Archived Writer's Notebook Messages

From April 2, 1997 to April 20, 1997

Philip Sun Apr 20 14:41:12 PDT 1997

JACK and TRUDY: sorry I couldn't make it to the IRC chat. I was called to go out Saturday morning and couldn't get back until well after 10 am. There'll be other days I hope - Philip.

Toby buckell Sat Apr 19 23:02:49 PDT 1997

Kim- I live in Bluffton Ohio during school. But for the summer, I usually end up at my parents place, which is in Ashland, and my Granparents are roughly about an hour away, and they live in Uniontown, just outside of Akron. So I'm pretty close by.

Jack-Congrats on the car! Fun!

Everyone: The weather in the States does get warm sometime soon, doesn't it?

Jack Beslanwitch Sat Apr 19 12:21:56 PDT 1997

Larry: I forwarded this via email, but thought it appropriate to remention it here. The Workbook, at least until I can figure out how to do a password area, is more for snippets, reflections, short excerpts from longer pieces, excerpts from forthcoming novels but NOT complete manuscripts. There is a good deal of legal ambiguity about publishing on the web and what this does to serialization rights. Just thought that should be posted here.
   And on to the main point that I also included in email but thought I would like to share here as well. I suggest send it in. K.K.Rusch who recently was editor of F&SF and her husband Dean Wesley Smith - editor of Pulphouse - suggested in a course that the way slush piles are handled for short fiction (and this comes from memory, so if I get it wrong consider me a fallible reporter ;-)) is unknown writers go in one pile, known professional writers in another pile and aspiring writers the editor recognizes in yet another pile. In this last category, she includes writers who meet editors at conventions and other places, and also writers that send in frequently and often, good manuscripts or bad. They relate the story of how Dean and others set out to get published. They gave themselves a challenge of writing and submitting a story a week. By the end of 52 weeks I believe the group in question all had published. Also, submitting frequently, generally involves progressively improving writing. The editor may start taking an interest, although he or she will continue to reject. But you will definitely be a step up from general slush. Just my thoughts and reflections.

Other news, I've slightly modified the entry for messages. Let me know if you like or dislike. Also, I'll be archiving sometime in the next week I assume.

Larry H. Mathys Fri Apr 18 20:09:51 PDT 1997

It's been a while, but I've finally made it back to the Notebook! I've been trying to sell a short story, but none of the standard magazines seem interested to purchase my merchandise. In my opinion, however humble, I think it's their loss.

Has anyone ever written a small, 2500 to 3000 word short story that just seemed to write itself? I recently wrote a short that began with a simple thought, and whittled itself into this 'fluff' type science fiction story. It's straight forward, with just a little surprise at the end. I don't know whether to try to market the story because it just doesn't seem like I put a lot of thought into it. By the way, when I say a small surprise, I mean small. Sometimes when I read it, I get a little kick out of the last spoken phrase, but as I mentioned, I don't know whether to sell it or not. Has anyone ever tried to sell something you just weren't sure about? I don't want these magazine editors to remember me as the guy who sent a little fluff story. What do you think?

If you want to read it, I suppose I could put it on the Workbook. But I don't know if I should be proud of it, yet. :-)

Larry Mathys

trudy Fri Apr 18 18:59:19 PDT 1997

I can't believe it! I missed it! I did have a nice evening out with hubby which is something we hardly ever do. Fridays are usually tv nights...go figure the one time I plan something. Hope some of you managed to connect and that we can do it again sometime.
Kitty it is freezing here as well so I can relate with the icicles and dreams of daffodils. I keep searching for greeen sprouts but few seem to be braving the cold so far and tomorrow we're expecting more snow. The only blessing is it will be over soon. Hope we can chat together in the haven sometime. Have fun with the party!
Again sorry I missed anyone who went to the haven. I feel so bad. Trudy

Jack Beslanwitch Fri Apr 18 18:13:18 PDT 1997

Kim: We bought a blue 97 Civic. It's loaded with all the extras minus the Sun Roof basically. First couple of days have been wonderful. It's so nice to drive that I almost would prefer driving than writing. Just kidding ;-).

re the Haven: hung around the Haven for over an hour without any other shows. Oh, well, I was doing other things as well, but I'll have to bag it for now. Hope others get together tonight. Have a good time :-).

Kim Fri Apr 18 17:53:00 PDT 1997

KITTY: I can't believe you're still getting snow!!! I sure can sympathize with your winter woes. I've been getting discouraged that the temps in Maryland haven't been getting out of the 50s. Well, hopefully the email I sent you will send some warm weather (thoughts, at least) your way. Hope your daughter's birthday party goes well.

Guess what?? I have a job interview next Wednesday! I spoke with the woman on the phone yesterday and she seems very's with a big corporation (MetLife), the salary is pretty decent, and the benefits are excellent.... Wish me luck :)

I also decided that I'm going back to school in the fall (part time, of course) to get my BA in English, with a specialization in Professional Writing & Publications. I've been leaning toward getting my degree in English for a while, but I was never quite sure if that's what I wanted
my degree in. But thanks to all of you current (and former) English/Writing students for piquing my interest to go ahead with it!

BILL: Congrats on the birth of your grandson!

JACK: Have you gotten your car problems straightened out? You mentioned you might buy a Honda Civic, and I just have to say that I absolutely love mine (it's a '94). It's been a
wonderful, comfortable car. The only problem I had with it was when this guy smashed in my driver's side door in the parking lot at work. Then, the lot boy at the shop I took it to decided not to put up the emergency brake while my car was parked on a hill. Needless to say, it rolled into another car and smashed in the other side! Of course, that wasn't an actual problem with the car, but I just thought I'd share that exciting (can't you just smell the sarcasm?) time of my life with you.

TOBY: Where do you live in Ohio? Just husband has family in Akron and we'll probably be driving out there for a family reunion this summer.


Mary Reeves "Mariz" Fri Apr 18 12:08:47 PDT 1997

I'm a newbie to this particular tangle of the web, but thrilled am I to find it! I'm strong on picturesque language and character development, but woefully weak on plot! I've published two short stories with MZB's Fantasy Magazine but I'm working on a novel - maybe interested in a co-author? Fantasy setting, alternate world, largely primitve people that are river-oriented.
If anyone's interested, please contact me!
This is not great literature - it's fun reading, along the lines of Mccaffery, Lackey, etc.


Kitty Fri Apr 18 06:59:17 PDT 1997

Trudy, Quel supris! And what a very, very nice surprise to find you have made time in your hectic schedule to create a writer's chat room. Won't be there this time around, though. First I have to learn how to access it--my impression is that this is fairly easy, but I'll have my resident computer expert walk me through it. Second, I am in the midst of preparing for my daughter's birthday party for tomorrow. Today is last minute running around crunch time. Her theme for the party is flowers. Today, we have snow coming in from the east, all the really bad weather comes in from the east. Y'all we're into the latter half of April and we're still getting snow! Have to go do my chores. But first to console myself over the weather I'm having some vanilla hazelnut coffee and Godiva biscotti. y'all have a good visit.

Kitty, who is stil stoking up the wood-burning stove and swiping off icicles from the end of her nose while dreaming of daffodils and Spring.

Jack Beslanwitch Thu Apr 17 19:43:10 PDT 1997

I can relate in how the best laid plans are alsways short circuited by life or serenditously augmented, but never as we quite expect them. Anyway, I plan to be in the Haven at 5 my time (on the shores of Puget Sound). See you there. Anyone else as well. Take care.

trudy Thu Apr 17 16:50:04 PDT 1997

Hey all, don't know if this will cause problems but my husband made plans for us after work. I expect to be home for 9 p.m. but on the off chance I'm not I will check into writers-haven as soon as I get home. Hope several of you can make it for company...also hope I don't miss anything exciting. He never makes plans! I don't understand! Hope to connect with you all tomorrow night. Trudy.

Bill Thu Apr 17 08:18:20 PDT 1997

Tr...Tiffany had baby....Third grandchild, but I'm not that old...REALLY!!! LOL

AJ Austin Wed Apr 16 16:54:29 PDT 1997

On the off chance that anyone has tried to reach me by email in the last couple of weeks, I think my server has been randomly losing messages. I discovered this when a friend reached me by my husband's email. Has anyone sent me email and not gotten a response? Just didn't want anyone to think that I was rude or anything.

Trudy Wed Apr 16 15:21:53 PDT 1997

OK Friday night it is; I'll pop into the room at least by 9 p.m. my time (Eastern Canada) and hang out for awhile. I'll even try to get there earlier. As for the thanks for setting it up, really it wasn't that much of a problem. Hope as many of us as possible can enjoy it. Hope to see you all in the haven Friday ...I'll have the coffee on.

