Friday, November 6

Codex: A Community of Writers

By Michael Kinn 

There's so many different writer groups and sites online these days, and it can be tough to know which one is best for you. To help with that decision, Michael Kinn visits the lecture hall to talk about Codex, an online writer community for speculative fiction.

Michael is an Irish-based writer, contributes to the wikipedia pages on Irish genre writers (Irish fantasy writers and Irish SF writers) and reports from the trenches on his website and various blogs.

Take it away Michael...

Some of my favorite online resources for beginning writers include Absolute Write and Fiction University, interviews with authors and authors’ blogs. Writers are spoiled for choice and migrate from one resource to the next as their skills grow.

One resource, which I’ve been fortunate to join, offers a unique oasis in the publishing world. Codex Writers, created by Luc Reid, is an author incubation area. The site unites over 450 active neo-professional members. Codex unites writers on every rung of the professional ladder, creating a synergy that helps boost careers while instilling a deep sense of impostor syndrome among its members (a running joke among codexians).

A large proportion of Codex members have literary representation and have sold books to major publishers as well as, in a few cases, movie options. One has co-authored a NY Times best-selling book. Members’ work appears in the majority of major English language fantasy and science fiction magazines and in many other venues. Codexians have won the Writers of the Future contest, the Hugo, the Nebula, the Campbell, and many other awards.

What makes Codex unique is its community spirit and interaction between neo-pros, burgeoning authors and full-fledged professionals. Codexians foremost become friends—buddies in the trenches. In the words of one codexian, “the greatest success of Codex is that it has remained a functional, supportive and fascinating place to hang out. It's helped hundreds of writers brainstorm everything from plot to weird research questions and break through barriers, level up and cope with the obstacles that life throws in our way.”

The semi-private nature of the site allows members to share more freely, discuss the brain weasels that plague most writers and share ways to exterminate them. The site regularly invites publishing/editing professionals for Q&A/AMA’s. Codex contains a humongous amount of invaluable tips on the publishing industry and its members constitute a vibrant network. Codexians not only meet online, they meet up at cons, writing groups or during travel. I’ve gained tremendously from the advice of fellow codexians. One of my favorite Codex features is the chat room where we hold “word wars”, sharing dedicated chunks of writing time, after which we report on progress and, of course, gossip, joke or swap recipes.

For several codexians, Codex contest stories comprise a large percentage of their publications. One codexian comments that she would never have written these stories, let alone submitted them, if it wasn't for the motivation and critiquing received in the contests

She goes on to comment that “If it wasn't for the hot-house environment of Weekend Warrior, I would not have taken, let alone achieved, the corporate contract that I just completed for a large amount of money. Weekend Warrior pushed me to create faster and understand both my ability and limitations better.”

Since Vylar Kaftan started the Weekend Warrior contest on Codex in 2008, 194 authors have participated in the annual contest or its spinoffs (“Mega Weekend Warrior” and “Flash, Savior of the Universe”), creating 1,709 new flash stories, of which many have sold in some form to professional markets.

Another member observes that “Codex is also amazing for sharing market information. There are many magazines and contests that I would not have submitted to if Codex users hadn't brought them to my attention. It's also a great place to discover response time from existing markets and discover what editors are looking for. As a result, it is now my primary source for market information.”

Writers can qualify for Codex membership with a pro fiction sale, agent representation, completion of certain writing workshops, a certain level of selfpub sales, or through awards. The membership rules are fairly specific: see the details at www.codexwriters.com.

If you’ve met one of the criteria for membership and would like to join, please use the application form at http://www.codexwriters.com/apply.asp If not, you can still benefit from checking out the public information shared by Codex and by joining them when you’ve ticked of the next accomplishment on your career bingo card (another Codex tip many of its members enjoy).

With thanks to fellow codexians: Luc Reid, Kate Heartfield, Sylvia Spruck Wrigley and Kat Otis.

*This contribution will also be posted on the Dublin2019 Worldcon Bid site, to support awareness of Codex as a resource.

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