Forward Motion is an online writing community with more than 4,000 active members. The stated goal is to help writers along the road to publication with no distinction as to genre (with the exception of erotica so parents of the younger members can consider the site a safe place). In my tenure, I’ve seen many writers (myself included) go from unpublished to published. I’ve seen many more complete their first novels, or even just learn how to be in touch with their writer selves.
The site includes:
- discussion boards on pretty much every topic you can think of, though the amount of activity in the smaller boards varies based on whether someone has a question or comment to make.
- critique boards (both private and open to site members) where members can get feedback on their writing. These are all password protected to ensure no first publication rights are endangered, and posts are deleted once the critiquing is complete. None of these are searchable boards.
- a chat engine for live interaction with other writers, word wars when you need that extra push, brainstorming sessions for when you’re stuck, or just a friendly conversation with someone who doesn’t look at you strangely when you talk about the voices in your head.
- forum classes to help you improve your writing skills or topic knowledge.
- site tools for tracking your WIP progress.
- pips (small gifs) to display your achievements on your triumphs page.
- and many other features, including a record of agent turnaround data.
Membership is free, though donations are appreciated. Come check it out.
Online Writing Workshop
The Online Writing Workshop is a haven for science fiction, fantasy, and horror writers. The core is a critiquing engine with strict rules that govern participation so that in order to post beyond your first couple pieces, you must also critique. Once you get the hang of it, it’s relatively easy to accrue the right number of posts, but by then, the social aspects take over to discourage worthless feedback. I’m a firm believer in critiquing as a faster route to improvement than feedback. This system gives the push to both receive and give feedback, a road map to better skills.
As a sidebar to the critiquing site, there is an associated listserv where community members, former members, and folks who are not part of the Workshop but are interested in checking it out, discuss all manner of writing topics.
The Workshop is not free, but the annual charge is low and the benefits gained are high.
Holly Lisle’s Writing Aids
As I mentioned above, Holly was a big influence on my writing and my pay-it-forward mentality. Though I’ve always loved helping people, through Holly, I’ve found new ways to do so. Her site, HollyLisle.com, is very informative with a number of articles about various writing topics.
If you’re ready for more, these offerings found at Holly’s Writing Classes are worth both the cost and time:
Here, you will find both entertaining fiction, and non-fiction books and classes by Holly that can help you develop your writing skills and topic understanding.
How to Think Sideways Ultra
Holly is a multi-published author with a knack for sharing her methodology in a way that makes sense, and is helpful, to writers of all levels. Thinking Sideways is a look at the whole picture from teasing out solid ideas through writing, editing, and shopping them around all the way through to publication contracts or self-publication. No matter how far along the path you are, you’re likely to find something here that can help improve your process.
How to Revise Your Novel
If you’ve written a novel and are at a loss for how to turn that into a submission-ready manuscript, How to Revise Your Novel gives step-by-step instructions for identifying and resolving any issues the novel might have.
Note: I only recommend things I think you’ll get something out of (as you should know from the book reviews, interesting links and other posts).