great link! thanks for digging it up, MartinEx (or will just "Martin" do?).
Goodness, I've missed Calliaphone, Kate Clarke, MartinEx - welcome to WW all three.
Looks as if you're all finding your way round - if you get stuck, just post a cry for help!
Glad you liked the thread too Calliaphone (Martin's fine!) - reading the comments of people who judge comeptitions made me feel a whole lot less removed/disconnected/isolated from the process.
I submit stories every now and again and, a lot of the time, writers are in the dark about how many other entrants there are likely to be and what kind of writing is expected/considered.
It was enlightening to get a glimpse at the 'judge's' world and a relief that maybe there aren't the thousands of writers that I imagined out there to compete against. Made me feel more hopeful to realise that some competitions receive only a few hundred entrants (not so great for the organisers of course).
Martin, WW is a rich resource but a lot of great discussion or links can eventually be lost in the depths of the archives, so it's good to resurrect them from time to time. I'll post the link in the beginners group, there's a thread there for posting useful links called The Writer's Rules, etc.
When I started it I meant to keep it updated but have been a bit lazy. If anyone has found something helpful or inspiring for their writing, either on WW or elsewhere on the web, please post them in the thread. At least that way they won't get lost.
There's also a great collection of most useful links to writing issues/questions on the WW homepage now, just fyi.
Just wanted to come back and say I'm still here checking out the boards! I've been looking at a few 'writers' forums and assessing which I think fit best with what I've got to give (my heart and soul, dahlings!) and what I'd like to get.
It's not something I've really looked at in any detail before but, now, taking the time, it's interesting to compare the writing sites that Google churns out.
I've used forums in relation to other aspects of my life and I wonder if other people have similar experiences to me - that the 'writing' sites (present company excepted) are not generally of the top rank in terms of content.
I am being sincere when I say Writewords excepted, as looking at other websites - there can be a huge number of 'child' (or reasonable facsimiles of children) members literally posting nonsense.
Writewords certainly stands out as having a decent proportion of actual working writers mixed with proper students of writing and as much as I can tell - all real adults!
I wonder, if writing forums simply attract waves of people who (say in reaction to a media story) whack out a quick story and then immediately trawl the internet for feedback.
Perhaps other occupations have a higher entry bar to cross before one can legitimately get involved/discuss on the web?
People really seem to have no inhibitions when it comes to publishing their most basic writing on the web, but wouldn't turn up on a motoring forum asking which colour car goes fastest and so on....
I suppose what I'm inching towards asking is whether, because writing is one of those things which everybody thinks they can do - we've all got a novel in us and other such myths - the internet is overpopulated with people who want/think they can do something which is clearly beyond them - but because there are no barriers to entry - people just keep plugging away - posting and re-posting - filling entire forums - entire Latvian offshore storage facilities - with the sort of writing which really should never see the light of day.
Or perhaps I'm having a bad day and just being a bit harsh?
Just re-read this and realised that people may take what I've said as referring to anything I've read on Writewords and was some kind of barbed poke - not the case at all.
Just for clarity, I spent a couple of hours over the weekend reading contributions on writerscircle (I think!).
In the main, they seemed to be American - definitely has a global readership - but so many were apparently written by teenagers and often amounted to nothing more than an opening line - just found it a bit dispiriting in terms of people not seeming to want to put in the groundwork/serve their time/learn the basics - before seeking the gratification of internet approval.
Made me wonder how many people will write one paragraph, post it on the site, get a negative response (or none at all) and never write again.
I wondered whether this aspect of instant gratification and subsequent abandonment is exaggerated in the world of writing forums more than in say, music or art.
The capacity to write a few sentences seems to encourage an illusory capacity to write where the same 'talent' is not so readily 'imagined' by so many in the visual or musical arts.
If you fancy ignoring all of my previous post, I can summarise it as people think writing's really easy, don't they?
I think one of the best things about WriteWords is how seriously people here take writing, and how much less seriously they take themselves. I was on one of the better known US sites for a while, and while the former was probably true for a high percentage of contributors, sadly the latter certainly wasn't.
It made for some uncomfortable reading sometimes! Glad you're enjoying WriteWords
|I wonder, if writing forums simply attract waves of people who (say in reaction to a media story) whack out a quick story and then immediately trawl the internet for feedback.|
Writing is easier to post online than music or visual art, perhaps, and lots of people know that you need to learn to do those two, whereas rather more people feel equipped to try writing. So maybe writing forums are more prone to it than others... though I doubt it. Having said that, there are an awful lot of dreadful bands playing things on MySpace, I'm sure, or the equivalents in visual arts.
