Archived Writer's Notebook Messages

From April 20, 1997 to May 27, 1997

Gwynda Tue May 27 07:09:50 PDT 1997

Thank you Kitty! I'm not sure which way to go with the article. I am not a science person, but found the information easy to follow. There's also the aspect of her juggling career with family. I like your suggestion of writing from a couple of different aspects.

Trudy Sun May 25 15:57:37 PDT 1997

Hi all, the weekend was a huge success and I had a great time at the AGM and writer's workshops overall for the Writer's Federation of New Brunswick, to which I belong. One that I figured would be of most interest to people here was Sci-fi and Fantasy writing. I did not take a lot of notes but thought I would share a few words of wisdom gleaned from the workshop leader, Lesley Choyce ( a Nova Scotia writer).

He said he advised sci fi and fantasy writers of two things. First, write what you know, and second, write what you don't know anything about.
Something else he said that made a lot of sense was, "You have to write alot of garbage before you write anything good...take it from someone who's written a lot of garbage." Actually he said he's written whole first chapters, as many as three, and turfed them by the end of the novel, or at the end gotten rid of pages because he was tying up too many loose ends. I think this was probably my favourite piece of info all weekend.
And one more was "paranoa's aalways been a good thing for sci-fi." after everyone talked about their story lines which were usually brought on by their fear of technology or science or what have you.

And BRENDA, if you're reading this, and I know you will be, join in. Everyone, Brenda is a fellow New Brunswick writer who I met this weekend at the AGM. She found this page a week ago and saw I had said I was coming and watched for me...we met almost right away...can you believe how small this world is? Welcome Brenda!

Well that's it for now. Happy writing. Oh and you might want to cross your fingers for me...I submitted two short stories and five poems at a submission opportunity this weekend to a local literary magazine. I'm hoping they like at least one thing in the whole package.

Bye. Trudy.

Kitty Fri May 23 15:15:42 PDT 1997

Mary, insist that they send your manuscript, immediately. You should not have to pay a serious agent to read your manuscript--that's their business, finding and promoting talent. They are supposed to make their shekal AFTER they have sold the manuscript to the publisher not before they've even read it.
Gwynda, regarding your interview and magazine queries, it depends what slant you are taking in the proposed article. Are you writing a science profile, extraordinary woman profile, etc... If you know who your audience is, you will have some idea of the type of article you will be writing and, naturally, to which magazines you should pitch the piece. If you are really fired up on the subject write several articles with different slants aimed at different audiences. You may have more than one marketable article here.
Brit, hope you received some "happy" mail in the poste today. If not, does the Australian Postal Service deliver on Saturdays? Very happy for you and have primed my Aussie friends to be on the lookout for your book.
Hello and welcome to all who have joined since I was last here. We've been pretty busy round here finishing up the school year and getting ready for summer. Forget about Spring. Today was the first sunny--but chilly day, and here we are at the end of May! To refresh my spirits, I'm off next Thursday to see my good friend and collaborator Judy who lives in the South so I am assured of little sunshine and flowers. But before I go, I have to put in the herb garden, plant the tomatoes and finish the second draft on the chapters 1-5.

Jack Beslanwitch Thu May 22 09:08:38 PDT 1997


My take on the reading fee is that it smells to high heavens. If they are going to be "dishonest" enough to advertise no reading fee and then switch guns in the middle of the stream and say that agent is on leave of absence? Hmmmm, do we have a bridge to sell you. Cash only. Sorry, Its early and I am just about to run out the door, but this screamed for a comment. I would get my manuscript back and try someone else if it was me personally. My 2 c. worth.

Gwynda Thu May 22 07:45:38 PDT 1997

Mary, I have always heard that paying for anything regarding an agent is a bad idea. There may be exceptions, and I would love to know if they are. This is all new to me.
Thanks for all the hello's, and welcomes! I am so glad I found this page. Question: I have an interview that I want to query to some magazines. The person interviewed is a scientist who works for NASA, but also works here at the University. She combines her research with family, and her research involves plants, and why they do not produce seeds in space. Any suggestions where I should query?
Thanks. Peace, Light and love!

Thu May 22 06:29:06 PDT 1997

Brava to Tabitha and Gwynda on your "sales"! I have a problem. Sent my manuscript off to an agent that advertised "No Reading Fee." First, I go four weeks without a word, then I get a letter sating, sorry, that agent is on leave of absence, I've got your manuscript, and we're now charging a $25 reading fee.
I resent paying it, but I also don't want to have to wait another milennium for SOMEBODY to read my stuff!
Dear Abby, sign me Totally Ticked Off.

Jack Beslanwitch Wed May 21 21:02:48 PDT 1997

OK, hopefully most of the links are pointed at the right place around here. If you meet a dead one, let me know via email, but I will not be able to deal with it until after the weekend. I will be off the to wilds of Missoula, Montana. Got criticques from my editor back and I feel the least ego bruised of all my previously chapters. First draft is still a first draft, but am making progress. Take care everyone and talk to you on Monday if I do not get access to the interent earlier.

Bill Wed May 21 18:16:40 PDT 1997

Ok Trudy, you talked me into it...I'm making note to the fact that I sent a synopsis for my novel to Commonwealth Publishers Inc. in Canada and they said they want to see my work as soon as I am finished with it...By the way...I wrote my synopsis after Deb Borys was so kind as to send me a copy of hers....That was the first one I had ever seen...

To answer your question about time on the computer, I start at anywhere form 9:00am to 10:30am and keep at it until from 12: midnight up to 3:00am. I want to get this finished..I have a date to do my second one as soon as this one is finished....

Deb...I know I told you thanks, but Thanks Again anyway.

I'm adding a small piece from chapter 7 in the workbook if anyone is interested.

Also check out little poem from Tiffany Whitney in the workbook...Bye all

PS...welcome everyone newer than me...

Trudy Wed May 21 17:34:38 PDT 1997

Way to go DIANE! That is so exciting and you have every right to feel on top of the world.

Welcome back KEN!

And welcome GARY from a fellow Canadian, albeit the other side of the country. Pass my hellos onto Ben please and yes he is missed here. Glad you found us.

And a cheery welcome to JOSHUA and GWYNDA while I'm welcoming everyone.

Great description in Music, Laughter to Lust KAE. I enjoyed reading it!

Patience Brit Patience...

Everyone else hello...I was hoping to respond to everyone but guess it's been awhile and way to busy. I'm off to bed. Been working late at the paper a lot and am exhausted. By the way, then editors liked the book review I wrote so I'm hoping to see that in print soon. And I've read the second book they assigned and have started writing. Will keep you posted. Take care all. Trudy

Britomart Wed May 21 14:26:15 PDT 1997

Hey folks. I've been doing much gnashing of teeth lately - my partner is starting to complain that it's keeping him awake at night. My books were supposed to arrive last Friday - didn't happen. Monday I had a big parcel from my publishers - no books, just my old MSs. Tuesday nothing. Wednesday a phone call: "tomorrow - fer sure". This morning, an e-mail: "sorry, but I'm sure it will be Friday." AAAAARGH! I'm so excited I can't sleep at nights - imagine, holding the book in my hands for the first time. I'm sure my head will explode.

Gary: say hi to Ben for me! Tell him I wish I could join you for that beer (though I'd probably drink something else) and that chat about writing. What kind of horror stuff have you written? That's my special subject.

Wish me patience, everyone. I have a feeling I'm going to need it.


Toby Buckell Wed May 21 11:59:51 PDT 1997

Hello guys. Sorry it's been a while since I've written, but end of term workload was incredible. I also wrote three chapters of my novel on top of my various papers and tests. Now I'm going to have a week of relaxation.

I'm leaving to go home, so that means no E-Mail, but hopefully I can use the library computers to read the postings and reply evry week or other week or so, as I virtually live in the library as it is.

I wish every one lots of luck (I haven't had a damned bit for the year yet), and I'll be looking fopr you.


Tabitha Baumander Wed May 21 11:52:20 PDT 1997

My smile for the week. I have a story on an on-line zeen called
PYROWORDS. Its called THE SWING. No money involved but its good for
the moral and my moral needs all the good it can get..Hey dosent everybodies?
In the mean time I'm still agent hunting. Let you know if I strike oil.

kae Wed May 21 11:43:00 PDT 1997

There's an underscore btwn the "tom" and the "robbins" in that address for the Tom Robbins page, dammit.

