WriterL is a private, subscription-only listserve tailored for the discussion of narrative nonfiction writing and the high-level reportage that is generally associated with such writing. Open subjects include writing and reporting techniques for narrative nonfiction books, magazine and newspaper articles; markets; software and tools for writers; agents; sales; contracts; and, eternally, the pedigree of editors.
It has been said that the atmosphere of WriterL is reminiscent of Paris of the 1920s -- those heady days when Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Gertrude Stein and their contemporaries gathered in cafes to discuss writing. Though writing must, ultimately, occur in each individual's mind, those writers found that the inherent loneliness could be partly alleviated by daily contact with other writers. This strengthened and freshened their perceptions of themselves and their art. WriterL has adapted this idea, gathering serious writers from around the world to discuss writing and help one another. Members come from Africa, France, Britain, Canada, South America, the Far East, and, of course, the U.S.
Our club includes mostly nonfiction writers at all levels from wantabes to the most consummate of professionals. The Pulitzer Prizes for feature writing in 2001 and 2002 were both won by WriterL members.
Most of our members write narrative nonfiction -- those long forms that Tom Wolfe called "the new journalism." But we also have a number of members who write fiction; techniques for good writing, after all, apply to all forms of writing.
If you have previous experience with listservers, you will be surprised by two things. The first is that this one isn't free -- members pay $30 each year. New members pay $35 for the first year.
Your second surprise will be the quality of the WriterL posts you receive. The list is moderated by Jon Franklin, a two-time Pulitzer prize-winning reporter and author, and edited by his wife, Lynn, who is also a writer. Outstanding examples of contemporary writing are posted and critiqued. The discussants include hundreds of Pulitzer-Prize winners, successful writers, editors, coaches and teachers. The conversation is informed, civil, and on-point. You will receive one post a day, Monday thru Friday. It is, as one member put it, "a welcome haven from the chaos of the net."
It is also an education that can't be bought in the non-virtual world. One
writer, donating $125 to a WriterL project, remarked that she had taken many courses in writing, all of which cost her much more, but had never received anything like the value of WriterL.
The culture of WriterL owes its nature to many things. The fact that it
maintains and publishes a roster of members, along with short biographical
sketches of each, makes the group less anonymous -- and people seem more polite when they know who's listening. Civility, professionalism and mutual respect feed on one another, generating a level of thoughtfulness and seriousness rarely, if ever, found elsewhere on the net.
Most posts run about 1,500 to 2,000 words. You will usually receive a post once a day, Monday through Friday. Post are mailed out the previous evening, and most members report they read it with their morning coffee. Please note, however, that the discussion can be intense and so full of useful information that falling behind in reading can be intimidating. We've found that only serious writers benefit from WriterL.
To find out how to join WriterL, please click here.