The Rules

Revised January 2016

OWWW is a fun and lively place to be, and you will be astonished at the depth of feedback you’ll get. It comes from asking for, and getting, a high standard for critiques (crits). We are a community with many members of years’ standing, and many of our members are published who were not before they came here. Come on in and get to know us. Either introduce yourself, or just begin with your first crit!

I. Submitting and Critiquing

  • Do four Crits before subbing anything of your own.  (Think of it as an initiation ritual, but without the hazing.)
  • Crit roughly twice as much as you sub.
    * In other words, your max number of submissions is: (Crits / 2) – 1
    * Short stories of any length are worth one crit.
    * Longer pieces (20k words and up), every 10k words counts as a crit. (So a 75k novel would be worth 8 crits.)
  • Participate (crit OR sub) at least twice a month to remain a member in good standing.
  • Participation is averaged over 2 months.
    * If you crit that 75k novel, that’s 8 points and will suffice for 4 months.
    * If you fall behind, just catch up next month.
  • Failure to participate at all within the first 2 months will result in your getting booted.  It’s nothing personal, but we’re looking for active participants, not lurkers.
  • Leave subs up for at least 30 days to give people a chance to respond. We suggest getting 3-6 crits so you have a range of opinions.
  • Subs should be uploaded to the Files area of this website. Please place subs in the appropriate folder depending on what they are (e.g., novels go in “Novels for Crit”). If you’re not sure where it goes, ask the list.
  • You may upload in any common document format: .txt, .rtf, .doc. However, if you want to get the most crits, it may help to use the most universal formats (.rtf best, followed by .doc). This does NOT include Open Office, which is much less universal than Word.
  • If you’re submitting a novel, do not submit individual chapters!
    * If you’re not ready to sub the entire book, you can do a “Synopsis & 3 Chapters” (S&3) or “Work in progress” (WIP).  WIPs must be a minimum of 25k words, so that critters can get a good idea of the story.
    * As with novel crits, novel subs also count as one participation point per 10k words. Therefore, if you sub a novel or novella, to maintain your sub/crit ratio you will need to critique a similar long work or several short stories.
  • Revised pieces count as new submissions.
  • When your piece gets critted, it’s polite to provide a “thanks” message so the critter knows you read it. This can be a simple acknowledgment or a discussion; public (on the list) or private.
  • When you no longer want crits on a piece, delete it from the Files area and post a “Stopcrit” message.

OWWW has high standards for what makes a good crit. It’s more work, but you will appreciate it enormously when your work gets the detailed feedback!

See the “HowToCrit” document for guidelines on how to write awesome crits that will help your fellow writers and count toward your total.

II. Posting

  • Sign all posts with your first and last name. No email handles, no pseudonyms.
  • Be friendly! Workshopping is not a competitive process; we’re all here to learn from each other.
  • All messages should use one of the following tags in the subject line. (If you hit “reply”, please delete the Re: and begin the subject header with the appropriate tag.)

CRIT: Critique
SUB: Submission
STOPCRIT: Notify everyone that you’re taking down a piece
WAHOO: Announce a publication or other good news
ADMIN: Watch for admin announcements with this. Don’t use it yourself.
REF: Reference hunt: looking for information or help
DISC: General discussion. If you’re not sure, it’s this
SHORTCRIT: If an admin relabels your crit with this tag, it wasn’t thorough enough to count for participation credit. You can also post a SHORTCRIT yourself if you just want to say something briefly about a SUB.