Gwynda Wed May 21 11:13:23 PDT 1997

Hey! The web page is my son's, but it has a link to mine. I am a writer who just submitted a first essay to a magazine. The editor called me last night. And, I am blown away. Although friends had said I could write, I still hesitated to call myself a writer.

I work full time and take classes to help me with my writing. I still have a lot to learn, and stumbled upon this page in my quest for knowledge. I have a couple of essays waiting to be submitted as well as some poetry. And, I have recently started a novel.

Thanks for sharing. Peace, Light and Love!

kae Wed May 21 06:11:42 PDT 1997

Thanks to everyone that emailed replies to my literary agent question. I still have a ways to go, I know. It doesn't hurt to plan, tho, and ignorance is the mother of tragedy. I'd hate to get all geeked and then find out I signed a contract with a vanity press, or something. It happened to John-Boy Walton, after all, and everybody knows how smart he is.

In case you guys are curious: a month ago I found this awesome Tom Robbins page, and the creator has this little "inspired by Tom" section. Back in college I wrote this story where I totally ripped off Tom--or as I wrote at the end of the story--"tributed" him, by copying his style. I wrote in to the creater of this cool page, and he posted my little story there. The quotation marks and other punctuation got kinda screwed up, but it's still WAY cool to see it there. Check it out, if it strikes ya. But please remember, I don't write like that myself--I was consciously trying to mimic him. Maybe they should have one of those contests on Tom like they have on Hemingway! Hell, I'd be there.

It's near the top of the page (the page is pretty big), under the "New & Renewed" section, located at the address above. It's a short little thang--won't take but a minute (sorry, but I feel I must write "that's what HE said" right here. sorry, but I hadta).

Philip Tue May 20 23:17:27 PDT 1997

HELLO EVERYONE: ... WOW! NEW PEOPLE! (A population explosion)

Welcome to the new people. I am sorry I haven't been here lately but I will return. I have lots of replies to your questions, I'm simply busting.

My old friends will know
I'm off the air until I can get my work under control. Snowed under!

Sincerely - Philip.

Deb Borys Tue May 20 10:54:12 PDT 1997

GARY: Thanks! In a way it's too late, because I've decided to put that book on hold after receiving word from Michael Seidman that it's too short and needs more characterization for him (a result of cutting it too short, I'm sure). But it's not too late in that I do plan to go back to it. I'm just sick of it right now and will instead concentrate on the second book in the series, which might make a better series opener anyway. I've gotten several version of the lyrics from others, your's was what I was going with, and your verification makes me feel better about that.

KEN: 150 years, huh? So you're trying to tell us you're an immortal of some sort, is that it? 'Fess up, now, are you a god or a vampire? Both? How intriguing!! :-)

(The WEB address is just a new page put up for the place where I work. Not writing related at all except that excerpts from our quarterly newsletter are posted there.)

Time to re-cloak myself. BYE

Joshua R. Barker Mon May 19 23:18:04 PDT 1997

Hello everyone. I linked to this page from Christine Forrest's Web-Site, and I really like the way everyone seems to talk to each other. So I'll go ahead and tell everyone a little bit about myself.

I am 23 years old and have been writing on and off since I was fifteen, which was the age that I decided I was going to become a famous writer and make lots of money. Then when I grew up, found out that even though these dreams would be a lot harder to achieve then I beleived as a teen-ager, I found that I really enjoyed spinning unique stories out of thin air and sharing them with other people. So bit by bit I have struggled with my writing and have learned a little here and there.

I like to write Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Horror/Un-Classified, but have also done a spot of poetry, of which I have one poem that will be published in July. I am great at coming up with ideas for story, characters, and setting, but I lack in the areas of grammer and mechanics. So, I have joined several Internet Writer's Groups in the hopes that others will be able to help me overcome these obstacles.

Gary Howard Mon May 19 21:28:34 PDT 1997

DEB: Probably too late, but the words to that CSN&Y song: I've got the song book, and this is what it says, strange grammar and all:

Teach your children well
Their father's hell
Will slowly go by
And feed them on your dreams
The one they picks
The one you'll know by


Gary Howard Mon May 19 21:13:37 PDT 1997

Yo! from New Westminster (near Vancouver, B.C.) I'm an aspiring writer and basically unpublished as of yet, currently working on a screenplay and teaching full time in a Vancouver inner city secondary school. I indirectly received this web site address through Ben Woestenburg, who unfortunately is without computer access to the site and I'm sure sorely missing it. I'm also convinced that many of you dearly miss Ben's entries. I get my hair cut from Kim, who also cuts Ben's hair. Kim always talked to me about his friend who worked in a mill and had been working on this mammoth ROMAN TRILOGY for several years. I did meet Ben briefly at the salon, and we exchanged phone numbers but didn't connect for some time. Finally I called him recently and received Jack's e-mail address. Thank you Jack for responding so quick and giving me the home page address.(Ben had lost it somewhere on his desk) He's still grappling with the loss of his father and says he hasn't gotten back to the writing. He said next time I get my hair cut to call him. Said he'd drop by. We'll probably go for a beer and talk "writing" Sorry if I'm rambling on, but if Ben doesn't get back on line in the near future, I'll try to relay you some updates.

I'm immensely impressed with this site! Incredible work Jack! Anyhow this is an introduction I guess ...Hopefully soon I can get my bio on line and put a few snippets into the workbook ...and talk about writing! Next time. :)

Ken Mon May 19 17:47:48 PDT 1997

Thank you Jack, for the email. I had a computer crash shortly after I found the notebook (months ago now). I am ashamed I could not remember enough to find you. I recognize many of the names and many are new. I really enjoy reading what is going on out there. The Bios are great. Fantastic Job (as usual)!

Great news! Congratulations!!!

A little personal news...

I am now working as a securities broker (what I have done for 150 years now) and I have invested in some real estate and am doing that too.

I have continued to write in the months away from this wonderful notebook. Some friends, while reading my one finished novel, mentioned that the scenes involving lovemaking seemed stiff and like someone else wrote them. Someone else had helped me. I was not confident in this area. I feared sounding too graphic. When mentioning this to another friend, she recommended I practice and send my efforts to her for evaluation. She lives in Baltimore so I felt it safe enough to try. It turns out that the short scenes turned out better than I had feared. She told me she had shared them some friends who were attending a party. It seems the party was on a yacht and apparently the stories rocked the boat a bit. It turned out to be a fun exercise.

Thanks again Jack!


Diane L. Gariepy Mon May 19 14:52:43 PDT 1997

Well, it finally happened! I received an acceptance for a story I wrote in the mail today. The zine is called Albion, and will come out in August with my story, The Chosen One, in it.

I don't supposed I have to tell you how thrilled I am. This is only the second story I ever submitted for publication (the first was rejected), and I still have one more short story out, and the first three chapters (along with an outline) sent to an agent.
I feel on top of the world - nothing is going to stop me from realizing my dream now! I've given myself a five year goal to make a living at writing, and I've beaten the first goal already!

Dancing in my seat,

Trudy Mon May 19 14:20:50 PDT 1997

Hi all...I thought I lost you, but am glad it was just a lttle glitch and I'm back!

Welcome Diane G. Keep up the enthusiasm and never worry about will find many of us guilty of that little trait.

Kae...searching for a literary agent eh? good for you. There's several pages of them listed in the New 1997 Edition of The Writer's Handbook for you American folk...we also put out a Canadian handbook that lists Canadian agents but I doubt that's what you're looking for. Good luck in the search.

Jack thanks for leading me back *smile*.

Everyone else, hi and see ya later! Trudy

Jack Beslanwitch Mon May 19 12:44:10 PDT 1997

I have to apologize. In doing the forwarding page, I indicated a page that did not exist. I just discovered as I was trying to figure out why people had stopped posting all of a sudden. Or, perhaps, I am just being paranoid :-) Anyway, the address for the Notebook is Spread the word.

Mon May 19 02:11:44 PDT 1997


Bill Sat May 17 15:46:45 PDT 1997

Diana Conley, if you make it here...tell everyone hi

kae Fri May 16 07:41:44 PDT 1997

Hi everybody: Anyone have any advice on finding an agent? From the start--where do you look? The phone book, or call a lawyer, or something? I don't hang out with any writers, so I can't ask anyone for a referral. I've got around 30,000 words, so I think I might actually finish the thing, and I need to know what to do then. I read somewhere you have to send them samples or something???? Do you have to send a resume or something? Photos, God forbid? How likely is it for a person who's never published ANYTHING to attract an agent for a novel? Do you even NEED an agent?

