(16 replies, posted in NEWBIES)

Hey all, I've been writing on and off for 5 years and still consider myself a newbie. I've been away from TNBW for about 6 months but thought it's about time I poked my head round the door.


(7 replies, posted in TheNextBigWriter Basic)

Justin Robben wrote:

Beautiful and uplifting words, all of you.
I commend your decision to stick with it, Dave, going so far as to rework your life around your passion. That is precisely the sort of dedication that pays off. I hope yours comes in, soon.
I will follow your advice, though I didn't necessarily need it. I do all this for, well... me. I enjoy it.
In the same way I won't stop listening to music running the gamut from Ayreon to Bowie, Blood Ceremony to Prince, because you don't like it, I won't stop writing what I like to.
Bravo us!!!


Thanks Justin, I can see by your picture you're a strong willed character and not easily dissuaded by the odd bad review. And like you said, for me it's truly about the writing, the creation, it's an amazing feeling watching characters come alive in your work.

Cheers Dave


(7 replies, posted in TheNextBigWriter Basic)

Mariana Reuter wrote:

All kind of artists--writer, painters, musicians, etc.--are potential targets of critique. Remember: beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Thus, your work may both appeal and repeal people. Not only on TNBW, but also once it's published. Just look at the Amazon reviews. There are always chaps who think your story sucks just because, as well as chaps who find it cool without any reason for.

Granting that all critiques in TNBW are candid, not all reviewers are professional enough. Some think that, by being blunt, they are doing the writer a favour, for then the writer will easily realise her flaws. Others are so polite and subtle one ends up wondering what was exactly what the reviewer meant. Within those boundaries, each writer must decide what is valuable and what is not.

I wouldn't be concerned because of a one-time reviewer who randomly picks one of my chapters and pours vitriol over my story. Without context, even the best King's English may be mercilessly nit-picked, and a lose Romeo and Juliet scene considered an anecdote about two stupidly eager teenagers.  However, I'd be concerned if several of my reviewers, who have been following my story and are well aware of the plot, point all at the same weakness. It would be amateurish to turn a blind eye towards such shared observations based on the conceited belief that "only my opinion counts".

TNBW is not free of opportunistic point-gatherers who review at random, seldom providing meaningful advice. Either it is merciless or excessively flattering. That kind of review is easy to spot and discard.

Other problem that may happen is that your work may be reviewed by people who, in an effort to help you, are reviewing a genre they don't enjoy. For example, I'm not fond of Erotica. I found explicit descriptions of sexual intercourse disgusting. Thus, my reviewing of stories within that genre would must likely be biased by my personal taste, even if I try to be candid. The best is to partner with writers working on your same genre. You may think it might bias their reviewing the other way around, finding whatever you write--or vomit--awesome. While it might be true, it's also true they are better qualified to judge your work only because they are into the genre. Moreover, once published, the likelihood is that your book will be purchased by readers fond of your genre, not the other way around, meaning that it is with genre-fan eyes that your work has to be reviewed.

A personal example: once, another writer from TNBW started reading my YA story "Where Heaven and Hell Meet". She started to point out at what she considered a large number of plot flaws that are givens in YA literature, like the absence of adult involvement, teen angst, wrong decisions, etc. After reading four chapters, she told me she was not "liking the story at all" because she actually considered young adult stories, in general, "simple-minded and lacking a true message." Of course, she stopped reviewing it. Had I despaired because of her harsh reviews, I would have dropped the story and possibly my writing as a whole. I realised she was not the right reviewer if she hated young adult literature and considered her comments with that grain of salt. I took few of her observations--there some worth being considered--and rejected the rest of them.

Hope the above is useful.



Thanks Gacela, hopefully our words can help a few newbies who've not grown a thicker skin yet.  Lol about the reviewer reviewing your YA while hating YA. I've had that, I truly despair with their logic.  Having said that, I've reviewed romance and teen fiction, way off the beaten track for me, and still assisted the writer in some way by helping with continuity and over-all plot, as well with grammar.

Thanks again. :-)


(8 replies, posted in TheNextBigWriter Premium)

Thanks Janet, much of the above are the sort of things I struggle with. FYI been banned for 30 days by FB, lol.
My main character, who I write in third person, has lots of inner thoughts.  However, she has an inner separate voice that talks to her, and she to it. I really do struggle with when to use italics, and how to separate her normal own thoughts and her inner 'Other-self,'  as I call it.
But hey, I'm still enjoying writing which is all that counts for me at the moment.
Hope your well.



(7 replies, posted in TheNextBigWriter Basic)

Thanks Rhiannon and Marilyn,  I'd forgotten how such kind and thoughtful words can lift.

