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Stories and Queues

Helpful guides

3 answers

Before you submit your story on CC, please make sure to read it over (check grammar and spelling) and make sure it is ready to be critiqued.

Here are the steps to submit your story:

1. Go to the navigation bar on top of the page, hover over the menu with three lines and choose Submit story.

2. Pick the right queue for your story. If this is your first submission, your story goes into the newbie queue.

3. Fill out the title of your story (working title is fine). Choose type of story and genre. Copy and paste your story in the window.

4. Insert author notes before and after (optional but recommended). If you need to warn your readers about language or content in your story, please make sure to fill out content advisory (mild language, adult situations, sexual innuendo, etc).

6. Review your submission. If everything looks okay (please check!) click Submit Story.

That's it! Your story will appear in your story list in the "My Stories" page under "Story Queue".

Watch our tutorial video on how to submit a story:

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Yes. Each concurrent submission after the first one has an additional cost so the more you submit the more you have to crit.

For more information, click HERE.

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What happened to "Paste text from Ms Word?"

It's gone. There is no need for that feature any more. Just paste your text directly in from your word processor and most basic formatting will be preserved. Note that advanced formatting like table and multiple columns will not go work.

What happened to the free pass?

Free pass has been deprecated. You were able to buy a free pass for 15 credits which allowed you to place your story into any slot. This meant that if you wanted to bump your story forward by one slot it would cost the same as 3 slots.

The new submission system allows you to bump your story up into full slots by paying 6 credits for each slot that you're moving forward. Typically there are one or two full slots when you submit your story so the cost will be reduced from the previous system.

In addition premium members pay 5 credits instead of 6 for each slot and premium gold members pay 4 credits.

What happened to "revise paragraphs"?

Revise paragraphs has been removed. Premium gold members can now revise their story text freely when the story is up for review. The revision system tries to match the crits intelligently to the changed text. If the text layout changes too much crits might not reference the correct paragraphs but they should generally work fine.

What happened to "frozen crits"?

Inline crits would become frozen if stories were revised or deleted. This would bake out the inline crit with some of the story text. This has been removed. If you delete a story with inline crits the crits will simply contain the crit paragraphs with no story text. Therefore your story will be completely deleted, which is better all around.

Can other people see how long I spent writing my crit?

No, the duration statistic for a crit is just visible to the critter and not to anyone else, including the story author.

What happened to crit labels?

Premium members were able to set labels on their received crits with text and icons. We saw that this was almost exclusively used to mark crits as 'done' with a checkmark icon or to mark crits as 'will not use' with a delete icon.

We have removed this feature and instead added a "Mark as done" button which behaves in the same way as the label. You can then use the "Hide crit" button for crits that you're not going to use.

Can I include images in my stories?

Yes... If you're a premium member. We don't want to have to deal with issues arising from new anonymous members uploading pictures so we decided to allow only premium members to upload pictures. You can include pictures in your stories and in your crits.

What is "Story draft"?

When you start to submit your story in the new submission wizard it is saved automatically on the server. You can leave the wizard at any time and come back to it and the story draft will be waiting for you. You cannot save multiple story drafts; there is just the one you were working on last. You can access your saved draft from the front page Reminders box or just by opening up the submit story wizard again.

What is Revise crit?

Premium Gold members can now revise their crits after they have been submitted. This gives you the chance to fix any embarrassing typos that might have slipped in or to make minor changes. Each modified paragraph will be marked with an icon showing that it was modified to reduce confusion for the author who might have already read the unedited crit.

Where is the "Save story" and "Printer friendly" buttons?

These buttons have been removed. The stylesheet associated with the pages is now more intelligent and will detect if you are printing out. Therefore you can just use your browser's print feature on any story or crit page and you will get a nicely formatted print layout. Your browser should also be able to save the document as pdf instead of printing it out.

What happened to the grades?

The old grading system has been discontinued. This was always a big matter of contention with regards to wording and the placement of texts. Most long term members just gave each other perfect scores out of etiquette anyways. Now we just have a simple 1-5 star system with 1 star being unhelpful, horrible, probably should report it crit and 5 stars being perfect. You cannot give 0 stars, 1 is the lowest.

You can pick a grade by clicking on stars like in the picture below.

If you made a mistake in your grading you can reset the grade and grade again, no harm no foul.

What about the thank you note?

Thank you notes are no longer connected to grades. You will notice that you have a big green "Reply" button and then the stars below. You might want to reply immediately to all your crits but then grade them once the period is over for example so it's convenient to split these up.

Right now the reply button just takes you to the message box but we will make this fancier when the message box is rewritten.

How do I add a chapter to a novel?

The novel process has been greatly simplified. You no longer need to add chapters from the novel page and then add submissions into those chapters. Simply select the novel and chapter in the story submission page. There you can choose whether the submission should have a chapter number or just a title, how many chapters are in the submission or whether the submission is a part of a chapter.

How to I disconnect a story from a novel?

In the old system you needed to click a 'disconnect' button on the novel page and go through a whole process to remove a submission from a novel. Now the process is much simpler. Just click 'Edit Info' in your story page and change the 'Novel chapter' to 'Lone chapter' and your story will no longer be connected to the novel.

What happened to novel revisions?

In order to simplify the novel system revisions have been removed. You can achieve the same effect with the new 'label' system which allows you to add a custom label to any novel submissions. Existing revisions have been moved over to the label system so if you had revisions in your novel it will look similar now.

My chapters are out of order, how do I fix it?

In your novel page you can click on the Arrange button which allows you to drag and drop your submissions in whatever order you want. If you click Auto arrange they will be arranged automatically according to chapter number. When this function is used all but the most recent submission in each chapter will be hidden from other users and marked as 'inactive'. You can also do this yourself by clicking on the checkbox in the list.

This allows you to post multiple revisions of each chapter in your novel without having to worry about people reading an old version. Just mark a submission as 'not active' when you're done with it.

Where is view all inline critiques

Here it is.

How can I show uncommented paragraphs?

Here it is.

If I quote something it seems to be stuck and everything in the text box is quoted.

