What Storytime is, and how to participate
1) WHAT IS STORYTIME?
- A private, informal workshop for authors who want to improve their skills through critiques and feedback from their peers.
- A supportive community where aspiring authors can take wing.
- A fun place for people who write for the pure joy of it. No pressure, no judgement, no rejection.
Please read on for the nitty gritty of how the Storytime community works in practice.
2) OPENING HOURS & POSTING RULES
Storytime’s shop doors are open from Weds to Sunday each week.
From Weds-Sat (midnight to midnight EST), Storytime subscribers may post:
- A quickie (201-1200 words), or a short story (1201+ words), plus
- a chapter or two of an ongoing work (novel or novella)
On Sundays, you can post:
- an unlimited number of poems (length unrestricted)
- A quickie (201-1200 words)
- up to three Flashers (200 words max each), or one Triptych. A triptych is a series of three flashers telling an overall story. Each part of a triptych should have a beginning, middle and end, as flashers themselves do. However, you have the advantage of building an overall story or character development across the three segments. Think of triptychs like a three-part TV series; there may be an overall thread of a story, but each constituent part must be self-contained.
You can of course post critiques on any piece of work on any day of the week.
Labelling convention for the subject line
Please indicate Story/Quickie/Flasher/Triptych/Poem in the Subject line and then the title. E.g.:
Story – The Lion and the Nudihorn
Poem – The horn in the moonlight
This list is not just confined to erotica, by the way. If your work is meant for the ‘mainstream’, then indicate that in the subject:
Story – Mainstream – The Bottomless Cavern
And in the foreword to your story.
Any length restrictions?
We’ve found instalments of longer than 5,000 words to be rather impractical. They risk being truncated, and they’re a nightmare to scroll for those of you reading on phones or tablet devices.
If you’re posting a long-ish story (up to 12k words, say) then try to find reasonable break points to divide it into three separate chunks. You can post them all back to back. Simply label each part like this:
Story: The bottomless cavern: Part 1 of 3
Other than the type of work, title and instalment information, we don’t need any other information in the subject line.
Sharing updated versions of your work
We love to see how people’s stories change and evolve following feedback. Some people like to re-post, having taken a first round of feedback on board.
However, please wait at least a week before you post a revision to your story.
This helps the editors to spread their attention more evenly, and it also prevents a situation where someone is quietly working on a critique for your first version at the point when a second version suddenly appears.
We have one single hard-and-fast rule regarding story content, which is NOT to feature sex between minors or with a minor (under 18) for the purposes of titillation. For any other topic that may potentially squick readers (whether that’s hardcore BDSM, watersports, pseudo-incest or particularly sappy vanilla romance), it’s polite to give a quick overview and warning at the start of your story. It’s not a judgement, it’s just being polite.
Please write a foreword for your work.
This is where you say ‘hi’, give any context notes for the story you’re about to post, any content warnings (as above), and list your requests for the kind of feedback that you’re after. Please don’t just dump a story in an email and leave it at that. It’s a bit like handing someone a pile of admin to get through without instructions, conversations, pleases or thank-you’s.
3) GIVING AND RECEIVING CRITIQUES
The mechanics of critiquing
Only two requests, here:
- Please delete all extraneous writing from the piece you’re replying to. If you like providing a line-edit, pointing out all the places where you think a change could be made, then delete the parts where no comment is relevant. If you prefer to make overall remarks, then write those as a summary at the top of the mail and delete the story beneath so that we don’t end up with long and unruly threads.
- PLEASE DO NOT CHANGE THE SUBJECT LINE. This creates all sorts of havoc for subscribers whose email clients automatically sort their email into threads.
The etiquette of providing critiques
Unlike many online writing groups, we don’t have a concrete ratio of the number of crits you need to provide before posting a new story or a new update. However, Storytime thrives on a balance of support and shared encouragement. We ask that members provide feedback on at least two pieces before they post more of their own work for feedback. This helps us to sustain a virtuous circle, and prevents the burden of critiquing from falling on a small group of people. During very quiet periods, a 1:1 posting/critiquing ratio is reasonable.
Members who post several things for feedback without sharing the love (or whose critiques amount to a two-line comment each time) may find that other people’s interest in their work thins out rather rapidly. This is by no means an irretrievable position—just jump back into the fray and give what you’ve been getting.
We understand that not everyone feels equipped to provide in-depth line-editing on a story. That’s perfectly okay. The most important thing is to provide the kind of critique that you would like to receive. So, if you want to know the best parts of your work as well as the parts that need more attention, then give others the benefit of that kind of overview, too.
If you’ve provided a critique and not received an acknowledgement after a week or so, it’s absolutely fine to re-post it. That’s not being pushy. It’s reasonable, and takes account of the fact that things get lost in cyberspace and sometimes deleted accidentally.
Here is a really good guide to critiquing, if you’re not sure where to start:
Etiquette on receiving crits
It’s fine (and in fact encouraged) to respond to people individually on-list.
Please acknowledge your feedback promptly. It’s best not to wait for a week and then respond to everyone all at once. In other words, don’t post and then go on holiday 😉 It’s rather disheartening to spend a long time giving feedback, only to hear crickets for the next couple of weeks.
Sometimes feedback can make you feel like someone’s just kicked your baby. We all have moments like that. But just keep it in mind that an hour spent reading a piece and critting is an hour of personal time someone’s not spent on their own writing. It’s a friendly list: people really do mean well.
Sometimes critiques can give rise to discussion on broader topics (such as the use of Oxford Comma). If or when you want to open up a question to a broader audience, and it doesn’t specifically concern the piece you’re working on, then by all means ask your questions over on the Writers’ list.
4) HOW TO SUBSCRIBE?
Simply enter your email below and the name you want to be known by. Then Submit. It’s that simple. Please do NOT select the digest version. For a list as busy as Storytime, it’s virtually impossible to respond to threads clearly, or for other people to reply in a way that makes it possible for you to find their responses!
You should receive an automated welcome email, and then after that, you can post your stories to email@example.com
Please say hello first and introduce yourself; just dropping a story into our laps without so much of a how’s-yer-father is a bit like turning up to dinner and putting your feet up on the table.
Two little rules:
- No attachments
- Copy and paste your story into the body of the email. Don’t link us to another document.
5) THE GALLERY
Many of the stories shared during Storytime are featured in the Erotica Gallery on ERWA website. ERWA editors ask authors privately (off-list) for permission to feature their work in the gallery for a month.
Please Note: Because stories are featured in the gallery for a limited time, editors/publishers generally don’t consider ERWA gallery stories as previously published material. However, editors/publishers of ‘Best Of’ anthologies do consider gallery stories as published material. It also depends on the call for submission. If the call emphatically states no previously published works, your best bet is to submit the story, and state that it did run in ERWA’s gallery. State the month and year, and explain that ERWA takes no rights, and doesn’t require previous publication citation.
6) WHO’S LOOKING AFTER THE LIST?
Every list needs its caretakers and sheriffs. The current line-up is:
Sam Thorne (Editor in Chief)
Belinda LaPage (Editor)
Delores Swallows (Editor)
Ian Smith (Flasher Editor)
Iris Perkins (Poetry Editor)
If you’re having subscription issues (want to change your email address, etc) then contact firstname.lastname@example.org.