Inter-webular: A Community of Writers

‘Interstellar’ means between stars, which makes inter-webular between the world wide web which for some reason contains less syllables than ‘www’? That’s weird. English is weird. You know what’s not weird?

Me. Nah – I kid. I’m definitely weird.

But, I thought it was interesting how much potential is on the web. You can literally do anything if you have an idea for it. And, I think people have taken this rule and run with it. There’s a website for everything: how to write, why to write, ideas on what to write…You can search a million synonyms for the concept of writing: books, novels, stories, etc. and so much will come up! I’ve compiled a list here, but of course it’s short. The inter-webular is limitless.

Scribophile

This website is basically an online writing community, a digital critique group. You can edit/comment on someone else’s post (either part of or the entire story), and you win these little karma points for your good deed! Once you have enough karma, you can submit your own story for feedback. This has been my favorite site so far!

Wattpad

This one is pretty interesting – I’m not signed up yet – but in theory, this is a website where you can post chunks of stories. And, I’m assuming this is a good place if you just like to write and don’t want to be officially published on a money-making basis, more if you want followers and readers – like a fan base. Pretty cool in theory. Be a good way to start your publicity. Especially since you can update your stories in chapters and readers/followers get messages when you do.

Page 99

I do like this one. This is a website that caters more to your style of writing rather than the big edits that writers/editors will focus on. If you still need to work on your syntax, word choice, dialogue – the entire stylistic approach, this is a good website for you. Submit your 99th page and get feedback from the community!

WordPress

This is just plain good for blogging/websites, publishing anything for any apparent reason, as long as it’s within the general nature of the internet, which is of course, everything. I use this for fun, use it for school, apparently the school/state use this for teacher evaluations…Must be good if companies are using it. But, either way, I like it’s ease of use and customization. You don’t need to know HTML to use it.

Inkitt

From my understanding, this is another community for writers/readers. You publish a story, and people can read them. But while Wattpad offers a strict reader/writer relationship, Inkitt offers a lot of contests, catering more to the writer community. It uses a ‘like’ rating system, similar to Facebook, to let people review stories. I would see this more as a publicity thing, mainly to accrue followers.

Nanowrimo

This is probably the most famous of all the websites. It’s a month-long writing “contest,” where you compete with yourself to finish a goal of 50,000 words in 30 days. It’s supposed to give people the pressure and motivation they need to finish a project. And in return for participating, you get to meet up with other writers in physical groups or online forums. You get the nice writing tips, contests, discounts for finishing…all sorts of good stuff. I would recommend everyone try it once, to push yourself and see how much can you write.

Blogger

Similar to WordPress, except much more rigid in its web design, Blogger is another site you can write to your heart’s content. Mainly for writing. Actually mostly just for writing. If you want to write, post, and already have an account with Google, this is an easy outlet. I used it for a while. Would recommend purely on its ease of use.

Word Choice

Bird. 

When you read that, what did you imagine?

I thought of a cartoon bird, the kind you draw with an “m”.

If I say pigeon, what do you see?

Probably a pigeon. It’s a specific species of bird, so it’s hard to imagine anything but a pigeon, which is why word choice is crucial here. The mind constructs definitions through images, so every time you see a word, the time it takes you to read is the time you brain needs to see every word and interpret its meaning, which is why using highly visually-stimulating words is so crucial. Why word choice is such a big deal.

It also works with verbs.

She drew a dog.

She sketched a golden retriever.

Sketched to me is more descriptive in nature because it’s a specific type of drawing, when your hand makes light pencil marks to draw the outline of an object. Draw on the other hand is very bland. To draw something visualizes a drawing, a finished piece, rather than the action of the verb.

I would not suggest active-editing while writing, but going back through your work to look for better word choices where possible. If you can’t think something, try using a thesaurus, and if worst comes to worst, type in a description in google, like “word that means tiny and fragile”. A lot of times someone’s already posted it on a forum somewhere. (Microsoft Word has an automatic synonym feature – if you right click on a word, under synonym, it will give you a list of options.)

Strategies to copy edit

If I were a pathological liar, I would tell you that copy editing is when you clone yourself, manipulate your genetics, then step back and see the effect it has on your double. But, I’m not. And we’re not even up to that point yet (i.e. cloning humans). But, you should still know how to copy edit.

Strategy #1 CUPS!

CUPS is an acronym that goes like this:

C – capitalization

U – usage

P – punctuation

S – spelling

This method encourages a series of passes rather than edits by the reader, and usually works by writing CUPS vertically in the top right hand side of your first page. Once you completed one step, you write your initials as to not forget you checked that. This works good in elementary classrooms, but this will work just as good for you.

As extra resources, I always recommend the Purdue OWL. They have a lot of good resources on nearly anything and everything style- and grammar-wise.

And, if you want to act as editor, don’t forget to know all the secret symbols of the copy editors’ society. (There’s no secret society, but there is common symbols that editors will use to speed up the process, reminiscent of a time when everything was on paper and not the computer.)