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World Wide Writing Workshop

Image representing WEbook as depicted in Crunc...
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For those of us who learned how to craft our writing with the help of classes, workshops and writing groups, the writing life after academia can be suddenly loose-ended. Although writers do tend to be egomaniacs, it’s hard to know whether you’re even writing anything anyone wants to read, and how to fix the faults in your own writing — if you can see them.

This lack of community support recently drove me to a Facebook writing workshop group of some trusted friends and former colleagues, which has proved to be a pretty good tool so far. I’ve gotten to read other writers’ work, and gotten great ideas on how to improve my own. But not everyone can do that, especially if you don’t have a network of other writers to draw on.

I recently ran across a site called WeBook that bills itself as a global writer‘s workshop, and from my explorations, it seems pretty active, and is set up usefully and attractively. You can post your writing projects, ask for feedback, invite others to contribute, etc… And hopefully, draw the attention of a book agent to your work. That’s the hope for every writer, isn’t it? WeBook also will let you just review and read other writings instead of putting your own out there for the public to read.

They’ve also started a new contest-type submission option called Page to Fame, where you submit (for a fee, of course) the first page of your work, and readers rate it up or down. If you get a high enough reader rating, you’ll get the attention of a judge who may kick your work up to another level, where you can submit a whole chapter. There’s a few levels of this, and at the top is a theoretical book contract. Or, you can always just register as a reader, and pass judgment on the pages that have been submitted… I found that kind of fun, but I have an inner harpy editor instead of an inner child, so… you know. I like passing judgment on people’s writing. Anyway, I took the $5 leap and submitted a page of a romance novel I started a while ago (I know, how plebeian, but they sell, I like to read them, and they’re fun to write.)  I forgot about it for a while, logged back in today, and was pleasantly surprised that 58 percent of Page to Fame raters gave me a thumbs-up. Of course… That does mean 42 percent didn’t like it enough to keep reading, so I guess it could use some more work.

I would tell you all to go and vote for it, but the process is blind for raters, so you can’t tell whose submission you are rating, and you can’t filter or search through them beyond genre. That’s good though; it means people who don’t give a crap if I succeed or not are the ones judging it, and you can’t ask for a fairer assessment than that, really.

I doubt this contest will lead to a book contract, honestly, but it’s worth the few dollars to me to see how I stack up against other would-be writers, and the chance, however small, of a publisher taking notice.

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