If you press enter twice you will close the quote box (press enter in an empty quote line)

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Submitting Stories

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There are seven public queues on Critique Circle:

  • The Newbie Queue - CC's new members
  • General
  • Fantasy
  • Science Fiction
  • Women's fiction - Romance - Chick-lit
  • Children's - Young Adult
  • Mystery - Suspence - Horror

The first story you submit to Critique Circle must go into the Newbie Queue. After that, you can choose to move to another public queue that is appropriate for your genre or to submit again to the Newbie Queue. A maximum of three submissions to the Newbie Queue is allowed.

If you have a YA story you should submit it to that queue, a horror story goes into the horror queue etc.

We leave it up to you to decide what genre your story belongs to so what queue you should submit to but if a story is clearly in the wrong queue the administrators will move it to the right queue. Remember, posting in the correct queue is likely to mean your story is seen by those most interested in reading/ critiquing your genre.

You must have clear reasons why a story that seemingly belongs to a certain queue has been placed in another.

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You can have up to 3000 characters in each of your Author notes, both before and after the story. If you write more text it will be truncated when it's displayed in your story.

If you are submitting a novel you are able to have twice that amount in each section of your author's notes.

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We recommend your submission is at least 500 words and 5,000 words at the most.

If the text is less than 500 words, it's difficult to write a critique long enough to earn a credit — and if the story is very long, critiquing it will be very time-consuming and you are likely to get fewer critiques.

Your first story, in the newbie queue, can be no longer than 4,000 words. Other public queues have a limit of 8,000 words. Private queues have no word limit per submission.

The credit cost is always the same, regardless of the length of the submission.

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In step 3 of the story submission process is a text box where you can enter a "Content Advisory" warning. Here, you can enter the type of content you would like your readers to be forewarned about. If you have, mild language, adult situations, sexual innuendo, etc. here is the place to put that warning.

If you have strong or graphic sexual content (Not Pornography, which is not allowed at CC) or heavy swearing, you can also check the box in step 4 marked "The story contains language/material which might offend readers." This prevents underage member from reading this story. Keep in mind, however, that you cannot use this flag unless your story has explicit material. If the moderators determine that the flag was used simply to disallow crits from members under 18 year of age, the story may be removed.

If you have further questions, or you are in doubt as to whether you need either of these, you can always message the Moderators for a review.

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Critique Circle does not support submitting stories directly from your word processor or with any formatting unless you export it first as HTML which you might not want to do as that will not allow you to receive inline critiques.

There is a way to convert some of the most used formatting from MS Word to CC-compliant text.

CC supports bold, italics, underline and centered text, and you can convert such text in MS Word to CC formatted text before copy/pasting your text into CC's "Submit Story" window.

To do that open up your find-replace option in MS Word (Control-H), make sure you are working in a throwaway copy of your manuscript so that you don't accidentally save over it though.

In the find-replace dialog make sure you have your focus in the "Find What" text box (just click it) and then click on the "More" button, at the bottom of the dialog there is a "Format" drop-down button. Click that and select "Font". Now, select "Font Style">"Bold" and click ok.

NOTE: There is an easier way  You can press control-b to toggle bold, control-i to toggle italics, control-u to toggle underline and control-e to toggle centered. Just remember to have your focus on the "Find what" box and clear out previous formatting before entering a new one (f.ex. it might say "Not Bold", which is not the same as not searching for bold text. In this case you should hit control-b again to clear the bold flag)

Under the "Find What" text box you should now see "Format: Font: Bold".

In the "Replace With" text box, enter [ b ]^&[ /b ] (without the spaces) and click "Replace All".

This will find every piece of Bold formatted text and encase it with [ b ] and [ /b ].

Do the same with italics, underline and center (that's in the "paragraph" option group). In every case, make sure that the option you had before is no longer selected, so that only bold, italics or centered is shown below the "Find What" text box.

Even if you have text that is italics _and_ bold you use the same method.

Here are the codes you want to put into "Replace With":

Bold: [ b ]^&[ /b ]

Italics: [ i ]^&[ /i ]

Underline: [ u ]^&[ /u ]

Centered: [ c ]^&[ /c ]

Remember to omit the spaces when you write these in.

Now that you've done these four changes you can copy the text from your manuscript into CC's "Submit Story" window and voila, you've got (some) formatting 

Note: Although this applies to Microsoft Word you are sure to find similar tricks for other word processors.

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My Stories

4 answers

Go to Stories: My Stories.

Search the title of your story. You can filter the search, depending on what you are looking for.

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The risk of plagiarism is minimal since plagiarists rarely get away with such theft.

If you are concerned, here are several steps you can take to minimize the risk of someone stealing your material:

1) Allow only those who critique to view your story. This is an option you can tick when you send in your story and will lessen the number of people who read your story. However, you may receive fewer crits since new members won't be able to look at your material.

2) Hide your story once the critique period is over — that way nobody else will be able to look at it. View your story under "My Page" and click "hide story". Again, this means people won't be able to critique your story after the one week period has passed, and you may therefore receive fewer crits.

3) Delete your story.

IP numbers are registered, as is who reads which story, and in case of actual cases of plagiarism this information may be used in an attempt to track down the culprit.

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Your story goes through three stages on CC. When you submit the story it goes into the Upcoming section. This is our story queue. In a week or two it will go Up for review at which point people will start to critique it. It stays there for a week and is then put into Older at which point you will stop receiving crits.

Our Premium Members are able to revise their stories while they are in the Upcoming section of the queue - before they are in review.

Only Premium Gold Members are able to revise their stories while they are Up for review.

Everyone can then revise their story after it hits the Older section.

Standard members who want to edit their story while it's in the queue and before it comes up for review will need to remove the story and submit a new one.

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Click on Stories -> My Stories in the top menu bar to see a list of your stories.

Click the title of the story you want to delete. Now click on Delete story in the right-hand menu.

We also want to point out the possibility of simply hiding your story. You do that on the same page you can delete it. This will make your story invisible to other people.

Note: If your story is currently in review, you will need to use the Place in Older option before you can delete or hide it. (The Place in Older button takes the place of the Delete Story button for current stories.)

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Archived Stories

3 answers

After the critique period is over, a story goes into "Older Stories". The author can choose to hide the story, which makes it invisible to other members.

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If your story has been archived (moved offline), you can go to your story, and click on Unarchive in the Author Options box.

This will remove it from archive temporarily, or for a week or so.

