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A proposal for writers
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In my previous post, I introduce the idea of a writer-oriented APA. I invite any who read this to consider joining. Below is a FAQ that should address most questions. Any additional questions can be asked in the response section on this page, or e-mailed to me at


FW-APA?!? Wot the heckÖ

FWAPA stands for Fiction Writersí-APA. APA itself stands for Amateur Press Association, the tradition from which many modern-day APAs spring. They are the precursor to mailing lists and somewhat related fanzines. An APA is a collection of writing from a variety of people, collated, and distributed among a set group. In this case, FWAPA will be a collection of writings by FW-APA members and distributed among the membership.

Traditionally, APAs were distributed on paper which involved costs in photocopying and mailing. FW-APA will be distributed via the internet, so the costs shrink to nearly nothing.

Okay, that makes sense. What topics will be covered?

Because itís Fiction Writersí-APA, the topics should relate in some way to the writing of fiction. Because many likely members who will be reading this are involved in genre writing (SF, Fantasy, mystery, romance), I expect topics will lean in that direction.

Members submit materials for each issue. Some possible materials could include:

  • Personal essays on the art of writing
  • Instructional essays on writing
  • Writing rants
  • (short) story drafts for comment
  • Personal writing reports
  • Convention reports (particularly if they relate to writing)
  • book/magazine/journal/website reviews (particularly if they relate to writing)
  • Anything else that comes to mind thatís somewhat on the topic of writing (even if only vaguely)
  • Also welcome would be letters of comment (LoCs) in which members respond to other membersí offerings.

Exactly how would this work?

Jane Q. Member writes her one-page review of an article she read in Writerís Digest and a page of famous first lines she found amusing and wishes to share. She e-mails this to John Q. Doe who is, this year, acting as the OE (Official Editor. This job will rotate to another member after a year).

The OE records Janeís contribution as it is also his job to to keep track of member activity and ensure that the minac (minimum acitivity requirement) of at least one contribution in three distrubutions is maintained.

John Doe takes Janeís piece and adds it to contributions from other members of FW-APA. After collecting all the contributions, he writes a short State-of-the-FW-APA report (an introduction) and a Table of Contents. Depending on an agreed-upon format (such as text file, RTF, PDF, etc.), the OE will put together the final document and either e-mail copies to all the members or post it on a password-protected webpage where members can download the file at their leisure.

Members receive and read their copies. Anyone who wishes may e-mail responses to the OE who saves them for the letter column. The OE also waits for new contibutions for the next distribution, in which the process begins again. After twelve distributions, the duties of OE will rotate to another member.

What is the schedule of contributions and mailings?

At this point, Iím thinking that monthly may work out well. Contributions or letters of comment should be in to the OE by the 15th of the month, and the distribution would go out no later than the 20th.

What if I want to send graphics? Or something not as a text file?

Each OE can set criteria for format of contributions. If the OE is technically capable of handling such formats, and keeps the final FW-APA distribution file to less than 500K, then there shouldnít be a problem. Text-only is preferred, but not required. In the end, however, itís the OEís decision based upon the resources on hand.

Can anyone join?
FW-APA is open to any writer of fiction. Down the line, if membership becomes too unwieldy, we may restrict the numbers and put people on waiting lists--but at this early stage, the membership is open.

Who else is in FW-APA?
On the same page as the Table of Contents will be a membership list. Members may opt to have their e-mail address included in this list.

Who else will read my writing?
FW-APA will be a closed list--for members only, however, many participants in APA-related publications often make their own writing available to other readers on their webpages or personal journals.

What about copyright?
Your writing is your own at all times. Your contributions appear in FW-APA by your permission, all rights are held by you and may not be reproduced outside of FW-APA without permission. (Some OEs like to print ďBest ofĒ collections from time to time. You may be asked if reprinting your work is permissable, but you are not required.)

Who owns FW-APA?

Thatís the beauty of it. No one! Because Iím kicking it off, Iíll stand in as OE for the first year, but next year, someone else will step in and take over the administration. And the year after that will be yet another person. Years down the line, I might have had to leave FW-APA for whatever reason, but FW-APA continues. Itís not mine and itís not yours, rather, it is ours. The only thing I can say is mine, is whatever I write, just as whatever you write belongs to you. FW-APA itself belongs to all its members. Any time a group decision needs to be made, it will be a group decision (although in cases of membership, the OE may take the initiative just so as not to bog things down). Itís a little anarchistic, but itís a system that has proven itself time and again.

This sounds kind of complicated. Why should I join this instead of joining a mailing list or newsgroup?

Itís not as complicated as it sounds and it gets easier once it gets started. And here are two very good reasons for joining FW-APA.
  1. We write differently when we write for something that is to be published elsewhere. Much online writing, particularly on mailing lists, is off-the-cuff. Writing for FW-APA will encourage better, more careful writing for a set audience.
  2. Joining FW-APA is joining a supportive community of people with similar interests and goals. Whether seasoned pro, or relative newcomer, there will be something of value to be gained from sharing with others. As FW-APA grows and develops, so too will your contact with other writers.

And while perhaps not a main reasonójoing FW-APA means taking part in a time-honored tradition in written communication.

Thatís my proposal. Because February is nearly over, and Iíll be out of town in early March, Iím not expecting to have the first distribution until April. If there are any questions, please donít hesitate to post them in the response section here, or contact me at


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