Archived Writer's Notebook Messages

From May 27, 1997 to June 22, 1997

Philip Sat Jun 21 00:11:43 PDT 1997

Oh Britomart, you are a flatterer.
Still hoping to make it to Brisbane for your launch. I've written before, I've never been so confident of anything in my life... yours is a national best selling book in the making.
TRUDY: the link you posted seems a good one... going there now.
Hello Everyone keep plugging away... you know really deep down that's the only way through. There's lots of energy and good ideas here, I'd like to see them in print.
Back soon - Philip.

Trudy Fri Jun 20 17:18:56 PDT 1997

Hi all...don't know if anyone will find this useful, but was surfing the links from a local writing page that I will tell you about next week with that topic and came across the following link which was discussing agents. It is:

quite a few different topics about agents are being discussed so for those in the process of looking for an agent or deciding to get one this may be a helpful site.

Later, Trudy
Have a great weekend.

Tabitha Fri Jun 20 04:15:51 PDT 1997

This is a comment regarding the next comment. You forgot to leave your name but I do remember
reading about your problem with the agent. Getting mad at this one agent isn't very
productive. Wether any writer likes it or not an agent in this day and age is almost
essential if he/she wants to get through the door at any decent sized publishing house.
The big houses use the agents as preliminary screening tools. Sure you can get published
dealing directly with a publisher. You can also get to be a movies star by getting
work as an extra and hanging around the casting director waiting for some principal
actor to not show up. Dosen't happen that often though.

Thu Jun 19 20:14:29 PDT 1997

Tpoic of the week? HAH! Ask ME about agents. For those who didn't catch the conversations a couple of weeks ago, I sent my manuscrip off to an agent thatadvertised "No reading fee". After two moonths (six weks longer than indicated in their promotional info) i got a note saying my manuscript had been givvven to adifferent associate and they were now charging a reading fee. Thanks to the sage and much appreciated advice of this crew, I yanked the manuscript and started submitting it on my own.

Britomart Thu Jun 19 15:05:34 PDT 1997

I know what Philip looks like!!!!! I picked up a copy of one of his books and there's a photo on the back!!!! Sorry, I just found it very weird - you're famous, man!

My launch is all-systems-go. Here's what's going to happen. On Wednesday, 2nd July (less than a fortnight) at 5.30pm, at the University Bookshop - first there will be a string quartet playing some baroque music. Then there will be a launch courtesy of one of my lecturers in the English department. Then I'll do some kind of thankyou speech. Then my best friend and I are going to do a neat reading (the book is told in two different time periods, so we got together a nice pastiche of interesting bits to read off each other). Then everybody will buy my book and I'll be a wealthy person. (Note: the last sentence may not happen).

Phil, if you are anywhere near Brisbane, I'd love you to come. (Anybody else who wants to make it to Brisbane is also invited of course). There's a possibility I'll be in Sydney in July for the book fair, so I may even see you then.

Okay, I'm pretty excited, but also mildly terrified. Seeyall later!

Gwynda Thu Jun 19 08:44:36 PDT 1997

PHILIP: quit rubbing it in. It does sound beautiful where you are. And thanks for the tips. The discipline thing especially.

Everyone else, I have really found your advice helpful I don't know a lot about the agent thing. A friend who has been published said his first book, he had an agent. The one he's working on now, he is seeking a publisher first. But, I have always heard that the agent is important, and that you shouldn't pay anything above their commission. But I've only heard this, haven't experienced this, yet!

Jack Beslanwitch Wed Jun 18 23:21:39 PDT 1997

Here is an interesting one that I have not found a place for as yet. The web designer for Penworld Magazine, contacted me to let me know about a contest with a 7 day writers tour of England as the prize. The contest can be found at Pen World's Magazine What they want is an essay in which you should "Just recall your fondest, funniest most touching memory of a Sheaffer pen, and do what you do best -- put it in writing." (There words, not mine). This was sufficiently unusual and I do remember a time before Word Processors, really I do. Besides, the thought of an entire magazine devoted to just pens was a revelation. Take care.

Philip Wed Jun 18 16:46:50 PDT 1997

HELLO EVERYONE: cool and sunny in Sydney this morning... 48F... (well, cool for us)... rain predicted. I walked the beach earlier and it looked great: walkers, joggers, doggers... a four-foot surf rolled in relentless... stationary seagulls fluffed up their down against the gusting breezes. I could just see a solitary sailboat way offshore and several power boats cruised about. Two huge freighters were heading north toward the equator. Mmmm.........

DISCIPLINE: there is no easy solution. 'Routine' is what I hear mostly from writers I know. I write every day... I mean EVERY day, including weekends. I'm not suggesting you do that... that is what I do. I'm up at 6:30 and I'm writing by 7:30.... I usually write until 1:00 or 2:00 pm. But I've often written till midnight. My art is also my business. I build in time for administration... I appoach writing as one does a small business. I'm a small businessman, my product is my writing career. Whatever routine you establish for yourself just stick to it. Writing full length books is the long distance race for writers, the marathon, so perseverance and endurance wins out in the end.

AGENTS: I have an agency working for me, one of the biggest and best known in Australia but my own experience as to how this all came about is unusual. My first manuscript won a major literature prize which included publication. The resulting book became a national best seller and I was soon approached by several agencies.

Agencies earn their money. My agency takes 12.5% of everything I make and they do their darnedest to increase my/their earnings. My 87.5% naturally increases as they succeed. This particular agency arranged an auction comprising five publishers who all wanted rights to my second book, something an individual might find difficult to achieve. You see, writers are not attractive to agents unless they are published. And Publishers find you attractive if you are represented by an agent, especially one who regularly comes to them with big name writers as well.... clout. My advice is to work hard at getting an agent but make sure it is an agency that has been around for a while.... one that has clout. There are good and bad agents as there are good and bad writers. Choose your agent carefully, be confident that you've produced a fine work... good luck!

Back soon - Philip

Trudy Wed Jun 18 16:02:48 PDT 1997

Don't know diddly about agents so anxiously await everyone's input...

