WriteOnCon 2022 is just around the corner, but you don’t need to wait to start working on your writing — our forums for peer feedback and our Discord server for writerly discourse are open! To help you find your way around, we’ve prepared some instructions and guidelines.
Let’s start with our Peer Feedback Forums
(If you already know how to login and navigate web forums, jump to “Posting in the Forums” for our WriteOnCon Forums Guidelines.)
Accessing the Forums
The forums can be reached from the navigational menu on our website, or directly by going here. You can browse the forums as a guest, or you can post and interact with others by logging in.
Accessing the forums is and will always be free. They will be open until close to next year’s conference, at which point the boards will be archived and new ones created.
PLEASE NOTE that your forums login is separate from your WriteOnCon.org login! Our forums are hosted off-site by ProBoards. If you do not already have a forums account you will need to create one in order to post in the WriteOnCon forums, even if you already have a WriteOnCon.org account.
Your forums account will be yours for this and all future years of WriteOnCon. On the far-right side of the forums navigation bar, click on “Register” and follow the prompts. All fields must be filled in.
Once you have registered and activated your account, you will be automatically logged in.
NOTE: ProBoards requires that you enter a gender upon registration. If the available options don’t represent you, you still have to choose one (we’re sorry!), but you can hide it from display by changing your profile settings.
Setting Up Your Profile
Before you get started posting in the forums, you may wish to set up your profile details. Click on “Profile” in the navigation bar, and then on the button “Edit Profile” on the right. Here, you can change your profile picture, your personal information, your privacy settings, and other details of your account.
We highly recommend setting up a signature that includes your posted manuscript materials, if you choose to share them. At a minimum, include your manuscript’s title and genre, and the links to the threads for your query and/or first 500 words. This will help other writers easily find more from your manuscript if they are interested (this is especially useful for people wanting to reciprocate with feedback!).
There are instructions for doing this posted in our Welcome boards.
Posting in the Forums
Once you’ve registered and your profile’s set up, you’re ready to start posting! To start a new thread, navigate into the board you’re interested in posting in and click on the yellow “Create Thread” button at the upper right. When viewing an existing thread (including your own), to reply click on the yellow “Reply” button at the upper right or scroll to the reply box at the very bottom.
Guidelines for starting critique threads are sticky-posted to the top of every board. Please make sure you read these! Following the guidelines will make it much easier for other writers to leave critiques on your manuscript and will ensure a fair and enjoyable experience for everyone. Our moderators will be monitoring posted threads and will remove any that are offensive, inflammatory or otherwise problematic.
In the critique forums, we strongly request that you “pay it forward” once you’ve posted your own manuscript for feedback. Please try to leave constructive feedback (e.g., more helpful than simply “this is great!”) for at least five other manuscripts besides your own, within the same board (e.g., if you posted yours in the YA First 500 Words board, please leave feedback on five other threads in the YA First 500 Words board).
We also encourage writers to “pay it back” – if someone leaves feedback on your thread, it’s a wonderful gesture to not only thank them, but also swing by their thread to leave feedback of your own (this is where having your links in your signature is a great help!). Reciprocated feedback can count toward your five critiques.
If you get to the forums and have additional questions about how to do anything, some of these help guides may be of use to you:
The WriteOnCon forums are an amazing opportunity to network with other writers, find new critique partners, and get feedback to help strengthen your writing. Please follow our guidelines and treat your fellow writers with respect while here, and others will do the same for you.
And now on to Discord!
This year, we are using the WriteOnCon Discord server to help you connect with other kidlit writers, share writerly resources, and once the conference begins, chat during live events! This is also free and will remain so indefinitely. You can use Discord from within your internet browser, download the app for desktop, and/or use their mobile device app.
Let’s start with some basics:
What is a server? What are channels?
Remember chat rooms? Well, a Discord server is like a chat house. It’s a community space where you can talk, hang out, and enjoy the company of others in a comfortable virtual environment. The server is the “house” and the channels are the “rooms.” Most of the channels on our server have a specific purpose or general topic of conversation (see our Channel List later on in this guide), but there are also some general channels for chatting about… pretty much whatever. (We do have some limitations, but more on that later.)
Now that you know what Discord is, here’s how to use it:
If you have a Discord account – you can join our server here.
If you are new to Discord, you can sign up by going to discord.com and clicking “open discord in your browser”. Pick a username for yourself and hit enter. After entering your birthday, you will be asked to either create your own server, start a server from a template, or at the very bottom it says “have an invite already? Join a server”. Click the link and enter the WOC invite link: https://discord.gg/8MAf4YfhZK
Text and Voice Channels
Text channels are separate spaces for talking over text. They keep conversations organized and give everyone plenty of room to talk. We have separate channels for a lot of different topics and occasions. Things like WriteOnCon announcements to help you stay informed, places to chat about a variety of different things, and a place to chat during live events. They’re fairly simple – pick a channel, and jump in on the conversation, or start a new one!
