (and have even railed against others for posting negative jaunts) but the pace is discouraging. Combine that with the recent dearth of updates on PTF and I'm left wondering. I start to wonder and then doubt creeps in. I seriously want this site to be reborn and for the new owners to finally make the concept a reality but I'm like a jilted bridegroom (sorry JJ) still standing at the altar, or, as a countrified friend of mine is fond of saying, 'nervous as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rockers.' I'm here - I'm still hopeful - but I'm starting to doubt.
I've not been on here as long as you - I joined at the end of May 2010 after a 'non-writing' friend pointed me towards a BBC news item that listed WeBook as one of the top sites on the net! I'd been struggling on my own, writing in solitary confinement (or that's what it felt like because no one in my family writes!) for years. I remember being extremely excited at the idea of a community of writers.
I started to make friends through the project pages - I found a lot of amazing stuff to read and through that, a lot of amazing people to chat with. I didn't find many authors from the UK on here and the writing tips and publisher/agent lists etc were all very US biased, but that didn't really bother me - except when I got rated down for my 'incorrect' British spelling/grammar on PagetoFame!
I joined groups where I was very often the only 'Brit' - but aside from the occasional misunderstanding regarding UK/US spelling, words and terms, that didn't prove to be a problem. I actually found that it helped me, because they could give me a totally different perspective on my writing. I'd like to think I did the same for them too...
I use WeBook for gathering feedback on my own work and for finding exciting new projects to read. The community aspect of this site has always been one of its strengths for me and I love how the members support and encourage each other. Constructive criticism laced with liberal 'pep' talks is priceless - and that's what I get here. Also - I've recently discovered the monthly 'challenges' and the 'forums'. I find that both are great ways to improve my writing and meet yet more WeBookers. Nice to see the site coming alive again! :)
Ok so, I've been a member of WeBook for quite awhile now, as in almost since the very beginning, and I'm starting to feel like a WeBook Veteran. I know there are a bunch of us out there. How? Well I see a lot of familiar pennames floating around that have been here either longer than I have or almost as long as I have been around. It's super nice to see I'm not the only original WeBooker out there returning.
So there has been a lot of debate going on about the new WeBook look. I personally find this angry array of negative feelings is silly. So to combat some of those negative feelings and just because I'm feeling cheeky and defiant, I want to start a fun post. Hopefully it will lift off, or not. Doesn't matter as long as peeps are thinking about it.
I'd like to bring the old and new members out of the dark and into the fun loving community WeBook was supposed to be and should continue being.
Let's start with the easy question. Why in the world did YOU choose WeBook? Why do you stick around?
Was it because it looked cool?
It was a place you felt comfortable posting your writings?
How about a place to read something new?
Was it because you were curious as to what WeBook was?
Or maybe a friend told you to join and read their stuff?
Did Page to Fame ensnare you in its grasps?
Please share your story!
For me, I had just finished my very first manuscript and I wanted to get some kind of feedback other than my best friend (She's a tough editor >.< but I still wanted to see if strangers would enjoy it as much as she did). I found myself on ask.com searching for a writers forum. Much to my young mind there were a ton of different writers websites. I started to scope them out one by one and becoming members to a bunch of them.
Somehow I managed not to post my story out of eagerness until a few days had passed and I decided I liked a particular website. After all, I didn't want someone to steal my ideas and so on. During my search I stumbled upon WeBook. Out of all the sites I looked at, WeBook was the most clean cut, easy to use website. It was brightly colored (for some reason every other websites was darkly colored and strange...Cult strange in some instances...*Insert manga art here if only I could draw -_-) and drew my attention. And the best part? WeBook was free, it offered a safe place to display your work chapter by chapter where strangers could safely give you their opinion. Later the deal became ever sweeter when they invented PagetoFame and AgentBox which were just too cool to be true.
When WeBook disappeared I nearly cried. That's right folks, cried, like a baby. Not only had I just posted a new story but I had only posted it on here and had planned on saving it on my computer later. My mistake. It was a rough few months without WeBook. Then when it resurfaced it was like the sun came out once again! Yay! And better yet, WeBook returned with new owners would have been making small improvements to the site each week. I am very impressed with the changes they have made and continue to look forward to the direction WeBook will go in!