Tuesday, February 5, 2013

It's Feedback Time!

You know I like to keep things rolling around here, and you also know that I like hearing your feedback.  So today's your day to let it all hang out.

Frankly, Blogger has been frustrating the cheese out of me.  It has a nifty little "schedule" feature that lets you decide what time you want your posts to appear; this is an integral part of our bot system, which assigns posting times at one-minute intervals for all our contests and critiques.

Except--it hasn't been working.  It exploded for the first time during the Baker's Dozen, and hasn't stopped exploding since.  In other words, the scheduled posts aren't posting, and I'm ending up having to post them by hand.  Which isn't difficult or anything, but it is tedious and time-wasting.

(It was especially interesting during the January Secret Agent Contest, when only about a third of the entries posted--randomly.)

I say this to let you know that, while I am going to continue to do in-house critiques between the Secret Agents regardless, it has certainly put a dampener on things.  If I seem reluctant to do anything that requires 40 or 50 entries to post, this is why.

(This is also why we're not doing another critique this week, before it's time to move into February's Secret Agent Contest.  I just... Yeah.)

Anyway!  What are your favorites?  What were you hoping to see last year that we never quite got around to?  What are the most helpful critique rounds?  The least helpful?

Any newfangled ideas you'd like to throw out there?

And what about non-critique, non-contest posts?  What do you like to hear about?  More Authoress?  Less Authoress?  LOTS OF GRAMMAR RULES?  (I'm kidding.)  (Well, mostly kidding.)


Seriously, I want you to fill the comment box with your thoughts today.  Consider this a public meeting!  Miss Snark's First Victim is turning 5 in April, and I want to make sure the blog continues to be a source of information, encouragement, and critique opportunities for all of you.

Have at it!


  1. have you thought about moving to WordPress? I've read many good things about it from some of the the big bloggers I've read.

  2. If I were you I wouldn't change a thing. Except you know - get Google to fix blogger.

  3. I consider all critique rounds to be extremely helpful, so I wouldn't change a thing there.
    One opportunity I would love to have is a critique round for a WIP. Of course there doesn't have to be an agent involved. But some sort of feedback round for first pages or pitches or loglines for books we're currently working on. Just to get an idea if we're on the right track or have major issues that would better be fixed before we write ahead.

  4. Lou -- All critique rounds that don't involve an agent are open to WIPs. I think I need to be more vocal about that. :)

  5. I was going to suggest the WordPress platform, too. You can schedule on it, too, although I don't know all the ins and outs of the online forms you use.

    As for content, I think the content couldn't be any better--chances are, most of us are largely here for the crit sessions and contests.

  6. David -- It wouldn't be worth the hassle. Also, the bot is programmed for Blogger. Also, I've heard lots of complaints about Wordpress, too. The grass is always greener...

    Matthew -- What a wonderful idea. :P

  7. One off the wall suggestion:

    Instead of having separate 'critique partner dating service' entries, would it be feasible to allow anyone entering your other contests to check an 'I'm looking for critique partners' box, which would then be indicated on their entry? That way, fans of that person's writing style can contact them (either through you or through an email provided) about a possible exchange.

  8. The contests are immensely helpful, though I get mixed value from many of them since I don't read or write YA.

    Other than that, I love posts about craft and process and general writerly commisseration :)

  9. Maybe try using a different browser to see if that would help with the Blogger bugs. I've been using Firefox FOREVER and then out of nowhere, in the last six months or so or whenever they had their last update, it wouldn't let me post comments on blogs and various other places. (I've missed countless time-sensitive contest windows because of it! Grr!) But if I open the blog up in IE or Chrome everything works perfectly.

  10. Maggie, that's a good point. About 6 months ago, I had to switch from Chrome to Firefox, because Chrome was crashing my MacBook. Then Mr A bought me a MacBook Air for Christmas, and I remained on Firefox even though I prefer Chrome. Just the other day I had a DUH moment, and switched back to Chrome. So maybe this will make a difference!! :)

  11. Maggie, that's a good point. About 6 months ago, I had to switch from Chrome to Firefox, because Chrome was crashing my MacBook. Then Mr A bought me a MacBook Air for Christmas, and I remained on Firefox even though I prefer Chrome. Just the other day I had a DUH moment, and switched back to Chrome. So maybe this will make a difference!! :)

  12. I think the blog is great as it is, but I do think Chro's CP idea is a great one for anyone looking. I found an excellent CP just recently because she posted her Twitter handle in the comments after it was over. Of course not everyone is looking, or wants to be contacted, so it should be optional, but I think it'd benefit the community here even more.

  13. I'm with Matt. Things are always awesome here and i have no ideas how to make them better.
    And blogger man. When did it start being such a PITA?

    Though now i've just read Chro's comment and it's a little bit of genius, that

  14. More puppies. You have the least amount of puppies on the internets. Think about it.


  15. I like that you include guidelines for feedback; I think the responses end up being more helpful when specifics are posted, since opinions vary so much. It's nice to know the framework is intended to have some concrete data.

