Writers: Ever use an online paid critique service?

I dabble in short fiction writing, but I’m concerned that I’m not getting enough constructive feedback from the people that I show my stories to. The only people I can directly show them to are my parents, who are biased, my friends, who are also biased, and an eclectic mix of friends and relative strangers at a local writing club, who may or may not be biased but are definitely too nice to say anything particularly critical. Everyone I show my stories to says they’re great. Balance of probability dictates that someone is probably lying. I recently stumbled on an online paid critique service. You pay them a nominal fee ($4.00 or thereabouts) And they give you unbiased feedback on your story. I was wondering if any other writers had used such services and, if so, whether or not they are worth the money…

Thanks in advance.

P.S. - If you want to check out my stuff, you can find it on www.mugwin.co.uk I generally only write horror, Sci-fi, and fantasy. Unfortunately, I have literally only just put the page up and the cheapo free web editor I’m using has conked out on me and only two stories’Rain Blush’ and ‘Small Treasures’ are actually up at the moment. Also, I can’t get the comments boxes working. Completely defeats the point of the entire website, but never mind

This is just an opinion…but why pay? You can nearly always find someone who is willing to read your stuff for free. Their opinion will likely be as good as a paid critiquer’s opinion.

There really are only two possibilities: if your stuff is good enough, people should pay you to read it. If your stuff isn’t good enough, you shouldn’t have to pay someone to tell you so.

There are lots of us here on the SDMB who will happily read some of your stuff – a representative chapter, or a short story – for nothing, and give you a pretty good opinion. At least give us a try!

(PM me!)

FWIW, I read “Small Treasures” on the web site you linked, and enjoyed it. Fun characterization, a nasty “horror” ending, nothing leaped out at me (so to speak!) to say you needed anything. You’ve got dialogue and dialect – Renwick is a real piece of work! – and your narrative description is fine. I don’t sense any need in you for a reader: you really just need to keep writing, keep submitting, keep on keeping on!

(And, there, I’ve given you $50 worth of advice for nothin’!) :slight_smile:

Try critters. You just named their three big genres, you’ll learn to give as well as get critiques, and learn a lot. Oh, and it’s totally free.

Another vote for critters. It’s not perfect, but few groups are,* and they can be very useful to anyone who needs the critiquing.

*I founded one about 35 years ago. It was small, with about 10-12 members. Three eventually had novels published by mainstream publishing houses.

Thanks for the tip guys. I’ve signed up to Critters and my first story will go live, so to speak, in about two weeks. In the mean time I’ll put another one up here and see what people think.

P.S. - Glad you liked ‘Small Treasures’ Trinopus! Thanks for your advice.

Good luck! I’ve gotten some great feedback from critters as well. In fact one of my stories from Nanowrimo this year is ‘live’ at the moment.