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Brooke

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blarg, i really don't want to feel obligated to pay for a crit, and honestly, i don't want people to pay me if i critique. it would take away from the 'honor' of the whole thing, i suppose. even if payment isn't required, it would probably make those who don't pay feel cheap for not doing so, even if they just can't scrounge up the money. besides, if someone's willing to pay for a critique, they'd probably get a beta-reader or an editor, not rely on a group of strangers online! i really like the non-monetary system we have now; it would suck to lose it.
(plus, i'm constantly broke)
 

Mel L

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I remember floundering at first too Mel. Now it seems very simple and straightforward to me. When I can't find something I just do a search. I'm afraid that would be my only advice to a newbie. For myself a zoom wouldn't have been helpful because I just have to push buttons and see what happens to figure out things.
What do you think of a zoom by genre? I think people writing fantasy etc would be benefitted by separate forums where you discuss industry trends and WIP. Ditto any other genre like romance or horror. Maybe there wouldnt be enough historical fiction for example but there could be crossover groups?
I think Zooms by smaller groups, whether by genre or specific topics like how to work with betas or editing, could be great. It would probably be good for the colony too.
When I first joined, it was scary to join a huddle as an unknown surrounded by much more experienced writers who all seemed to know each other, and especially the Capo Famiglia himself! So my idea is that smaller Zooms could be a place to welcome newbies, give them a chance to share a little about their own writing journey and ask questions about how things work.
Genre, for sure, is a huge reason to band together. Rather than SiGs, writers could benefit from subgroups or cross-over groups with a focus on a particular genre like SF or fantasy, horror or thriller. Personally I would love to find other people here interested in women's fiction, comedy and even the much belittled and neglected Literary category.
 

Pamela Jo

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I think Zooms by smaller groups, whether by genre or specific topics like how to work with betas or editing, could be great. It would probably be good for the colony too.
When I first joined, it was scary to join a huddle as an unknown surrounded by much more experienced writers who all seemed to know each other, and especially the Capo Famiglia himself! So my idea is that smaller Zooms could be a place to welcome newbies, give them a chance to share a little about their own writing journey and ask questions about how things work.
Genre, for sure, is a huge reason to band together. Rather than SiGs, writers could benefit from subgroups or cross-over groups with a focus on a particular genre like SF or fantasy, horror or thriller. Personally I would love to find other people here interested in women's fiction, comedy and even the much belittled and neglected Literary category.
Dont say belittled. I just think any genre can have literary. Dune is literary. Tolkien and Pratchett are literary. It's when you go out to write it specifically that it's hard not to be pretentious.

But the SIG's are not working as is. I think the original idea was zoom groups-live cross pollination. I like the way you think. My first novel combined women's fiction., comedy and fantasy so- how do we start a zoom for that? I'm in.
 

Pamela Jo

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blarg, i really don't want to feel obligated to pay for a crit, and honestly, i don't want people to pay me if i critique. it would take away from the 'honor' of the whole thing, i suppose. even if payment isn't required, it would probably make those who don't pay feel cheap for not doing so, even if they just can't scrounge up the money. besides, if someone's willing to pay for a critique, they'd probably get a beta-reader or an editor, not rely on a group of strangers online! i really like the non-monetary system we have now; it would suck to lose it.
(plus, i'm constantly broke)
Fair enough. The reality being "a beta reader or editor" would cost much more than a tenner or 20 and would be an actual stranger not a fellow Litopian. Editors cost thousands.
There is a dividing point here between getting feedback on a blurb, title, poem, FF or first 1k. I think everyone is happy to do that kind of short time commitment.

It's when you get into reading whole manuscripts and a serious time commitment that there seems to be residual resentment.

People who know each other have always made private arrangements. But putting a price on reading longer work makes it clear - you need to be conscious that what you are asking for is worth a lot in the person's time. I would say the beta readers on here are equal or better than others who charge for it. Helping to pay for their monthly membership is a bargain. Nothing precludes you or any other Litopian from making a private arrangement for free.

I think what is being discussed is a place on a writing workshop where those willing to read a whole manuscript and critique it can post. Local beta readers who can be be sure that they will have some return on their time investment, not have someone breeze in and breeze out. Wham, blam, not even a thank you.
 
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Mel L

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Dont say belittled. I just think any genre can have literary. Dune is literary. Tolkien and Pratchett are literary. It's when you go out to write it specifically that it's hard not to be pretentious.

