Back when I was a fresh little nooblet of a novelist, and the publishing world was an enormous mystery I couldn’t figure out how to unlock, I stumbled upon Absolute Write. It was probably one of the best things that could have happened to me at that time. It educated me, honed me, tapped me into a community of many other intelligent writers, gave me a kick in the butt and a fond farewell, and sent me on my way.In fact, you will hear a lot of writers mention Absolute Write, but for those not in the know, it can feel mysterious and confusing.
So here’s the dish.
The Absolute Write Water cooler, often shortened to Absolute Write (or just AW,) is a group of web forums dedicated to everything writing and publishing. The layout can be a bit intimidating at first, but there are a couple of important boards that will really help you navigate your way around:
The Basic Writing and Novel boards, where you can discuss almost anything about how to write, such as plot and character, while the novel board focuses a little more on novel-related writing topics, such as the three-act structure, climaxes, etc.
Then under the AW Writing Lab is one of my favorite sections — the Share Your Work (or SYW) boards. These require a password (vist) which is always kept in the description. These boards are wonderful–broken up by genre, you can post sections of any work, whether it be in progress or ready for betas, and get critical feedback. Best of all? They have a Query Letter Hell board–which is where you can get crits on your query letters! Utterly invaluable.
An unspoken rule of etiquette is to crit at least a handful of other people’s works. People respect this a lot, so if they see you asked for crits but not giving any, they might skip critting yours in favor of someone more friendly. So keep that in mind.
Then there’s the Blogging & Social Networking board, where you can network with other bloggers, announce when you’ve started a new blog, and in the Did You Update Your Blog Today? thread, you can post links to your current blog posts and find links to other writer’s blogs. (This one is a huge resource!)
Finally, there’s the Beta Readers forum, where you can find people looking for betas or crit partners, post your own beta reader request, or discuss the beta experience. (Another huge resource!)
And to use the old adage, that’s just scratching the surface.
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However. People tend to have polarized feelings about Absolute Write. Some will rave and rave about it’s helpfulness and how awesome the community is, which is true. But others will say they don’t use Absolute Write anymore, and will admit, in a way that makes you wonder if there’s more to the story, that Absolute Write has it’s issues.
And this is true as well. I’ve been on both sides of the spectrum, so in my next post, I want to talk about the pros and cons of Absolute Write, and explain a little better how to use this resource the way that’s best for you.
truly and always,