The concept is a bit scary, especially if you are “going first” on a new website.
Another potential issue is that many publications require that pieces have not been previously published (including online), so a workshopping area will work best if it’s “members only” and can’t be indexed by a search engine.
If it’s in a semi-private area, I’d consider using it if I had a story that I wanted early feedback on.
I’d also consider participating in giving other people feedback. I think it will work best if each piece clearly explains what kind of feedback the writer is seeking. For example, if it’s an early draft they may not care about slight technical edits and are more seeking advice on whether an ending works, or whether the characters are convincing, etc.
I think you’re right. Going first would be a factor. I actually think all our authors so far have been really brave to submit work to something they hadn’t yet seen.
The issue of things being published and then un-publishable in the future is one I have given a lot of thought to. Cate Kennedy used the term ‘dead in the water’ to describe this situation. I came to the conclusion that if something was workshopped it would be different from published, and therefore could still be published when it’s finished.
But I really like your idea of a members only workshopping space that isn’t open for public view. That’s a really good solution. I will look into if that’s an option for us.
Thanks for your thoughts and for being part of us!
I think literary magazines need to evolve their rules around publishing content first. With so many writers writing blogs or experimenting with words online, publishers need to move with the times. If something is good and readers like it, who cares if it’s been published somewhere else?
The Conversation has an interesting model. They have a ‘creative commons’ license so anyone can publish their articles. We have one on here by John Dale, for eg.
It’s the ‘sharing’ model that social entrepreneurs like Rachel Botsman talk about. We don’t need to ‘own’ things anymore, the internet means we can ‘share’ resources.