But the SIG's are not working as is. I think the original idea was zoom groups-live cross pollination. I like the way you think. My first novel combined women's fiction., comedy and fantasy so- how do we start a zoom for that? I'm in.
I am fascinated by this literary vs genre topic (and struggle with the same issues on defining it). Will start a separate thread.
 

Pamela Jo

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I am fascinated by this literary vs genre topic (and struggle with the same issues on defining it). Will start a separate thread.
To me literary is what readers make immortal. If you try to write it you end up Saul Bellow or John Updike or even most of what Margaret Atwood wrote. If you are writing for the "literary crowd" like Sally Rooney you can hit something commercial. Still doesn't make your writing literature. Worst case you end up writing something like The Help or American Dirt. The books were the darling of the literati, but dishonest and with the internal flaws and lifespan of Shelley's Frankenstein. Now I'll shut up and await your thread. I used to write for the Lit mags etc. It just got too tiring trying to figure out what the "in-crowd" had chosen as their zeitgeist that term. Commercial readers are easier to figure out. And in the end they decide what lives forever.
 

Nikky Lee

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I believe there should be a significant minimum number of posts made by newbies (say maybe 20) before they can put work in for critiquing. That would perhaps save the many good and kindhearted folks here, who give time fully and freely, from having their good nature abused.
Sorry to circle back on this a bit late, but I'm pretty sure when I joined members had to comment or engage ~10 times on the forum before we got access to the workshop area. And I'm fairly certain you had to do a couple of critiques first before you could post your own work? (That last bit might have been suggested in Pete's 'Read First' post about the Litopian way of critiquing rather than a hard rule).

How about a free weekly or monthly Zoom for newbies hosted by a couple of the more experienced members or guardians?
I like this idea. These could easily be pre-recorded and then turned into On-Demand webinars/videos for newbies.

Would a Tip Jar be a better way to reward people who've give you critiques that really helped?
Not keen on the idea of tipping in the money sense, but perhaps some sort of digital reward/incentive e.g. we have a level system, could critiques count more towards that? Or something as simple as a the people who critique the most being able to have their works displayed/pinned at the top of the workshop area? (Alternatively, some sort of ranking system so the more crits you do, the higher your post requesting a crit moves up the page). Ultimately, it means the people who crit the most get the most crits in return.
 

Carol MS

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Maybe it's just me, still finding my way around, but I find I'm missing a lot of conversations or discovering them late because it's not clear where they might be.

Forums does seem a bit redundant. Aspects of it which might be helpful could be incorporated in other sections where pertinent. For example, the threads which individuals have started, that they are posting in or are themselves specifically following/watching could be listed on each member's profile page.

There are too many options to do a post, creating both confusion and clutter. People wonder if they should do/write a post or search for/find a post here, or should they do so there. One place should suffice, maybe two, and it should be made clear where that is.

I wonder if a kind of hashtag system could be created with specific subjects to be consisistently used The tags should not be overly specific, subjectively created by individuals as they post and resulting in disorganized or incomplete threads of posts on the subjects. Less is more. For example: Writing/Craft, Writing/Feedback, Writing/Revision, Agents, Editors, Trad Publishing, Self Publishing, Hybrid Publishing, Flash Fiction, Short Stories, Novels, Memoirs, Cover Design, Titles, Finding Comps, Resources . . . etc. etc. etc.. Such a system might help us find a specific post (scrolling the tagged posts) or discover a wide array of posts on a particular subject of interest. But too many subject tags, especially for the same or similar subjects, wouldn't work, so 'keep it simple' is likely good advice.

I have more thoughts coming together which I'll soon share. I've been thinking about how I experienced Litopia's site from the very beginning of my participation, trying to take a bottom up experiential approach rather than a top-down approach to what might be a more intuitive way of structuring the site.

And I look forward to hearing everyone else's thoughts on these ideas, as well as reading all the reflections and suggestions others are making.
 

Brooke

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Not keen on the idea of tipping in the money sense, but perhaps some sort of digital reward/incentive e.g. we have a level system, could critiques count more towards that?
i've definitely been curious about the level system; it seems like we don't use it for anything, and pretty much everyone here is at level 0. i'm DEFINITELY on board with using crits as a way of leveling up via a digital point rewarding system. the levels are pretty much useless right now, and since critiquing and getting critiqued is the main part of litopia, it's a PERFECT use for them!!
 

