Excellent Help for Writers

Back in November, thousands of writers entered the annual NaNoMo novel writing competition. I wrote about it in that month’s Beacher issue, as well as back when the contest was just getting started. I’m just reminding you of this because you may have set your sights on entering it and then gave up. Since we are just beginning a new year, this is a good time to resolve to take the plunge into the wonderful world of creative writing. I’ve sifted through a few websites that can help keep you on track. If you do decide to dabble in the art of writing, I, along with all of my fellow Beacher writers welcome you to the fold.

I hope you find at least one of these collaborative writing sites a perfect fit for you. Back in the day (something we geezers say a lot), there was no internet. There were advertisements in various magazines for “Creative Writers’ Institute” or some such name, and all you had to do was take a little quiz, or write a few lines to see if you qualified. Other ads, which may still be around, stated that they were looking for writers for children’s books. No matter what genre you feel attracted to, there is a website devoted to developing your skills.

One Million Monkeys Typing (www.1000000monkeys.com/). Count ’em—six zeroes. You may get tired of typing in that address, so bookmark it. This is a smallish group of about 2000 monkeys er—writers. You have the choice of collaborating on projects in fiction, nonfiction and/or poetry. From what I read, I found the quality of the contributions above average. The site encourages participants to creat 300-word snippets, or “seedlings.” Using the metaphor of a tree, the website is structured, and one either gets a thumbs up or if consistently bad, an extinction notice. The site calls itself “an evolutionary writing site where only the strongest stories survive.” And in my mind, that’s a very good thing. Because, if you are serious about developing your writing, then you don’t need to shuffle through sites that publish very poor material, poor grammar, poor spelling—you know what I mean.

Novelit.com (www.novelit.com). This is for fiction fans only. Read, vote, write, and/or edit and become part of an international collaborative group which takes its writing seriously.

Protagonize (www.protagonize.com). This site has approximately 14,000 registered users whose objective is to explore their hidden writing talent. What I like about Protagonize is that it actively encourages constructive feedback and critique. If you cannot make it to meetings of writers’ groups locally, this might be a good option for you. These online writers’ groups seriously want to offer help. There is a lot to explore on this site, and I recommend a look at it.

Writer.com (www.writer.com). This creative colony has been around for a decade, and it’s still going strong. I hesitate to recommend it as your only source of writing support, because you truly have to sort the wheat from the chaff here. (I will probably get lots of hate mail for that comment, but it’s just my opinion). As are the other previously mentioned sites, Writer.com provides plenty of social networking.

Charley McKelvy’s Blog (www.charleymckelvy.wordpress.com). Hurray for Beacher colleague Charley, whose “Travels With Charley” have entertained and enriched us for many years. While the rest of us writers had immersed ourselves in the digital world years earlier, Charley was a little shy to join us, relying on his trusty typewriter to pound out his stories. When he finally got a computer, it took him a while before plugging into the World Wide Web. And now, as 2011 dawns, our man on the go has finally launched a blog! Be sure to check it out.

While you’re at WordPress, have a look at my unofficial blog, Fewer or Less.

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~ by IndianaDunesPoet on January 24, 2011.

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