The Community Story Machine: Getting Started

Note: we start on Wednesday! Please don’t submit before I put the official starting post up, okay?

I had an idea, and it kept scurrying around my brain like a mouse. Just when I thought it was going to leave me alone it would start scurrying again.

Far be it from me to override the wishes of the mouse, so here it is. I’m going to start something, and see where it goes.

There are many bloggers out there who run weekly memes. The writerly ones often have to post some piece of work every week. This is hard on most people. You tend to be a shy lot, and less than eager to throw your work out there into the black hole we call the internet where it may be chewed to bits by mean people with grudges and chips on shoulders and all that. Notice I’m not naming names here. Nope, not me.

So here’s an idea that won’t involve you writing anything but which should be fun.

Rules: Continue reading “The Community Story Machine: Getting Started”

Story machine, manuscripts, etc

We begin with a little inspiration: the Mathematician demonstrates that with hard work, determination and a dose of crazy enthusiasm, you can indeed get to the top.

So here we go with the Story Machine workshop and my first ever I-read-your- work-and- give- you- feedback contest. Anybody have a suggestion for a pithier name? There has got to be one.

And of course, the pile o’ stuff giveaways, one for each day of the workshop. Every time you comment on a given workshop post, you will be entered into the drawing for that day.

To make things a little more interesting, I will draw the winner for each of the four workshop days at the same time I draw the winner of the I-read-your-work-and-give-you-feedback contest. All this pulling of names will happen on Sunday, which gives people time to think things through and comment.

Now, the rules for the I-read-your-work-and-give-you-feedback contest. If you would like to jump in, this is how you do it:

Anybody who

1. leaves a comment to this post stating that they’d like to be in the draw for the I-read-your-work-and-give-you-feedback contest, AND

2. leaves at least one comment to some other part of the workshop posts

will be entered into the drawing.
We clear so far?

On Sunday, after I draw the four pile o’ stuff winners, I’ll draw a name at random from those who have signed up. Within three months, the person whose name I draw will send me a piece of fiction, which he or she authored, and I will read that manuscript and provide my feedback via email.

Here are the conditions. Please don’t put your name in the hat unless you agree to all of them.

1. The manuscript or the part of a manuscript submitted to me must be your own work.
2. It may not be longer than 8,000 words (that would be about forty double-spaced pages).
3. The manuscript must be emailed to me. Specifics to be discussed after the drawing.
4. I am happy to read any kind of fiction — any genre, any approach — but I cannot provide commentary on non-fiction, children’s fiction or poetry.
5. I will make suggestions (which you are free to ignore, or act on); I will not rewrite any part of your manuscript.
Pleasemention6. Within two weeks I will email you feedback on craft issues (structure, pacing, characterization, dialog, prose, theme) — both what works and what (in my opinion) needs work. Of course, this is my subjective stance on what you submit. It is also informed by twenty years of publishing and editing, so the aim is that it be useful and constructive, but no miracles are forthcoming.
7. I cannot guarantee that the work you submit will ever be published or that you’ll find an agent. I can’t be held responsible in any way if your work doesn’t receive the recognition or reception you hoped for.
8. No money or goods exchange hands; I provide this service at no cost to you, for participating in the Story Machine workshop this week.
9. The agreement is that I provide feedback once. I can’t read the manuscript again after you have revised it. Not if you want me to ever finish another novel.
10. You have to agree not to worry yourself into an ulcer between the time you email me your manuscript and you get comments back from me. I’m a very careful and respectful reader, okay? I’m not going to be mean or condescending. That’s not the way I work.

A note: I can guarantee that your work and my feedback on your work will never be made public in any way. Your privacy is as important to me as my own.

So, if you’d like me to provide some feedback on your work, and you agree to the conditions stated here, please leave a comment that includes a valid email address. In your comment, you must also include this sentence (which you can copy and paste):

I have read the instructions and rules for this contest and should my name be drawn, I agree and vow (pinky swear) to abide by every single one of them. I also understand that I reserve Rosina reserves* the right to stop the contest if it is not functioning according to plan, or in the case of emergency.

Final note: if you have a question about this I-read-your-work-and-give-you-feedback contest, do not put them in a comment to this post. I will have to delete any such comments. Only comment here if you are entering the contest.

If you have questions or need clarification, please email me: rosinalippi@pobox.com

The tossing of hats may commence.

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*My bad. If you already commented, don’t worry about this. I’ll fix it.