Just a quick note to say I'm first book review will appear in The Reader this Saturday!!! This is me doing cartwheels!

Happy writing all. Trudy

Jack Beslanwitch Wed Jun 18 14:50:12 PDT 1997

Well, things seem a bit quiet here. So, thought I would just put the word out about things yet to come. This is not a soliticitation for responses now, but just to get people thinking about it while they're thinking about agents. The topic I am going to propose for next week will be your favorite and most useful writer sites. I exclude this location, of course. However, Writer Resources has been suffering from lack of upkeep and this will be in part a way for me to generate some new blood into the lineup. Again, this is just a hope for people to think about this one and then start weighing in on Sunday. Take care.

Jenna Mon Jun 16 16:14:15 PDT 1997

Hi all. I haven't the foggiest idea about agents, but since I missed last week's topic maybe you'll let me indulge by answering it.

Writing discipline, huh? Well, I can say it doesn't matter how much or how little free time you have; you tend to only do the amount you subconsciously are willing to do. I've come home at 11pm from a softball game and written until it was time to go to school the next morning, and I've also let an entire Spring Break go by without picking up a pen. Ironically, in my case, I tend to get more done when I'm pressed for time.

I have always kept up with my journal, my dream log, and a book I put little daily observations/interesting quotes in. But the writing that I love so much - fiction, sometimes I'm just not in the mood.

Another example: I haven't written much since summer vacation started (I know, naughty naughty), but I just found out I need a piece for my writers workshop reunion next month. Since I found out, I haven't stopped writing. I'm up till 5/6am working on the computer...and I'm loving every minute of it. Once I get into the mood, it's hard to stop!

I know this was kinda long, especially for a topic that is over, but hey, you didn't have to read it right? :-]

"How come wrong numbers are never busy?"

Bill Mon Jun 16 10:24:17 PDT 1997

I must say that to obtain, or not to obtain an agent is a truly perplexing question. I have read both pros and cons on the subject and it seems the balance is equal. I've read writers personal views from other Internet sources as well as well as published literature and the results are all the same. Some have had irritating and costly experiences, while others would go no other way and have benefitted greatly by larger advances and etc.. From what I understand, several of the larger publishing houses only accept manuscripts from agents while those that accept otherwise place precedence on agent submitted material. I believe that it all boils down to being fortunate enough to find an agent who will truly work with and for the writer.
As I am finished with my draft of my first novel and am in the revision stages, I really don't know which way to turn. I have a Publisher in Canada who is waiting to see my work as soon as it is complete, however, I first need to find out if they have US markets(I live in Washington, MO,USA), or just in Canada. So, should I try to obtain an agent, and if I am lucky enough to find a good one, should I let that person forward my manuscript to the Canadian publisher, or should I send my manuscript myself and find an agent to work with as well. Perhaps if I try to find an agent and explain to them in my query that I have a publisher in the wings and let them do the negotiations, I wonder if it would entice the prospective agent look closer at my manuscript. Whoa is me with so much indecision.

Toby Buckell Mon Jun 16 09:13:35 PDT 1997

Howdy everybody again. My weekly trip to the library and contact with the rest of the world!

For the topic of the week: I know nothing about agents. Will have to remedy that soon, as I intend to finish my novel sometime by summer's end or winter's start, whichever is most convenient.

Last week's topic is my favorite, procrastination. In order to write as much as I do I have to set the goal of a thousand words a night. I don't necesarily make a thousand words, I often fall way short, or overshoot, but its the attempt that counts.

I just got back a COOL personal rejection from Stan Schmidt of Analog, so I'm pumped to keep writing every spare moment for the next week, until I read what I wrote and go into intense depression ('I can't write worth &#@*' I moan to myself and go watch a good movie instead).

If anyone knows of some legit agents near the north east who do SF I would be ever so grateful for their names, as I'm preparing a synopsis of my novel and including. My stepfather's E-Mail is above. Gotta run, they don't like message board posting here at the library, it's only that I have a winning smile and friendly face that they let me do this.



Max Barry Sun Jun 15 20:00:23 PDT 1997

Hi all,

Another writing list replete with Aussies! The internet is practically _infested_ with us. (That's a good thing.)

I was pointed to this site by Tammi, who thought that the experienced scribes here might be able to help me out with a dilemma I'm facing at the moment. So, here goes. :-)

I'm about to complete a novel, but I don't know which country I should to try to publish it in. It's mainstream commercial fiction, and just between you and me I'm pretty hopeful about its chances for publication and sales success. It's set in Los Angeles, written in Americanese and targeted at an American audience... but of course, I live in Melbourne, Australia.

Assuming for the moment that I'm not deluding myself over its publishability in America, what are the issues involved in obtaining an American agent (and publisher) when you don't live in the country? Does it make a difference? What is the best way to go about it?

Alternately, what are the issues involved in trying to publish such a book in Australia, then attack the American market? Is this perhaps a better way?

I guess at worst it's just a matter of deciding which I try first. But any advice and tips for young players would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks and happy writing,


Britomart Sun Jun 15 16:18:42 PDT 1997

Well, without my agent, I'd still be an undergraduate with a manuscript, so I'm all for the idea of having one. You can get on with your writing and let her do all the head kicking and money collecting. I heard of another writer who negotiated her own contract with the same publisher as me shortly after my agent had negotiated mine. She got one quarter of the advance that I did - so again, if an agent is influential enough it can mean a better deal for you. The only disadvantage is, of course, handing over a percentage of your earnings - but you gets what you pays for in my opinion.

As for reading fees, I have heard of agents charging a $10 or $20 fee, and that doesn't sound too bad - it's time in their day, after all, and if they are high-powered and influential, time is definitely money. Any more than that and I'd start to question whether this person was an agent, or a scammer. An agent should take you on because she believes that you have talent and that she will make her money out of you in the long run - not just because you've got the ready cash.

Sometimes it's just as hard to get an agent nowadays as it is to get a publisher to notice you. My agent sends MSs back unopened - she will, however, read a query letter. If you can write a succinct letter telling an agent why you're the next big thing, you might be invited to submit.