Carol MS

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After I figured out NOT to reply to ancient threads, I found my way. I set my preferences and made peace with Litopia. My preferences going forward:

1. Separate beta reads and requests for crits from everything else. Make this the focus. I did not join to improve my gardening skills or share favorite TV shows. No one did.
2. Focused groups, such as SIGS, should be in their own category. Not writing.
3. Commentary on the world, insights into writerly life, etc. File away for those interested in such. May be relevant. But ...
I agree. The Litopia site should not try to become a Facebook (or Mastodon) type of general social media site. That's what the other social media is for. Of course we want to have enjoyable social conversations, but the focus of the site should be writing. I, too, was surprised to see a special interest group about gardening (though I'm sure plenty of writers garden), and felt the same about the SIG related to movies (which I feel only relevant if being linked to novels, which can be done in several ways one can learn from). Maybe I seem like a grump for thinking this way, but Litopia can't be all things to all people.
 

Carol MS

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I haven't been here too long and I don't feel able to make too many suggestions, but here's my two penny's worth...

I find the site rather overwhelming. There are maybe too many forum headings. I often find something of interest on a visit, but a couple of day's later, I can't find the thread again. I actually saw this particular thread yesterday... it's taken me 10 minutes to find it again this evening. Do you need to combine a few forum headings... slim it all down a little?

Also, I find the severe restriction on the number of characters in a profile update to be too limiting. Profile updates are a good way (for me) to have a quick burst of creativity. Would it be possible to allow maybe a thousand characters... or a little bit more (as an old song once went)?

Please note that none of these comments are criticisms of the site. Merely my thoughts/observations. I'm enjoying being here and hoping to increase my participation as life's wondrous endeavours unfold. The monthly flash fiction thingamybob is bloomin' fantastic!
I've had the same problem, repeatedly. I see a posting of interest, but if I look for it again, I can never find it. Even if I know who posted it, I'm not finding it. There are too many places it might be, and sometimes it feels like looking for a needle in a haystack.
 

Carol MS

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I’m having to rush this as about to go on holiday so apologies if it’s a bit blunt As I don’t want to miss the opportunity before the deadline!

1. The website is outdated.

2. Pete once showed concerned about dwindling member numbers. Someone has taken the time to get over 40,000 followers on Twitter and you don’t use it.

You don’t interact with your followers, even if they tag you in posts.

You ask your ‘contestants’ for their social details but then don’t even tag them in your Twitter posts when they are in that weeks show.

Your mantra is never more than one or two tweets a week but Twitter is all about interaction.

Several times I’ve tagged and shared details of Litopia and tried to get some interaction but there is never a response.

3. I love the idea of Huddles and would love to attend more often but 5pm on Saturday is too inconvenient for me. I’ve almost always got plans on a Saturday night. however I completely understand how busy Pete must be and you can’t please everyone, all the time.

4. I have no idea how the points systems works Or if it’s something that’s out of date and doesn’t get used any more.

5. I get confused by all the different sub categories in the forums and it always takes me a while to find the one/s I want.

6. I’ve been participating in Pop Ups almost every week for several months and kinda feel it’s not appreciated, although I’m not sure what it is I’m looking for. Just the odd thanks would be nice. If you are going to introduce/update the points system it would be great if this counted for something

Having said all of that I have got lot from this forum. most of the members are friendly and have been so helpful to me!

Thanks a lot.

Keep up the good work
You mention the points system. I'm not sure how it's supposed to work, but I don't like the idea at all. Such things might work fine if everyone is on an even playing field, but some people can't participate more however much they might want to (or, particularly at first, because they can't figure out how to do so on the site), and no one wants to be penalized for having a more complicated or difficult life situation. What's the point?
 

Carol MS

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I also don't have a lot of time this week as we are in the midst of moving but I don't want to miss the chance to chime in. Agree with so much of what's been said here by others already, especially @Peyton Stafford and @LA Thomas.

One thing I find frustrating is the Members' section. Would love to be able to browse through to find people's profiles as it's not always easy to remember their Litopia names and the icons make it easier. It is helpful to see who the staff members are, but why can't we see the 'guardians'? TBH, I don't really care about things like 'Most resources' or 'Highest reaction score' etc, so perhaps we could lose those categories.
It took me a long time to realize that I could search for individual members' profiles by clicking on the word "Members" in the top menu bar instead of clickiing on the drop-down arrow which didn't offer such an option, though it seemed it should have. Also, "Members" doesn't even show up in the menu bar all the time; it depends on the page one is on. Then when I did find I could look up individual members, I saw the "Most...." this or that recognitions of various members and was frankly put off by it. I don't think being a member should be a popularity contest, or even a participation contest. People should not be penalized (and certainly not shamed) for not being able to participate as much as some others. I don't presume to know, and certainly won't judge, how complicated or demanding another person's life is resulting in an impact on their degree of participation. And sometimes it's just a personality thing, such as someone being extremely shy or anxious about participating, feelings that are likely difficult enough already without someone assessing demerits--or lack of points--for such normal human foibles. The opposite is true, too; some who are extremely hyper or obsessive-compulsive types will always be "Johnny on the spot" simply because it's their nature or maybe an attention-seeker will always grab the limelight. If you ask me, such reward systems always make the quiet ones suffer, and it's not fair.
 

