Anonymous Writing Group
February 8, 2009 12:17 PM   Subscribe

How do I create an anonymous online creative writing group? I want to limit membership to around 5 people. Specific qualifications inside:

Asking my first mefi question for my partner. She wants to form an anonymous online writing group. Specific requirements include:

1. must be anonymous and not accessible to non participants.
2. limit of 5 participants to ensure that giving meaningful feedback and submitting writing are balanced in terms of commitment and time spent.
3. some way of screening the quality of writing before accepting participants to ensure even matches in terms of talent.
4. I'm mostly interested in non fiction essay writing along the lines of David Sedaris and fiction along the lines of Jonathan Franzen. I'm not interested in reading a bunch of sci-fi (not that I have anything against sci-fi, I like it but I'm not interested in writing it or critiquing it.)

How do I ensure the above? Is there a service already available online that does this well and anonymously? If I were to create something, what other caveats or rules do you guys think would be helpful?

Some ideas I have include using a blogger/wordpress/livejournal service with each participant setting theirs to private with invitations for only the participants. But the problem is figuring out how to recruit and screen participants? Craigslist? How do I screen out or otherwise avoid creepy people?

posted by dchrssyr to Writing & Language (3 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Oh, hey, my buddy did pretty much exactly what you're describing, and this was his posting on Metafilter Projects, which if I recall, garnered just the right amount of additional folks to flesh out the site. And it was anonymous, where everyone could have pseudonyms, and even a variety of pseudonyms, but you could choose if you wanted pieces that could be linked to from outside the site, so you could send another friend a direct link to a piece you wanted them to read. The critiques were sent in as normal files, just like the stories, and then linked to from the story itself. It's been a while, but it sounds like exactly the sort of thing you're talking about.
posted by redsparkler at 1:32 PM on February 8, 2009

Set up a service on Ning that is just you and the other participants? The anonymity part is what's difficult - you'd have to encourage everyone to use a pseudonym.
posted by medea42 at 1:50 PM on February 8, 2009

You could post a message on a writing-centric message board. Provide a sample piece of fiction (doesn't necessarily have to be something you've written) and have applicants send in an example of their work and an example of a critique of that piece. Once you find one or two people, they could participate in the screening process.

A few years ago, I used to be a member on That might be a place to start.

I like your weblog suggestion. You can give multiple people access to a private weblog, so they could each post their entries as a weblog post and the critiques could be in the comments. Or you could start a password protected message board as well, which might be a little more organized.
posted by Relic at 1:57 PM on February 8, 2009

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