Re: Newbie Stories.
Firstly, what constitutes ‘shredding a story’ is very, very subjective. Some writers can take direct criticism, some become discouraged if they receive one not-too-encouraging post.
Secondly, most of the critiquing going on here is actually pretty soft already. If a new writer posts, even if the story is atrocious, most of us will hold back on negative comments and try to give some suggestions for improvement. We only unleash the fury, so to speak, if the same poster does not show any improvements or changes in subsequent posts.
It’s not about what writers can “take,” it’s about what you say. There are ways to politely give criticism without coddling.
“This story is really terrible” can be “This story needs some serious work.” Ten times less offensive. Unfortunately, there ARE situations on the board members stories forum where people do flat out say it’s a terrible story (I’m honestly not sure how you can miss them). Because of the occasional lack of niceties and politeness, I thought of a newbie story forum. The former forum you could say what you want and just exactly how you want it, without having to be politically correct and the newbie forum you’d have to be a little more lenient. It would give writers a sense of security in that they could ‘practice’ in the newbie forum for a couple of stories, or even just a few chapters, and then move onto the regular forum where people will likely be far more direct albeit harsher in their views.
Here’s an example, lets say you find a story that’s a paragraph or two long, is grammatically fucked, has no setting, character exposition, hell not even a name. All it’s about is a girl who wakes up in a wet bed and gets caught by her mother, who proceeds to diaper her, baby her and humiliate her with little reason. How many people would take that story seriously? How many people would offer up some actual worthwhile advice to help that writer?
Depending on how many responses there are, if you try to, you’d likely be the only one. That’s a problem. Now I remember one instance there was a story like that, in chapter one I decided to try and give reasonable and sound advice, and chapter two came out and it was just as terrible, proving he had no intention of actually trying or even listening to us. Yes at that point it went down in flames, but the FIRST chapter could have been handled better.
I understand why it wasn’t and a part of me even agrees that it wasn’t going to get a positive reception to begin with, but that is precisely why I’m suggesting a newbie forum. It’s not to coddle members or force people to give a positive reception, it’s to help new writers learn to write better if they actually have an interest in continuing.
Thirdly, if, as Jaks said, the writer is indeed trying, most of us will - and do - recognise that and will moderate our posts accordingly. I don’t think they need to post stories in a special story board just to get a non-critical review.
Much like your first point, what constitutes “actually trying” is also very subjective.