Carol MS

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There's a "side" conversation going on in Jake's self publishing thread. About The Workshops and giving critique. Basically,

There's often an imbalance with 'giving and taking' feedback and sometimes we don't even get a thank you for our hard work. Personally this has stopped me participating in there.

Maybe, we could have a setting under our avatars stating whether or not we're open to giving feedback. Having said that, that wouldn't sort the imbalance and the imbalance will simply continue.

I've mentioned this before a while ago: newbies (and oldbies) can simply put their work up, get crit, then run.

So I'm wondering if somehow members have to earn a crit via (and bear with me here) a "currency system". When we participate / join somebody's workshop, we get a virtual credit for the first crit (of 100 words) we post in there. Only the first. A credit for participating. When we want crit, we have to pay with that credit before we are able to post the work up. Limit the type of work (synopsis only, blurb only etc) to 1 per workshop. If we then want more credits to put up more work, we have to participate in more workshops. Crit for cred.

I know the world shouldn't be like that. It's a shame that it is. There are takers. But there are so many lovley helpful folk on here. Their goodwill and giving nature shouldn't be (ab)used as a free editing service.

Obvs, all our lives are busy and we don't always have time to help others by giving crit and some folk are perma busy, which is understamdable. But ... a credit system would sort it.

If we don't give we can't expect to get.
I agree that people need to give and not just expect to get when it comes to critiques of their work. It's why I haven't yet submitted anything in the "Workshop" section of Litopia, though I'd like to get feedback. While I've submitted a blurb and a few pages to the Huddle, where I have also been able to give feedback as well as receive, as well as have contributed to the Pop-Ups, I've only been able to a couple of times provide feedback on a submission made to the Workshop. It's not that I don't want to give feedback, but rather that I am extremely slow at it, and struggle with time and energy issues due to my health and disability problems. I'm hardly getting anything at all done on my revision of my novel because of it. But until I'm able to give more, I won't be submitting.

My situation aside, though, I have noticed some people, particularly new and less-informed members, submitting way more pages than they should and doing so right after joining. It's not appropriate, perhaps arising from naivete, or worse, selfishness. I've seen plenty of that in critique groups I've participated in over the last decade or so. It would be nice if we could expect people to behave in ways respectful of others, to balance their own needs with those of others, and to show appreciation when receiving critiques, but too often, I agree, people fail to do so. I'm not sure what to do about it, though, except to say that rules and expectations should be set and made very clear before people are able to participate.
 

Carol MS

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I can't believe I've been a member of Litopia for eight moths already! Time flies when you're having fun! Truly.

But I'm still working through confusion and overwhelm about the Litopia site, partly because I'm not that tech-savvy, partly because the site isn't very intuitive, and also because figuring it all out has seemed it would require more time than I've felt I could give to the effort.

So I've been pondering what might have made it easier from the start for someone like me, in essence starting to think about it from the bottom up--what might I as a newbie have been looking for as I first explored the site--instead of the top down, or what those who've put the site together want to see on it. Maybe looking at it this way will lead to it being more clear and intuitive.

It seemed I first looked for something that would tell me where to start as a new member (Basic at first). -- So on the HOME page, a Button or Header saying START HERE -- and beneath it something like the following to click on (BUT not necessarily this wording)

START HERE:
HOW TO PARTICIPATE
Types of Membership
(Including Upgrades)
Philosophy, Rules, How-to Tips (Doing posts, navigating the site)
Create a PROFILE
Write a "Hello" Post and Be Welcomed

COMMUNITY CONVERSATIONS
Networking and Support
(Writing and publishing related only)
Non-writing subjects
Personal Blog Posts and Direct Messaging
Recognition - Success Stories
The Weekly HUDDLE - Meet on ZOOM
Thought for the Day

SEARCH FOR
Latest Posts
(Use Hashtags - See List or Add)
Conversation Threads (Use Hashtags - See List or Add)
Members' Profiles

