(10 replies, posted in TheNextBigWriter Premium)

Done. If you follow me back, I’ll have a grand total of one follower! (I’m a total social media loser).

Gray (@Graymartin_auth)

Congrats, Randall! That’s terrific news, and well deserved!

Congrats! Much deserved!

Well deserved! Congratulations!


(15 replies, posted in TheNextBigWriter Premium)

Congrats! Well deserved!

Congrats to all the finalists! Nice range of genres this year, and all excellent choices!

Excellent! I really enjoyed this. Congrats on the milestone, and having all that hard work pay off!


(14 replies, posted in TheNextBigWriter Premium)

Congrats Denise! Can’t wait to pick up my copies, so please update when they are available. Hoping for a steamy movie one day!

No one is forced to go into a specific forum thread. I'm not quite sure what the big deal is, other than to say people really need to lighten up. The world is full of offensive and noxious stimuli (try reading some of the "trolls" commenting on mainstream news and entertainment web sites). Some people just seem to be looking to be offended. I use TNBW as a reading and writing workshop - period. Even when I'm not actively writing / going through a dry spell, I still hone my skills by reading and reviewing/editing a broad range of writing types. I occasionally check out the forums, mostly because the "arguments" are often amusing and well-written. Barring overt hate speech -- which I haven't encountered -- I'm not sure why anyone would want to censor the forums or take anything too personally. As for newbies who are turned off by the forums, I'd suggest they spend more time cultivating relationships with some of the talented and exceptionally generous writers/reviewers on this site.

Congrats! Well deserved!


(55 replies, posted in TheNextBigWriter Premium)

Good answer, Sol. I definitely see your point, appreciate the rationale and hope the “Shredders” group thrives. As for the Ann/Marilyn news, I’m thrilled to hear it!

I wish I’d read your romances a few decades ago, Ann! Should be required reading for new adults.


(55 replies, posted in TheNextBigWriter Premium)

JP: “flagged” is my term, extrapolating what would happen if Sol started removing members from the Premium Group based on feedback that they have hurt another member’s feelings. You could also call it “quarantined.” Of course, personal insults should not be tolerated and I agree with Jeff: we need a code of conduct that lists hate speech and intimidation/bullying as grounds for removal. What constitutes a violation may spur debate, but that’s a healthy conversation. I’ve read some snarky and harsh reviews, but none struck me as malicious or personal in nature.

Reviewer rankings were a huge positive for the site, so I agree with you 100%. Why not acknowledge mentors like Ann and Marilyn for their efforts and energy? I wish Sol brought back a “top reviewers” list, maybe with incentives. Sorry to spend your money, Sol, but Ann and Marilyn deserve free membership for life.

As for Wattpad, maybe I’m just bitter ‘cause I didn’t get, like, a billion likes when I posted. Loved all the constructive and insightful emojis though smile


(55 replies, posted in TheNextBigWriter Premium)

I hope this doesn't mean "flagged" reviewers will be banned from the Premium Group, because this will marginalize some of the most talented -- albeit brutally candid -- members. Criticizing a writer's fundamentals (grammar, punctuation, dialogue) is not abuse, and we all have the ability to block or ignore reviewers we consider offensive. Looking back at grade school and college, some of my most insightful, constructive teachers seemed like real jerks at the time.

The last thing we need is for the Premium Group to become a Wattpad clone in which reviews are the equivalent of Facebook or Instagram "likes" used to garner reciprocal praise with no substance.

I was just skiing in Mt Tremblant, Quebec, near Montreal. Low temp was negative 20 degrees F. So cold my tears froze on my eyelashes! I read in a CNN article there were recorded temps on Mars that were warmer that day. Sounds like a good sci-fi plot is in this somewhere.


(53 replies, posted in TheNextBigWriter Premium)

The folks at Moonshine Cove Publishing must be huge Hemingway fans, because he's the only writer I know who follows their strict "no dialogue tags except for 'he said/she said"" policy. I think the point is to avoid drawing attention to your prose at the expense of the plot and dialogue.

