Writer's Notebook Archive

Through June 30, 1996

Rick Novy rnovy@kepnet.com Sun Jun 30 22:42:09 PDT 1996

I am a fulltime engineer and part time freelance writer. I just had my first article (non-fiction) published in May of this year (hurrah!) about 6 months after deciding to write seriously. I am unusual in that I have very limited time so I don't write every day and I don't keep a notebook (it only ends up with phone numbers and telephone notes in it anyway). I have several novel length stories in my head but have a lot of trouble coming up with short story plots. I have one story I just finished and I like it alot even though it has a depressing end. I am looking for other writers in the Southern part of the San Francisco Bay Area. and also am interested in forming or joining an email writers group for ideas and critique.

chrisandra sico csico@bgsm.edu Sun Jun 30 20:54:08 PDT 1996

I guess by virtue of being here, I dare call myself a writer. It is fascinating to scan the pages of your guestbook and find so many who feel the same about expressing one's self through the written word. I have always written my thoughts down... my problem is sharing them with the world

Rob Eberwein Fri Jun 28 07:58:02 PDT 1996

Any Christian Fantasy writers out there? If so, I'll bet you're not published either, right? It's a very narrow market. That's odd, when you consider the overwhelming success of Tolkien's and Lewis' fantasy fiction. I'm not on the web (I'm writing this at a local library), but would like to hobnob with others who write such. Snail mail= 1200 Paul Dresser St., Terre Haute, IN 47803. Advice for those who can't finish novels: write for the joy and fulfillment of creating. Consider this statement: If I were the only person on earth, I would still write novels. True or false? If false, why not?

Bob Helwig helwig@jaxnet.com Mon Jun 24 16:02:08 PDT 1996

Wow! I don't think I would have tried to quit writing if there was an internet years ago. All the contacts to bounce off ideas, and get moral support would have kept me going. As it is I still go through the motions, but haven't submitted anything in years. I haven't even been able to quite finish anything. Self imposed writer's block is a terrible thing. However, I think I'm on my way back.... Thanks to postings like the ones here. I don't feel quite as alone. Quick question: I've only received one personalized rejection slip from several submissions, and it was a real negative one and vague. Are all personalized rejection slips better than form rejections? Should I have taken it as a positive sign? Anyway, I'm actually looking forward to getting new rejection slips now. And my time away from my work has given me a better perspective on it. Thanks for all the postings here!

Robret McQueen taran@voyager.co.nz Sun Jun 23 18:47:31 PDT 1996

To all who have finished a book, I envy you. I have a story that I think works, but also, I have the doubt that I could be wasting my time. I sit down everday meaning to work on my story, but just never quite get there. Writing is a lot of fun, a chance to escape the harsh reality of life, into your own cool world. Perhaps this site can help. I would be happy to hear from any who could offer helpful advice on writing. My biggest problem is descriptive writing, I know what I'm saying, but the scene never comes across clearly, and so the reader does not completely undersatnd my meaning. Good luck to all you writers.

Susan Violante suanv@smvio,com Wed Jun 19 23:12:35 PDT 1996

This is to all of you who are trying to finish anything and/or trying to make a habit out of writing. Join a class! Any class! After joining my first workshop a year ago, I have finished three short stories, one article, a lot of poems, and I am in chapter ten of my first novel! Nop, I haven't been publish yet but my goal is to collect as many rejections as possible! Good luck. Love this page!

Craig O. Jones craig..jones@worldnet.att.net Wed Jun 19 21:09:02 PDT 1996

For quite some time I have been interested in hooking up with other writers to discuss story ideas, or ideas about how to get one special project going. I would be interested in hearing from people who write horror fiction who might be intersted in collaborating on that special project, or with people who are collaborating on other projects to see how they operate and split their duties. How do you settle issues of style, tone, voice, when the collaborators have different ideas on those subjects?