Please note your story will go back to archive after a while, but this way, you will always be able to take a look at your story through CC, even though it's been archived.

If you are not the author of the story you wish to look at and its been archived, you will have to contact the story's author and request that he/she upload the story back up to CC. This is done by using the form supplied when you attempt to view an archived story or one of its critiques.

Archived stories are not visible in the "Older Stories" list of the Story Queue, but you will be able to view them through the "Everything" list.

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As soon as a story finishes its critique cycle it can be hidden or deleted by the author.

For period Queues the story goes into Older stories when its time (usually a week) is over, but for period-less Queues you have to manually put the story into Older Stories before hiding it.

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Stories FAQ

10 answers

When you submit a story the system lets you know when it will be up for review.

The waiting time depends on how many stories are already in the queue when you submitted yours. Usually, it's between 1 and 4 weeks.

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It means that other people can see on your member page which stories you particularly liked.

When viewing a story, other people will also be able to see if it's someone's favorite.

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A story goes through several phases on its way through CC. We have a queue system so your story will go to the back of the queue when you submit it and it will eventually go into review.

When you first submit your story it will be put into the upcoming section of the queue. You will be told on the submit story receipt page when it is scheduled to come up for review. Typically this will be 2 weeks or so (for the newbie queue it is different; your story always goes up for review the next Wednesday).

During the time that the story is in the upcoming section (sometimes referred to as being "in the queue"), Standard members cannot revise their stories. Premium and Premium Gold members can, however, change their their story as much as they want.

Finally the story moves from the upcoming section and goes to up for review. You will receive an email when that happens and it will also be highlighted in the notification center at the top of the page as well as in your Reminders box on the front page.

Your story will be up for review for a period of seven days, Wednesday to Wednesday.

During this time, both Standard members and Premium members cannot touch their stories. Premium Gold members are able to revise their stories during this period with a few restrictions (they cannot change the story layout but fix individual paragraphs).

When the review period ends your story will be moved over to Older submissions. At this point you will be able to revise the story. Other members can now also read all crits on the story. You should not expect any more crits on your story after it has been put into older submissions.

When your story becomes really old, CC might archive it which will not make it behave any differently than other stories in the older submissions category and you can always bring it back from the archive.

If a story has inappropriate content or there is some other problem with it the administrators can reject it. It will still show up in your story list but your credits have been refunded and no one else will be able to see the story.

Once your story has reached Older submissions you can delete the story. This will remove all the story text but the story 'container' will still be on CC with the crits you have received attached to it. No one but the author can look up a deleted story.

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Of course! One chapter at a time works out well.

For your own good, try to keep each submission to 5000 words or less. People are notoriously lazy at critiquing longer submissions.

Longer stories are more expensive to submit than shorter ones. Each 5000 words beyond the first 5 cost an additional credit.

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If you remove your story from the Queue before it comes up for review, the credits are restored.

The same happens if a story is rejected by the Admins.

A story that has gone through the critique cycle and is in 'older' will yield a refund if deleted only if it has received no critiques.

So, if you delete your story and it has no crits you should always receive a refund.

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Yes, you can submit stories in any language — but you may not get many critiques.

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You can, as long as they are different pieces or stories, and not the same text cut and pasted twice to make the 300 word count limit.

Remember though, that short pieces can also be put up for review in the 'short text' forum, and critted for free

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No. The queues are not a place for self-promotion, and you should not post a story as an ad for your published or almost-published work. This is not fair to the critiquer, who spends time and effort on a critique that will go wasted, and it is not fair to other CC-ers, as it takes up a story slot that could be put to real use.

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You can mark your story so that children and teenagers don't have access to it, but of course that depends on them giving us their age, which not all choose to do.

There is also a red lettered warning about it being adult oriented on top of the story.

If you're concerned, we also recommend that you use the Content Advisory box to warn people. That way, there are at least no nasty surprises.

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Critique length dictates how many credits you get.

You will receive 1 credit for critting a story if your critique is 300-600 words. 1 1/2 credits if it's between 601 and 900 words and 2 credits if your critique contains more than 900 words.

In some instances the story author will choose to give credits for completing a full crit (over 300 words). You will then see this banner on the story page.

Typically this will mean that you get an extra 1 credit for completing a full crit (in private queues it can be higher).

If your crit is below 300 words you always get 1/2 credit and if it's below 150 words no credits are awarded.

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6 answers

No. At this time, Critique Circle is not a venue for poetry critiques.

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No, you can't. Because of sensitive copyright issues, no fan-fiction is allowed on Critique Circle. Sorry!

Fan fiction or fanfiction (also abbreviated to fan ficfanficfic or FF) is fictional writing written in an amateur capacity by fans, unauthorized by, but based on an existing work of fictionThe author uses copyrighted characters, settings, or other intellectual properties from the original creator(s) as a basis for their writing. Fan fiction ranges from a couple of sentences to an entire novel, and fans can retain the creator's characters and settings, add their own, or both. It is a form of fan labor. Fan fiction can be based on any fictional (and occasional non-fictional) subject. Common bases for fan fiction include novelsmoviescomicstelevision showsmusical groupscartoonsanimemanga, and video games.

(from wikipedia)

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Yes, you can.

When you submit your work, you can select "non-fiction" as genre.

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Critique Circle does not accept erotica as such into the public queues. You are welcome to set up a private queue for that purpose.

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As long as the material is your own and not in violation of copyright almost everything is acceptable, with the following exceptions:

No Fan-fiction

No Poetry (however, you can submit poetry to the Poetry forum for discussion and feedback)

No Pornography

No Bestiality

No Sex scenes involving minors

No Over-the-top gore

No Explicit sex (see more below)

Our position on Erotica:

In the public queues, Erotic Romance (racy but the heart of the story is a Romance, not Erotica) stories are fine, as long as they are always accompanied with the appropriate adult content ratings. However, even with the 18 years of age adult content marker, CC is a multicultural melding pot where ages of majorities differ, and we ask that anything stronger (Erotica, bondage, domination, etc.) are only submitted to the Romance queue if the submissions falls within the guidelines or to private queues at the request of Erotica private queue owners. In this we must err on the side of caution to protect minors and other CC members who may not wish to accidentally come across Erotica in the public queues.

