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I have already typed at least 6-7 chapters of this book I've been focused on, but what I want to ask is, is it wise to post what I have so far online for feedback? Or am I just setting myself up for someone to potentially come across my work and steal it for themselves, and if/when my book is complete and published, would you or others already be too familiar with how the book will turn out and not bother with it?

Also, my book, which I have two sequels in mind for (those are for another time), will have supernatural beings in it, but no vampiric creatures of any kind (they will be non-existent in my book/series' universe, but will include three species of werewolves in the overall series I have in mind (two separate, the former called Rougarou or Roug for short, and Dire Hounds for the latter and one hybrid of the two which I plan on naming "Lybrid"). The first book will be mostly "grounded" but will be "peppered" with "unexplained occurrences" (how much I'm not sure yet) throughout. Oh! And my main character will be mute and communicate primarily in American Sign Language (though to be honest I have no idea how to portray it in the book, as I am writing using Third Person Multiple POV), while also suffering from a degree of amnesia (for how long I have not decided just yet, but probably until the end of this sequel idea).

I have never posted any of my work online before, let alone for advice/feedback, so should I do it? Or am I just being overly cautious?

I'm thinking about not including a prologue. Is that a good idea? Bad idea? Or is it down to personal preference?

  • unrelated to the Q, about names "Rougarou" is too close to the french Loupgarou, "Lybrid" evoques Lycanthropy(also werewolfs are already human-wolf hybrids, so they would be hybrids of hybrids, or di-breeds)..., and no one would take "Dire Hounds" for werewolves,, you may as well say that german sheperds are werewolves. – Reed Jun 7 '15 at 3:30
  • Thank you for the feedback! About the names, I'm still stuck on the names for the breeds, I originally had them as Loup-garou, Lykans (short for Lykanthrope) and Lybrid because of the fact they were hybrid manifestation of the two, but I felt like wanting to change up the name a bit. Would explaining what my ideas are for what each species would look like, make a difference? – Nicole B. Jun 8 '15 at 4:18
  • i prefer Lykans, and if you go with the Rougarou, maybe a lyrou or a lygarou or simply "the Breed". However, names are not that important in this stage of the story development, you can later use the "find and replace" tool to change them all. – Reed Jun 9 '15 at 2:34
  • Another comment I initially wanted to make is that your concept seems to be very undefined and vague. For me, as a plotter, I need the whole structure, each plot points and most of the scenes to be fully outlined before I even start writing the manuscript. Yet, that is not the only way, and if you are more into character driven stories, then a vague start may be alright. Yet, it may still be better to develop a stronger structure before submitting the chapters… – Reed Jun 9 '15 at 3:10
  • @ Reed You're right about the names not being important in this stage. About my concept, for the 1st book I was thinking of keeping it mostly grounded in that this kid is found mute, unconscious in a lake (in WA), by a family of five (who have fraternal twin daughters). When he finally wakes up it is discovered that not only is he mute, but is fluent enough in ASL to make up for it and suffering from amnesia..... – Nicole B. Jun 9 '15 at 18:31
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I think posting a work in progress online for feedback is enormously dangerous.

Not because people will steal it. They almost certainly won't.

Not because those readers will refrain from buying the book when it's published. Those readers might refrain from buying it, but the number of people would would have bought your book otherwise is a vanishingly small fraction of your potential audience.

Posting a work in progress online for feedback is dangerous because the feedback will influence you.

Here are some things that are generally true:

  • The people who give feedback online have no better idea than you do about what makes a good book.
  • The people who give feedback online have no idea how to give useful feedback.
  • You will get feedback from people who would not have bought your book if they saw it at some retailer. They are not your audience.
  • Most of the feedback you can get online is from writers. And not only writers, but unsuccessful writers spouting fallacious rules about stories and how to write them.

You will find some people for whom those things are not true. But most of the feedback you get will be worthless.

If there is any chance that you will take the feedback of anonymous strangers to heart, you are setting yourself up for trouble. And if there is no chance that you will take it to heart, there's no point seeking it.

My recommendation: Finish the novel. The worst that can happen is that you get lots of practice writing the middle and end of a book.

Then get feedback from a few readers who typically enjoy the kind of book you wrote.

5

I've been posting my stuff online for years.

Some things I've noticed:

  • Your idea isn't as awesome as you think, so people aren't likely to steal it.
  • Maybe your idea is awesome, but people can't see it (someone once told me that some people can't recognize a good story even if it bites them in the butt).
  • Yes, your idea is awesome, but people know that it's yours and they rather come up with something original themselves (or else they will be afraid to get caught).

The advantages on the other hand are way more. You get to improve not only the grammar of your novel but the plot, pacing, characterization, descriptions, and things that you would have never spotted yourself.

So my advice is. Go on. Post it.

