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Author Topic: Novel Chapter Exchange Group
enigmaticuser
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A few of us used to have a chapter exchange group that lived for a couple months with a handful of writers, exchanging chapters each week and reviewing them.

I'm wondering if anyone would be interested in starting that sort of thing again? To provide a structure, there would be probably a maximum of four writers (three counting myself) so that rotation is not too lengthy). Writers would have one week to read and review a chapter, due to everyone having busy schedules, I would suggest a limit to the depth of review. For example, a repeated gramatic or punctuative transgression, mention it. But mainly, does this character work? How's the pace? Is the wording clear? Lively description?

Surface stuff.

Polite but insightful criticism, of course.

Oh, and probably a good estimate that you can hang in there for two rotations at least.

Thoughts? Interest?

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MartinV
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I'm in. I just started a second draft of Arena and this would definitely speed up my process. [Wink] I should warn you that I have pretty big chapters (usually around 10 pages, sometimes more) but so far no one has complained of them being boring.
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Crank
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This is something that would definitely benefit me. Although, since I'm not working on any novel-length science fiction at the moment, would anyone be interested in reading chapters of my contemporary young adult stories?

S!

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enigmaticuser
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Good to see you again, Martin. I'd love to see how that story has evolved. I liked it in the first place as I recall.

Crank, I wouldn't mind. I guess it wouldn't matter what's being exchanged as long as it could feasibly be read and critiqued in a week's time.

If there's only three of us (which sounds semi-ideal to keep rotation quick), I think I could handle about 10k a week maybe? Mind you I'm not talking line edits (though I'd have to mark repeat offenders).

Sunday's tomorrow, anyone want to start then? my email is jsclark5768@gmail.com. I think I still have your MartinV. I'd need yours crank.

It's rarely good to go first, so MartinV you wanna start, followed by Crank, and I'll bring up the rear? Otherwise, I'm ready to launch today.

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Crank
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Bring it on!

steve46th at gmail dot com

S!

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MartinV
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OK. Guess I get cracking and finish up my first chapter until tommorow.
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MartinV
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Hm. I might be a tad late; still have a lot to do. I will be ready next week. If anyone wants to do it instead, be my guest. Otherwise, we postpone until next week.
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MartinV
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Are we ready to do this?
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MattLeo
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I think this is an interesting idea, but perhaps we could occasionally do a narrower focus, (e.g. opening chapter, climax, action scene, low point, turning point, travel chapter) so we could begin to see how different writers handle common problems.
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Crank
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I will have my thoughts on Jesse's first entry to him later this evening. I felt it was more important to hurt myself in this morning's street hockey game. [Big Grin]

Martin, are you next?

Matt: we did an action scene group once before, and I liked how it turned out. I would be more than willing to participate in another (in particular, I still don't like how I handle sports scenes), but there are a few things for me to empty off my plate first.

S!

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MartinV
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As far as I'm aware, no one has sent in any manuscripts yet. I was meant to do it last week but I was too busy with other things to finish up my first chapter.

I will send in my first chapter momentarily.

Edit: sent.

[ November 25, 2012, 08:04 PM: Message edited by: MartinV ]

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Crank
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Martin: I received your first chapter. I'm looking forward to reading it. As it is now, my kids seem to think I should spend my time helping them with their homework.

It's my turn next, so I will have my first chapter to everyone by Saturday or Sunday. Matt: are you in the group now?

S!

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MattLeo
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quote:
Originally posted by Crank:
Matt: are you in the group now?

Go ahead and send me your chapters. I'm kind of swamped but if I can hand in critiques on time for the next two chapters in the queue I'll throw my hat in.
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Crank
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My first 'chapter' has been sent out. Let me know if you didn't receive it, per favore.

Martin: my review of your first chapter will be in your inbox later today.

Now...time for street hockey!

S!

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enigmaticuser
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Oops, been absent from the forum. Matt has an interesting idea. I'm wondering how that would work; how would we see how to do a climax without the rest of the story? I guess fill in what you think are the pertinent details?

Other thoughts?

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MattLeo
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quote:
Originally posted by enigmaticuser:
Oops, been absent from the forum. Matt has an interesting idea. I'm wondering how that would work; how would we see how to do a climax without the rest of the story? I guess fill in what you think are the pertinent details?

Other thoughts?

Well, I've critiqued two chapters in this group, and they are both opening chapters. I'd say once everyone has been critiqued at least once, somebody should propose a topic here on the forum and if everyone is up to at least critique some chapters of that sort, then the chapter exchange begins.

I think we'd get the most of it if we focused on a theme, then wrapped up (e.g. things we've learned by critiquing opening chapters).

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MartinV
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Hm. I was going to continue sending my chapters one at a time. Helps to get me to work on them.
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Crank
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Yeah, consecutive chapters is what I signed up for. The theme idea, as I mentioned before, is a good one, but as a separate group. I'd prefer to keep this group the way it is.

S!