To find private queues that cater to Erotica, check the classifieds (link is on the bottom of the story queue page). Note that the classifieds change and/or some Erotic queues may not be advertized but could still have openings. To find other members who also write this genre, search the members profiles for the tag word, 'erotica' or search the forums for the tag word, 'erotica.'

Our position on Explicit Sex:

There is a fine line between racy sex scenes and Explicit Sex. Most content we see coming through CC that contains sex is perfectly fine, provided it comes with an adult rating. There are several things that can take a sex scene and put it into the Explicit Sex category, which we do not want to see in the public queues. These are some possible indicators of what we consider to be explicit sex:

—When crude language is used for shock value to describe the sex act

—Graphic & copious play-by-play of sexual positions

—Sex where one or more parties are demeaned

—Explicit description of anatomy that is solely written with titillation in mind, rather than to show emotional deepening/plot

—Stuff involving feces or other non-sexual bodily fluids

—Sex with a violence aspect (bondage, domination, etc.)

If your work falls in the Explicit Sex category, then please check the Romance queue guidelines to see if it is acceptable there or submit it to the private erotic queues only, after securing an invite by the queue owner.


CC reserves the right to remove any stories that do not adhere to our guidelines. If stories are discovered and deemed inappropriate before they go into review, you will be refunded credits. If we discover a breach after a story goes up for review, your story will be removed from the critique process immediately and your credits will NOT be refunded.

If you are unsure if your story is fit for the public queues, you are welcome to send the portion of your story you are concerned about to the Moderators via your message box, and they will review the content.

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Yes. If you're not sure your story is suitable for CC, please contact the Moderators HERE.

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Queues FAQ

7 answers

The Newbie Queue is designed to give Critique Circle's newest members a chance to get fast experience of the CC process.

You must submit your first story to the Newbie Queue. The only restriction is that you cannot post an Erotica story in the Newbie Queue. After that, you may submit a further two stories (maximum total of three submissions) or you may choose to submit to any of the other public queues.

To give all stories in the Newbie Queue the best chance of receiving a fair share of critiques, stories in this queue will move into 'older submissions' once they have received five critiques.

Anyone can critique stories in the Newbie Queue.

Newbies can critique stories from any queue they choose.

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For now, we have to do this manually. Please let us know which changes you'd like to make and we'll do it for you. Quickest way is through the CC mail system, recipient administrator.

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The number of stories in review each week depends on several factors and the admins are constantly re-arranging the queues, right until the last moment.

The factors that influence how many stories are reviewed are, for example: How many critiques were submitted in the previous crit-period in a particular queue, how many stories are in the Newbie queue and how many stories are upcoming. We don't want a queue to be empty so that comes into account.

So be prepared for your story to be bumped up or down.

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We review the queue each week and move stories that seem misplaced. If you believe your story has been moved to a queue where it doesn't belong, please contact us HERE.

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If your story is in the 'Upcoming' section and you've decided to remove it, you can choose, 'Remove from queue' under your options when you view your story. With no crits on your story, this will refund your credits.

If it is 'In review' and you decide to retire it, you simply view the details of your story and select, 'place in older.' This will move your story out of the review period, and the crits on the story will be viewable by others (or other members of a private queue). 

Once a story is in Older Submissions, you can choose to hide or delete a story, or you are able to revise the story if there are no crits currently in progress.

Before you move a story out of the 'In review' period into 'Older Submissions' in the public queues, consider that there may be CC members who have critiques pending or are wanting to critique your piece. As a courtesy, you may wish to offer a warning/explanation on your 'story discussions' thread to let these people know that you are pulling your story 

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Unless you submit to the Newbie Queue, your wait time may stretch into several weeks for your story to rise into 'In Review.' This is because stories go up in the order that they are submitted.

In order to minimize wait times, do your best to critique in the weeks leading up to your piece being 'In Review". This will open up more story slots in the queues, and stories will be bumped up, coming up for review faster.  This is also why it is beneficial to critique in the same queue you submit to—you will be directly affecting the wait times in that queue.

The public queues can change based on how many critiques happen in each queue each week. The more critiques a queue gets one week, the more story slots will open the following week. If there is a significant drop in critiques, less story slots will be available for the following week, creating a longer wait for some. If everyone does their part by critiquing, it benefits everyone through shorter wait times.

Also, active critiquers always get the most critiques when their work comes up for review. So to get lots of great feedback, give a little critique karma first! 

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The Hook queue runs once a month during the first weekend of the month from Friday 00:01 GMT through to end of Sunday and accepts stories for the next Hook weekend during the rest of the month.

This queue is unique in that, here, the critter is playing the role of an unpaid slush editor - searching for that special perfect snowflake of a manuscript among a pile of hopefuls.

Anyone can post into this queue, but you must have extremely thick skin. The queue is meant to give you an indication of how good your hook is and where editors might stop reading and, more importantly, why.

Submission guidelines

* You should submit the start of your story and it should be less than 1000 words long.

* Only one submission per person is accepted at a time. You can submit your next piece into the next hook crit cycle once the current one completes.

* Submitting a story costs 3 credits but those 3 credits are refunded if you crit 10 other pieces in this queue in the same period.

* Story submission is completely anonymous. No one knows who posted what story.

* Story submission into this queue should not affect your statistics.

* You are welcome to fill out author's notes.

Critique guidelines

* There is a special "Hook" crit mode for stories. You click on the paragraph where you stopped reading and fill out the form telling the author a little bit about why you quit where you did.

* Remember, this isn't a full crit; a paragraph or two is usually enough.

* If you read to the end there is a special link for that for you to click on as well.

* The time which it took you to read the story until you click that paragraph is saved with the crit, giving the author an indication of how much time people spent on the story.

* You gain no credits for critting stories in The Hook but if you have a story up as well you can get those credits refunded.

* Crits in this queue should not affect your CC statistics.

Do not be nasty! Purposely hurtful comments will be rejected.

Remember, story submissions and crit submissions are entirely anonymous. Your critters will not know that you submitted the story and you will not be able to see who said what (if you can, please tell the admins!). You are welcome to post story beginnings that you have already posted on CC but keep in mind that this will let certain people recognize you (which is fine if you're okay with it).