  16. I'm a massive fan of Wordpress, though I prefer the Wordpress.org paid model (ie: you pay for a domain, get hosted somewhere and use Wordpress as your blogging software) -- you get more bells & whistles. But even the free Wordpress service is amazing.

    As someone with a WIP who isn't quite contest ready, I love the Critique Partner Dating Service and wouldn't want to see it go (and have CP searching attached to contests, instead). In fact, I would love if you did the CP dating service more often -- once a quarter? I missed the last one, though I was able to reach out to a few people and find one CP. That said, it would be cool if people could indicate on contest entries if they needed new CPs, as I have read entries before and thought to myself "I want to read this -- wonder if they need a CP?"

    Keep up the awesomeness! I love everything on this blog :)

  17. The query critique was AWESOME. I learned so so much, especially when you I got to see how many No's and Yes's my query would get. That was truly amazing.

  18. I think your blog pretty much covers all the bases, Authoress. I already have an agnet so I love the little crit sessions between the SA contests because that's something I can enter. I find everyone's comments incredibly helpful. So thanks for that, you guys! :)

    I noticed in the last SA that there was a common problem among the entries, and the SA pointed it out, too. Description that lacked context. I think this is an often overlooked area of the writing craft. Has a "drop the needle" been done for description yet?

  19. I dunno. I think you have a great mix of posts. The critiques are great. And I always like a personal post.

  20. Love the mix of contests and craft posts. I aspire to have a complete MG soon so that I can enter one of your SA contests. So much fun to read the excellent critiques by agents as well as other writers.

    Your site seems to run like a well-oiled machine, despite your current Blogger issues. Thank you for being so generous with your time. I hope you continue it for many years to come.

  21. I just have to say--happy birthday ahead of time.

    Your blog has lifted my spirits when I didn't want to write anymore. It's given me opportunities to get torn down and to grow (in a good way!), and to watch others get torn down and learn from that. I LOVE the Friday Fricassee, and even though I don't always comment--I like lurking here in the shadows--I'm loving knowing about you, about your work, about writing, about life, and about Mr. A, too!


  22. I'd be excited if there was an opportunity for PB writers to participate now and then.

    So grateful for all that I have learned here. Thanks!

  23. I do a lot of lurking here, too--but I really appreciate this blog and love it how it is!
    The sense of community here is fab, too :)

    I'm so glad I discovered MSFV (quite by chance) a little over two years ago. It's made all the difference in keeping me plodding (and plotting) ahead!

    Thank you!!

  24. Authoress-

    I love your blog. I don't comment much, but I always read every email I receive from the blog. I love everything you provide for writers, whether it's advice, critiquing, or contests. You do so much.

    I guess the only thing I would ask is for you to do the Critique Partner Dating Service more often. I also missed the last one and am sad that I will have to wait so long to get another chance.

    Thanks for everything you do!! You're awesome!!

  25. Authoress,
    I too am a huge fan of your blog and have learned a great deal from it! The only thing that I have noticed today, is that you actually have a critiquing session between SA sessions? I was not aware of that, so perhaps to advertise it a bit more would be more beneficial to everyone involved! Congratulations on the 5 year milestone! You deserve all good things for all you're doing for the writing community!!!

  26. Congrats on your five year anniversary. Judging from the positive comments (not just above but those you receive in general)and number of followers, I would say you have a winning combination of critiques, contests and commentary.
    I found the Baker's Dozen contest most helpful. The only little suggestion I have is for you to post the secret agent contest genres a head of time eg. a week or two in advance.
    Keep up the amazing work and thanks for taking pity on struggling writers!

  27. I love this blog, and thank you so much for all the time and effort you've put into creating such a wonderful resource for aspiring authors!

    I think it's awesome as is, although I do think the idea posted above to add a box for us to check if we were interested in finding a critique partner is genius. Also, I'd love to see another query critique opportunity!

  28. Authoress,
    Mostly I just want to stand up and cheer for all you've accomplished here, and all you've helped others accomplish. Also, YAY FOR FIVE YEARS!
    So, yes. Picture me cheering.
    After the CP Dating Service thing was over, I started wondering how many people have ever experienced the benefits of a writing group—critique from more than one person—in a physical or virtual format. I can't imagine coordinating an online small-group CP thing . . . and maybe that's more of a forum-type endeavor anyway, (btw, ever thought of setting up forums?) Anyway, just thought I'd throw that out there.
    And, for the record, if you never change a darn thing here at MissSnark'sFirstVictim, I'd still be pleased as punch. :)

  29. Well, first, thank you so much for creating and supporting such an amazing community. I stumbled upon this blog by accident but it has honestly changed so much for me to know there's a whole lotta others out there in the same boat and willing to share and help one another out.

    The CP exchange was brilliant and even though I'm in the early stages of my WIP I found a few great leads for CPs.

    One other thought -- if this is something you have time for :D. What about hosted Twitter chats on particular writing topics? Maybe you could even ring in guest hosts to carry the load. Sometimes I find myself mulling writing questions that are too specific to throw out at random, but that would fit right in to a live chat with others. E.g. a chat about developing a story's voice, or revision strategies, or agents discussing common problems they encounter in first-time submissions, or (!) how to address/identify common grammar bloopers ;)