I started having a blast on the web when I joined EONS.com. Talk about a site that has everything and you will be talking about EONS. The profile pages are mini websites with hundreds of themes, widgets and privacy levels that can be set to "decimate". 

EONS was set up for middle aged and older people, so it does not have broader appeal. 

I started a group and  had a blast. I learned how to set up a page, do a blog and advance to HTML and CSS. This was back when we had to know the code for fonts, links, and a lot of things that we take for granted these days.

Our groups were private and there were no limits to the content for private groups. We kept it fairly clean, but did not hold back when we needed to express something.

EONS opened up the site to all ages and all heck broke lose. Fights started out and that is where I coined the infamous word "dustup".  I also coined "Word War". We had Word Wars I through III and shut down the newer trolls that were showing up.

I decided to start writing seriously and found Open Saloon. At first, I was quite intimidated by the writers, mainly because they said they were intimidating. But it was easy to make friends and to read much more than I wrote.

A year after I joined OS, I started writing at an upfront pay site and cleaning up. I was pulling in hundreds a month and dealing with writing fascists. God help the fool who had a typo.

Since late 2010, a lot of sites have fallen apart. My upfront pay site turned into hell on earth and a lot of people left. I still make royalties and some upfronts, so I am better off than most.

OS became a problem last Summer. I quit for a couple of months because of the technical problems and  the horrible disrespect, mostly from lack of communication, that the management gives us. I believe that the spammers are less despised than we are.

I remember how we decided to hook up at Facebook, which was the smartest thing we did. This happened after first serious rumors about a major fail at OS.

We have come closer, shared more, and refuse to lose each other. The problem was that my Facebook account was old and I never really used it. Hence one of many fake names that I used just to register and check out a site.

Many people left OS and stayed away because of personal and technical disgust. I came back late last year because the site was working fairly well. Now the technical problems are back. If I bail out again, it will be because of 7 minute page loads and lost posts.

The latest rumor caused many of us to make even more serious plans for an alternative to the OS site. This is the best place for it all, after old folks EONS, and it will take work to build us up here.

WordPress, Blogger and other sites do not have the unifying and social networking aspects.  They are vast, cold and lonely places.

At this point in my internet and writing travels, I conclude that everything comes from the experience that came before. But everything must change. Nothing stays the same. The trick is to never give up and to move on to new opportunities when they come.

Here's to sticking with the writing, the collaborations and the friendships that have come to mean so much to us all.

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Comment by Christopher S. Dunn on June 28, 2012 at 5:02am

I'm kind of hoping that, the more things change, the more they stay the same, too, though.  Not out of some "fuddy-duddy" nostalgia.  I'm hoping that the joy and love of writing -- not abbreviating and Leet-speaking -- will return to people.  Just because we have the ability to communicate instantly doesn't mean we have to destroy and butcher all language conventions, does it?

Comment by Xenonlit on June 28, 2012 at 8:11am

No, Christopher, the language conventions that work should stay, but English is a horrible language with many embellishments and fads that come and go. When I read academic papers, I find that the writing has turned into an embarrassment. There is a plain language movement for a reason and I hope that it prevails.

We do have a lot of people who are starting out in writing and they deserve guidance, advice and help. If they don't want to take the help, then they will hang because online readers have little tolerance for bad writing. 

None of us who are not English majors, high school grammar teachers and language academics never wanted to become  those people. We are not interested in details so elite that they are stupid. But we can get better at spelling and syntax. I have found some wonderful, well organized writer's references and I use them. 

My background is in technical and regulatory writing where you have to write in plain language for clear reading. You can't embellish that stuff! My big challenge was to move on to  literary and news writing where art or AP Style has to come into it. Right now, I am more concerned that the story is understood, moves the reader and grabs hold of the reader without distracting errors in grammar and syntax. 

You want some fun? Go to Google Groups for English grammar. Those Brits will knock you out with understanding of their language. We can get understanding of our own.

Comment by Skypixiezero on June 28, 2012 at 9:27am

I too have a deep and abiding love for our English language. It is always amazing to me how many people on this side of the Atlantic consider proper spelling, grammar, sentence construction and paragraphing to be picayune annoyances that no one should bother mentioning. Certainly they do not want anyone to even mention, in public comments, any of the errors they make. They insist that if your MUST bore them with mention of such, you should do it by PM so as not to embarrass them in public with your "insulting" corrections.

