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Free Writing Critiques

Quick links on this page:

free writing critique list - professional critiques - rana's biography

Constructive criticism can help you become a better writer. Your family and friends might read your stories and help out, but they're not writers. Their feedback is going to be limited as they're unlikely to be experienced in fiction writing.

So, if you're a beginner, how do you gain helpful writing feedback and good advice without shelling out loads of money for a professional critique service you're not yet ready for?

Simples (please accept my apologies - I can't quite believe I'm quoting a meerkat in a blog post... I must be overtired). You can seek help from a respected writing community offering encouraging free writing feedback.

Happy Sad Smileys

I was recently contacted by one of my readers, Rana Tarakji. She suggested that a list of free fiction critiquing opportunities would be a good resource to build. I agreed.

When Rana was researching critiquing services, she came across a number of websites that offer free writing feedback, so she very kindly put a list together for me. You can see the list below - it details some of the best online services available.

After the free writing feedback list, you will find details of professional critique services. These are useful when you have developed your writing and are in need of help from someone with detailed knowledge and direct industry experience.

After that, you will find Rana's biography, as this was her brain child.

If you know of / use / run a website that offers writing feedback or critiquing services, please contact me and I will add the details to the lists below.

Free Writing Feedback

Here are some of the best websites and online writing communities that allow writers to gain writing advice, tips and feedback on their stories free of charge. Websites are listed alphabetically.


1. ABCtales

At the time of writing, ABCtales hosts over 100,000 short stories written by nearly 20,000 authors. Their forums allow writers to share their work with an active community of writers who give feedback and constructive criticism.

In 2016, it looked like ABCTales might close. The writing community were hoping Tony Cook (who runs it) could find someone to either help out with costs, or take it over. While the 'ABC will Tales close' message still exists, the blog is up to date and there are regular new postings (this written in 2018 (and checked again in 2019)) so it looks like the site is still running. I'll leave this listing live until I hear otherwise.

It's worth noting that stories published on ABCTales are made public, so by using the site you might be giving away first publication rights to any stories you post.

2. Bookrix

Bookrix is a self-publishing platform that allows you to engage with community members and promote your work. They help you with publishing and distribution via Amazon and other major online retailers.

3. British Science Fiction Association

There are currently 7 groups, called Orbits, looking at short story or novel length stories. They are all online, usually by simple email, and focus on SF, fantasy or horror. Members of the BSFA enjoy free entry to one or both groups which are small and have been successful for many years now. The original Orbits were actually postal.

The normal ‘round’ is bimonthly, with a maximum submission of 15,000 words.

The aim is to improve writing skills so while all members are polite, and invariably very friendly, the feedback aims at professional standards. Members range from complete beginners to multi-published, and live in quite a surprising number of countries, so being a Brit is not a requirement.

Please note, you do have to be a BSFA member to take part, but their membership costs are very reasonable.

4. Critique Circle

Based in Iceland, Critique Circle is an award winning website that has been running since 2003. At the time of writing they have posted almost 120,000 stories which have received over 550,000 critiques. They offer active forums and a great community.

Here is a comment from one of my website users, Alex Guerriero, about his experiences with this website:

I have tried Critique Circle and I found it very helpful. Reading somebody else's work makes you more aware of your own mistakes.

5. DeviantArt

A website that is primarily aimed at artists, but is also aimed at any form of art, including fiction writing. DeviantArt has been running since August 2000 and has over 38 million members.

6. Indie Novella

Indie Novella are a non-profit cooperative. Their team comprises authors, writers and illustrators who hold MAs in literature and publishing. They have worked and studied with publishing houses such as Curtis Brown and Faber.

You can submit the opening 10,000 words of your novel / novella to them and they will provide feedback. If they like your story, they may request your full manuscript to read.

7. Inkitt

Inkitt offer publishing advice, free writing competitions and encourage kind and constructive feedback from community members. Their content is curated, but they boast a 24 hour turnaround time for any submission.

They employ a strategy to get authors to the top of Amazon best seller lists. You can learn more about that on their website.

