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Getting Started

Guides on how to get up and running on using CC

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Please read Critique Circle rules before you start using the site. During your first visit to CC you will be a Trial user which means there are restrictions on what you can do. Once a CC Moderator has reviewed your application you will be upgraded to a full registered member and these restrictions will be lifted. This usually only takes a couple of hours.

Critique Circle runs on a credit system. You "pay" three credits to submit a story, and receive credits for writing a critique of someone else's story. The credits you receive range from 1/2 to 2 per crit, depending on the length of the crit. See this knowledge base article for more details.

If you purchase a premium subscription, you have three credits from the start and can submit a story right away!

If you're a regular member, you start with two credits — therefore, you need to critique a story or two before you can submit your own work.

Stories are submitted into different queues depending on their genre and each queue has a critique period where each story gets their time in the sun. Each critique period lasts one week from Wednesday 00:01 until end of Tuesday 23:59 in UTC time.

When you comment on other people's work, the first thing to keep in mind is writing a critique of the sort you'd like to receive yourself. If you have never done this before and are a bit lost, you can check some great examples of critiques done by some of our members and read the critiques they have received.

When you receive a critique, you are asked to evaluate it by giving it 1-5 stars. You should also send the writer of the critique a short note thanking them for spending their time on your story.

The author of the critique does not receive an evaluation score for each critique, but instead an average score, updated every few critiques. This means they do not know how you grade their critique, so you are free to be honest.

When you receive a critique, please keep in mind that it's only one person's opinion and that person is not necessarily right. However — respect that person's opinion. They are trying to help.

Please let us know (either with a message to the Admins or Moderators, or in our Suggestions to Improve CC thread) if you find bugs, typos, errors or if you see any kind of room for improvement. We welcome all suggestions!

A good place for you to go now is to your Profile Page (click on your username and choose Public profile). Filling out the different forms there is a good way to introduce yourself to the other members of Critique Circle.

We recommend that your next stop is the Story Queue where all the stories are kept. Submitted stories are not available for critique immediately — they have to make their way to the top of the queue first. Take a look at "Up for Review" for the stories that are currently being critiqued, "Older submissions" for those stories that have been reviewed already (you can still read and critique them) and "Upcoming" for those stories that are currently in the queue, waiting for their week in the spotlight.

Our popular tutorial videos are a great place to get up to speed on using CC quickly.

Finally we'd like to encourage you to be an active participant in the forums! Our goal is to make them a fun and informative place for a busy writer to spend his or her coffee-break.

You can always get back to this letter by reading the message in your message box. You can also use the handy checklist to learn about CC.

Please contact the Moderators if you have any questions. You can also check out our knowledge Base.

All the best — and happy writing 😀

The CC team

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Even if you’re an experienced critter elsewhere, it can be helpful to know what different features and styles of crits are available on Critique Circle. Here are some notes on how to crit and examples of crits authors have found particularly helpful.

Authors will sometimes mention in the intro Opening Notes that they are looking for a particular kind of feedback such as comments on character development, pacing, or final polish. You’re free to comment on anything you notice, but authors generally appreciate feedback on whatever they ask for, especially if it’s relevant to the draft stage they’re at.

For most stories in the queues, authors prefer inline crits where you click on the paragraph and then add your comments in the box that opens up. You can copy/paste a few words or a line and drag it down into the box to comment on it, but critters are encouraged not to copy/paste more than necessary to give your comment context.

Here are some examples of different crits:

Reader response feedback

The easiest, and sometimes most useful, kind of feedback to give is just what you’re thinking or what works or doesn’t work for you. Where do things seem to get slow? Where do you feel you’re getting bogged down in too much information? What is unclear or doesn’t make sense in the scene? Etc.

Charattata's crit 

Jkrobin's crit

Tadennye's crit 

Writing technique and style

The other thing most authors look for is feedback on the writing itself. This can involve anything from suggestions to tighten the prose, avoid telling, cut out repetition or redundancies, or anything else. There are a range of ways to do this, sometimes with “shorthand” notes, formatting, colors, etc. Completely rewriting a paragraph isn’t generally as well appreciated, but short examples of what you mean can be very helpful.

