Richard Brand, staggered by the flood of posts from the PWA list, asked what the list was "supposed to be."

An excellent question.  Here's the view from the moderator's keyboard:

When I cranked it up a couple of years ago, I had in mind that the list would be a forum for discussion about all aspects of the writer's craft (just like it says in the tagline that appears in the "Reply To:" field in every post.)

I made the membership "open" to everyone, inside or outside the University of Oklahoma, hoping to attract writers of all levels of experience, from places far and wide.  We have subscribers from here and there in the US, and even a couple who live in Canada.  For the most part, however, the list's subscribers are (or have been) students in the professional writing program at the University of Oklahoma.

At first, the discussions on the list were as advertised -- about writing, writers, books -- but somewhere along the way, the list also became a convenient conduit for information about the OU professional writing student organization, Professional Writers (Anonymous).  At times, those administrivia communications outnumbered the "about writing" posts, several to one.  I'm sure the non-OU subscribers wondered what they'd signed up for.

This week's hyperactivity on the list lies somewhere in between, I suppose.  (And though the subscribers way up north can't actually bring books to put in the boxes, they can perhaps make a like-kind donation to a charity of their choice.)  I expect that for the next few weeks, some bandwidth will be tied up with PWA book collection action.  And that's cool...  Getting books in the hands of readers is what writers want to do.


This here list is still a forum for talking about writing -- and as such it has been damned depressingly quiet.

Here's the thing:  there are 102 subscribers, and about 99 of you are lurkers -- sitting out there waiting for someone else to expose herself to the crowd, to ask the dumb question about why her characters are flat or her plot stinks.

Won't work.  You can't get your particular question answered waiting for someone else to ask it.  You have to throw it out there yourself, just to make sure the question gets asked right!

And it's not even hard.  You just put [log in to unmask] in the "To:" box, put the essence of your question in the subject line, then write.  It's what we do.

Okay, I'm finished.  I hope that kind of answers your question, Richard.  And, since you identified yourself as the brash loudmouth, maybe you'd like start us off with a writing problem that's really bugging you right now.

~kent graham