That's all I know - and don't forget this all applies to the Australian publishing industry, though I can't imagine it being that much different overseas.


Tabitha Sun Jun 15 15:50:12 PDT 1997

I haven't had much success getting an agent but I have run across at least one rule that many very succesfull profesional writers have agreed with NEVER PAY A READING FEE.
In fact agents that charge anything over and above the commision on a sale should be looked at very carefully. There are I'm sure exceptions to every rule but
for the sake of your bank ballance and your peace of mind I think its best to be conservative.

Jack Beslanwitch Sun Jun 15 12:58:05 PDT 1997

Phillip rightly points out that we have covered some of these subjects before. So, in the interest of novelty, I think I will pose one new for every old topic of discussion. Some do bear repeating so the new voices can have their say on the subject.

However, for this week, I've elected to ask about literary agents. How do we find one? How do we make sure they are legitimate and on the up and up? What do we have to do to get accepted. When is an agent unnecessary?   Hope this meets with everyone's approval. Bon Appetit.

Charles Samuel Sun Jun 15 12:26:29 PDT 1997

Everyone: What a busy place! Welcome to all the newbies. Sorry I'm late in responding to the topic, but one trick I've found to help maintain a writing pace is to have a great fan reading the chapters as they are written. My wife is my greatest fan and best critic. Nothing motivates me more to write another chapter than her saying, "aw... is that all there is? I want to read more."

RE: Finished product. I just sent in my second set of changes and corrections to my book MISSILES, MASKS & MIRACLES which should be published next month in North America. The funny thing is, it has already sold out TWO printings in Israel. I thought it was finished a long time ago, but my new publisher obviously didn't! (Actually, the book is much better in its new incarnation).

Jack: I love the Java pop up window with the current subject in it. Nice touch.

Great to see you back Philip.


Philip Sun Jun 15 00:22:36 PDT 1997

HELLO EVERYONE: I see over the past few weeks there are several topics being revisited but I suppose that is inevitable given the time between the original postings and the arrival of new people to the group. Again, I can see reasons why FAQ's pages are becoming commonplace on the Net. No pressure Jack... maybe someone from within our group with lots of time - obviously not you or I - or an extreme bout of writers block will volunteer to pull them from the archives, edit and compile them for posting at the base of the Workbook?

PLOT DEVELOPMENT: I believe Britomart gave us the most succinct approach for this in recent months... for those who missed it see the archives or email the wonderful Ms Brit for her thirty-stage, percentile method of attack.

WHEN IS A WORK FINISHED: I remember writing here about Morris West, who is a neighbour and an active member of our Pittwater Writers Group... he said his latest book was published without his final notes and corrections. In short, most writers feel our work is never really finished! I agonise about handing my own 'finished' work over to my publisher every single time. There is a great amount of anxiety experienced by writers when placing original works up for examination, under the cold scrutiny of others... especially when they are industry professionals. I am told it doesn't get easier. After the first book there is tremendous pressure to deliver the goods every time. As most of you may know, I am on book five and waiting for book three to be released; the wait is very stressful. The fear of rejection from publishers, critics and public, particularly after having been published and well received, is pretty awful. Will my stuff ever be accepted again? A colleague of mine simply cannot get a publisher to take on his ninth or tenth manuscripts (amounting to three years work) - he was an internationally published author. He is devastated - emotionally bankrupt - I doubt he'll ever write again.

BEN: If you manage to see this, ROZ arrived in Vancouver yesterday and is leaving on an Alaskan cruise today. She arrives back there in ten days time. She has your phone number and address (she also has Sweet Water - Stolen Land and Scream Black Murder under her arm).

MY NEWS: the manuscript of my upcoming novel, The Lightning Mine, is under consideration by a multi-national feature film company.... fingers crossed. They say they will commit to buying an option to film the book within thirty days... or not. The book is likely to be released at the peak time of the year, in October, for the run up to Christmas... (they did this to me twice previously)... at this time of the year it will be up against the big gun internationals, as usual... tough marketing.

Good energy in this space... exciting... keep it moving.

Back soon - Philip.

Jack Beslanwitch Sat Jun 14 19:43:48 PDT 1997


My basic take is that it is up to the participants of the Notebook. I might suggest for an extended criticque with examples of rewritten text might be better sent to the original writer via email, but that's only a suggestion. Is tending towards the end of the week, perhaps people could enter a suggestion for the next topic of the week. Ones I am thinking of doing that have been done in the past but might be of interest:

  1. How to get an agent? Do I really need one. What do I want to look out for in finding one? Where do I find one
  2. How to write a good and believable sex scene
  3. What strategies are best for outlining a novel? Or do I just let my characters tell my story?

These are a few examples. email me with alternatives if you don't like any of the above. And tell me if any of the above meet with approval.
Good Weed of the North, (Bob Flowers) Sat Jun 14 04:31:33 PDT 1997

Bill: Try to get away from helping verbs as found in the third sentence of your excerpt in the workbook.
I have taken the liberty to re-write a small portion as example. Please don't take this as a you
shouldn't do this but must do that. I offer simply another viewpoint and please feel free to accept or reject
according to your own taste and experiance. Well, here goes;

As Lisa approached the shuttle entrance, Nithan extended his strong, yet gentle hand to her... They
rode together, quietly enjoying each other's company. Arriving at the steakhouse, Nithan rose and exited
the shuttle. He wated with quiet excitement for his beautiful partner. She again accepted his assistance
as he extended his hand once more. She trembled imperceptably with excitement as they approaced the
restaurant. Like the gentleman he was, Nithan opened the door and waited for Lisa to enter first.
Though she was not inexperianced at dating, Lisa had never been treated with so much genuine affection and respect.
She was enjoying the attention.
The soft, flickering light of incene candles placed on soft, crimson tablclothes at each table, illuminated
the expansive room. The pair followed their hostess to a gently lit corner where they were seated at an enclosed
table. This was surounded on three sides by an ornate, silken privace screen. Fresh flowers finished the scene,
adding beauty and fragrance to the romantic setting. Nithan plucked a soft petal from one of the flowers and
held it to his lips. He then bent toward Lisa and gently kissed her cheek. He said to her:
"The touch of this rose petal is not so soft as the touch of your cheek."
Lisa looked quickly toward and enormous dance floor in the center of the restaurant. Her eyes glistened
from a slight tear as she watched loveing couples glide gracefully accross its smoothly polished surface.