Martin Simpson ae032mjs01@ntu.ac.uk Wed Jun 19 05:05:33 PDT 1996

"Live for your dreams!" said my friend, a long time ago now. I was trained as an artist, but my interest in fantasy and writing in general stems back to when I was but a young whipper-snapper. Now, at 21 and a Graphic Designer, I have written several books. Sadly none of these have yet been published, though I have been told that they are worthy of that honour. I am planning another novel now, to be written over this summer, a re-hash of an earlier short story. All I can say to you budding writers is keep at it. I for one intend not to fail in my quest. If you wish to help yourself at writing there are several email news groups you could try. alt.dragons-inn is perhaps the best, email to: majordomo@orb.nashua.nh.us Here you can join threads (stories) and learn from some really talented individuals. The dragons-inn will accept just about anyone, be you of any age or ability. At first I was pretty jubious about writing with others I did not know, but you soon pick it up. With that advert over - a little about my own experience. If you are looking to have something published, do not ring around publishers. This is a waste of your time, though you could be fortunate to speak to some one interested in what you have to say. On the whole publishers are busy, and have little time to read unsolicited works. Help yourself! Get an agent! At least this seems to be the way of things right now. You'd be better off to ring agents and see what they say. As yet I have had no chance to do this, due to the pressures of work, but I intend to do so. Another link you may find useful is the dragon magazine writers guidline! It is out there on the net, just search for TSR. This provides a useful idea of what a magazine would want of you. Well, that is all I have to offer. To all of you, writer and hopeful enthusiast... Good Luck!

Jo Vandewall jo@seanet.com Tue Jun 18 19:27:41 PDT 1996

I'm looking for another writer in the north Seattle or north Eastside who is very familiar with the Fantasy fiction genre who would be interesting in having someone to brain- storm with, bounce ideas with, and general run things up the flagpole sort of thing. Anyone out there interested?

Chad Luff cluff@morgan.ucs.mun.ca Poe's Addiction Writer's Club Mon Jun 17 18:43:42 PDT 1996

I know that you are supposed to set aside a certain amount of time a day to write, but I am finding that if I am single this is possible, while if I am 'taken' it is damn hard. I've narowed it down THAT far, but I can't give an explanation for it. I still do all the things I did while living alone, except now she tells me to do them 5 seconds before I was going to anyway. Women! Hehe. Anyway. Any suggestions, tried and true remedies (no chewing on honey combs) that have worked for y'all? I still get some writing in, but not hardly as much as I'd like. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Now for a minor plug: Drop by Poe's Addiction Writer's Club at: http://europa.cs.mun.ca/~cluff It is a new free forum where amateur writers can post their work. Subscription cost just $0.00 a month, or you can sign up for a whole year at $0.00. THATS A SAVINGS OF ALMOST 0%!! Offer is valid anywhere but Timbucktoo.

Allen Bell wolfman@teclink.net http://oscar.teclink.net/~wolfman Sun Jun 16 21:34:34 PDT 1996

Hi Im very new at the writing game. Im 35 years old and decided to stop dreaming about it and do it..Heres the problem having difficulty getting started. Anyone out there with advice drop me a line. Thanks

Tom Dell'Aringa webmaster@digitalpub.com www.digitalpub.com Fri Jun 14 14:06:11 PDT 1996

Well - I've been writing ideas, worlds and backrounds for at least 12 years. My wife always chastised me because I never actually wrote a store!! So I finally started my novel and what do you know it's writing itself! I'm four chapters in and have 18 outlined. Got some friendly advice from C.J. Cherryh that helped. She is great, check out her site. (www.cjcherryh.com I think). I just finished my outline this afternoon, MY HEAD HURTS! :) Good luck all.

Jack Beslanwitch top@webwitch.com http://www.webwitch.com/top/sf/warlock.html Tue Jun 11 11:47:20 PDT 1996

I have to apologize to everyone. When I fixed the file bloat problem, a key item got deleted that allowed the Writers Notebook to record messages. This has been corrected.

