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Advice On Starting A Pen-Pal Group?


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I think snail-mail would suit the Steampunk community - the chance to use fountain or dip pens, wax seals, gold leaf, etc.


My experience with reddit.com/r/FountainPenPals was a lack of connection -- I had fun with it, but rarely did the correspondence continue beyond the first letter from each match.


Any advice for starting a new pen-pal matching service?




I'm thinking:

  • limit of 2 pen-pals at a time 'till you've participated in a previous round of matching & nobody complained you flaked on mailing them
  • offer InCharacter (writing as your steampunk persona) or OutOfCharacter (writing as yourself) options:
    • Prompt for IC: "The Great Alliance is signed, your government calls on you to write these foreigners & get to know our new allies to strengthen the bonds among our nations"
    • Prompt for OOC: you see your pen pal's answers from sign-up process questions, like "what's your favorite part of steampunk?" or "how do you participate in steampunk?"

Figured I'd use Google Forms to get everyone's address, email, one-off/continuing-correspondence preference, IC/OOC preference, & answers to any prompt questions -- leave that open for ~10 days, then email everyone their match(es).


I'll post the announcement on a few steampunk & pen pal forums like BrassGoggles, reddit's r/steampunk and r/penpals, the local steampunk Facebook, etc.


If it goes well, run a new round of match-ups every month or two.



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  • sharonspens


  • ASCIIaardvark


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What you are describing is similar to the Letter Writers Alliance approach, if I recall it correctly. That group is now defunct, but you might be able to find their webpage still available. I think the letter approach you describe otherwise makes sense.


I run three round robin journals; a shared journal is another way to go at this. I like the prompt idea, and can definitely see that working in a journal format. My groups are small - four or five members - and the rules of engagement are pretty clear so we can keep the journal moving.


Sharon in Indiana

"There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self." Earnest Hemingway

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