Tillieb's crit

Marisaw's crit 

Miked's crit

Multiple reads

Most critters crit on the first read and then move on to the next story since readers will only read a story once. This is a fine process to follow, but some critters also like to read a story all the way through before they crit so they can comment on how the beginning fits with the end. This can also be helpful. The choice is entirely up to you. This crit also gives some good examples on clarifying what is or isn’t clear to the reader.

Lngwstksgk's crit 

Later chapters

Don’t be afraid to jump into a later chapter in a novel. You probably won’t be able to comment on the plot, but you can still give valuable new insights on what you understand as well as the writing and coherence in general.

Ridan's crit 

You can look around other crits of older stories, so feel free to look around there as well to see other crits people have done. Most importantly, have fun critting and forming new crit partnerships and welcome to Critique Circle.

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To help you get started, we created the following tutorial videos:

Welcome to Critique Circle

How to Critique a Story

How to Submit a Story

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Members submit their stories to the story queue, and pay credits to do so. Only a certain number of stories will be displayed each week so you may have to wait a week or two for yours to come up, depending on how much queue activity there is. When a story comes up for critique, other members can read it and submit their critiques to the author, thus earning credits.

Stories stay in the queue for a week, which runs Wednesday 00:01 to end of Tuesday 23:59 UTC.

To help with queue wait times, we created a custom Newbie Queue. Your first story must be submitted here and, if you wish, you can submit up to three in total before moving to the other queues. When you join the site, you get two free credits, and you can use these towards the cost of posting your first story. Therefore you need to crit one story before submitting your own.

Stories in the Newbie Queue can receive up to five full critiques, while stories in the other queues can receive an unlimited number of critiques. Once your story in the newbie queue has received 5 full crits (more than 300 words each) it will be put into older submissions.

When posting a story, authors have some choice in who can view their story. For example, some authors will specify that only people who have been members of this site for a month can read their story. That’s why you may not be able to view all the stories in the queue.

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We've done everything we can to make people feel secure about using the site. Technically, it's safe — people have to be logged on to the site to see any stories, so submitting a story for critique here does not mean it's "published online".

Your story is accessible by the members of Critique Circle. There are different levels of accessibility, which you pick when you send your story. You can have the story visible to all members, only those who have critiqued, or only those who have critiqued recently. 

After the crit week has passed, you can hide your story, so nobody else can see it, or you can delete it from the site.

For those who would like to work in a private critique group where everybody knows each other, there is the option of supporting the CC with a small donation, and receiving premium privileges in return. The Premium privileges include the possibility of creating your own private queue and forum. That way you can be sure that nobody outside your own crit group can see your stories.

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Critique Circle is a closed community of writers whose purpose is to allow authors to submit and receive feedback/constructive criticism on works in progress, and such submissions do not constitute publication.

All rights remain the sole property of the author. Any use or reproduction of stories or critiques associated with stories is prohibited without the express permission of the author.

Critiques become the property of the author insofar as they pertain to the original work, and using critiques you've given that disclose any element or part of an original work by another member is also prohibited without the author's permission.

It is important to recognize that ideas, titles, names, and phrases cannot be copyrighted, and you have no protections or guarantees that an idea for a story you propose will not be used by another. Critique Circle recommends you only post original, developed content if you're not worried about someone using an idea you've come up with.

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At the top of the page there is magnifying glass icon. Clicking on this icon will open up the Global Search Bar.

As soon as you start to write the bar will search CC for you. Here you can look for answers to common questions, you can look for other members, stories, forum posts and even glossary entries and stories by genre.

Try entering your own username or your favorite genre and see what happens. You can also just ask it questions like How to earn credits? or writing crits.

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When you submit your first critique, just tell the author that you're new. Most people are more than happy to help out newcomers. And, just for this purpose, we have a team of Moderators who can answer questions — you can contact them by sending a message to Moderator.

When you submit your first critique, you can request a review of your critique from a Moderator. They'll give you helpful pointers for areas you can improve on — and don’t worry, they won't bite. They chose to be Moderators because they enjoy helping people.

Also, search the Knowledge Base and then, if you have any additional questions, you can send them to a Moderator or post them in the Newbie Questions Thread (the most current version is sticked at the top of the forum).

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