Jack Beslanwitch top@webwitch.com http://www.halcyon.com/seasigi/html.html Wed Jun 5 23:48:40 PDT 1996

I think it's great that writers of all ages are stopping by here. Just to let people know. I have solved the file bloat problem with respect to the Writers Notebook. It is now down to 34k as opposed to 177k. Also, due to ConComCon and a personal obligation the following week I will not be able to monitor the Writers Chatroom on Saturdays. I still invite others to come and visit it at 5:00 PM PDT on Saturday or leave a message about a different time and congregate then instead. If you wish to email me directly I would be more than happy to leave an announcement either on the main writers page or on the writers chatroom doorway homepage. Take care and thanks to everyone for making this site what it has become. Jack Beslanwitch

Lauren Baumbauer dsbdolls@gibson.cioe.com Wed Jun 5 17:58:59 PDT 1996

Hi and stuff! I'm only 13, and I've written stuff {basically for myself} for quite awhile now. I'm the type of person who likes everything; from modeling and acting to cheerleading and basketball. And I must say, writing falls somewhere around there. Next to my uncle, I'm the only writing-person in my family-I think. I'm glad I found this place. The only problem is I can't go into the chat room on the reg computer-the one I'm using now-but I find interest in the other areas. I read somewhere about a person who know's the beginingand end of her story, but can never finish it. That's just like me! I have never finished a story. Well, only for school assignments. I have no problems coming up with ideas, though. Sometimes I just draw a few people, give them names and descriptions, and next thing I know-I'm writing titles for the series. I lkike writing series becasue it has a continuity to it. But since I've never finished a story, but know what I want, I've got book 1 scatter on a disk, book 3 on another, only a few chapters done. Sometimes I write series off of books and movies, or other things that are already done. I debate on sending them to the author for permission to do them, even though I've basically changed their original idea. But you've got to start somewhere, right? I'd just like to compliment on your web site and all that. Very nice! Now, what I want to do is make a web page for everything! I'm sometimes called the "Everything Person." My mom isn't too thrilled with that idea. She also isn't too thrilled with the idea of me joing those writing club web pages where yous end in stories and stuff. I have plenty of ideas for use, though-just in case! Well, that's all for now! I'm Audi! Peace and stuff! :-) dunce- <:-) wink- sad- but I'm- Bye-N-Stuff!!!

Jason Zinzilieta ZINJA@worldnet.att.net Wed Jun 5 09:09:38 PDT 1996

Hello, everyone! Great to finally find a sf writer's resource like this...it's been a help to know there are other struggling (and not-so-struggling) sf writers out there. I have a quick question to anyone who may know an answer: I have been trying to get a hold of some sort of stellar maps that are three-dimensional in nature, showing distances from our solar system to other stars (say in the 30-50 light-year range) and their placement relative to our solar system's plane (up, down, etc.) Resources are limited where I'm at, so I'd appreciate any e-mail from anyone who could suggest a book or web-site. Thanks in advance!

Marc Beebe DocBeebe@aol.com http://members.aol.com/DocBeebe/index.htm Sun Jun 2 05:32:28 PDT 1996

I find this a very interesting idea: an internet message board! Rather unique, too. As an omniologist I tend to find almost everything interesting, except what isn't. If enough of us all get together on the same plain, perhaps we'll figure out the really difficult part of writing; how to gte others to tak ethe work seriously and assign proper value to our work. For it is work, make no mistake about it. It is not only a skill, but an artform as well. That's right, writing is art. Art! Art! Art! Yet only we suffer from artificial restrictions on our canvas (word limits). Consideringthat we exist to expand the quality and quantity of human thought, we are severely under-appreciated. Yet we persist in our efforts to enlighten the masses. Marc 'Doc' Beebe, Author, Composer, Educator.

Troy Baxter Ockham1@radiks.net Fri May 31 21:28:23 PDT 1996

I am interested in writing in the area of political biographies and personalities. I am currently a grad student studying International Relations but I don't dare tell any of my profs. my secret ambition for fear they'll think I've gone nuts. Any suggestions forthcoming about how to get started, which publishers to focus on, and other such things will be much appreciated.

