I’ve started a collection on Medium.com called “Novel & Non-Fiction Excerpts: A Place to Share and Receive Feedback on Your Works-in-Progress.” I got the idea for this from a post on Write to Done several weeks ago in which readers were invited to share segments of their current projects. The response was enormous – writers not only posted their own work; they were also incredibly forthcoming with critiques on other people’s posts.
Now I know there are plenty of writer’s forums out there, and lots of places online where you can go to participate in discussions and critiques of your own work and that of others. However, this experience made me think that aspiring authors might also appreciate a less formal forum for obtaining feedback from other writers and readers. It takes some guts, after all, to put your work out there, particularly if you’re not sure if it’s any good, and maybe not everyone is ready to subject themselves to the often daunting criticism of an official group.
Anyway, I had recently discovered Medium, which, quite accurately, in my opinion, designates itself as a site for “Everyone’s Stories and Ideas.” Even if you’re not interested in my collection, if you’re a writer, this is a great place to post your work. The design is simple enough – you publish whatever you want, be it essays, short stories, poems, what have you – and then you submit those to various “collections” that people have started based on a variety of self-chosen themes. If the editor of a collection likes it or thinks it’s appropriate for their set, they’ll include it, which means a lot more exposure for your work. And, of course, you can also start your own collections, on any theme you want – hence the subject of this post! This also makes it a fun site for readers as well, because you can choose to follow collections focused on specific themes – everything from “Best of Science” to “Romance Shorts” to “Italian Football.”
The only thing I found confusing about Medium at first is that although you can choose “recommend” for a published work if you liked it, there’s no space for comments at the end of a piece, which seemed odd. I did some digging around and finally discovered that their setup is entirely different. Instead of sticking your remarks down at the bottom, it actually allows you to make “notes” right in the margin, next to individual paragraphs. This, of course, is an ideal setup for feedback on writing, because you can actually comment on specific words and phrases and even point out grammatical errors with a minimum of effort.
The other issue I should address is that Medium, like many other newer websites, does not seem to work well with Internet Explorer. I initially had some trouble navigating the site, and, since I’ve had similar issues in the past, it finally occurred to me that it might be my browser. I switched over to Firefox and voila! I could find my way around just fine.
I do hope that I’ll get the word out to enough people who are interested in participating to make the collection worthwhile, because if it goes over well, I think it might be helpful to start similar collections for, say, unpublished flash fiction, half-completed research papers, and the like. But of course that all depends on the audience.
“Novel and NonFiction Excerpts” is now accepting submissions. I can’t wait to see yours!