I hope this helps. Be aggressively active in your writing and try to stay away from the passive sentences.
You set the mood for your reader and must provide him/her with the feeling you want to portray. Your storyline
and content show great promise, Though I don't generally read romantic novels, I enjoyed what I read.
Good luck in your efforts.

Luv reading this notebook. The weekly topic idea is great.

Jack, could you please briefly explain where you would rather have advise placed. And is it kosher to offer text
as above, or is it better to give just verbal advice. I like to help others and share ideas but am prone to step
on toes though I never mean to. Also, any critique of my critique is gladly accepted. This place can be a great
open forum for debate to help us sharpen our wrighting skills.

Got to get ready for work now. cya.

Bill Fri Jun 13 16:26:35 PDT 1997

For all you netscape users, find below the link to download the new market ready Netscape communicator 4.0 for free. It's great!!!!,162,29322,00.html

Jack Beslanwitch Fri Jun 13 11:01:09 PDT 1997

Thanks should go to Britomart for alerting me to a snafu that prevented people from posting here. The long and short of it for the net guru types is that this server seems to want me to change permissions or chmod every time I resave it from the server. This is annoying, but from now on that is what I will do it.

So, Please Post Away :-). The Notebook is open for business

Jack Beslanwitch Thu Jun 12 18:21:12 PDT 1997


Others might have different takes on what "finished product" is, but my view is one of stages. A first draft is an examples of finished product as much as the final draft and the point in which its published and you are looking on in horror as you realize that you and the editor and the printer missed the one all important typo. It covers that range.

Larry Niven, a rather well known science fiction writer, ran affoul of that latter problem when in one of his books he had the earth rotating in the wrong direction. That particular book commands a rather hefty price as a collector's item, as the printer, I believe, was fast trying to retract the first printing. In any case, none of us are immune from this malady.

   It does sound like that you have the "write" viewpoint ;-). Basically, for a first draft, turn off the editor and let the juices flow and scrub it up afterwards. Robert A. Heinlein went so far as to advise write once, send it in, keep sending it in and change only to editorial review. I do not go that far, but letting yourself get the words out and telling the stories that need to be told is where you seem to be at. Sounds like a reasonable place to be in. Welcome and good writing.

Also, another suggestion that might sound off the wall. This is a consummately creative bunch of people. I was wondering if there was any interest in posting artwork both as a springboard for story ideas and also as an example of other mediums that we might be in. I have two posted already on this site that can be found at my own intitial art gallery. What I am suggesting is that we might want to expand the nature of creative influences here. If people want to share with a URL or web address feel free to email me. What I might like to do is create a VRML art gallery or something similar where people who want to share low resolution versions of their artwork could share it via the internet. I am not talking about print quality and these are still subject to plagiaristic activity, but just a thought.

Ken Thu Jun 12 16:26:50 PDT 1997

This stuff is good to read. Thanks everyone.

JACK - I like the "Weekly Topic..." idea. My question (rhetorical, however, comments from any and all are encouraged) is this; what is a "...finished product."?

I have struggled with 'finishing' a product for years. I have the standard dysfunctions, I procastinated and made excuses and dilluted the importance of finishing. Then I realized my presupposition of 'finishing' was one dimensional. I thought finishing ment (only) getting published. I still will do that, as I need and am able, yet, for the time I am comfortable with fate. When my writing needs to be read, it will be discovered and shared. I may do the sharing or someone beyond me. Most of what writing is about (for me) is writing. I am able (through writing) to vent that which is in my soul, boiling and expanding. It is also a method of searching, of seeking, of settling. Do you think I am making excuses for not finishing? I am always ready to consider others opinions.

I love to write.


Trudy Wed Jun 11 17:18:45 PDT 1997

My oh my; what a busy spot this has been. As I am fighting off a cold I decided I will not take the time to respond to everyone...there's just too much happening here...I would however like to welcome all newcomers, and add it's nice to see some familiar names back for a visit.

Also I thought I'd like to respond to the topic of the week...great idea Jack! But when do you have bad ones?... Writing discipline? Interesting concept. I am very deadline oriented and find that if a story has to be submitted by a certain date then I can get something done. For example, the writers AGM I attended a few weeks back had a submission opportunity. I spent hours finishing some work on two short stories and some poems and submitted them...I get my articles done for work because they have to be done or there's nothing in the paper the next day. I have discovered that making my own deadlines doesn't work...I can ignore them too easily. However I have decided to join a monthly writing group and hope that will be the deadline I need.

This page also helps me as I have worked more on my fiction since starting to come here than I have in a long time. To all of you I say thank you!

Now I'm off to nurse my cold...awful when the weather finally got hot...hopefully it won't last long. Later. Trudy

Britomart Wed Jun 11 14:46:26 PDT 1997

Writing discipline - I've found that an unhealthy paranoid obsession with death has made me become a master of time management. I seem to have an inherent anxiety that my limited time on the planet will get away from me unless I maximise every moment.

I have a timetable where I list which classes I have to go to each week, when I do reading for certain subjects, when I have to do the shopping or the vacuuming, and right there on every morning I have two hours put aside for writing (I can do three hours if I get up earlier, though it's getting a little cold for 4.30am starts these days). Making a timetable is fun, but the really rewarding part is when you realise that you've stuck to it for a whole week, a whole month, or whatever. (Even I'm not so obsessive that I don't occasionally have a sleep in or go out for breakfast at the Pancake Manor).

And TURN OFF THE TELEVISION. You can waste so many hours in front of it, and they are hours you'll never ever ever get back. In the time you're watching two half-hour sitcoms (that usually aren't very good anyway) you could have written a thousand words. Do that once a week for a year, and you could have written a short novel.