There are 2 case studies about Inkitt on my blog. The first is by HR Kemp and the second is by Simone Elise.


Mibba is a creative writing website with a growing audience. It was developed for writers to share their stories, poems, blogs and books and then gain feedback from community members.

9. Pen Factor

A platform that is passionate about giving emerging writers more encouragement and feedback. To participate, you have to give feedback to other writers before receiving feedback on your own stories.

10. Reddit

This was recommended by Chris Nelson, one of my website users. He said:

Reddit's r/Writing subreddit has a weekly 'critique' thread with the week's current submittals out for review and comment.

It looks quite active, so it well worth checking out.

11. Scribophile

Aimed at writers of all skill levels, Scribophile encourages members to share their experiences and give respectful feedback in their friendly community forums. At the time of writing they have served almost 650,000 critiques for almost 110,000 submitted works, so it's a highly active community.

American author, Rebecca Henderson, has written about her experiences of using Scribophile for my website. In her post, she shows how she used the critiques she received from Scribophile users to improve her short story 'The Keymaster'. She then submitted her story to BLYNKT - they accepted the story and published it.

You can read Rebecca's story and case study here.

A note from Poornanand Goswami, one of my website users, about Scribophile:

I personally checked out each site listed on this page and I found Scribophile to be the best. Let me tell you how this works. You've got to critique at least 4 works to earn karma points. Your critique should be at least 125 words. If you spend 5 karma points, your work is placed in the 'spotlight'. 1 story will gainat least 8 critiques, some short, some long. The longer the critique, greater the credit.

Scrib is good and free, but only let's you post 2 works at a time. I'll have to wait for at least 30 days for everyone to critique my work. Then I'll delete them and post another story.

12. Story Write and All Poetry

Story Write and All Poetry were suggested for inclusion on this page by writer Seay Donovan, who has been using the platforms for 20 years. Shay said:

The community is wonderfully kind and attentive, and made up of everyone from amateurs to published authors from all over the world. They offer free courses, contests, and author pages for posting to gain feedback. They provide paid memberships as well for writers who want to add art to their words or wish to post more and comment less. Author’s maintain full rights to their work on these sites.

13. Taylz

Peer review system aimed specifically at short stories, giving objective feedback via an online community.

This website was recommended for the lists by Dianne Bown-Wilson, one of my website users. Dianne has used the site and found it very helpful and learnt lots from it. For more information, see Dianne's notes in the comments at the bottom of the page.

A note from Poornanand Goswami, one of my website users, about Taylz:

I'd say Taylz is a good option, but the style of critique is not as good as Scribophile. The options are limited. It asks various questions regarding the story. It doesn't let you choose what work you'd like to review.

A response from Taylz founder, Jonathan. He contacted me after one of his users saw Poornanand's comments and felt that Taylz was being done a bit of a disservice, as Poornanand seemed to have missed the point of the website.

Taylz was designed for writers, not readers. It is indeed not in the style of other sites and, yes, the options are limited, but this is by design. The stories are allocated randomly and reviewed anonymously, so that there is no way to ‘game’ the system (back-scratching is very common on sites that allow users to choose the stories they review), and I maintain that it thus provides the most honest, frank reviews on the web. We are working hard to add more functions to Taylz, on a limited budget, but for the time being are focussing on delivering useful reviews, rather than the bells and whistles that other sites provide.

We want Taylz to be the place that serious writers choose.

Jonathan also shared the email exchange he had with Poornanand with me. His responses were polite, professional and explained everything very clearly.

Another note, from user Jack Effron:

A good British site! They are the only free site that has some good discipline (you must critique what they give you, no mucking about and you can complain about unfair critiques).

The administrator of Taylz is good, with a great vision, but his site has problems which I run to him with daily. He does sort them, though, patiently and supportively.

14. The Phare

The Phare is magazine that also offers a community forum where members can support other writers by offering feedback, advice and guidance. Members also have access to extras such as online workshops and events.

15. WritersCafe.org

A community offering proofreading, constructive criticism and general advice and feedback on both fiction and non-fiction writing.

