A few of us are thinking of creating some kind of forum here for imaginative writing, so that writers can look at each other's work and exchange ideas. For now I want to hear from interested people.

As yet I have no clear idea of how exactly it'll work or what we'll do. Lucy-S made the proposal, with a lot of detailed ideas involving technical changes to the database and our methods. I don't know to what extent they're feasible. Until then, here's what we can do with existing methods:

  • Create a room. Lucy-S has suggested Prose Garden, and I like this. You enter the room by searching for or clicking on Prose Garden, and the chatterbox there is visible only to people who are currently in the room. So we can talk openly without having to use /msg.

  • Create a message group. I propose calling it e2prose. A god can add you to the group (or remove you if you want). Then anyone in the group can broadcast a message to the other members using /msg e2prose Blah blah...
  • To send messages to only those group members on-line now, use a ? on /msg, thus /msg? e2prose Blah blah.... This prefixes your message with 'ONO' (on-line only) and saves flooding message inboxes.

That's it: just a talking shop. No powers or privileges.

This does not address the one key problem, that posting on E2 is public and therefore legally counts as publication. Some other publishers will reject your work if it has already been published. But if it was restricted to a designated group of interested readers (our e2prose group), it would count as private. We do not have a way around this (yet, if at all). E2 is not the ideal site for serious private discussion of this kind.

I'm sure all E2 imaginative writers are heartily sick and depressed by the hostile reaction their writing gets here. All original fiction and poetry gets several downvotes instantly, without even being read, and regardless of the content. We're all used to mentally disregarding this spiteful and petty-minded ignorance, but it could make or break an aspiring new writer, who thought it was a commentary on their work rather than the blind philistinism it is.

I have used prose as a short, neutral term for what we write. Another word for it is imaginative. It's usually taught as creative writing, but that wrongly implies that factual discussions of science, history, or literature are not creative. It is not fiction, for it includes reflective retellings of real events: many of our best writers work in this way. It is not just formal short stories: many of our best writers work with visually and aurally poetic prose.

Clearly a similar group would be useful for E2 poets, and some writers would belong to both groups. However I think the poetry side is different enough to require a separate group. (And of course any other group, maths or history or sport, could have dedicated usergroups.)

A few people here are professionally published writers already. I don't want this group to seem dominated by them, and they don't need the confidence-boosting this group might give: this is more for the rest of us* who like to write enough that we might one day be published. Don't feel excluded, is what I'm saying.

Let me know if you're interested in being part of this. I sent out messages to tell a few people I can think of who might be. Expressed interest so far: So many people have expressed interest that there are too many to list. Click on e2prose to see the list. Anyone new who wants to be added, please contact a god. (Demeter is one and also a real live writer so I've made her head of the group.)

* Just after writing that I go to the post office and find that the book my short stories are in has arrived. I'm published! :-) And it's pr0nerotica so don't ask.