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New writer question here: Is Book Country for writers at all levels?
Christina Winters
Posted: Thursday, June 7, 2012 12:02 PM
Hi, I'm a new member just questioning if I should keep posting on this site.  A reviewer suggested that I should have waited until my work wasn't in draft form to share.  But, they deleted their account.  It almost doesn't seem fair that people do that, post and disappear.  Not saying they weren't right, because they made an astute observation.  My work is in the early stages of development and has yet to be polished.  I've had nice feedback from people who know me who've read it, but wasn't sure what to make of the hit and run feedback.  This leaves me pondering:  Is Book Country for writers at all levels and stages of manuscript development? Just want to make sure that I'm in the right place.  Thanks so much!

Sinnie Ellis
Posted: Friday, June 8, 2012 12:26 AM
Joined: 4/3/2011
Posts: 67

I am yet to be published because my work requires boxes of Kleenex to read.
I have post rubbish here I wrote 4 days before posting. It's a good way to figure out whether to move on. Don't get down. This site is nice.
There are a few people still plugging around doing reviews.

Alexandria Brim
Posted: Friday, June 8, 2012 4:33 AM
Joined: 10/20/2011
Posts: 353


To my knowledge, Book Country does not have any requirements regarding what stage your manuscript has to be in to post. It's up to your preference. Some people have posted polished drafts for reviews to see if they should start shopping it around or continue working on it. There have been manuscripts bought from this site all ready as well.

Like you, though, I've been posting my earlier drafts. I wish to get comments as I go in order to course-correct early on if need be. From what I've gathered, revisions are hard enough without finding out that a way you've been going the entire time may not be the best. And I find that posting early drafts generate questions that you as the author may not have asked yourself but should have.

So don't let that review get you down. Clearly he or she prefers to read more polished drafts and/or doesn't understand the purpose of Book Country. I wish you luck with your book!

Nicki Hill
Posted: Tuesday, June 12, 2012 11:35 AM
Joined: 4/22/2012
Posts: 175

I post rough.  To me, that's the whole point of belonging to the site - to get feedback while the work is still in draft (and in my and many others' case, still in progress). 

I've found it to be quite a pleasant, professional, helpful, encouraging site, and I hope you stick around to find that to be the case for you, too.  Posting here is a great start, and I'd also encourage you to get involved on other discussion boards/posts to get your voice and name out there - I've made lots of great connections by speaking up on the discussions.  And sometimes - though not always - posting reviews on others' work can get you noticed and reviewed in turn. 

Good luck, and have fun! 

Nevena Georgieva
Posted: Tuesday, June 12, 2012 4:16 PM
Joined: 2/9/2012
Posts: 438

Hi, Christina. Welcome to the site - we are happy to have you here. 

Book Country is for writers at ALL stages and levels of manuscript development. In fact, I think it's most useful to those writers who are actively writing and re-writing and need feedback and support during that process. Book Country is a community for writers to share their work-in-progress -- a veritable online writing workshop. Therefore, you are welcome to upload a short story, a chapter or two, or an entire manuscript! You have nothing to worry about - you're in the right place.

Nevena from Book Country

Jay Greenstein
Posted: Tuesday, June 12, 2012 6:27 PM
Here's the thing. There's a big difference between being as good as you can make it at the current state of your writing knowledge, and providing something you penned and want reaction to.

In the first, you bring your "A" game, and the reviewer can see where you stand so far as approach, structure, and all the rest. With that, a true and helpful judgment can be made, and suggestions will be as accurate as the reviewer can make them.

But put yourself in the position of someone who spends twenty minutes looking over the work, and thinking about how to help you, ony to be told, "Yeah, I know about that. I was going to fix it when I got around to editing it." How anxious would you be to give a second look to that writer's work?

You're thinking in terms of story, and the reader's reaction to the events, as though story is the reason people read. They don't. They read to worry. They want to meet interesting new friends, who are about to face serious problems. They want to share those problems, not be informed about them having occurred. They want life, not a chronicle of events. And most of all, they want your words to make them react and feel the emotion the character does, not to hear that the character did. And that comes from the character, and what's in their heart and mind—the character's struggle and reaction, their hopes, dreams, and needs, not a dry recitation of the plot elements. Your plot, and the event sequence, are only the stimulus for the struggle and the conflict a reader feeds on.