Taralyn R. Frasqueri Molina tmolina1@ic3.ithaca.edu Thu May 30 13:19:31 PDT 1996

So... I write. Yes, I admit it. I write stories and I'm even working on a medieval fantasy novel which is three chapters short of completion. My friends ask me what my novel is about... and I tell them, "Geeez, if I could tell you that it wouldn't be a novel." I write short stories as well, but for some strange reason those are only Science Fiction. I can't write horror to save my life and poety only comes when it wants. I am majoring in film and the coming semester I am going to do something many college students dread and take on another major in creative writing. Good thing about this is... there is no Creative Writing major at Ithaca College (there's not even a plain old writing major either), so I get to make up my schedule. Writing is a big part of my life. I'm happy to see that others consider it a great and worthwile art/lifestyle. As an aspiring, yet unpublished writer, I hope that I can seek from any of you for words of wisdom or answers to some questions. helpful hint: At the start of my novel I was so disorganized that I had bits and pieces of my story lying around everywhere. To help with this I collected all the I had written and placed it in a binder and separated the sections for quick location of what I want. It works for me. I have plot lines, charater descrpitions, timelines, continuity factors, misc notes, and a place for sketches in the back. Adding sections is not a problem, just buy some of those dividers with the tabs. It's really great to keep everything where you can get to it and I can travel with it easily. Hope it works.

Kent Brewster k.brewster@genie.com http://www.greyware.com/speculations Tue May 28 10:31:18 PDT 1996

Wow. This is a very nice resource, Jack. I'd like to invite anyone interested in receiving a free copy of the latest Speculations market update to check in at: http://www.greyware.com/speculations and let us know. Speculations is a 64-page bimonthly digest full of articles, opinion, columns, genre-specific stuff, critiqued fiction, and Q&A with the experts. I noticed several people on this list were wondering about pitching their novels; in Issue Nine--shipping tomorrow--we have a bang-up article from agent Ashley Grayson covering just that.

John Cashon jerome@apex.net Sun May 26 00:55:12 PDT 1996

I do not have a problem with writers block but sometime I can go back and say, "UGGGHHH." I think the fact I can say UGGGHHH is one of my more redeeming qualities. When the words slow up I cut my time down and read a good book. Now what I call a good book may differ that some it is what refreshes my creative juices. I heard somebody giggling no I do not get my ideas from these books but I believe when one pour it out, they must fill the barrel back. Sometimes I get on the net and surf about but that onlt gets my enthusiasm renewed. In the old days when I was in college, the day of a big exam I would work crossword puzzles. My friends all said, "Aren't you afraid of failing." I always laughed because that puzzle always worked. I have done the same with a game of chess. The mind is like a muscle. If it 's not used it doesn't work very well. So what is my great rules to success Work you brain any way you like except to watch TV.

Tony Padegimas icawp@asu.edu Thu May 23 03:24:04 PDT 1996

Jerry pournelle has this to say about finishing: "Keep your ass in the chair." That's one of my Three Rules for Writing posted over my desk. (The other two are : "Shwo-don't tell" and Death to Cliches!") One would think putting together a little e-mail writer's group would be simple, but it can be like pulling teeth. The logistics are straight-forward: Find 4-6 like minded wirters, exchange manuscripts, return critiques. Anyone interested is invited to drop me a line.

Jeff Page cyphen@alliance.net Wed May 22 22:32:41 PDT 1996

I am seriously interested in any information regarding the way to publish your first novel. I have just completed my first and am admittedly somewhat naive about what to do next. I poured my heart and soul in to this book, and I would like to know where to go from here. The book is a somewhat dark look at the typical sword and sorcery fantasy theme and is heavy on bringing to life the characters. I ramble. If anyone is able to help, drop me a line.

Elijah Chudnoff eli3@ix.netcom.com Sat May 18 16:56:06 PDT 1996

I am not going to tell you how old I am because I belive that all the young people who do are just trying to get a "wow you are so precocious!" Anyways, I am not a profesional writer, and I hesatate to call myself a writer at all because I havn't ever finnished anything. Actually I havn't even left my journal. Gone with the preliminaries, I would like to ask anyone here with any amount of experience with philosophical writing to message back or e-mail me with some advice for leaving the journal and begining to express complicated thought processes in a not so complicated written form. Well, thats it for now; I am pretty thrilled that there is a way for writers and wannabes to communicate so I think I will drop by every so often.

