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Old 01-08-2005, 11:01 AM   #1
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NEWBIES & VISITORS READ THIS: What Goes On at Story Disc. Circle: Basic Info.


posted by the moderators, pure and penelope and crimson maiden

(the business of the Circle is handled in the first 'sticky thread')


Welcome! We are a loosely knit, moderated group who offer comments on each other's work. If you are visiting, you will see threads entitled 'Grassroots Discussion' or 'Story Discussion' and a date and name. Each such thread is authorized by a moderator, and contains a url for a story or the story itself; after, are people's critiques. These are the officially selected (designated) stories for focus of discussion. They receive main attention for a week or so, but the thread remains open indefinitely.

There is a main 'business' and volunteer queue thread. The most current one is here.

Drop in to say 'hello' or volunteer a story or learn which story is 'up.'

Besides the queue, there are a limited number of threads where the regulars--and any interested 'drop ins'-- discuss writing-related topics in general terms (when is first person narration appropriate?). When a member posts as story, he or she often has specific questions (is the use of third person in this section of my story, effective)? See below.

'Stray' or offtopic postings, esp. from non-familiar persons, are redirected (by a moderator, at his or her discretion) if serious, or essentially deleted if they are ads, spams, etc. Stray stories, with feedback requests, occasionally are allowed by the moderators for discussion, but often these are redirected to Story Feedback.

All regular members offer, that is, post critiques of the selected stories from time to time. Offering (posting) comments on 'stray' stories that turn up (usually to be re directed to 'Story Feedback' or 'Author's Hangout' ) does not count for present purposes.

Whether a member posts his or her own stories to BE CRITIQUED is up to that person. No one is forced. No blood of the unwilling is shed! (That is a joke!) The point of the circle is to offer insight, expertise, indeed, support for each other. All of us have a common desire to improve, and in writing that's only done when one can learn what is visible to 'another pair of eyes.'

A 'member' is simply a regular participant, and by regularly participating anyone comes to be considered a member of the loosely knit group.

All are welcome.

If you simply want 'no strings' feedback, go to the Story Feedback forum or the Authors Hangout forum, and let people know what you want. Often comments may be obtained 'for free.' Here, it is a swap or discussion situation. If you simply attempt to jump the queue and post your story, it would most likely be moved by the moderators to one of those venues.

What is a critique? For our purposes, critique is an organized set of comments on the strengths and weaknesses of the story in respect of such issues as (take your choice)--

choice of words,
structure, overall
clarity and coherence, overall
dramatic values,
emotional impact [on the reader],
erotic effects [on the reader],

You, as a reader, have every right to give your opinions on these issues, regardless of your writing abilities or writing achievements. That is to say, you are a reader, and authors address *readers,* not 'literary experts,' English teachers, published authors or Grand Poobahs of the Erotic Authors' Association.

When commenting, it is a kindness to offer encouragement where there are at least some areas of strength or merit. Look at the above list, and pick those areas where you see merit, and name some of them, and tell *why* you think the writer has succeeded, in that respect.

Do as you would be done by. Consider giving comments with the sort of tact and respect which *you* would like to be shown, were you receiving. A "Critique" is best when balanced; in usual cases, it is, if anything, inclined to the positive; it is not merely a compendium of errors and failings.

Alleged weaknesses in the writing should be discussed factually, without animosity --your view of them is best offered as your opinion. The author's character is not the topic; nor is his or her education. Try for a degree of diplomacy generally; any remedies you offer are best phrased as *suggestions*. In other words, the spirit we want here is, "You might try this," rather than, "Here's what you have to do to fix this defect."

It is often helpful for other readers if you start a critique with a brief summary of the story; setting, main events and issues. It is NOT necessary to repost an entire story, rather use excerpts to identify passages you're commenting on, or simply describe/summarize the paragraph or passage, i.e., the scene when he first performs oral sex on her, at the beach.

In examining the work, remember you're not hired as proofreader. The main focus should not be on fine details, 'picky points,' unless that's solicited.

In any case, simply naming a small, recurring problem, and offering an example or two, is sufficient: "You have a comma problem, as shown in these sentences...." "Spelling should be checked." A posted list of 20 or 50 similar flaws is *not* called for, and should be PM'd to the author if you have reason to think s/he wants it.

Posting flames, personal attacks, insults, or public ridicule over alleged defects, including grammar, punctuation, or spelling and so on, is a breach of forum rules. The general rule is civility. You are not forced to praise, or pressed for 'faint praise'. You may say the work is a failure: "It has no drama"; "it has no plot"; "it is incoherent". But if you go after the author personally, those statements would be deleted by a moderator (pure or penelope or crimson) and you will be warned.

