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Thread: Laurel House Creative Workshops

  1. #1
    practical experience, FTW
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    Arrow Laurel House Creative Workshops

    http://laurelhousecreativeworkshops....m/services.htm

    Critique service that posted in promotions on AW. Thoughts and opinion?

  2. #2
    I got it covered Undercover's Avatar
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    No one should pay for something like this, it's a shame to sucker people into such a thing.
    My blog Lists of YA (and Adult) Publishers that pay advances and are accepting unagented submissions

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  3. #3
    Just another face in a red jumpsuit shelleyo's Avatar
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    I don't think there's anything wrong with someone paying for an in-depth critique of his writing, as long as the person being paid is qualified to objectively judge it. If someone wants that kind of feedback, there's absolutely nothing wrong with it, and I don't think it makes him someone being suckered into anything.

    I don't know about this venture specifically, but there are some very respectable writers who offer this type of service. Some writers, beginners especially, might find it money well-spent to get an experienced writer's or editor's comments for a little cash, rather than getting several beginning writers' comments for free in a workshop. There's a place for it, and it could provide quite an education.

    I'd suggest anyone considering paying these ladies for critiques should look into their backgrounds and make sure they seem qualified before paying for anything.

    I also think that assuming these ladies are suckering people into something is a bit abrupt. Maybe they are, if they're not qualified or they charge exorbitant prices. But the fact that they're offering paid evaluations of writing does not automatically make them scam artists.


    Shelley
    Last edited by shelleyo; 06-28-2011 at 02:01 AM.
    "Now, come on, as you guys get older you'll realize people don't mean to be obnoxious, it's just that they're all screwed up inside." -- Joel, MST3K, Gamera

  4. #4
    I got it covered Undercover's Avatar
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    I don't care if they're qualified or not, it's a joke. You can pay all the money in the world to get a critique and it still won't quarantee placement to a publisher. You're better off finding a beta or friend, free crit forums etc than to pay your hard earned money to someone for what? A better ms. that might not sell? Nope...I'll pass.
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  5. #5
    Just another face in a red jumpsuit shelleyo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lmc71775 View Post
    I don't care if they're qualified or not, it's a joke. You can pay all the money in the world to get a critique and it still won't quarantee placement to a publisher. You're better off finding a beta or friend, free crit forums etc than to pay your hard earned money to someone for what? A better ms. that might not sell? Nope...I'll pass.
    But they're not guaranteeing publication, are they? No one can do that, unless they have a publication they plan to put the work in after critique, which I would find a bit fishy.

    I'm not sure that all betas, friends and free crit forums can offer the kind of in-depth evaluation a person can get from a qualified editor. If you don't want to pay for that type of evaluation, that's fair enough. But I think it's a bit harsh to look down on those who do, and those who offer the service.

    People pay for creative writing classes all the time, in and out of college situations. There's not a lot of difference, if you find someone whose comments really help you.

    Shelley
    "Now, come on, as you guys get older you'll realize people don't mean to be obnoxious, it's just that they're all screwed up inside." -- Joel, MST3K, Gamera

  6. #6
    I got it covered Undercover's Avatar
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    I'm not knocking creative writing educational classes. Some people need that especially if you're in need of grammar help and to polish your English skills, sure. All I'm saying is (I think, in my own opinion...which is worth squat anyways) that it is a waste. There are better opinions out there.

    Taking classes and schooling is quite different than this.
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  7. #7
    but appreciated anyway... Unimportant's Avatar
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    From what I can tell, they're both graduates of the University of Glamorgan creative writing programme, and one (possibly both) are now teaching in that programme. What boggles me is that they've set up a private enterprise and one of them, at least, is trading on her University teaching position for her credentials.

    I too am an academic at a university, and if I set up a website charging people for my expertise and using my university position to establish my credentials, my university would sit on me like a tonne of bricks. If I am presenting my self as Dr Me, Academic-at-University, then I am in effect saying that what I'm doing is sanctioned by the uni, and that I am a spokesperson for the uni. They would not be pleased with that. They'd also, I reckon, want to claim any income associated with whatever I was doing.

    Editing to add: Also, their prices are mindboggling:
    Short poem critique

    For poems five lines and under.


    5.00
    Last edited by Unimportant; 06-28-2011 at 02:21 AM. Reason: adding a bit

  8. #8
    Just another face in a red jumpsuit shelleyo's Avatar
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    By way of comparison, the University of Wisconsin Madison offers a critique service like the one in question. They charge $10 per page to critique poetry. So a 5-line poem would cost $10, but so would a 30-line poem, provided it fit on one page.

    They charge $4 a page for prose, at approx. 300 words per page, while the one in question charges 12 pounds for a short story up to 4,000 words, which is about $19.50, compared to the $52 it would cost to have a 4,000-word story critiqued at the University service. So their prices aren't outrageous, comparatively.

    The question remains whether their evaluation would be worth $20, or if someone seeking that would be better off paying $50 instead. That's up to the purchaser, I suppose.

    ETA: I'm not seeing where they're acting as if they're doing this on behalf of their universities or sanctioned by them. What page is that on? I'm not sure mentioning past or future positions does anything but show qualifications. I'm not seeing the harm, but maybe I'm missing something.

    Also, one thing that would give me pause, and this may be me personally, is that they've set this up on a free website instead of used a dedicated domain name/website. I think they would come across as much more serious and legitimate if they weren't on webs, and had a better-looking site. Okay, I lied, there are two things. The other is the fact that they keep referring to singular "writer" with "their" as a pronoun. That's incorrect. I would think that well-published writers and writing teachers would not make such a basic mistake. First draft maybe, but not on a business website.