16. YouWriteOn

Another site suggested by Dianne Bown-Wilson, who has used the site and found it really useful. Again, her notes can be seen in the comments section at the bottom of the page.

YouWriteOn is associated with FeedARead. Every 4 months, the authors who sell the most books on FeedARead receive feedback from publishers of authors like Dan Brown, Terry Pratchett and Ian Rankin.

A note from Jack Effron, one of my website users, about YouWriteOn:

YouWriteOn is still good but seems to have a small base of participants and some trouble getting stories critiqued. They also get bulk spammed in the forums which can be annoying.

A note from Pete Pitman, in July 2020:

Hi Chris, I've been trying to get into YouWriteOn's website for weeks, but can't get in. So, finding your helpful website has given me the opportunity to try a couple of alternative sites.

I had a look and YouWriteOn's website is inaccessible. After a bit of digging, I found some information on Paul Samael's website. He said, "... in December 2019, YouWriteOn announced that it is to close, although it is hoping to re-emerge following a kickstarter campaign to fund a new website." You can see more information on Paul's website.

I'm assuming the kickstarter campaign was unsuccessful, although those types of crowdfunding efforts can take a long time. So, for now I have disabled the link but left the listing here. I shall update it if YouWriteOn re-emerges at a later date.

Another Useful Resource From Reedsy

Reedsy have a useful resource titled 50 Places to Find a Critique Circle to Improve Your Writing. This also gives details of other places you can get writing critiques / assessments and feedback.

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Professional Writing Critiques

Free writing critiques are great - they can be helpful and give you great advice when you're starting out. However, as you become more accomplished, you will need an expert to work with.

These professional services cost money, but you are usually receiving feedback from a successful editor, publisher or writer who can draw on extensive real-life experience to help you develop your stories so they have a much better chance of being published.

Here are details of some professional services that might be of interest to you. My writing services are included in this list, but I also link to other well reputed services so writers can research the market and see which appeals to them most.

1. Christopher Fielden's Critique Services

I relaunched my professional short story and poetry critique service in 2018 after putting together a team of highly experienced proofreaders and editors.

All are award winning writers and editors, some with backgrounds in education. Each member of the team has lots of real life experience to draw on, including extensive experience with writing critiques and helping authors develop their skills.

You can learn more about all my writing services here.

2. Flash Fiction Masters

Flash Fiction Magazine run a Flash Fiction Masters program that offers 1 flash fiction critique a month (for stories of 300 to 1,000 words). There's an annual fee, or you can pay monthly. They also run an active Facebook group, where writers comment on each other's work.

3. Henshaw Press

Henshaw Press run regular short story competitions and offer reasonably priced critiques to entrants. They also run a separate critique service, and a proofreading service, both of which are very reasonably priced.


I used Jacqui Bennett Writers Bureau to critique and edit my first novel, Wicked Game. I worked closely with Doug Watts and found his feedback invaluable. JBWB offer an excellent service at an affordable price.

5. Lynn Love

Lynn is a widely published writer. She is a reader for the Bristol Short Story Prize and is represented by Susan Armstrong at C&W. And she is also a critical reader. You can find out about her services on her website.

6. The Next Big Writer

Launched in 2005, The Next Big Writer give members access to constructive criticism from 1,000's of writers living all over the world. They also run writing contests.

They offer a 7 day free trial, although the trial does not allow you to post anything, so you need to part with cash to make proper use of the platform.

7. Writer's Digest

I haven't used these services myself, but have heard good things about them from my website users a few times. Writer's Digest offer reasonably priced services for all aspects of writing, including short stories, picture books, synopsis and query letters.

However, I have also received some negative comments about WD's services. Here is a comment from one of my website users, Alex Guerriero, about his experiences with Writer's Digest services:

Writer's Digest was a big disappointment because their critique was very superficial and although I was told a follow up was part of the process I had to send several messages before I got a reply. It was very frustrating, I had to wait a month. I don't recommend it.

While Alex's experience wasn't great, I have left the details here so you can research the company and make up your own mind. They do have a good a reputation.

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Rana Tarakji's Biography

Rana Tarakji

Rana Tarakji is an American/Lebanese female entrepreneur, writer and digital marketer.

