I am an active E2 voter, factual writer and prose writer. I am a member of the E2 Prose Writers Group. I support writing of a creative nature and writing of an experimental nature. I believe it has a place here. I also believe that there are those who believe E2 should be only a repository of facts and figures. To each their own. The existence of many different points of view not only makes E2 a more worthwhile place, it makes it a microcosm of the real world... and the real world of writing.
My opinion of the purpose of the E2 Prose group and its value to the E2 community may differ from that of other members. I do not believe that prose writers should take their work out of the mainstream of New Writeups. I do not believe that prose writers should seek ways to change the make-up or coding of E2 to suit their "needs" or wants. Why? Because the best education an aspiring writer can get involves learning to adhere to an existing system. Work within the limitations of the medium. Adapt to your surroundings. If you have aspirations to become a published writer, you will need to learn how to do this. If you are a published author who has experience dealing with the publishing industry, then this should make perfect sense to you. My advice to writers of fiction and creative prose is as follows:
- Don't submit works in progress. Write and rewrite until you feel your work is ready to be read by your E2 brethren. Let others in the group or others you trust look over your work either on your E2 Scratch Pad or on your home node. Wait until you have something you feel is truly worth submitting before hitting the submit button.
- E2 is not a writers' workshop. You can make valuable contacts through the E2 Prose group and perhaps work together outside the walls of E2. Through /msg you can share thoughts and brief critiques (I have found critiquing through /msg leads to misunderstanding based on the limited space for communicating). For greater understanding and sharing of advice and experiences, exchanging e-mail addresses is much more beneficial (there is an E2 Prose member I speak to regularly "on the outside" and there is no reason you cannot as well). Prose Garden works on a limited basis, but schedules and time differences make it difficult for everyone to gather at once.
- Our support of prose does not mean support of crap. Prose should adhere to the same standards as any other contribution to E2. The power of good writing is that others can understand and on some level relate. Make it something people will want to read a second time or recommend to their friends. Prose requires good grammar and correct spelling more than any other E2 contribution. Proofread until your eyes bleed. The best work can be ruined by a single spelling error because it destroys the rhythm of the work.
- Pick titles carefully. Personally, I pick them off the nodeshell trees because that is more of a challenge and I'm not creating new pages just for my own weird brain explosions. Long titles may amuse and intrigue you, but it is important to remember that your piece will have to follow that title. A long, mind blowing title may draw a reader in, but you now have a much greater chance of disappointing them. Want a real challenge, pick on obscure Webster nodes and write a piece centered on the word you find there. If you absolutely must create a new title, pick one that is sharp and reasonably short.
- E2 Prose is a unique entity. This is a unique format that is unlike any other. You may get feedback and criticism, and that more than likely is what you are looking for. What works here is not necessarily what will work in another market (E2 is considered a market because votes and cools count as a kind of reimbursement for your work). You will get voted up. You will get voted down. As I have already noted, it is a better place to work on your ability to adapt and market yourself than to find out what kind of writing will sell in the outside world. Write for E2 and the readership you have here. A writeup sitting at -2 might be far more marketable in the "real world" than a 7 times C!ed +150. Remember that.
- Formatting. You have the ability to experiment with the format of your work if you feel it might add to the overall feel of your work. I am guilty of a tendency to change the paragraph alignment for dialogue simply because it keeps it from melting into the narrative. It is also because I like breaking the rules when I can, and on the outside I can't. Enjoy yourself, but don't do it to the point of driving your readers mad.
- XP Stoicism is a key to writing success. If you are the type of person who whines about downvotes and cries half the night over the nuking of a writeup, then please don't ever try to get yourself published. You will never make it. This is a good place to practice use of your backbone. Of course, maybe you simply enjoy writing and you enjoy sharing your work with others. That is great as well, and more power to you. Still, you must adapt to any environment you wish to become a part of.
I have been writing for a quarter of a century, something that amazed me when it was pointed out to me recently. I have been dealing with publishers, editors and agents for two decades. I enjoy E2 because it is laid back and rewarding in its own way. I enjoy reading so much of what is here, both learning new facts and enjoying delicious pieces of creative writing. If E2 didn't have both it would be like a world with only one sex. Pencils ready? Let's begin.