So that's my advice. Every time you feel like procrastinating, remember that the moments are ticking down inexorably to your death. Don't ask me how to manage children, as I don't have any. I assume it works the same way, you just get half as much done in the same amount of time. That's okay, at least you're still getting stuff done.


GTS/ Wed Jun 11 10:43:12 PDT 1997

I have looked at this forum for a week now and read with interest, all the postings. New to the web and surfed to all writer related topics that I can find. Some good and some a waste of time. One of the time wasters, or so I have heard from others who have been on line for longer then I.
I write as often as possible, but real life as with what I have been reading, gets in my way too. I have 4 grown children, 1 grandchild, and two more on the way. We also have our own business, own, raise, train race horses, have a small home in remodel condition, and lawn that has been neglected for years. Seems there are demands on my time each and every place that I look, and god forbid the phone rings.
I find that the best time for me to write is before my husband gets up for breakfast, and the morning routine. I get up somewhat earlier then he, write either on my book, or journal for at least an hour. This time of year with the birds waking up about the same time I do, it's pleasant and the caffine usually gets me going.
I have a book that I am in the process of rewriting at this time, approx 65,000 words, but am expanding with more characters and structure. It is on the subject of vengence and what could happen when a woman meets the man who sexually and physically abused her as a child. What prompts her in her life experience to seek revenge, and the ways that she goes about seeking this. A kind of commentary on the futile feelings the character has about the judicial system of which she is a part, and what answers she comes up with.
I have an agent at this time, and she is helping me with the rewrite process, which I understand is very unusual but have been very lucky to have found her. She is very encouraging, and boy did I need that, and very supportive of the work itself, and the subject matter.
Will visit more often, and look forward to the posts. I have to limit my time on line as I could spend more hours here then with writing, or anything else I should be doing. World Wide Web guilt complex.
Good luck to everyone.

Jack Beslanwitch Wed Jun 11 02:47:10 PDT 1997

Yanina and all the other newcomers,

  Welcome!!! The choice of James Joyce is an excellent choice. I pride myself in a very small way having read both Joyce's Ulysses and Samuel Dalaney's Dhalghren. Somehow those two seem to tie together in my head somehow. Each a stream of consciousness masterpiece literati par excellance. Each quintessentially touching the intestinal heart of each's culture. One uniquely celtic. One uniquely American. A reader's rite of passage, of sorts. I guess. I just wonder what those seven words were. Coming from Joyce they must have been very special words indeed. However, to close this small post, I think I will quote from Chip Delaney's Dhalgren and quote his opening couple of lines.

to wound the autumnal city.
  So howled out for the world to give him a name.
  The in-dark answered with wind.

-----Quoted from Dhalgren by Samuel R. Delaney

Yanina Wed Jun 11 01:50:38 PDT 1997

I stumbled upon this exchange of thoughts on the joys and woes we are all honoured and cursed to experience in our writerhood.
The brief bio on my turbulent life is as follows -- I'm Canadian (Toronto), currently living in the USA (if you consider Los Angeles to be a part of any country), born in Russia (a city too obscure to mention).
I have published poetry and essays (in Russian) and switched to English writing a couple of years ago. With my all too typical impatience and overblown hubris (or is it idiocy?) I am currently on the last stretch of two, that's right, two books. One is a novel, the other a rather warped version of my memoirs.
I wanted to share a great literary anecdote with all of you. Something that helps me get my mood swings in perspective when that dreaded pollution of mental crap -- Writer's Block -- washes upon my shores on the waves of anxiety:
Ford Maddox Ford (I think?) went to visit James Joyce in his garret one evening while they were both living in Paris. Ford found Joyce sitting at his desk, his head in his hands, muttering incoherently and on the brink of tears. Ford asked what's wrong and Joyce said he only got down seven words all day. Ford doesn't understand, for Joyce that's a good day's work. Joyce: "But I don't know what order they go in."
Write well, folks. After all, by not writing you have only one thing to lose, the one irretrievable commodity we have in life -- time.

Chetlen Crossnoe Tue Jun 10 21:37:07 PDT 1997

Hi all,

This is my first time to post (I've been just listening now and again), but I noticed something tonight as I tried to write that I thought might be applicable to the current discussion.

Here's how it goes: I've been stuck on a certain scene for quite a while now. It's supposed to be a very dramatic scene. Immediately before it is another dramatic scene that I just finished, and I'm extremely disappointed in it. The drama just doesn't come across the page the way I imagine it in my mind. So now I can't even get started on this scene because I feel I'm actually committing a crime against the story, to write it in such pitiful language. So I'm stuck.

Does this sound familiar to anyone?


Gwynda Tue Jun 10 09:22:31 PDT 1997

JACK, I like the topic idea, also. But, KAE, I am the world's most successfull procratinator. And, its nice to hear that I'm not the only one who has the 'fear of success' thing going. I have been reading the book Bird by Bird by Anne Lamotte. It is a great book for writers, and she has a full chapter on 'shitty first drafts'. I always look at what I write, and I want it to be perfect immediately. So, when I see my feeble attempts, I will often avoid the whole thing for as long as possible. I am not a morning person, so there is not way I can be a Sylvia Plath and get up before dawn to write. I find that my best ideas come to me before sleep. But I do wish I could get more focused and keep a more rigorous schedule for my writing. Any tips would be greatly appreciated. Also, I have a poem that needs some help if any of you can look at in when I get it posted on the Workbook, and get back to me with your ideas. The end falls way flat, please help! I think it has potential, and on't want to lose it.
In regards to book outlines. I have been told by someone who has been published that on one book he used an outline, but on one he just dove in head first. I would think that each person would have to come up with an outline to fit their ideas. If they choose to use one.
Thanks for this place to come and visit. I'm glad I found it! Take care. Peace * Love * and Light g

Diane Scirica Tue Jun 10 08:53:59 PDT 1997

Kae - I hear you about procrastination. My house gets a lot cleaner when I need to write something. Fear of success is dead on also. Another aspect of fear of success is that, if I do well, then I'll be expected to continue to do well. It's like climbing up a mountain, the better you do -- the higher you go, the farther it is to fall, and the more it will hurt when you land. On the other hand, I want what I write to be perfect. So every word and sentence I think up gets rejected before I ever write it. Result: blank pages. So here I am caught in the middle in "someday I'll write" land. I'm getting closer. At least I know what I'm battling now.

