…And I’m back! Welcome to Outpost Dire, home to the shared Dire Universe of epic, grimdark fantasy, military sci-fi, thrillers, and more! Let’s dive right in.
This time, we’re going to do something a little different. As a Reddit browser, I see a lot of writing groups and stuff out there, and I think this is awesome. I also see some of the opinions expressed, great advice, and the not-so-stellar vitriol that accompanies some posts/submissions. Because of this, I don’t wade into the mire all that often, but a time or two, I did.
So, here’s a story about Sophie. I was perusing one night, over a year ago, and I saw a post about critiquing someone’s first chapter, and the premise was they needed help. Maybe I was just in the mood to critique someone, or maybe it was in the way they asked for help, but I responded. Enter Sophie. So, I critiqued her chapter. I gave her the full Kyle treatment, the same I give to everyone else in my writing group. Critiquing takes time, and in some cases, a lot of time. I’ve had critiques take upwards of 4 hours. Sometimes, it’s brutal and a slog, other times, it’s fantastic! Those are the unicorns of the writing world. I digress.
So, I returned it to her, knowing I might’ve shattered someone’s dreams. And that’s the thing about critiquing. You have to walk a very fine line between being helpful and being borderline … (insert whatever word you want). I tried to be nice about it, even somewhat positive while actually being critical of certain elements. Long-story-short: she thanked me profusely, and we evolved from strangers on Reddit to partners in a critique group.
And now, the circle is complete, when I left her, she was but a learner, now she’s the master—er, wait, wrong movie. Kudos to any of you who know that movie. So, I want to open up to submissions to give a critique here on the website. I’d like to help other writers out there. We’ll hash out the details of when I can fit it in my schedule. Depending on time and number of submissions, we may even be able to do a video chat about it or talk about writing on Discord. In addition, I’ll submit to you the first chapter to THOLAC, the latest story I’m working on, so you can flex your critiquing skills, too. You may critique me as a fellow writer, or if you feel uncomfortable with that, then as a reader.
Let’s talk about submissions:
- Contact me through the website. When you do, insert the following information about your chapter/work.
- Genre: Fantasy, Sci-fi, Horror, Romance, Grimdark, Erotica—give me an idea of context. If you don’t know, put that you don’t know but liken it to something close.
- Draft: Tell me what draft number you’re on. Is it the first? The tenth?
- Target Audience: Adults, YA, Children.
- Narration: Tell me if you’re in 1st Person, 3rd Person Limited, 3rd Person Omniscient, etc.
- Length: Tell me how long your overall work is and how long your first chapter is. Remember, you’ll be submitting your first chapter, and this should be the focus of your discussion.
- Strengths and Weaknesses: Tell me what you think they are. Everyone’s got them, and turning inward to talk about yourself in a critical way is sometimes hard, like filling out a bio about yourself.
- Synopsis: In three to five sentences, give me an idea of what the overall story is. Doesn’t have to be detailed, just broad strokes.
- The submission: We’ll be using Google Docs, that way you can keep control of your work, restrict people from copying or printing, and you’ll give me permission to comment on it. Please use 12pt Garamond font, single spaced, and justified alignment. Super easy, super quick to fix.
Once I make a selection of those who submit, I’ll either post a quick blog to let folks know who was selected, or send out emails to let you know the selection has been made.
That’s it for this round, short and sweet. I shall return…
If you enjoyed this content, check out my books, The Bearer of Secrets, The Demon’s Fate, The Dark Portal, and For Heathens of Heaven on Amazon. All works are available on Kindle Unlimited, eBook, and print. Reviews can be found on Goodreads and Amazon.