If you submit a story into this queue you should crit as many of the other stories as you can. Expect to spend only a couple of minutes on each one. When you're done with one crit the system will give you the option to jump directly to the next one. If you finish 10 of these you'll get the credits you spent on your own submission refunded.

You should only post into this queue if you have very thick skin!

However, crits should not be be rude or just plain mean. Keep it constructive! Critters, you are not here to vent but to provide helpful guidance to the authors. Please report crits that you feel are stepping over the line.

To find the queue click here.

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Premium: Queues

15 answers

What is the Beta-Reading (BR) Queue?

A BR queue is a type of private queue. Only Premium and Premium Gold members can create one, but any member can critique within the queue if invited by its owner.

In CC terms, a beta-read is the reading of a polished product before the novel is submitted to agents/publishers, or is self-published. However, a BR queue can also be used for ‘big-picture’ feedback on any large segment or text e.g. assessment of a draft, or the first Act of a three-Act structure.

It is intended for a holistic overview, rather than chapter-by-chapter critiques, and gives an on-site option for feedback on overall pacing, plot structure, subtext, character arcs etc. This helps to counter the serialisation effect caused by submitting weekly to the public queues.

Ordinary private queues have always been used for beta-reads, and still can be, but the BR queue has added features that some might find useful.

Additional features of a BR queue:

·      Cheaper submission (see below)

·      Flexibility to apply bonus credits (see below)

·      Option to prevent segments being read out of order

·      Option to disallow inline comments (allowing only start and end comments)

·      An integrated forum thread for discussion about the novel

Credits: Submission Cost

Unlike a normal private queue (3 credits per submission), cost is based on overall word count.

Premium members pay 1 credit per 2000 words submitted.

Premium Gold members pay 1 credit per 4000 words submitted.

A minimum of 10 credits is payable in total, regardless of word count.

E.g. for a 100k (100,000) word novel:

-       Normal private queue with submissions of 2500 words: 40x3 credits = 120 credits

-       Normal private queue with submissions of 5000 words: 20x3 credits = 60 credits

-       Premium BR queue (regardless of how the novel is divided) = 50 credits

-       Premium Gold BR queue (regardless of how the novel is divided) = 25 credits

To calculate how much it would cost for your novel, divide the word count by 2000 (or 4000 for Premium Gold) e.g. 73245 ÷ 2000 = 36.6225. Submission cost would be 36 credits.

Credits: Critter payment

A critter can earn both standard and bonus credits. Payment is made on each segment e.g. if the author has divided the novel into four segments then there are four opportunities to earn credits.

1. Standard credits – paid by the CC site.

The critter will always get the standard payout based on the word count of a crit (identical to critting in the public queues).

150 words = 0 credits, 151-300 = ½ c, 301-600 = 1 c, 601-900 = 1 ½ c, >900 = 2c.

2. Bonus credits – these are paid by the queue’s owner from their own account.

You can donate from 5 to 100 credits per segment per critter. This is done via the ‘Set Credits’ option under the ‘Beta Reading’ tab when you open a BR queue.

You can allot the credits as you wish. A suggested minimum is 50 credits overall per critter, because a beta-read involves a significant amount of time. However bonus credits are not compulsory.

You have the option to check someone’s crit before awarding the bonus credits. You don’t have to donate extra credits even if promised, although a critter has the option to stop critting if not paid.

Note that bonus credits cannot be offered to any crit unless it exceeds 300 words.

Some suggested variations for distributing bonus credits:

-       A single large bonus for the last segment, to encourage completion

-       An incremental increase in amount as the segments progress, to encourage completion

-       Zero bonus credits, for example if you and crit partners agree to beta-read swaps

-       Smaller amounts for smaller segments

-       Higher amounts for longer segments, or if numerous questions are asked

-       A five-credit bonus for the first segment if you don’t know your critters well, so both parties have a chance to assess the partnership

Frequently Asked Questions

Are there minimum or maximum word counts for a BR queue?

There is no minimum word count, but the minimum cost for a BR queue is 10 credits.

There is currently no limit on the size of submission, so a full-novel read in one segment is possible.

How do I ensure I get the type of crit I want?

There is no set formula, as authors will use the queue for different reasons. Specify the type of feedback you want within the author notes for the novel.

You have the option to check a crit before awarding bonus credits.

If you intend inviting critters who are not regular crit partners (e.g. via the classifieds) then you might want to keep the first segment short to allow evaluation of crit styles and quality.

You can remove a critter from the queue at any time. Rude or substandard crits (e.g. copy and pasting the same material) should be reported to the moderators.

What size segments should I divide my novel into?

This is entirely your choice and can be tailored to the level of feedback you need.

Some suggested variations:

-       For traditional publishing, agents often request just the first three chapters. By making the first segment that long, you can get separate feedback just on that section.

-       Segments of 15-20k have proven popular. This helps balance critter reading time with the level of feedback required by the author.

-       If your novel is already sub-divided into segments in some way (e.g. Parts, Acts) then those make natural submission segments.

-       Offering the whole novel in one segment will more accurately mimic a reader experience, although can result in less detailed feedback overall.

Can just any member access my BR queue?

No. As with a normal private queue, it is your choice as to who gains access to your queue.

What happens if I don’t have enough credits in my account to pay the bonuses?

You should advise members in your BR queue and discuss a delay in critting until you have built up credits again.

Before a critter begins critting, they will be notified that they won’t get bonus credits for the crit. They will still get standard credits. It is their choice whether or not they continue to crit.

It is advisable not to invite new members to your queue if you do not have enough credits to pay out promised bonuses.

I critted a segment and didn’t receive my bonus credits. What can I do?

The BR queue relies on good faith from both the critter and the queue owner.

-       Check if the segment you critted offers bonus credits

-       Ask the author why you didn’t receive bonus credits. They may have temporarily run out of credits, or may have been off-site for a time due to personal commitments

-       If the author doesn’t want to give you bonus credits that you think you deserve, then stop critting the novel. If the author is rude via the messaging system then report them to the moderators.

I chose to prevent segments being read and critted out of order. Can I still let a critter start partway through?

You can do this by arrangement with the critter.

Discuss where you want them to start critting properly. For example, if they critted the first segment chapter-by-chapter in the public queues, then you would want them to start their beta-reading from segment two.