Bill, congrats granddad! Which one of your eight had this one and how many other grand kids are there?

Later all, Trudy

Billl Wed Apr 16 08:26:10 PDT 1997

Been busy re-education my computer.........They think their so smart...right....

Had new grandbaby Timothy Brent, 8lbs 2oz, 21 1/2 inches, 407pm on 4/15/97

Kae--I'll answer your latest e-mail when I finish with this stupid computer.......

See ya----Bill-----

Philip Wed Apr 16 04:20:17 PDT 1997

TRUDY: the Time Custodian has done well! It all sounds good to me... but don't worry about Saturday.... I'll make sure I'm able to dovetail in with you guys on Friday 9pm eastern and 5pm western time US - that is 10 am Saturday down here in Sydney... and that's okay.

TOBY: Ohio is in the middle of the US so someone over there will have to advise you on your time difference - maybe ask your long distance telephone operator.

This is exciting... and I agree with Jack, a wonderful extension for our group.

Back soon - Philip.

Jack Beslanwitch Wed Apr 16 00:21:30 PDT 1997

Trudy: I'll try my best to make an appearance on Friday, servers and life permitting. And please accept my sincerest gratitude for speerheading this. I think it will be a wonderful new feature to our community.

Right now I'm trying to deal with the fact that my trusty car has decided to require more repairs than it is worth. Translation, we are now trying to figure out our finances to buy a new car, most likely a 97 Honda Civic. It is just that this is proving a very major distraction from writing. As if I did not need any other distractions. Well, back to work. Or maybe to bed. Whichever comes first. Take care everyone :-).

Toby Buckell Tue Apr 15 18:24:30 PDT 1997

I live in Ohio, does anyone live in this timezone, could they translate for me? It's all Greek to these ears.

I bought a modem today! Soon I'll be able to go online in my own room, with all of the problems that entails.

Tue Apr 15 18:17:53 PDT 1997

Linda Fode Tue Apr 15 18:17:46 PDT 1997

I did link up with the room on Sunday night. I connected using . I live in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. I don't know if that makes any difference to how we connect or not but thought I'd let you know. Fridays are a good choice for me as well. I'm i the Mountain Standard Time zone.

I'm off to SanDiego tomorrow for a vacation for a week. Hope to have some productive writing times on the beach- just me and my notepad. I'll miss the input from the Notebook while I'm away.

Where are Sherry and Jonnie?? It's been weeks since we've had any inout from them.

Trudy Tue Apr 15 15:53:44 PDT 1997

OK, hopefully I won't screw this up, but I have been trying to figure out some time zone stuff, so, Jack, 9 Friday nights would also work for me though not every Friday...I don't think my husband would understand.
Everyone if it's 5 p.m. out west then it's 9 p.m. here (NB, Canada); 10 a.m. in Australia; 8 p.m. in New York; and 5 p.m. in California. I've come to those times by asking a few people in chat rooms where they are and what time it is. Eventually I'll get it down pat, I hope.
So the occassional Fridays are good for me.
Philip, I'll try to pop into the haven at 11 a.m. your time Sunday. Now when we chatted the other night it was noon Monday your time and 11 p.m. Sunday my time so if you're in the chat room at 11 a.m. that's 10 p.m. my time, right? Why is this so difficult???
Hope we connect. Anyone else find the room or have times they'd like to meet? Later, Trudy.

Kim Tue Apr 15 14:28:54 PDT 1997

A colleague of mine has a section of his home page dedicated
to "The History of the World According to Students," a
collection of student essays written with genuine bloopers.
This one made me howl....

The greatest writer of the Renaissance was William
Shakespear. Shakespear never made much money and is famous
only because of his plays. He lived at Windsor with his
merry wives, writing tragedies, comedies and errors. In one
of Shakespear's famous plays, Hamolet rations out his
situation by relieving himself in a long soliloque. In
another, Lady Macbeth tries to convince Macbeath to kill the
King by attacking his manhood. Romeo and Juliet are an
example of a heroic couplet. Writing at the same time as
Shakespear was Miguel Cervantes. He wrote Donkey Hote. The
next great author was John Milton. Milton wrote Paradise
Lost. Then his wife died and he wrote Paradise Regained.

If you want to read more, check out Ken Kerr's home page at:

BRIT: Thanks for the outline format...I think it is going to
help. I also liked the idea of numbering 1 to 30 (or
whatever) down the margin. I am a very visually oriented
person, and that, I think, will help me to better organize
my chapters.

NICOLE: Have you had any luck on your search for an
inspiring book?

Well....I'm off to get some coffee....I'm at work until
8(pm) and caffeine is calling....


Nicole Jones Tue Apr 15 12:41:40 PDT 1997

I downloaded that mIRC and I think I've figured out how to use it. Now we all have to agree on a time to meet, right?

AJ Austin Tue Apr 15 09:33:02 PDT 1997

Well, my paper is done. Writing it was the easy part, getting it printed out was the hard part. My printer was not working this morning, so I brought a disk to work with me. I've done this thousands of time, but today the computer decides that my file is garbage and won't translate, so I have to go back home. Half an hour on the bus each way and an hour trying to figure out why my darn printer wouldn't print. Finally, got it to work, and I have a paper on the first five chapters of George Eliot's The Mill on the Floss all ready to be handed in. Of course, now I have to start studying for my final. Oh well.

Britomart: Thanks for posting. I'll have to try out your method. After all, it helped you get published. And Shakespeare has held up for four hundred years with the formula.

I use outlines constantly. I do not write in just one area of the book at a time. I start writing wherever in the book that I get ideas. If I know what I want to happen, but don't know how to get my story there yet, I just write it in in brackets and come back to it later. Something else that I write might help me. It sounds like a very unorganized way to do things, but I do keep outlines in order to keep track of what I've done to who and what characters there are. I already have a basic ending to my book, but I don't know exactly how to get there yet. Sometimes the actions end up changing the ending that I have, but that is a part of the process.

I'd just like to thank all of you for being such nice and encouraging people!


Jack Beslanwitch Tue Apr 15 00:44:20 PDT 1997

Phillip: I have a committment at 6:00 PM on Sunday. Attempts to link up via my Ricochet modem (a wireless modem) on my laptop to the IRC chatroom on Sunday past proved inaffective. I will attempt to connect via the same mechanism on Sunday next, but I make no guarantees given my ineffective attempts from last Sunday. Hope to be able to talk to you, although I think my typing skills are somewhat better than yours. I am hoping that in the next year we can put together a chatroom situation that employs CUSMEE technology where we can have golfball cameras and other techniques that do not require typewriters to communicate. A small dream that may not be realized, but we can explore the possibilities. Take care.

Philip Mon Apr 14 23:05:27 PDT 1997

BRITOMART: Well done! What you've outlined is almost identical to what I put forward in workshops I conduct. But this is not the way I write. I've met a small number of writers who do as I do (and as Jack does) use a free flowing construction. I simply run the aerial up and magic happens - it comes in on the ether.

Writing to a plan may cage in the expression but it is how about 90% of the published writers that I've met do it.

I'll visit the Chat room on Sunday at 6 pm western US - (around 11 am Monday, Sydney time).

Back soon - Philip.

Jack Beslanwitch Mon Apr 14 18:36:19 PDT 1997

My personal vote re the Haven is for Friday around 5 or 6 our time on the westcoast. That, I guess, would make it 9 in the Atlantic time zone. Let me know. Also, the software that Trudy suggested is a good choice for Windows users. It seemed to work just fine and is not on the list of servers, so that makes it less likely to be overloaded. Here I am talking like such an expert and I have been on IRC maybe four or five times :-).

Britomart: Your system sounds interesting and appropriate for those intent on publishing. Which we should all be. With my computer book writing I have to be very formulaic and structured. So much so, with any fiction I've attempted (and it has not been much lately) I just let things wallow in chaos and no outlines like a pig in mud. Of course, the fiction aspect is more an exercise of escape without intention of publishing. Also, glad to see there is another Shakespeare fan. Take care everyone.

Toby Buckell Mon Apr 14 18:33:35 PDT 1997

Britomart: I like it. It's printed and on my wall now, along with all of the other pieces of pertinent advice that I collect above my computer screen.

Britomart the Planning Queen Mon Apr 14 15:54:33 PDT 1997

Okay, a couple of people have e-mailed to ask me about my "foolproof" outlining technique, and now the pressure's really on. So I'll put it here for all to see and comment on and disagree with. But I must say, it makes my work a lot easier - if I'm not worried about plot and proportion, I can spend the time coming up with wonderful figurative language and realistic dialogue!

