Mini-Review: Scribophile.com

2013-03-26 09.12.05 pm

 

Scribophile.com is very rewarding.  Scribophile is a writer’s community, and my early experiences with it have been very positive.  Here is how it works.  You read the works of other writers in the community, and write reviews.  By doing this you earn karma points, and the more words you write in your review, the more karma points you get (.01 Karma point per word).  To post a piece of your own writing costs 5 karma points.  You can post a piece of some length but about 3,000 words is the site’s sensible recommendation.  This is because when you want to earn some karma you have to pick a piece to read, and you are not going to read a 10,000 word piece if you can get the same karma for reading 3,000 words.  The site is free, although there are some nice perks to buying the premium membership (like being able to save your critique and come back to it later, or being able to have more than two works up at a time).  The design of the site is very well thought out, and the creators seem to have been successful in creating a very positive experience for their users.  I am sure that this, and any site will attract its share of unhelpful, unkind people, but so far (based on a very small sample) the community seems to be very warm and have a genuine desire to help each other.  Indeed, there are enticements for pro-social behavior (I wish my elementary school was run like this!).

Based on my early experiences, the community is certainly talented.  Several of the pieces I have read have been great reads, and writing the reviews has been an enjoyable experience.  There is a social networking layer to it as well (scratchpad notes serving as a wall of sorts) and  I could imagine spending a lot of time on this site.  the community might even to some extent, for me, replace facebook.  There also seems to be an active forum but I haven’t checked it out yet.

The best part about it is that I can finally stop harassing my friends and family to read my stuff (so it’s really a gift for everyone).  Thus far the feedback I have received has been very useful, and I fully anticipate my writing skill improving—and is that what it is all about anyway?

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7 thoughts on “Mini-Review: Scribophile.com

  1. […] Mini-Review: Scribophile.com (viativity.com) […]

  2. […] Ask people to read it.  If you are fortunate you will know a number of creative people who are eager to share their time.  If you don’t have someone who can do this for you then consider joining scribophile.com, which I have reviewed here. […]

  3. darsword says:

    I belong to Scribophile but as of yet haven’t critiqued or put out something to be critiqued. Scared.

    • M.J. Miello says:

      I have reviewed about 7 pieces so far and it has been fun. I put up a story in 3 parts and the feedback was very helpful, and pleasant.

  4. Harold McBroom says:

    I was the recent Scribophile Author of Elsewhere, Into, and Beyond… I was banned today, just after signing up for premium services yesterday…

    I joined Scribophile a week ago, and my first concerns were, will I have the writing environment that I’ve been searching for, with the tools needed to accomplish the job; I signed up, and discovered that I could only post 2 works at one time, unless I purchase the month to month plan which is $9, or the yearly plan which is $65 up front. So I purchased the $9 plan so that I could post unlimited works “at once”.

    The “at once” phrase means, you can consecutively post your written works all at once, but what they don’t tell you when signing up, is that it requires “karma” points. 5 karma points to write and release your work, so the “at once” terminology they use, becomes obsolete, because you can not post your unlimited works at one time, because you will constantly have to read and “critique” the works of others, to gain these karma points.

    I don’t mind reading the works of others, I rather enjoy it, but I have a problem with “critiquing” their works, because I’m not a professional writer, so how can I tell them what’s wrong with their writings, when the same problems probably exist within my own works, and you do not get karma points for submitting a “comment”. After reading someone else’s story you have the option to “comment”, or “Critique”; So no karma points issued for comments.

    Not only did I sign up for premium service yesterday, at $9 a month, but I woke up the very next day, that day, being today, to find that I have been banned, my account terminated, my works deleted, because the critique I offered was in fact critiquing the system that forced me to critique the works of others. Here’s an example of my critique:

    Critique

    “Dear John Doe, first off let me get the critique out of the way,
    Critique!
    …Now that we have the critique out of the way, I would like to say that I enjoyed your story, and here’s why…blah blah blah…

    I can’t critique your work, John, because I’m not a professional writer, so please accept this critique as a critique of the system that forces me to critique your work, when I find nothing wrong with it! Keep up the good work, and I look forward to reading more of your stories!”

    Writing is not about critiquing, it’s about being creative, and spontaneous in your thoughts, and the ability to transfer these thoughts into readable form that can be enjoyed by others!

    Why should I pay Scribophile, $9 a month to be forced read and critique the works of others? Another issue is I came across a pedophile , who wrote a story in which he played the role of a child in a location serving alcohol, where Disney characters where, and the bartender was using his sexual organ to stir his mothers drink…

    THIS is the type of behavior that is allowed, while I get banned, my account deleted for criticizing Scribophile’s critique system.

    • M.J. Miello says:

      I do agree with much of this. 1. You do have to wait to have your work critiqued, even after you save up the karma. This can be anti-climactic. Its not timely. There are ways around this but this involves building a network of authors you have cultivated a relationship with. 2. There are drawbacks to this system. It is sometimes frustrating to have limits put on you in terms of how many pieces you can have up, and how long you have to wait for critiques. Also it is a challenge to have have multi-part pieces critiqued by the same people (but again you need to build relationships). 3. Paying for premium does very little to change this. 4. I’m not sure that is clear from how premium membership is explained. You would have to have used the free service for a while to really get the idea of what premium does for you (and whether it will matter to you).

      However, I do very much sympathize with whoever complained about your critique. Authors put a lot of time in and wait patiently for their critiques. And you only get 3 per piece and that could have taken you 2 hours of work and a 2 weeks of waiting to earn those 3 critiques. So to waste a critique on a person who uses it to make a statement about the service and not give a thoughtful, polite critique is totally not fair. I would have complained as well. It’s like stealing from them. And then to complain about it is like giving someone a card for their birthday that is just a rant about having to give birthday cards, and then wondering why they don’t have your card on display. I think that your post here is a good place to air these complaints, but not in a critique. Thanks for your comment.

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