You know that phenomenon that happens when you stare at a word too long? When you go mental for a split second and lose your grasp on the concept of language, and letters just look like ink stains on the paper? That’s what happens to me at a certain point during that endless process called revising.
I am rendered useless to myself and whatever I’m working on because I’ve read the story one too many times and it has become nothing more than meaningless scribbles.
Frustrated with this inevitability, I decided to put my work on the pageant stage for other people to judge and comment on (good reason to tart it up extra purty), but, as previously mentioned, I’m not mentally built for physical workshops where I have to drive somewhere and network–that word makes me cringe. I wanted a straightforward process that didn’t require traveling time. Tell me my work smells like Yeti feet and then get out of my face so I can give it a pedicure stat. That’s how I like it.
I found out about this online workshopping/learning site for writers and readers, LitReactor, and decided to try it out. I used the site for a few months before posting my review to avoid basing it on one experience.
I’ll cut straight to the point: best thing ever for a clock-watcher with social anxiety issues who is in need of outside input on stories.
Here are a few things you might like to know before workshopping through LitReactor:
- Cost: $9/month
- You need to earn 15 points to post one piece for workshopping; to get points, you must critique other users’ posted stories (3 points/critique, and you can’t just post anything because the user rates your critique and that rating affects your points)
- Shorter pieces get more critiques. This isn’t the place to post your entire novel manuscript (though I have seen people post novel chapters)
- I have not experienced any type of trolling so far
- More often than not, in my experience, critiquers provide a line-by-line
I got a little “thank you happy” the first time I got comments. I felt like Charlie Gordon right after the operation. The words held meaning again and I could see what needed to be fixed. The more I post, the more I see my weaknesses and, by seeing, I can repair.
And LitReactor isn’t just a workshopping site. The site offers online classes and posts craft essays by respected writers (like Jack Ketchum) and industry types (like Bree Ogden), and if you do want people in your face, a supportive community awaits you on the site’s forum.
So check it out and try it out. You automatically get enough points to post your first story after signing up.