The author will usually state what concerns s/he has, and wishes the critics [and critiques] to address, but you are not limited to the topics suggested by the author.

There is a main informational or 'queue' thread, a 'sticky', that's at the top of the thread list. That is where persons volunteer their stories or discuss 'business'; that is the thread where the 'queue' is determined: which story is to appear, officially, at what date.

Which stories, whose stories, are selected? The key question.

Anyone who has provided, that is, posted publically, substantive critiques OF A STORY SELECTED FOR DISCUSSION [i.e., one which has its official thread] in the last year, has strong priority, if he or she asks to have a story critiqued.

Other cases are welcomed--and given lesser priority-- on the assumption that the person wanting a critique is going to stay around and participate.] For purposes of trying to revive the forum, this requirement is being waived at this time. However, it would be appreciated if you have a story critiqued if you would stick around and critique someone else's story in the future.

If you have strong priority and want to proceed, make a posting to the queue thread, and you'll join the pool of eligible persons. These are the ones from which the moderators (pure, penelope, & Crim) form the queue. There is no 'selection' by the moderators, in the sense of 'grading', provided the story is postable by Literotica rules and standards, including basic grammar, spelling, and topic.

How is the queue formed? In general, first come, first serve, as determined by the moderators. Except that those with a recently critiqued story lose priority to those offering a story for the first time.


pure, penelope, & Crim

As of Oct '05, Penelope Street became a moderator of this forum. Jan 09, CrimsonMaiden was added as moderator.

Last edited by Pure : 04-08-2009 at 03:03 AM.

Old 05-10-2007, 11:43 PM   #2
Penelope Street
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Discussion Thread Format

Hosting an SDC discussion starts with announcing one's interest in the official queue:

Once approved, the host creates a new thread for the discussion.

The *suggested* format for a discussion thread is:

Story Discussion: <date>. "<story>" by <author>
Example: Story Discussion: March 12, 2006. "Poly Polly" by Penelope Street.
Also, click the little icon that looks like a paper. Formatting the title like this is a cue to all that the discussion is an official one from the queue and not a stray feedback request that belongs in the Story Feedback forum.

First post: Introduce the piece to be discussed.
Tell the prospective reader anything you think they might need to know before reading your work. This can be little more than a "Hi, my story is, 'Yada Yada Yada', and I hope you enjoy it". It is polite to let prospective readers know how long the piece to be discussed is, either in words or Lit pages. If the discussion piece is a portion of a story other than the beginning, giving some background could be a good idea, but there are no rules- what you tell the reader up front is entirely up to you.

A point of confusion in the past: This is meant to introduce the story, not the author. Although you're welcome to say whatever you want, don't feel obliged to say, "Hi, I'm me and I'm a thirty-nine year old mother of one..."

Second post: The work to be discussed.
If the work is a story already posted on Literotica, a simple link will suffice and in the case of a longer story this is sometimes the best option. If the work to be discussed is a portion of a posted story, it's better to cut and paste just the piece and also provide a link for those inclined to read the entire tale. Of course, if the piece isn't posted, then there is no choice but to include it directly in the thread.

Third post: Conclusion and questions.
This is the most important part- tailoring your discussion. Typical things to do are explain what your goals were for the piece and then to ask some specific questions for the readers. Also consider identifying known weaknesses or any other things you simply don't wish to discuss. If you've read or taken part in some of the other discussions you've probably noticed that most reviewers will assume the author doesn't want anything sugarcoated, so the criticism can be a bit pointed. If you're sensitive, here's the place to say so, although no one can promise it will change how anyone responds.

After posting, waiting can be the hardest part. Unlike other forums, an SDC thread three days old isn't ancient history. Don't be alarmed if there aren't any responses right away. Even if someone reads the story the first day, they may take another day or two writing their response. The discussion usually takes off after several days- often after you engage the reviewers. Then it may take up more of your time than you imagined- careful what you wish for!

Example thread:

You may create your thread by clicking here:

If you have any questions, issues, or concerns, don't be shy about PMing a moderator.

Last edited by Penelope Street : 10-11-2009 at 11:29 AM.

Old 01-18-2009, 12:41 PM   #3
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Writing Discussion threads

If you wish to start a topic thread about writing, please title it: On Writing: Your Topic. It will keep things neatly organized and easier to find when we get someone to take over the Discussion Library.
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