Question: Workshop questions

Important! Reviewers Still Needed!

Not open for further replies.

izi 出久

Full Member
Feb 21, 2022
Hi all,

Workshops. They're amazing. Your input helps me see holes in my plot and faults in my craft. I measure all the feedback you give. Some of it I am ok to leave as is because I have a bigger picture of the story. Some of it is painfully correct in its judgement. I make notes to fix previous chapters; I update my style for future ones.

For those who have completed manuscripts, did you put each chapter through a workshop? My ms has so many chapters--I feel like it will be way too much. I also am afraid it will be problematic when I ask for beta-readers, as likely some of the same readers who provide feedback in workshops will volunteer to beta-read the story. But on the other hand, feedback has proven invaluable already as I work through this draft.

I think this has kind of been asked before, and the answers were varied. I'm asking specifically about how many chapters to workshop, during which draft, and how that might affect the beta-reading of a later draft. What are your suggestions?
Good question.

I've workshopped the first 3 chapters with my current WIP as well as mid novel chapters if they've proven problematic. Same with my other novels. I don't tend to put the full MS in. For full MSs I prefer a select few beta readers I reciprocate with. Partly because it's quite a big ask and partly because at that stage I prefer not too many different eyes in one go. But also because I'm quite select with whom I trust to give me the kind of feedback I'm looking for.

Not sure that helps.

In any case, if you do put your full MS in, I suggest you put a call for readers first before you attach the work. Then, when you have your readers, turn your thread private, invite the readers who volunteered and whose offer of help you'd like take up, and then put your work up.
Oh and I forgot to say: I would probably not submit one chapter at a time. A reader gets a better sense of flow, story development, arc, etc if they have the whole thing in front of them. That way they can read on if they're gripped (good sign), or go back easily to reference something in an earlier chapter if necessary.
Thank you all for the responses! My manuscript is no where near ready to share. I'm still in the process of rewriting it--starting from the ground up since I switched up POV. When I share that, I will definitely only ask for those interested in sci-fi / fantasy to beta-read. As far as workshopping chapters, thank you for clarifying. When I share next time, I will include three (possibly four) chapters, and those will likely be the only ones I workshop unless a chapter is dying and I don't know why.

And @VH, :) this community is the best thing for me, writing-wise. I have so much more motivation to write since I know there is such a supportive group on Litopia.
Generally, I put up one or two scenes for critique, and knowing that the issues that come up from that process will most likely infect all the following scenes, I carry those comments/notes into the future scenes. I don't put up scene after scene, because I hope that I've learned my lessons well from the first one [sometimes two] requests for critique.
For short stories, I prefer putting up the whole shebang, which once was 8k words - a lot to ask of fellow Litopians, but the comments rec'd were/are gold dust.
Totally agree with what others have said. I take on what feedback I have for the start of my WIP, and apply it to the entire WIP. I want to provide a clean-as-possible version for future readers. Sure, there's bound to be plot holes, every published book has them, but at least if I cut the fat, readers should be able to see plot holes clearer (at least, that's the theory!).
Workshopping chapters or extracts didn't work for me. People would comment on details that were missing (that were in the previous chapter), or ask questions that were not supposed to be answered until a few chapters later, to build up tension.

The exception being the opening chapter, as that's the one that needs to grab people, and as many eyes on that as possible will help. Likewise, blurb, query package in general.

I recommend finding some beta readers who will work with the whole manuscript. It's the only thing that's really helped with my writing.
Not open for further replies.

Important! Reviewers Still Needed!