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Revised title - "What is your vision for WAG?"

link this post written on 10/04/2011
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I'm starting a new thread, to keep it separate from debate; to give everyone the place and the opportunity to offer their personal view; and to prod anyone who might be reluctant to participate in a debate.  We'll debate later.  Right now, we need input.

You joined our group so it's your group.  Now tell us what you want to do with it.  Writers Across Genres was formed to build ""...a coherent organization that advocate(s) for the interests of writers across genres."  Judging by the variegated responses I'm reading, there are very nearly as many ideas about how to serve the purpose of that statement as there are members. 

For a moment, just forget what everyone else has to say about it.  Forget long enough to form your own opinion and express it here.  This is not the place to agree or disagree.  This is the place to tell the rest of us what you want to do; what you are willing to do.  We can hash out our differences on the other threads, but when you come in here, begin with a clean slate.  YOURS ... and yours alone.

That's how new and vigorous ideas are formed, from a multiplicity of perspectives.  If you don't have an opinion, say so, but say something here.  It's time to build a consensus, but we can't get there as a group until everyone chimes in.

Have at it.

link this post written on 10/04/2011
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I know there are a ton of them out there, I wan to start a e-zine. Is everyone in agreement with this? How to start one, I have no idea, but I am sure I can get some feedback from my profs at Fairfield.

Also, if this eventually turns into a platform for a mag, I want this to be a small membership: editors, readers, etc.




link this post written on 10/04/2011
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My vision for this group is "...a coherent organization that advocate(s) for the interests of writers across genres" within the WAG community.  My reason for joining WAG was to be a part of WAG and to help WAG.  I also want to add that I see it as WAG's responsibility to make certain that various genres are represented here.


I don't know exactly what I'm willing to do or can do - haven't thought all that through - but I do know that I'm more than willing to help with any editing needs associated with this group.  So there's one thing.

The author has edited this post (on 10/04/2011)
link this post written on 11/04/2011
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Just want to say, love Jurgen's Atwood quote re: restless anchovies on the previous thread! She's kind of a local hero around my neighborhood, because she's had a home on the island for years.

Re: what I want. This group started on Fictionaut as a discussion of how to band together to find a way to connect to an audience and figure out or create some sort of compensation model for our writing. I haven't wavered from that goal. However we do it, I'm open to suggestions. 


link this post written on 11/04/2011
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What I want is a small, diverse organization of writers across genres united in a venture designed to seize emerging opportunities in a rapidly changing publishing world.  What I want is an organization dedicated to promoting the needs and the benefit of the artist over all other interests in the art of creative writing.  What I want is an organization that understands the relationship between the writer and the reading public.  What I want is an organization that is not offended by the idea that writers need to be paid for their work and, simultaneously, does not demean or insult the intelligence of the reading public.

What I want is what I remember.  When I started writing in the late ‘60’s, more people could make a living by writing.  There was no ‘institution’ for the manufacture of writers through MFA programs.  The mood of the publishing industry was rather fearlessly entrepreneurial as compared to the formulaic and timid mood of publishers today.  Both publishers and agents were willing to develop and to aggressively market the work of new and promising writers.  Even literary magazines with the most modest means attempted to provide some compensation to their contributors and the best-seller lists included books that, today, we consider literary.  Even ‘popular’ genre writers such as Ray Bradbury, Agatha Christie, and Kurt Vonnegut produced work that was high in quality of language and even intellectual in perspective. 

In the shifting base of the publishing industry today, there is a marvelous opportunity for writers to achieve self-determination by seizing the publishing industry and developing the hard means to publish good, quality work, their own work, and to ensure the writer gets the lion’s share of the profits.  A new commercial model that could ensure the writer’s benefit would include the cooperation of skills that used to exist in the old publishing model, bringing development, editing, marketing, and old-fashioned business sense together into a new kind of publishing organization directed by the writers themselves and managed by a small core team of business professionals.  This organization will study and utilize every avenue of profit through strategic advertising and aggressive marketing for published works by the writers in the organization in both print and electronic media.

Electronic media! 

It’s a whole new world that no one yet has a handle on.  The publishing model that learns to use it and to profit from electronic media will control the future of publishing altogether.  Also, a large enough group of serious writers who seek to organize and publish their own work will create the validation required to overcome the stigma of self-publishing.

I’d love to see a larger organization dedicated to the advocacy of the art in creative writing, and that’s why I came here, but I don’t see that happening.  I’m not really comfortable with endless discussion, believe that writers can and should be paid for their work, but I am convinced the fastest way to accomplish that is to build the means by which it can happen. 


link this post written on 16/04/2011
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Okay, the silence speaks well. 

