I found signing up and navigating around very easy. They have a checklist of all the various things you can do on the site, which makes it simple to find what you’re looking for and learn about the various features. I love a good checklist, so I breezed through all the tasks in no time, gaining immense satisfaction from ticking them off!
The site is very well designed to prompt you to give as much as you get. In order to post a story for comments, you have to pay a certain number of karma points. And the best way to build up karma points is to critique the stories of other people. You get points based on the length of your critique, with bonuses if people like your comments and find them useful.
It’s also in your best interests to critique other stories, as that gets your own work into the public listings faster. This is because stories remain in what’s called the Main Spotlight until they’ve received three critiques, and there are only so many slots available. So, from what I can see, the site is extremely well organised so that stories get critiqued pretty quickly.
I’ve posted two stories so far, and the comments I’ve received have been comprehensive, insightful, constructive and encouraging. The site seems to be populated by people who are very willing to provide in depth and useful feedback, and I hope they feel the same way about me. It’s also given me the opportunity to read a wide range of other people’s work, which is always interesting.
There are plenty of forums for interacting on a more social level with other writers, so I could see the site taking up rather a lot of my time, if I had more of it to spend there. As it is, I’m happy providing critiques and posting stories for now. It certainly fits very well with my plan for next year of obtaining feedback on all my new work before submitting it, so I expect I shall be venturing there frequently in the coming months. A serendipitous discovery to launch my 2017 writing agenda!
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