Btw, this isn't my idea - I got this from reading Shakespeare, whose plots are beautifully proportioned - that makes more sense when you realise that Shakespeare didn't orginally divide into five acts like the copies we have today - he just did a series of scenes (I'm willing to be argued with about that if anyone has other info).

So - first of all you have to have a premise and know how the book is going to finish (roughly). I never start a book until I know how it's going to finish. It sometimes helps to write 1 to 30 (though you won't necessarily finish with 30 chapters) down the margin of a page. Now you need to divide your story into four unequal parts. By the end of the first part (around 20% of the whole) you need to have all the major characters introduced, and you have to set up the conflict. Think about Romeo and Juliet where they both realise that the other is a member of the rival family. By the end of the next 30%, you should be at the point of no return, where the story can end no differently - the die is cast, so to speak (like when Tybalt kills Mercutio and you knowRomeo is going to do something about it and ruin everything). In the next 35% (until the start of the climax-resolution phase) you have got your reader hooked, so you can throw in anything - gratuitous sex, political grandstanding, philosophical ramblings (think of Romeo and Juliet both soliloquising madly). In the last 15% you do a quick build-up to your climax (which should come as late in the story as possible if not on the last page) and you get out of there.

So once you've marked those points along the way, you have to get to them - that's the fun part. If character A is going to act in such a way in that part of the book, what do you need to show us about character A earlier etc and you mark where you might put that scene. But that scene should perhaps lead off another scene and so on - great fun! Also with a good plan, you can do some lovely subtle foreshadowing - for example, if one of your characters at the point of no return is going to kill his wife by accident in a horror-smash, you can place some nice pre-echoes along the way: perhaps he jokes about road kill, or condemns someone for doing the same.

Anyway, I've rambled long enough. Of course everybody is different and I hope you all don't think I'm giving a big know-it-all lecture. But it sure makes writing a book easy.

Bye now.

Trudy Mon Apr 14 15:20:30 PDT 1997

Don't know if this will help anyone, but the official mIRC homepage can be accessed at

Hope this helps. Trudy

Trudy Mon Apr 14 15:13:30 PDT 1997

Hi all.

Thanks Philip; I'm not sure I want the responsibility of being Time Custodian, but I'll see what I can do. Glad to see you, Jack, and Bill in the room and to know I actually got it to work.

As for the next time to meet, I figure weekends ar best for me because I don't necessarily have to sleep for work the next day so if everyone wants to vote on a Friday night, or Saturday time, I'm open for suggestions...except this weekend on Saturday I'm off curling Saturday afternoon and evening, so if you want to meet then you have to do it with the Time Custodian! Let me know. And of course all of you can get there anytime and maybe others will be hanging around too:) case you're lurking, I must apologize for leaving the writers haven without a good bye but it was not intentional. A few of us were having problems staying connected for some reason. I hope you'll join us here in the notebook as well as in the haven again(:

Bill, will get to that posting in the workbook soon
and so everyone knows *poof* is the last thing you do before you leave a chat room...unless you're getting bumped off for no apparent reason!

For those unable to get into IRC there ar a number of sites about it by setting up a search engine and asking for IRC. You do have to download somekind of chat program though I don't think it's cooltalk, but don't quote me on that.

Britomart and AJ your talk takes me back to university what with all those references to poets and Kristeva. Hope the assignments are going well guys!

Kitty I never thought you, or anyone, was harsh about the music discussion.

OK that's enough. Hope to see you all in the writers-haven sometime. Trudy

Nicole Jones Mon Apr 14 14:33:58 PDT 1997

How did you guys do that live chat, IRC thing? How can I do that? If I need that Cooltalk, then I've got that covered.

Toby Buckell Mon Apr 14 09:46:03 PDT 1997

Outlines! I remember that when I first started to write, I shunned the very idea. A writer doesn't need an outline I thought, but then I noted something funny; I kept forgetting where I was going and what the characters were supposed to be doing next. Truth is, I would die now if I didn't use outlines, but my outlines are pretty primitive, I guess, I don't talk to other people who write except for on here. I muddle through somehow. The outlines end up as scribble along the margins of the first bits of dialogue and sketched action.

I did think I used to know something about computers. I tried to get to the IRC, but was unable to. It was my first attempt. I don't know too much about internet things, always just learning. Any tips concerning HOW to get to an IRC would be well apreciated. I'm (emberassed to admit) lost.

However I did fix my month long computer problem, so my technology problems balanced out this week. I can't wait for computers to become intelligent so that they can fix themselves, although, then, I wouldn't be working at the computer lab.

Bill Mon Apr 14 08:59:15 PDT 1997

Trudy....Promise kept....I put in another "SMALL???" piece of my book into the workbook....ME...*POOF*

Bill Mon Apr 14 08:26:47 PDT 1997

Hi Kim...Lest we meet....
I'm so new to the game of pencil pushing that my opinion may not account for much, but I will throw it at you anyway. When I was in school,(GADS, that's been years), the thought of having to do an outline made me shrink and hide under the desk. (even play hookie)

However, I've read articles from numerous places and I've come to the conclusion that the desision to or not to outline is a matter of what your heart and mind tells you to do. There are advantages and disadvantages both ways. I keep a notebook next to me at all times to jot down notes as I write, keeping me in line with what I am doing, what I have written, and What I need to say later. Whatever method you choose, make it comfortable for your tastes and needs....Bill...

Trudy..Nice to chat with ya--live...I enjoyed it though I was getting a bit frustrated with everyone getting bumped. But, that's just my impatient personality...I'm working on that one...(NO comment...LOL) yak at ya again...

PS..nice to chat with everybody else too...Didn't mean to leave anyone out...luv ya all for your help...

Kae....Talked to trudy on live chat...She said you were real sweet.....(Tattle Tail me...shame shame).


AJ Austin Mon Apr 14 06:27:25 PDT 1997

Sorry I missed the live chat. I was working on a paper that's due, oh, tomorrow. It's going to be another late night. (Although it doesn't sound nearly as complicated as Britomart's assignment. You'll do fine, Brit!)

Kasin: I do try to read poetry as often as possible. I read a LOT of fiction. (All that's allowed with my schedule anyway.) I like Tennyson and Wordsworth, and I really like Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett Browning. I love the (here goes with html, Jack) Sonnets From the Portuguese. I also like Walt Whitman and a couple of others. I don't read much modern stuff at all. I have enough trouble trying to catch up on all the classics.

Kim: I sympathize with the job search. I work at a University and there are a lot of politics in my office. The red tape is really a pain sometimes. But I only have 4-1/2 more weeks! I am going back to school and I will always treat secretaries (I am one) with a great deal of respect! Good luck in your search, hope you find something you like.


Britomart Mon Apr 14 00:50:37 PDT 1997

Hey everyone. Thanks for all the positive feedback about my Infernal Launching Pad. No, I had nothing to do with the cover design, and a good thing too. They had asked me if I had any ideas, and all of them (I can see now) were too elaborate - you just need one strong image I think.

Kim: (hello namesake) I am the planning queen! If you want to e-mail me with a very basic idea of what the story's about (no stealing, I swear) I'll e-mail you back my foolproof method for making a story tight. It's quite complex so I don't want to go into it here.

Sorry I missed the live chat thing. I've been head-down butt-up working on a very complicated assignment about the limits of language and the motif of live burial in Maturin's Melmoth the Wanderer. I've been wading through Foucault and Kristeva. Have pity on me.


Philip Sun Apr 13 19:39:51 PDT 1997

HELLO EVERYONE: great chat room Trudy hass et up for us. I've just come from there...the time-zone mysteries have to be solved so we might all meet at a reasonable time for all...but is was great. Sorry I missed you Bill and Jack, I was late coming in. Just Trudy lurking as I landed so the postings were very fast. If you are a quick typist you'll get maximum value... I'm slow. If you leave it too long from when you've done your message till when you enter it, you get "pinged" - bumped off the wire, and have to rejoin. The site has the potential to become Typo City, USA (especially if I have rush as I did tonight).

Watch this space for further times for meetings...Trudy is the Time Custodian (elected by secret ballot) and will tell us when...right Trudy?

Again, thanks for setting it up for us Trudy, another place to visit our writer friends, this one in Real Time.

Back soon - Philip.

Kim Sun Apr 13 19:10:17 PDT 1997

Hey all....hope everyone is doing well. I've been job hunting, so I've been a bit stressed. I do have a job right now; but my contract is up July 31, and I'm not even going to go into all the political and personal bull crap that is going on at the college that I work. Just let me say one thing about it....aaaagggghhhh....

