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Helping new writers


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I believe that we should be encouraging new authors, but I know from experience that the first step of posting that initial chapter/story is quite daunting. I?d like to put up a proposal for comment.

We have probably all had the experience of someone asking us to review something they have written. Sometimes it can be very promising, but they need some guidance. I know I was very nervous about putting something up the very first time, and I suspect that many others are the same. For some it will be too frightening and they never show what they are capable of writing.

What I?d like to suggest is a special forum here at AwesomeDude where new authors can post a sample of their writing for comment. There should be enough regulars here who can read that sample and provide the appropriate encouragement.

I don?t want that forum to become a defacto story site, so I?d propose that all posts get aged away after 14 days. That should be enough time to provide feedback and it also means that the new writers don?t have embarrassing stories sticking around forever.

There are mechanics that still need to be sorted out. Posting guidelines would need to be very clear, along with a warning that inappropriate material could be removed without notice. We?d also need to ensure that it doesn?t get too busy, as the members making comments don?t want to spend all their time reading samples, but that should only become a problem if it becomes successful.

We also need to make sure we set the correct expectation for the new writers. They should not expect their work to be edited, or that continual revisions will be reviewed. The purpose is to allow someone to put up something and ask the question, ?Does it look like I might be able to write?? and if the answer is yes, help them along the way.

Comments, anyone?

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The Writer's Workshop forum category was created to give newbie and experienced writers a place to discuss things, including their writing efforts.

So Graeme's idea is a good one.

Some other forums have a private area where new or experienced writers can post story sections in the works, and request comments from fellow writers and editors. The public forum lists the private forum, and states it requires permission to post there, such as a PM request to a moderator, or a certain number of posts. The forum is private, so that writers can feel secure that the comments won't be too public, and about the portions of story drafts that they post.

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I think Graeme's idea is excellant and should be actioned immediately.

If the forum does actually see the light of day I firmly beleive that it should not have any form of restriction on it or to it's access such as:

(1.) Permission to post to the site or;

(2.) Moderator driven access or;

(3.) number of posts restrictions.

If we can resist the desire to restrict the new authors and the people interested in helping them with unrestrained advice then this could become a very popular forum.

Paul

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I can see pros and cons with allowing open access, but access control is also something that's easy to adjust afterwards.

The question to me is whether it should be initially a private forum for members (ie. you need to register to be able to post), but any member can do so, or should it be open to everyone and unregistered people can post to it?

There are obviously other options between these two.

I'm inclined to pick one, and then adjust over time. For example, either:

a) Start with open access, and if it becomes a problem, drop access to only members, or

b) Start with restricted access to members only, and then open it up if it appears to not be getting a lot use.

Opinions, anyone?

Graeme

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a) Start with open access, and if it becomes a problem, drop access to only members

I pick the above, not that you appointed me Dictator For Life.

I like this one too but worry that, if it's not heavily moderated, we're leaving open a place homophobes and other bigots can attack us and have their post read until a mod catches it and deletes it.

Codey

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I understand your concern Codey, but based on experiences of other sites that allow unregistered guest to post, that sort of thing is typically not a problem (though exceptions will always occur).

I would be more concerned about inappropriate material being posted, but if we start with open access then what we'd be doing is taking the pragmatic approach of seeing if this is going to be an issue or not. Ultimately, it's up to Dude on whether or not he's willing to take that risk. Since this is his site, he needs to be comfortable with what may be posted there.

Oh, and I'm include SPAM in the "inappropriate material" category. I've noticed some spammers joining boards just so they can advertise whatever it is they want to sell.

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I don't see what the problem with joining the site would be. If someone is too lame to get a hotmail account and sign up, I doubt that their prose is going to be all that hot. There's a reason why you hardly ever see Open posting on the internet anymore: it invites abuse and can cause serious liability problems for a site.

I am all for FREEDOM OF SPEECH but you should take responsibility for what you say by putting your name [or nom de plume] on it. I use the same name- jamessavik everywhere that I go on the net, email and when ever I join a site. I do this because I am who I am anywhere and everywhere I go, don't really care who knows it and I don't want to remember 60 IDs.

:geek: :cat:

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I am all for FREEDOM OF SPEECH but you should take responsibility for what you say by putting your name [or nom de plume] on it. I use the same name- jamessavik everywhere that I go on the net, email and when ever I join a site. I do this because I am who I am anywhere and everywhere I go, don't really care who knows it and I don't want to remember 60 IDs.  

:geek:  :cat:

Same here, jamesavik, I am DesDownunder everywhere. :roll:

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I am all for FREEDOM OF SPEECH but you should take responsibility for what you say by putting your name [or nom de plume] on it. I use the same name- jamessavik everywhere that I go on the net, email and when ever I join a site. I do this because I am who I am anywhere and everywhere I go, don't really care who knows it and I don't want to remember 60 IDs.

I agree, except... (don't you love "except"?) when I sign up for email newsletters (mostly computer newsletters) or have to sign on to a computer-oriented web site, I use a forwarding service to generate a name for that site. I don't see anything wrong with that.

Everything I write is by Colin Kelly, and I'm signed up on forums like AwesomeDude and sites like Nifty as Colin Kelly. BTW, I'm 16 and will be a senior in HS when school starts on August 22.

Colin Kelly

That's me!

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I allow open posting at The Talon House. In the two years The House has been open, I've only had three posts by guests that I've deleted, mainly spam. I've also banned those particular IP's after running a check on them. Two of the three came from an .ru service.

What I find kinda funny about them is, that all three posts were found in the Joke Book.

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I don't see what the problem with joining the site would be. If someone is too lame to get a hotmail account and sign up, I doubt that their prose is going to be all that hot. There's a reason why you hardly ever see Open posting on the internet anymore: it invites abuse and can cause serious liability problems for a site.

:geek:  :cat:

It's not a question of lameness. Younger people , new to the web, have heard all the horror stories and security warnings for kids on-line. They're concerned, and rightly so, about their security. There is also the problem of a younger writer, who happens to be gay, having to try to hide his activity on the web from parents, who don't know he's gay, on a family computer.

Being wary of identifing themselves on line doesn't mean they can't write. On the contrary, if they're young and interested in learning to write, there's a good chance that they have some talent and could use some help developing it or they wouldn't be reading that forum anyway.

BTW colinian, welcome to AD. Where can I find some of your writing? I'd be interested in seeing it.

Codey

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It's not only younger people (though I'd like to be conceited and assume Codey was talking about me, too). When I started checking out sites I was paranoid about leaving ANY traces on either the internet or on my PC. That's why it took me so long before I did anything active like joining a message-board or sending an email.

Anyone who is gay and in the closet is going to be cautious. Age is largely irrelevant (though those living with other people will be especially nervous about doing anything active -- and that's mainly teens).

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