Welcome all the new people--tell us more about what you're doing!

Jack Beslanwitch Thu May 15 22:05:23 PDT 1997

Welcome Diane. I hope you feel comfortable in sharing your walk with the writing life with the rest of us. Procedural note and apologies for frequent posts. I think I have spotted all the broken links and they will all point to the new server. This could be a problem for some in that I suspect that will not be registered with all the IP databases around the world before Monday. So, bear with links that lead nowhere and note the IP or Webpage address for the unitiated above which will always work.

And Diane, now that that I do have some links working, you might want to check out the archives if you have not already.

Diane L. Gariepy Thu May 15 20:00:27 PDT 1997

Hi all! I'm VERY new to the Web, but I found this spot!
It's wonderful finding other writers (both published and
struggling). I love fantasy, both to read and write, and
currently own more books thatn my public library(sigh).

I'm working on my own novel, now. That is, in between
working for a living. I manage a store and that takes
a lot out of a person. Since I write the best in the
morning when I'm fresh, I schedule myself to work closing

The novel is coming along great, though. I've three full
chapters completed, and sent them off to a woman who could
become my agent if she likes what she see. The rest is
fully plotted, and just waiting for me to be able to type
it out.

Sorry I rambled on like this, but I just couldn't help myself.
I'll be checking into this site often, that's for sure.
Good luck to all and keep on writing!

Jack Beslanwitch Thu May 15 19:49:13 PDT 1997

OK, we are now at our new address. The original pages will shoot you here if you are using Netscape 2.0 or beyond and similarly for Internet Explorer. Take care. Sleep and back to writing. In that order, I think.

Trudy Thu May 15 16:26:40 PDT 1997

Toby...I don't blame you...writing workshops can be a blast and a great learning experience. I've been to one week-long one and loved it. I have a weekend one next week that's included with the Writer's Federation of New Brunswick's annual general meeting...I'm a member. Taking several workshops over the weekend which should be fun. Enjoy yours and let us know what you learn. I'll share from mine as well.

Lisa, it can be so tough working then trying to get energetic in front of the computer at home, can't it? I keep a notebook by my bed because I do have things wanting to escape but the computer just seems to kill them since I work on one all day. You're right though the muse will return.

Brian and Kip...welcome!

So Jack with all the hard work you're putting into that book, can't be much left to there? Looking forward to seeing the changes with the notebook etc.

And Jared...lucky you. I wish I didn't have to go to work tomorrow. It's been an insane week because Monday is a holiday here in Canada (Victoria Day) and a day lost in a week really throws off our printing schedules which means writing and everything else needs to be don more day, just one more day...and I keep telling myself I am in control!

And anyone want to get together over the weekend in the writers-haven. I'm planning on being away on Saturday but if people plan a time to be there I'll try to attend. Let me know!

Later all. Trudy

Jared Lynem Thu May 15 10:01:54 PDT 1997


Jack Beslanwitch Wed May 14 16:13:52 PDT 1997

Well, Writer's Block seems to be receding ... I know, dirty words indeed ... and I seem to be making some headway. We'll see if I can get this chapter into my editor late tomorrow or sometime on Friday.

On another point, later today or at the latest this weekend, I will be moving Writers Notebook and Writers Workbook to a new server and everything else as well by early next week.

Writers Notebook will be

Writers Workbook will be

Northwest Science Fiction Resources will be
or until the IP databases catch up (it's up at this location right now)

One point I should make and make sure it is OK. On the new server I have some additional programming capabilities that are easy to implement. I have added a KeyWord search capability. This includes the archive Writers Notebooks. If this is a problem I will consider moving them to the Columba server and store them there. Let me know via email

I was hoping to do them on the new NT server, but I am unsure on how well my Guestbook scripts work there and I am not going to take the time to tinker that hard with them to work.

Welcome to all the new writers
Hope this is a friendly and enjoyable place for you and hope the changes do not bother people too much. Just to remind, there will continue to be a forewarding address for the next several months. Oh, if anyone has a link to this or any of my other pages, please update.

Kip Craglow Wed May 14 14:59:20 PDT 1997

Hi all, this is my first time here. Glad to know you are out there. I have been working on my first short story for a month now. I thought it would defeat me, but I am plowing through it...blocks and all. I dream of being published. Hope I fit in with the group. Thanks for letting me share.
Bye for now...Kip!

Brian Tue May 13 22:36:05 PDT 1997

Hi everyone. I've been writing for years for my own personal needs.
Now I am trying to put together a novel. It seems so overwhelming. It made
me feel better knowing you are out there. I am a chemist by day to finance my true love, writing.

Lisa Nickles Tue May 13 18:46:18 PDT 1997

Hi all!

Nice to see everyone checking in. I'm afraid that I don't have much to contribute... It seems that I have been writing very little since I've gotten so heavily into computer programming. Same energy channeled a different direction. Oh well. The pendulum will swing the other direction sooner or later... it always does.

AJ: When I get down on my ability to write, I shift focus to just enjoying watching the story unfold. Technicals can always come later. Maybe approaching it from that angle will help.

BRIT: BOOOYAAA!!! What a wonderful experience! Even if it isnot picked up for a movie, the fact that it was even seriouly considered is a real compliment! Hooray for you!

JACK: Hang in there. Writer's block is like poison ivy- it ca make you want to kill yourself and anything else that take breath, but it eventually goes away.

Take care all.

Toby Buckell Tue May 13 18:42:22 PDT 1997

Trudy> Imaginations is a novel writing and short fiction conference and workshop being held on the Cleveland State University grounds (somewhere) and I think the main reason I'm going is James Patrick Kelly (correct me if I'm wrong, I'm terrible with names) will be haeding one of the workshops!
It will be the first time I've talked at length (with the exception of our postings here) with someone who writes science fiction.

I'm pumped.


Trudy Tue May 13 17:59:51 PDT 1997

Hello everyone, just wanted to let you everyone know that as of tomorrow my new e-mail address is:

Congrats Brit, how exciting!
Toby, the workshop sounds interesting. What's it all about?
Bill, no idea about the money side of things. Sorry. Anyone else know?

Gotta go, Trudy

Toby Buckell Tue May 13 14:54:30 PDT 1997

Hello everybody.

Britomart: Congrats, congrats congrats. Wow. Amazing. Good luck.

Sorry I've been not around for a while, but end of term papers bogged me down the past two weeks, I wrote a rather large essay about the history of science fiction and why it wasn't considered a 'literary' genre for a teacher and I'm spent.

I also have taken the time to enroll in a workshop, Imaginations in Cleveland, and I'm looking forward to going to that. I also delved a bit into my novel. 5000 words for the week written, enough of that for a while, my short stories beg to be caught up on. And I am collecting a tub full of rejection letters, but most of the editors know me by name now and personalize the letters. I hope I hope I hope I hope.

Again I am thrilled by Britomart's sucess, that is so awesome!

See ya 'round,


Jared Lynem Tue May 13 10:00:59 PDT 1997

Congradulations Brit! I guess I'll have to buy the book!

Mary Tue May 13 09:16:01 PDT 1997

Sorry about losing the free editor. I use my husband, who's tone deaf in a lterary sort of way but can spot a typo from a mile off. (You will note that I don't have him proof my entries here!) I'm an excellent speller and a crappy typist.
If you're wanting help editing, this is the place to be. I, and others far more eperienced (and published) would love to help.
Have you tried the directory for your friend? I'm not AOL either (we don't have a local service and the long distance phone bills were eating us up) but I can still get email. If you've got her real name...
Your library sounds like mine. McCaffrey, Lackey, MZB's Sword and Sorceress anthology series, the Cat Who mysteries ANYTHING by Dick Francis, and a few clandestine romances for those days I want brain candy with no real effort.
Happy belated Mother's Day.

Deb Borys Mon May 12 15:20:37 PDT 1997

BRITOMART: Good job on the screenplay possibilities. Tell us more about how this person contacted you, what she said, etc. etc. and be sure to tell us what transpires from here.

Bill Mon May 12 07:53:04 PDT 1997

Curious....I'd like to know what to expect as far as money is concerned, if I ever get to the point of publishing my novel...Of course, I understand it depends on the type of book, genre, etc.. What would I expect for a SCI-FI\Fantasy from 100 to 120,000 words--up front money and percent of royalty. ....Bill....

