Writers University

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Name: Writers University
Date(s): original site (September 2000-December 2000), new site (January 2001- sometime in 2004)
Moderator: Laura Hale
Founder: Michela Ecks
URL: Archived website 2001-2004 & Archived website 2004-2005
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Writers University was an online resource website that offered centralized discussions of fan fiction. In addition to IRC chat, there was a forum/message board and mailing lists along with featured articles and essays about media fandom. It was the precursor to Fan History Wiki and a lot of information was copied from discussions on the FCA-L mailing list but the essays were mostly written by Laura Hale.

Some of the mailing lists listed on the websites front page in 2001: wuannounce (general announcements), wugeography (find out about conventions), Over 20 Club (For the mature discussion of all things fan fiction.), Slashers-Unite ( Slash discussion list about handling flames) and sfsters (Science fiction discussion list for teens and college students).

Origins of the Site

From the front page:
Have you ever wondered about the history of fan fiction? Have you run across a post about fan fiction and wondered what half the terms meant? Are you looking for a beta reader? Need ideas for stories?

Fan fiction is written by hundreds of thousands of people across the globe. Fan fiction is read by millions. With the advent of the internet and its permeation deeper into our society, it is no longer something locked into paper zines. Fan fiction is something with a history and culture all its own. Fan fiction is about writing and kinship with people. It's a method of connecting to others who share your interests through writing.

Writers University seeks to help people connect through fan fiction. Writers University seeks to inform people about fan fiction."
On the About Page the site goes into greater detail about its origins:
"Writers University was founded in September of 2000. It was orginally housed at FanFiction.Net but because of personality conflicts, went looking for a new home in early January of 2001. It was down till about February 11 when parts of the site went up at its new location http://writersu.s5.com/ with a new layout and new look. It has yet to have all its original contnet (sic) put back up. Writers University came into being after repreated (sic) posting by Michela Ecks to the FanFiction.Net forums and mailing lists with such useful information as the history of fan fiction and a dictionary of fan fiction terms. This was augmented by "The Over 20 Club." Steven Savage and Xing Li asked Michela to create a site for fanfiction.net for that sort of information to help lend credibility to the site(FanFiction.Net)." To read the full history go here.

Site Organization

In 2001, the site was organized in the following areas:

Laura Hale and the Split

Laura Hale and Writers University left fanfiction.net in January 2001 on bad terms, with Hale posting a long farewell letter to various ff.net forums detailing her reasons for leaving, including repeated mentions of the fact that she felt she had been lied to and that some of the people she'd been involved with had proved untrustworthy. [1]

Reactions and Reviews

Writers University was regarded by some fans as a valuable resource:
According to their own mandate, "Writer's University seeks to help people connect through fan fiction," and I'd say they do a tremendous job of it, too. This site is huge, contains dozens of resources anyone who writes or reads fanfic would benefit from reading, and (always a major personal interest for yours truly) is set out in a user-friendly format with solid links and navigation. I especially recommend their section on Mary Sues.[2]
Other fans had issues with inaccuracies on the site, however. Discussing the article on Mary Sue Whipple, Alice Karvonen Allonway (MSW's creator), said:
Telling people how she was born is extremely cool (especially 'cause, y'know, my name has to be plastered all over the story). Telling people lies and damned lies is a bad thing, especially when you know the truth of the matter. Here, I refer to the Writer's University website, wherein a false history of MSW simple beginnings is given (and her creation story is not one I'm shy about—I give it any time anyone asks about Mary Sue in my hearing).[3]


  1. Michela Ecks FF.net Resignation Statement, posted to Fanfiction.net Liberation Front. Accessed November 30, 2008.; WebCite
  2. MetaFic, Writing Resources, accessed November 30, 2008.
  3. The How and Why of Mary Sue, by Alice Karvonen Allonway, posted July 15, 2001. Accessed November 30, 2008.
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