1. James Scarborough
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    James Scarborough Member

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    Hello: New Member From Costa Rica

    Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by James Scarborough, May 17, 2011.

    Hi, I'm a new member and look forward to participating in the forums. Originally from Florida, I've lived in Costa Rica for the past ten years and am working on my first novel, a contemporary thriller set in the U.S. and Latin America. I'm making good progress on it but am a long way from being ready to start sharing it. I hope that when I'm ready, some of you may volunteer as readers. In the meantime, I'll try to set aside time to participate here and help others with their writing.

    At age 63, I'm probably older than most of you, with a different background and experiences, but am here for the same reason you are - because I enjoy writing and would like to encourage and be encouraged by other writers. I'm a Vietnam combat veteran and a retired attorney with an undegraduate degree in English. I have a great deal of experience as a legal and professional writer but have never before attempted to write fiction. I've quickly discovered that writing a novel requires an entirely different set of skills and a degree of self-discipline and creativity I've never needed in my past writing career. It doesn't come naturally to me but I'm working at it and am determined to succeed.

    I registered using my real name and am curious as to why most of you haven't. It seems to me that if you're serious about writing, you'd want to network with other writers as much as possible and want everyone to know who you are.
     
  2. Eunoia
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    Eunoia Contributing Member Contributor

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    Welcome. :)
    As for not using my real name, I never really thought about using it for a forum username.
     
  3. Gigi_GNR
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    Gigi_GNR Guys, come on. WAFFLE-O. Contributor

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    Welcome to the WF.
     
  4. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Hello James, Welcome to the Creative Writing Forums.

    It IS the Internet, so keeping your privacy is never a bad idea. And since I became a moderator on the site, I'm glad I kept my name and other personal details to myself. There is the occasional nut case to deal with, and some of them are quite nasty.

    I won't be using this site for marketing myself anyway. That isn't why the site exists. It's for exchanging ideas, and for learning ways to become a better writer.

    Please read How to Use the Writing Workshop before you try to post there. Posting your own writing for people to comment on should not be among the very first things you do here anyway. It is worth taking the time to see what other people have done to improve their writing, and see if some of it applies to your writing as well. That is part of why we require members to review other members' work before posting their own for review. On the other hand, there are no restrictions, other than content and copyright rules, on showcasing your work in your member blog.

    Also, be aware that posting a piece of writing on any public site, including this one, will greatly diminish your chances of selling it for publication. Removing the writing later does not alter that fact - once posted, it is irreversibly considered published. So do not post anything more than a small excerpt of any piece you are planning to submit for publication.

    If you haven't explored the site yet, you should probably do so soon. Newcomers often gravitate to the Lounge, the Word Games, or the Writing Workshop, but there is much more to be discovered if you poke in the corners. Remember to check out our FAQ as well, and be sure to read through the forum rules, too, to avoid any misunderstandings or hurt feelings. Respect for one another is our principal mandate.

    As for the Writing Workshop, new joiners often wonder why we do things a bit differently on this site than on other writing sites. We emphasize constructive critique as a vital writing skill. Training your eye by reviewing other people's work helps you improve your own writing even before you present it for others to see. Therefore, we ask members to review other people's writing before posting work of their own. We also impose a two-week waiting period before you may post writing for critique, to give you time to become familiar with what is expected and how the site operates. The Writing Workshop forums on this site, therefore, are true workshops, not just a bulletin board for displaying your work (and on that note, please only post each item for review in one Writing Workshop forum). Also, please use the same thread for all revisions and additional excerpts from the same piece of writing. See this post, Why Write Reviews Before Posting My Work? for more information.

    And while you're looking around, don't forget to check out the RPG forum for improvisational fiction. Also try our Weekly Short Story Contest and Weekly Poetry Contest. They actually run more than one week apiece, but any member may enter, and all members are urged to vote for their favorites.

    Enjoy your stay here, and have fun!
     
  5. Lilithmoon
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    Lilithmoon Member

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    Welcome!

    I'm on the run. *joke*
    It is really just a question of privacy with me. :)
     
  6. James Scarborough
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    James Scarborough Member

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    Thanks, everyone, for your welcome and your responses about why most don't use real names. I understand the desire for privacy but, except for protecting myself against spammers, I guess I'm of the opinion that with today's internet -social media, personal webpages, blogging, "Real Name" reviews on Amazon.com, etc., internet privacy is a thing of the past unless you're willing to completely disappear from the virtual planet.

    To me, the benefit of using real names is that it holds people more accountable for what they post. I, for example, am careful to post only things that I'm willing to stand by and that won't come back to embarrass me.

    I also certainly understand Cogito's point that these forums aren't meant to be a place to self-promote our work and I'd never want to use it as such, nor do I think it would be very effective. On the other hand, this should be a place to interact with other writers and to encourage and help each other out. I expect to make friends and contacts among other writers here and I hope those contacts will become valuable and important to me, both personally and professionally.

    If I didn't believe this, I wouldn't waste my time writing posts and reviewing other writers work. I'd spend it writing! If, for example, I offer comments on someone's work, my comments are going to be carefully thought out and as constructive as possible. I won't be doing it so I can get enough credits to be eligible to submit my own work for criticism. In fact, I have no present intention of ever submitting my work on the forums for comment.

    On the other hand, as I mentioned in my original post, when I finish my current novel, I'll certainly be looking for volunteer, pre-release readers before submitting it for publication. I'd hope that over the coming months, I'll meet other writers here with whom I share mutual respect and confidence, those who are serious about their craft and who'll seek out and value my opinions and criticism, as I'll value and seek out theirs. This is the sort of "networking" I hope to find here.

    Cogito, thanks as well for cautioning me about not posting anything here I later plan to have published. It's a good point and important advice. This isn't really a concern to me since I don't plan to post my work in progress anyway.
     

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