Jack Beslanwitch top@webwitch.com http://www.webwitch.com/top/sf/nwsfs.html Sat May 18 00:15:32 PDT 1996

Several people have asked me to set a specific time for meeting in the Real Time Chat Room. I will set aside 5:00 PM to 6:00 PM Pacific Time on Saturday to stay and man the room. I welcome one and all to join in. If there is a better time for everyone, please post it here and I'll see what I can do. If I'm not here, as I won't be when I go to Miscon next week, this time slot will still be good for others to come and meet. I welcome your comments on this.

Bob Hanford 2hanford@itech.net Fri May 17 18:42:33 PDT 1996

Re: the difficulty of finishing. Consider that freelance writing is the number one occupation of adults with attention deficit disorder. Difficult for us to stay focused on any project long enough to finish because we get distracted sooooooo easily. Until recently, yours truly and others were diagnosed as manic depressives or bi-polar. Not so. Just good old ADD. Gift as well as a problem. Some good books out there on subject. Well worth your time to explore. Peace. Bob

Tobin Elliott tkelliot@speedline.ca Thu May 16 11:23:26 PDT 1996

Richard--Re: re-writing successful (and possibly shitty) plots. Yes, the need to clone is immense (and sometimes lucrative- look at Terry Brooks' Sword of Shannara. Tolkien must be cartwheeling in his grave. And yeah, everything HAS been done to death. Is there anything original anymore? What you've got to do is get a character that you and the reader cares about. Lose the hokey plot twists (I am your father, Luke). If you get some decent characters, they'll write their own story and you won't even have to worry about originality. Look at Quentin Tarantino movies: No real big earthshaking plot, but man, his characters LIVE! Did you see Dusk Till Dawn? The trooper at the beginning? How many people do you know like him? You're in a situation, and along comes a wally that just wants to talk and will not shut up? Now you could've had him just show up and get killed, or you can take ten minutes to get him built up into a sympathetic, REAL person... THEN kill him. Your audience will thank you for it. Stay away from the Expendable Crew Member thing. That's a joke. And it's insulting to the reader. Whew! Sorry. I didn't mean to be so long winded. I don't know, am I way out in left field here? Tell me. I'd like to know.

Richard Shambrook shambroo_c40@s.tvu.ac.uk Thu May 16 10:47:29 PDT 1996

Is there anybody else out there whose trying hard not to write crap. I don't mean wobberly plots and cardboard characters, but the Tolkien and Star Wars stuff. Don't get me wrong, that stuff is good in its own way. So good in fact, that the urge to copy it is immense. But its not original. The ideas have been done to death, but theres something about them thats so attractive. Does anybody else know what I'm talking about? I do have a point and its this: If I write a Star Wars clone will I get it out of my system? Or will I spend the rest of my life writing crap and never aspire to anything better?

Christopher Wilde mindlink@wolfe.net Thu May 16 02:09:22 PDT 1996

What happened to the great borders that seperate each message. They vanished circa May 7th. BTW: I think your guestbook is great. :)

Tobin Elliott tkelliott@speedline.ca What's a URL? Wed May 15 19:37:38 PDT 1996

Hmmmm. This seems to be an interesting little forum. One thing I've noticed. If we're all writers, why is everybody such lousy spellers? Or is it just lousy typing? Anyway, I may be slightly out of place here: I've just started on the internet, so I'm not that knowledgeable on the protocols, and also, I'm more into a darker style of writing. If I had to pigeonhole, I'd have to say horror. I AM interested in an online workshop and/or the addresses of any of these that lean more to the horror end of things. Let me know.

Jennifer Gross jgross@techbooks.com Mon May 13 07:55:56 PDT 1996

Re: Dean Jones' dilemma. I read a lot of Christian fiction, and I must say that much of it is a disappointment. I have even read a few books that I wonder how they even got published at all. Just because something has a good "message" doesn't mean that it is a good story or well written. I would love to read some literature from a Christian point of view that also has high literary value. Maybe one reason some of the Christian books I have read are so trite is that publishers do not think Christian readers will tolerate ambiguity. Everything must be black or white...saved or unsaved...angel or demon. But life isn't like that on this side of heaven. All of this is to say: keep at it. I'm sure that I am only one of many Christians that appreciate a Christian point of view but do not appreciate simplistic pap.