AJ Austin Mon May 12 06:27:54 PDT 1997

Brit, all I can say is WOW! and congratulations.

Jared, you don't have to have everything logically connected to begin with. Just write wherever in your book that you have inspiration. Chances are, something will present itself later. And keep telling yourself that there is no such thing as writer's block. You can always write something. Even if it turns out to be total garbage, you are writing. Some very good ideas can turn up in useless rambling.

Oh, and have I mentioned that I have just 4 more days of my job! I'll be a secretary no more! Instead, I'll be a student with no income. Can't have everything I guess.


Tabitha Sun May 11 14:16:05 PDT 1997

Mary HI. Thanks for the friendly greeting. I write fantasy adventure novels with female heros.
What with doing the mom thing and trying to keep the house just this side of a health inspectors
worst nightmare I dont have a lot of time to read. When I do odly enough I dont read fantasy
much. I read a lot of stuff on Myth mostly by Joseph Campble and I like the odd light
murder mystery. I"m a bit bummed right now because when I tried to e-mail a friend a mothers day
greeting this morning I got a THIS PERSON IS NOT AN AOL MEMBER. She's off line and she's been
proof reading my stuff. Looseing a friend and a free editor in one day is definatly depressing.

Jack Beslanwitch Sun May 11 11:57:49 PDT 1997

Britomart: I could not let this one pass.

Congratulations and Crossed Fingers.

It could not happen to a nicer person. Also, think of the experience. It should be an experience that will stretch your intellectual muscles to transform a writ on paper medium to writ on the screen medium. However, given some of what I have seen I would suspect you are a visually oriented person.

And I would like to echo Bill's comments about Mother's Day.
Take care everyone.

Bill Sat May 10 08:28:09 PDT 1997

Happy Mother's Day to all you Moms out there.....

Britomart Fri May 9 23:50:58 PDT 1997

Hey folks!

Wow, sometimes I wonder if this is actually somebody else's life I'm living by mistake. I'm still two months away from publication, and already I've had an offer for the film rights to my book. I won't get too excited, though. I'm learning to take one day at a time, or else I think my head would explode. Anyway, I've passed the prospective buyer on to my agent, but she was very keen to have me write the screenplay, or at least co-write it, which is obviously very attractive. If somebody's got to butcher my book down to size, it may as well be me. Any thoughts from other published writers here who have been approached by film-makers?

Jared: Just write the next scene and worry about joining them up later - you may find that something in the scene will suggest it. It's just important not to stop at this early stage in your novel, or else you may find you'll never start again. And you're not allowed to say "writers' block" - that's considered very bad language. ;-P

Jack Beslanwitch Fri May 9 23:42:29 PDT 1997

Just a bit of announcements as I do my own song and dance with writers block and an occasional bit of cussing and screaming at Frontpage and Visual Interdev, both of which are part of the current chapter I am working on. Anyway, You will notice that I have a new email address. Well, this boads for some other changes as well. I have contracted for a domain name server that will support a number of things including Frontpage Extensions and Active Server Pages. This may be computerese gobbledygook to most of you, but what it signifies is that in the near future I will be changing the address for both Writer Resources and Writers Notebook. This all depends on whether or not I can get this guestbook script working there, in which case the address will be for Writer Resources and for Writers Notebook. If I can't, I'll have to piggy back it off another ISP account on a UNIX server that I maintain for an episcopal church. They have agreed to let me house the scripts and these and other Notebooks, messageboards and guestbooks that I have running. I am hoping to have everything in one place. This would make life easier for me, but it all depends on the exigencies of an NT server after living so long on a UNIX server. Take care all and I'll keep you posted. In any case, I have made sure this site will stay active and point to the final destination for the next three to four months. So, don't worry.

Jared Lynem Fri May 9 16:53:14 PDT 1997

I hate to say this, but I'm getting kind of frustrated. I think that I've found a good plot for my story (chapter 1 is in the workbook), and I have thought of the major plot events. But I'm having writers block as to how to connect two events in in a logical fashion. I usually have lots of Ideas, but I am drawing a blank...


Mary Fri May 9 08:23:01 PDT 1997

Greetings TABITHA.
Yiou have nyutmost empathy - my two boys are hard custoomers, but at least they're two years apart. I've always admired the stamins of the mothers of twins!
What kind of fantasy do you write/read? I only get to hit the net about once a week, but but I read the notebook first thing.


kae Thu May 8 06:47:29 PDT 1997

Hi TRUDY: I agree with you, beauty/voice is in the eye/ear of the beholder. I'm not saying that there's no one out there who's intelligent enough to recognise talent when they hear it. And I have nothing against female singers that are good-looking, more power to them, as long as that's not the reason they got signed. I just get angry becuz a woman has to have one or the other AS A GENERAL PRINCIPAL, and men don't. Me, I'm not demonstrative (translate; interesting) to watch. I'm not the scantily-clad, hair-whippin' profanity spewwer (is that a word?), yelling about going down on a guy in a theatre type. But I'm not a coffee-house chanteuse either! My stage demenor is like Michael Stipe's. I just stand there & sing my wonderful lyrics (ahem). People do recognise it, but it's tough to find a band that's willing to let a female vocalist just be herself, fer crying out loud. Well, most rock-n-roll fans are men, and they run the show. When it comes down to it, they want what sells. And a woman who's all brains doesn't sell. Look at Streisand...she gets a real bad rap. But then again, she can sing....arrrrgggg! Ya see?
When I'm in a band, I don't bitch like this. But I've been looking for a while and no matter how cool I play it, it still gets me down to be rejected. But oh well, the slump can't last forever. Just ignore me, and my frustrated raving.

On the other hand, where would Madonna be if she was a guy? Probably working construction. Working the jackhammer in a sequined bondage jock. Woo-hoo!

Ben Woestenburg Mani's house( Wed May 7 20:01:20 PDT 1997

Hi everyone!

God I wish I had the time to read all of this stuff here. I wish I could go into the archives and catch up on everything. But I don't have that sort of time right now. My wife is waiting at the door with the dog and I've got exactly three minutes. I don't know where to start.

I haven't been able to write for the entire time that I've left here, But I've been able to read a little here and there, I finally finished THE HOLY BLOOD AND THE HOLY GRAIL. It's left me with a lot of questions that I wanted to have answered. I wanted to get into a deep conversing with Charles, but then I saw his message. That was hard for me to try and read. Sometimes I here a song and lose it. Thank God I work in an isolated job. I want to start writing letters to everyone. I started one for you Brit, but didn't finish it. I hope to get out of this shitty feeling of incompletedness soon enough -- I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that I didn't get the book done before he left.

I want so badly to get back on line, that I got my manuscript samples ready and plan on sending them out in spite of the fact that I'm not finished yet. At least that way I'll be able to get a new computer (he says with an air of cinfidence?). But I have to run off now.

Love you guys, and miss you tremendously.

Phillip I hope you can drop by on your way out east. Dinner at my house, with good wine (lots of it) and great company -- oh yeah, I'll be there too! (You'll laugh endlessly with my wife.)


JL Wed May 7 17:16:56 PDT 1997

Hello again!

To get down to the point, I've created a new website with a feature called "Web Discoveries". I would be gracious if you would fill out the form at the link above with your homepage, your favorite site, or any other link that I should know about


Trudy Wed May 7 15:03:41 PDT 1997

Hey all...going insane at work once again but thought I'd pop in for quick hello.

KITTY, Boy do you sound busy! As for reviewing...hope I can explain this better...I was looking for tips on writing an 800 word review telling whether I liked the book or not. I liked the one I read which is nice and am now in the process of summarizing it and adding a few personal impressions as well as assumptions about what I thought the writer was trying to do. The book did come with a press release with a bit of info about the author which I can include, but I guess I was just wondering if anyone ever played the critic and how they went about it. As a writer I guess I'm worried about getting the wrong thing out of someone else's novel. Anyway I'm alomost done the review, but would still welcome tips if anyone has them.

As for the weather it's up and down. Today it's cold and windy; over the weekend it was almost warm. My bulbs are starting to grow quite high now and a few are blooming. There's very little snow, mostly in the woods or spots that get absolutely no sun, but now we're worrying about flooding...though it doesn't affect our home personally since we're far awayfrom the water.

BRIT: exciting about all the book stuff. I can see how it would be hard to concentrate on studies. Are you almost done for the term?

