I love Tasmania. I love Tasmanian writing, Tasmanian people, and living in the Tasmanian landscape. In my own writing however, Tassie poses a problem.You see what I really want to write are fantasy books. But so far the writers and readers I've met have in the large majority not been fantasy readers. The issue I have is that I need the people who look at me work to be the sorts of people who read what I'm trying to write. Doesn't matter what your genre is - or in fact where you live - you've probably got the same problem.
Fight Club author Chuck Palahniuk spotted this a few years ago and started a section of his own website called 'The Cult', which worked as a sort of online writer's workshop. It was hugely successful, and many people who used the valuable feedback they gained from each other on the site soon enough started to get published. The only problem was that they wanted to broaden the field. On Chuck's website, the only real people who signed up were Chuck's fans. It was working, but they wanted it bigger.
So last week saw the launch of 'LitReactor', a forum/workshop/seminar series/inspirational repository for writers everywhere. The site combines a classroom environment with gaming elements. Work hard to help others and you'll earn achievements, as well as points which add up to allow you to submit your own work to the site's 'workshop' section. I've signed up and spent a week playing on there and I am hugely enthusiastic about it. The people are funny and kind, the workshopping is honestly looking to be a whole lot of fun, and the essays on the craft and tips from literary agents are fascinating and useful. The catch is that the site has a subscription fee, but for $9 a month (or $45 for a 6-month subscription) I think it's very decent. You can pay more to attend online courses by signing up to them, but I haven't had the chance to experiment with those yet, and my advice would be that if you're interested in the site, you just create a free login and have an explore before committing to get the extra content.
If you're like me, writing, and occasionally feeling that you're going it alone, LitReactor appears to be a god-send. A safe place, a hive for creativity, and somewhere you can go to get better at writing and help others do the same - I'm excited about it, and I think it could well be a crucial bonus and motivation in my writing process. Check it out, and I'll see you on there!
(You can add me as a friend on LitReactor by searching for the username: lyndonriggall)
Before I go, it is worth mentioning that a piece of my writing has gone up on Islet. The guest post covers the time I spent investigating the fascinating and very cool Hobart art den 'The Rat Palace'. I'm not sure I did exactly what I was asked to do, but I did try to paint a vivid picture of what it's like to spend half an hour chatting to and exploring the place where those guys work, and it was a whole lot of fun.
Also, Islet and Island have recently found out that their funding is being rescinded. They are fighting and staying positive, but if you are an Island reader who wants to see the magazine continue, they could certainly use your support.