Looking For Feedback For Your Fiction? Check Out These 4 Websites

The number one rule when writing fiction is that most of the writing happens in the rewrite. Once you’ve typed out that monstrous first draft, you’re going to want a fresh set of eyes (or several fresh sets of eyes) to look over your work and give you feedback. After all, you can’t fix something if you don’t know what’s wrong with it and this applies whether you’re writing novels or screenplays.

One way to go about it is to hire a freelance editor but they can cost you a pretty penny — upwards of hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars depending on the length of your stories and the depth of feedback you want. Most of us can’t afford that. The other option is to utilize the free critique websites that are out there. I think that’s the way to go and here are some websites I recommend if you plan on going this route.

Critique Circle

critique website critiquecircle   Looking For Feedback For Your Fiction? Check Out These 4 Websites

Way back in the day when I first began my fiction writing journey, Critique Circle was the first place recommended to me. As its name suggests, it’s a community-driven critique website where users can post various chunks of their writing (whether those chunks are a few paragraphs, full scenes, or entire chapters) and other users on the site will critique them.

Critique Circle works because it operates on a currency system: in order to post a piece for critique, you must pay 3 credits. You earn credits by critiquing the works of others. Each critique earns you 1 credit. As you can see, since every writer must maintain a minimum ratio of 3 critiques for every posted critique the website remains self-sustaining and persistently active.

In order to maximize visibility for each user’s work, only a certain number of writing pieces are up for critique every week. These critiques are divided by genre. When you submit a critique request, your work is added to the queue and at the end of every week the system rotates out a new set of works ready to be critiqued.

Scribophile

critique website scribophile   Looking For Feedback For Your Fiction? Check Out These 4 Websites

Scribophile is similar to Critique Circle except it has a more modern, socially-networked feel to it. The website runs on a currency called karma points. These points are gained by critiquing other users’ works and you can spend karma points to post your own works for feedback. Karma points are also used around the community for minor things, making it a more versatile system than Critique Circle.

Let’s get back to the point about Scribophile being a social network. The system inherently supports user-led writing groups which can be either private or public. These groups are a great way to network with other writers and build personal relationships — a useful tool when looking for high-quality beta readers and critics. Writing can be a lonely pursuit, but Scribophile makes it easy to find and befriend like-minded writers.

Scribophile has both free and premium accounts. Free accounts are limited to 2 posted works at any given time, limited to 10 private messages and bulletins, and require an extra karma point to join in on contests. Premium accounts can post unlimited works, unlimited private messages and bulletins, receive more in-depth critiques, gain access to privacy controls to limit visibility of your works, detailed reader statistics, and no ads. Premium costs $9 USD per month or $65 USD per year.

FictionPress

critique website fictionpress   Looking For Feedback For Your Fiction? Check Out These 4 Websites

FictionPress is the sister website to the behemoth FanFiction.Net. Whereas FFN is home to millions of fanfiction stories, FictionPress is the place to go for original fiction. Both websites run on a system that began way back in 1998, so you won’t find cutting edge features here.

Fictional works can be posted in any of 21 categories ranging from Action, to Fantasy, to Manga, to Romance, to Young Adult. Due to the old website architecture, navigation and usage can be a bit difficult to get used to. If that’s a dealbreaker for you, you may want to look elsewhere. However, in terms of sheer exposure, FictionPress has one of the largest – if not the largest – audience for free fiction feedback.

Note that new accounts cannot post material for 48 hours after account creation.

My Writers Circle

critique website mywriterscircle   Looking For Feedback For Your Fiction? Check Out These 4 Websites

The other websites on this list are actual automated websites. My Writers Circle breaks away from that trend — it’s a forum. There’s one section in particular, called Review My Work, where you can post samples of your writing for other users to critique. This place is much more lenient than the other sites on this list, but given the right circumstances you can reap tons of awesome feedback.

The best part about My Writers Circle is that their forums are extremely active. If you want more than just critiques (e.g., to relax and chat with other writers), these forums are the place to be. With thousands of active members, the discussions will never end.