KAE: and anyone else in on the female musician convo...I think beauty/voice is in the eye/ear of the beholder/listener. Personally I love Nina Hagen, Alannis Morrisette and Kate Bush to name three female singers I like (I can't say if they all write their own stuff mind you) and I wouldn't call any of them model material. If you're good and persistent it will pay off whether it's good song writing, beauty, a good voice or any combination of the aforementioned that makes it happen. Keep trying, otherwise it won't ever happen. Ya know what I'm sayin'?

Anyway that's about it...I'm off to make hot cocoa and curl up with a book. Later all.

kae Wed May 7 06:16:21 PDT 1997

BRIT: Ah, but you're forgetting one of the things I said: not attractive WITH A SHITTY VOICE. All those women you mentioned are excellent singers. Joni Mitchell has one of the best voices OF ALL TIME (and, just for the record, on the inside cover of Don Juan's Reckless Daugher, there's ole un-glamourous Joni in a bikini). Tori Amos' voice is fantastic. The Indigo Girls' harmonies, wow. Good songwriters & not really attractive, ok. Crappy singers they're not. TO REITERATE: if you're a woman, you're not allowed to be recognised for your songwriting ALONE (unless you're content with just selling your stuff to other singers, which I, and apparently all those men I mentioned, am not. If they can do it, why can't I--just becuz I have indoor plumbing, so to speak. It's a man's man's man's man's man's world.)
I wasn't really honest about not playing an instrument. I play violin, harmonica, and bass guitar. I do all the percussion stuff as well, tho that's not really considered a bonafide instrument. I'm really good at the violin, but to be honest, I don't really like its with the music I write. That's just a personal preference, tho--some violinists in rock bands are doing some really cool stuff. I just wouldn't be into it. Picture a violinist playing leads with Soundgarden. Not gonna work, at least for me. As far as the bass goes, I can't sing & play at the same time, probably becuz I haven't been playing bass as long as I've been singing & am not good enough (at this point). The bass lines I write (I arrange songs around the bass line) are pretty involved--I'm better at telling a real good bass player what to play. The lyrics are the most important to me, and since I'm not a good enough bass player to do both, or just be the bassist & let someone really good sing, I just try to be the vocalist (I'm too egocentric to not be involved with my own songs. Ashamedly so). As a singer I have a lot of heart, tho--I might not be that good, but I give it all I got.

JARED: I live in the blue-collar burbs. Near I-275 & Michigan Avenue.

AJ Austin Wed May 7 05:58:59 PDT 1997

I'd just like to say thanks to all of you. Brit, I am out of the deep blue funk now. In the last couple of days, I've written over 1,000 words in my novel. That is quite a feat considering my current schedule. I guess I knew that most writers feel the same at one time or another, but it really helps to hear it sometimes. I'm not sure how good my writing is, but I do know that writing is just something I have to do. I get so many ideas floating around in my head sometimes that if I didn't put them on paper, I'd go crazy. And, as Kae said, if it sucks, it sucks, but it is mine. Who knows? If I keep trying, maybe something good will come from it eventually. :)

Kae, I think Brit is right about the instrument. I taught myself to play piano. Or you might consider voice lessons. My voice isn't the greatest in the world, only about 2 octaves. But when I was in chorus singing on a daily basis, I could do almost 3 full octaves. I've become a little tone deaf lately though (a family curse), so I try to spare others of my singing now.

Thanks again and take care,

Britomart Tue May 6 15:45:35 PDT 1997

Hey everybody! I am so busy, I haven't time to scratch myself. But I want you to know you're not forgotten.

Kae: With regards to music: been there, done that. At the risk of sounding a bit preachy, you really should learn an instrument. It doesn't take long to learn guitar if you practise hard and you're dedicated, and then - no more problems with relying on others. And I will give you a nice long list of female singer-songwriters that aren't very glamorous: The Indigo Girls, Kristin Hersch, Tori Amos, Joni Mitchell, Jill Soubule, The Sundays... the list goes on. There are a lot of women out there saying very interesting things to their own music, and they don't look like supermodels. All highly recommended. And all very popular.

Everyone: The lead-up to publication is very exciting. I get calls from my publishers regularly with updates on sales figures and possible promotional activities. It's hard to concentrate on my studies with all that going on.

Phil: Did you happen to see the article about my agent (Selwa Anthony) in the Weekend Australian? It's an interesting read, if just for the way that the split between popular and literary fiction is represented in this country. Who is your agent?

AJ: I trust you are out of that deep blue funk by now. I keep a writer's journal, and sometimes I go back to it and laugh at myself. There are actually two entries on the same day that contradict each other: the first says "I suck, why am I bothering, everything I write is about as interesting as sawdust", and directly below it (about four hours later) I've written "I'm brilliant - this is coming along superbly".

Ciao all.


Transfer interrupted!

Tue May 6 14:05:51 PDT 1997

This is for Kae:

I read your message, and want to know wherabouts in Detroit you live in? I currently live there as well, around 6 mile.


kae Tue May 6 06:58:10 PDT 1997

Hi AJ: I go thru the same thing; probably everybody does. It's hard not to get completely overwhelmed by the vast task at hand. There's so much to consider, and it seems you can never add in enough. What I do is just keep plugging away at it, even if I think it sucks, becuz I will be a lot more disappointed in myself if I die without ever having tried. What I'm finding works for me is just to write the damn thing, and then go back & edit it after I think it's completely finished. Then when I'm out riding around or sitting at work (surfing at work) and an idea strikes me, I write it down to add in later. It's probably best to remember two things: 1) the novel ain't gonna write itself, so don't let yourself quit; and 2) if it sucks, it sucks, but at least its YOURS.
I go thru the same thing with writing, but it's much worse as far as writing lyrics goes. I don't play any instruments, so I have to rely on a bunch of guys (or girls, I guess, but I haven't met any female musicians in Detroit) who like my VOICE to get my LYRICS even heard. My songwriting is pretty good, but my voice is pretty marginal (probably only 2 octaves, maybe 1-1/2), and it seems like no one will listen to a woman with an unexceptional voice (unless her boobs are jutting out, or something), no matter what she's saying. I get so discouraged that sometimes I just feel like chucking it. Think about it--how many famous female singers are there that are BOTH unattractive & not too great a singer, but are extremely popular becuz of their writing? I can only really think of one--Carole King. Male singers don't have that problem. Just look at Bob Dylan, Randy Newman, Leonard Cohen, Bruce Springsteen, Van Morrison, Roger McGuin, Steve Earle, Tom Petty, to name a few--a bunch of ugly dudes that can't sing but are fantastic songwriters. Where are all the ugly, crappy-singing, great-writing female songwriters??

Any other frustrated songwriters out there?

BILL: Waiting on Chapter Two, or whatever ya got, there, bud....

But anyway, hang in there, AJ. Just let it come when it does--you can always fix it later. Don't be too hard on yourself.

Just re-read this. Sorry I bitch so much. Maybe I SHOULD stay away. I just hate to see others feeling worthless. Been there.

Jared Lynem Mon May 5 14:55:39 PDT 1997

This is for AJ.

Believe me, I have felt exactly the same way; it seems good while you are writing it, but when you read it a day later, you think, "who wrote this junk?!" Just remember this: Most well known authors today are both very talented and very lucky; lucky to find the area of writing that they are truly interested and good at. It takes many hours of practice and many different plots until you finally achieve that magic combination: a thrilling storyline and writing that comes from the soul.

toby buckell Mon May 5 10:48:58 PDT 1997

Charles-Sorry to hear about your father.

AJ-Yeah, I feel exactly the same way

Sorry about shortness and scarcity of participation, but its termpaper week, very hectic. TB

AJ Austin Mon May 5 10:06:22 PDT 1997

Charles, sorry to hear about your father.

I've been a little down about my writing lately. It seems like the more good books that I read, the more discouraged that I get when I re-read my own stuff. It's amazing to me how people weave together their plots. Mine have a few (okay, a more than a few) threadbare spots. I know that it takes work and patience and dedication (which I have), but it really gets hard sometimes to put doubts and fears of failure aside. I just think to myself, "Who am I kidding?" I certainly don't mean to be depressing or anything, but any encouragement, advice, or just knowing someone else feels the way I do would be welcome.

Thank you so much!

