About

The Ubergroup is an intensive writer’s workshop that will help authors developmentally edit their manuscripts up to a marketable level. We are suitable for both agented and unagented writers, those who traditionally publish and who self-publish. The principles of the Ubergroup are work ethic, positive attitude, and collaboration, which we believe will propel your career much further than talent or luck alone.

Authors with existing contracts and agented authors currently on submission can be assured that developmental editing in the Ubergroup does not conflict with either your agent or publisher contracts. Our structure provides accountability and moral support at the CP level before turning in new drafts to your agent. Our members include working authors contracted with most major publishing houses, literary and genre magazines, and professional nonfiction outlets: novelists, IP writers, short fiction writers, non-fiction and academic writers, screenwriters, playwrights, and successful self-publishers. Our advising staff includes slush readers for major literary and genre magazines, script readers for major studios, TV producers, and production editors for both indie and Big Five houses. We have members working in the US, UK, Canadian, and Australian markets.

Aspiring and unrepresented authors are also welcome. They will find an encouraging environment in which to grow their professional skills and concrete guidance to help them break into their market of choice.

Mission

There is no monetary cost to apply for the Ubergroup. Aspiring authors should be extremely wary of any agent or editor who charges a fee. As with all reputable agents and publishers, the only thing the writer contributes is their hard work and good attitude. In the Ubergroup, you will learn to evaluate writing with a developmental eye, and provide this service for other writers. Your payment will be ‘in-kind’: developmental editing performed on your work. We provide a highly curated environment of critique partners verified for good attitude and work ethic and verifiable industry advice from major publishers and top agents.

We found that since fiction is a traditionally solo pursuit, many writers are struggling to work in a void where they lack solid technical instruction, regularly scheduled practice time, and peer collaboration such as is standard for ensemble fine arts (theatre, music, dance, etc) or worse yet, they stumble into echo chambers of bad advice. The Ubergroup believes that quality commercial fiction should be held to the same production standards as other top-tier fine arts (eg theatre at the Broadway level, orchestras or ballets at the national level) and thus, emphasises academic rigour and verifiable sources as well as consistent, professional conduct.

As a result of our meticulously high standards, agents, publishers, and producers are often impressed by how clean manuscripts that have been through the Ubergroup are.

Application

The Ubergroup is hosted on, but not affiliated with, scribophile.com. Similar to how a theatre or dance company may rehearse in a rented studio space alongside many other companies, you will need to enter the building to reach our workshop, but the other groups working in other rooms down the hall are not related to us. You are welcome to check out anything else on the site, but we do not take responsibility for the content of different groups and events occurring in other parts of the venue, and cannot vouch for the quality of opinions offered outside the Ubergroup.

You do not need a paid membership to Scribophile to participate in the Ubergroup, although some authors find it convenient.

To apply for the Ubergroup, please make an account on Scribophileand send a query to ‘Jerry Quinn’ for entry. Please familiarise yourself with the basic functionality of Scribophile–how to post a work for critique and how to critique the work of others–and format your letter as if you were querying an agent for representation, including your elevator pitch, genre, and age bracket. Please also read over the Ubergroup-specific terminology at the following links. We use this terminology to help our authors communicate their publication goals and preferred communication style, and describe your needs insofar as CUBA Goals and critique tone using our vocabulary.

Goals

An Ubergroup sorting mechanism: CUBA goals.

The key to giving high quality developmental edits is to understand and respect the author's goals. Different genres and age brackets have their own conventions, as do different publication methods (traditional vs self) and formats (novel, flash, script, poetry, picture book, etc.) The Ubergroup attempts to avoid baseless arguments over how one “should” write and has developed CUBA as a set of common vocabulary to help you communicate your needs.

  • Commercial - I don't care about literary merits, as long as it sells.
  • Balanced - I have both Commercial and Artistic goals, and I've chosen some of each.
  • Artistic - I want to meet my own artistic standards. I am not concerned about how well it sells.
  • Undeclared - I just want to finish this manuscript. I'll worry about what to do with it later.

Important note: CUBA describes which direction you want to change, not how much you are willing to change.

An example of an artistic goal is to have beautiful prose. That's not necessary for mass-market sales and may even hurt you. (The widest audience groups dislike words that are too difficult.) An artistic author faced with this choice would keep elevating their prose, whereas a commercial one would simplify to please the masses. Another artistic goal would be historical accuracy in historical fiction, or scientific accuracy in science fiction. The widest audience doesn't care, but an artistic author personally does.

‘Artistic’ is not a synonym for ‘My prose/characters/plot are already perfect and non-negotiable.’ That's called being stubborn. The Ubergroup is focused on developmental edits: major changes to character, plot, prose, tone, premise and other fundamental ideas. The only reason to apply is if you are actively interested in improving those things. If you are already satisfied with the basic content of your manuscript, congratulations! You do not need a developmental edit, you are ready to self-publish. If you only seek line edits (spelling, grammar and minor polishing) you also do not need us. Seek out a copyeditor.