After having worked in one of the fastest growing companies alive - Groupon - Rana has launched and funded an internet start-up called Cary, a pre-owned marketplace based in the United Arab Emirates.

Since then, Rana has remained a co-founder at Cary but ceased being involved in the operations in order to start he own small online business Stylerail, an online beauty shop and blog.

Rana has been focusing mainly on her online business as well as on freelance writing, and has had articles published on dozens of respected websites and blogs.

You can connect with Rana on:

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Big Thanks To Rana

I'd like to say a massive thank you to Rana for coming up with the idea for this resource and helping me develop it.

If you have any ideas about other useful writing resources that could be developed on this site, please get in touch with me using the comments form below or visit my contact page.

How to Write a Short Story, book by Christopher Fielden

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Leave your comments

Please use the form below to leave your comments. All comments will be reviewed so won't appear on the page instantly. I will not share your details with anyone else. Most recent comments appear at the bottom of the page, oldest at the top.

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Your comments:

Dianne BW
Hi Chris, thanks for your excellent post on this – and the basis of a very useful list. Two additions you might want to consider are:

  • YouWriteOn
  • Taylz

Both of these sites run a peer review system of writers reviewing other writers’ work. While this means that some reviews may not be of the highest quality, in general, most are fair and helpful and also, as a writer, one learns a great deal by reading/reviewing other writers’ work. That’s my experience anyway and I use/have used both these sites. NB they can also help writers understand that regardless of its quality, ultimately not everyone will like your work, for whatever reason.

By the way, ABC Tales is currently due to close on Dec 31st – you might want to check this later to ensure your list is up to date.

Thanks again for all your helpful input to the writing community. Much appreciated! :-)

Chris Fielden
Thanks very much, Dianne. I’ve added those sites to the lists and credited you as suggesting them.

That’s a shame about ABCTales. I'll keep an eye out and update the site.

Brendan OM
Hi Chris, when I see anything on the Internet with the word 'Free' in the caption, I always take it with a pinch of salt. The 'Critque Circle' is just that. Convoluted, punctuated with you don't have 'enough credits' yet to submit your story for critique, the 'notorious' join 'premium membership' and access this and that for a monthly direct debit... NO says I. The other sites are likely no different. Nothing is free on the internet!

Chris Fielden
Hi Brendan. I see where you’re coming from with this comment, but websites like these are a full time job to run, so they have to offer paid services or they wouldn’t exist. At some point I’ll have to figure out a way of making a living from my site as my savings are depleting rapidly and a man has to eat. I’ve been trying to make income by displaying adverts, but am well short of making enough to live on. I don’t want the ads to become too intrusive. It’s difficult to strike the balance between offering a supportive platform that people can use and earning a living.

Also, writing communities require input to get output. I don’t think anyone should expect others to critique their work for no monetary payment without reciprocating. Many writers are very strong advocates of sites like these and I’ve heard some great success stories from people who get involved. Critiquing other people’s work is a great way of improving your own writing. However, I appreciate they aren’t for everyone and do understand your point. Maybe ‘free’ is the wrong word – any suggestions for a better one would be gratefully received :-)

Brendan OM
Thank you for your reply, Chris.

Maybe it was just me sounding off my frustration at so many site using the word 'free'. In far too many sites, generally speaking, 'free' usually means free to join using your name and email. After that the fine prints hits you. Of course I understand your point about costs involved and I know you've been trying your best to promote important services and provide advice and guidance. I have already bought both your books - How to Self Publish and How to Write a Short Story. I also refer to your table of short story competitions regularly.

Chris Fielden
Hi Brendan. Yes, I do know what you mean. I share your dislike of fine-print and wish more sites were a little more open about that kind of thing from the off.

Thanks for buying my books – I hope you enjoyed them/found them useful :-)

Sylvie S
You are actually quoting a fictional meercat in the intro (paragraph three)!

Having spoken to a few meercats in our local zoo, I can report that they are highly scornful of the carricature and have shown this by refusing to repeat the word 'simples' to me during any of our, rather one sided conversations!