What I have noticed is that in the years I've spent honing my work and re-writing work to counter bad critiques, other newbies have just got on with writing and self-publishing.  So if I can offer one big tip, JUST WRITE and complete your novel. Then put it down, for a month or two, go start another book in the mean time.  I recently re-read a chapter I'd not touched in a while, and well...I loved it. That's the biggest lift I've given myself in ages. Yes, in the end any book needs edited, honed, scenes cut-added but working with a completed novel is much much easier.

When I'm ready to, I'll be using TNBW just for editorial opinions, and not for personal opinions.

Thanks Ladies :-)


(7 replies, posted in TheNextBigWriter Basic)

So I've been writing on and off for about 4 years. Started while incapacitated in hospital.
I think my writing has improved no-end, and there's no doubt, TNBW and it's members played a major part in that.
However, what hurt me the most was my own insecurities coupled with too many conflicting critiques. I'd surf from the highest wave too the deepest trough, only to be churned over like a rag doll in a washing machine, from a review I took to heart.
My point of writing this, is to hearten the newbies out there. Push through those points of self-doubt, take on board critiques and learn from them. Try to remember that books like 50 shades of Grey can soar to the top of the best seller lists, while others, maybe as accomplished as your favorite author might never be picked up. Sorry but J. K. is a perfect example, 30 rejections before success.
Now, well I've avoided TNBW for a while,as I need to complete my book first then I'll use TNBW to edit. Previously I'd been too quickto post my work. For a while I've been arranging my life to suit my writing. What I mean is, I'm quitting my job in IT to work for myself, all with the sole purpose of being able to write more often. I'm not an evening writer, or middle of the night writer. I really only function through the day. So fuck it, I only live once.
The real message to myself,  and to you, is, "Don't give up on yourself, if you're enjoying writing, well then...it's all that matters." (Never stop reading good writers, you never stop learning from them.)
So newbies, please hang in there; If you truly enjoy writing, then keep it going.

Good luck to you all.



(13 replies, posted in Fantasy World Builders)

I've realised that I've put way too little effort into my world-building.  To the white board.
Thanks for the great posts.

D A Reynolds


(7 replies, posted in Young Adult Writers)

Well done and congrats. We all know what a mountain we climb to reach your point. It's an old comparison but a true one; look at j. K. Your writing is awsome and publishers are a dime a dozen and get it wrong more times than they get it right.
I'll jump on and purchase a copy soon. (Moving house and trying to sell one has left the coffers sparse.)



(5 replies, posted in Young Adult Writers)

No worries, I understand. Lately my life has become full on with other things and I'm struggling to write and review.


(19 replies, posted in TheNextBigWriter Premium)

Have I poked a hornets nest Linda Lee?

Yes of course reviewing and being reviewed is not that straight forward; for some, more so than others.
For those that are comfortably ensconced in their cosey reviewing groups, having others on the same level, if not higher, is nirvana I'm sure.
So why would you want that boat rocked. "To hell with the newbies, I had to sink or swim." Really?

I think Linda's idea to offer far better point's for newbies work and or works under 3 reviews, is great.

I also think a Newbie heaven type group, if thought out well and supported by those upstairs and the seasoned authors, would help immensely.

Perhaps I'll send a message to Suin for his thoughts.




(19 replies, posted in TheNextBigWriter Premium)

Linda Lee wrote:

d a I know this doesn't apply to you, but are those receiving next to no attention spending the time to review the work of others?  I'm not asking to disqualify anyone, but since swaps are the name of the game around here, a new face has to work that much harder (even more reviews) to gain any kind of reciprocal footing. I'm not debating what's right or fair, but it is something we've all had to overcome when we were new.

I try to seek out newer writers when I'm caught up with my owed stuff. Unfortunately, that doesn't happen often enough.

I think there are writers who do come on and don't understand the system,  plus reviewing does not come easy to many of us.
I'd imagine you could also consider this proposed group as a, "Boot camp," on how to use TNBW.
RE: Swoppies, the Quid pro quo. I've reviewed  a few people and never heard anything back, and this is experienced members.
Anyway, this is why I ut the idead out there, to get feed back.
Is it just me or is the forum dead compared to the old site?

Thanks Dave


(5 replies, posted in Young Adult Writers)

Elisheva Free wrote:

I was half-way through a review on your first chapter this morning. Just finished. wink


Thanks, it was a great help.


(36 replies, posted in TheNextBigWriter Premium)

dagnee wrote:

You could compare the sound to something the reader is familiar with like a train whistle or the screeching of a rusty screen door.
For example:

The night was as dark as the inside of a tomb.

Everyone knows that's pretty dark.

Just a thought.


Thanks, I will put my thinking cap on.


