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I have just posted this on a piece of work written as a protest, and thought it was relevant to all here on the site:

'The point of posting your work on a writing community such as ABCtales is to gain valuable advice and feedback from fellow amateur and, in some cases, professional writers.

Every time I post a piece, I hope that people will enjoy it and take something from it. However, I also hope that they will point out any errors and offer me advice on how to improve my writing, because I want my writing to be the best that it can be.

If you don't appreciate the wealth of opinions and advice to be had here, and do not wish to receive comments on your work, it is possible to turn the comments off, I believe.

I would hope that nobody simply wants the community to 'ooh' and 'aah' and offer praise, which is merely ego-stroking and worthless, in my opinion.

I have been posting work here for almost eight years and, without a doubt, the feedback and advice I have received has improved my writing so much. I am extremely grateful to anyone who has ever helped me and I feel strongly supported by the community.

Kind regards,

jennifer x

p.s. heed the advice; following it might result in the cherry you desire.'

I would echo this and add that chasing cherries is no use unless something can be learned along the way. I value all the useful crits I receive, but it also tells me something when I don't get a cherry. Usually I know or feel when something I've written just isn't working (and no amount of oohs and aahs masks this). If I care enough about the cherryless poem in question I will go back to it at some point, and tweak and tease. And then a cherry may suddenly appear unexpectedly. Not always. A cherry doesn't mean an editor likes a piece - a cherry in my view means that someone who is more skilled/practiced/knowledgeable than me thinks there is some merit in a piece. Given this, I'm just as pleased when a poem or story by another abcer, and which I thought good, gets cherried, 'cos I feel my judgement isn't too off. Margot
Hi Margot, What a well balanced comment. One philosophy about cherries is as follows: award on the basis of: a)Originality. b)Evidence of serious craft. (Hard work) c)Any improvement over previous efforts. d)Brilliance: this one is so much more subjective than the other categories. Who is brilliant? Someone with three collections of poetry published by Faber, perhaps? So perhaps not many of these then, whatever one's own opinion. e)Something which resonates with an editor, (yes, there is always a team!). f)Something someone has gone back to, on the basis of advice, or not, that has undergone significant improvement. g)The good mood of an editor? Perhaps they can have a bad day too? (No, they don't get paid. Remember that when you're next upset. There's an awful lot to read. Occasionally, they might have a day doing exactly that on their own.) One last thought, if what you want to say is obscured by a grammatical error, haven't you failed to get your message across? Ewan

Gibbous House:  Ewan's First Novel
No Good Deed :  Ewan's Second Novel "the same as the first, a little bit louder and a little bit worse"

i've wanted to ask -who are the editors/cherrygivers at any given time? Is there a list? Or is it a secret?


I wouldn't say it's a secret as such. I'm sure you can figure out several reasons why it would be better to remain to remain anonymous, as a rule.

Gibbous House:  Ewan's First Novel
No Good Deed :  Ewan's Second Novel "the same as the first, a little bit louder and a little bit worse"

I remember the time (I am in a reminiscent mood) when we were advised that a cherry had been awarded by editor Number xxx. We didn't know his or her name but we could identify with that person to a certain extent.


oops -i edited an error in my post -its better now - and i dont need a cherry -but my question has slipped down the page, sorry. What are the reasons it is secret? Are these good reasons? Because secret cherrygiving groups might be criticised also, the cherry value questioned because a group is secret - so do the good reasons for secrecy outweigh negative ones?


Well, I did say it's not exactly secret, after all. Everyone knows Tony does most of it. I was outed after commenting on someone's work, which made my mail-box more lively than it has been for a while. One reason perhaps for anonymity. Yes, you have a point reference the questioning of the value of cherries if the group is secret, if it is the same people all the time. It isn't; several people have stepped in in Tony's absence this time. Different people have done it in the past. I almost certainly won't again.

Gibbous House:  Ewan's First Novel
No Good Deed :  Ewan's Second Novel "the same as the first, a little bit louder and a little bit worse"

Totally agree with Jennifer. The negative/critical comments are normally the most helpful, in fact. Also worth remembering this site runs on donations and functions due to the goodwill of a few people (not saying you don't all know this, but it tends to be forgotten in the never ending great cherry debate).


I am really glad I found this site. I am new to poetry and learn something every day from these pages. I can try things out and the comments are invaluable for learning how people see my work and how to improve. I am grateful to Ewan and Jennifer who are improving my punctuation and although I love the kind comments, I will probably learn more from the negative ones. It's a real treat to get a cherry but I tend not to look at those pieces again as they are prbably good enough whereas I will tweak and work on the others! But then "he who makes no mistakes, makes nothing."
i echo sarah's comment...i am glad i found this site, as well. i stopped writing for several years, and this site, and it's many commenting members, has helped me dust off the old creative center of my brain. as for cherries...they are a treat, but, for me, never a goal. i'd rather get helpful (ego-boosting or otherwise) comments. i'm happy to write and be read. cherries be damned! (none of the cherry picking secret society read that right?) jason


It's probably as well to remember that not getting a cherry can also very often mean that your piece either isn't the ed's cup of tea, or that s/he simply hasn't 'got it'. I've been writing and subbing to competitions, for example, for many years, and a short story that will win top prize in one competition may not even make the longlist, let alone the short list, in any other; it's all subjective in the end. Thank God. So if you're sure that a particular story or poem is just right and can't be improved on, trust to your instincts. And if you're not sure, shove it in a drawer for a month; by then you'll have had time to subconsciously digest the comments and crits you've received and will know whether to act on them or not. It works for me anyway!
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