First time on your site and am enjoying the information, thank you.

Chris Fielden
So you're telling me that talking meercats aren't real?

You'll be telling me Santa doesn't exist next... :-)

Glad to hear you're enjoying the site.

Sylvie S
When discussing Santa with zoo reindeers recently, it appears their believe in the generous saint remains undaunted! The real controversy surrounds Rudolf who they believe was actually a bit of a Port guzzler, hence the red, shiny nose and the ridicule he suffered from the others. Perhaps this led to the tradition of leaving out a mince pie and a glass of sherry. Mince pie for Santa whilst a  frenzied search for more alcohol by Rudolph aids the speeding sleigh.

Chris Fielden
Thanks, Sylvie, that makes complete sense and puts my mind at rest :-)

Christopher, many thanks for these recommendations. I have tried Critique Circle and I found it very helpful. Reading somebody else's work makes you more aware of your own mistakes.

Also I tried Writer's Digest. It was a big disappointment because their critique was very superficial and although I was told a follow up was part of the process I had to send several messages before I got a reply. It was very frustrating, I had to wait a month. I don't recommend it.

Chris Fielden
Thanks for your feedback, Alex - much appreciated.

I've placed your comments in the relevant listings :-)

Emily T
Hi there. My co-worker gave me a little bit of what she started writing and I thought it was pretty good. She is Indian and has had quite a life. She started to write a little and gave it to me. I was curious as to what you would say to her about her writing. If you can give any feedback, that would be wonderful!

Chris Fielden
Hi Emily. I'm afraid I receive many requests like this and have to turn them all down - I simply don't have time to read other writer's stories for free.

You can learn about my paid proofreading service here.

You can find out about other websites that offer free feedback on the page above - there are many listed. However, these are community sites, so your colleague would have to sign up and engage with the community to receive feedback.

I hope that's helpful and wish your friend the best of luck with their writing :-)

Poornanand G
Hey there. I'd like to tell you that you haven't mentioned how any of these site works. I personally checked out each site and I would say I didn't find any of them as good as Scribophile. For those who wanna know, lemme tell you how this works. [See main page for Poornanand's comments on the different websites - CF]

Which site will you liked the most? Comment and let me know.

Chris Fielden
Thanks for your comments, Poornanand. I've added the ones about Scribophile and Taylz to the main page. I didn't add the ABC Tales comment as it didn't explain why you thought the critique wasn't constructive. If you supply a bit more detail about 'why' I will add your comments to the page. Thanks for the information you've provided - very helpful and much appreciated.

Chris N
This is a good list.  I'll start to work through it - from the 'review and comment' side, since I don't care much to do my own writing any more, but I do like to encourage and assist new writers and see new material.

But I'm surprised that you didn't mention Reddit.

[NOTE - the rest of Chris's comment has been added to the resource above]

Chris Fielden
Hi Chris. Glad to hear you found this resource useful.

Thanks for letting me know about Reddit. I've added details, along with your comments, to the page above.

Jack E
A great idea but you ought to try to sign up with one each month and see what happens.

Several of these are not critique sites or have bad reputations on the internet.

The best one I have seen is YouWriteOn but I am trying them now. If they do prove better than the others - or don't - I will come back here to say so.

Chris Fielden
Thanks, Jack.

I'm so busy I don't have time to sign up and use all these sites myself, so any feedback from users is much appreciated.

Some of the sites are writing communities, rather than specific critique sites, but you can ask other users for feedback and critiques by using them.

I hope you find the sites you sign up to beneficial. Any feedback would be very much appreciated.

Jack E
Dear Chris. The list of recommended sites need periodic review. Some sites do not work, have negative reports on the internet or are publishers rather than writing sites. The only really good and really free one I have found is You Write On, so far excellent after a few days of service. Sponsored by the British Council and apparently has links with major publishers who may lurk there reading. Their members have got published by traditional publishers. Yes, you have to write reviews (like a commune, if you eat you have to grow food) but 1 point and 1 critique per critique you write: clear and fair. I did not try Trailz, Next Big Writer or Writer's Cafe so I cannot comment.

