Pantsing a writing circle: Sci-Fi and Fantasy Authors
Any members can at any time suggest changes for discussion, if members like it, it will happen.
There are seven main channels:
#xrequests [locked] – (I’ve put x tags here so they appear bottom alphabetically).
New members are immediately assigned to channels #general, #firstdrop, #talkwriting and #administration. From here they can get to know everyone, and stay here forever if they so desire. If they enjoy the community and atmosphere, and want full critiques, they can drop a file of their work into #firstdrop. Full members will then give feedback on this, and return it to the #xreturns locked channel. If the general consensus is that this #firstdrop is a good enough standard of writing to fully enjoy the benefits of a writing circle as well as contribute to it, then the firstdropping member will be invited into #xrequests and #xreturns, becoming a full member. These two channels are where the magic will happen.
A variety of channels open to full members will be made available for 1+ to 1 talks etc on feedback, so that other channels are not spammed/clogged, and private channel requests for any off-shoot groups that might pop up will be considered and likely honoured.
Members trolling anyone, members being rude to anyone, members being inflammatory and the likes to anyone, will be removed from the group. No strikes, no warnings – if you want to stay, be nice.
Members who are invited to #xrequests and #xreturns but only ever drop requests never returns, will be given one warning, then removed from these two channels and locked to new member areas if they persist.
Members inactive for more than 2 months will be removed from #xrequests and #xreturns.
All channels are safe for work, please. If you want a #NSFW channel, ask for one.
Main channnel descriptions
#Admin [locked to administrators] – Admin live here. Be great to be an admin.
#Administration – In here members can request channel creation, suggest improvements, and ask for help with the general setup. If you have a problem or an issue come here and ask for a private convo with an admin, it will be more productive.
#Firstdrop – As explained above. Feedback can be in-channel for general feelings and what not, but it’s better to send the edited file into #xreturns. When you drop the file, add a brief note along with it explaining whether you think the member’s work is good enough for him/her to fully receive the benefits of the group, and be able to contribute as well. If not, suitable alternatives will be suggested, such as youwriteon.com, or pertinent books about writing and grammar. The rejected member can stay in the unlocked channels to learn, be part of the community, and get feedback in #talkwriting – ready for another go in #firstdrop later. Rejection will be handled by the admin team. This is an open channel, I would suggest dropping new stories/shorts you have crafted solely for your first drop to show off your writing. Minimum 1.5k words.
#general – Talk about anything. Safe for work anything, anyway.
#talkwriting – Got a quick question on which sentence is better structured? Quick question on how to fix some dialogue? Found or wrote a great article on writerly things? All this stuff can go in here – craft related though. If you just read a great book and want to talk about it, that’s probably best in #general.
#xrequests – Drop your files in here, with a quick note on its size in words/genre/what it is. The fifth chapter? Your first draft of a novel, requiring a story/plot check rather than a grammar check? Try to be precise so you don’t waste someone else’s time, if you are after something precise anyway. This is a strictly no spam/no talking channel.
#xreturns – When you’ve picked up someone’s work and finished feedback, drop it in here with an @authorsname. Add a few notes about it too on the file drop if you like, but this is also a strictly no spam/no talking channel. If you want to have a conversation with the author or the person giving feedback, ask them to join you in one of the talking channels or send them a private conversation by clicking their name and going to direct messages.
How it works logistically
Slack allows the viewing of files dropped as well as timestamps, to administrators. This means that it’s possible to see who is giving feedback, and who is not – from a simple glance at the file transfers from who and in what channel. For example, if @LazyAuthorMcRequestsOnly, drops three pieces of work in a month into #xrequests, and none into #xreturns, this author is not part of the community and will be warned and removed for dishonourable conduct.
Selected administrators can see the information on files forever, as they are stored for life. For those worried about their copyright and what not, this time-stamping of sharing is also likely a sound defence.
This is why it’s important for channels to be controlled in this way, and for files to be dropped in this orderly manner. Otherwise, it would be a hard job to maintain.
I will also keep an up-to-date list of full members with links to their blogs/facebook author profiles and what not, on my own blog somewhere probably. This will be a requirement of becoming a full member. There will be no ‘ghosts’ in the xrequests and xreturns channels, all will know all.
About the group and costs
The aim is for authors to give and receive feedback in a writer-friendly environment, without the hit and miss of unhelpful reviews on some of the peer-review sites. You know the ones. Three sentences telling you you’re good or bad, with nothing insightful, after you just spent two hours giving someone a proper critique to earn your writing credit.
There are no costs, there are no fees, and there never will be.
Request an invite
Looking for all authors in Sci-Fi or Fantasy, or somewhat related (such as Supernatural Horror etc). Writing your first novel? Published a couple but your beta-readers are letting you down? Writing short stories? Just practising or feeling out the water? Need some writer friends so they can understand your writing jokes? Come and say hi.
Click the link, and send me a mail asking for an invite along with a quick sentence or two about you and what you’re hoping from the group. Ask about any fears or worries too, there is no need to jump right into it if you’re hesitant or if I’ve missed explaining anything here. No stress though, it’s not a test; it’s actually mostly for me, so I can get a quick idea of what people’s priorities are when joining. You can’t ‘fail’ this request – anyone can be a standard member and you’ll receive a reply along with an invite link if you want one. Click the link you get in the reply I’ll send you, and you’ll be talked through joining the group channel by Slack. I promise it’s easy. Also, if you intend to move to being a full member quickly, you may as well take the time to add your author blog, author facebook profile etc to your request mail, if you have such things.