Columns > Published on March 25th, 2015

LitReactor Community Spotlight: March 2015

March has been a big month in the world of literary news. We mourned the loss of Sir Terry Pratchett, welcomed the announcement of a new Gaiman baby (slightly NSFW, because Amanda Palmer), and got another kinda-sorta announcement that the famously slow-cooking George R.R. Martin might finally be maybe-kinda-sorta ready to finish working on his latest Fire and Ice book.

Oh, and if you haven't already, congratulate Rob Hart on all the cool things happening in his life. His new book New Yorked seems to be doing well, and if I'm reading my Facebook feed correctly, he seems to have either stolen or created a baby. I would have put this in the spotlight section, but making a baby is way easier than writing a book. Even so, we take our victories where we can get them. Well done on both counts, Rob.

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Meanwhile, LitReactor's been buzzing along pleasantly, though that buzzing sensation may have something to do with this being spring break for many of us. Either way, the workshop's been going crazy, and as we announced a couple of months ago, the point rewards have been increased, so it's a great time to sign up and take advantage of this awesome service.

In the Forums

Book Club: 'Bird Box' by Josh Malerman

Have you checked out the LitReactor Book Club yet? Every month we start discussion on a new book, often by authors and publishers that have some affiliation with LitReactor. Discussion on Bird Box by Josh Malerman has already begun, so if you've read it, chime in. If you didn't make it this time around, don't worry. Next month we'll be discussing Skullcrack City by Jeremy Robert Johnson. Check it out! The Book Club is a great place to get to know our members and get involved in the community.

What is the Best First Sentence of a Book You've Ever Read?

First impressions are everything, guys. If you've ever been through one of our writing courses, chances are that the importance of the First Line has come up again and again. Writers agonize over it perhaps more than any other single line in the book. Will it grab readers' attention? Will it grip us? Does it set the correct tone and color of the narrative? In this thread, we're analyzing some of the best opening lines we've read. What are your opinions?

What is the best online resource for looking for an agent?

LitReactor's message board is the fourth I have helped manage, and it's different from all the others in one major way. While many communities stagnate and get smaller over time, LitReactor continues to thrive, even when treading familiar ground. One reason is because our members tend to be awesome, patient people who are willing to field the same questions over and over again, but I think the other reason is because the answers change so much between time periods. In this thread, we're looking at the question of how to track down an agent, with some discourse on whether or not it's even worth having an agent in the first place. What's your take? Do you need to teach these kids how things were done in the old days, or are you just way too excited to let us know about some omniscient agent-finding app for your smartphone?

Community Spotlight

Every month, I will compile a list of those who sent me their accomplishments through the form submission page and post the results. If you want in, then do something amazing and tell me about it. You get the free publicity, and I get to brag about how awesome our community members are. The order of the list is decided by which submissions I get first, so get on it!

This month: nobody...

Alright, I need to take some responsibility this time. I did get one submission, but unfortunately, I couldn't link the submission to a LitReactor account, which makes it very difficult for me to prove that the submission came from a member who has had some community involvement. I didn't realize that the submission form didn't require this information. Until I can get the page updated, please just throw your LitReactor handle in somewhere on future submissions so I have a way to track down your account and verify that you've been around the site for more than an hour.

On the other hand, though, I do know the Official Whoring Thread has remained active this month, so people are doing noteworthy things they want to advertise. Just a reminder, I do not hunt down things to publish in the Spotlight. Meet me halfway and send me the details, and I'll make sure you get your profile picture, name, a description of your victory, and a link or two for free. It's a nice deal, so don't let it pass by.

A Look Forward to April

I don't know about you, but I'm itching to get some sort of a community event going in the forums. I'd love to hear your thoughts. Either drop me a line in the comments or, even better, reach out to me in the community feedback thread. Also, in general, community feedback has been pretty quiet lately. How are things going out there? Anything we can improve? Anything you want me to make worse? Anyone want to do a heist or something? We've got options.

Something to keep in mind: April contains within it a birthday that belongs to a certain famous poet named Shakespeare. Look him up. In the time I've been around, I haven't seen much in the way of poetry-themed stuff in the forums, even though I know it's a passion for many of the writers here. I bring it up because I'm not sure we have enough poets to fill an entire contest, but something smaller is definitely possible. Shoot me your ideas, and let's make something happen.

About the author

Nathan Scalia earned a BA degree in psychology and considered medical school long enough to realize that he missed reading real books. He then went on to earn a Master's in Library Science and is currently working in a school library. He has written several new articles and columns for LitReactor, served for a time as the site's Community Manager, and can be found in the Writer's Workshop with some frequency.

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