If a critter gives a token crit of a few words, then the system will allow them to move on to the next segment. They won’t get bonus credits, even if those are set to be awarded automatically, as the crit will be under 300 words. They can repeat this process until they reach the segment where you want them to begin.

Can I advertise my BR queue in the classifieds?

Yes. You can do this in the same way as a normal private queue by choosing the ‘Looking for members’ option.

The advert will have an icon of upright books, indicating it is a beta-reading queue.

Why do I need to use the novel system to have a BR queue?

Many of the features on offer will only work because of the novel system, e.g. preventing segments being read out of order.

If you don’t want to use the novel system, you can still ask a critter to read your whole novel by posting all of the chapters into a normal private queue.

Do BR queues have a fixed time limit?

There is no set time limit, because the author may want people to start the beta-read at different times or segments.

The amount of time spent to complete the full novel should be negotiated between the author and critter, and will depend on things such as: availability, critter reading speed, size of novel.

Is there a video on how to use the BR queue?

Yes. You can find the tutorial video here

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Only premium and premium gold members can create their own private queues.

To read more about it, click HERE.

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One of the benefits of a Premium membership is the ability to create your own private queues.

To get started go to My Queues and click Create Queue. Here are the options that you should fill in

Queue Name and Description

Type the title of your queue and any information that your members will be able to see. This may include the purpose of the queue, what kind of feedback you're hoping to get, what kind of stories will be submitted. You can also select an icon and a color for your queue. These can be changed at any time.

Choose queue type

Choose what kind of queue you want to run. There are two choices. The most used choice is Normal which is a queue into which you or your members submit stories similar to the public queues. The other queue is Beta Reading which is a highly specialized queue type for beta reading instead of the normal inline critique process. See more information here. Once you create your queue this cannot be changed.

Do critters get credits?

Do you want to use the credit system? You can choose to have the same kind of credit system as the public queues (three credits to submit a story, credits given depending on length of the story, etc.). Or you can choose to use no credits; people post their stories for free and don't get credit for critiquing. You will typically want to use credits. Once you create your queue this cannot be changed.

Is this a period queue?

Choose a time period for your queue. You can choose to have your queue run on CC's Wednesday to Wednesday schedule, where there are a limited number of stories each week and they're switched out every Wednesday. Another choice is to choose no period for the queue, where stories go up as they're submitted and there is no time period. In this case, people can critique at their leisure until the owner chooses to move the stories into the archives. Our members will most often choose not to run on a period.

There are some additional steps at the bottom of the form which you can change at any time in the future.

Allow other people to submit stories into the queue

If this is toggled then other premium members are able to submit stories into your queue. Typically personal queues are only meant for the member who created the queue but in certain instances you might want to allow other people to submit stories as well.

Invitation only

If the queue is marked as 'invitation only' other people will need to request an invitation to the queue. Otherwise other people will be able to add themselves into the queue, for example if you send them a link to the queue.

Looking for members

If your queue is marked as 'looking for members' it will be listed on the open queues page and other people will be able to discover it and join from there.

Once you create the queue you can start inviting members into it and submitting your stories. You add members by going to the Members tab on your queue page and you submit stories to your new queue by selecting it on the 'submit story' page.

You might want to watch this tutorial video on Private Queues. It is a little outdated but gives some good advice.

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Premium queues can be advertized in the classifieds to attract new members. This is a great way to fill up your queue and meet new critters who want to see your work!

Go to 'Classifieds' in the story queue (at the bottom). You will see an option to 'add my queue to the classifieds'. Select this, and it will show a list of all the queues you currently have. Select the one you wish to place in the classifieds, and hit, 'Create advertizement'.

Fill in the fields required and then post your ad. It will now be part of the classifieds for 4 months maximum. You can remove your queue at any time from the classifieds.

If after 4 months you don't have a full queue and want to continue using the classifieds, you will need to add your queue again to the classifieds, using the above steps. 

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When you want to invite members to your private queue you choose the queue you want to work on.

After you have done that you click on the Edit option. On the top bar for the queue you see several option, one of which is Members. Click on that button.

Now you will see Invite a new member to this queue. If you click on that you will be able to pick members from the member list.

Keep in mind that if you have a many-to-many queue where everyone can submit stories only premium members are eligible and only those will show up in your search results.

If you have a personal queue (for a full novel crit for example) you can invite anyone, up to a maximum of 8 members (for Premium subscribers) or 24 members (for Premium Gold subscribers).

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If you're a premium member, you can arrange your Queues however you want to.

You will see your queues listed in a seemingly random order with a 'section' called (Automatically Arranged) at the top. This means that all the Queues under that bar are managed by the system into the following categories: Public QueuesPrivate QueuesMy Queues and Closed Queues. You must drag any queues you wish to reorder so that they are above the Automatically Arranged bar.

You might want to have names for your own sections. Try inserting a new section by clicking Add Section. You can give your section a name and click 'ok'. Your new section appears on top of the default section. You can now drag your Queues out from the default section and into your new section.

Note that everything beneath the (Automatically Arranged) section will not be ordered and any new sections under it will be deleted once you click "Save" so make sure you place any new section headers above the (Automatically Arranged) bar.

You can always reset your arrangement by dragging the (Automatically Arranged) section to the top. Dragging your Queues around under the (Automatically Arranged) section will have no effect.

You can drag Queues to the top without any section above them. This will just put them onto the top of your Queue page. You can even just drag the (Automatically Arranged) section to the bottom and leave it at that to have all your Queues lined up the way you want to.

Quick questions:

Q: How do I delete a section I created?

A: Drag it below the (Automatically Arranged) section and it will be deleted when you click Save

Q: I arranged my Queues and it doesn't work when I click Save.

A: You were probably arranging Queues underneath the (Automatically Arranged) section. Those Queues cannot be arranged. Try dragging them above the (Automatically Arranged) section.

Q: My new section vanished when I clicked Save.

A: Your section was beneath the (Automatically Arranged) section and was deleted.

Q: Can I arrange Queues in the (Automatically Arranged) section?

A: No, you must create a new section above the (Automatically Arranged) section and drag your Queues into it in order to arrange them.

Note: If you don't understand something, ask the moderators.

