Monday, December 13, 2010

Figment: Write Yourself In (a new writing site for young writers)

They're out there--the sites where writers can upload their writing and get feedback from others.

Figment is a new site, organized and catering to young adult writers, although there are no restrictions on age (after all, I'm a member). However, one of Figment's moderators, Lindsay, is twenty-two, according to her forum post.
"What is figment? Figment is a community where you can share your writing, connect with other readers, and discover new stories and authors. Whatever you're into, from sonnets to mysteries, from sci-fi stories to cell phone novels, you can find it all here."
In a recent article titled "Web Site for Teenagers with Literary Leanings," the Wall Street Journal discovered that the creators of the site had originally envisioned a sort of "literary Facebook for teenagers." They discovered, though, that teenage writers wanted something different.
“I really went into it and thought, ‘We’ll be the social network for young-adult fiction,’ ” said Mr. Lewis, a former managing editor of The New Yorker. “But it became clear early on that people didn’t want a new Facebook.”

The young people on the site weren’t much interested in “friending” one another. What they did want, he said, “was to read and write and discover new content, but around the content itself.” 
 To me, an apt comparison is that Facebook is standing on a street corner and chatting. Figment is sitting in a coffeehouse or bookstore, friends gathered round, sharing the literary ambiance.

Even in its days-old infancy, the site has the challenges one would expect. An avatar which contains a four-letter word beginning with "F" that ain't fish or fork. Folks on the forum complaining about the concept of "appropriate material" and asking all kinds of questions about exceptions. In other words, normal stuff.

The tabs bar icons for the site read as follows: home, figment library, figment features, contests, forums, blog. The personal signed-in tabs read my desk, my writing, i'm following. Yes, this really is a site for text-messaging writers; the "i'm" is not capitalized.

I'm following and interacting with the site for a while. If it looks dynamic and nurturing, I'll recommend it to my students. In the meantime, I've uploaded four pieces: some flash fiction, a poem from my book Bare Ruined Choirs, and the first four chapters of Love Ya Like a Sister.


Copyright 2010 by Thomas L. Kepler, all rights reserved


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