Tammi - I like your rewards system. Thanks for sharing it


kae Tue Jun 10 06:47:29 PDT 1997

JACK: I like the topic idea--I think it'll help keep the topic of the discussion centered on writing. Not that hearing the other stuff isn't fun, of course.

My biggest problem isn't finding time to write, even tho I have a full-time job & a one-year-old son, it's making myself DO IT. I have got to be the world's most successful procrastinator. I'll find myself bleaching the cat boxes before I'll go near the computer to write. Or, "hey, it's Saturday--there might be a rerun of Urban Cowboy on, can't miss that." Writing is the ONLY area of my life where I consider myself lazy--but it's more than that. I think it's a sort of "fear of success" thing. I mean, what if I did something that was really outstanding? Then what would I rebel against? (Well, I'm sure I'd find something.)
But, like TAMMI told me a long time ago, no one's going to write the thing for you. So I just force myself to remember that.
At first I was getting up at 5am (2 hours early), but I could only stand that for a couple months. I started writing at work when I have time (God only hopes they don't check my bookmarks and read this!), which is working out a little better. At 5am, my brain was still half asleep, so the stuff I was writing was a little empty. I heard something last week about our "creativity" peak is between 9am-10:30am, and that seems right for me. I'm lucky--I have one of those jobs that allows me a lot of free time in-office.
For other procrastinators, my advice would be: think about being on your death bed. Do you really want to be thinking "I shoulda/coulda/woulda wrote a novel?" It's really not an unattainable goal. Just turn off the damn TV and do it.

******* Mon Jun 9 22:01:28 PDT 1997

For the past several years I have been juggling the some ideas about the book, or hopefully the books I'm gonna be writing. But I''m having problems with the beginning of it. I have tried starting it at least 60 to 70 times but every time I read it over it just doesn't come out right.

Finally I've got it. But theres so much going on that I can't quite keep things in the order I need them. I feel like a spider spinning a web, and I got tangled in it. I've looked all over the Web for an outline to follow, for structure on how to go about my book. I know as a writer you're supposed to take a different venue then everyone else. It's hard to do without having a foundation to build from. So anyone who has or knows where I can get an outline let me know.

Tammi Mon Jun 9 19:28:25 PDT 1997

I have been merely lurking for months now. I can't remember when I last posted. When I popped in today, I had only enough time to read, but planned to come back tonight and post a yes to the weekly topic question.

Then I came back and found the topic was right up my alley this week.

I stay home with my youngest son, and he rarely gives me a moment's peace to write. This week my mother has taken him for a week's vacation at the beach. Free to write at last!

Having corresponded with several other writers who have had opportunities like this and then lost their steam, I started working on an outline about two weeks ago. I set a goal for myself of writing at least 2500 words each day before I go on-line and check my e-mail and various bulletin boards.

Well, I made it. The last 800 words were the hardest. For me, net withdrawal was a powerful incentive. I checked my word count every five minutes or so, but I stuck to my goal of writing 2500 words before I signed onto the net.

I advise everyone to find that one thing they can't live without and offer it as a reward for meeting a reasonable goal. BTW, my husband, the soldier, is out of town for most of the summer, so even when my son returns, I will have my evenings free. I plan to hold myself to a nightly commitment of at least 1000 words. If I don't make my goal, I won't get on the net the following day until I have made up the lost words.

Write on, and share your discipline secrets.


Michael K... Mon Jun 9 17:18:53 PDT 1997

I would appreciate anyone who might be able to help me, or I help them. The subject matter is of possibly alittle different nature than the rest of this material on the Writer's Notebook. I am (what you would most likely call) a beginning novelist. I enjoy Science Fiction and Fantasy especially. I was looking for someone who I might periodically swap stories with, or ideas...and just talk about one another's work via E-Mail. Anyone who likes these two topics, and might consider trying this, just contact me. My current E-Mail address is, but after June it will change to If it is before June 28th, E-Mail me at the first. Thank you for reading this. Hopefully I shall talk to you soon. Michael K.

Jack Beslanwitch Mon Jun 9 14:13:53 PDT 1997

Sorry to be posting so much lately. If you'll notice, I slightly jumped the gun in terms of posing a topic of the week (those with JavaScript enabled will be seeing it at the moment) The heart of it for those who do not is how do you pull off a disciplined writing life with all the pressures of normal existence weighing down. In my own case, I have to say that I do not. Or, at least, I could be a lot more disciplined about it at the very least. Look forward to hearing what others have to say. Also, feel free to toss in ideas and subjects people would like to discuss in the weeks ahead. Take care.

Jack Beslanwitch Sun Jun 8 19:21:54 PDT 1997

Welcome back Ben. I always look forward to your comments whenever you can make it back. Take care and I'll try to give a call when Fran and I make it up to BC this summer. We try to do it at least once a year if nothing else to load our car up with many cases of Okenagon Cider.

    Now on to other thoughts and ideas. In looking over the activity on the Notebook, I was wondering if people might be interested in picking up a practice we carried on for a good little while and I, since I was contracted for my book, have let lapse. By this I mean, setting a subject of discussion for the week. Actually, if we decided to do it, I would probably create a pop-up JavaScript window that would invite all and sundry to add their comments on "x" subject. Some of the things we discussed in the past were good first lines, how to write a good sex scene, overcoming writers block, characterisation, how to do a good villain and a good deal more. If people would like to revisit any of these or start something new and different. Let me know and, with people's permission, I'll select an appropriate topic and put it up for discussion.

