I've not used YouWriteOn since December, 2008, but decided last month to reactivate the opening chapters I have up from my third book to see how it fared.

Very briefly, YouWriteOn is a website sponsored by the Arts Council England where you can upload your work (6,000 - 10,000 words for books; 2,000 - 5,000 for short stories) and have it critiqued by your peers. There are eight categories to be rated on, and each month you are entered into the chart; the top five receive professional advice.

On reactivation I ranked joint 21st, and a few days later I received this review:

I really enjoyed this. The characters were engaging and credible and I really liked Geli's narration - she was funny, self-deprecating and likeable. Also thought Toblerone was a good character and some of the references of others who may be introduced, like Glinda's boyfriend Jeeves and Geli's nemesis Tiggy, were 'fabbity' - I looked forward to meeting them.

Much of what Elle has written is witty and well observed - 'pods' and other corporate BS, the 'Hot or Not' column and itss impact - increases in Toblerone sales and the writer being sent free Tobleorones - and the way in which people use and react to Facebook. There were just lots of wry, accurate observations in there that would make me want to read on.

I also like some of the little jokes ' Claire Voyante' and 'Claire Sinclair' - and Geli's reaction of 'Bitch' when she hears her sister has a boyfriend. Very funny.

I can't really find anything to criticise, I really liked the work. I assume the Hillary-Obama race sets the time period we are in so that it sets a timeframe for the book.

As a bloke, I don't buy books that are described as 'chick-lit', but having started to read this I would definitely want to read on. I like Geli, I like her sardonic view of the world she inhabits and I want to find out what happens to her.

A really enjoyable read.

I find this is especially nice because this is the book I was absolutely slated on "professionally" (I use the word professional loosely because I have my doubts on those people, but I won't bring THAT sorry mess into this blog). It's lovely to know (and this counts for my other YWO reviews) that actual people would read my books, yet, so far, that's not been good enough to convince those who yield the power and can make that happen ... but, for now, it's encouragement and that's always a lovely thing to encourage a writer on.

If you're an aspiring writer, check out the site!

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