By Glenn Quelch
At the beginning of 2006, I
decided to recommence creative writing after a break of about sixteen
years. That's a long while, and a lot has changed in that time. Enter the
Internet, which has grown into the largest information resource on the
Already being aware of the
positive benefits of online communities, I soon began to cast around for a
new virtual family with whom to share the development and experience
of my creative writing, and to learn from others. Having looked at a few
writers' sites (of which there are legions), I soon settled comfortably
within the community located at
What I immediately liked about
this site was its friendliness and that everybody seemed to be in more or
less the same situation as me: a new and inexperienced writer. The
registered users (members) welcomed me with virtual open arms and I have to
say that since the beginning, I have received nothing but help, highly
constructive criticism, and support from the fellow newbie writers.
The site is edited by Dawn
Copeman; herself a relative newbie, but already an accomplished one! Dawn
only decided to write full time in November of 2004. Already, she has had
over forty articles published and acts (in addition to editing
newbie-writers) as an editor and contributing columnist for the website
The newbie-writers website is
thoughtfully laid out; with the home page presenting the visitor with a menu
bar offering seven resource options: learn the craft, writing prompts,
resources, contests, courses, jobs and links to useful sites. In addition,
there is a forum, an archive, and an editor's information page.
The forum is highly active.
It has a fun side and a technical side. On the fun side, members can
discuss experiences about their writing lives in general; the first thing
they wrote, reading, fun stuff such as clichés and insults and where they
like to write. The technical side of the forum has eleven forum topics;
ranging from horror writing to copywriting. Members can post samples of
work, which are then reviewed by others and critiqued. I personally have
found this procedure to be really valuable and have also read postings by
some truly talented new writers.
An issue for the new writer is
to get into the habit of frequent practice; this is something that the forum
addresses wonderfully. Each month, or as often as possible, the members
write a group short story. The editor decides on the order of writers.
Somebody will then provide a prompt, and members take turns to contribute
between two and four hundred words to the story; thus taking it forward step
by step. Although a genre can be decided in the beginning, this can and
does change as the tale evolves. It is tremendous fun to contribute to and
really helps to get the creative juices flowing!
In addition to her substantial
workload, the editor of newbie-writers also produces a regular newsletter to
which members are encouraged to contribute.
The current number of
registered users of the site stands at one hundred and eleven. Even though
this is quite a substantial number of people, the site still retains its
friendly, family-like ambience. I am certainly keen to remain a part of
this online community until either monumental success or old age force
Seriously though, if you are
thinking of becoming a writer and looking for a place to start, visit
http://www.newbie-writers.com. You'll be glad you did.