Okay...I feel much better now. I've been rather excited, tho, about a new novel idea that has itself lodged in my head and just won't go away....I have a feeling that my historical romance may be sitting unfinished for a while longer because this new idea has me totally absorbed at the moment.

Does anyone have input on outlining a novel and the extent to which you outline before you start the actual writing? Do you find that it works best to write a summary of the whole novel, or go more on a chapter-by-chapter basis? With my first book, I started the actual writing before I did an extensive summary; but then I ran into some problems with things not being planned out enough. With this new idea that I have, I'm concentrating on doing a solid outline/summary first, and I'm curious to know what others have found to work well in this stage.

TONI & MAURICE: Welcome...I'm sure you will feel right at home here in no time. I did.

BEN: I was glad to see your post....I hope that you will still be able to pop in occasionally. BTW, why do you no longer have access to a computer....I have a feeling you explained that at some point, but I haven't come across it in the archives yet.

BRIT: It sounds to me like you have had a really good experience with getting The Infernal published...I find that very encouraging. There are so many book-publishing horror stories floating around that it is good to know it is not always a giant pain in the ass. Also, I really like your cover...did you have any input in the way it was designed?


Toby Buckell Sun Apr 13 18:11:00 PDT 1997

Okay. Now I'm confused.

Kitty- Yes there is a small University on St. Thomas, I used to play soccer & football on their field, and also spend a lot of time in the library. It is not much of a university, though, in my opinion, if the weather doesn't let up I may change my mind about that! (Kidding)

I'll see if I can get to that IRC now.
Toby B

Jack Beslanwitch Sun Apr 13 16:37:48 PDT 1997


I always did have a hard time with math :-). I was just about to apologize and correct my oops, but you've done it for me. I also am off to find Trudy's chatroom, hope to see you there. It's about 4:43 my time, so I could be too late or too early. We'll see.

And I just checked in the phone book for time zones. New Brunswick is about four hours ahead of the west coast so 5:00 PM I think would be when things get started. I also am just downloading MIRC into my laptop. I have a meeting at 6:00 my time, but if things start to get going in the chatroom, I'll make a stab at checking in if I can

Philip Sun Apr 13 15:53:14 PDT 1997

HEY BEN! ... what a pleasant surprise.

Kitty and Bill, yes Ben solved the USVI question for me, thanks.... I must admit these colloquial geographical terms get past me these days? It does make you feel stupid... but we've got them here too. I expect everyone reading this will know where the AAS, ACI, ATSI and the NIA are, right off the top of their heads. Anyway Ben... it's really good to hear from you mate. Somehow I get the feeling you'll soon find your way back onto these pages.

I'm off to find Trudy's IRC chat room.

JACK: I think you added instead of subtracting three hours for Seattle time.
Trudy's program begins about three hours from the time on this posting.

Without knowing the status of daylight saving or summertime in each location my guesses are that if it's 9 pm in NB (Eastern) it's about 12 noon here in Sydney, 6 pm on the west coasts of the US and Canada and about 3 am in Israel. Is that close Charles?... Charles, wake up mate? Gees... he's gonna miss our historic inaugural chat.

Back soon - Philip.

Jack Beslanwitch Sun Apr 13 15:26:59 PDT 1997

Trudy,     Tried your instructions on getting to the IRC channel and the appropriate IRC server and got in just fine. This looks like it could be interesting. However, 9PM New Brunswick time is something like midnight or one in the morning, so I many have to pass on it tonight. It's going to be tricky trying to work out times that work effectively across the World. It would be interesting to see how we could pick a time comfortable for Charles in Jeruselam, Philip in Sydney, Britomart and then those of us on the west coast.

Those logistical quibbles aside, this is great!!! Thank you for putting it together. BTW, if some of you are a little clueless about IRC, you can get an IRC client (I recommend MIRC which is what I justed used to log into #writers-haven - but there is also VIRC which is supposed to have voice and video conferencing features as well which I am not at all sure about on an IRC channel) at Stroud's Consummate Winsock Apps, at least for those using PCs. I'm not sure about Macs.

Kitty Sun Apr 13 14:50:38 PDT 1997

Trudy, 'twas me who mentioned Cohen and only in response to Philip's question about poetry and songs. Make no mistake, I like his work and the man definitely has presence. Later in the poste, I did say I didn't get the Dylan mystique but that was about as harsh as I got.

Bill and Philip, is USVI the United States Virgin Islands. I think there is a university and med school there.

Was at the local magazine shop today and picked up the premier issue of Fiction Writer, How to Create and Publish Your Fiction. Haven't read it yet (I'm playing at the computer!), but the cover teasers are: Build a Book--One Chapter at a Time, Short Story Shape-Up Plan, Finally! Plot and Theme Explained, "Who" Will Tell Your Story, and 57 Homes for Your Fiction. I think it is a spin-off from Writer's Digest though it feels a bit heavier and the cover art is pretty cool.

trudy Sun Apr 13 14:48:04 PDT 1997

OK. I think I've done it but I'm not sure. I have set up a room on IRC called #writers-haven
From the way it was explained to me, you can get to it through channel or, if you're like me, through

I think it's port 6667 if anyone needs that; if not I can double check somehow. When you get to the room, you will know it's mine because the topic line at the top says writers-haven a safe meeting place for writers

I will be on-line tonight with a friend in another room but will open writers-haven as well in case someone can give it a try. I will be there at 9 p.m. my time. Remember I'm in New Brunswick Canada, so don't know how that affects all of you. I will likely only be on-line for an hour or so tonight though so if anyone can get to the room maybe we can all decide on a time to meet that's convenient for as many as possible. Let me know if you find the room, anyone!


Trudy Sun Apr 13 13:13:30 PDT 1997

Bill, glad to see you've found us, and yes you are posting in the correct spot. Everyone, Bill had posted a message and story in the workbook (I'm sure he's still looking for friendly criticism) and I told him to visit us here.
Guess Ben has answered the Nobel Prize question so I'll stop searching the internet for it. Take care all. Trudy

Bill Whitney Sun Apr 13 12:33:49 PDT 1997

Had to write a special note to Kae....I'm here again...
I bought my computer a 3.2 MB tape back-up...No more lost bookmarks....I hope!!! I hope the chapters that I sent to you don't bore you two much...Thanks Again...Bill

Bill Whitney Sun Apr 13 12:28:07 PDT 1997

GEE, After browsing for a week I've finally managed to find my way back here after all my bookmarks managed to float off into oblivian. I hope I am writing this in the right section this time!!!!

Hi Ben, Trudy. ( first contacts here )...Thanks again for you replies........

Hate to have Ben go....Seems so willing to help out...Darn...

Talk at ya all later...Bye...Bill

ben Sun Apr 13 11:16:31 PDT 1997

Hi! Manni got screwed around and so he couldn't pick this thing up yet. I've gotten the word though: today's the day.

U.S.V.I. means United States Virgin Islands (sorry Phillip, you're probably kicking yourself for that one.

Wislawa Szymborska won the Nobel prize for lit in 96. He won it for "poetry that with ironic precision allows the historical and biological context to come to light in fragmnets of human reality..." cool. If you want to check him out, try: VIEW WITH A GRAIN OF SAND, CALLING OUT TO YETI, THE END AND THE BEGINNING. They actually have a homepage for the Nobel prize on-line.

That's it, that's all!

Philip Sun Apr 13 02:04:00 PDT 1997

TOBY: Sorry.... I don't know what USVI is or where it is. Pray tell...

Back soon - Philip.

Philip Sun Apr 13 02:01:00 PDT 1997

TOBY:... ahhhh, yes...... the Carribean.... I lived in the Bahamas for a short time: way back when - I had a place one block from Lucaya Beach where I worked as a lifeguard-swimming and scuba instructor (for eighteen months). For my last six months there I lived in the Holiday Inn Hotel right on the beach - I was staff... same jobs though.

I painted massive oil paintings and wrote piles of poetry... very prolific output creatively for me at that time.

Back soon - Philip.

Toby Buckell Sat Apr 12 21:10:01 PDT 1997

Phillip, about the beaches opposed to cities. Trust me, the beach is far superior. If you can wrangle it right, you can get the comforts of both. The USVI (where I admit, I lived for quite a few years), offers you the benefit of both. I hate the north right now, I am sick of the cold, then the hot. It's nothing personal, but it seems that the States offers you either or. The Caribbean offered a good mix, with watersports besides. Three more years of college and then I can return.

PS I wouldn't have minded the cold so much (ity sucked) if there had been some SNOW. I love skiing, but the weather in Oio didn't cut it for this year.

Philip Sat Apr 12 17:05:11 PDT 1997

TRUDY: Bob Dylan was nominated last year. I still haven't checked to see who won it in '96.

Back soon - Philip.

