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Lazette M. Gifford

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What is Forward Motion Anyway?
by Lazette M. Gifford   

Last edited: Tuesday, May 28, 2002
Posted: Tuesday, May 28, 2002

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There is a wonderful community for writers, right here on the Internet. The full title is Holly Lisle's Forward Motion: A Community for Writers. And that's really what it is -- a meeting place for writers.

There is a wonderful community for writers, right here on the Internet. The full title is Holly Lisle's Forward Motion: A Community for Writers. And that's really what it is -- a meeting place for writers. We have members writing at all levels, from those just starting their first stories to those who write for a living. We have people published at the New York houses, small press, self-published and e-published. We also have sf, fantasy, mystery, romance and even erotica writers -- published and unpublished.

All you need to join the community is a love for writing, and either a quest to learn writing-related techniques, or a want to help others -- and having both is actually the best. It's nice if you are willing to share writing tips that help you out, but it's not a requirement. In fact, there are no requirements at all for regular members.

Everyone who works at the site does it on a volunteer basis, and of course no one is paid. This is nothing more than a group of writers who are willing to help other writers as best they can.

The site consists of boards with several threads on them. Most are private and only members can view or join in the threads there. Some of the boards -- I'm sure I'll forget a few -- are:

SF and Fantasy
Games and Contests (all site-related fun stuff)
Research Links
Book Reviews
Class boards -- sign up, transcripts
Crit circles -- both the main board and several for different genres
On-line classrooms

We have sections of critique circles -- groups of from four or five to ten or twelve people -- who have joined together to crit each other's work. Or a person can elect to ask for crits from the community at large.

The biggest section of crit circles focus on sf and fantasy, but there are also boards for mystery, romance, erotica (a doubly private board -- even if you are a member of Forward Motion, you still have to be approved), and a young writer's section (which also requires a secondary approval), nonfiction and a few more.

There are things that happen on a regular basis. Justin Stanchfield does a daily writing exercise. He's great at this stuff -- I ran out of ideas very early on, and he just continues. We have two month long dares (with a month off between) that include not only new material (apprentice and master levels, varying word counts, etc.), but also rewrite and submission dares to help people get over their fear of rejections.

Sometimes we have classes. There have been ones on world building, of course. One in particular dealt with climate and weather, and was taught by a woman in Australia who happens to be not only a writer, but also a working meteorologist. There is a regular Friday night think tank in which people get together with Sheila Viehl and they all talk about plot development. Holly offers occasional classes as well. I have a Monday night session based on Lee Killough's great little book, Checklist for Culture.

No one is required to attend the classes and other gatherings. Just like everything else, everything is voluntary. If a member wants to offer a class on a subject they know, then that's great. If people want to attend, that's fine too.

There is a Friday night word war in chat that's fun -- sort of a free-write time where people who are having trouble getting moving on a story have found themselves propelled into writing by setting a goal and then jumping in and racing for it with others. This isn't the kind of writing that will work for everyone, and there's usually a great cheering section discussing other things while the Word Wars go on.

And that's Forward Motion: A group of writers helping each other and enjoying each other's company. It's not a perfect site, of course, but the fact is there is no such animal anywhere. People who like being at Forward Motion have found it helpful, fun and rewarding.

So that's Forward Motion. If you want to join us, come on over. Everything is free, and you can lurk, join in, ask questions, offer advice -- there is often a new thread on the discussion board asking for specific help on anything from grammar to tech problems. There is a question and answer board as well, which is nice. (Knew there were more of those boards!)

Web Site: Forward Motion

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