Author Topic: Welcome to Reading Excuses!  (Read 4917 times)


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Welcome to Reading Excuses!
« on: June 03, 2009, 07:37:47 PM »
On the Time-Waster Guide forums, there is one for "Writing Group" and then this "Reading Excuses" thing. Are you confused why there would be two writing group-styled forums here? Well, we can see how you are confused! It's not exactly clear what Reading Excuses is from the front page.

Fear not, for I shall explain!

The forum "Reading Excuses" has its origins on the Writing Excuses comment threads over at In Season 2, Episode 5 - Writing Groups, several avid listeners wanted to set up their own writing group so they could critique their stuff. Thus, Reading Excuses was created as a place where fellow writers could meet up.

What is Reading Excuses? I'm not going to read your excuses. I'm not your mother.

Reading Excuses (sometimes abbreviated to RE) is a writing group, actually. You submit stuff, and other people give you constructive feedback on your work so you can become a better writer. It's completely opt-in: submit when you have stuff you want critiqued. If you need motivation to write, though, we submit weekly (every Monday). We accept all kinds of submissions. Want some feedback on a novel? Submit a chapter a week. Short story? Submit it.

It's important to know that Reading Excuses isn't a place to talk about the Writing Excuses podcast. Those types of threads should go in the Writing Group forum.

The best part is that it's secure: you don't post your writing onto the forum. Only members can see it. The only caveat is that we require that members don't post anybody's submissions anywhere else, unless you have their explicit permission. That's not cool, and we will hunt you down if you do it.

Who can join the writing group on Reading Excuses?

Anyone who wants to! Though, you have to remember that the current composition of the group appears to be genre fiction. The members themselves come from all sorts of backgrounds, and so their critiques have their own flavor to them. We are always open to people who want to write and critique! The more, the merrier!

How do I get in on all the hot, steamy writing-critiquing action?

Well, first, you'd need to place your email on the Email List topic. The way you submit your stuff is just by sending your work to everyone on the email list. That means you do not actually post your writings on this forum--which can be pretty dangerous to do. So, email. The topics here are posts discussing the submissions (see below).

Wait, so if I submit a work, that means I'm writing, not reading. Why is it called Reading Excuses then?

It's all Karl's fault. And it's certainly not named that to pay homage to a certain podcast. That would just be like a blatant rip-off...

When can I submit?

Currently, we have a submission date will be the Monday of any week. We are doing this "submission applications" right now. If you want to submit, you will apply by posting in the e-mail linked thread below by Saturday of the previous week. The moderators (Chaos and Silk) will choose who gets to submit based on who hasn't had critiques recently. There are few enough of us right now that all of those who want to will probably be able to submit, but pay attention to the Email/Submissions thread just in case.

How do I submit?

Obviously you need to join the Email List. Once you've done that, there's a couple simple steps to follow when you submit.

1. Send out the email to all [AT] Including the attachment with the file would be helpful.
2. Write a really short summary of the submission in the email itself. If you are submitting a novel over the course of many weeks, then collect all these summaries and put them in the email, so people can get grounded in your story again.
3. Post a topic in the Reading Excuses forum so we can discuss your work! (Remember, submissions go in the emails, but discussions go in this forum)

Some guidelines:
We have come to a very democratic, very arbitrary decision that around 4000 words is a reasonable maximum per submission. This is a ballpark--if you want to submit a complete story or chapter that runs above this, go for it. But if you give us 50 pages to read all at once, we will whine. And throw stuff. And we probably not read it at all.

Formatting the Submission
Attachments should be .doc, .rtf, or .pdf files (not .docx or .odt; not everyone can read those!); please use 1.5 or double spacing and a legible font. Courier and Times New Roman are manuscript standard.

Content Tags
We don't want to restrict content, but all we ask is that when you email us a submission, you label it for Language, Drug Use, Violence, or Sexual Content if applicable.

Naming Conventions
It is really nice to have consistent naming conventions with the Email Subject Header, File Attachment, and Forum Topic. We'd like you to have the Email Subject formatted like this: "Reading Excuses - [date] - [username] - [title] (Content tags)", where "username" is your TWG username. For the file attachment and the forum topic, name it the same thing, only omit the "Reading Excuses" part (that is just so you see "Oh, that's a RE submission" when you look through your inbox). Please make sure you have your username on the file attachment! It is extremely hard to tell who's submission is who's when people download a bunch of submissions, and they are titled vaguely. The username really makes a difference.

Will you guys bite my head off and throw my corpse into a lake of lava because you are really mean in your critiques?

We sure hope not! Then you couldn't critique our stuff. ;)

In all seriousness, be fair (not nice). Don't be nasty, but do say what you think. And don't apologize every time you offer a criticism. Say what's working exceptionally well as well as what isn't working at all. If something isn't working, tell us why. Sometimes it's best to let the author figure out what to do. Sometimes specific suggestions help, but don't try to write someone's story for them. Don't spend too much time critiquing grammar, punctuation, etcetera (unless the author asks for it for some reason). Focus on the big things.

You get what you give. If you skimp on critiquing our stuff, we'll skimp on yours. We realize that not everyone will be able to critique everybody's submission every time. That's fine. We do think it's reasonable for everyone to critique at least one manuscript for every one they submit. Beyond that, do your level best to give as many critiques as you can without killing yourself over it.

Also, there's a great podcast you could listen to on the subject of writing groups. We heartily recommend it.

Can I read stuff that has been submitted before I joined? Can I do that?

The short answer: yes. The long answer: We're working on making that easier. Right now, we do it the stupid way, by just having you ask the person to resend it. We'd like to get some sort of hosting so new members can just do it themselves, but we don't have anything yet. So, you're stuck with the stupid way.

Any final notes?

I'd like to thank the Academy... Oh, wait a minute. Well, since you asked, here are some other topics I'd recommend you take a look at:

Your Background. Tell us a little about yourself in this topic; what genre you write, etc.

Progress and Submission Reports. Let us know how you are doing on your project! Or how you aren't doing, as the case may be.

Will you read submissions with this content? In this topic, discuss what your personal tastes are for explicit content.

Finally, remember: do NOT share someone else's story with anyone outside the group, unless you have their express permission to do so. Stealing is bad, and we will hunt you down and inject strange chemicals into your body.

We look forward to reading your works and hearing what you have to say about ours!
« Last Edit: March 12, 2011, 08:24:02 PM by Chaos2651 » - The Official Brandon Sanderson Fansite.

Oh SNAP, I'm an Allomancer.