In this week’s column, I’m taking a look at that all important feedback and critique. Now I’m sure you all know that critique and feedback is vital for improving your writing, but how can you get it without paying an arm and a leg? Sure you can ask family and friends, but they are unlikely to provide honest critique. This is where critique groups can help (I have my own) and there are some sites that provide critique for free which is what I’m going to look at. Hopefully, there’s a site in here that’s perfect for you and your writing. I have listed one or two sites that you may come across that are not what they say they are and you are best to avoid these.
- https://theopeninglines.com/ – The Opening Lines: I’m starting off this week with a site I have personally used. It’s run by professional editor, Richard Bradburn, and he allows you to submit your first 1,000 words for free. It is then critiqued and assessed on whether it is ready for agent submission or needs more work. Richard awards different quality marks such as rejected, silver, and gold. You can go through the site and read all the previous submissions and learn an awful lot in the process or submit your own entry and see what Richard has to say. This site is perfect if you are getting ready to query your novel.
- https://nathanbransford.com/blog – Nathan Bransford: Again this is a site that I follow and Nathan offers a free critique service for query letters. You can nominate your own query letter in the discussion forums which are available free on his website. You can also read through all the ones he’s done by checking out the posts that are tagged with query critiques. These posts are eye opening and in the forums you can get free feedback and critiques on your work in progress too. Just visit https://forums.nathanbransford.com/ and register.
- https://new.critiquecircle.com/landing – Critique Circle: I haven’t used this site, but you can signup up for free and improve your writing skills with feedback and critique from a huge community of writers. It is all about reciprocity, so if you don’t want to provide feedback and critique this won’t be the site for you. There are discussion forums for everything, but in order to enjoy free critiques you have to critique other members’ work to get enough credits to submit your own. I’m not a big fan of having to build up credits and you may find that not all the feedback you receive is helpful.
- http://www.mibba.com/ – Mibba: According to the site, it is a creative writing website designed for authors to share their stories, poems, etc, to get feedback from their growing audience. There are forums, but a quick look at them suggests they have been spammed and the only things on them are links to buying fake passports. I suggest avoiding this one.
- https://www.penfactor.com/ – The Pen Factor: This site is a Member of the Alliance of Independent Authors which is a thumbs up straight away. The site promises to help new writers get fast and friendly feedback from the community. There is a submission page, but again when I checked the criteria you submit your story and then you have to read three other stories to get three reviews on yours. There are stories in all genres and having looked at the reviews, it’s a good site. The reviews are in-depth and cover a number of areas such as narration and dialogue balance, characterisation, main character, authentic voice, conflict, pace and plot, point of view, style, and more. This site is definitely one I will be visiting again.
- https://www.reddit.com/r/writing/ – Reddit Writing Section: Most people are familiar with Reddit. In the writing section there is a weekly critique thread where you can submit your work for review and comment. It’s very active and very honest. The writing section has daily discussions on different areas of writing too which is great and you can get involved with a great writing community.
- https://www.scribophile.com/ – Scribophile: This site has been around for a long time and it is a community of writers that offer free critiques and feedback on your writing. You can also find beta readers and there is a vast collection of free writing resources you can avail of. There are free writing contest and writers of all levels are welcome. There is writing advice from the pros as well along with publishing tips. There’s even free tutorials from the Writing Academy. Like a lot of critique sites, you get out what you put in, and this means you have to give critique and feedback to get it. You will need to have enough Karma points in order to post work and you can earn these a number of ways. The best advice, is to visit the FAQs page which explains everything.
I hope you’ve enjoyed all the links this week and have a better idea of where to get free critiques and feedback. It goes without saying, that there are plenty of feedback and critique groups on Facebook as well, and if you have writer friends, perhaps you can do a critique swap with them. If there is a topic you’d like to see me cover, all you need to do is get in touch with me via any of my social media links.
(c) Amanda J Evans