Friday, December 07, 2012

Writer's Lab - a community worth checking out

Screenwriters need a community. Writing is such a solitary activity that it's tough to have an objective view of your work. It also gets a bit lonely. I happen to be a big fan of joining communities, if not forever, then to see what they have to offer. I've left a few writing groups in my day. I've left a few websites too. I've stuck with Done Deal, this blog, and I am all over Twitter. In fact, I feel like I've made friends through all three of those online sources. Who would have thought you could make friends via Twitter?

The point is, even if you're not a social butterfly, you need to network with other writers. You need reliable note givers, and people who understand what you're going through,  and  people who can answer questions or make recommendations. But mostly, you need reliable notegivers. Not your mom.

So I thought that today I'd highlight a community you may not have heard of. Robert Dillonw (rdlln on Twitter) has often mentioned his online screenwriting group, and I thought it deserved some attention, especially from those of you who are out-of-towners. I asked Robert to do a guest post explaining what his Writer's Lab is. And just to clarify, because it sounds like a bit of an ad, it's completely free. This is an online community, not a company trying to sell you anything. I am not a member, but I love the idea. It is only accessible via private invitation, so your work is more protected.

So here you go. I cede the floor to Robert:

If you’re serious about becoming a better screenwriter then you know how valuable feedback is. While there’s no substitute for live, in person writing groups - they’re not always possible. Enter, the Writers’ Lab.

The Writers’ Lab is a private blog I created where you can post as many pages as often or infrequently as you like. Others can then critique your work in the comments. In addition to the home page (where pages are posted) there is a forum to introduce yourself and discuss all things screenwriting related. You can also use the blog to form your own smaller, more intensive writing groups or to find a writing partner.

I’d like to thank Emily for this opportunity to tell you a little bit about the lab. Please  contact me if you’d like an invite. Here’s what some members have to say:

I think that Writers' Lab is a great chance for writers (and aspiring writers) to share opinions and tips on each others material. It's been very difficult for me to find anything else on the internet. I'm Italian and I make huge efforts to write in English in order to have more chances in the international industry. When I finish a script, I'm in love with my story and my characters but I do know that the first draft (and probably even the next 8!) is crap. And I don't need my mum's opinion, neither my best friend's one. I need an objective opinion from another writer. Someone who can tell me if my structure works, if my characters have an appropriate arch or if it's terribly boring, too much slow or something. And the more he'll be frank and hard, the better will be my rewriting. Re-writing is a sort of catharsis. Isn't it? Everything becomes clearer, draft by draft. And it's the essence of writing itself. But to do it, as I just said, we need a critical reader. Writers helping other writers is a great resource and Writers' Lab is exactly this.
- Francesca     Gajo

The Writers Lab is a place that has the potential to grow into an invaluable and resourceful place for all scriptwriters looking for guidance, feedback, advice and of course like-minded friends who are also working towards breaking into the industry.

I have only been a member for a short time, and I have already made friends with approachable and talented people, and gained superb and well mannered feedback for a number of scripts that I am working on.  My friendships with such people have continued to grow outside of the Lab, and this has been the greatest benefit for me, as trusted readers are something that all writers need.

The Writers Lab is friendly, well run, informative, educational and above all else it’s run by the people, for the people.

It is not pretentious, daunting, or self-applauding and everything I have gained from it has been from sincere, candid and affable people on a similar journey to my own.  I love it, and am very grateful to feel like a part or something that will hopefully continue to grow.

    - Paul Holbrook


  1. Thanks for the heads up, guys. I'm going to check it out.

  2. Thanks again for spreading the word about the lab Emily. I've already sent out 4 invites this morning thanks to this post. I do want to stress that is (and will always be) free to join/ad free. Good luck with your writing everyone.

  3. Robert,
    tried to ask for an invite, but the link above doesn't seem to work.


  4. Can't wait to get all the help I can possibly get!!! I need it. :)


Please leave a name, even if it's a fake name. And try not to be an asshole.

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.