Lazette Gifford
Publisher & Editor
zette@cableone.net

 

Website Review: 

Absolute Write

Reviewed By Julie Anne Eason
2005,
Julie Anne Eason


www.absolutewrite.com

Absolute Write is the brainchild of freelance writer and author Jenna Glatzer.  A successful full-time freelancer, Glatzer has written for hundreds of top magazines such as Prevention, Woman's World, and Contemporary Bride.  She is a contributing editor at Writer's Digest and a columnist for Match.com and MSN.com.  Glatzer has made a go of this writing thing and is genuinely interested in helping other struggling writers make it, too.  She not only updates this site often, but also is a continual presence in the community. Jenna is also the subject of this month's interview in Vision.

At first glance, the site is overwhelming.  It has what seems like hundreds of classes, articles, interviews, and book reviews.  Although it is a free site, it is laden with advertising.  Persistence pays off, though.  If you scroll about halfway down the homepage, you will see links to a goldmine of free advice and help on almost any topic of interest to writers.  It doesn't matter if you are a novelist, journalist, screenwriter, greeting card writer, or just letter writer; there's something for everyone.

There are two subscription-based newsletters available through the site, Absolute Write Newsletter and Absolute Markets.  The first is free.  I subscribe, but have found that it is mainly advertising with a few articles thrown in.  I do not subscribe to Absolute Markets, so I do not know what it is like.  It costs $15 a year, which is reasonable; or, if you contribute an article to Absolute Write, you can get a year of Markets free.  The amount of advertising can get annoying, but the ads are all for writing-related items such as software and how-to books that you will not find elsewhere unless you are really looking.  I find myself paying attention to these most often at Christmas, when my relatives all want me to make up a wish list.

The real gem of the AW site is the Water Cooler, or community forum.  Here, you can ask questions and get advice from beginning and professional writers of all sorts.  There are separate forums for freelancers, screenwriters, children's writers, short fiction writers, novelists, business and copy writers, trade publication writers, poets, song writers, and many more.  They are even running a version of American Idol called Absolute Idol -- great fun and a real challenge for those writers who have made it this far!

Novelists will find a real treat in the thread called "Learn Writing with Uncle Jim."  Bestselling science fiction/fantasy writer James D. Macdonald started the thread in 2003 to help aspiring novelists learn the trade.  The thread has well over 4,000 posts, a separate "undiluted" thread that contains the "meat" of the main thread, and now an index to the topics discussed.  Uncle Jim introduces some unconventional theories like "positional chess as a plotting tool" and "all novels are romances."  If you're in a hurry, use the index!  But the entire thread is well worth a leisurely read over the course of a few weeks or months.

Writing is such a solitary business that any chance to make friends and share experiences with real live people is welcome.  The Water Cooler has separate forums for finding writing buddies, mentors, and critics.  You can share your work, post leads to paying and non-paying markets and troll for sources.  I've made several good friends here; some even live nearby.

Absolute Write is absolutely a fantastic resource for writers!
(Also see this issue's interview with Absolute Write's owner  Jenna Glatzer!)