WRITING CRITIQUES, BETA READS, AND MORE
Giving and Receiving Feedback
(Rules)
Where and How to Submit Your Work (Workshops, Huddle)

SEMINARS, WEBINARS, WRITING RESOURCES
Agent Pete's Seminars
Litopia Craft Discussions
Members' Recommendations
Videos - Authors' Interviews and Writing Advice

POP-UP SUBMISSIONS


SPECIAL INTEREST GROUPS (Just some ideas)
Traditional Publishing
Self and Hybrid Publishing
Finding Comparables
Finding Agents
Working With Editors
Querying & Submissions
Author Websites
Marketing/Promotion
Book Launches
AI and Writers
Poetry
Flash Fiction
Ghostwriting
Book Club
At the Mic/Doing Public Readings


MARKETPLACE
Members' Pubished Books
Members Offering Services

FOLLOW LITOPIA ON SOCIAL MEDIA

(Icon links)

NEED HELP?

So anyway, those are my thoughts about what I think I would have liked to see as I first started exploring the Litopia site. I think a HOME page with no more than a limited number of primary focus areas that are the ones people might most often be prioritizing for themselves might be a good way to go. Hmm . . . It just struck me, @AgentPete, that it might be helpful and fun to do a simple poll listing a few key areas and asking which people think most important.

Good luck with the site renovation.
 
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Carol MS

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I can't believe I've been a member of Litopia for eight moths already! Time flies when you're having fun! Truly.

But I'm still working through confusion and overwhelm about the Litopia site, partly because I'm not that tech-savvy, partly because the site isn't very intuitive, and also because figuring it all out has seemed it would require more time than I've felt I could give to the effort.

So I've been pondering what might have made it easier from the start for someone like me, in essence starting to think about it from the bottom up--what might I as a newbie have been looking for as I first explored the site--instead of the top down, or what those who've put the site together want to see on it. Maybe looking at it this way will lead to it being more clear and intuitive.

It seemed I first looked for something that would tell me where to start as a new member (Basic at first). -- So on the HOME page, a Button or Header saying START HERE -- and beneath it something like the following to click on (BUT not necessarily this wording)

START HERE:
HOW TO PARTICIPATE
Types of Membership
Philosophy, Rules, How-to Tips
(Doing posts, navigating the site)
Create a PROFILE
Write a "Hello" Post and Be Welcomed
COMMUNITY CONVERSATIONS
Networking and Support
(Writing and publishing related only)
Socializing (Non-writing related)
Recognition - Success Stories

WRITING CRITIQUES, BETA READS, AND MORE
Giving and Receiving Feedback
(Rules)
Where and How to Submit Your Work (Workshops, Huddle)

SEMINARS, WEBINARS, WRITING RESOURCES
Agent Pete's Seminars
Members' Recommendations
Videos - Authors' Interviews and Writing Advice


SPECIAL INTEREST GROUPS (Just some ideas)
Traditional Publishing
Self and Hybrid Publishing
Finding Comparables
Finding Agents
Working With Editors
Querying & Submissions
Author Websites
Marketing/Promotion
Book Launches
AI and Writers
Ghostwriting
At the Mic/Doing Public Readings


MARKETPLACE
Members' Pubished Books
Members Offering Services


So anyway, those are my thoughts about what I think I would have liked to see as I first started exploring the Litopia site. I think a HOME page with no more than a limited number of primary focus areas that are the ones people might most often be prioritizing for themselves might be a good way to go. Hmm . . . It just struck me, @AgentPete, that it might be helpful and fun to do a simple poll listing a few key areas and asking which people think most important.

Good luck with the site renovation.
Hmm..... Just noticed I missed adding in "Litopia Craft Discussions" between "Agent Pete's Seminars" and "Members' Recommendations." I always miss something. :oops:
 

Carol MS

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Oops! :oops: I also need to apologize to all of you Litopians who are poets or write flash fiction, since I forgot to include you in my SIG suggestions list. I'm sure I missed more. But anyway, you get the idea. And I didn't include Pop-Up Submissions either, which should be featured, needless to say. I'd skip emphasis on Mastodon, though, since it doesn't work well yet, and just include it in the icons fo social media that Litopia is linked to.
 

Pamela Jo

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Litopia sprang from Pete's creativity originally. I think the chaos and sprawl is a bit built in as it is part of a necessary climate for being creative. I would hate to sacrifice that and get nothing but efficiency in return.