Trudy Sat Apr 12 15:56:40 PDT 1997

HMMM! I criticize Dylan and then someone mentions Cohen. I'm a huge fan of Cohen's...both his writing and singing...guess I better stop criticizing other musicians as we all can have different tastes.
Philip, or anyone, what year was Bob Dylan nominated? I have a book that lists Nobel winners up to 1985, so if it was before then I could check to see at least who won.
Later all. Trudy

Kasin Hunter Sat Apr 12 06:55:29 PDT 1997

AJ -- You might be interested to know that Ray Bradbury suggests that poetry is something every writer should read everyday. His other two recommeded readings for everyday--essay and fiction. He says to read some of these three categories everyday if you want to be well-rounded as a writer. Climb the library shelves like a monkey, he said. Well, I admit, I don't keep up, but I do subscribe to a Poetry magazine, and I do read healthy doses of fiction. I guess I'll consider my research my essay reading, for now. Time is the factor. Fun if we could stretch it, huh!

Kasin Hunter.

Philip Fri Apr 11 14:47:41 PDT 1997

HELLO EVERYONE: the sun has really gone back uptop to you guys in the northern hemisphere, chilly mornings here these days but it gets warmer as it goes on. I love this time of year, my walks along the beach sees less people than in summer...the swimmers have gone only diehards are left. I find the first evidence of seasonal change stimulating. I would love to live on a remote beach but also love what big cities offers me.

TOBY: yes... singing words... as was inferred earlier, the wandering minstrels of yesterday sung the news and poetry for our ancestors before the printing press, when most religious orders dominated what was recorded. And the ancient Greeks seem to rely on poets for information and word-filled forms of appreciation, stories and rhetoric.

TRUDY: Bob Dylan may be bizarre... but writers works ought not be considered in conjunction with their personalities Lots of writers have been arseholes.

Bob Dylan was nominated for a Nobel Prize his contribution to world literature but of course he didn't win. I can't for the life of me remember who did win . I'll have to find out... anyone know?

KITTY: good on you, in there like a true Canadian with Leonard Cohen. Joannie Mitchell, Rod McKuen, Paul Simon, Leonard Cohen and Bob Dylan I think have proven over many years to be prolific to be modern poets. Their words stand on their own and can be read independently of any music. McKuen, Cohen and Dylan may be lousy singers but their words, lyrics, sparkle and have a magical dynamic that I can easily class as poetry.

As an aside, I did a TV Special years ago with Leonard Cohen in Canada and found him to be an intelligent, thought provoking writer.

I don't get hung up on categorising wordsmiths - lyricist or poet is fine with me. The brilliance of the work will win through for me, whatever it called. A rose by any other name....

BRITOMART: I can't hold the pics on your homepage I get totally blown off the wire but it looks great. I think I'll be able to make to Brisbane for the launch on July 2 - I want to see this now world famous frock.

Hi to the new people!

JACK: there is still a great rushing buzz through this site. I'm pleased to hear you are hard at it, we're here to cheer for you as you make those touch downs. And once again as has been demonstrated through our mate Ben's personal loss and temporary departure we have become a very close knit group of writers here - sweetly unique.

Back soon - Philip.

PS: my homepage is up and almost ready...I'll post the URL next time through.

kae Fri Apr 11 14:42:05 PDT 1997

KASIN: You're so cool. My stinky spotted pal gets a big slobby hug when I get home.

Britomart Fri Apr 11 14:19:52 PDT 1997

Dear folks

I love poetry. I love Tennyson and Keats more than you can imagine - I read them for fun. I do not, however, read modern poetry. It's always a bit of a disappointment to me, but I do love modern music and I believe that it is the poetry of the moment (mind you, I'm not talking about Celine Dion here, I'm talking about the angst-ridden ramblings of a disaffected generation - much like the later Romantics).
For instance:

In the slipstream of thoughtless thoughts,/ the light of all that's good,/ the light of all that's true,/ to the fringes gladly, I walk unadorned/ with gods and their creations...

Now a critic with a good grounding in Julia Kristeva's work could have a fine time with the Smashing Pumpkins. Every time I listen to the Pumpkins I get a frisson of the Romantics, sometimes even of Eliot. Let's face it, there are more people writing poetry than buying it these days, but get yourself together with a halfway decent band and you can reach a much wider audience.

And then if you really start to look at lyrics, and the kind of fragmented (sometimes even meaningless) way they are put together, you can see post-modernism looking right back at you. Perhaps lyrics are post-modern poetry.

Meanwhile, I have started writing again and I'm ploughing through chapter four with fervour. I had a good long talk to my editor the other night - they sent bound proofs of "The Infernal" out to all the state sales managers, and one of them contacted her to say that his wife had appropriated his copy and wouldn't give it back - she even told him to come home from work early so he could look after the kids while she finished it! It's good to have the sales people on your side, because they're the ones who will be out there pushing bookshops to buy multiple copies (buy 27 and get a dump bin!)

Enough from me. Bye all! (PS. if you haven't done so already, check out my home page - I've fixed up the problem with the cover, so now you can see it properly).

Jack Beslanwitch Fri Apr 11 12:40:23 PDT 1997

A.J.: I really appreciate that you turned me on to the Mary Shelley Page. I have already added it to my list for Author Websites when I do my next update for Writer Resources. BTW, I really do not mind correcting snafus in HTML. So, be brave :-). It is not as if I have not done enough oopses in HTML all on my own.

BTW, book is coming along. Turned in a new chapter Wednesday only two days late and after a good bit of all nighters and a sore neck from staring at my computer screen into the wee hours of the morning without stretching. I have dredged up a set of stretching exercises from my local doctor that I had in my files, pinned them on the bulletin board above my computer and plan to faithfully remember to do them (er, well, I'll try) I know how I do on New Years Resolution so pain may have to be the motivator on this one. Take care everyone.

AJ Austin Fri Apr 11 09:51:09 PDT 1997

Britomart and any other Frankenstein/Mary Shelley fans: Someone gave me this address and I thought I'd pass it along. I really liked the site. (Jack, I'll spare you the pain of having to correct my html by not even attempting it! Trust me, you should thank me.)

Philip: Are lyricists poets? That's a good question. Hmmm... I believe they are, now whether they are *good* poets or not is a different story, and I guess a matter of opinion. Personally, I don't listen to much music with words (unless it's Motown or Blues). I much prefer classical. But I guess every generation of poets has to have a style that will appeal to their readers/listeners. That's how we divide the Romantic poets from the Victorian poets, etc. I don't know many people (besides me), even fellow English majors, who will read poetry for pleasure these days. But they will go out to concerts and come home singing the lyrics. Oddly enough, we had a discussion very similar to this in my English class yesterday.


Kasin Hunter Fri Apr 11 07:17:49 PDT 1997

Trudy -- that snow situation may seen neverending, but it isn't. I'll send you a bit of sunshine with this: my gourd sprouts are showing their first two leaves (dark green, thick, and healthy), the corn has tiny green skinny fingers sticking up here and there out of the brown earth in the corn rows, the emerald green-necked hummingbirds are visiting the feeder and the wild tobacco plant, I have to sprinkle the sprouts each morning. Is that a taste of Spring for you, hon?

Kim -- I can identify with you Spring and fresh air comments. Someone has planted jasine somewhere near. That, with the orange blossoms pair up to be something just this side of nose-heaven. My nastursiums are blooming full out now. I picked a small bouquet along with some white sweet pea blossoms and put them both in a short, fat, crystal bowl on my breakfast bar. Wonderful!

Tori and Maurice -- welcome as newbies. I'm a sf fan sort of also. Catching up on Heinlein. Next, Asimov.

Brit -- You can't stick you head in the sand, gal, just because there's weirdos out there. I was just minding my own business when an ex-roommate of mine decided to start stalking me--continued for five years with phone calls, running me off the road, hanging around where I worked, standing at the edge of my property, etc. etc. (sigh. talk about a sicko.) So, finally the phone trace nabbed his sorry butt. Haven't seen hide nor hair of him. Heard he's in jail for trying to shoot someone. And to think he was sleeping in my spare bedroom for two years! Eeeck! You can always just not respond to the emails, letters, whatever. Mostly just ignore the jerks and let it roll off your back.