Hope that this feedback is helpful.

Chris Fielden
Hi Jack. Thanks for this, very useful.

This post was written by a guest author, Rana Tarakji, who did have experience with all of the sites. I run lists of thousands of writing resources (competitions, magazines, writing platforms and much more). There is no way any one person could test all of them, unfortunately.

I have added details of a few extra resources to this list over time, as users have suggested them. This website is run like a community, with input from lots of users who share their experiences, so that’s how the sites are ‘tested’ if you like. The more people, like yourself, who share their experiences and opinions, the better. It helps give a balanced view. The aim is to help writers discover potential avenues that might be of interest to them. They then have to do the research and see which ones they’d like to consider using. Everyone is different, so it’s down to the individual.

Re publisher sites, agreed, but they offer a platform with many users who can give authors feedback on their work, so they are relevant to this resource.

I have seen many negative reports about a lot of the businesses and platforms I detail on this site. I have also seen many positive ones. As an example, I work directly with Inkitt and know their team. They are good people who genuinely try and help authors. They also have some excellent results and case studies to prove it. Their negative reviews largely refer to marketing tactics that were used when the company was in its infancy. These are not used anymore and Inkitt have evolved in a positive way. You will always find positive and negative reviews about platforms like this – it’s down to the individual to research each one and form their own opinion.

Thanks for your comments about the other platforms. I have added what you said about YouWriteOn to the main page.

Jack E
A big 'Shukraan' to Rana Tarakji. This is a brilliant idea which has helped me and, I'm sure, many other writers.

Chris Fielden
Awesome, thanks Jack. Will let Rana know :-)

Rana T
Thanks a lot, Jack, I hope you've found this useful! :)

John L
With each passing day, I find that the only thing I am looking for is feedback. There can be no growth without it. I have looked at some sites, and understand some of the frustrations contained within the comments. I have been a member of Critique Circle for six months now and it has been beneficial.

It's true that nothing is for free, but if you cannot invest a few moments to help others why should they do so for you? It's a fair trade, and you can pick and choose those sites that you wish to go 'premium' with, or not.

I have been unsuccessful in finding a critique partner that I could work with closely. If you have any information to that end it would be highly appreciated. Maybe you could put an article together on the subject.

I enjoyed the post. Thanks. I will be looking into most of them.

Chris Fielden
Hi John. Thank you for your message.

I couldn't agree with your assessment more. Another thing worth noting is that a writer can learn just as much from critiquing other writer's stories, as they can from receiving critiques on their own work. It all helps you develop as a writer.

I've found the best way to gain insightful critiques is to join a local writing group. I'm in a small group with 7 members and we all regularly meet up and critique each other's work. Having a variety of reading tastes in the group really helps - if more than one person picks up on the same issue, you know you have a problem. And different people pick up different problems too. Still, I'd recommend a small group as too many opinions can be overwhelming. I've found that since joining the group, my publication success rate has more than doubled. You might find that better than just working with a single partner, but you may also find someone in a group who you could partner up in. So it's worth exploring.

Putting a post together on the subject matter is on my 'to do' list already, but as my list of tasks is a tad epic, it is unlikely to happen any time soon.

Anyway, I hope my comments are useful :-)

Lynn C
Hi Chris. Having read your comments on JBWB, I decided to have a look at their critique services and sent off my 300-word free critique. I received a wonderful email reply and immediately decided to have my first novel critiqued by Doug. I know it's in safe hands and he will help me get to the best my novel can be.

I only found your website yesterday by chance, but I have listed it amongst my favourites on my PC.  I will be a frequent visitor. Thank you.

Chris Fielden
Hi Lynn. That's great news. Doug is a total legend and I'm sure you will find his help invaluable. I wish you the best of luck with your novel and thank you for bookmarking the site.

I run an email newsletter, which you can sign up to here. I send out an email every week or two or three about all sorts of writing related stuff. Just thought I'd mention it, in case it's of interest :-)

Pete P
Hi Chris, I've been trying to get into YouWriteOn's website for weeks, but can't get in. So, finding your helpful website has given me the opportunity to try a couple of alternative sites.