Though Litopia can't be all things - the main reason for its existence is giving writers a rumpus room where they can be writerly-odd in ways they can't be elsewhere. Some of us are introspective and shy others are grandstanders. Many are somewhere on that spectrum in between.

The SIG's were meant to give us a way to get to know each other outside just using this space to get free beta readers. So I disagree with the idea that critiquing is the main purpose for Litopia to exist. I would argue it exists as a bubble where writers can be writers without fear or favour. It was meant to be a colony with all that means. As Pete says, "Writers need other writers." Probably even more as AI intrudes on what was traditionally writer territory.

We are more than people trying to make money off words. We were all born with words as our superpower. We want them, we need them, they molded and defined us. We found we could sculpt pictures with them out of nothing. Some of us found a way to make money out of that birthright. Others kept their portion of that superpower zipped into a secret pouch while they made a living the "normy" way.

I'd like to connect face to face with other writers more. I need others to spark off when I'm trying to pull that "feeling" into an actual story. I'd prefer they be simpatico people I can be vulnerable with. What I've disliked about other writers groups is they do become dominated by a few "deciders" who leave no room for messy trys and failures. I think the SIG's, and Mastodon were a good honest attempt at finding a place for the simpatico to connect and then perhaps coalesce into a pod of writers supporting each other.

Going forward maybe we could find a way for people to come together into writing partnership pods via Zooms. Genre's are an obvious choice, but I think if we only meet in genre's we will miss that serendipitous component that comes with diversity. On FB a friend described eating out next to a group of women having a hella good time. It turned out they met once a week to tell each other ghost stories and whatever other spooky, strange shit came up. I love that idea. Still have hopes for my "Ghost Ship" zoom. Like the "The SS Minnow" it sails and docks on a schedule but takes you where the brave dare not go.

The most important message I've gotten since beginning to write fiction is that we are all writers. You don't have to be published. You don't have to be given that title. You were born with it. And on Litopia that is enough.
 
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Hannah F

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It took me a long time to realize that I could search for individual members' profiles by clicking on the word "Members" in the top menu bar instead of clickiing on the drop-down arrow which didn't offer such an option, though it seemed it should have. Also, "Members" doesn't even show up in the menu bar all the time; it depends on the page one is on. Then when I did find I could look up individual members, I saw the "Most...." this or that recognitions of various members and was frankly put off by it. I don't think being a member should be a popularity contest, or even a participation contest. People should not be penalized (and certainly not shamed) for not being able to participate as much as some others. I don't presume to know, and certainly won't judge, how complicated or demanding another person's life is resulting in an impact on their degree of participation. And sometimes it's just a personality thing, such as someone being extremely shy or anxious about participating, feelings that are likely difficult enough already without someone assessing demerits--or lack of points--for such normal human foibles. The opposite is true, too; some who are extremely hyper or obsessive-compulsive types will always be "Johnny on the spot" simply because it's their nature or maybe an attention-seeker will always grab the limelight. If you ask me, such reward systems always make the quiet ones suffer, and it's not fair.
I totally agree with you on the points system. Litopia entry would become a revolving door for the shy, the underconfident, the depressed and the just plain super-busy. So much in life is 'good things come to they who shout the loudest'. Let us not have Litopia sliding down that slope. Also, some people DM for critiques because for one reason or another they don't wish to put the work up in the workshop thread. Or they choose a small number of critters (can't think of a better word) and go private. That will duff up any points system.
 

Jonny

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Hmm..... Just noticed I missed adding in "Litopia Craft Discussions" between "Agent Pete's Seminars" and "Members' Recommendations." I always miss something. :oops:

Oops! :oops: I also need to apologize to all of you Litopians who are poets or write flash fiction
Hi Carol,,

That's an excellent and very comprehensive post above. I have now added your missing topics. :)
If you need anything else added just let me know.
 

Carol MS

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Litopia sprang from Pete's creativity originally. I think the chaos and sprawl is a bit built in as it is part of a necessary climate for being creative. I would hate to sacrifice that and get nothing but efficiency in return.

Though Litopia can't be all things - the main reason for its existence is giving writers a rumpus room where they can be writerly-odd in ways they can't be elsewhere. Some of us are introspective and shy others are grandstanders. Many are somewhere on that spectrum in between.

The SIG's were meant to give us a way to get to know each other outside just using this space to get free beta readers. So I disagree with the idea that critiquing is the main purpose for Litopia to exist. I would argue it exists as a bubble where writers can be writers without fear or favour. It was meant to be a colony with all that means. As Pete says, "Writers need other writers." Probably even more as AI intrudes on what was traditionally writer territory.