That's okay. Human creativity is a good thing regardless of the quality of the outcome, and so those places need to exist too. There is a role for forums just as a place you can put your writing (photography/music/cooking) - however good, bad or ugly it is - and have it be read/heard/received. It's the facebook side of things, if you like. I only post photographs on FB if I'm genuinely please with them, but I don't really expect a full (negative) art-critical critique, and wouldn't be too thrilled if I got one, because that's not why I'm doing it.
Having said that, of course, that's not the same as a site like WW, where the underlying assumption is that people are trying to learn to write better. It's a visceral shock to then get feedback which talks about the success or failure of the piece, and quite a lot of people who try out a forum find that they don't like it.
Which is fair enough too, as long as they don't keep on kidding themselves that they're dying to learn, but without actually opening up to hearing what's being said.
|one of the best things about WriteWords is how seriously people here take writing, and how much less seriously they take themselves. |
I couldn't agree more!
In a funny way, I think the two go together (although we all know very serious writers who also take themselves FAR too seriously) - if writing takes over your whole life, it can't help but include some of real life's absurdities.
Before the year runs out, I just wanted to say thanks to everybody on the forum for useful tips, pointers and general advice.
I've resolved to try harder in the new year with a view to making some more progress with life and writing.
If I fail, no matter, I'll try again. If I fail again then I'll fail better. (Cheers to Sam the man)
Godd luck to everyone on here - oldies and newbies - hope you all have a cracking new year.
And my stars are good too!
Good luck, Martin and happy new year.
With regard to your point above, I think writing is about communication in a more direct way than other arts, and that is why there are more forums and why people have an immediate desire to be read. Also, of course WW is paid, and that does pre-suppose a certain commitment and thus a certain level of experience. I think the internet may well be a dangerous thing for people's confidence - but on the other hand I expect young people today are more internet-aware and resistant, having grown up with it, and are able to keep a certain distance from criticism. I know quite a few of my MA students came to writing via online fan fiction. But yes, I agree a lot of the writing out there is not very good, and it's difficult to sift through it and find the good stuff. And most of the people who are writing good stuff are in closed groups or not critiquing online. There's a lack of middle ground, a space for pre-published but highly motivated writers who are at a certain level to critique and discuss their writing.
|And most of the people who are writing good stuff are in closed groups or not critiquing online. There's a lack of middle ground, a space for pre-published but highly motivated writers who are at a certain level to critique and discuss their writing.|
Great post Steerpike's sister. I think you get right to the point with that.
There's a huge number of writers who are happy to post anything on the internet because fundamentally, they probably know that their writing is not good enough for publication, so there's no loss in giving it away for free and there's always the possible of receing some encouragement/praise.
A lot of these writers will still be at a novice stage and wouldn't have a huge amount to offer other writers in terms of constructive feedback or critique.
The 'middle ground' is made up of the people who've done the ground work, have read widely, know what they like, know what they're trying to achieve and are good, capable readers of other writers' work.
They are probably on the cusp of being publishable or even published.
They know the real value of their writing and ideas and they won't give it away for free. They're aware of what you can lose.
So unfortunately, these 'learned' writers are virtually absent from the world of writing forums.
PS. nice change on the thread title ;-)
I was a regular member of a free forum for writers, but was eventually put off by attitudes I didn't care for, trivia, subtle and petty sniping, etc.
I've worked, daily, on my novel for almost two years, and feel it's almost there, so I'm (maybe) in that category you describe. I'm certainly serious about writing.
I really wish there were more in my position: not published, and not going to publish until my work is as good as it can be. AND wishing there was a reading-swap group here. It was proposed late last year, but has not yet materialised.
|PS. nice change on the thread title ;-)|
And more appropriate, given the length of it these days...
I think what's being discussed about the serious, middle-ground writers not being so visible is true of the terrestrial world too - at least in the business of critiquing.
One reason, I think, is a facet of what I think was mentioned further up: there are lots of good, sensible, useful things which can be said of most beginners, and about most beginners' work, and quite a lot of other aspiring writers and others are equipped to say them. So there are lots of places where beginner-writers congregate and seek and get help.
But as you get more experienced, learn your craft, find your voice, get more technically adept and so on, the less useful generic advice is likely to be: the problems in a project will be much more specific to it, and to you, and can't easily be teased out.
The good generic advice is much less likely to be useful, so a) you need people who've read the whole thing, which if you're a novelist drastically narrows the field and b) you need ever more experienced people to offer the help, and there just are fewer of those. Like any art, the pyramid of writers has a very broad base...
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AlanH - I think so - if you manage to stick at an extended piece of writing for a couple of years, you're defintely in the category I'm thinking of. You've fundamentally decided what you want to do and have probably cleared all the 'teething' trials - next step agents and publishers to see what kind of response your writing gets.
The writing pyramid certainly does have a broad base Emma. And as you allude, the better you get at it, the harder it is to get better.
It's harder to find people at a similar or higher level who will/or can, find the time to give you useful input.