Jack Beslanwitch Sun May 4 22:19:52 PDT 1997

Charles: My deepest regret at your loss. My prayers are with you. I know the anguish you are feeling and the necessity of doing what needs to be done. Speaking from my own experience, even though my father spent the last ten years of his life in a nursing home as a function of several severe strokes, his death still came as a great shock even though it was a blessing by anyone's perspective. It is a time to suddenly be stared face to face with your relationship with that most important person and much of the emotions black boxed. Sorry, this is more than fifteen years in the past and still touches many buttons for me. Our thoughts will be with you and yours.

Tabitha Baumander Sun May 4 17:13:01 PDT 1997

Boy am I glad I was directed to this sight. I am a separated
mother of 11 year old twins, fantasy adventure writer with no
day job. So as you can imagen it would take a lot of
effort to be more isolated than I am. I plan on dropping
in here regularly and getting the hang of what ever is
happening. E-mail me when ever, I never get enough mail.

Charles Samuel Sun May 4 12:37:09 PDT 1997

Dear Everyone:

Sorry I have been gone so long. Sadly my father passed away on March 29... just before Ben's dad. I received a phone call from my sister in Toronto and was on a plane the same day. I spent most of the month of April in Toronto with funeral arrangements, the traditional week-long mourning period and then another week helping my sister sort out my Dad's affairs (my mother passed away a year and a half ago). I returned to Jerusalem just before the Passover holiday.

It has been a tough month... especially being away from my wife and kids at such an emotional time. Just this week I feel like things are getting back to a routine.

Adding to the stress was the fact that a publisher sent me a contract proposal for International Rights to THE JERUSALEM CONSPIRACY just after I left for Toronto and was in the middle of arranging the funeral. All that got put on hold until this week. He's been very understanding. We hope to have something worked out by the end of the month before the ABA convention in Chicago. Also, while I was in Toronto my publisher for MISSILES, MASKS & MIRACLES sent me the revised version of the manuscript for publication this month. I just finished the edits and the corrections were FEDEX'ed today to Baltimore. The publication date is still May 31... less than a month away. Wish me luck.

Needless to say, I haven't been able to do much writing lately. We'll see how that goes. I'm still so drained emotionally from the loss of my father that it's hard psyching myself up to write. That should change as the summer progresses I'm sure.

There has been so much activity here and so many new people joining since I was gone, it's impossible to respond. All I can say is hello to all my old friends and welcome to the new.

PHILIP: I'll try to respond to your email shortly.

BRIT: Congratulations and savor every moment. BTW did the book arrive in Australia?

Warm regards to all,

Kitty Sun May 4 11:52:53 PDT 1997

Trudy, I'm not clear on what you are looking for re: advice about writing book reviews. I'm just back home after dancing my brains out at tap class so maybe my brain is doing a few shuffle ball-changes in the processing department. Michael Flatley and the LOD crew are in town and I think that added a certain zest to the class today. We actually hoofed it through our routine, which our teacher swears is a real Radio City Music Hall Rockette number, at least once without any great and glaring missteps. Anyway, were you seeking comments from anyone who had written book reviews or was it something else? I wrote a book review article every year around Christmas, but am not sure whether that is what you are looking for. My "review" was generally a short blurb which was meant to entice the reader to buy the book. It was basically a Kitty's Picks type thing so there wasn't any panning or even analyzing. I read both the New York Times Book Review and the Globe and Mail Book Section. A number of bookstores in the States have inhouse book review "magazines" which I'll also read. I also like to browse through the "Death-by-Mail" catalog which has little blurb reviews on mysteries of all types as well as recommendations and reference books. I don't order from them unless I'm off to see my parents in N.C. (D-by-M is in California, I think), but I do order from my local bookseller based on the reviews I've read in the catalog. So, this is the long way around to asking you to give little more info on this new project and maybe I can offer some relevent comments--I think right now I'm babbling!
In other news, Trudy, how is the weather your way? We still have the odd patch of snow.
Has anyone heard from either Bob or Ben?
And where, BTW, are Philip and Charles? Miss them.
Hello tout le Notebook crowd, newcomers and regulars!

Jack Beslanwitch Sun May 4 01:35:59 PDT 1997

Greg and Ken: I have forwarded an invitation to both of you via email, but I would like to reiterate that there is a Seattle based writers group based on the Clarion method called Writers Cramp We have been running for over six years and fluctuate from very few to quite a few. If you are interested, please contact Michael Scanlon Michael, by the way, is a Writers of the Future winner. We also have several Clarion West Graduate and one of those also did Clarion East as well. The focus of the group is Science Fiction and Fantasy, but we have done a little bit of everything. We are based out of West Seattle and if you need a ride, feel free to contact me as well. Email me and I'll get back to you either via email or phone.

Deb Borys Sat May 3 06:51:32 PDT 1997

GREG: My advice on a synopsis is: don't think in terms of two pages. Let it be as long as it needs to be at first. My synopsis for the current project is less than one page, single spaced, and I got several comments from authors, editors and an agent about how good it was. I can e-mail you a copy if you want. But it didn't start out that short. The first draft was considerably longer, and was a detailed outline basically of each plot point. It was, quite frankly-- BOOOOORING!!!!!!! But I had to do that to get a handle on what the book was about, and it helped me focus on what should be left in. In essence, my finished product is similar to the blurb copy you will find on the flap of hard cover books. I don't even tell them how it ends. According to Michael Seidman of Walker Publishing, he doesn't care that I don't get specific about that, as long as he knows the gist of what the ending will be. For instance, the clsoing sentence of my synopsis is something like--"Only then than Jo and Eli find the way to help David--and possibly themselves."

BILL: Definitely use underlines, not italics. And not fancy fonts. A plain, easy to read serif font. One editor told me the more it looks like a typewriter font, the better I like it. I use the old fashioned Courier and was told by my instructor at a conference that he read my manuscript first because it was easier on the eyes.

Sounds like GREG and KEN ought to get together to start a writer's group in the Seattle area if they don't find one already in progress.

Trudy Fri May 2 15:01:40 PDT 1997

Hi all. Welcome newcomers. Sorry Greg can't help you with the synopsis as I've never done one, but will be interesting to see others' responses.

I now have a question...a few of you know through writers haven that I have decided to do some book reviews for a publication my newspaper puts out. Anyone have any experiencing fiction or any other kind of published work? Any tips would be helpful, though I must admit, the people from work are being very encouraging and are sure I'll do a bang-up job...I hope so!

Later. Trudy.

Greg Thu May 1 14:24:28 PDT 1997

Hello all,

Interesting reading all of the postings here. I've just discovered this page, and I hope to spend a lot of time here. Anyway, like some of you, (forgive my assumptions), I am a struggling, aspiring, agentless, unpublished author new to the Seattle area. My primary literary focus has been on issues pertinent to the gay community in my one and one eighth finished novels. I had an agent inn Dallas which I recently left due to his utter lack of experience, success, or drive (to put it bluntly). I'm looking for a new agent, but more importantly, a forum that will offer critique of my work, preferably face to face somewhere close to the Seattle area (actually a little north of there). Any suggestions, comments, takers?

By the way, my biggest problem right now is writing an adequate 2 page synopsis of my first novel to accompany the manuscript when it leaves for a prospective agent sometime next week. Any suggestions? Any help? A free coffee of your choice next time you're here in the beautiful Pacific Northwest!

Also looking for writing groups here in the area.

thanks for your time and help!


Mary Reeves Thu May 1 09:50:00 PDT 1997

Alex, go with everything Lisa said! I've published two fantasy short stories, but theywere baesd on history and mythology (African witches and Arabian djinn.) Creating your own world is much mor difficult, as I am discovering even now. Lisa is right about one thing - the caste system is overloaded! Relatively unexplored societal systems? Tribal - such as African or Native American.
Good luck!

Bill Wed Apr 30 06:44:07 PDT 1997

Britomart...I can't tell you how many hours I've spent having the same problem..You should have a file on your hard drive called bookmark.htm...That is where your bookmarks are stored...Do a file search and see if you have more than one...If you do, copy the one with the largest bytes to the one with the smallest bytes...You may find that you will have your bookmarks back...

If that doesn't work, then every week or two you may want to copy the bookmark.htm to a floppy so you will have a back-up incase you ever lose it again.

There are a lot of reasons why you could've lost them..To much to explain here,....Bill....

Britomart Wed Apr 30 02:42:07 PDT 1997

Hey everyone. Sorry I haven't been around for a while, but I lost all my bookmarks and couldn't find my way back here. Anybody have any idea why I could lose all my bookmarks without trying, and how I can get them back.

