Reading, Writing & Critiquing

I've stopped writing for Digital Journal. It wasn't just that I was getting paid less than a cent per click. It wasn't just that the stories which got the most clicks were about nothing important - fad diets anyone? How about rants based on watching TV? The real boot to the head was their best article contest with a prize of $100.00. Isn't any well-researched freelance article worth more than that in the print world? I have no problem writing for on-line publications like Digital Journal for free, but to offer rates this low is more insulting than no money at all. When they chose to award a prize of only $100.00 for the best investigative article, internationally, in an entire month, it convinced me they didn't respect their journalists. I think I'll pass on for DJ for now.

I've also practically stopped blogging. What I am doing is writing and critiquing. I currently belong to two critique groups. One is live in Toronto and one is on-line.

Bloor West Writers is in Toronto. It's a very small, well-adjusted, invitation-only group of writers. I've never been a member of a more helpful writer's circle. They'll read any genre but poetry or schlock. I've even got them to help me critique one of my school musicals. (If you've ever tried to direct an original play without doing a table reading and getting some feedback, don't. Until you've heard people trying to pronounce your words, you don't know which lines the actors will stumble over.)

Bloor West keeps me busy. I read and critique three pieces a week for them, sometimes up to 25 pages per piece. There is a balance between stories and ongoing novels-in-progress which I like as well. The best thing about Bloor West is the camaraderie. These people are adults, serious about writing but also well-balanced. They have jobs, families, life experience. They turn that experience into everything from chick lit to satire, from fantasy to literary novels and short stories. I never get bored reading their material and I feel pretty lucky to see them each week.

The online group I belong to is a closed LiveJournal community which grew out of WorldCon 2009, Montreal. There were so many people that signed up for critiques in Montreal, that Oz D. set up an online workshop to help us keep in touch. WorldCon this year is going to be in Australia so I won't be going. It's a good thing I signed up for a critique circle in Montreal.

The Anticipation Workshop is divided into three groups: writers of short SF fiction, writers of short Fantasy fiction, and the branch I belong to, Novel writers of SF and Fantasy. This group is a fabulous opportunity for me to get feedback from a diverse set of writers, most of whom are American. My latest story, which I am writing for the PARSEC contest, is set in Florida. I'm hoping my buddies at Anticipation can put me straight as to American spelling and Florida culture.

Have a good long weekend everyone and Happy Easter.

Next weekend is Ad Astra for those of you interested in an SF convention in Toronto, Ontario. Check out the details here. It was my very first SF convention last year. Interesting, low-key, fun. Check it out if you're in the neighborhood.

Hope you find time for some reading,