  • Thank you, thank you for the feedback! I just hope my ideas are/will be original enough though because sometime I worry if it may not.. You know, like you think you have a great idea, but then you realize/think it is not as good as you think it might be. Agh! There I go again with beginning to have doubts on my own creativity again. Nevermind about that. – Nicole B. Jun 8 '15 at 4:18
  • *Different note: Do you think the whole supernatural trend with books/films/tv shows is "over"? If so, do you think it will make a comback? @ Alexander Chen I've noticed that there was the supernatural trend (e.g. vampires, werewolves, zombies), then there was that year that felt had nothing but sequels and now the most recent one I think is the "post-apocalyptic, technologically-advanced/superior dystopia with a controlling government which only the protagonist....... – Nicole B. Jun 8 '15 at 4:38
  • .....who happens to be a teenaged girl/boy is the only one who can lead the revolution to change their society's ways, a la Hunger Games, The Giver, Divergent, The Maze Runner etc..? – Nicole B. Jun 8 '15 at 4:39
  • @Nicole B. Well, I don't think it's over. But I'm not a fan myself, so I have no idea. I think there are other people here who know more. (By the way, to know if an idea is good or original you have to wait some time. If you're still in love with your idea after a few months or a year, it's probably good. If you just can't give up the idea even though you wrote ten crappy chapter, then it's probably good. And then of course, online feedback. If people say it's original and unique, then maybe it is.) – Alexandro Chen Jun 8 '15 at 8:52
  • – @ Alexandro Chen comment is so true, for instance a year ago I had an idea which was so "genius" that I was trembling with excitement. Six month later I realized that the original concept was shit and I came up with a great alternative. Now, I realize that my 6-month old concept was naïve, and feverishly developed another take on the same idea. Now I think it is the final version; but who knows, maybe in a couple of months it will seem weak. What I know for sure is that it is now much better than the manure it grew from. So sometimes, it is best to let the stories grow and mature inside. – Reed Jun 9 '15 at 2:50
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M-O-O-N that spells Tom Cullen.

I recommend against posting chapters until after at least a full first draft is written. For the simple reason that you are less likely to finish the book if you get premature feedback on a few early chapters. That feedback will start focusing your effort on work already completed instead of the job at hand.

Writing is rewriting. But it demands writing first.

Regarding prologue: As a reader, I HATE prologue. I often feel obligated to read it to avoid missing some nuget of info that will deepen my appreciation of the rest of the book. Unfortunately, that nugget often exists. That means I keep reading prologues. Writers keep writing them. But I end up reading the first couple chapters pissed off because the author abused me by forcing me to watch his mental masturbation. Don't do prologue.

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As a sci-fi, fantasy writer you are lucky to be in the minority of writers that are supported by other aficionados and even sometimes by published authors mentorship.

So, I think the potential gain far outweighs the risks.

Also, there is an automatic copyright , you can always prove ownership with your original computer files.

  • Thank you for your feedback! You've raised a good point that I didn't think of, so thank you again. – Nicole B. Jun 8 '15 at 4:18
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Maybe before posting it online where you have limited control over who accesses and/or shares it, give it to individuals or contained groups - [maybe a book reading group] for comment. At an individual level these people are more likely to provide considered comment/opinion because you have engaged with them directly and there is potential of ongoing consultation. A meaningful discourse that can be acknowledged when publishing.

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I don't know whether this is considered self-promotion or not: if you try www.YouShelf.com, you can find a place to publish your novels chapter by chapter as you create. Readers will also pay by chapters (or by thousand words) as they are drawn into your story. Author will be able to set from which chapters the story will be paid, and at what price. Usually we encourage authors to set a friendly price of $0.03-0.05 per thousand words, but it is totally up to you. We are at Twitter(twitter.com/youshelf) & Facebook(facebook.com/youshelf) too. I am an author support team member at YouShelf - a San Francisco Bay Area startup. Currently we pay out 100% of the net revenue back to author, mailing out monthly royalty check when exceeding US$100. Sorry for the ad like response, but this might be a good fit for what you ask. Readers not only give your story their feedbacks, but they also vote with their dollars :) If you and others like the idea, please tell your writer friends as well.

  • 1
    Welcome to Writers. (Relevant) self-promotion is permitted if disclosed; you've disclosed your relationship to the service, so that's fine. You've indirectly answered the question about whether it's a good or bad idea (by raising the payment), but your answer would be stronger if you were to edit to address the concerns Nicole raised in the question -- does publishing online for feedback now affect the ability to publish (or attract readers) later? Thanks. – Monica Cellio Nov 23 '15 at 16:01
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Posting online for comments is a great idea, if it's in the right place. Getting feedback from people experienced in writing and editing is almost always helpful.

I recommend posting at Critique Circle. You can post your ideas and/or chapters and get multiple critiques (at least 3, usually more) back. It helps to give people an idea of what your primary concerns are, but what you get back is usually pretty awesome, ranging from substantive / structural suggestions to full-blown line edits you'd normally pay for.

The best part, it's basically free. You do have to review other people's work in to earn review credits, but even that isn't bad as you can stick to your genre.

  • Are you affiliated with Critique Circle? (It's fine if you are, but if that's the case we do require you to disclose that fact.) Thanks! – Monica Cellio Nov 22 '15 at 1:57
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Possibly, maybe 1 or 2 chapters. However, be warned. The critique online isn't the best by far. In fact, it's usually the opposite.

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