The Aspiring at ARWZ is a consortium of aspiring writers united by their common committment to pursuing professional writing careers. This consortium was founded as a means by which aspiring fiction writers can volunteer their mutual support throughout the process of revisions and submissions, which is often the most difficult part of the writing business. By uniting with fellow aspiring writers, members of the Aspiring benefit from the collective experience of the group, rather than having to go it alone through the toughest part of their careers—breaking into print.
By becoming a member of the Aspiring, you pledge to share the revision and submissions process with your fellow writers in a number of ways: by providing honest and productive criticism of original writing and submissions materials, by familiarizing yourself with the projects of fellow writers in order to share leads and markets you may happen upon in your own research, by sharing your past experiences and warning fellow writers about potential scams or unfavorable leads. In other words, the goal of the Aspiring is to pool our knowledge and resources in effort to further our careers.
Who can join the Aspiring?
The only prerequisite for joining the Aspiring is your dedication to pursuing a career in fiction writing. Be advised, however, that joining the Aspiring means that you pledge to devote as much time and attention to fellow members as they devote to you (more below). On the practical side, before being admitted to the our Aspiring discussion forum, you must be registered as a member on the ARWZ Community Forums. Potential members should also join the ARWZ Writers' Workshop, because this is where members of the Aspiring post all fiction to be read by the group. To request membership in the Aspiring, please visit our usergroup listing and click the "Join Group" button.
How does the Aspiring work?
In a very simple way, the members of the Aspiring volunteer their time and attention to one another. The Aspiring forum is a place where you can get feedback on query letters or other submissions materials, where you can ask for critiques of your writing, where you can share a publisher or agent listing with a fellow member who works in that genre, where you can talk about tricky issues in your writing or submissions process.
One of the most important services that we provide for fellow members is the mutual critique of one another's fiction. To assure that every writer in the Aspiring gets the feedback he/she needs, you must must pledge upon entering as a member writer to devote as much time to reading and critiquing the work of each member does who reads and critiques your work. And that can get a little complicated. Here's how it works:
Requesting Help with Revision
If you need feedback from our members on your current writing projects, we invite you to post it in our Online Writers' Workshop. As a member of the Aspiring, you are them welcome to ask fellow members to read and critique your work. Here's the procedure:
1) Post your writing in accordance with the rules of the ARWZ Online Workshop. You will find a full description of Workshop Rules and Procedure in the Workshop FAQ forum. In essence, but joining the Aspiring, you are also joining the ARWZ Writers' Workshop. The Aspiring is simply a tight-knit sub-group of writers within the wider ARWZ Online Community.
2) Post a request in the Aspiring forum for members to critique it. You'll notice that members of the ARWZ Online Writers' Workshop are not necessarily members of the Aspiring. By taking the extra step to post a request for critique in the Aspiring Forum, you certify that this piece of work meets one simple prerequisite: All fiction writing for which you request critique among the Aspiring, must be writing you intend to submit for publication. That is, the writing must either be short stories you intend to submit to magazines or novel chapters you intend to submit to publishers or agents. The Aspiring is not for hobby writers. Any fiction you submit to the Aspiring for critique must be submissions bound. We will work with your story or novel until you feel it's ready to submit, we'll help you search out markets to send your story to, and we'll expect to hear how the submissions turn out, to share in your rejection and your triumph.
3) Pledge to offer as much critique support in exchange as others give you. By requesting critique from members of the Aspiring, you are pledging to critique their work in kind. In other words, however much of your writing a particular member reads, you pledge to return the favor. This means, for example, if Member X reads and critiques a 5000 word short story of yours, you pledge—when such time comes as they post a request—to read and critique a 5000 word story of theirs. Or 5000 words worth of a novel. Or perhaps, you read and critique 70,000 words (though, not all in one sitting, we hope) of Member Z's novel. When the time comes that you have a novel in need of critque, Member Z can fulfill his pledge by reading 70,000 words of yours.
Critiquing for the Aspiring
Likewise, members of the Aspiring who respond to requests for critique must follow the general guidelines for critique (both in word count and in content) as outlined by the ARWZ Online Writers' Workshop. As mentioned above, the benefit of critiquing the work of other members is that when the time comes for you to submit work for consideration, members will be pledged to read your work. It is the responsibility of each member to keep track of whose work you critique, and how much of it you critique. We recommend setting up a critique word count log in the Aspiring forum where you can maintain a list of all the submissions you have critiqued and their word count, so that fellow Aspiring members can keep track of who is lending them a hand.
If you're ready to become a member of the Aspiring, please visit the usergroup listing to sign up.