Encouraging students to write well is occasionally difficult. The first time that someone puts pen to paper they are convinced it is the most fantastic piece of writing ever created…and then they learn to be brutal and edit…and then they embark on become a truly talented writer.
I was very disappointed to learn this week that Authonomy was closing. For those of you who have never used the website, Authonomy was run by HarperCollins and along with reading the work of other writers you could also review and comment. The highlight was the top 5 books being reviewed by HarperCollins…but this is now all closing down.
My disappointment stems from the fact that for many of the people on Authonomy it is the second time they have been through this. Back in 2012 Inkpop, a place designed for young adult writers to show off their writing was taken over by their rival, Figment.
I was an early member on Inkpop and it had a fantastic community. The number of times I found solid writing to share and inspire my students on there was unbelievable. For many of us Inkpopers the decision of where to go with our writing was difficult. I personally went to Figment but for me it lacked the community spirit, detailed reviews and connections I had made on Inkpop and I soon deleted my account. I was a quite recent member to Authonomy and have found it more adult than anything else but had trouble “getting into it”.
Other sites still exist – Penguin has Book Country which I am currently exploring but I can’t help but wonder if perhaps Inkpop should have been left alone especially for the teen market which is often flooded with the same story – different names (and not to mention same covers of girls in flowing gowns).
Getting students to share work to be critiqued can be difficult. People who are not their friends can provide feedback about the person rather than the work. Posting them fairly anonymously allowed for honest reviews and critique.
In a time when communication is deteriorating I wonder how this new generation will share their love of writing with book clubs gone, writing groups in the local area gone, and website after website closing and forcing writers to start again and again. Where to next?