New Features at the Writer’s Workshop


  • Friday, March 2, 6:30 pm PST to whenever. Wine, whiskey & tea writer’s chat. Impromptu chat with a few folks. Goals: test out site, get suggestions for interaction at site, brainstorm ideas, get to know other members, and talk about short story contests, the “Eco-fiction Challenge,” and other ideas.
  • TBD

Phew, it is not easy getting this Writer’s Workshop rolled out. It’s happening in gentle stages, so thanks for your patience. I’m working on several more features, but the newest are the Author Chat and private messaging. To access these, see the site menu (on the left side of the page) and click Author Chat. The Author Chat and private messaging are visible only to contributors. This is due to privacy and spam concerns. To become a contributor at Dragonfly’s Writer’s Workshop, please see the How-to guidelines.

Most authors I know love to meet in the great outdoors, but this is not an experience I can offer via the website, even though it would be so cool, wouldn’t it? At the bottom of the chat page is a photo taken on a trailrun I did a couple summers ago atop the Cliffs of Moher on the west coast of Ireland, so that’s as close as we come to experiencing some scenery on the screen.  However, when it gets nicer where I live, and if I’m online, I will be outside. I’m an outside summer girl, for sure. I’m also working on how we might incorporate video chat into the picture.

I envision the chat area for contributing members to be able to have a private chat with others, at any time. I also imagine planned chat dates on rare occasion. Our first, tonight, on Friday, March 2 at 6:30 pm, is titled something like a “Wine, Whiskey, & Tea Writer Chat,” and is just a casual impromptu get-together with a few folks, mostly to test things out. I will host another chat in the next few months, and we will talk about writing contests, collaborations, and anything else that comes up.

Thanks to the great folks at Wise Chat Pro for providing such a great plugin, which so far seems to work pretty well. It supports emoticons, photos, avatars, private messaging, video embeds, links, attachments of Word files, Twitter hashtags, and more. Note that this chat works on phones, but one user on an IPad had trouble witht he scroll not refreshing correctly. Android does support voice chat for this plug-in. Your user name and avatar that show up in chat is what you set in your user profile. One limitation is that it’s hard to know if people listed online are AFK. Also, I don’t think I will be on the chat much except on planned nights, so unless you use this feature with someone else, there might be nobody there the majority of the time.

To privately chat or message someone else, click their name in the chat group and type directly to them. Below is an example of the chat screen when we first tested it last night. By clicking a name on the right side of the screen, you can open up a private chat session with that person. Of course they must be logged in at the time (though there is a way to list all offline members, I probably will not just due to privacy issues).

Chat Example

Screenshot of us testing the site.

Private Message Example

To private message someone, click their name in the user list and notice a new window open up with their name. I can have a private chat with Morgan and go back to global to view the community chat. You can close the private chat by clicking X.


Featured image: (c) Can Stock Photo / Lipik

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.