ALL manuscripts are submitted to the group in Standard Manuscript Format: use ONLY "Courier" font in 12 point, with one-inch margins, ragged-right edge, underline words to show italics, et cetera. William Shunn has an excellent webpage showing exactly what SMF looks like (Standard Manuscript Format). Give it a thorough read before you submit your work to the group for the first time. Yes, this is a test. In the real world, professional markets have submission guidelines, and some of them are rather unusual; failure to follow the guidelines is one of the reasons stories get tossed into the rejection pile unread. So yes, we have our own guidelines that we expect you to follow. They are based on the same guidelines that 95% of the markets out there use, and as a result, leaning them now is something that will help you become more professional in this career field.
Our operating procedure is simple. Manuscripts are distributed to group members, in one of two ways. Copies of the manuscripts may distributed at one meeting and critiqued at the next, or (preferably) may be uploaded to our passworded yahoogroup site (WorD-Pgh) for other members to read and print out. A typical meeting starts with a short session of writing-related Show and Tell, then old business. The word count determines the order of the manuscript critiques--the longest piece goes first. We take turns in a circle giving oral critiques, beginning with the person to the right of the author, while the author listens to the critiquer. When everyone is done, we all hand the author the written critiques. Some people do line edits, others give market suggestions. We manage to get through two or three manuscripts per meeting, which currently coincides with our output. It can be very hard to hear comments about a story you've sweated blood over--we understand that. We are strictly pledged to honesty, without resorting to insults or abusive language.
The WorD group has very few guidelines. Some of the ones we've established are:
For more information on critiquing, look at How to Critique Fiction by Victoria Crayne.
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