This is topic Posting a Story in forum Open Discussions About Writing at Hatrack River Writers Workshop.

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Posted by Jaina (Member # 2387) on :
We've had a lot of newbies pop up and give us their 13 lines without anything else. So I thought I'd post some guidelines that are easily accessed so that we know what to expect from each other. Please feel free to add to them if I've forgotten anything!

In addition to your story's 13 lines, please post:
1. The story's genre
2. Total story length so far
3. Do you want comments for the whole thing, or just the first 13?
4. Anything else we need to know about the story in advance (for example, if you want us to focus on something specific, like POV or character voice)

I think that about covers it.

Posted by Jeraliey (Member # 2147) on :
Go, Jaina, Go!
Posted by limo (Member # 2470) on :
thanks that's very helpful...

Posted by mikemunsil (Member # 2109) on :
And don't forget to do some critiquing as well, please. This is somehting I always get behind on, but how can I ask for critiques if I am unwilling to critique?
Posted by Beth (Member # 2192) on :
and: 13 lines means 13 manuscript lines, from your word processor, with 1" margins and a 12 pt font.

It doesn't mean 13 lines in the little post window, and it sure doesn't mean 45 manuscript lines just so you can get to the good part in your beginning.


Posted by RFLong (Member # 1923) on :
I think we agreed (a long long time ago) 13 lines was approximately 130 words.

Or am I imagining it? It was a long time ago and I've probably well lost my mind since then...

Posted by Jaina (Member # 2387) on :
I remember something like that, too, but it's easier to go by line count because if you have very long paragraphs, you're going to have more words, and if you have very short paragraphs (especially like in dialogue), you'll have fewer words.

For a short example, this:

I wish you wouldn’t do that.
Genn smiled. “What, Wendell, open the door for you?”

and this:
Heart pounding, Abigail stood and entered the dark Council chamber. She knelt before the Council and offered up a quick prayer to God, asking for him to accept her service and her life.
are both three lines in manuscript format, but the second has a lot more words than the first.

[This message has been edited by Jaina (edited April 21, 2005).]

Posted by EricJamesStone (Member # 1681) on :
If there's somebody who has access to customize the forum code, it would be an extremely simple matter to resize the text area to hold 13 lines.

Using "ROWS=13 COLS=65" instead of the current "ROWS=10 COLS=45" would give approximately the amount of space for thirteen lines from a 12-point Courier manuscript. That way we could just have a rule that if it isn't all visible in the text box, it's too long.

[This message has been edited by EricJamesStone (edited April 21, 2005).]

Posted by Elan (Member # 2442) on :
As a fairly recent newbie myself, I might mention the fact that I've spent quite a bit of time perusing the board, trying to find what information pertained to posting. There were only two files in the FAQ section, and neither of them applied to the requirements for posting the F&F. I had to sort of gather the requirements by sifting through the various posts.

It would be useful if there was a static (ie, doesn't disappear in 45 days) document that could be easily found by even the most naive beginner. I have in mind somthing that details the F&F guidelines, Critiquing guidelines, etc. Yes, I finally figured out I could pull up old critiquing documents by clicking "show all files", but as a newbie I had no idea how MANY files that would pull up, and with a dial-up modem I'm reluctant to take that road because of my experience in having my computer lock up because it's overloaded.

As a newbie, I've searched for:
**F&F posting guidelines
**When should I jump in and offer to critique (ie, who would want to hear from ME)
**What are the guidelines for offering critiques
**How do you join a group?
**When should you join a group (ie, during the writing phase or after your book/document is completed?)

I'm sure there are other questions I've since resolved, but it sure would have been nice to have a handy FAQ document to download or somesuch. Yes, the info is out there if you search for it (I've just recently begun searching archives to see if a topic has been covered before), but newbies unfamiliar with the board could access the information easier if it resided a little closer to the surface on the board.

Just my two farthings worth...

[This message has been edited by Elan (edited April 21, 2005).]

