Each member must critique at least two stories a month to maintain membership. The hosts can grant waivers to this policy on an individual basis, provided members contact them in advance.
A new story or novel chapter will be sent to the membership each Monday. The author must provide their story to the host two weeks before their scheduled critique date in ASCII (text) or HTML format, or in the body of an email (if the story will fit). No other formats are accepted.
Members have two weeks to critique a given story. Critiques must be written in the body of an email and sent to every member on the mailing list. Please read our detailed critique guidelines and sample critiques if you have any questions about this process.
Critiquing the work of a fellow writer is a mutually beneficial experience. The critiquer benefits by reading a work, thinking about the various points of story development and technique, and putting those thoughts into a helpful summary for the writer. The writer benefits by having an objective party read and comment on their work. How the writer uses those comments is up to them, though the writer should pay particular attention to comments repeated across several critiques.
Feedback should be given to a writer freely and objectively. In turn, the writer may want to respond to critiques received. This is encouraged. It often helps the critiquer and others understand a story point from the writer's perspective. This is a part of the learning exchange that makes the SFWW so special.
Should a writer be offended by any comment from another writer in the group, immediately contact the hosts. DO NOT respond out of anger, even if you feel it's justified. The hosts have experience in both writing and critique groups that can assist you. Explain your feelings and the reasons for them to the hosts, and let them guide you. Remember, the hosts reserve the right to remove any member from the mailing list for abusive or disruptive behavior.
Some thoughts to consider when critiquing or reading critiques of your work:
- Critiques are done by fellow writers. Their points of view may differ from your own, but they are not wrong.
- Critiques are done with "helping" in mind.
- If you read a critique that doesn't sit right with you, don't respond to the critiquer right away. Jot yourself a few notes and go on to other critiques. Others may touch on the same point and you may find the "offending" comments to be a problem you missed.
- Include the hosts if you find yourself bothered about something someone said about your work. The hosts will maintain confidentiality and assist you to find a solution.