Conclusion

Which site you end up using will depend on what kind of critique system you desire. For a self-regulating system, you’ll want either Critique Circle or Scribophile - choose the latter if you also want social networking features. For a broad audience, choose FictionPress. For a wide forum community, choose My Writers Circle.

Haven’t written any fiction yet? Use these creative writing prompts and Android writing apps to break through writer’s block. For those of you who have fiction written, where do you go for feedback? Please share your thoughts and experiences with us in the comments!

Image Credits: Manuscript Via MorgueFile

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6 Comments -

0 votes

dragonmouth

What if the feedback itself is fiction? :)

1 votes

Saikat Basu

There are social networks like WeBook | http://www.webook.com/ as well, where you can dip into a cross-section of opinion. I wonder how can one handle plagiarism when submitting to open sites?

0 votes

Yannis V

I’m wondering about plagiarism and theft of IP myself. I’ve been writing some stuff and would love to get them critiqued. I’m hesitating, though, because of this concern.

I imagine the websites themselves don’t have any particular means of protecting user works.

0 votes

Saikat B

Well, an idea could be to submit just a small part of the whole work..let’s say, just a single chapter. Just to get an idea if one is in the right direction. I imagine it will be almost impossible for any website to implement a copyright protection mechanism or a checking system because that’s up to the author.

0 votes

Joel Lee

I’m not sure about plagiarism, but as for publishing, I think a lot of major publications will NOT accept a piece that has been put up on the web for public eyes in any way. I think it violates “first publication rights” on behalf of the publisher so they’ll reject you.

Interesting thought.

0 votes

Travis H

This is from Scribophile’s FAQ (http://www.scribophile.com/help/faq.php#rights):

How does posting at Scribophile affect my rights to my work?

You keep all rights to the work you post at Scribophile. The short version is that by posting on Scribophile, you grant us the non-exclusive right to display your work (we have to display it, otherwise nobody could critique it!), and that’s it. We’re here to help you improve, not to cruelly steal your rights while twiddling our moustaches and cackling madly. You can read more about how you keep the rights to your work by visiting the user agreement (look under the “Use Of Content By Users” section).

Many of our members have gone on to publish the work they workshopped at Scribophile in professional markets. That’s exactly what we’re here to help you do!

Does posting to Scribophile use up my “first publishing” rights?

Protecting your so-called “first publishing rights” when posting your work online was a concern many years ago, when publishers were wary and skittish about this new-fangled thing called “the internet”. Since then, everyone now agrees that posting to a critique site like Scribophile does not use up your first publishing rights.
In addition to that, Scribophile is a members-only site that requires a login to access, and you have full control over your work at any time. If you’re still nervous about your first publishing rights, you could simply post your work under a different title, then delete it from the site when you’re ready to shop it around. But that really isn’t necessary anymore.

Many of our members go on to successfully take their work from Scribophile to a publisher—check out our publication showcase to see.

What about plagiarism?

A big concern for writers is plagiarism. There’s a lot of people on the internet, and in theory plagiarising someone’s work is as simple as copying-and-pasting from a browser.

There’s nothing we—or anyone—can do about the ability to copy and paste. That’s just the nature of computers and the internet. Anybody who posts anything anywhere online—not just at Scribophile—takes the small risk of someone doing a copy-and-paste. No website is immune.

The good news is that plagiarism is extremely rare online, and has never once happened at Scribophile. Only other logged-in members can view your writing and you have full control over who sees your writing, so you can even limit it to a small list of members you pick. As far as the internet goes, that’s pretty good protection already.

Regardless of that, Scribophile members are all writers committed to their own writing, and who understand the importance of intellectual property. Everyone is in the same boat, and we want to help each other succeed—not steal success from others.
If that sounds a little too warm-and-fuzzy for you to believe, sign up and get a feeling for the community yourself. We think that after seeing our members in action, you’ll agree.

In the end, it’s up to you to weigh the infinitesimally small risk of plagiarism agains the benefits that a busy and talented writing community and workshop can bring to your own writing. Remember that every writer eventually has to trust someone to review and edit their work!