A Community of Practice to Improve Your Creative Writing

Creative WOW: Creative Writers’ Online Workshop ©

In Ed's Blog on October 13, 2011 at 5:48 pm

Creative writing is a lonely pursuit that doesn’t feel lonely. You work with villains and heroes who may one minute do one thing and the next minute do the opposite. You control their actions, thoughts and emotions as well as the timing and location in which they occur. The sun rises and sets at your command. With such responsibility and so much to keep track of, it’s no wonder you don’t feel alone. Nevertheless, when you’ve written a story, it’s hard to know how good it is. Is your point of view clear? Is your voice consistent? Does the dialogue advance the plot? Do readers want to keep turning the pages? Is the conclusion satisfying?  Or, is your story tedious, redundant and confusing? Workshop tells you how your story comes across to others. You need this information.

People can see a fly on someone else but they can’t see a horse on themselves. Creative writers are people. Therefore, creative writers too are more sensitive to the mistakes of others than they are to their own mistakes. This makes the value of constructive criticism enormous. If you’re attentive to feedback and edit your stories accordingly, they’ll improve in ways you wouldn’t have thought of by yourself. When you workshop someone else’s story, you focus on what does and doesn’t work and see mistakes you learn to avoid as you internalize your preferences. That improves every story you write, not just the ones you submit. Jeremiah Chamberlin, editor-in-chief of Fiction Writers Review, writes about this in a Glimmer Train article calledWorkshop Is Not For You.” Creative WOW encourages active participation. Please submit, read and critique as many stories as you can.

Creative WOW stands for Creative Writers’ Online Workshop. Our mission is to become a community of creative writers, offer a free online workshop for both aspiring and accomplished writers to test out works-in-progress on other writers, sharpen your writing by providing and receiving constructive criticism, and support and educate one another. Of course, we’ll wow each other as well

How Creative WOW Works

Click SUBMIT A STORY to post a story.

Click OFFER A CRITIQUE to post a critique.

Click POST A PROFILE to post a blog.

SHORT STORIES:

Let’s limit ourselves to short stories for now, no more than 7500 words–the sort of story you’d like to publish in The New Yorker. Creative WOW will post your story as soon as you’ve posted a critique. Be fair, and critique a story as long as your own. Critiques will be displayed side-by-side with stories, so you can view them together. You can submit as many stories and revisions as you like, but you need to post as many critique submissions as story submissions for Creative WOW to work. We’ll remove your story from workshop at your request. After you revise your story and resubmit it for another workshop round, you may want to remove the earlier version to avoid confusion.

COPYRIGHT PROTECTION:

To protect your rights of authorship, Creative WOW will use myfreecopyright.com to create a digital fingerprint that will be unique to your story as long as it isn’t changed. If you revise and resubmit your story, a new fingerprint will be created before Creative Wow puts it on the website. The digital fingerprint provides verifiable proof you are the copyright owner from the date of the registration forward. I am not an attorney, so please consult your own if you have any questions and read about the service myfreecopyright provides on their website.

CRITIQUES:

Every story has strengths, and authors are more receptive to criticism if they’ve read what you like about their story before they read what you don’t like. Please remember that everyone is vulnerable to malicious and mischievous attacks. Criticism doesn’t mean thrashing; it means you’re there to help. Please be nice while being helpful. However, don’t be shy about commenting on what you feel would strengthen a story, or no one will get enough help for Creative WOW to bother coming back. Victory Crayne, a ghost writer and editor, has great suggestions for How to Critique Fiction. We are a community of practice, and we’re practicing to improve. We need each other.

BLOGS AND COMMENTS:

Creative WOW encourages blogs and comments. Blogging about the elements of short stories including title, narration, characterization, plot, conflict, setting, theme, style, believability, point of view, tone, symbolism and imagery will improve our abilities as writers, readers and editors. Blogs about marketing, agents and publishing are also useful, so share your insights, experience and links to articles you’ve found valuable.

IDENTIFICATION AND INTRODUCTION:

We’d like you to introduce yourself and give us links to your website or blog. We’re a community, so we ought to know each other. Also, when people’s reputations are on the line, they tend to act more responsibly. As such, Creative WOW won’t upload stories, critiques or blogs from the forms to the the website until the email address you’ve give us is verified as operational.

PUBLICATION:

Let Creative WOW know if your story gets published. We’ll post the link and have a community cheer.

FINANCIAL CHARGES:

There will be no financial charge for Creative WOW, but there’s no free ride. You pay by participating, and you only get critiques if you give critiques. That’s how we’ll keep this free and learn from each other.

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