Voice channels are where you can hang out over voice and video. There’s no calling or ringing required – just click on a voice channel to enter it. Others in the server can see you’re in there, and pop in to talk, or wave hello over video. They’re a good way to meet people face to face without having to share personal contact information. Since Discord’s voice chat channels are unique to the platform, here are some instructions to get you started:
How to Voice Chat
Step 1: Join a Voice Channel!
- Click a voice channel in your server
Step 2: Start talking!
You should see a green outline around your avatar when you speak.
- If you need to adjust your voice settings, click the cog icon to open your User Settings. On desktop, you’ll find it in the lower left corner of your server. From User Settings, head to Voice and Video settings to adjust your audio input, input sensitivity, and more.
- Bonus Tip: You can adjust the volume of other people in the voice channel by right clicking their avatar (on desktop), or pressing their name (on mobile.)
- Bonus bonus tip: You can use Discord’s Krisp noise suppression to filter out unwanted background noise like lawnmowers or your neighbor’s dog 🐕 barking up a storm. You can enable Krisp from the icon in the lower left voice panel.
How to Video Chat
Step 1: Join a Voice Channel!
- Click a voice channel in your server
Step 2: Share your Video!
- Press the Video button in the bottom left corner and your video will be added to the voice channel. If you navigate away from the channel, just click it again to bring it back up.
- To change your input device, click the cog icon to open your User Settings. On desktop, you’ll find it in the lower left corner of your server. From User Settings, head to Voice and Video settings to update your video input device.
We have some Guidelines for our server that we’d like you to keep in mind:
Please be sure to keep our rules in mind! There aren’t too many, but they’re all important.
1. WriteOnCon is an inclusive and welcoming event, and our community chat space keeps with that mission. Treat everyone with respect. Absolutely no harassment, witch hunting, sexism, racism, or hate speech will be tolerated.
2. No NSFW or obscene content. This includes text, images, or links featuring nudity, sex, hard violence, or other graphically disturbing content.
3. No spam or self-promotion (server invites, advertisements, etc) without permission from a staff member. This includes DMing fellow members without their explicit permission.
4. If you see something against the rules or something that makes you feel unsafe, please disengage from the situation and immediately let a moderator know (we’re the ones with green names). We want this server to be a welcoming space!
To help you navigate the various channels, use this channel guide:
#kidlit-cafe – This is a great place to chat about all things kidlit and writing. Come here to ask general questions and offer suggestions. Discuss writer life in this day and age. Have fun!
#resources-and-book-recs – A place to share your favorite writerly tools and tips, to leave book recommendations, and ask for help with Comp Titles (Book Comparisons). This is the place to ask technical and writing craft questions.
#query-trenches – Life in the query trenches does not have to be lonely! Maybe you have been there already and have advice to share. Perhaps you feel stuck there and want encouragement. This is the place to ask your questions and find support for all things query trenches!
#writealong – You are welcome to join in and ‘write along’ with your writer friends! Stay tuned for more details and schedules for writing sprints and discord meet-ups to help you get more words on the page.
#general-chatter – This is the place to discuss things outside of or adjacent to writer life. Discuss music, gaming, movies, shows, recipes, or hobbies. It’s an ‘almost’ anything goes channel. Please keep the WOC server rules in mind.
#live-events-chat – When the 2022 conference begins, use this channel to chat during live events!
#help-desk – Having trouble? We’re here to help!
FIND YOUR WRITING BUDDY
#writer-match-ups – Find your writing friends in this channel. This is the place to post when you are looking for alpha-readers, beta-readers, critique partners, and/or writing buddies. Share what you are working on, what you are looking for, and how you can help others.
#networking – In this channel we are making connections and sharing social contacts. Post about your published works like books and blogs. Share your credentials and recommend other writing professionals that have helped you in your writing journey.
#accountability-and-goals – Share your goals and report updates here. Find an accountability partner or group and check-in on each other here. This is a great place to help keep you on task and achieve your goals.
#Voice channels Coffee Shop Tables 1-3 – Meet up with your new writing buddy for a virtual cup of (coffee? tea? lemonade?) in this welcoming little corner of the server.
Picture Book Cafe – Chat for all things Picture Books.
Middle Grade Cafe – Chat for all things Middle-Grade Books.
Young Adult Cafe – Chat for all things Young Adult Books.
Our Discord server is here for you! This is the place to meet other writers and kidlit lovers. So, find your writing buddy, exchange book comp titles, commiserate about the query trenches, and simply enjoy writing together!