Introducing Penmob

Penmob is launching soon.  It’s an online workshop for writers and freelance editors.  You should check it out.

Everyone wants to suck less at writing. Or at least I do.

Those of us lucky enough to live in a creative community might have two to three friends they trust to give honest, helpful feedback. But what if you don’t have that luxury? You care about the craft of writing–how do you improve?

Enter Penmob: a new way to get in-depth feedback for your writing. Penmob is an online writing workshop, where a large group of editors read and have a conversation about your work.

Maybe you’ve tried auditing a college class in the past, but it turned out to be expensive or didn’t work with your schedule. And you’ve probably looked into joining a local writer’s group, but haven’t found one that felt like a good fit. At this point, if you haven’t already been called up by a giant, serif-fonted publishing house, your only option left is to hire a freelance editor.

Editors are great, underappreciated people. Their work isn’t pseudoscience. But new writers can be easily intimidated by the options. How on earth do I decide who to hire? What if they don’t get it? How much creative control am I giving up?

You might spend weeks researching editors, reviewing their past work to see if their style fits your voice, or asking around for referrals. Meanwhile, freelance editors are doing their damnedest to market themselves: building websites, fleshing out their social media presence, and lots of things other than, well, editing. On Penmob, connecting editors with writers is dead-simple.

Instead of submitting to individual feedback from one editor, you get feedback from multiple editors with a wide range of strengths and focus areas. Which makes it easier for you to find editors who fit your voice. At the same time, freelance editors don’t make the long-term commitment of reviewing entire drafts at a time; they are paid for their contributions across multiple drafts, and can seek out clients that fit their style of feedback.

Our focus is on developmental, or structural editing, but all flavors of editors are invited to contribute to a piece. Writers reap the benefit of a mob of experienced editors looking at their draft from different perspectives.

Writing whatshop?

If you’ve never been a part of a writing workshop, I’ll set the scene. The draft of a story or essay, which the writer has worked on for three sleepless weeks, is printed out and in the hands of a roomful of fellow writers.

We start with, say, the opening. How did the narrator’s voice get introduced? Which scene was most compelling? Should the chapters have come in a different order?

Then the questions snowball. Would this part work better through dialogue rather than a paragraph of exposition? Someone brings up theme and interpretations fly across the room. The writer interjects when something isn’t clear, and scribbles down as much of the conversation as she can.

Workshops are where a group of passionate writers offer their opinions on a draft in a focused, large-scale discussion.  The discourse that arises is a feature, not a bug; our writer gets to hear thoughts clash and adapt over the course of the workshop, in a way that she’d never experience during a one-on-one editing session.

Launching soon

If you haven’t already, take a look at Penmob’s home page.  We are running a private beta with a group of aspiring and professional writers & editors, making the experience as much like a beefed-up writing workshop as possible: more focused on your goals as a writer, more editor perspectives, and a conversation that’s easier to follow.

When Penmob launches—in just a few weeks!—you can participate in the workshop for yourself. Watch this blog to learn more about me and the people helping bring Penmob to fruition.  And drop your email on the home page or into this form to be first in the door.

Alex Peterson, founder @ Penmob


Image source: Unsplash