We are more than people trying to make money off words. We were all born with words as our superpower. We want them, we need them, they molded and defined us. We found we could sculpt pictures with them out of nothing. Some of us found a way to make money out of that birthright. Others kept their portion of that superpower zipped into a secret pouch while they made a living the "normy" way.

I'd like to connect face to face with other writers more. I need others to spark off when I'm trying to pull that "feeling" into an actual story. I'd prefer they be simpatico people I can be vulnerable with. What I've disliked about other writers groups is they do become dominated by a few "deciders" who leave no room for messy trys and failures. I think the SIG's, and Mastodon were a good honest attempt at finding a place for the simpatico to connect and then perhaps coalesce into a pod of writers supporting each other.

Going forward maybe we could find a way for people to come together into writing partnership pods via Zooms. Genre's are an obvious choice, but I think if we only meet in genre's we will miss that serendipitous component that comes with diversity. On FB a friend described eating out next to a group of women having a hella good time. It turned out they met once a week to tell each other ghost stories and whatever other spooky, strange shit came up. I love that idea. Still have hopes for my "Ghost Ship" zoom. Like the "The SS Minnow" it sails and docks on a schedule but takes you where the brave dare not go.

The most important message I've gotten since beginning to write fiction is that we are all writers. You don't have to be published. You don't have to be given that title. You were born with it. And on Litopia that is enough.
Fortunately reorganizing the site so that it's easier for people to access and participate doesn't have to alter its content or mission at all. With fewer people "lost," it only opens the way to increased fulfillment for everyone.
 

Carol MS

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Hi Carol,,

That's an excellent and very comprehensive post above. I have now added your missing topics. :)
If you need anything else added just let me know.
Thanks, Jonny. Right-oh! Actually, anyone can add to what I shared. It's just food for thought, maybe something to build upon. :)
 

LA Thomas

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If we have to start paying or even tipping for critiques, imo that changes the ethos of Litopia. It also divides the haves from the have-nots. Despite being someone who might benefit from the incoming dribble of dosh, I am not in favour.
Same. There are plenty of other places to get free reads so I would likely end up migrating to one of those. That’s not to say that I don’t appreciate the wealth of experience and excellent Critiquers on here, but i wouldn’t pay.

there would also have to be some kind of free sampling option too. All seems a bit confusing to me.
 

Hannah F

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Same. There are plenty of other places to get free reads so I would likely end up migrating to one of those. That’s not to say that I don’t appreciate the wealth of experience and excellent Critiquers on here, but i wouldn’t pay.

there would also have to be some kind of free sampling option too. All seems a bit confusing to me.
So you want a beta reader. £10. But one isn't enough. That's just one person's opinion. Better to have 5. £50. Perhaps you want fresh eyes after a substantial rewrite. £100! (The £10 and £50 were already out of my budget.) I too would go elsewhere for critique.
 

Carol MS

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I agree with @LA Thomas and @Hannah F about paying for critiques and beta reads, though I do differentiate such feedback from when it may be wise to seek out a professional editor for specific kinds of feedback when appropriate for our manuscript stage or specific craft issues as well as, needless to say, how that fits with our personal budget issues. Affordability is a big issue for me, so I know I can't hire an editor until I further refine my novel and get the word count substantially reduced. So thank goodness for all the helpful, generous feedback we get from fellow writers in critique groups and writing communites like Litopia. It's priceless!

We do, of course, pay a monthly (or annual) fee for Litopia, but thanks to @AgentPete. that includes far more than the potential to give and receive critiques on our writing, and it's well worth it. There are other avenues for feedback, though, particularly in local and online groups which writers of any level of proficiency and experience can join. In those, the feedback can vary hugely in quality and applicabiity (such as short-form hobby writers versus writers committed to long-form projects, or non-fiction versus fiction, and commercial genre fiction with specific conventions to follow versus literary fiction without such rules or expectations). The most well-meaning advice can end up sending writers still learning the ropes of their genres up the wrong avenues or to dead ends. That's so disheartening. It points to the importance of choosing critiquers and beta readers who are a good "fit" for our particular projects and needs. That's not always easy, and varies over time. It also involves learning how to ask for the specific kind of feedback we need/want when the time is right. It seems to me that Litopia provides a platform that can help that process along, not so in all critique avenues. And while many offer similar potential rewards (particularly certain professional writers' associations), they tend to cost more, too, in membership fees (such as The Manuscript Academy, which offers a lot but has high fees, in my opinion). I also think the reality is that advice received from professional editors isn't always worth what is paid.

