Whats The Deal With Discussion Lists? (Part Three)

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Why Do People Start Writing Discussion Lists?

Angela Gillaspie, who owns Southern Angel, says she created her list for a very simple reason. "I started the list because there were so many folks that wanted to read my writing, and I had a hard time remembering everyone's addresses."

Gillaspie's list, which is a newsletter-type list where only she can post messages, was officially launched on March 24 and currently has 40 subscribers, most of whom joined after receiving an invitation from her. "I hope this list would make my subscribers smile and *think*," she says. "I'm not trying to make money, I just want others to enjoy life. Making some one laugh is almost a religious experience, in my opinion!" The main thing that Gillaspie gets from the experience of being a list owner is "very useful feedback," she says. "My list is currently humor-oriented.

Recently, on a whim, I sent out an inspirational story and immediately lost one subscriber. She claimed my stories were too long. Indeed that particular article was 1200 words, but the story right before that was a mere 320 I really wonder if her true reason for leaving was because I used the word "Jesus" in my article. This prompted me to conduct a poll to see if my readers want inspiration *and* humor. So far, the majority wants both -- but, I may create a separate list for the inspirational-type stories." Gillaspie, who is a work-at-home programmer/analyst, freelance writer, and "proud Southern Momma," created her list with the hope that her "readers will get a "lift to their day, a grin, and maybe even a big belly laugh knowing that there is a strange woman living in Alabama that experiences the same spilt milk, bad hair cuts, worms in the fridge, and missing toilet paper that they do."

"I started The-Ethereal-Pen as a way to build a bit of community in the sci-fi/fantasy world that women seem to be over-looked in," says Victoria, who runs a few group lists online. "I, myself, am a writer, and I know that exposure for stories is sometimes very hard to get. I set this group up as a way for female writers to get opinions and ideas about their on-going works, as well as possiblly getting editors and publishers to come and post a little bit about submission requirements and how to present their works to publishers."

Victoria also owns Where-Is-Love, which she created "because, well, it was a rant. I got tired of seeing women being objects for sexual abuse and torture," Victoria says. "I found it hard to believe that these sexual fantasies were considered all there was in the world of Erotica, and so, I created Where-Is-Love as a means for women to express passion, love and sex, in a very positive light with no vicutums and no violence. They are free to post stories, poems, ideas thoughts or whatever is on their mind, whether on-topic or not. The basic idea was to get over the modesty and down to the real heart of love."

"Then, I decided to make it a e-group as well, to further the feeling of community among the web-sites," she added. She says she gets a lot out of her experience as a list owner. "I know this sounds hokey, but I really do get alot of satisfaction that I've brought people together in a "safe" environment to share ideas and thoughts on the subject matters regarding the list, or not, depending on the case. :) I think one of the best things we get from e-groups is friends," Victoria says. "I would like the members of each group to get what they put into it. Participation is what makes a group strong and happy. Sure lists can get petty and mean, but I think as long as you can start off with a general understanding that we are all here to grow and learn from each other, it's a bit easier to listen to what other people have to say."

"I wanted to find a serious list where working novelists would discuss the art and craft of writing fiction. I couldn't find one," says Melisse, MJ Rose, who runs The Novelists. "I belong to many lists and wanted one that was not chatty - though I have nothing against chatty - so I created the list I wanted."

Rose started her list a year ago and currently she has about 100 subscribers. What she gets from the experience is simple - "Great dialog between serious writers about the craft of writing," she says. "The biggest problem - since its not chatty - unless we are in the midst of dicussing a topic - the list gets slow."

You will find more information about discussion lists on the following website -

? Danielle Hollister (2004) is the Publisher of the Free Ezine for Writers featuring news, reviews, and continuously updated links to the best resources for writers online like - freelancing & jobs, markets & publishers, literary agents, classes & contests, and more... Read it online at -

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