Topic: feeling lost and overwhelmed

Hi, I've been a member for many years, though less than active to date.  I was here a few weeks ago and everything was as I remembered it came today and found everything changed and I'm having trouble figuring everything out.  HELP!!  Please  Thanx

2 (edited by Norm d'Plume 2015-01-02 01:41:29)

Re: feeling lost and overwhelmed

Hi Pamela. Many things have changed, most for the better, I think. Start by clicking on the The Next Big Writer logo on the upper left of your screen. That will take you to your home page, which has lots of useful information as you begin to use the site regularly. On the upper right of the home page is an orange button labelled Conversion Assistance. That should answer many of your questions.

At the very top of the screen are icons for searching (the magnifying glass), reading content, reading group forums, and a menu button with your userid on it. That menu is important, as it gives you access to many of the features you would most want about the site. The Portfolio menu item is where you'll find your own work (books, poems, etc.). Click on the various items in the menu to see where they take you and explore a bit. It isn't too hard to get used to.

A couple of new concepts to be aware of inline reviews and groups. Most people love the inline reviews. You can select a piece of text in someone's story and drop a comment right there. No more constant scrolling up and down to copy/comment on specific items in someone else's story. Your inline reviews can be saved if you can't finish in one session, or submitted to make them visible to everyone else, including the author. Note that your feedback and the author's replies are now visible to everyone. Previously, the author's reply was private to just the reviewer.

Note that there are two kinds of reviews: regular and inline. You can leave either type of review for someone. Regular reviews are just like those on the old site. Inline reviews are as described above.

Groups are a new concept on the new site. As the name implies, they are for grouping related information together. For example, there is a Sci-fi group where you can publish and/or discuss science fiction work. There are also groups for fantasy, detective/crime, young adult, etc. You've already found your way to the Old Forums group, so you know how to navigate to groups. From a group's main page, you can get to the forum for that group, see content posted to that group, and see members of the group. Joining a group is easy. There's a button for it on each group's page. Most groups are wide open, and anyone can join by simply clicking on the button. Other groups are restricted, so I assume a moderator will have to approve your request to join. As far as I can tell, you can see the content of each group, including the forums, but you need to be a member to post. You can join up to 10 groups, which seems to be enough for everyone at present.

The TNBW Premium and TNBW Free groups are important. Everyone should probably join both groups. I'm not sure if non-paying users can join TNBW Premium. Premium is where we do most of our communicating with Sol and each other about the new site (bugs, enhancement requests, etc.). I don't use the Free group, so I'm not quite sure how it differs. I know that there are both free and paying members on the site, but I'm not sure how those two groups differ and how best to use them. I use Premium and Science Fiction exclusively. However, when you publish chapters, you can choose which groups to publish to (Premium, Free, YA, etc.). If you publish to the Free group, non-paying members can read your work if they so choose. I believe there's also a way to publish chapters/your work to be accessible to the whole the Internet. I don't use that, since I prefer not to expose my work for someone to copy/steal.

There is currently no place on the site like the old forums on the old site, where you could go into a specific forum and start a discussion about a particular topic. Each forum could have multiple different discussions going on at the same time. In order to do the equivalent here, you go to the group you think is best for your discussion, join the group so you can post to the group-specific forum, and post/read. Right now the site is rather quiet, hopefully just due to the holidays or people finding their way around. There is some overlap among groups, so you may have to join several to cover all your bases (e.g., several variations of young adult material, a separate fantasy group from science fiction, etc.). Like I said above, you can join ten groups, which seems to be enough for most.

I've read that Sol is going to bring back the old style forums to this new site, but that'll probably take time. In the meantime, Linda Lee created this group, Old Forums, to which you posted. It's a limited workaround. Read some of the other posts to this group to see what the limitations are. Although I'm a member of this group just to keep up to date on what people are posting, I don't use it for discussion threads. This group will probably go away once Sol implements the real old-style forums.

Some people have taken to creating groups for their specific pieces of work (e.g., a group for a specific book so they can get additional feedback). That's probably not a great idea, since we can only join ten groups each. One group per book would probably make the site a mess. The old site had a forum called Additional Feedback and there is a corresponding group in the new site for that that anyone can use for further discussions of someone's work. You can also get additional feedback about your work in the groups to which you post it. For example, if you post your work to the Science Fiction group, the forum there can be used to discuss your work (beyond the basic regular/inline reviews). In that group, you would get posts from people especially interested in science fiction.

There is also a Writing Tips & Advice group that I created intended to replicate the similarly named forum on the old site. Not much activity there yet. In that group you can find a how-to-write tutorial from Sol, and my discussion thread related to it.

I'm sure I've forgotten some things, so feel free to ask.

Happy New Year!

Re: feeling lost and overwhelmed

Dirk seems to have this down. Welcome back, Pamela

Re: feeling lost and overwhelmed

Welcome back Pam. Dirk covered the big stuff so no need to repeat. For now, until Sol recreates our old forums, you can find many of us here on this one. Hope the transition goes well for you.

Re: feeling lost and overwhelmed

Thanks Dirk!  Thanks everyone.  Slow but sure is my style so I will get it figured out, Dirk your input was most helpful, thanks so much for taking the time

Re: feeling lost and overwhelmed

Okay, I'm trying very hard to figure out this site and get back into regular reviewing. I miss the forums where I could 'meet' someone new to me and exchange reviews. sad

Re: feeling lost and overwhelmed

You can still do that, Ann. Either in the forums or reviews. That hasn't changed. Only the forums have become segregated into groups - except for the main (Premium) group. Get back in there and post to your heart's content!

8 (edited by janet reid 2015-06-28 00:48:37)

Re: feeling lost and overwhelmed

I miss a lot of oldies these days. I know some has personal reasons for not being actively involved, but I can't help to feel a big chunk of writers I had really good and established reciprocating relationships with, has disappeared. *stops whinging and toughens up a little bit*

Ann Walters wrote:

Okay, I'm trying very hard to figure out this site and get back into regular reviewing. I miss the forums where I could 'meet' someone new to me and exchange reviews. sad

Ann, one way to keep in touch is to "connect" to others on the site. That would allow you to send private messages and there is a special section on the home page to indicate when your "connections" have posted new work to review. You can search for writers using the magnifying glass at the top of the page, going to their home page and clicking the connect button. As a side-note, you are also able to "block" writers you don't want to see your work or leave you quickees or connect to you ...

If you're looking for newbies to review, just go to your homepage (clicking on the TNBW logo top left corner is the quickest/easiest IMO) and scroll down the list of new novels, short stories, poems etc. If you want to see more than the number listed on your homepage, just click on the "find more" buttons directly below each list.

Alternatively, create a new thread on the Premium Group's forum (widest exposure) and see what happens from there.

You can join 10 groups as a premium member. I'd suggest clicking on the groups link at the top of the page, select "All Groups" from the drop down menu and start browsing through the list to see what tickles your interest. Joining those groups and re-introducing yourself will also soon have you on your merry way on the new site.

When you get to posting your own work etc., I think there has been really good advice given already, but with the new forum format, finding those threads is like looking for the proverbial/cliched needle. All the advice I have mentioned above, has already been covered, if only one could find it again, so I don't bother reading through thread upon thread anymore and just answers (or ask) stuff again. Sol refuses to change the Premium forum to be like the old one - or even some of the functionality - we have tried to sway his mind with no success, and we have tried really really hard! So he doesn't leave us with any choice and IMO, the only way around that and to save yourself lots of time and lots of pain, just post a question in the Premium forum or whichever group looks like it will work if you get stuck on posting your writing.

Good luck and welcome back! smile