Gordon Davidescu GDavides@Peddie.K12.NJ.US Sun May 12 11:37:55 PDT 1996

Okay, I need some help regarding fiction / sci-fi magazines. Specifically, which ones would more likely take a look at something by someone whose only published pieces were in his high school's literary magazine. I've written a fantasy piece which, when finished, will be about 9000-11000 words. So far I've got the following magazine names : The Magazine Of Fantasy and Science Fiction Worlds of Fantasy and Horror All other fiction magazine names I have are either too difficult for an unpublished writer such as myself to get in, not wanting pieces longer than 8000 words, or both! I really would like to get this piece published. Could anyone help me? I appreciate any help, and give thanks in advance to anyone who helps, or tries to. --Gordon Davidescu

Melissa Leubner lissa_lunar@wow.com Sat May 11 12:25:14 PDT 1996

I'm a 12 year old author who is now writing her book. Havin gone through some 15 computers in my life time, I've had to rewrite my story over five times. After a lot of patience, (and a lot of clean cursing) I think I'm on my last draft. (Sound of hoots an hollars) Being only 12, I have a lot of adults tell me that I probably don't know how to write, but I feel that I do. I would just like to clarify that I believe young people can write as well... writings not only an adult's art.

Wade Thomas Markham lmarkham@netam.net Wed May 8 12:21:27 PDT 1996

I am working on a book named On the Brink of Hope. I would like to talk about it because I need help. The book is saving humanity from its ow idiocity.

Ron Hewitt Gaxon@pacificrim.net http://www.webwitch.com/top/sf/writers.html Tue May 7 10:56:25 PDT 1996

I have been published several times for contributors copies. Someday I'd like to get paid for what I write. Currently I write general interest fiction although I'd like to write children's stories and mysterys. I have an extensive writing reference library, write and read every day and get into the internete. I have a lot to learn about computers and the www. This is all very new to me so please bear with me. I enjoyed this page very much.

Nicke Martinez martinez@cyberport.com Wed May 1 13:22:28 PDT 1996

I'm the editor of Cornucopia Monthly, a newsletter for writers, by writers, about writing. I'm always looking for good articles in a variety of areas since we service an eclectic bunch of writers (published & aspiring) If anyone has any articles that they feel would be of interest to our readership, please E-mail them. We give by-lines and pay in copies.

Just call me Ceridwyn conroye@www.tallahassee.net http://www.tallahassee.net/~conroye/conroy.html Tue Apr 30 22:59:07 PDT 1996

Here's a question which is keeping me up at night. Does anyone have an idea how I could successfully pitch a fantasy pentalogy?

Chong Sin, Lim limc@here.heretaunga.school.nz Tue Apr 30 19:10:28 PDT 1996

Hi, I'm very very new to the idea of the Internet, so please feel free to criticise me should I do something wrong, Etiqually on the computer. Thanks a lot, and please call me and have a chat sometime. Thank you very much. Bye!:)

Jack Beslanwitch top@webwitch.com Mon Apr 22 23:45:45 PDT 1996

Christopher, I would love if someone would set a time. I've been extremely busy lately with my HTML SIG and my wife's health. Perhaps I should not have put the chatroom up. Still, I've had some interesting conversations with non writers. Email me with a time I will reply and confirm and maybe we can meet online. Hope this is a start. If you set a time period that's comfortable for you I'll put a notice on the main Writer Resources page. The one thing that was constraining me was that the applet is unreliable on Earthweb's server side so I was loathe to set a time and not have the chat room available.

Christopher Pommier mythago@a.crl.com Mon Apr 22 18:13:02 PDT 1996

Does anyone try the chat room? It's always been empty when I get on. Perhaps there aren't as many people out there with Java aware browsers? If anyone wants to try and set a time to connect and kibitz maybe you could post it here? Or e-mail me ...