WTF is that! The whole idea of, "writers helping writers" on a blog site, is that common errors get brought to the attention of everyone! In that way someone who corrects my errors in public is also providing a valuable bit of knowledge to others who make the same errors as I.

I am content that Open Salon offers many people of fragile mental health or who have suffered terrible situations in their life, an opportunity to unload, as it were, and/or a chance to reach sympathetic ears who have had, and overcome, similar experiences in their lives. That is a wonderful thing and nobody "does it better" than Open Salon and all the very caring and terrific people there.

That said, let us not forget the other very important aspect of  Open Salon - and here on Our Salon too - that of improving our skills at writing and encouraging people to try their hand at it. I am horrified at the people who freak out at any criticism of someone's writing!  It is all very well to offer "encouragement and support" BUT some proper instruction is valuable to we who strive to better our writing too.

Sometimes those wonderfully caring and supportive people need to understand that offering instruction IS being just as "caring and supportive" as pats on the head and "hugs" type comments. The world outside these blog sites is little forgiving of bad writing due to silly errors that can, for the most part, be easily corrected if one is told about them. Look at the amazing improvement in Scanner's writing during his time on Open!! There is a writer who has incredible talent that was buried under atrocious grammar and spelling. His talent is emerging wonderfully as he builds his knowledge of our language so that he can express his talent in readable form.

Comment by Xenonlit on June 28, 2012 at 11:12am

American English is idiomatic and we are not all writing elites.

It would be great if someone would write some writing tips in a regular post, starting with the pet peeves and working to the more advanced concepts. Some people did that at OS. It was partially their fault for insulting people and other people were at fault for taking offense. The trick is to leave the anger and opinon out and to present the ideas.

Comment by Skypixiezero on June 28, 2012 at 1:03pm

""The trick is to leave the anger and opinion out and to present the ideas.""

You've hit the nail on the head there! But the person who takes on that task will have balls bigger than the Queen Mary II......

.

Comment by Christopher S. Dunn on June 28, 2012 at 3:04pm

Agreed.  When I first tested the waters of Open Salon I was amazed at the level and variety of writing.  Some were just purel, raw talents.  Others, while (IMO) technically proficient, weren't very dazzling or engaging writers.  There's nothing wrong with that, mind you.

My purpose on OS was to gain greater insight into what I considered not only great writing, it was also to explore fine writing.  One can be a great writer without being a fine writer and vice versa.  I consider great writing to be engaging, evocative and lucid.  This aspect of writing can overlook grammar and punctuation errors to a point, due to the immediately captivating use of words, in and of themselves.

I consider fine writing to be the other hand, if you will, of a good to higher level of writer.  Fine writing is technical proficiency combined with at least with some flair or ability to reach your audience.  The best writers can combine both hands and create some truly memorable passages.

I started writing poetry at 12.  It started from a dream I kept having where, each time I awoke from this dream there were tears in my eyes and I could hear this song in my head.  It was this sad, soulful and simple song that sparked my desire to write.  I was a terrible writer at first.

I was technically proficient, but unable to engage even my self.  I kept at it, more out of dislike for thinking I couldn't do it than a true desire to become a writer.  By the time I was 17 I had written two notebooks full of poems, and had a binder full of science fiction and fantasy story ideas that, after a few chapters, lost their way.  Some of it was even good.

I was never much for strict adherence to convention.  Dialogue, especially, needs to be spelled like it sounds more than being tied to strict rules of grammar and punctuation.  I still find that to be true.  I'd rather spell, "Muh daddy sayed Ah cain't come tanaht, Lizzie," as opposed to : "My daddy said I can't come tonight, Lizzie," Peter said in a slow Southern drawl.

The latter is more technically proficient, but lacks punch and life.  Whenever possible, especially in dialogue, there should be life in one's writing.  When you can combine this with good technical proficiency in writing, you can literally make a story come alive and to me, that's the basis of a good to great writer.

If there is any way to help others and promote good proficiency while supporting raw talent, we would be well advised to encourage that.

Comment by Alison Murchie on June 28, 2012 at 8:40pm

I'll follow you wherever you go, my dear.

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