Kitty and Kae -- I love dals also. My sister raised dals for years and still has four. I owned a dal for 12 1/2 years until I had to put him to sleep just last year. It was so amazing--I had sent an illustration of him into a magazine, and here the very week I put him to sleep, his illustration showed up in the magazine. I consider it a tribute to him-- Levi. I copied the page, framed it, and gave it to the vet who gave him the final shot. I also gave the vet a copy of the magazine. The vet carried it off like it was made of eggs. Very meaningful time of sharing for the both of us. I miss Levi so very much as I do all my deceased, four-legged friends. The poem I wrote at Levi's passing was about a paw print in the garden. You see, Levi had hip problems where he couldn't use his back legs those last three days. I carried him to potty, to get drinks, everything for three days. And he was sixty-five pounds. The poem of his footprint was one of hope, that he and I would meet each other later where his legs could work and he could leave paw prints all over the place! Dals are special. Give yours a kiss for me, since I no longer have mine to kiss. (Yes, I have tears right now.)

Okay, enough.

Everyone -- As you folks know, I do illustrations as well as writing. I rec. a note from an editor here a few days ago saying she is up against a publishing deadline (submission stacks everywhere) and has misplaced the illustration I sent her. I've never had this happen before, although I've heard of it happening. Bill and I spent that night up until 11:30 trying to get my not-too-great copy of a copy to scan at resolution good enough to be worth sending. What a chore. Finally, at two and one half megs, the picture scanned dark enough, although the system refused to save it. Anyway, it all worked out in the end, and I got the editor's new copy out the next morning in priority mail. Lesson for all illustrator/writers -- make sure the copy you have left is a good dark one, because you never know if you may need it again. Whew!

Part two: when is enough, enough? Been having some terrible allergy problems with the fruitless mulberry trees in bloom (have three in my yard), and have just been so beat after work. So last night, I didn't even go to my writer's club. First time I've missed it, but I had to take Tylenol Sinus (both tabs) to even see to drive the freeway home due to horrific headache. Spent the first several hours of the night the night on the couch, then woke up in bed at 6:00 this morning. Sometimes I have to give in and face the fact I'm just human and can't do it all. Martha Stewart does not flow in these veins.

Have a great day everybody. Happy Spring. Happy planting. Hug you dogs.


Kitty Thu Apr 10 19:10:09 PDT 1997

Philip: What about Leonard Cohen? He's a poet whose poems are put to music. Wasn't he nominated for a Grammy a few years back? I don't know what the Nobel Committee's reasoning was for nominating Dylan--the whole Bob Dylan mystique and mythology is unfathamable to me, but would anyone know who else was nominated? I'd be curious to know who his fellow nominees are. My question definition is a lyricist a poet, and though a poem may be wedded to music to create a song, is a poet a lyricist? As to your question, IMO, there are far more people listening to music these days than reading poetry; far more concerts than poetry readings, and it comes down to where the artist can find an audience.

Trudy Thu Apr 10 14:45:01 PDT 1997

Funny you should mention Bob Dillon, Philip, as he just played in Saint John two nights ago. I personally can't stand the man's singing but his song writing is good. Like Kae I'm not sure if he has written a book of poetry or not but his songs are often seen as such and I can see why he won. He's a bizarre guy...wouldn't let us at the paper interview or photograph him...but he's got some talent. Trudy

Toby Buckell Thu Apr 10 12:37:16 PDT 1997

Phillip: Good point. I definatly think that the poets of today are also singing to us, but that doesn't mean all singers are poets. That may not even be a present day phenomenon either, as the original poets sung their verse as ballads etc, it was only during the more rigid industrial development times and the victorian periods where structure and literature where the buzz words that peotry tended to be set in print and not experienced as much by the ear. It's neat the way things come full circle some times!

Kae Thu Apr 10 06:58:52 PDT 1997

BEN: Hey dude, very sorry to see you go. Will keep my eyes peeled for your book! Good Luck!

PHILIP: I think it is very possible for a singer/songwriter to be considered a poet, BUT, having done both, I don't think any musician should be able to win a Nobel Prize for Literature. I love music very, very much, and there are some mind blowing lyricists out there, but until, say, Toni Morrison wins a Grammy for Best Album for a BOOK she wrote, I say no way. What they should do is make a special category, like the Nobel Prize for Lyrical Music or something (if there isn't already one).
Note: I'm taking for granted that ole Bob was nominated for the Literature Prize for his MUSIC. If he's written a book of poems or something, that's different. I don't really follow him, so I'm not sure.

AJ Austin Thu Apr 10 05:46:05 PDT 1997

Ben, we will miss your wit and humour. Please take care and we will expect to see you here again sometime in the near future!

Philip Wed Apr 9 19:28:16 PDT 1997

HELLO EVERYONE: the time is approaching when the committees I sit on must start to pull together programs for our writers' festivals for the coming year - September, October '97 and January '98. Last year I plumped for and was successful in getting Gore Vidal for the big international Sydney Festival. Another who I was not successful with was Joannie Mitchell, after much correspondence and phoning in the end she just could not make it. But the buzz and fuss about whether she ought to be invited at all raged until her appearance was no longer an issue. At the very peak of the hysteria in our committee Bob Dylan was nominated for a Nobel Prize for literature.

My loaded question then is.... are the poets of present day only published in books, or are they also singing their works for us?

Trudy Wed Apr 9 16:05:38 PDT 1997

Bye Ben, but I'm sure we'll be seeing you around here soon. We're all too addictive, or is that addicted? Take care. I'll miss ya. Trudy

Britomart Wed Apr 9 14:10:34 PDT 1997

BEN: I'm very, very sorry to hear you go. But you've got my snail-mail address and I do expect to hear from you that way (and, of course, vice versa). Perhaps you will be able to get to the writers' notebook another way occasionally - at the library or an internet cafe etc. You will be very sorely missed. Hang in there.

ben Woestenburg Wed Apr 9 00:07:29 PDT 1997

I'm sorry to have to say this at this point of my life, but I have to go off line within two days. This is an unbelievably bad time for me to be going off, I know...I know. But such is life I'm beginning to see. I knew I was going to have to give it back, we all knew that. I just didn't expect last week. No one could have.

But, I seem to be adjusting quite well to the new situation. I was a basket case for four days, the fifth was a little easier, the sixth even moreso, and today the easiest. I think it's because my father and I had a good relationship. One thing this weekend told me about my father is that everyone who knew him (the brothers I mean) related to him on completely different levels, and yet he understood everything. He was singularly, the smartest uneducated man I have ever met. He read voraciously, and studied constantly. He did everything for the sake of his chldren and his family. There was never a violent word -- even when he had to come and pick me up at the cop shop. A single smack in the back of the head, as if to say, "What the hell you thinking of, eh?" He was easy to love, and being that, it's a comfort to live with the memories.

I'll have my bad days I'm sure, but time heals all wounds. I want to write a story about him though. It's that 'Closure' thing everyone's always talking about. Have to change a lot of things in it -- don't want to be too much of a dink to certain family members. But it will be my dad I'm writing about that my family will see. And hopefully they'll like it. I don't have a title for it or anything, except endless ideas. But I have to do this before I can go on with my book(s).

I thank you Jack, for having had me and put up with my wierd sense of humour. I want to thank you all for becoming a part of my life as much as I have become one in yours. And believe me, I promise I'll manage to get back somehow. Fulltime, and with my own computer.


P.S. I promise to finish the book so everyone will have a chance to read it. When I do, you'll know I never gave up.

p.p.s: The word for this night, is CLOSURE.

Kae Tue Apr 8 12:05:23 PDT 1997

KIM: I read The English Patient a few years ago. It was one of those books that doesn't have a lot of dialog, and nothing is explained--a real "figure it out for yourself"er. I haven't seen the movie, but the trailer really shocked me--war scenes, love scenes, confrontations, conversations. I don't remember it as a story with a lot of action--I remember it basically about heartbreakingly lonely people, full of love (or depression, from a lack of love), but cut off from humanity. The only bad thing was that I didn't get much of a sense of the characters as actual flesh and blood people--other than their utter desolation (and with me, that only goes so far). In that respect, the book kind of reminded me of Hemingway, or The Sheltering Sky, by Paul Bowles. I'd recommend it to the patient reader, tho.

KITTY: My dog is a short, stocky, squareheaded, snorting, flatulent beast. She has so many spots that she just might be black with white spots. She is the most loving, jealous, hilarious, babyish, fearless dog you could ever hope to meet. She's never been sick, and is strong as a little spotted ox. She's never bitten anyone, tho many, many rodents have been mercilessly slaughtered by her stinky fangs. I have actually used my dog as a table before; a beer fits nicely on her big, square butt. I've had her for 11 years, and loved every minute of it--even when having a dog made it really hard to find an apartment. She likes California Blues music, specifically a band called Little Feat. She also likes the song "There Is A Mountain" by Donovan. They make her dance (I'm NOT exaggerating--it's like she can *tell.*). She's my sweetie, my bestest pal.

Trudy Mon Apr 7 09:38:55 PDT 1997

My the newcomers just keep piling in...welcome all.

