So, I finally joined an online writing forum, at Absolute Write. There are a lot of people on there!
Some have been writing for a very long time. Some have been writing for a few weeks. Everybody has an opinion, but isn't that the way that goes?
In a way, the forum itself is a bit like Doberman Talk, but for writing. There are questions and criteria that the seasoned members have for whether an agent or publisher is legitimate, and the kinds of things we as writers should be looking at in contracts. There are discussions about grammar, and plot, and a suggestion to post your work or your queries for critiques. There are writing prompts and "off topic" forums (though is anything off topic, when you're a writer?)
Other than a few college classes, and two workshops since, I've never really been a part of a writer's community. I don't have people that I regularly share and swap work with. I have friends that will happily read my stories, but nobody that I get down to brass tacks with in quite the same way. I can get pretty thorny over critiques, but if you knew the critiques I had to deal with in college, I think you would have felt the same way. Nobody wants to read their story and have one of the only comments be "What does this word mean?" Everybody has a different vocabulary, I get that, but writers? I hold them to a higher standard. Especially if you're supposed to be offering criticism. I have a story somewhere (begging for rewrite) involving a mermaid and a fisherman's son, and the deals made. The comment I got? "This made me think of The Little Mermaid." Meaning, the Disney film. I could have cheerfully killed that peer reviewer with bare hands, especially because her story was about her first car, which was not bad idea in and of itself. But it was bad.
So, I've got hopes for this. They have a minimum post limit before you can share your work, which I agree with. They foster community, give and take. We'll see how it goes.