So what do we do? Join the Litopia community and support one another!
 

Carol MS

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I can't believe I've been a member of Litopia for eight moths already! Time flies when you're having fun! Truly.

But I'm still working through confusion and overwhelm about the Litopia site, partly because I'm not that tech-savvy, partly because the site isn't very intuitive, and also because figuring it all out has seemed it would require more time than I've felt I could give to the effort.

So I've been pondering what might have made it easier from the start for someone like me, in essence starting to think about it from the bottom up--what might I as a newbie have been looking for as I first explored the site--instead of the top down, or what those who've put the site together want to see on it. Maybe looking at it this way will lead to it being more clear and intuitive.

It seemed I first looked for something that would tell me where to start as a new member (Basic at first). -- So on the HOME page, a Button or Header saying START HERE -- and beneath it something like the following to click on (BUT not necessarily this wording)

START HERE:
HOW TO PARTICIPATE
Types of Membership
Philosophy, Rules, How-to Tips
(Doing posts, navigating the site)
Create a PROFILE
Write a "Hello" Post and Be Welcomed
COMMUNITY CONVERSATIONS
Networking and Support
(Writing and publishing related only)
Socializing (Non-writing related)
Recognition - Success Stories

WRITING CRITIQUES, BETA READS, AND MORE
Giving and Receiving Feedback
(Rules)
Where and How to Submit Your Work (Workshops, Huddle)

SEMINARS, WEBINARS, WRITING RESOURCES
Agent Pete's Seminars
Litopia Craft Discussions
Members' Recommendations
Videos - Authors' Interviews and Writing Advice


SPECIAL INTEREST GROUPS (Just some ideas)
Traditional Publishing
Self and Hybrid Publishing
Finding Comparables
Finding Agents
Working With Editors
Querying & Submissions
Author Websites
Marketing/Promotion
Book Launches
AI and Writers
Poetry
Flash Fiction
Ghostwriting
At the Mic/Doing Public Readings




MARKETPLACE
Members' Pubished Books
Members Offering Services


So anyway, those are my thoughts about what I think I would have liked to see as I first started exploring the Litopia site. I think a HOME page with no more than a limited number of primary focus areas that are the ones people might most often be prioritizing for themselves might be a good way to go. Hmm . . . It just struck me, @AgentPete, that it might be helpful and fun to do a simple poll listing a few key areas and asking which people think most important.

Good luck with the site renovation.f
Hmm.....Just a small further thought..... Maybe in the section called "Community Conversations," if there were to be such a thing, it might be good to change the "Socializing" category to "Non-Writing Subjects" and then add "Personal Blogs" or "Profile Blogging" for the more everyday personal conversations, plus "Direct Messages" for when members want to connect with someone more privately. Both these categories of communication are on the Profile page, so combining them on the Home page navigation list would make sense. This kind of separation of the types of member conversations taking place on Litopia might preclude people sometimes mixing up what the purpose of the different communication thead lines are for, as they seem to do now from time to time. We'd more readily know both were to look for particular kinds of communications, but also where to post them. Right now, it's not very clear. I know I miss a lot of conversations I might enjoy reading and maybe participating in because I don't know where they are happening, or even where they can happen. There has been a slow, and sometimes confusing, learning curve for me for that.
 

Carol MS

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Hi Carol,,

That's an excellent and very comprehensive post above. I have now added your missing topics. :)
If you need anything else added just let me know.
Hi Jonny! Could you tweak my post with suggestions for home page organization a little more? It's struck me that "socializing" might be a bit misleading, and maybe it would be better to just say "Non-Writing Subjects" and then, next on the list, add in "Personal Blog Posts and Direct Messaging" (so people could be linked to member's profile pages to do these kinds of communications). "Book Club" was left out of the SIGS, too (oops). My biggest blooper of all was forgetting to add in Pop-Up Submissions! However did I do that?o_O Should have featured it with it's own italicized line! Maybe after the "Seminars..." section and a space. I don't know what happened to my space after the first section and before the "Conversations..." either (probably my crooked arthritic fingers). Now, I do realize none of this is absolutely necessary. Kind of silly of me maybe. But you offered, so I'm asking. Can you tell I'm a bit plagued by perfectionism? Like I said, silly me. So do or don't, as you wish. I'm just figeting due to feeling a few dangly threads nagging me.
 
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