In essence, every story is about someone who is yanked from familiar routine and pushed into a situation they hate enough to devote all their resources to changing. Any story will have an inciting incident that will kick-start that process. That's a given, and not what's interesting. What is, is how the character handles adversity and how much they make us, the reader, cheer for them.

And that's your writing and your style, not your plot. So by all means ask for opinion. But before you do, polish your prose till it shines. Make your character and the situation so real that when someone throws a punch at your protagonist the reader ducks. And if you fail that, well, that's why you're asking for reviews, and we'll help you become the writer you hope to be. But before we can help, you need to do your part and give the reviewer a clear picture of you as a writer, because we're not, in general critiquing the plot. We're focused on the writing and hot it moves us, moment-to-moment.

It's about the writing. It's always about the writing.

Colleen Lindsay
Posted: Wednesday, June 13, 2012 3:06 PM
Joined: 2/27/2011
Posts: 356

Hi Christina!

I'm the community manager for Book Country. Thanks for joining our community!

Book Country is most certainly NOT for finished work. It's a writing workshop/place to get critique. We welcome writers of any level and experience here. The whole point of this site is to help aspiring writers become better at what they're writing and learn more about the business. Additionally, we're hoping we can help people learn how to read on a deeper level as well, and learn how to provide more detailed and helpful feedback to their fellow writers.

Let us know if you have any questions!



Angela Martello
Posted: Wednesday, June 13, 2012 7:50 PM
Joined: 8/21/2011
Posts: 394

Hi, Christina,

Welcome to Book Country! I hope you find this site as enjoyable and enlightening as I have.

Post your work; read and review other people's work; read other people's reviews (and comments on reviews) of other people's work; engage in the many, many, many interesting (and sometimes downright entertaining!) discussion threads.

Most importantly, HAVE FUN here. Don't let one "bad" experience with one reviewer sour you to this site.

Good luck with your work!

Timothy Maguire
Posted: Wednesday, June 13, 2012 9:14 PM
Joined: 8/13/2011
Posts: 272

Book Country definitely is the place for rough drafts and the like. How else are you going to know what isn't working? The real challenge is to take what you're being told and integrate into your next draft. That's where things get really challenging.

Stick with it and I think you'll find this place quite rewarding.

Danielle Bowers
Posted: Wednesday, June 13, 2012 9:52 PM
Joined: 3/16/2011
Posts: 280

I joined Book Country last year fresh from writing the first draft of my first book.  I was making every writing mistake a new writer could make. 

The book I'm about to start querying was written entirely based on reviews on Book Country.  Chapter by chapter I tweaked, changed, and learned from the input of other writers.  I think joining this site shaved a few years off what would have been a normal learning curve.

Put your drafts up.  You're going to get feedback that will require revisions.  Two of my books have been revised so many times based on reviews that the draft numbers are past one hundred. 

Don't be put off by a bad reviews.  They're going to happen and one thing to keep in mind is that the reviewers are writers like you. Take what you can from each review and remember the reviewers are human with different opinions. Everyone has their own view on writing style, and methods.  Keep an open mind and you'll learn a lot.

Be fearless!  Write a rough draft of a first chapter and toss it up.  The initial feedback on an idea can turn your story in a better direction. 

Alexander Hollins
Posted: Monday, June 18, 2012 2:08 PM
Joined: 3/13/2011
Posts: 416

Very much put up drafts!  We're here for feedback. Also, if a particular thing is getting you, make a discussion thread, talk about what issue you're having, what kind of writing, how it feels wrong, and we can certainly help you past some stumbles.

Alexandria Brim
Posted: Tuesday, June 19, 2012 4:29 AM
Joined: 10/20/2011
Posts: 353

Christina, I'm glad to see you've continued putting up drafts of your story. I've read it and I promise a review is forthcoming.
Christina Winters
Posted: Tuesday, June 19, 2012 9:30 PM
I've been having fun with the story...  I'm interested to know first impressions and feedback is appreciated.  I'd like to improve the manuscript, but not sure where to begin...
Posted: Thursday, July 19, 2012 2:25 AM
Joined: 3/13/2011
Posts: 103

Hi Christina,

I think, the point of a critiquing community is to give and gain insight into the specifics of a story, regardless of what stage the manuscript or the writer is in.

That being said, I haven't read your entry. If it's in point form rather than story format, I would find it extremely difficult to critique.


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