Novel Writing

Scribophile Review – My First Four Weeks

Roll up, roll up, here is my review of my first four weeks of using Scribophile.

Day 1

I’ve just signed up for my Scribophile account, it’s quick and easy, and I can’t quite believe I am already trusted to review other people’s work. I’ve opted for the basic, free option which allows me to review other people’s work and earn “Karma” points through doing so which allow me to upload my own work for critiquing.

I need 5 Karma points to upload my first chapter and to get this I have reviewed two submissions. I absolutely loved the process, I chose to review the work through an “inline critique” where you type within their manuscript your comments, highlight sections and signify where words should be deleted. The two pieces I reviewed were both Sci-Fi/Fantasy, and I loved their stories, it was great fun. I tried to balance out my critique with a good number of positives, no one’s writing is perfect, and as much as we would want to improve, no one wants the bad pointed out without some encouragement!

I’ve just submitted my first chapter, and I am so nervous! My Chapter will stay in the “Spotlight” until it receives three long critiques, and I’m not sure yet what happens when that’s done. The “Spotlight” seems to be where people go to find work to review, you are automatically put into the spotlight as a new member, but after that, I think you need to pay or earn karma points to get back there. I imagine that for the next few days I will be avidly checking for comments. Good bye life…

Day 1 – an hour later

I have my first review! How quick was that? Oh my goodness, the stress I felt reading that first review was immense. The critique was detailed and well thought out, it mainly focused on sentence structure, cliches, and repetition but it also pointed out an area where my character acted out of character, something I hadn’t noticed but is now glaringly obvious!

Day 1 – A bit later on

Ouch. Ouch. Ouch, ouch, ouch. Critique number two written and received, this person does not mince his words!

Day 1 – Even later on

I now have my final critique, which was, thankfully much more encouraging than the second one. My work is now out of the new member spotlight and has 3o days before it is locked. Once a piece of work is locked you can’t change it or gain new critiques, but you can read the previous critiques. I’m no longer in a spotlight, so that means people won’t gain many “Karma” points if they critique me, that means I probably won’t gain any more feedback. The next step is to make the changes from my current critiques and then resubmit for it to go in the spotlight. This is a waitlist, and you need to wait until all those ahead of you have gained three reviews while in the spotlight. Complicated!

Day 2

I have received five critiques, each one very helpful in their own way. Some were quite hard to read, people found my first chapter lacked a story and enough detail about my characters. I’ve spent the last few hours completely reorganising my first chapter, tearing it apart in line with the feedback I received. I’ve critiqued another six works, which is really good fun, and I’ve earnt enough “Karma” points to get my chapter back in the “Spotlight”. Apparently, it can take some time to get my work up there are the are a set number of novels in the spotlight and a queue system.

Day 5

I have finally managed to get into the spotlight, and the reviews came in thick and fast. Some were brilliant, and others not so. I really need to make some serious changes.

Day 14

I have now completely rewritten my first chapter. It was such a painful process! At the end of the day, though, critiques are there for a reason and if you don’t listen what’s the point in even putting your work on Scrib. Up Chapter One goes… Let’s see what happens. N.B. I’ve upgraded to the paid version so I have put the chapter on straight away into a “personal spotlight” that only those who follow me can see.

Day 21

It’s taken a long time to get the 6 critiques on my chapter in a personal spotlight. I think this may be because I haven’t got many followers. This isn’t a bad thing, though, I found in the main spotlight some people critique your work to clear the queue, so they don’t enjoy the genre you are writing. In a personal spotlight, I have received some incredibly helpful and spot on advice!

Day 28

I love Scrib. It’s official. My writing has improved so much. Not only have the detailed critiques shown me areas of weakness to work on but also the process of critiquing others work has caused me to become more analytical of my own writing style. I am noticing when I start too many chapters with the word “I”, where I need to flesh out descriptions and when it would be better to use dialogue rather than exposition. All in all, it’s one of the best wrtiting decisions I’ve ever made.

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7 thoughts on “Scribophile Review – My First Four Weeks

  1. Wow! Good for you, Amy! This sounds verrrry time consuming. I think I prefer the method I used, which was sending the first draft of my book manuscript to five beta readers. Same thing in the end, I suppose, but… How can people properly review a chapter by itself, without its before-and-after? I suppose to a point it’s possible, but… not thoroughly convinced. Glad it’s been working well for you, though!

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    1. Hello, I have taken a little break from Scrib, mainly because I have been on Jury Service and so insanely busy! I certainly intend to go back to it. I recommend giving it a try, you will learn so much

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  2. Scrib sounds quite similar to the on-line writing group I worked with long ago. I’m talking 80s and 90s on CompuServe. Ancient history. I learned more about writing there than anywhere else, including college. Now I teach the craft, and I’m about to publish my 11th novel. So, the process works. The way I learned to handle critiques was to treat all the comments as suggestions, not dictates. If I agreed with one, I’d make a change. If not, I ignored it, especially if only one person mentioned it. Two or more, however, meant that I really needed to examine the issue. And that, more often than not, lead to improvements.

    I’m still in a critique group, and it’s just as valuable as ever. Best of luck to you going forward.

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    1. Thank you, I’m so glad to hear how important critiquing is. Your suggestions are incredibly helpful. I’ve taken a quick break from Scrib to finish off my first draft completely before I put it out there again. But I’m looking forward to the process 🙂

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