Finally, CUBA is a sliding scale. It is a way to explain how often you will decide in favour of the commercial choice vs the artistic choice. A 75% commercial author, when faced with the question of ‘do I improve the literary quality or do what sells?’ will choose what sells 75% of the time. An author who is 25% commercial will only choose what sells 25% of the time.

‘Balanced’ is less ‘laid back and agreeable,’ more ‘horribly torn between options.’ It means ‘I have really strong opinions about what makes a high-quality work, but I also want to sell well, so these decisions about which direction to change towards are never easy.’

All writers who have yet to complete a first draft of their first novel (spec script, poetry collection, etc) are Undeclared, even if you have an idea of where you may eventually want to be.

Tones

An Ubergroup Communication Tool: Critique Tones

There is more than one valid way to communicate with each other. A frequent misunderstanding between writers and editors when giving or receiving feedback is one of tone. The content of a critique may be excellent, yet come off as offensive if accidentally delivered in a tone the author cannot stand. Disliking an editor’s tone doesn't make their criticism wrong, and any writer can greatly smooth their career path by acclimating to multiple tones, and by communicating in advance if a certain manner of speech will get their hackles up. Similarly, a new developmental editor will have far less conflict with authors if they are able to adjust their tone as needed, and by communicating in advance if there are manners of speech that grate them to emulate.

The moderation team has grouped common critique styles into three loose categories, as follows:

  • Literal. Bare bones, and as neutral and concise as possible. People who like this style perceive it as professional and clear. People who dislike it perceive it as impersonal and uninterested.

    Example: "I dislike the name Johnny for a fantasy character. It doesn't suit the world at all, and damages my immersion in the story."

  • Colloquial. Sarcastic, satirical, containing blue humour. People who like this style perceive it as relaxed and genuine. People who dislike it perceive it as rude and biting.

    Example: "I hate the name Johnny for a fantasy character; I hate it like poison. I think it is poison as far as your world-building is concerned. An adult named Johnny is a guy with a pompadour and a pleather jacket, not a knight. Calling a guy who wears chain maille armour (not even chain mail armor) ‘Johnny’ strikes a jarring note right from the start and deals your credibility as a narrator a vicious left hook from which, I believe, it never even begins to recover."

  • Diplomatic. Encouraging, positive, validating. People who like this style perceive it as courteous and supportive. People who dislike it consider it pandering and passive aggressive.

    Example: "Johnny is an interesting choice of name for a knight. It's not something I usually associate with fantasy. I wonder if it’s necessarily the most popular thing?"

Like CUBA Goals, these categories should be seen as a sliding scale. Very few people fall at an extreme. Most people are between two, and fluctuate depending on whom they're critiquing. You may prefer receiving a different kind of critique than you typically give. Take a moment to identify if there are any examples above you find offensive and would dislike if someone critiqued your work in that tone.

Your initial self-assessment isn’t final; you may find you change with time. Our moderators will spot check periodically and help members adjust how they describe both their CUBA goals and critique tone to the bell curve of the Ubergroup.

Elements

Text

This is bold and this is strong. This is italic and this is emphasized. This is superscript text and this is subscript text. This is underlined and this is code: for (;;) { ... }. Finally, this is a link.


Heading Level 2

Heading Level 3

Heading Level 4

Heading Level 5
Heading Level 6

Blockquote

Fringilla nisl. Donec accumsan interdum nisi, quis tincidunt felis sagittis eget tempus euismod. Vestibulum ante ipsum primis in faucibus vestibulum. Blandit adipiscing eu felis iaculis volutpat ac adipiscing accumsan faucibus. Vestibulum ante ipsum primis in faucibus lorem ipsum dolor sit amet nullam adipiscing eu felis.

Preformatted

i = 0;

while (!deck.isInOrder()) {
    print 'Iteration ' + i;
    deck.shuffle();
    i++;
}

print 'It took ' + i + ' iterations to sort the deck.';

Lists

Unordered

  • Dolor pulvinar etiam.
  • Sagittis adipiscing.
  • Felis enim feugiat.

Alternate

  • Dolor pulvinar etiam.
  • Sagittis adipiscing.
  • Felis enim feugiat.

Ordered

  1. Dolor pulvinar etiam.
  2. Etiam vel felis viverra.
  3. Felis enim feugiat.
  4. Dolor pulvinar etiam.
  5. Etiam vel felis lorem.
  6. Felis enim et feugiat.

Icons

Actions

Table

Default

Name Description Price
Item One Ante turpis integer aliquet porttitor. 29.99
Item Two Vis ac commodo adipiscing arcu aliquet. 19.99
Item Three Morbi faucibus arcu accumsan lorem. 29.99
Item Four Vitae integer tempus condimentum. 19.99
Item Five Ante turpis integer aliquet porttitor. 29.99
100.00

Alternate

Name Description Price
Item One Ante turpis integer aliquet porttitor. 29.99
Item Two Vis ac commodo adipiscing arcu aliquet. 19.99
Item Three Morbi faucibus arcu accumsan lorem. 29.99
Item Four Vitae integer tempus condimentum. 19.99
Item Five Ante turpis integer aliquet porttitor. 29.99
100.00

Buttons

  • Disabled
  • Disabled

Form