Normally I review books, but today I’m reviewing a website. And I wouldn’t be doing it were it not for the fact that I find Scribophile to be the most impressive website for writers that I’ve seen to date.
I’ve indulged in other writing websites that fell short of the ideal (way short). Most of the writing websites I come across are just places where amateurs glorify each other, and those seeking validation enjoy a pleasurable ego-stroking. All of those sites have similar “review and critique” features, where you can “critique” a piece, usually for a certain number of points. I’m an editor. Naturally, I believe in a good old-fashioned honest critique. When I tried to provide an honest critique on other writing websites, I was met with great hostility from people who claimed that I was “mean”. This was especially disturbing because I had made sure to provide things that I liked, and things that I thought could be improved upon. Yet the recipients of my reviews felt that I was being harsh because I didn’t say, “OMG I love it!”
Scribophile, on the other hand, manages to attract serious writers. As soon as I saw the website, I could tell that it was geared toward those of us seeking publication. The community seems small enough that you can’t help but run into the same people in the forums, and there are constant discussions on publishing and marketing. I absolutely love this! It is a far cry from your every day run-of-the-mill online writing community. Not only do the members appear to support each other through encouragement, but they also tell it like it is–none of this silly sugar-coating that drives me batty.
I think it has a lot to do with the fact that you aren’t readily invited to post your own writing. From the get-go, you’re encouraged to critique the writing of others. I think this is a turn off to those searching for a mere ego-stroking, as they want to be able to post their work “Now!” and get immediate feedback on how fantastic they are.
Thank you, Scribophile, for creating a writing website that I can enjoy visiting, not just for critiques on my own writing, but for the opportunity to meet like-minded individuals who are as serious as I am about my craft.