At the National Association of Science Writers' annual meeting in Pittsburgh in 2005, Kendall Powell, a young freelance writer, was "soaking her conference-sore feet with three other writers in a huge jet-tub in the hotel's honeymoon suite" while they did one of the things writers do best: complain.
"I complained that while I met so many interesting colleagues at conferences, and always loved talking shop with them, it was difficult to keep up that camaraderie once we headed home," she writes. Online groups, she thought, were too impersonal. But would a small, more intimate group "serve as a virtual jet-tub"?
Out of that reverie came the birth of an online group known as SciLance, which has grown to 35 members, and out of SciLance came a very good guide to science writing--The Science Writers' Handbook, published this week.
The book, written by the members of SciLance,...