This does not preclude the general free flow of ideas as we have been doing lately. And certainly does not preclude the congratulations for books done and published and contracts signed. However, if we had something to focus on on occasion there might be a blossoming and cross fertilization of ideas that could prove useful. Just a thought on this Sunday afternoon as I am struggling to keep from writing. Take care everyone.

ben woestenburg rmiller Sat Jun 7 11:57:56 PDT 1997

hey you guys!!!

It's me, and I'm here for the morning. Last night we had one of those big drinking binges and I'm afraid I got a little carried away. But I woke up this morning and dove right into here. It took me a while to figure things out and find the page here, but hey, I made it. I just wish I had a couple of hours to catch up and read everything here, but time is a factor. Renu's busy making breakfast, the kids are with us, watching cartoons, and everyone is more than happy to let me have a few minutes bbefore we settle down for a huge morning. It was our friend's daughter's sixteenth bbirthday. I think I was celebbrating more than I should have, bbut hey, that's what they expect from of the party and all that. Gary phoned me the other day just as I was taking a bird to the S.P.C.A. I was sorry I couldn't talk to him any longer than I did, but hey, luck of the draw. So Gary wants to make some time to actually see each other some time during the coming week. That'll be great. He get's his haircut by my best friend Kim, my bbrother-in-law's partner. He's the one who introduced us. Nice guy, he was anxious for both of us to meet.

Gary was anxious to tell me all about what was happening, and when I asked him what was happening with Phillip, he told me things had fallen through. I was disappointed, but elated when he told me that Phillip's English Rose was coming out for a visit. I can't wait to meet her mate. I hope the homemade wine will be ready by the time she gets here.

Charles: I'm so sorry to here about your father. I hurt me a lot to read about what had happened to you. I know all too well how you feel. Are you having as much difficulty as I was trying to get back to work? I just started writing this week as a matter of fact. It's taken far too much out of me, and I can't explain it, but I guess it's because I had thought so highly of my father that once he was gone it didn't seem there was anything else for me to do. I think I was writing for him. Now I have to write for me. I have to want to please myself. At least that's what I want to think.
Anyway, I read THE HOLY BLOOD AND THE HOLY GRAIL, and it changed my life, so to speak. The thought that perhaps Christ didn't die was something I had been toying with, but the other questions it left me more than screwed my mind up. I keep telling myself it's that Catholic guilt thing, and the more I think about it, the more I know I'm right. So I think I'll be getting back to the book soon. I want to get back into the groove more than anything.

Brit: I still haven't been able to write you that letter -- I haven't been able to write anyone a letter -- because I just haven't had the time. I find myself busy with other things in life now. I managed to make it to the library the other day, because I wanted to look up the word Nazarene. Funny thing about that word, because I discovered that Christ could not have been born in Nazareth because the town itself did not exist until after the fall of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. So you see what I've been trying to figure out. (Sorry I keep skipping back and forth...too excited I guess).
I just want to keep writing forever now, but I have to help Renu with breakfast. We had a spat the other day, but I love her all the more because of it, as usual.
I gotta go, I'm sorry, I hate it, but hey, shit happens.
I miss you guys more than you could ever imagine.

Sat Jun 7 10:12:16 PDT 1997

Kat Fri Jun 6 20:32:44 PDT 1997

Hi you guys! I am not writing as much as I have been what with work, finals and acting, but I'm gonna start up soon! Any advice for getting out of writers' block? I have a TERMINAL case... LOL> maybe it has to do with school. TTYL

Bob Flowers Fri Jun 6 18:47:17 PDT 1997

Hi again everyone.
I keep seeing a request for bio's in the messages I've been reading so here is a bit of info on myself.
I am a U.S. citizen of many cultural origins, age 40, happily married with four children (two of each gender) ranging in age from 18 - 11. I have a bachelors of science degree in electrical engineering technology and finished well in my class, (I have always enjoyed writing and reading more than tech work though I enjoy it also). Writing is easier, more natural for me. I have enfoyed the works of science fiction and fantasy writers since the tender age of about eight as well as outstanding works of fiction such as Huckleberry Finn, Beowolf, Catch 22, etc.
I love creative things, especially if I can throw a bit of tech knowledge in. I have a passion for cooking, I enjoy writing and reading poetry (prefer strong meter and rhyme), I love rock groups such as Rush, Yes, Alan Parsons Project, Emerson, Lake, and Palmer, and great guitarists like Robin Trower, Eddie Van Halen, All artists who define thier own music style with precision, education, and intelligence. I like strong flavors, strong experiances, excitement. I enjoy such activities as judo, Kuk-sul-won, dirt-biking, and downhill skiing. Yet, I equally enjoy sitting motionless in near freezing weather from sunup to sunset for the oportunity of seing wild animals in the upper peninsula of Michigan forests. I love living near the greatest body of fresh water on the earth, Lake Superior. Canadiens, Phillipinoes, Japanese, Texans, Australians. I have met samples of each of these cultures in my travels through the Pacific rim as an aviation tron tech with the U.S. Navy. I found out something special about each culture. We all want to live as respected, loved people. And we want to make freinds more than anything else. I feel it a great discervice to humanity that there are those who find the persuit of power at others expenses so satisfying. Somehow, they end up in gonvernments.
I am deeply religeous but no milksop. I love life and wish that every person could be blessed with a satisfying, enriching environment (sometimes I could use one myself, sometimes I would like to share with another). I tend to be very pragmatic and technical. I find sensible explanations for the magic and yet enjoy the magic anyway.
I am confident that life is a manisfestation of energy and energy can not be destroyed, merely altered in form. It will go on forever. How each person believes that will happen is upt to them.
As with all things in this vast universe, there is a ballance in all things. So it is with me. Though I am normally tough skinned and nothing much ruffles me, I get a tremendous lump in my throat when people find true joy with another, be it their spouse, children, freinds, etc. I am a hopeless romantic. I believe no person should engage in good because they are afraid of punishment, but that doing good is its own reward.
This notebook is proof of that concept. All here are not only willing, but anxious to share their feelings, knowledge, and genuine concern without fear of rebuke, harshness, or ridicule. (Maybe writers are writers because they look a little deeper at life than others).
I hope this bio isn't too long. It gives a brief glimpse of the complex mixture that is each of us 9this time, me). I hope everyone out there in cyberspace has a great weekend. I hate working to make someone else rich, but love doing a good job. Makes my life complicated. That's why I hope my book does well.