(19 replies, posted in TheNextBigWriter Premium)

I'm looking for feedback on an idea for a new group idea.
I've noticed there are works that are skipped over, put into the 'too-hard,' bin.
I understand why, sometimes you see a plethora of spelling and grammatical errors and you inwardly sigh. I fear my work is like that too. So you skip over and move on.

So..... I am proposing a new group be formed called the unreviewed, where those with zero reviews can join and post links to their work.
We ow it to them to review their work and to try help these authors along, getting them on the right tracks. We all have had to start somewhere.
I'm not starting the group because I don't feel qualified to moderate it, so if you like the idea, I'd like someone with good experience to kick this off.
Although I still consider myself a newbie, I do feel I could contribute and would be happy to help review the unreviewed works. Ideally some writers from a few of the different genera's would be great. Even those strange people called 'Poet's,' would be needed.

Experienced writers could swing by say once a week, fortnight, whatever suits and review a members work.

The last thing any of us want, and I've been there a dozen times, is for a new writer to lose heart and give up.

Your support would be awesome lovely people


(5 replies, posted in Young Adult Writers)

Hi, although things are trundling along with reviewing. I could do with some more reviewing buddies. I don't like to just parachute into someone's novel in the hope  they'll review back. I reviewed one writer's first 3 chapters and received nothing back.

So if anyone could do with some reviews, please just drop straight in to The Shard of Merlin.



http://www.thenextbigwriter.com/posting … tiny-21946


(36 replies, posted in TheNextBigWriter Premium)

Memphis Trace wrote:
d a reynolds wrote:
Memphis Trace wrote:

If you carry a cat by the tail, you learn things that cannot be learned any otner way.
Mark Twain

I'll bet you could come up with the perfect onomatopoeic word if you educated yourself by Mark Twain's method.

Lol, had to dash to my dictionary for that one. Yes, maybe I could come up with a new word.


I think I would try to re-create the sound, give the cat a say in the matter, write it as a line of dialogue.

With the disclaimer that I've never carried my cat, Cornelius, in a bag, I can report that he starts out angry and hissing when I put him in his carrier to take him to the vets. When I drape a cloth over the front of it to block the light, he settles into more of a plaintive wail, not unlike I imagine an attenuated operatic baritonal aubade.

Cornelius says, "Wrowwwer, Wrow, Wuhwrowwer..."

Memphis Trace

I've tried a few noises in my head and can't write down a feasible word. Maybe I'll stick with "screeched in terror."


(36 replies, posted in TheNextBigWriter Premium)

Memphis Trace wrote:

If you carry a cat by the tail, you learn things that cannot be learned any otner way.
Mark Twain

I'll bet you could come up with the perfect onomatopoeic word if you educated yourself by Mark Twain's method.

Lol, had to dash to my dictionary for that one. Yes, maybe I could come up with a new word.



(36 replies, posted in TheNextBigWriter Premium)

Lol, Charles, you weren't wrong. They can make creepy sounds.



(36 replies, posted in TheNextBigWriter Premium)

Thanks all, I think 'screeching in terror,' will be the one I use but thanks all and Janet's shrieking came close too.


(3 replies, posted in Young Adult Writers)

Thanks Penang, I'm in a lucky position of having some money. But I know I can quickly go through a ton of it self publishing. However, I am reading avidly all the lessons learned on self publishing that has been shared on here.
But.... I could sell yellow snow to an Eskimo, so I will attack finding a publisher with gusto.

Thanks for taking the time to reply and I wish you all the best with becoming self-sustaining.



(36 replies, posted in TheNextBigWriter Premium)

Lol, Vern. Thanks all. Screeching might work. Caterwauling, which I'd heard of, is actually the correct term, however I asked five people and they'd never heard of it.


(36 replies, posted in TheNextBigWriter Premium)

In this case a cat is in bag being swung from a rope. It's terrified, going berserk in the bag. Screech might work though.



(36 replies, posted in TheNextBigWriter Premium)

How would you write about a cats terrified scream. Can I use the word, "scream?" Is it gnarl whine or a screech?



(10 replies, posted in TheNextBigWriter Premium)

Whoop whoop. Brilliant news Jack. You must tell us how you approached the whole contract thing. I fancy trying this route too.
Great news, so happy for you.


(3 replies, posted in Young Adult Writers)

I know pretty much everyone on TNBW, seems to me anyway, self publishes.
I'm considering taking a stab in the dark, you never know, and trying to get a publishing deal.
Did I hear a snigger? Lol.
I'm guessing there's a good reason that writers on TNBW don't go this route, is it the obvious? The publishing houses are just too hard to get into.
The self publishing route looks real hard and may be a black hole when it comes to paying for it.
Am I wrong?