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Premium and Premium Gold members can have up to 3 active queues.

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Every so often you might want to delete a Queue that you've created. To do this you click "delete" on the queue on the Story Queue page. 

If there are any stories anywhere in the Queue then you will not be able to delete it. You will have to "reject" all submitted stories, making the Queue effectively empty before deleting it.

A deleted queue is not removed from the database so the stories in the queue will still be accessible to you but to no one else.

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Yes. Enter the queue and pick users. Tick the username of the member you want to remove and click remove.

Please remember to send the user a message to explain why you removed him/her from the queue.

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Any material that complies with CC's global rules. That is, the material you submit has to be your own, and pornography and fan-fiction is not allowed.

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All your existing queues will be automatically bumped up to 24 users when your Gold membership is processed. 

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Members will always have access to their stories, critiques of their stories, and critiques they've given on other peoples' work, even if the stories were located in a private queue that has been deleted or closed. The same is true if you choose to remove a member from your private queue.

If you have a story in a private queue that has been closed or deleted other people will not be able to see or crit the story.

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If that is the case the user you invited hasn't accepted your invitation yet.

He/she does that by clicking on a link, embedded in the invitation you sent. He/she can also decline the invitation by clicking on the link.

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If, for some reason, you have to give up your Premium subscription we'll keep your queues in archive for at least one year — unless you ask for them to be deleted. If you decide to join the Premium system again you can do so within a year and find your queues intact.

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Yes. Go to Stories: Story Queue. On the bottom of the page, you will see Add a Queue subscription:

If you click on the dropdown that says Choose Queue, you can choose the queue you want, then click on Add subscription.

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Premium: Novels

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Using the Novel System

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The Critique Circle Novel System allows you to string together your submissions into a single cohesive whole, giving your readers a very intuitive way to critique your entire novel.

The Novel System is only available for our Premium Members.

You can submit chapters or parts of chapters into whatever Queue you wish without risking a loss-of-continuity for your readers. They will be able to follow the novel wherever it goes, because the Novel System transcends Queues. You might for example put 2-3 chapters in the public Queues and the rest in your private Queue and people will be able to follow it seamlessly (providing they have access to your Queue).

If people follow your novel submissions to a Queue they don't have access to they can request access to the Queue in question with a single click. Irresistible! 

Or the boring short version: People can browse directly to the previous and next chapters of the submission they are currently viewing. 

There are also a lot of bells and whistles with this system:

* You are able to connect your novel to the Outlining Workshop to give your readers insight into your characters.

* You can write up a per-chapter synopsis to get people quickly up to speed who are jumping in late.

* You can combine all discussion on the different novel submissions into a single thread.

* You can have novel-wide author's notes so that you're not always writing the same stuff over and over

* Readers are 'dragged along' to view subsequent chapters when they are critting, even between Queues. Also, if the next chapter is 'upcoming' they are invited to get a notification.

* You can add all sorts of different types of information about your novel for your readers.

* You can add revisions and submit the same chapter part into multiple queues

The interface for creating and maintaining your novel might seem a little daunting at first but once you've mastered using this system we're convinced it will provide you with a more consistent stream of high-quality crits and dedicated readers who are tuned into your every word. 

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Open Up Stories->My Novels. Click "Add New Novel".

Here you can write your novel title and a short description of it. You must select a Type and Genre.

Writing the author's notes is optional but it is highly recommended that you give your readers information on what you're expecting from crits and fill in gaps they might be having. These notes appear before and after all submissions in the novel.

The advantage of using these 'novel-global' author's notes is that you can change them here at any time and all your chapters are updated immediately.

Having author's notes here does not preclude having submission-specific author's notes as well. In fact, the two work very well together.

Once you're done click "Send".

Hide Novel

When you put your submissions into a novel, they become inherently more visible than they would be otherwise. For example, if you have a chapter in a public queue and then chapters in a private queue, readers are able to see that you have submitted the chapters in your private queue (even if they can't access it). Sometimes you might not want the novel to be visible at all. For example, if you are done and don't want any more crits.

You can then choose this option which will make the novel hidden to everyone but you. No one will be able to see the novel navigation on the submissions or the novel information bar.

Keep all discussion in a single thread in your forum

This can be a very powerful tool to help you consolidate discussion about your novel.

When people discuss your submissions a thread is created for each submission. If you are submitting a novel consisting of 10-20 submissions that can potentially mean a lot of threads and each submission typically only has a couple of replies. Therefore, it can be beneficial to collect all those messages in a single thread.

You can select this option at any time, whether you are creating your novel or editing it. However, once you select it the discussion threads for all your submissions in the novel will be moved to the novel thread and the process is not reversible. You should make sure this is really what you want before proceeding.

If you add new submissions to a novel where this is selected they will always allow discussion and that cannot be changed. If you add an existing submission to such a novel the discussion thread (if any) will be moved under the novel as well.

Optional Information for your readers

These are a set of fields which you can fill out if you want to give your readers some additional information about your novel. It is totally optional to add information here.

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Once your novel is created you are presented with a rather bleak looking screen which has your novel name and notes but not much else.

What you should do now is add the chapters into the novel skeleton. This is not the same as adding submissions, which we will do later. For now we add the chapters which are placeholders where you will add your submissions (what are usually called 'stories').

The hierarchy of the novel is the following: Novel -> Chapter -> Submission

Click 'Add Chapter' to insert your first chapter.

Here you can (optionally) enter a chapter name, but you must enter a number for your chapter that has not been used before in this novel. Since this is your first chapter you can leave the '1' there.

Some novels have short chapters so you might want to submit two chapters into the queue at once to conserve credits etc. If you plan to add submissions which contain more than one chapter you can pick the number of chapters here as well. That will inform the system that submissions into this chapter entry are actually meant for the chapter number that you put in and the next chapters as well.

Chapter Synopsis is optional but a very good idea to fill in. Here you should write a short description of the chapter and explain (briefly) what happens, who is involved etc.

When people are reading your novel they will have the option of viewing the combined synopsis of all chapters preceding the one they are currently reading. This will give you a great way to get more readers. If you are submitting chapter 5 in a public queue you are much more likely to get people critting it if they don't have to read your other 4 chapters in order to crit this one. By then they'll love your novel so much you can't keep them away 

So we recommend putting in a chapter synopsis. Not only are you making your novel more accessible to people but you're making yourself write up text that you will have to write when you're submitting your novel to a publisher. A win-win situation.