KITTY: don't worry about getting the contest info to me in a rush; I have to admit I've been very lazy with my fiction writing even though it is frequently in my head all the projects I should be working on.
I'm hoping if I can get a room set up on IRC a bunch of us here can e-mail writing to each other and meet like a weekly, bi-weekly or even monthly writing group on-line. To keep everyone posted, my friend hasn't gotten back to me on setting up such a room and as I was stormstayed in Moncton on my vacation I didn't get as much done as I had planned last week. I did enjoy relaxing and reading though so maybe God sent the blizzard for a reason eh?

Well, I'm in the midst of getting ready to return to work...laundry, ironing and the should be getting back to the grind. Take care everyone and I shall return. Happy writing. Trudy.

AJ Austin Mon Apr 7 05:52:47 PDT 1997

Brit: I just had to say that you are right about Frankenstein being a very good book. I bought the book about three weeks ago because I knew I was going to have to read it for a class this summer. It has been laying on my desk ever since. After reading your enthusiastic recommendation to Nicole, I picked it up on Saturday and couldn't put it down until I finished it yesterday. I was very impressed, it is very readable and I really enjoyed it. And I would also highly recommend it to everyone else. As for the BBC movies, I think that they are often shown on PBS (Public Broadcasting) in the States. Unfortunately, I missed Jane Austen's Persuasion last night because of the X-files.

Kitty: Thanks for the Victoriana suggestions. I'll have to check those out if I can ever make time to go and do some actual research.

Hope everyone had a good weekend.

Kitty Sun Apr 6 14:56:32 PDT 1997

Hi-dee-hey y'all! I'm just back from a family jaunt and, as to be expected, so much has happened here, so many postes.
Ben, my thoughts are with you.
Tammi, I drive down to Massena about once a month in the winter, less frequently in the summer. I confess a need to every once in awhile eat American delicacies like Oscar Meyer bologna, catch a few bargains at TJMaxx, and listen to Mohawk radio. I live in the Hudson/St. Lazare area so you're only an hour away. And it has been a long hard winter. We've had more snow this year than any other in recorded history acording to an article I read.
Kae, I am here still, but life has been hectic. I do have a Dalmatian named T.C. who was on her way to the SPCA because her original owner had had enough of her antics (normal puppy dog behaviour). The owner had visions of showing and breeding T.C. then selling her pups for a small fortune. She's pedigreed, papered and tatooed up the wazoo, but if she is the ideal for Dals, then the breed is in serious trouble.... She is, I believe, a result of overbreeding and neglect. She has epilepsy ( heavy doses of dilatin every day) and chews her paws neurotically like a kids with a bad nail biting habit (we've done everything from Bitter Apple to red booties, she's foiled all attempts). Despite all that she is a good companion--very much a love-me love-me dog. Right now she is a bit subdued and has been following me like a shadow because her long time friend and partner in mischief, Nanny, died peacefully of very great old age about a month ago. Tell me more about your Dal. Oh, and T.C. is a bit of a chubby too. The vet told us with all her problems, weight was not the thing to obsess about. He has also observed that if we were to balance a tray upon her very broad back and train her to stand still, she would make a decorative coffee table.
Trudy, I haven't forgotten the writing contest info, I just have to find it! It is somewhere in the disaster that is my study. I snipped it out of the paper and put it by the computer to send to you, but it has disappeared. As soon as I find it, I'll send it.
To all the Victoriana lovers, I can recommend two books which I don't think have yet been mentioned:
1. A Victorian Household by Shirley Nicholson, ISBN # 0-7126-2055-9, published by Barrie & Jenkins. The book is based on the diaries of Marion Sambourne who kept meticulous records and whose home is preserved as it was when she lived there. The Linley Sambourne House is in London and open to the public.
2. Captain Gronow, His Reminiscences of Regency and Victorian Life 1810-60, edited and with Notes by Christopher Hibbert, ISBN 1-85626-013-5. Captain Gronow wrote an autobiography in several volumes which you may be able to find at a university library. He seemed to know everybody and had lots of observations.
I'll take a look-see through my library and see what else I may have, if anyone is interested.
Hello newcomers, and welcome!
I'm off to unpack and sort laundry. We were in New York City over the Easter weekend and participated in the Easter Parade (I must confess, it took us awhile to figure out that people were the parade as in Judy Garland and Fred Astaire walking down the Avenue...), then we went down to Cape May, N.J. which is a beach resort replete with restored Victorian homes and where we experienced the drama and fury of nor'easter or "big blow" (the rain pelted down horizontally), and then travelled over to Bucks County, Pennsylvania where we stayed at a serenely beautiful B & B, the Barley Sheaf Farm while exploring the neighborhood with an eye to moving there (the farm was an original Penn land grant, we stayed in the oldest part of the house-1740). Three diffent wardrobes, four people--I'll be doing laundry for the next little while!

Jack Beslanwitch Sun Apr 6 12:17:18 PDT 1997

I have archived a portion while things were a bit slow here. I've retained posts from Ben's forward. When I get the chance to put up the bookstore page, I'll let people know and happily solicit suggestions for additions. Take care.

Maurice L. Entwistle Fri Apr 4 16:53:51 PST 1997

Dear all:

Just found this site. It's fun, it's serious, seems like a lot of talent. I'm just shopping my first novel, so I can get some tidbits on that aspect here. Read the first chapter of Kim's book, she's really got some talent, and looks too. I'm sure she'll have some creeps wanting to meet her. I would.


Deb again Fri Apr 4 16:27:58 PST 1997

Sorry for the typos. Plus, I forgot. SHERRIE, are you still out there? Haven't seen your name here for a long time. What's happening with your successes?

Deb Borys Fri Apr 4 16:26:01 PST 1997

EVERYONE: I just found out I can get an AOL account and then access it through my local WEB provider to prevent calling a long distance number. (The rural mid-west does have its disadvantages.) A few of my writer friends say there are some pretty cool writer's sites there. ANyone familiar with things I should try out once I get on line.

Alos, be aware that when I do this, I will be changing my e-mail address, whihc is a good thing. It will be nice to have an address that not everybody in the office can read, if they've a mind to. Plus AOL can go with me anywhere I go, I beleive. And I intend to go places, don't you know.

I will be looking in from time to time, but I want to finish editing by the 20th to send off my manuscript to the person who asked for it.

BRIT: I know what you mean about being sick of your book. It's so difficult for me to edit this thing with a clear mind when I've seen it all so many times before. How do I know it's any good? Well, I guess Michael Seidman will tell me when he reads it. But I wish I knew beforehand. Wish me luck.

Britomart Fri Apr 4 14:18:40 PST 1997

Hey all. AJ and Kim - yes, I too have the "What Jane Austen etc..." book. Another good writers' resource are the guides to everyday life put out by writers' digest. I have the guide to Medieval times, and Renaissance England, but they also do 19th century America and Prohibition times (again, I think, in America). I was real pissed to find out that they didn't do one for Victorian England.

With regards to 19th Century fiction - I'm an absolute Bronte sisters freak, and Wuthering Heights and the Tenant of Wildfell Hall are two of my fave books ever, but Nicole, the best book I have ever read is Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. You will not regret reading this book (I've read it more times than I can count). It is the most amazing story, and written so brilliantly. I think I've mentioned before that I'm right into late 18th C - early 19th C Gothic novels - some of my favourites are: The Monk (Matthew Lewis); Caleb Williams (William Godwin); and Melmoth the Wanderer (Charles Maturin).

For all you Victoriana buffs, the BBC has just released "The Tenant of Wildfell Hall" and it's going to be on Oz telly starting this month. I don't know if the US imports these BBC series, but they are great (anybody catch Pride and Prejudice over there?)

Anyway, enough about that. I'm reading the page proofs of "The Infernal" and I'm so sick of it that I want to vomit. I just hope I don't have to read the whole thing again. It is pretty cool, however, to see how it's going to look on the printed page. Also, although it's only being released in paperback, my agent and editor are talking about having an author photo somewhere in the book - I don't know how I feel about this, because I don't want freaks ringing me up etc etc. I have one writer friend (he writes horror) who gets looneys phoning him to tell him that demons from his books are pursuing them etc etc. It's only got to be worse when the author is young and female.

Yes, yes, I know. I have great problems.

Gotta go.

Linda Fri Apr 4 14:11:49 PST 1997

Ben: My thoughts and prayers are with you . I lost my father in October ,95 and my husbands father March 97 so I understand what you are going through . Grieve in whatever way is truly yours. It's sounds like there was a rich connection between you and your father.

Sorry to be so personal on the list but I don't have or couldn't find your email address. I believe we are a family at Writer's Notebook so hope no one will be offended.

