I'm still searching for the right computer. I had finally decided upon something, and the shop dilly dallied around until I told them to take a hike. So much for a local based computer shop rather than a big box store. Now I'm looking for an alternative. I can't believe this 8 year old laptop is hanging on, but every day I turn it on, and it starts up, albeit usually with a new problem.
I see my stories improve the more I write, but I feel I am hitting a plateau. I do not want to have other writers here at SOL edit my work, it seems like a conflict of interest to me (unless Al Steiner is available, and alas, he is not). My goal is not to please readers (sorry) but to write the best tale I can write that is true to my voice and the story within me that wants to get out. Sadly, there's a very narrow band of offerings that get the high votes at SOL, and quality of writing seems to only play a small role in influencing reader opinions. I have to make sure whoever is editing my work is trying to help me achieve my goals, rather than shaping my work to hit the heights of popularity. I've looked into hiring a professional editor who could tear my stuff apart without reservation, but we're looking at $3000 or more, at least, per book.
Don't get me wrong, I love SOL enough to keep a SOL page open whenever my computer is turned on, but I am realistic about the intended audience, as well. My stories are not middle of the road, even for an adult site.
So today I hit upon the idea of taking online classes taught by famous and/or published writers. Yup, other students critique your work, but the analysis discussion is led by the established author. These classes are not very expensive compared to the cost of hiring a professional editor. I'm NOT looking for spelling and grammar help, but in how to create better cadence, or avoid the dreaded "-ly" words (although I am still not convinced it's always a good idea to do so). As soon as I get my new 'puter, I think I'm going to sign up for one of these classes.
Those readers who enjoy what words comes out of me, will only benefit if I craft them more artfully ("-ly" be damned).