Jim Varnado jimel@cyberspy.com http://www.cyberspy.com/~jimel/bytesoflife.html Sun Apr 21 22:08:23 PDT 1996

Per Chris's universal lament. Writing or any other higher form of creativity requires a series of development cycles. We can only improve so much in a given cycle. Developing a finished "product" requires many, many cycles. With improvement being cumlitive. It takes the one thing that most people are not willing to do... Effort. Writing (being creative) is very hard work. And only the few are willing to put out the effort to grind through enough "development cycles" to achive a high level of competence. Good ideas are a dime a dozen because we have enough intelligence and creativity to think of them. But finished products, as highly developed creations are rare, because it takes work and effort. The "seeds" are free, but the finished "crop" is not... JiMel (Jim and Melanie)

Dean W. Jones jett@qnis.net Sun Apr 21 17:29:32 PDT 1996

Well, this is cool -- a space to pace and ponder aloud among the compassionate.... I¹m in a strange place in the market, what one might call a gap. You see, I¹m a fiction writer, a novelist -- that is, as pretentious as this may sound, a writer striving for literary art. I¹m also a Christian. You wouldn¹t think the attributes mutually exclusive. At least, I don¹t. Never have. But the market is a fickle and paradoxical animal. An abstract of my rejection letters goes something like this: [Well written, entertaining, etc.]... ³but your work contains too much realism for the Christian market... [at which point the kind editor laments the sorry state of modern Christian fiction]... but too much of the gospel [referring mainly to Christian-specific contexts] for the secular [general] reader. It¹s good... but... [gack!] I don¹t know what to tell you.² The stories I write are the stories I want to write, the stories I feel compelled to write. I¹ve published before, although never a novel, so that first thrill is behind me. I¹d be lying, however, to say I wouldn¹t relish a bestseller and a million bucks. But I fancy myself an artist, a realistic novelist; I therefore refuse to abandon the gap, because, for me and every other Christian I know, the gap is where reality happens. I like to think book publishers will eventually come around to seeing the marketability of what I write -- a kind of rationalization (self-deluded perhaps), for sure, but one I live with. I see no comparison of the limited immortality one may attain through one¹s work with the biblical immortality of my faith. Still, we like to make a dent in things today, don¹t we? Us writers. My hammer is powerful; my follow-through is good. But where I wield it -- in the gap between the temporal and the eternal -- seems at times a high desert: where shallowly rooted agaves grow sparse and hollow; where, while all else about them is eminent sun-bleached death, the agaves live a hundred years or more; where no walls echo yalps heard by no ears. Even nowhere is some place on some map. Anyway... Just thought I¹d jot a line or two to poke around in cyberspace for someone else who might have a thought or two about these thoughts. I look forward to hearing for you soon. Respectfully, in Christ, Dean Jones jett@qnis.net

Serena Liak lcebulia@direct.ca Sat Apr 20 23:15:56 PDT 1996

I'm an aspiring writer though I'm only 16. I've been writing since I was 12 but I have one problem, a problem that seems to plague a lot of writers, finishing something! I know what I want to happen, I know the beginning and the end but getting from one to the other is more difficult than a drunk walking a straight line! If anyone cares to swap stories for critique or swap ideas, just write. Ciao!

Omar Kamel bugs93@az.flashnet.it Fri Apr 19 12:24:52 PDT 1996

I've been getting confused about using voices/viewpoints. I just write and write. No real idea what I'm doing. I suspect that could be why I run myself into corners. Also, recently, I've limited myself to a certain set amount of characters, so I don't just throw one off whenever I get stuck. Who know, eh? Anyway - If anybody out there can explain voices to me, I'd be really appreciative. Thanks :)

Corinne Hollister crholli@aol.com Fri Apr 19 10:05:36 PDT 1996

I'm new to the internet and am finding it can eat up a lot of time. But I must say, it's nice to find this page where I might be able to vent a bit or perhaps trade some inspiration. I've been free-lancing from my Seattle base for about five years now finish these things?