As for their elaborate list of prohibitions, it's pretentious and flies in the face of successful commercial fiction. Paula Hawkins (The Girl On The Train) has her characters both "barking" and "snarling" out dialogue, and I don't think most critics would accuse her of writing "hack fiction." Likewise, if your character has been screaming until his voice is hoarse, I don't see anything wrong with having him "croak" out a line of dialogue (sure he could "say" something "in a hoarse voice," but I'd argue that "croaking" is a simpler, more visceral description). Assuming he's human, I think the readers will assume he's not imitating a frog.


(11 replies, posted in TheNextBigWriter Premium)

Congrats, Jack & Ann!  Great interview!

Not to spend Sol's money (;)), but I was thinking a Top Reviewers list could be coupled with some discount off the site membership fee. Doesn't have to be a big reward. Even $10 off would be a nice gesture to those who take the extra time to be generous reviewers.

Kdot's logic makes sense to me. What about a reviewer ranking though? Anyone object to that?

Did Sol ever try to reward the site's "Top Reviewers" or talk about this? The site's most active reviewers, especially those contributing throughout their career, deserve some reward, even if it's only a token one.

So many interesting comments:

Ann: Wow! Then again, I'm not surprised you went big with those points, and not just because of the Texas thing. There's an expression in medical training -- "see one, do one, teach one" -- and that applies to writing too. It's no coincidence the strongest writers on this site are also the ones who contribute the most toward helping others improve their craft. Thanks to you, I'll always try to lead and end each chapter with a hook, and I've learned to hate the word "that" and treat it like verbal kudzu.

Dagnee: I also miss the Top Reviewers list, and wish Sol would bring it back. Unlike the "vanity prize" of Top Story of the week/month/etc..., the Top Reviewer ranking gave useful information about who was most active on the site and most generous with their time. It would also be great if Sol could sweeten the pot by offering either bonus points or small membership discounts (e.g. $10 off for top reviewer of the month) to encourage those who are especially generous with their time. Super-active reviewers like Ann, JP, Jack the Knife, Seabrass, and others (sorry I can't mention everyone) are the engines that drive this site.

And finally, Alice: Welcome! I think most people start here wondering how they'll accrue enough points to post their material. It's harder when a writer posts but isn't ready for this kind of forum because their writing is too riddled with typos, grammatical errors, lack of focus, or other fundamentals; that's certainly not the case with you, so you should have an easy time getting your reviews reciprocated. When I read something new, I'll comment when the material engages me, but first, I'll always check the author's responses to other reviews. Authors who are defensive, dismissive of reasonable comments, or close-minded about their writing are harder to engage, so I'll pass on those. Again, clearly not an issue for you smile

That said, if you don't have the time to invest in the kind of "reciprocity capital" that this site runs on, you can still get invaluable feedback by consulting with a professional editor. Anita Mumm ("Mumm's the Word" website), for instance, gave me a brilliant analysis of my WIP at what I'd consider a reasonable rate. I only found out about her through the "Strongest Start" competition, since she offered to review the first three chapters of the winning manuscript as one of the grand prizes. Sometimes, it's worth the investment to get an experienced beta reader to go through your entire manuscript, then point out what works and what still needs revision. Hope that helps... Gray

As a sad testimony to how much more I read/review than post these days, I'm 1 point shy of 900. Curious to know who holds the current record...

Congrats, Cobber. That's really exciting news, and I agree the cover is terrific. When it's available, I'll definitely buy a copy and post a review. I really enjoyed the story, found it topical and compelling, but got bogged down in my own writing and revisions so didn't do it justice. I will make amends when you publish! Gray

Not sure if the site logistics would allow for this, but it would be interesting to have a contest in which members vote for the winning entry(s) -- obviously, one vote per member.  That would take the judging burden off Sol and the editorial board, and make it easy to declare a winner by Halloween, as JP suggested.

There are several talented horror writers on this site, and all the Stephen King talk has me wondering if a straight horror contest would work (with a word count limit but not too many other constraints to limit the creativity or make things too contrived). Not my genre, but I'd love to read those entries. May the creepiest, most disturbing, gut-wrenching yarn win...