    Shelley
    Last edited by shelleyo; 06-28-2011 at 02:54 AM.
    "Now, come on, as you guys get older you'll realize people don't mean to be obnoxious, it's just that they're all screwed up inside." -- Joel, MST3K, Gamera

  9. #9
    but appreciated anyway... Unimportant's Avatar
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    I went to the About Us page and clicked on the first of the two names, and it took me to a YouTube video that starts with her saying "I'm a senior lecturer at the University of Glamorgan"....

  10. #10
    practical experience, FTW
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    They cannot guarantee publishing, no service can. But like Lisa, I can't see what they can do that a beat, and learning how to self edit can't. That's my opinion, others might see if differently.

  11. #11
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    When I was an absolute beginner I would have welcomed a service like this. Most editing/critiquing services cost the earth. And why pay for a web domain when there is plenty of free space out there? An expensive website does not a professional make!

  12. #12
    Just another face in a red jumpsuit shelleyo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nashelle View Post
    When I was an absolute beginner I would have welcomed a service like this. Most editing/critiquing services cost the earth. And why pay for a web domain when there is plenty of free space out there? An expensive website does not a professional make!
    No, but a domain that someone has paid $10 for and a real website hosted with a service that costs a few bucks a month as opposed to one on a free service, typically means that someone is less likely to disappear with your money. It's a little added assurance, that's all, since they have put a dab of their own money on the line, and not just started a free website under any name. It's just one more way to look a little more legitimate. Not necessary, but preferable. I wouldn't try to run a business website on a free host for those reasons. It just looks off.

    Shelley
    "Now, come on, as you guys get older you'll realize people don't mean to be obnoxious, it's just that they're all screwed up inside." -- Joel, MST3K, Gamera

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by shelleyo View Post
    No, but a domain that someone has paid $10 for and a real website hosted with a service that costs a few bucks a month as opposed to one on a free service, typically means that someone is less likely to disappear with your money. It's a little added assurance, that's all, since they have put a dab of their own money on the line, and not just started a free website under any name. It's just one more way to look a little more legitimate. Not necessary, but preferable. I wouldn't try to run a business website on a free host for those reasons. It just looks off.

    Shelley
    and the scammers know about this. What a good way to fool people - pay for a website and recoup the money from ripping people off. There are no assurances!

    One thing no one has mentioned is that when a writer gets too close to their work they cannot be objective and that's why an opinion from someone else is invaluable. Unfortunately most feedback from family members and friends (especially if they aren't writers)will not be all that helpful. Writing forums can help but not always because most forum users are in the same boat.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by shelleyo View Post
    they keep referring to singular "writer" with "their" as a pronoun. That's incorrect.

    Shelley

    Every writer wants to see their work published,
    Every writer wants to see his or her work published. There is no singular non-gender-specific pronoun so it has to be 'their' such is the English language!

  15. #15
    Hagiographically Advantaged AW Moderator HapiSofi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shelleyo View Post
    ...they keep referring to singular "writer" with "their" as a pronoun. That's incorrect.
    English has been using "their" as a gender-neutral singular pronoun for centuries.

    Are you trying to apply strict logic to English grammar and usage? Whatever for?
    Winner of the Best Drycleaner on the Block Award.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by HapiSofi View Post
    English has been using "their" as a gender-neutral singular pronoun for centuries.

    Are you trying to apply strict logic to English grammar and usage? Whatever for?
    I use it.

    I'm not against such services for the record. I wouldn't use them, but obviously there are people who do.
    Last edited by brainstorm77; 06-29-2011 at 12:30 AM.

  17. #17
    Cultus Gopherus MacAllister Medievalist's Avatar
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    Were I a writer of fiction, I'd be open to paying for a critique from someone who wrote in my genre, and whose books I'd read.

    I don't really see an advanced degree or an academic post as a qualification, frankly. Working as an editor in the genre? Sure. Working as an published author in the genre? Sure.

    I also wouldn't pay an agent for a critique--or see that as a positive mark in an agent's favor.

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  18. #18
    Hagiographically Advantaged AW Moderator HapiSofi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Unimportant View Post
    From what I can tell, they're both graduates of the University of Glamorgan creative writing programme, and one (possibly both) are now teaching in that programme.
    It's remarkable how many university-level creative writing programs have their own graduates on their staff, and how frequently those matriculated staffers have minimal writing credentials outside the university.
    What boggles me is that they've set up a private enterprise and one of them, at least, is trading on her University teaching position for her credentials.
    Wonderful! They've finally come up with a way for university writing program graduates to make money from a writing-related activity that isn't teaching!

    Granted, if you did something like that, your department or your university would have your hide for it; but your situation is completely different. You have credibility to maintain.
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  19. #19
    Hagiographically Advantaged AW Moderator HapiSofi's Avatar
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    What Medievalist said.
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  20. #20
    Just another face in a red jumpsuit shelleyo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Medievalist View Post

    I also wouldn't pay an agent for a critique--or see that as a positive mark in an agent's favor.
    I'd see that as a serious conflict of interest, and I'd run from that agent.

    Shelley
    "Now, come on, as you guys get older you'll realize people don't mean to be obnoxious, it's just that they're all screwed up inside." -- Joel, MST3K, Gamera

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