Taylz are in the process of updating their site, so I've left my email address for them to notify me when it's ready.

Chris Fielden
Hi Pete, thanks for letting me know about YouWriteOn - much appreciated.

I found some information on Paul Samael's website. He said, "... in December 2019, Youwriteon announced that it is to close, although it is hoping to re-emerge following a kickstarter campaign to fund a new website." As it's now July, I guess that didn't happen. You can find more info on Paul's website.

I have made an update to the listing on my website and will update it if it reappears.

Good luck with Taylz - I've heard good things about them and Jonathan, who runs it, is great.

Thanks again for your help :-)

Edward S
Hi Chris, you are doing quite a service to the community. But what about us memoir writers. Where's our list of free? Fiction ain't everything. If you ain't got no list but know of one or two,  please send them to me.

Sorry, I can't prove I'm a human.

Chris Fielden
Hi Ed. Thank you for your message.

Many of these platforms are set up for fiction and non-fiction. I simply mention fiction more often as that is what my website is focussed on. So I'd recommend looking at the platforms listed to see what they do. You may find many accept memoirs and other forms of non-fiction.

I have a list of memoir competitions on my website. But there are very few that I'm aware of... If you know of any to add, then please do let me know.

I hope that helps :-)

Marge P
How do I join your club? I am 87 years young, and have written over 150 books on personal development, senior issues, and some poetry. I need help and guidance on query letters and book proposals. Any advice?

Chris Fielden
Hi Marge, thanks for you for your message. I usually advise writers to keep their query letters concise and to the point, listing relevant information and experience, but it depends on the agent / publisher that you intend to approach and what they request in their submission guidelines.

I'd recommend starting by researching who you wish to approach, find out what they ask for and then tailor your proposal for them. The most recent Writers' & Artists' Yearbook and Mslexia's Indie Publishing Guide are a good places to start this type of research.

I hope that helps and I wish you the best of luck with your submissions :-)

Marge P
Thank you so much for the info!

Chris Fielden
No problem, Marge - all the best :)

Hey Christopher, thanks for this summary and making the extra effort to include your members comments. I found them very useful.

This is just my 2 cents rather than anything actionable. I'm not expecting it to be added as a comment. Just wondering what your experienced view has to say re my experiences.

With the aim of getting two short stories critiqued, I read the observations and chose Scribophile and Critique Circle. I then signed up and made an attempt on Scrib. to leave a critique.

As an aside, I was surprised that the first three stories that I read had a significant number of grammatical and word choice issues. One so much so that it was almost unreadable.

Nevertheless, I ploughed on with the  third story as it had a wonderful narrative and plot.

I tried the inline and prose reviews but found the site's tools extremely cumbersome. Most people remark on how adept I am at using technology and thus I was surprised at how I struggled to produce a quality review in a reasonable amount of time.

Sorry for the diatribe - my question is really this: do these sites really expect reviewers to spent 1-2 hours (the time I would expect to do a descent job on 3,000 words) for one review and then repeat this X number of times to get some feedback?

I'm quite happy to put in the time and love to help others. It's just that I don't want to feel like I'm fighting the site as I'll eventually lose my cool with the result that the review will be a shortened version and perhaps not as constructive as I would have wished.

I wonder if you have any recommendations for a more manageable platform?


Chris Fielden
Hi Mark, thanks for your message.

Personally, I favour face to face writing groups. My experience with those is that you find like-minded writers you can work with in a constructive and positive way. I haven't used sites like Scribophile etc. because I've never need to. I'm fortunate to have a local writing group that works really well - we critique each other's work and run spoken word events. I have heard from other writers that free writing critique sites can be really useful, but can also be a bit hit and miss with quality. You have to spend some time finding what works best for you. Many writers use them to find other writers on their wavelength and then develop relationships outside the platforms, undertaking critiques for one another etc.

My advice would be to try the platforms for a while and see what works best for you as a writer. Also, research local groups or online groups you can join that might offer what you're looking for. You can start by looking at this writing groups resource on my site.

I hope that helps and wish you the very best with your writing in the future :)