Posted by limo (Member # 2470) on :
A very good farthings worth Elan.
I concur with all issues mentioned.
I have that issue"who would want to hear from me?"
as a newbie critiquer.
O it's all too confusing (servere dramatic crisis)
Posted by Survivor (Member # 213) on :
All too true, but it seems that the version of UBB that this board uses is rather old, and many of the newer features we all tend to take for granted aren't easily supported.

Just be glad this isn't an IRC channel with insane rules intended mostly to get rid of n00bs. Speaking of which, I've got to hang out there more often...

Posted by Lanius (Member # 2482) on :
I'm guilty. I'll reform.
Posted by wbriggs (Member # 2267) on :
I'll answer 1 or 2 of the q's! (And, yes, an FAQ would be nice.)

**When should I jump in and offer to critique (ie, who would want to hear from ME)

I would! If you read the genre I'm writing, that's qualification enough for me! And for most, from what I hear

**What are the guidelines for offering critiques
Follow up on the fragment with "I'll read" -- that's all!

**How do you join a group?
See the "Hatrack Groups" forum (about 6 lines under "Fragments and Feedback." There are 2 topics; Kathleen explains

**When should you join a group (ie, during the writing phase or after your book/document is completed?)
I joined when my novel was nearly finished, because I wrote it quickly. But it was problematic. Most apparently write slower and submit a chapter every month or so.


Posted by Christine (Member # 1646) on :
May I just add, as long as you've got a discussion going, the proper way to follow up a post once you have received responses?

There are two valid options:

1. Thank you.
2. What did you mean when you said x...or....what would you think if I did y?

These are invalid options:

1. You're wrong.
2. That's too bad.
3. You weren't paying attention. (Alternately: If you were paying attention...)
4. I meant X.
5. The reason I did this was because....
6. Any other long detailed explanation of why your story is perfect the way it is.

You may always, of cousre, disagree privately.

Posted by Robyn_Hood (Member # 2083) on :
Since we now have the "FAQs and Links to Discussions" Forum, I went ahead and linked this topic so it will be easily (or at least more easily) found. Thanks for starting it Jaina.
Posted by Jaina (Member # 2387) on :
No problem. Just trying to help out!
Posted by jeduthun (Member # 2563) on :
I've been setting my word processor to show line numbers. In MS Word, go to File > Page Setup > Layout > Line Numbers.

As long as you have 12-pt font and 1" margins, there's no guesswork.

The hard part is when the crucial turning point, plot-moving line of your story is on line 14!!

Posted by Robyn_Hood (Member # 2083) on :
If it's on line 14, you may need to rearrange things so it comes sooner.
Posted by RavenStarr (Member # 2327) on :
Write in smaller font... at point 1, I could tell almost the whole story in 14 lines.
Posted by rickfisher (Member # 1214) on :
No, you can't use 1-point font. The thirteen line limit assumes 12-point Courier font. NOT Times Roman or Lucida or anything else you like. You can fit a lot more on a line with those. Stick to standard manuscript submission format.
Posted by autumnmuse (Member # 2136) on :
Also, RavenStarr, I assume you were kidding in your post but many people are not. It is better to err on the side of posting less of your story, not more. This site is popular enough and gets enough hits to qualify as publication if you post very much of your story.

I personally never want to lose the right to publish my story for money just because I carelessly posted too much of it on a public forum. The rules are not set to annoy you; rather, to protect you. Also, if a publisher knows that people routinely sacrifice their first publication rights on this site, it will be bad for the members who do not post full stories as much as for the ones who do.

Moral of the story: post less than thirteen lines whenever you have very short stories, and never post more, even of full-length novels.

End of rant.

Posted by Meenie (Member # 2633) on :
One more point about :
**When should I jump in and offer to critique (ie, who would want to hear from ME)

Do it for you Yep, you. When you crit you learn. You will see errors in the works of others that you may not have thought about before - then you will think about them when doing your own writing. Thus you get a two-fold benefit: you learn both how to crit better and how to write better

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