• Quillant.com, an online writing community based in the UK launched two months ago
• Chris Vannozzi, a co-founder of Quilliant.com discusses the role online communities can play in developing talent for the traditional publishing industry
By Chris Vannozzi
LONDON: Two months ago we launched Quilliant.com , a new online writing community that aims to recreate the classic writing group over the web. It is a different type of site for writers; it is about developing your work-in-progress with like-minded others and working together towards your aims.
You create a profile in which you state the type of writer you are -– novelist, poet, playwright, etc. -– and the genres that you work in. Quilliant.com matches you with similar writers and you form a writing group together. You work collaboratively, exchanging feedback on your work line by line. New writers become good writers. Good writers become great writers. Great writing builds up a following on the site.
Our aim is simply to help writers be read, something that in this digital age is still harder than it should be. It is still early days for Quilliant.com but we are well on the way to achieving our first year aim of signing up 50,000 users and our community are helping us to shape the site.
We want Quilliant.com to be loved by writers for helping them to find an audience, to be loved by literary agents by helping them to find promising new work and loved by publishers for helping to take the risk out of backing new writing. The next step is to get the industry more involved -– for instance, we would love an editor or two to start working on the site with our writers.
We are not the first and won’t be the last community of this type. But what’s interesting is that ever since we launched the site, writers and those in the publishing industry keep asking us the same question: Will online writing communities such as ours help to make traditional writing groups and university creative programs redundant for the young digerati? The short answer is, that as a writing veteran of both the traditional and the digital, I know that we won’t.
My own love of writing began very traditionally. When I was six years old I wrote a sci-fi epic called “Battle Above the Stars.” It had a hero called Ovack and a villain called Darwin. It was written in miniature-lined notebooks that measured 6 inches by 3 inches. In the evenings I would read every new chapter aloud to my parents.
My love affair with writing continued until my early teens when English lessons changed at my school. Suddenly I was asked to analyze other people’s stories rather than write my own. And slowly but surely I fell out of love with writing and became distracted by the things that tend to distract teenage boys.
School turned into university and university turned into working for a living. The only writing I did now was business proposals. The written word had become a blunt tool used only to improve my employer’s margin.