Author Topic: Resurrecting Whirlpool? - a group to help writers with critique, etc.  (Read 4462 times)

Offline CarolineC

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On another thread, I'd asked about people volunteering to do things for the BFS. One of the possibilities was to resurrect Whirlpool, which is our member-only writing critique group, which seems to have "fizzled out". There were some great suggestions on my other thread, but I thought I'd move them over here - to a dedicated Whirlpool/writers' group thread. What we need, of course, are (1) people who would like to take part on a reasonably regular basis, and (2) someone who is willing (and has the time) to run it.

Here are the suggestions made on the other thread so far - let's see if we can get something up and running again to benefit members!

Sandra Norval said:
"I would love to see the Whirlpool really take off but also have a lot of commitments so I'm not certain I can fully take the lead, but would be happy to help. I've also never run an online forum so that would be new to me. We did start with Whirlpool, but we tried using the now defunct Google Wave for submitting documents, which some (including me) never really got to grips with, so I think it would need to be something that was driven through the forum. We'd also need to be careful about access as some are sensitive about their work being viewed by just anyone, which would be the case if it was on the general forum. There is also the issue of what is regarded as published on line, so we would need to be able to guarantee that no access is generally available.

I wonder if there would be more in the idea of writing support, not just critique as there are lots of critique forums online already - I've recently joined one with Fantasy Faction, which is building up quite nicely and is structured as a couple of limited number groups. They also do a range of articles aimed at writers and there is a strong multinational community there, which offers opportunities for connections with us focussing on the best of British.

What the BFS is very strong on is access to writers, editors and agents as well as having live events available too. I'd also be happy to consider links with the Get Writing format that I organise, which has been very successful and some key members of the BFS have been involved with. Get Writing is all about getting people started, helping them to learn about the industry, get inspired, network, challenge themselves and so on, but it is for all genres. 2012 had more of a slant towards fantasy because I wanted it to but that won't be the case every year so there is plenty of scope to provide more here as it did prove very popular there so there is a clear market for that kind of support.

I think really the key question is - what do people want, or need, from Whirlpool - learning, advice, critique, general support and encouragement? Could we forge links with bookshops to provide a network for recently published writers to set up signings, or maybe kick off some Open Mic events where writers can read their work and get some exposure?

So, what do we want? If we can get answers to that then we can take it forward, it seems that the critique commitment didn't work too well, it does eat into your writing time if you have a lot of members to cover but maybe a chance to hook up with a writing buddy might be useful, or the chance to have a piece of work sent to a professional for critique? Maybe a sub section of the website not just the forum, with articles from writers, editors and agents giving tips and advice and 'How I wrote my book' or 'What I do when the inspiration slows down' etc. I don't know the answers but would love see more discussion around the possibilities for us to work from."

And Chris Overend suggested:
"For critiquing, would it be possible to use a previously set-up critique service such as http://www.scribophile.com/, and set up a group within it? I'm not sure if the group could be made private if desired, but there might be a chance of that if we were to speak to the site's architects."

So, over to you folks - can we get something running here which will really be of benefit to members?  :)
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Offline CarolineC

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And another suggestion from Joe Young (I know nothing about these "technical" aspects, so I'll leave that for someone else to sort out!):

"Regarding a way to give a more private 'service' for critiquing that doesn't require work to be 'published' in a forum there's a free resource available that could be useful.

It's called 'Dropbox', here's the link to it...

http://db.tt/V9j06ZR

If the BFS had a Dropbox account it could share the login password on request via private message. Members could sign up too, load their files directly, and reviewers could access them easily. The free version has a limited size of 500mb, but if you are 'recommending a friend' and they sign up, you get an increase of 500mb as a reward. This is up to a 16gb limit, and if lots of members join up for reviews the BFS allocation grows. So plenty of space for a large number of files.

Security issues and 'publication' issues are solved, and if the password is regularly changed there will be no problems of too many people having access at any one time. Only the review team will know all of the passwords all of the time."


By the way, I think the BFS already uses Dropbox as I've seen reference to it on other sections. I think it's how they share review material and stuff like that.
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Offline Rolnikov

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Dropbox is very handy, but you shouldn't ever share an account's password - you just invite people by email to share a particular folder.

Offline Dave Brzeski

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By the way, I think the BFS already uses Dropbox as I've seen reference to it on other sections. I think it's how they share review material and stuff like that.

Yes, we do. I actually created a shared folder in Dropbox to pass some stuff to Craig & it eventually became the BFS review team shared folder.

Offline mightyjoeyoung

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I have never shared anything with it, but now I am better educated. Thanks as always to Mr Theaker for enlightenment.

Nice to know that the idea wasn't a bad one as it's already in use ;)

Offline CarolineC

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Well, it looks like we have the technology ... now all we need are some willing volunteers to use/run it!  8)
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Offline che2000

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I'd certainly be keen to get involved as a writer and maybe help a little with the organisational side of things.

Offline sandranorval

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So what do we actually want from it? Do we just want a critique group, or do we want something different?
Sandra Norval

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greenpen

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Dropbox is very handy, but you shouldn't ever share an account's password - you just invite people by email to share a particular folder.
A public folder that you can name as you choose. Only a link is required and never a password. I've been using it a couple of weeks for my writer's circle.