Peter Bilodeau bilodeap@grics.qc.ca Sun Apr 14 06:58:39 PDT 1996

I'm very happy to have found this 'page. Concerning endlessly starting projects but never finishing them, I can say that what has helped me is writing an outline FIRST and FOLLOWING it - at least in the first draft. Peter

Christopher Pommier mythago@a.crl.com Thu Apr 11 13:14:14 PDT 1996

You guys can call me Chris for future reference ... easier to type! Well, at least for those of us who still semi-hunt-n-peck. Apparently my problem is more widespread than I htought. Call me selfish, but I'm glad I'm not the only one! As for an online writer's group ... I bet there are several like that out there. Though I haven't actually seen one myself. I've been looking around San Francisco (where I live) for some writers' groups who may be understanding of the Sci-Fi/Fantasy genre, but I haven't foudn one yet. An online forum might be an interesting idea ... Book suggestion: _Siege of Shadows_ by Lynn Abbey (is that a man or a woman, anyone know?). Very good book. Realistic characterizations. The author delivers on MOST of his promises (I think the relationship between 2 of the characters wasn't resolved well). The ending is, I think, unfair to the reader, BUT I enjoyed the sense of betrayel and surprise I had. I just wonder if there's another book in that series ...

David M. Spaar spaar@aodpgh1.aea.com Thu Apr 11 09:15:52 PDT 1996

Just browsing and found this page. I think it's an excellent idea! I have to say I agree with Chistopher Pommier, I start many things but have trouble following through... Does anyone know of a resource which brings writers together for creative discussion? If not, is anyone interested in establishing such a resource? What I'm thinking of, loosely, is an on-line group in which all participants receive stories from each other and critique them for each other. It could be very informal, or maybe structured so that each writer has a chance to have their work evaluated. I've always found it helpful to have input from others; it seems to me that when personalities aren't involved there is a greater chance for honesty and dispassionate evaluation. Just my two cents, if anyone has thoughts please feel free to wmail me at spaar@aodpgh1.aea.com. Good writing!!!

John Nolley exerda@vt.edu http://www.vt.edu:10021/E/exerda/john.html Wed Apr 10 19:08:16 PDT 1996

Re: Christopher Pommier's msg... I can certainly relate to the problem of never finsihing anything, as though I have one completed story (though it's a bit long at 10000 words) and many, many thousand words on chapters to novel ideas, I haven't really finished anything. My suggestion is to move on to some other piece you have if you feel you're stuck and then come back later; often, you'll have a new perspective & ideas that may even completely change the piece. Get someone else to read it & make comments (pref. someone who will be honest). With a number of 35,000 word book-fragments, maybe I'll get done one day :) Good luck to everyone else!

Christopher Pommier mythago@a.crl.com Wed Apr 10 13:15:40 PDT 1996

Does anyone else out there have a problem with finishing things? I have the first chapter of two books started and about 7 short stories ... STARTED. none finished Also, is it just me, or is it really difficult to write non-trite fantasy short stories?

cliff amsbury spidysense@penult.mv.com Thu Apr 4 21:36:16 PST 1996

for the writer's notebook: i'm trying to understand what makes a fantasy novel work. both in the simple sense of what are the essentials to a fantasy novel and in the more complex sense of what generates the mythic (now that's almost too meta) perceptions of works like lord of the rings (yes, the phrase "like lord of the rings" is somewhat silly, but give me a break, i'm confused). at any rate, that's the quandry. any ideas? yours, cliff amsbury

Raymond K. Chung chungr@uhunix.uhcc.hawaii.edu Wed Apr 3 18:31:35 PST 1996

Just wanted to thank whoever's responsible for this notebook idea and this site in general. I've got hella plenty work to do now but I'll definitely keep an eye on this place in the future. I wrote a sci-fi short for my creative writing class this semester and haven't been revising it very much lately. If anyone's got any helpful hints on how to make writing a habit I'd appreciate it via posting here or e-mail. Like most aspiring writers, I've always wanted to be a writer, but never really made the consistent effort over a long period of time. Any and all suggestions or tips welcome. thanks.

Jack Beslanwitch Wed Apr 3 17:45:43 PST 1996

OK....Not sure about the one below, but if anyone else has anything to say, please chime in.

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