• Have fun! Writing fiction is an exhilarating, challenging, and a deeply creative and intelligent endeavor. There’s no other art form that lets you delve deep into a person’s thoughts, emotions, attitudes, conscience, purpose, or reasoning. In the midst of creating the characters, action, plot, dialogue and all the rest, though, there’s always the possibility of getting so caught up in the details that the initial love of the story gets lost. Don’t let that happen! Change to a different story, or go read for inspiration, or get some exercise, or play a game, anything to clear your mind. Come back to your story when you’re ready to work on it with enthusiasm.
  • Don’t be afraid! Write your story and get it published to this site. Too often, authors want perfection before they are ready to submit their story. Instead, post a story when it’s good enough to share, with the expectation that other people will help you develop it into a final form in stages.
  • No one ever gets to see your first draft. There’s a lot of freedom to create and explore, knowing that no one will ever see the mistakes, false starts, messiness, incoherence, and other flaws. Write freely and without constraints, knowing you’ll either fix it later or throw it away without anyone else ever knowing the original.
  • Always be looking to improve. This site is meant to encourage learning, experimenting, failing, changing. We are all a community working together to make better stories. The first drafts are expected to need improvement.
  • Receive criticism well. No one has ever created the perfect story. Look as much forward to the areas of improvement as to the positive comments. Embrace the notion that people took the time and concern to read your story and give you their impressions.
  • Evaluate all criticism and decide what to accept. Not all criticism, even if meant well, is always helpful. Something that could be the very best aspect of your story can be criticized by someone who disagrees. It’s your story – you decide. If the suggestion for improvement is valid, be grateful to the person who submitted it and make changes. If you feel the change hurts the story, feel free to disregard it. Again, it’s your story – you decide.
  • Follow the format for reviewing and giving feedback to other member’s stories:
    • Two positive things you liked about the story. Make it detailed, like “I loved the twist ending,” or “Your character development was done very well, especially how you showed his changes after all the near-death experiences he faced.” Feel free to elaborate on your notes; give enough detail so the author knows you paid close attention to the story for which they worked so diligently.
    • One area or section for improvement. If something doesn’t seem to work well, or doesn’t make sense, or could use some grammatical help, let the author know so he or she can improve the story.
  • All feedback and communication will be supportive. We are all learning on this site, regardless of whether writing our very first story or a published author with a dozen best-selling books. Your feedback is vital towards an author’s journey in becoming a better story-teller so it should always be based on helping.
  • Do not assume an author’s age based on their story. This site has beginning authors who are young and just learning to write, but it also has mature adults who are also just beginning their writing, or trying to write for a different audience. In either case, they’re looking for feedback to become better writers. Give the same detailed feedback for a story regardless of what you believe to be the author’s age.
  • Give feedback appropriate to the story’s intended age category. A story oriented towards youth will be communicated differently from a story oriented towards mature adults. Let an author know if their story isn’t hitting the right age as well as it should. This guideline does not imply that serious subject matter cannot be addressed in the younger age categories, only that the approach and structure is usually different for different reader ages.
  • Take advantage of the learning materials on this site. The videos and blog posts and forum discussions are all made available so we can all share and learn. While writing stories and receiving feedback is helpful in specifics, it’s just as important to learn from the collected wisdom in overall categories.
  • Worth repeating – Have fun!
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