Monday Musings: My First Few Days on Scribophile

Scribophile, the online writing group for serious writers

Hey, everybody!

In this week’s Monday Musings post, I’m taking a little bit of a hard turn toward writing and talking about the past few days I’ve spent on Scribophile.

Ready?

The Pluses of Scribophile

According to the folks over at Scribophile, it’s “a writing group that works!

Don’t believe me? Head over to their webpage.

Basically, for those that don’t know, Scribophile is an online critique website for writers. As a member of the site you can critique other writers’ writing for so-called Karma points that you can exchange for posting your own work for critique. The give-and-take system, in that way, is pretty unique. There are also contests that you can submit to for cash, and you don’t have to worry about first-world or publishing rights if you want to publish your work later in a magazine. You can also join discussions in the forums or groups of other like-minded writers to gain writer-ly friends.

And so far, I’ve found it to be pretty nice. I enjoy getting in touch with other writers and getting feedback.

The only thing is that the free version of Scribophile… kinda sucks.

The Minuses of Scribophile

Scribophile can be used for free or with a monthly/yearly subscription. I use the free version because, well… I’m still testing it out, and my income isn’t steady enough for me to dig monthly or annual holes.

But if I do, I’m definitely getting one, ’cause the limits of the free version really make free-Scribophile a pretty big tease.

With the free version of Scribophile, you can only post up to two works at once, store up to 10 total private messages and bulletins, and have to pay 1 extra Karma point to enter a piece in a contest. Another limitation I didn’t know about was that you can’t format the work you post, meaning no bolditalic, or underlined text. So if you’ve got italicized text to represent a character’s thoughts, forget it. It won’t show up. You can do paragraphs and stuff, but you don’t have any of that control in the formatting process.

Of course, a subscription does away with all those limitations, but… really? I have to pay $9/month or $65/year to do this? Or this? Or this? I mean, sure. You want the text to read as cleanly as possible, but I promise you I’m not going to abuse my formatting privileges, if you guys are worried about that, guys.

The Verdict?

If I had to rate Scribophile on a scale of 1 – 5, I’d rate it at a 3.

The fact that you’ve got thousands of writers itching to critique your work and get karma points of their own so they can post their own work makes critiquing really efficient and fast. And while the limitations of a free account kind of suck, you can still get a lot out of it the more you put into it. You get better at critiquing, at being a nice person that gives nice but firm critiques, and you become a better writer. So, it’s not all bad. But I do wish Scribophile would give a little more leeway to its free users.

If you’re thinking about joining Scribohpile to get feedback on your shorter works, I recommend it. I personally tend to avoid novels and chapters of works in progress because I feel like I can’t critique something unless I see the whole thing. But you do you.

Anyway, that’s it from me! See you all on the next post!

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