Also, I have been in Melbourne for a week, and have heaps of homework to catch up on. So I'll see you all soon-ish, when I've cleared this backlog.

PS. I found out from my publishers that my entire first print run has been "sold in" to stores. Looks good!

Lisa Nickles Tue Apr 29 21:57:46 PDT 1997

ALEX: I might be able to help you here. The key to believable fantasy, I have found is the rule structure. You have to set up balanced rules and stick to them, not giving anyone too much power (or at least giving them a fatal flaw or weakness to balance it). Ex: A wizard might battle another and win, but he is left exhausted when he runs into the enemy's partner.

You will want to take a model for levels of power. A hierarchal structure, such as a government or the Catholic Church, is usually pretty good. A mayor has less power than a senator, a priest has less power than a bishop, or a level I magician and a level II magician.

You will also need a structured society. Caste systems are popular in fantasy (Kings and Lords) but they are also ordinary. You may want to try India or China just for variety. You could also go for anarchy, but I would have little to say there. Never used it.

You also need a world. One that runs according to it's universe's laws. (Maybe day and night are alien concepts to them?) You have a lot of leeway, but the key is to keep the rules consistent. (If magic can only be practiced certain times of the day or night, you can't have the heroine suddenly able to save herself with magic during the wrong time.) The creatures don't have to be land-based bipeds like we are. Maybe they are sun sirens or something.

I hope this gives you a small start. Coming up with the totally different isn't easy. Of course who ever said being a writer was easy? :-)

Alex Tue Apr 29 05:33:31 PDT 1997

I've just been set a piece of writing for my course that involves creating a beliavable fantasy world significantly different to our own. I'd appreciate some suggestions at how to get started as I haven't got a clue. I hope someone can help.

Larry Mathys Mon Apr 28 15:17:29 PDT 1997

By all means, Bill, use the underline. I've received far too many rejection letters with the phrase, "italics should be represented by an underline," for me to tell anyone not to listen to publishers. If they are going to buy that manuscript, you must follow their direction. Just a suggestion . . .

I'm headed to the chat room! Hopefully some of you will be there!


Toby Buckell Mon Apr 28 14:28:05 PDT 1997

On grammar and editing, I wish I could cut the word 'then' out of my vocabulary, I use it far too much.

Bill Mon Apr 28 08:23:13 PDT 1997

Howdy all,
I've read a book called "The Writers Digest--Guide To Manuscript Formats" by Dian Dincin Buchman & Seli Groves. It states that I should use underlining to represent italics. Hmmmm...

Should I do this or should I use actural italics when sending a manuscript to a publisher????? The book states that underling makes the script easier for the publisher to read. Hmmmm...confused?

Kae--answer to you e-mail---about 76,000 words at the moment. I haven't gotten to the big battle yet(opps, just gave away part of the ending).
--answer two--I have to go back and revise over and over because when I am writing and the thoughts are acting like Niagra Falls, I have to keep puching keys while their fresh.
I'm not attuned well to grammer etc. unless I reread and think about what I am doing...Then I can take out stupid redundancies and make countless other changes in sentence structure, getting rid of ignorant words such as "began"(I know you remember that one.,lol), etc.,etc.. Besides, I start writing at 10am and stop anywhere from 1 am to 3 am, My brain doesn't seem to catch those ignorant mistakes right away.....

Take care all...Bill>>>

Trudy Sat Apr 26 18:35:24 PDT 1997

I have left #writers-haven...nice chatting with you Jack! Hope the rest of us can connect another time. Later. Trudy

Trudy Sat Apr 26 16:39:00 PDT 1997

Hi all...just wanted to let you know I'm on my way to #writers-haven chat room. Hope some of you can meet me there. Later Trudy

Ken Merrell Sat Apr 26 11:37:22 PDT 1997

Groupless in Seattle

I'm fairly new to Seattle and want to get tapped into the local writing scene. I'd love to find/join a face-to-face, in-person, not e-mail, non-internet, off-line, sit-around-and-drink-coffee-and-share-writing, read-and-critique group. I've posted this request before and have received scores of suggestions about on-line writers' groups. Don't get me wrong, I love to tool around on the net, e-mail to the far corners of cyberspace, waste hours of precious writing time looking for chornological lists of Marcel Proust's lovers and how they affected his work, but what I want in a writers' group is to see a living, breathing person accross the table from me with whom I can share my and his/her work. Is that too much to ask? Once a month, every two weeks, I'm not picky—-I just want to get out from behind this infernal machine once in a while and talk writing with a writer.


Trudy Fri Apr 25 16:56:35 PDT 1997

About irc...ok I found out where the topic went Jack. Every once in awhile qdeck resets (whatever that means) and the topic disappears. Now in the process of trying to figure out where the topic went I managed to dislodge myself as being ops (the person in control of the room) and I guess I've lost that until qdeck resets and I can only regain it if I'm the first one in the room after they reset. However if one of you beat me to it, you're in control unless you want to give it back...of course being in control doesn't mean much since I don't know how to do much with it. Anyway, I'll pop back into the room later tonight...and on and off through the weekend. I'm not going out tomorrow so will go in at say 9 p.m. my time in New Brunswick Canada if anyone wants to meet then. Let me know via e-mail or here or just show up. Trudy

Jack Beslanwitch Thu Apr 24 22:22:05 PDT 1997

Larry: I think you were right as far as you went. The trick was that you needed to just hand enter in the channel you wanted to join, ala #writers-haven. Now, the only real question I have is the one I mentioned earlier in that the topic was set for that channel and now there is not. It may be that there is a time limit on the channel topic. However, I think we should just go ahead, set another time to meet, attempt to get there and do it. Unfortunately for myself, I have given myself and my editor a deadline of as late on Friday as I can make it to turn it as much of a chapter as I can. So, Friday will be out for me and I probably should not be taking time out to peruse here :-). However, I always was a sucker for any excuse for not writing. Take care and hoping that we can work out a meeting time.

Deb Borys Thu Apr 24 20:26:18 PDT 1997

You're all so great. Thanks for the encouragement. That and a little snuggling with a special friend of mine has me feeling a little less woeful. Plus I e-mailed Michael back to tell him I was licking my wounds but would take another look at what I can do and he answered with a joke about wound licking. Somehow that made me feel more hopeful; he could have discouraged me from trying to add to the word count and resubmitting. One thing though, this is the quickest rejection I've ever gotten--mere hours after mailing, and before the manuscript was even read!

Got to get to work now. I'm feeling more pumped up to beat this thing.

KITTY: I've always found it easier to cut than to add without just adding "frills" that don't carry the story further. But I'm going to try.

Larry H. Mathys Thu Apr 24 20:10:36 PDT 1997

What are the connection servers for the #writers-haven? I'm using these servers, and Are these the correct servers? I can log on to those servers, but I can't find the #writers-haven channel. I download the list of channels, and it simply isn't there. HELP!!


Larry Mathys

Kitty edwyer@spherenet Thu Apr 24 17:08:27 PDT 1997

Dear delightful,determined but never dumb Deb,
You haven't slammed any doors on any toes. You have to add about 50 odd pages or five scenes--a neatly encapsulated subplot trimmed from the original but now revived?! You've got the raw material already. I think it is far easier to add than cut. You have done more than 95% of all aspiring writers: completed the manuscript. Mr Seidman will look at your manuscript again--I'd be surprised if he didn't give the "short" version a quick look-see. It is in his best interest to find and encourage new writers. Remember, he took the time and energy to e-mail you back so you are not anonymous and he is interested. Go Deb, go! Write Deb, write!

Trudy Thu Apr 24 16:42:31 PDT 1997

Deb, that's if not of. *smile*

Jack, I got on and into #writers-haven. You're right; the topic was gone. I'm trying to reset it, but I think as long as everyone types in #writers-haven exactly right they will get into the same room as everyone else.

bye. Trudy

Trudy Thu Apr 24 16:36:58 PDT 1997

DEB...this is for you...((((((hug))))); of anyone can fix that novel it's you so go to it!

Jack...I'm trying to get onto irc right now, but having difficulties. Will see if I can find #writers-haven or if something happened to it and let you know. I'd like to try for another meeting as well.

Larry...when starting to write something and something else keeps popping into my head I usually let that take over til it's worn itself out. I figure if I don't it won't ever go away. Sometimes it's a good bit and other times it's not, but you gotta do what you gotta do to get on with it right?
Bummer about that agent...I don't know what to tell you.

