Lazette Gifford
Publisher & Editor
zette@cableone.net

 

Website Review:
Newbie-Writers.com

By Glenn Quelch
© 2006,
Glenn Quelch


Newbie-Writers (http://www.newbie-writers.com)

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 planet today.

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

http://www.newbie-writers.com.

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 http://www.timetravel-britain.com.

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 relegation!

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.