Nonfiction Web Site Targets Professional Writers

Posted: April 17, 2003 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Tara Laskowski

Through a Technology Across the Curriculum grant, English professor Jim Henry is creating a virtual environment and community for professional writers across the nation. His web site, George Mason’s Nonfiction Universe, provides a comprehensive listing of interesting and educational web sites for professional writers of all types–from journalists to reviewers to technical writers–and includes job links, writing resources, and an online forum.

In researching other writing sites, Henry found it was difficult to locate a web site with trustworthy, helpful links for writers. “If you are a professional writer, there is no central site where you can find the information you need. Our goal is to make this the best university site out there, giving good information and acting as a clearinghouse for professional writers,” Henry says.

The site is devoted to helping writers at all stages of development tap new resources and meet new people as they hone their craft. One feature of the web site is Talking Hands, a virtual forum devoted to discussions of nonfiction writing that anyone can sign up for. In addition to highlighting the writing programs at George Mason, the site includes information on how to publish work, how to write better, and where to find jobs in writing.

Henry and graduate research assistant Michael Martinez are in the process of providing a more detailed description of the links. They are interested in creating a searchable database of alumni who would be willing to talk with other writers or current students about their profession.

Henry feels his nonfiction site will become even more important as society becomes more focused on using computers and the Internet. “This is how we are going to be writing in the future,” he says. “We want to give our students a virtual environment–a community for writers that feels close-knit and central.”

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