If this chapter is a prologue or an epilogue that you are going to add submissions to (if you want these to be critted) check that option. There can be only one of those special-purpose prologue and epilogue chapters per novel.

Everything about the chapter can be changed later, so you can fill in what you want when you want it.

You can add all your chapters now, or the first ten or whatever, using the same method as above. You can also do that later, or just when you add your submissions.

Now your novel skeleton is set up. Let's add some meat. There are two ways to add submissions to a novel: You can either arrange stories you have already submitted into the novel or you can submit directly into the novel.

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You can delete your novel, individual chapters from the novel or individual submissions from each chapter.

What this does is it disconnects each contained submission from the novel, but you never actually delete the submission itself from the novel page.

Here is an example:

I have a novel with three chapters, each one with two submissions (part 1 and part 2).

I have rewritten part 2 of chapter 3 and decide to switch the old submission out for the new one, so that people reading the novel will get the newest version.

I click the 'x' next to the submission in the novel detail page.

The old submission is now 'disconnected' from the novel. It still has the same name as it did before, but if you go into the submission you will see that it has none of the novel features and is no longer present on the novel page.

I now rename this old submission to something like My novel name ch 3 (old draft) and submit my new draft into a Queue of my choosing.

When I submit the story I select the novel and the chapter as the place I want to submit to. The submission now becomes Part 2 of the Chapter 3.

You can delete whole chapters or even the entire novel in the same way. This will disconnect all the submissions so they'll become just regular submissions without any of the bells and whistles of the novel system. You can disconnect and reconnect submissions from your novel at will.

Please note: Deleting stories is not the same as deleting submissions in a novel. If you delete your story (so that all its text is gone) it is not disconnected from the novel.

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If you have already submitted some chapters of your novel without using the novel system and you then want to start using it, click 'Link an existing submission to this chapter' in the empty chapter.

You can now select any one of your submissions to Critique Circle, no matter into what Queue it was posted. However, you cannot select deleted submissions or submissions to a deleted Queue. Other than that, select at will and click 'Add to chapter' to continue.

You should take special note of the warning message on this page. The Title, Type, Genre and Sub Genre of the submission will be automatically changed to match the novel. If you pick the wrong story you can always disconnect it from the novel though.

Once you click 'Add to chapter' you find yourself back on the novel details page with the submission visible in the list of submissions for your first chapter.

You can add more submissions to your first chapter if you want by clicking "Submit part XXX" or "Attach existing story as Part XXX". This is especially useful if your chapters are long and in several parts. Typically you will have a single submission per chapter but if your chapters are too long to be critted at once you might want to split them up.

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Once your novel is up and running you will most likely be posting directly into the novel. This is done through the Submit Story page.

In step 2 (Story), you can now either select 'Individual Submission' or 'Chapter in a novel'. If you select the latter you will not be able to put in a title, type or genre, but you can select either to submit to an existing chapter of your novel or create a new chapter. Select either and finish submitting your story as normal.

You are free to enter author's notes for this submission if you wish, but once again it's a good idea to use novel-global author's notes instead.

Note the story title on the confirmation step. It should reflect the novel name and the chapter that you are submitting to.

Once you submit the story you can view it and see that it has the title of the novel with the chapter number, name and part as a subtitle.

If you have submitted other parts into the chapter or other chapters you will see the navigation links to the previous or next submissions.

You can click 'View all chapters' to go to the novel page.

Note that submitting into a novel costs the same as normal submissions. If you submit into a private queue however, each submission will always cost 3 credits, regardless of how many submissions you have in the queue.

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You can add characters, places or whatever structured information you wish to the novel from the Novel detail page. Click 'Add Outline' to start.

Here you can either add an existing entry from The Workshop, create a new Workshop entry or simply just write a name and a description for a quick-and-dirty entry.

You can also optionally add a chapter number which introduces the character so that this entry will not be shown for chapters preceding that one.

Let's select 'Create new workshop entry' from the drop-down to create our protagonist. Now click 'Send' to be taken to the Workshop where you can edit this entry.

You should not check 'Hide this entry' as it will then be useless to your novel. Just enter a name and choose a template.

Once you finish putting in some details (you should especially put some text into the entry's description because that will always be directly visible to your readers), you can go back to your novel and see the entry connected to the novel. You can always edit the entry in the workshop later.

It can also be a great idea not to only put your characters in here, but places, planets, cities or whatever you want to flesh out. You can create your own templates in the workshop to put your data in.

If you open up one of the submissions in your novel you will now see ' Outlines (Characters/Places)' link at the top of the story. If you click this you will see some information about the character that you just put in. This is always accessible to your readers along with the chapter synopsis from before.

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On the 'Story Queue' page you can see at a glance which submissions are a part of a novel by the blue book icon next to the story name. You can also see that even if the story name is clipped because it is too long, the chapter and part are always shown.

When you read a submission that is a part of a novel you will see a few differences from other types of submissions:

1) You are able to navigate between submissions by clicking on the gray links pointing back and forward next to the novel title. The name of the novel and the name of the chapter are also separated.

2) You can view the novel by clicking 'view all chapters' below the story title.

3) A 'Novel Information' box is right above the Author's notes. This box will contain Synopsis for previous chapters, synopsis for the current chapter and information about characters and places that the author has filled in. Clicking the links will expand the requested information in the Novel Info box.

If the information is not available the box does not contain the links.

4) Author's notes is novel-global, that is it is identical for all the submissions in the novel except for the information below "Submission notes".

You can freely navigate between the chapters of the novel as long as you are a member of the Queue in which the submission lies. If you are not a member of a Queue you will be instructed on how to become a member. This might be the case when you're reading a novel in the public Queues and the author continues the novel in his private Queue.

If the next submission is still in the 'upcoming' list you can request to be notified when it comes up for review.

You can see all the chapters a member has submitted in his novel from looking at the "Stories" page accessible from his member profile. If you select "Novel Chapters" you will see a list of all submissions that are a part of a novel, whether you are subscribed to the relevant Queue or not (providing the novel itself is not hidden).

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