Monday, February 22, 2010

Writing Communities - Fowcs and Mowcs

I was recently invited to join a free online writing community (fowc) by a fellow writer who I know well. And I joined. And overall the experience has been positive so far.

I've also been a part of a membership online writing community (mowc, the kind you pay for monthly) for almost a year and a half.

But I'm still skeptical. How come I don't hear about any bestselling authors who use fowcs or mowcs? Are they just a big time sink? Will they actually help improve my writing?

I don't know the answers, but I have a few thoughts.

1. Online writing communities will ALWAYS sound like a great, wonderful idea.

2. Fowcs tend to be more about the passion of writing, which I like, and less about showmanship, competitions, and elitism.

3. Mowcs are great at keeping freeloaders and inactive people from cluttering things up.

4. Whether a fowc or a mowc, I think any online writing community (owc) ought to encourage as much writing as possible, instead of begging for reviews.

5. What's with this whole "We have our own currency here" thing? It's never made sense to me why an artificial currency has to be involved. I don't want people leaving a review of my writing just because they get 30 golden review bucks to do so. I want them to read it and leave a review because they like the story, or like me as an author. Otherwise I get the one-liner review: "I thought it was good and compelling." I'm not looking for blurbs. I'm looking for perspective.

6. One thing OWCs are always good for is a self-confidence boost. As long as you can ignore any negative comments that come through, there are usually a lot of smiling ones to look at.

Does anyone have an opinion about OWCs, FOWCs, or MOWCs? Has anyone found an online community that has helped them get a book written or published?

1 comment:

  1. No, no opinions. I haven't joined any of those. I posted my query at "The Public Query Slushpile" and got some really useful feedback, and solicited beta readers on my blog and other's I've visited. And is a great place to post a one or two page synopsis of your WIP and let people decide if they like it enough to beta read and crit the entire novel.

    Neither are subscription sites; you post, you hope, and if you're really nice, you offer your own feedback to submissions that peak your interest. Paying it forward is always helpful; especially at TPSQ because the community gets a feel for your own writing and critiquing style.

    I'm picky about who reads my work because I don't want just anyone accepting an exchange just to get feedback on their own stuff. And, I want to be sure the critter knows a thing or two about the craft of writing; not just someone who put some words together and called it a novel.

    B/c I put a lot of time and energy into a critique. And I only agree to crit MS I've become intriqued into reading. For me, this means I've seen your writings on your own blog, and noticed your comments on blogs I follow and like your style.

    I guess what all this blah blah blah is saying is: expand into the blogging community. Visit some of your follower's blogs, click on their commenters, go to some agent blogs and click on those commenters. Get yourself known to regulars. There's a world of helpful sites out there, and in my experience; very little of it is in the forums.

    I know some awesome aspiring writers, and some of them post regularly to forums, but you really have to frequent the personal blogs to recognize them from all the other "feel good" freeloaders.

    No, let me qualify that. They are hard to find because they don't just comment on everything out there; but they are easily recognizable by their indepth comments. Look for folks who say things like: you really have a great voice, but your POV shifts around too often for me to get a fix on who exactly is you POV character.

    These are people who are actually reading the submission for the purpose of assisting the author in polishing their novel.

    Just my opinion, of course.

    Reesha you don't sound like someone looking for a feel good response to your writing. So my advice is to branch out. I'm looking at your followers and recognize many excellent writing voices. Take a risk and put yourself out there in the community.

    Did I start this with "no opinions". I'll get off the soap box now.