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For what kind of books--fiction or non-fiction? If fiction, what kind? Adult or childrens? Genre? Literary?
www.absolutewrite.com is a great starting place that you might want to look into, but there are even more options for specific types of writing.
Sorry, I should have been more specific. I'm looking for fiction. Short stories, flash fiction, maybe novel excerpts.
I'm interested in literary sites and also speculative or sci-fi sites.
Thanks Marissa for posting about absolutewrite. I will check them out.
For the sci fi stuff, there's the new genre fiction site http://www.bookcountry.com. They're only good for genre fiction, not lit fic, but they will do anything in the genre field, short or long.
librarything member zette runs the Forward Motion for Writers site
Stay away from workshops, online and otherwise. Read Vonnegut's Breakfast of Champions and Roberto Arlt's Seven Madmen and then go write. There is your workshop.
Beware of anyone that declares something useless to your writing journey. Its your journey, your choice for what you do with your writing.
That being said, what you get out of a group will depend on what you put into it. You'll also have to be prepared for more harsh criticisms from people on line. If they can't see your face, they are more apt to let loose the cannons. People who know you and face you tend to couch their opinions a bit more gently. (This is from personal experience. YMMV.)
I'll agree with #6, Forward Motion does offer a good system. And lots of critiques that will make you consider lots of options.
Thanks everyone. I will check all these out.
Rick - you also may have a point, which I will give some thought.
The thing to remember about workshops is that they tend to create and pass on imaginary "rules". (These rules are almost always very valid advice in the appropriate circumstance, but no writing advice should be codified into a 'rule' -- writing is too flexible a medium for that to work out well. The advice that is the right answer in one circumstance is going to be wrong answer in another.)
But, at the same time, it can be very difficult sometimes to see the flaws in one's own work -- an exterior viewpoint is often a very, very useful tool indeed. And workshops are frequently a good place to find that feedback.
Remember when you get your feedback, that most often feedback has put its finger on a real problem (not always, but frequently) and almost as often, the problem has been misidentified. People will tell you that you are writing in passive voice when you are writing in past perfect, that you need to speed up when you really need to slow down, that you need to 'show not tell' when what you really need is to skip past that bit, that you need to remove something when what you really need is to explain it better, etc, etc, etc. It's going to be up to you to figure out what the feedback really means in relation to the story that you are trying to tell.
(And the people handing out the feedback, very rarely appreciate that fact -- so you thank them very sincerely for what they said, and don't tell them that they can't possibly be right that x is the problem. They don't need to know that. You need to know that. They can remain in happy ignorance.)
And be wary, very wary, of any writing advice couched as an absolute.
As a publishing academic, I find it interesting how much of this post carries over to the remarks that peer reviewers make on journal submissions!
Peer referees' advice spans the range from ludicrously ignorant to delightfully helpful - sometimes within the same referee report!
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