Vision: A Resource for Writers
Lazette Gifford, Editor
Holly Lisle's Vision

Forward Motion

So Much More than 
Free Writing Classes

2002, Bethanny Davis

I came to Forward Motion for the free writing classes. In the August 24, 2001 edition of Writing World (, Moira Allen included a blurb about the free writing classes at  In that blurb, Moira listed some of the scheduled classes, including "Writing for Children and Young Adults," "Plotting," and "Writing Love Scenes in All Genres." I thought it sounded too good to be true. Someone out there was actually willing to teach these classes for free? There had to be a catch. Perhaps there was a membership to buy first. But it couldn't hurt to check it out, so I did.

What I found was far more than free writing classes. I found dozens of helpful articles, a chat room, and message boards where writers could discuss problems with their work, share their goals and victories, and rant about the things that bothered them regardless of whether it had anything to do with writing. I found back issues of Vision to be downloaded and read, all packed full of useful information. My first thought when I opened that first issue of Vision was, "Wow. She could easily charge for this."

There was even an e-book about writing. And all of it was free. I felt like I had stumbled into paradise.

I read every article on the site. I started hanging out in the chat room, posting messages to the boards and attending classes, including a plotting class taught by Holly Lisle. The message boards quickly became one of my favorite parts of the site. Unlike chat, the message boards are permanent, so everyone has a chance to see the posts and respond.  You can take all the time you need to post a well thought-out reply.

You can ask for help with a problem and get several different responses. Some may completely contradict one another, which is great because it shows that what works for one person might not work for another.

I check the main discussion board almost daily. I also like reading the rants board. It often makes me think about things I wouldn't even have noticed otherwise. I have found the word count board and the organization board helpful at times too. I also enjoy hanging out in the chat room.

It's nice to be able to talk in real-time with the other writers in the community. I can be a little shy though, so sometimes I listen a lot more than I talk.

One day, not too long after I found the site, I met Andi in the chat room and she introduced me to June. We all live in the same area, so we met for lunch. I not only had a wonderful time, but also made some new friends and got a quick lesson in plotting.

Why am I telling you this? Because to me, it demonstrates what Holly Lisle's Forward Motion ( ) is all about -- community. It's about making friends and sharing our knowledge and experiences to help one another improve our writing and reach our goals, whatever they might be.