Peer Review 2.0

Saturday, December 13, 2008
I admit that I'm not like a lot of you out there. Writing is an avocation or hobby of sorts for me as I still continue to wait on full-time job applications. That said, however, I'm always looking for as many learning experiences and conversations with other writers as possible.

This week, another WOW'er introduced me to FanStory ( We all know I am a fan of worldwide collaboration on LinkedIn from a previous post. However, LinkedIn is more of a networking site. My colleague this time around got me into contest mode. While I am of the lucky duck variety with contests, I suspected this would be another vacuum so to speak, where I'd push submit and not hear much back. However, I quickly found my way around, and was both inspired and impressed.

Consequently, I am getting read and getting the feedback I most desire, and much more rapidly and with a more thoroughness than any of the contests I have had experience. In a website where you can choose to reserve a spot in a competition which intrigues you, and when you can “buy” your way up the rankings list for a short amount of time to get more reviewers reading your entries, I have to admit, I have learned more this week about myself and about writing than anything I have tried so far.

In fact, I believe that I made my way into Peer Review 2.0 as I'll call it and duly acknowledge the writings of Thomas L. Friedman who talks about globalization with similar numbers in The Lexus and the Olive Tree and The World Is Flat. Peer review 2.0 is this idea that not only am I submitting my entries electronically and receiving instantaneous feedback, but I'm also being introduced to both a contest forum and a marketplace of ideas, craft secrets, and other works - benefitting the author and the reviewer, as well as future audiences with a leveling effect where celebrities, wealthy writers, and just thoroughly talented individuals all have tools at their disposal; even if you buy your way up, it is only short-term; you can get the same number of reviewers if you have talent and if you put in some elbow grease writing a lot of reviews to get your name out there.

What is most enjoyable about Peer Review 2.0 is that you can reward your reviewers! I've seen this happen time and again as I proffer suggestions, and I reciprocate when I feel the reviewer just added to my toolkit with some insight.

In a true spirit of a contest, for once, there is a way for this road to be crossed both ways in the fullest extent. Not only does the writer/reader, author/reviewer get to interact and continually revise, brainstorm, shoot off ideas, and have a better work out of it, but no stone is left unturned. The Internet has, in my opinion, added another global destination to the writing contest with a site such as this.

So, thanks again for introducing me further into the writing world and global community. Now, if only I could manage to not spend so much of my time on FanStory...but I look it this way, then I get to learn more of the dynamics of the competitive writing world and learn about what I need to improve my skill set. Feel free to join me and I hope you all learn as much and enjoy yourself as much as I have!

Friedman, Thomas L. The Lexus and the Olive Tree. New York: Random House, Inc.-Anchor Books, 2000.

Friedman, Thomas L. The World Is Flat. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2005.


Angela Mackintosh said...

Hi Alison,

Thank you for your honest review! I'm glad you are finding the site useful.

Back when I was focusing on my fiction I received a lot of great feedback from Fanstory members. It's great to get comments right away, and make new friends.

I know some writers may be deterred because of the monthly fee, but here's how I looked at it. Most contests cost something to enter and you don't receive feedback. If you take a look at our Fall contest, it cost $10 to enter with no feedback, $20 for a critique from one person. I think the $6.95 or whatever it is a month is reasonable. You can receive feedback from multiple members and post multiple stories, as opposed to only one story in normal contests.

I like that the content is hidden from the public as well. Some sites (not naming names) publish stories for the world to see and get feedback, but that means it's published forever.

They also take your content down after some time so it's unavailable. I just logged in the other day after not visiting for 3 years (too busy w/ WOW!) and my stories were disabled, which was good, but I could look them up and re-read all the feedback I'd received. It was like a trip down memory lane! There were some great comments there and each of them were helpful.

Thanks for posting this!



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