Later all, Trudy

Toby Buckell Thu Apr 24 16:31:06 PDT 1997

Hey Deb> Persistence. We know you can get back in front of the computer and do it. You're almost there! Thinking of you, Toby B.

Deb Borys Thu Apr 24 06:18:20 PDT 1997

Meet dumb Deb. I e-mailed Michael Seidman to tell him my manuscript was coming, but that it had edited down to 56,000 words instead of the 70,000 he suggested. He e-mailed back and said that's way too short!! Now I don't know if I can build it back up, and if I do, will he look at it a second time? I can't believe I had my foot in the door and slammed my toe in it without help from anyone else but me!

Too depressed to write more.


Jack Beslanwitch Thu Apr 24 00:32:21 PDT 1997

I could get through to the server, but when I checked in #writers-haven I could get in, but no topic was set. In past attempts, the topics was set.

Trudy: if I am doing something wrong, please let me know. I would like to suggest that we set a time to meet again. I can't stick around much on Friday, but I at least try to look in. Take care everyone.

Wed Apr 23 19:32:22 PDT 1997

Larry H. Mathys Wed Apr 23 19:32:18 PDT 1997

Hello everyone!
I attempted to join in on the chat group, #writers-haven, but I couldn't find the channel listed on the server. Is this channel only available at certain time frames, or am I missing something? If it is time dependant, could someone post the time frame (with a time zone, of course) because I would like to join in the conversation. I took all the advice I received and did not post my short story, "Six Feet." I realized there might indeed be a copyright infringment if I did that. Thanks to all of you for your info. One bit of information: A copy of that piece is now on it's way to a magazine called, Absolute Magnitude, so, here's hoping. . . .

I met an agent, on this very strand of the web, who contacted me and sounded very interested. We talked over the phone, and she spoke as if she were going to offer me a contract. Now, here's the good part. Note: this was several weeks ago. She told me that she would need to see the entire manuscript (of which a portion has been posted on the Workbook "A Question of Soul"). So, I sent the manuscript to her. Since that day, I would send her an e-mail every other week and she would answer without telling me what she had decided. I feel like I'm being 'strung along' and it's making me a bit testy. What should I do? Should I call her again, and talk to her one on one? The e-mail messages aren't even being answered now, so I don't know how to handle this.

I've recently thought of an interesting plot and outrageous climax to resolution for a novel (which I plan to start tonight). However, I have noticed that I can't seem to keep my mind on the project at hand without another idea creeping into my mind and drawing me away. How do the professionals do it? I know, I know. It's as simple as one word: discipline. But when the creative juices start flowing, who am I to stop them?

Thanks for your ear,
Larry H. Mathys

Wed Apr 23 19:14:34 PDT 1997

AJ Austin Wed Apr 23 08:18:00 PDT 1997

Mary, no one knows the pitfalls of computer games (or other means of stalling) better than I. I've often played games into the wee hours of the morning instead of writing. I write a lot of papers for my classes, so I often don't feel like writing for myself, but Trudy is right. The only way to write is just to write. You've just got to make yourself. Try setting aside a time of day, and sit down each day at that time and write. If you do it long enough, it becomes habit. Write about any ideas you might have, anything interesting that happened to you, etc. If you are having trouble getting started, just start rambling about something. I've gotten some great ideas from my ramblings. The important thing is to write!

Like Trudy, I have found this page to be very motivational. The discussions and encouragement are wonderful. Good luck!


Lisa Nickles Tue Apr 22 15:12:17 PDT 1997

Hi. It's me. I hadn't realized how long I'd been gone until I started scanning the archives. I've missed you all.

I'll try not to be depressing, but my thoughts are a little dark.

BEN: My heart goes out to you. I also recently lost a close family member, and almost lost a second. Take the time you need to heal, so you can feel the joy life offers.

JACK: Nice page changes.

ALL: Welcome new people. I hope we get to share often. I'm dropping a sentiment into the workbook after I'm done with this entry; a writer's prayer.

Take care all.

Nicole Jones Tue Apr 22 09:28:36 PDT 1997

I picked up the book, The Rapture of Canaan, on Sunday and I finished it today. It was an awesome book. I encourage everyone to read it. It poetic and lyrical and inspiring. I could go on and on! Thanks for all the suggestions for good books to read.

Bill Mon Apr 21 22:16:02 PDT 1997 your mail...not ignoring you all...

I've been having trouble with my brainless computer all week...I think I have it fixed now--bad sound drivers messed up every program I had that used sound...Now that I have it fixed I can get back to business...WRITING....WRITE YA LATER.....Bill....

Trudy Mon Apr 21 16:25:59 PDT 1997

Jack, I like the new form. Hopefully it will attract some more writers.
Mary, welcome, and as a special features writer for a newspaper full-time I know exactly where you're coming from. Luckily you've come to the right place because I find this page makes me want to write like nothing else has motivated me in awhile...the only other bit of advice I can give is just write...I know it's hard but it's the only way to get it done(:
Everyone, and Jack I just thought this should be back on this page in case some people missed the directions that were archived, this is how you get to the IRC chat room.
It's called #writers-haven; you can get to it through channel or, if you're like me, through; port 6667. When you get to the room, you will know it's ours because the topic line at the top says writers-haven a safe meeting place for writers.
Like Jack I hope we can all straighten out the time zones and get together...maybe this weekend. Again though I have plans for Saturday night, but don't let me stop you from taking advantage of the room; it's for all of us to enjoy.
Philip don't worry about missing anything last Sunday, I was really late and only chatted with Bill briefly. Don't know if anyone else made it or not. I'm such a bad hostess.
OK that's it for me. Later all. Trudy.

Kae Mon Apr 21 12:49:58 PDT 1997

DEB: Not 100% sure, but I think they say "A father's health will slowly go by, and feed them on your dreams, becuz the past is just a good-bye." If I'm totally wrong, y'all have my permission to call me a butt-head.

Mary Reeves "Mariz" Mon Apr 21 12:34:54 PDT 1997

I write features for the local paper - lucky in Robert Frost's observation that "My vocation is my avocation, both are on within my sight." (Or something like along those lines. But sometimes, after writing tons of crap that borders on fantasy (Wedding announcements!) it's hard to come home to myown computer and write my fantasy. So, I end up playing backgammon for hours and not doing anything.
Any suggestions?

Deb again Mon Apr 21 10:50:40 PDT 1997

Just found a WEb site that gave me what I want, although a couple of the words don't sound like what I'm hearing on the record. I'm still open to help, though, so please do.

Deb Borys Mon Apr 21 10:33:50 PDT 1997

Sorry I haven't been on-line here, lately, but I've been trying to get this manuscript ready to go. I have been reading postings when I can and promise to be more active once this obsession lets me go.

My question is this, and I hope someone can help me out soon, since I want to be able to send the manuscript out tomorrow: I'm trying to figure out the words to the Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young song from 1970 called "Teach Your Children." I've got the album and listened to it, but there's a stanza I just cannot hear clearly enough to get right. Here's the part I've got:

"You, you along the road, must have a code that you can live by. And so become yourself because the past is just a goodbye. Teach your children well, a father's hell slowly by--" then there's a stretch where I can only pick up the general gist, something about your dreams and the one you'll know by. The next part I've got: "Don't you ever ask them why," etc.

I'd like to include this as the frontpiece on my title page since I've changed the title of KILLING ME SOFTLY to TEACH YOUR CHILDREN WELL because another suspense novel was recently published with KMS. TEACH works better with my now edited storyline, anyway. I plan on each book in my series using the title of a song from the same era--it's tied in with the relationship the protagonist had with her father, which is the prime motivating force behind her drive to help children.

I've been told you can't copyright titles, but that it costs big bucks to quote lyrics in a book. Anyone know more about that, or where I can go to find out? Is there a statute of limitations or something? After all, it's been over twenty-five years since that song came out (God, I feel old!)

Hope someone can help me or lead me to a web site or something. Thanks.


Jack Beslanwitch Sun Apr 20 21:32:24 PDT 1997

Well, things are archived. This was a particularly hard one to decide to do given the temporary hiatus on the part of Ben due to the death of his father. However, it felt like time to start with a blank slate and this really is. This is hoping we can come up with another time to congregate on Writers Haven on IRC. The thing that I see this place being is a virtual community of friends who share the bewilderment and joys and anguish of the writing life. Take care everyone and enjoy. And if you are feeling like getting your aggression out you might try the webpage I discovered above.

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