It's been nearly a week.  Of the 26 members to whom I sent it, not counting myself, only three responded to this poll.  Matthew, Sam, Kim, I thank you.  Despite all the words I've thrown into this, I am not the demonstrative sort.  I won't send out any more messages and will pretty much leave this alone for now.  You can't build an organization without involvement.  The lack of it would seem to indicate that the need for an organization like WAG is probably not great enough to warrant its existence.

Writers should write, so that's what I'll be doing.  Time is precious to me just now.  Thanks to everyone who expressed an interest here and took the effort to join and to get involved.  It's a good idea.  I hope someone can and will take it and run with it.


The author has edited this post (on 16/04/2011)
link this post written on 16/04/2011
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James, you and a few others have done so much to get this started and I truly appreciate your goals and efforts. I, alas, am one of those who have fallen by the wayside on this and I'll try to explain why.

The original seed from where this whole thing blossomed, I think, was the dissatisfaction among writers that writing, aside from technical, journalistic, and such, is basically a non-paying venture. We produce, and though we're egotistical enough to be thrilled with an audience who may applaud, we'd just love to get paid as well. After all, even artists, dancers, musicians, get paid for their creative output. Just how did we become the poor relatives of the artistic community?

Unfortunately, I saw early on that one of the main problems is supply and demand. We can hold out for money, even a pittance, yet "everybody's a writer," and there will never be a dearth of them available so the editors will never need fear a revolution.

There's also the problem--though I see it as a blessing as well--of the proliferation of online (since print costs are what's hurting the business) literary venues. These folks, these kind editors and producers, themselves are not making any money. How can we honestly seek reimbursement from them? We've fought their efforts at submission fees, do not (cannot, since there are too many of them) support them via subscriptions, and pooh-pooh their attempts at taking in advertising as aesthetically unpleasant.

So it was going to be a tough act to take on.

Then, quite honestly, as things started coming together, the very first item discussed was membership fee--here we are, asking money from writers wanting to make money from writing! Yes, it was necessary, but it just hit me wrong at the time. I already wasn't crazy about the name WAG though I accepted and got used to it. It reminded me of wagging tongues and hags--neither of which was a really logical or complimentary concept serving the base of the community.

I tried to keep up with the progress here, but it was just too quick and too demanding of time I'd rather spend writing and reading the stories and poems of my fellow writers. I barely kept up with fictionaut, 52/250, the literary publications, and of course, have not been submitting any of the hundreds of stories I've written lately, nor read and commented on those of my friends who have.

To come here and find yet another anthology being discussed, when there are so many already out there, as one of the priority projects, well, it's of course a great idea, but still, it has little to do with the primary goal of setting this whole thing up.

I think that we're artists trying to be businessmen here, and most of us just don't have that inclination. What you've done is something that may be impossible to complete, may be a dream we all have and were hoping to see it happen. I'm full of admiration and gratefulness for what you're attempting to do, and wish I could have been more help get this underway. I feel bad, but yet I believe what you say: writers should write.

link this post written on 27/04/2011
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I’ve been absent here (I just had a baby), but am still on board with the ideas behind this group, if others are too.

link this post written on 27/04/2011
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Congratulations, Kari.  I hope mother and child are doing well.
link this post written on 05/05/2011
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Hello! Who let the dawgs out? *wink* Last time I looked you were at Fictionaut.com.

Into the hodgepodge of values and agendas of WAG members here’s the view I expressed on 22/03/2011 condensed into a single sentence:


A Guild or Association devoted to elevating public awareness of a new literary growth industry – flash fiction.


My mission statement for an Association, posted at the Group discussion “What is WAG?” http://bit.ly/gmJA9l


On the flip side... I question the idea of a private publishing collective whose majority of stakeholders may be motivated but lack real-life entrepreneurial skills. But if you’re willing to accept the risks of partnering with other biz rookies, go for it. It would be a good learning experience. Unlike startups launched by a maverick, members of collectives pool cash resources; each stakeholder contributes only his or her pro rata portion of the venture capital.


At its new mixxt.org home WAG is a potential Knowledge Management Centre. Hopefully, members won’t let the place gather dust and will continue to contribute stuff. Some of the ideas and info posted may be useful if you’re the sort who wants to eventually wag his or her own dog.


Or... band together and give this publishing collective thing a shot. You would be investing in yourself and getting an education you won’t find at Farmville or MFA writing programs.



After a month-long sabbatical away from WAG and the disparate individual goals of members I don't see it as a viable home for a flash fiction writers' association. For a journalist and corporate writer turned flash fiction writer the indie lit world continues to be a revelation.


Congratulations to Kari, and wishing her newborn child all the best in life. Mothers, don't let your sons and daughters grow up to be flash fiction writers! *wink*

The author has edited this post (on 05/05/2011)
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