Writing a novel has traditionally been a lonely pursuit. No matter how crowded your head may be with characters, getting those words down on paper (or computer screen!) can be an isolating experience. Not so in the age of the Internet, however! Countless online writing communities, encompassing every conceivable interest and genre, have been established over the past two decades. These communities provide a space for authors to share ideas, read and review each other’s work, and commiserate over writer’s block. Most importantly, they also take the loneliness out of the writing process and provide some much-needed support.

In no particular order, here are our picks for the top five online writing communities for fiction authorsTwitter – all you need to find your own little niche on the web!

Writing.com

Writing.com was established in 2000, making it one of the longest surviving writing communities on the web. It’s free to join, and allows you to upload your writing to an online portfolio for feedback from fellow community members. The site creators describe their aim as providing “an extremely creative environment for writers, offering them hundreds of unique tools and opportunities for inspiration and creation”. It’s also a great place to connect with writers in every conceivable genre, and from every corner of the globe.

Scribophile

Scribophile bills itself as a “respectful online writing workshop and writer’s community”. It hosts forums for writers from a diverse range of backgrounds and levels of professionalism, as well as special interest groups and regular contests. Scribophile implements a fair exchange system for getting feedback on your work. You earn “karma points” by critiquing other members’ writing; once you’ve earned enough points, you can post your own work for review.

(Check out our Writing Community Spotlight feature with the creator of Scribophile, Alex Cabal!)

Now Novel

Now Novel boasts a structured program aimed at teaching you how to write your book. They provide a step-by-step guide to novel writing, as well as loads of support in the form of writing groups. Now Novel is geared towards keeping you motivated and on track to finish your novel. The most effective way that this is achieved is through helping you form relationships with other writers of various different levels of experience. They also offer a one-on-one mentorship program with writing experts.

Wattpad

Wattpad is a social media platform and “the world’s largest community for readers and writers”. It’s aimed more at readers than authors, but that’s precisely where the benefit lies for writers: it hosts a huge number of casual readers (around 25 million!) who can act as the test audience for your novel. It’s also a fantastic platform for generating interest in your work; there are several successful, big-name authors who have launched their careers on Wattpad.

Fiction Writing

Fiction Writing is a closed group on Facebook hosting tens of thousands of authors from around the world. The sheer size of the group means that traffic on its newsfeed can get a little frenetic; but it also means that there’s always loads of support readily available when you need it. Members post about their publishing experiences, ask for advice and share helpful tips. The group also publishes an anthology of short stories written by its members each year.

(Check out our Writing Community Spotlight feature with the founder of Fiction Writing, Brian Paone!)

Have we missed out on your favorite online writing community? Please share it with us in the comments below!