AJ Fri Apr 4 10:39:31 PST 1997

Thought I'd give everyone a quick laugh at my expense. It's Friday, so I wore jeans to work today. The zipper on my jeans broke, and of course, the shirt that I am wearing is too short to cover up my mishap. So I am basically stuck at work with a broken zipper, sitting as close to my desk as I can possibly get, and no way to get home for about 3 more hours. And let me tell you a safety pin just doesn't cut it! I guess it could be worse, I could have to ride the bus home. This is the one day of the week that my husband can come and pick me up. :-)

Toby Buckell Fri Apr 4 09:26:46 PST 1997

Pastwatch was a hell of a book! I didn't notice any excitement over it, but i liked it. Oh well.

Toni Oakley Fri Apr 4 08:29:15 PST 1997

Hi,this is my first time writing here. I am just a teenager right now but I love science fiction and don't be suprised if you see me as an editor of a major publishing company in the next few years.

A.J. Austin Fri Apr 4 06:26:11 PST 1997

Me again!

Brit & Kim: I think the Victoriana research group sounds great! I really enjoyed looking around the site you suggested. And Kim, I was actually going to suggest that book to you! I was planning on putting it on my Writing Resource Book list to Jack. It is a very useful resource to me.

Jack: There is also another book that I really find helpful, not necessarily in Victorian research. It's called A WRITER'S COMPANION. It's basically a book of lists, everything from Famous Battles, Famous airplanes and trains, to TV shows and movies, and classical composers, famous novels, and even a list of when some products came into general consumer use. It's edited by Louis D. Rubin, Jr (a former prof here at UNC). I think it is wonderful to have at hand. It's several reference books compiled into a general one. I have a couple of other books probably helpful to mystery writers and I'll email you all the info.

Nicole: WUTHERING HEIGHTS is good. I usually don't like Dickens too much; he's so difficult to wade through. But I am really enjoying TALE OF TWO CITIES. I don't know, which books do you usually read for inspiration? I usually read 19th century authors because that's the period I usually write in. Believe it or not, I also find writing about paintings or prints inspiring. It's amazing what you can see when you look closely. I have a novel started from a Monet painting.

Toby and Trudy: Welcome back!

Ben: It was good to hear from you. My thoughts and prayers are still with you. Please take care,


Kim Thu Apr 3 18:44:55 PST 1997

Hey everyone...thanks for such friendly welcome!

It has been beautiful weather here in MD (except for the April Fools snow on Monday). I even got a chance to plant flowers on my day off yesterday. I love this time of year! There's just something so arousing about spring...the rebirth of nature, open windows, fresh air after
months of dry, dead foliage and closed windows....

Have any of you read "The English Patient"? I saw the movie and liked it (though nearly three hours was a bit long!), but I heard the book was even better.

BRIT & A.J.: Starting a virtual Victorian research group sounds like a good idea. I have checked out the Victoriana home page and got some good info from it. The thing I find kind of frustrating about researching Victorian England, though, is it's such a long time period that it's hard to find research specifically on the decade I'm researching. Have either of you read "What Jane Austin Ate and Charles Dickens Knew"? I have found this to be a useful reference. Do you guys have any reference suggestions?

JACK: I have many "how-to" writing books. Some are not that good, but some of the most helpful have been: The Writer's Digest Elements of Fiction Writing Series ("Characters &
Viewpoint", "Setting", "Dialog", "Plot", etc), "The Weekend Novelist" by Robert Ray, and "20 Master Plots (and How to build Them)" by Ronald B. Tobias. I am currently reading
"Fearless Creating", which so far seems to be excellent for artists of any kind on how to overcome the fear of creating.

NICOLE: What kind of books do you like to read? Romance, mystery, mainstream? I've found Diana Gabaldon's "Outlander" series rather inspiring...though they tend to be somewhat long and could stand to be trimmed down a bit, she is a very good writer and weaves very interesting, intricate plots with strong central characters. I just finished reading Jacquelyn Mitchard's (sp?) "The Deep End of the Ocean," and I really enjoyed that too. Though it's not really a "happy" story, I did find it rather inspiring. (BTW, has anyone
else read this book? I'd be interested to see what others thought of it.) I have not read too many literary books yet, though I did read and enjoy "Wuthering Heights." I've heard Jane Austin is good too.

TOBY: Yeah, killing off the other civilizations is the point of the game in my opinion too. With Civ2, you have the option of playing for "Bloodlust" only, where you play until all other civilizations are wiped out, and you don't have to worry about building the spaceship. That's the way I always play. My approach is a little different than yours though. Instead of killing my opponents asap, I do it more slowly so I can really build up my land and resources. This game must be a writer's curse tho. If you've ever read Orson Scott Card's "Pastwatch," you'll notice in his acknowledgements he makes a comment about spending too much time playing Civ and not writing.

Well, I'm off to curl up with a glass of wine and a book. Happy Friday everyone!


Toby Buckell Thu Apr 3 12:23:09 PST 1997

Hello Kim. Welcome. Everyone, Hi again.

Ben: My condolences. It is good that you have a close supportive family to help you out.

Sorry it's been a while, but I've been extremely busy what with Easter Break and a few other wild things that happened to me unexpectedly. I did have the time to catch back up on everything recently, and on a whim last night followed the wacky science links that Jack has listed here to the Darwin awards and Urban legends. I recomend them to anyone who has an appreciation of the sense of the very absurd.

Kim- I do agree that Sid is a curse to all people trying to get real work done in the world. And now that Civ-2 is out, I fear that that will be more temptation for me than the original fruit of knowledge. By the way, am I one of the few Civ players who never even tries to develop alongside the other cultures but insists on wiping them out ASAP? I mean, am I missing something there? Isn't that the point of it, world domination?

Trudy Thu Apr 3 11:54:10 PST 1997

Hello all. My condolences to you Ben; it is a difficult time but you seem to have a wonderful family who shall be able to help you get through it. My prayers are with you also.

I just returned from a trip home to my parents where I was snowed in for two day s when a blizzard dropped over 50 centimetres of snow on the city and surrounding areas. I also tried to say I would be away but the computer was acting up so hope everyone enjoyed their Easter.

I just read through all I've missed since last week and will not try to respond to everything but must say welcome to Kim. Sounds like you're one of the gang already.

Will return soon to catch up more. Later all. Trudy.

Ben Thu Apr 3 11:02:57 PST 1997

Hello my good friends.

I came home for a brief moment because I had to drop my niece and nephew off back in town here. I thought my wife might be home so I could spend some time with her, but she's out working, which I half heartedly expected. I've been staying out at my mother's place which is about an hour's drive from here.

It's been hard for me, and I think it's hit me hardest -- or maybe I just want to think it has. We all handle grief in our own ways, and to be quite frank: I'm a basket case at the most unexpected times. The worst part is that I will have to be getting on with my life and going back to work on Monday. I don't look forward to it, but at least I work in seclusion and I can be alone with my grief. I have a feeling all my friends will give me more than enough time and space.

The funeral is Saturday, and since there are five brothers and an adult grandson, I have to be a pallbearer. I'm not looking forward to it, but I have to tell myself that life is a cycle, and this is just part of it.

My mother lives out in the country so to speak, a resort town of sorts, so it's pretty quiet right now. The night sky is brilliant, and I brought her outside to look at the comet through the binoculars because she's never really seen one before. I've sort of renamed it in my own mind: Adriaanus. They say it's good to do that sort of thing. I sat down yesterday and wrote a poem for myself. My mother wants me to read it as part of the eulogy I'm supposed to be working on with my eldest brother. I told her I would probably be the worst one to try and read anything. I wish I could be as strong as she is. She's too stoical for my liking though.

I'd like to thank you all for the emails you sent me, and I have to confess, I approached this computer with a great deal of hesitation and trepidation. As soon as I read the first lines of the first letter, I lost it, but I managed to pull myself together. You people are like a family to me now, and that's why I told myself I had to sit here and say something. I have to go back to Mother's as the rest of the family drifts in, and know that as each familial face enters it will be another sessions of tears for me. I knew I was sensitive, but shit man, I just can't stop at times. But I know it's the best thing for me. My eldest brother has to do the eulogy, and he says he'll do it no matter how difficult it is for him. It took him four hours before he even dared to look at my poem. My mother had asked me what I wanted to do with it, and I told her I was going to publish it. And you know what? I think I will. I laughed and told her I was holding onto my haircut.

I think you people collectively for the love and friendship you have shared with me; and I do so because I know I can't answer you all individually just yet. I want to run off the letter and bring them with me though, because they are a comfort for me. And now I have to let go...

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