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MattLeo
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Fine with me. I don't have any desire to come in and mess up somebody's group concept. I do think there needs to be a group to focus on more specific effects you're trying to create, e.g. humor, suspense, etc., but the logical unit to work on there is the scene rather than the chapter.
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MattLeo
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Who's up next?
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MartinV
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Sorry for the delay; I'm still reading but I have two real life deadlines to catch by the end of this week so I am forced to push this to next week unless I really find the time to do it. I hope that's OK. Really sorry but some things have to have priorities.
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Crank
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MartinV: I know a little bit about real life constraints. Take your time.

Matt: You are up next. If you don't have a 'first chapter' ready to go, send me a chapter you do have ready.

S!

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MattLeo
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Fine. Is J.S. in on this, or is it just Martin and Steve? The "enigmaticuser" profile doesn't have an email address, so if you want in you'll have to send me an email at the address on my profile.

-M

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enigmaticuser
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Oh, sorry, yes. I'm in. Steve could you forward Matt's chapter to me when you get it? I'll update my profile.
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MartinV
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Thanks for understanding. I will be free to read by this weekend.
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Crank
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Have you all heard about that nasty flu that's been going around?

It hit my house big time this past weekend, to the point where I was asleep the majority of two entire days. It's been frustrating, because I *never* get that sick.

There's a SF story in there, somewhere.

Apologies for those who have not gotten responses or reviews from me, and apologies in advance to Matt because I'm not sure I can get to yours in a reasonable time, either...I might finally be upright, but not everyone in my house is.

I'll catch back up to speed eventually.

S!

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MartinV
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OK, finally done. Now I'm getting back to reading your texts.

Hm. So some of you have read my chapters from the previous chapter exchange. I'm not sure what other option I have than to send my chapters in as I intended. Anyone have any ideas?

[ December 17, 2012, 07:38 PM: Message edited by: MartinV ]

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MattLeo
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I think the simplest and most considerate way to proceed is as follows:

(1) Critique manuscripts sent by other authors round-robin, skipping authors who haven't submitted anything new. Do at least one full critique per week.

(2) Send new chapters as soon as you've received all the critiques due on your last chapter, or every three weeks from your last submission, whichever is sooner. Don't wait for the critiques to be done on the prior author's chapter.

The reason for this is that delaying sending your manuscript inconveniences people who might have time to look at your manuscript sooner but not later. It also prevents a delay by one critic in the group from inconveniencing others by producing a flood of MSS.

Three weeks is my suggestion for the target turn-around period. We have four participants, so that works out to one chapter to review per week, and roughly one critique received per week.

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Crank
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Happy holidays, gentlemen!

Due to circumstances that were not even close to being of my making, I have been away from writing for the last several days, meaning I'm quite a bit behind in my critiquing duties. Matt, I have your excerpt, and will have something to you soon...I just didn't want you thinking I forgot you.

I also now have everyone's reviews of "Top Notch"'s first three scenes in my hands. I'll go through all your comments, then send out the next two scenes hopefully sometime next week.

Thanx for your patience!

Now, if you will excuse me, I believe I hear a C-mas feast calling my name.

S!

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enigmaticuser
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If we don't have something to submit just skipping to the next in line seems like common sense along to the next who does that way the critiques keep flowing for those who can use them.

I'm not a pro but I try to treat my writing like a job (hoping for some future return) so I put a deadlines on myself (yet to keep them, but I get close). So to me, I'd rather have one critique and keep moving forward than be stuck on the same part of my story waiting for critiques that may not be timely.

Real life takes precedent, I'm just saying whatever keeps the wheel turning is my guiding light. If you can't contribute at the moment, fine, get back on the horse when you can. If not then lets move to the next person who can so those who are able at the moment are not waiting on those unable. Otherwise what's the point?

Merry Christmas and Happy Chanukah, I hope all your families are near!

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MartinV
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I was just wondering if anyone is interested to keep this going as I detect a certain lack of interest.
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Crank
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Don't mistake 'lack of interest' with 'lack of time.' I very much want to continue working with this group. In fact, I'm currently reading through your second offering.

You did receive mine, I hope...!

S!

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MartinV
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I did. A bit busy with exams but I will read it by the end of this week.
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Jed Anderson
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So, how does this work?
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MartinV
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Hello, Jed, welcome aboard.

I'm about to submit my third chapter to the group so you're not that far behind. Since your e-mail account seems valid, you're going on the mailing list without problems. The idea is to read what others submit and add your comments or a geneal review. We don't have a strict form, just add what you think about the story and what might be helpful. To keep comments on a decent level goes without saying. We're all friends here.

When your turn comes up, you submit a chapter in .doc or other acceptable form (I don't use Mac but I'm sure others here do and will be able to help you with that) and add if you're looking for specific comments or just a general review.

We tend to submit subsequent chapters of novels, one per week so there is enough time (although lately it seems too little time).

There might be an issue with the fact you would need to read two previous chapters from everyone to get on track. I'm not sure if you're willing to do that. Best to decide on your own.

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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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This all takes place (feedback and chapters) in email, by the way.
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MartinV
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Hence the mentioning of mailing list and .doc format.

I just realized there's no point in starting another round if we have a new person. If you post your first chapter now, Jed, you will only be one chapter behind (you still have to read two chapters of each though).

I will forward you the thread with everyone's e-mail in it.

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