Can anyone tell me how to link up with the workbook? I bookmarked this section and don't know the address of the home page.
Thanks and good luck in your writing endeavors.
I promise not to be so wordy in the future.

Jack Belanwitch Fri Jun 6 12:02:46 PDT 1997


This is relatively simple to do, but if you were unaware of it there are probably some others. You cannot attach a file, but what you can do is simply cut and paste the relevant text. If you have Word up, highlight the text you want to include and copy and then when you are in the Workbook, right click in the text box and paste. Hope this helps and hope to someday soon to be adding my own snippits from fictional pursuits. take care.

Gary Howard Thu Jun 5 22:01:53 PDT 1997

Hello everyone, nice to be back in cyberspace. KEN: Saw your poem (May 23) in the Workbook. I'm afraid, these days I totally sympathize with the sentiment, because of rather overwhelming responsibilities in my life which preclude any decent blocks of time for writing. No, you have not missed the mark, none of us have, as long as we continue writing. I just keep telling myself ... baby steps, baby steps ... if I can only scrape an hour a day, then I must accept the current reality, knowing that larger blocks of time will eventually come my way again.

BRIT: Amazing! I read your intro chapter to INFERNAL ... it has me chomping at the bit. Congratulations ... saw the promo photos ... loved the 1st one, the graveyard scene, you look so Gothic. Did you say something about movie rights ... a screenplay ... keep us posted. Have you ever written a screenplay?
TRUDY: I love your optimism. In fact so many at this site are so positive, it can't help but spur us all on.
JACK: When posting in the Workbook, is there a way of attaching a document, or do I have to retype my entry from my original, on line?
PHILIP: It is wonderful that published writers visit this site. Please don't leave us ... we need you. I read your LIGHTNING MINE intro ... you've got me hooked. I could easily visualize in terms of film treatment. I guess I have screenplay-itis these days.

I talked to Ben briefly over the phone today. He was in the process of helping an ailing bird .... I guess the kids brought it in ... had to take it to the S.P.C.A. He dearly misses access to the site.

TOBY: You are intriguing! and JENNA: welcome to the site. great to have the energy and angular vision of 18 yr olds to keep us all awake.
BILL: Your romantic scene, posted in the workbook, has definite Harelequin overtones. (She felt a surge of nervous impulse ...etc.) I'm not sure if that is your intent ... a romantic sci-fi novel? It seems to me that this scene might work better with less description, narration ... and more telling dialogue. Again, my head has been in a screenplay for so long, perhaps all I can see is dialogue. Maybe we should have everyone recommend favorite romantic scenes from favorite novels as examples to consider ...could be interesting and educational ...?



Jenna Thu Jun 5 13:50:24 PDT 1997

Hey, thanks everybody for saying hi and welcoming me and everybody else that's new. I just graduated (finally!!) and can't wait to indulge myself this summer - writing, editing, getting rejected...all that fun stuff! ;-]

TOBY- I'm sorry you don't have anyone with really similar interests on your campus. I know the feeling. I've been going to a school that focuses on math and science; practically nothing on writing. And the town exists merely to support a military base, so there isn't much culturally going on. Oh well, I'm sure it will be better in college.

ALL- I have already been to my local library to search for chaos and quantum mechanics, but they have some pretty lousy excuses for resources. I suppose I can wait till college. I was just asking in case someone had read a book about it which they would like to recommend.

"Lying in bed would be an altogether supreme experience if only one had a coloured pencil long enough to draw on the ceiling."

Toby Buckell Thu Jun 5 10:26:50 PDT 1997

Hello everyone!

If necesary I can be reached at my stepfather's E-mail (above).

It's Been a while. Congrats Britomart, what a rush. Welcome everyone new.

Had a hectic two weeks. Moved back home with my parents at the last minute, had a messup involving where my mail was supposed to be forwarded, my moniter refuses to work, the housing reps at the college weren't happy with my last minute decision not to stay there for the summer, and my parents have turned back from nice distant smiley people to the horrible monsters that they are (don't ask, it's my problem really, I shouldn't really be up writing until four in the morning, but they said they would support me in whatever I choose to do)

On the bright side, I wrote two story's and two chapters of my novel in those two weeks. Radio Shack refused to hire me, and I found a better job anyway and can flip them the middle finger. Now when the mail finally arrives, I can wade through the letters and see if anything came back. I have fifteen stories out gaining rejections right now.

JENNA- Hi, I'm also an eighteen year old writer. It's a lonely bussiness for me, particularly as I'm the only sci-fi person on campus, let alone writer.

PHILLIP- much luck. I'm hoping to finish my novel before winter, its a big one see, and has a lot of viewpoint characters that make it like a weaving job, so I have to consider character flow as well as narrative, but I love doing it.

EVERYONE- I go skydiving next week, wish me luck, and I also go to the Cleveland workshop in one month.

Good luck, TB

Andrew Thu Jun 5 07:16:36 PDT 1997

Well, I'm kind of new to this message board thing, but here goes. I write sci-fi/fantasy novels. I have 6 of them done so far, but none of them have been published...yet. I do have a question for anyone who can leave me e-mail and answer me. In bringing time travel and parallel dimensions into a story (tough one, I know), how would you introduce a hero or heroine's doppleganger from another dimension? Hope someone might have some ideas on this.

Charles Samuel Wed Jun 4 22:04:27 PDT 1997

EVERYONE: Just wanted to drop by and say that I'm still here and monitoring the site from time to time. Welcome to all the new people. To all my old friends here, a warm hello. I hope to get back to writing soon. Everything has been on hold since I've returned from Toronto. We just installed air-conditioning which should help increase my number of creative hours available during the summer. If anyone wants to boost their output and doesn't have air-conditioning, I strongly recommend it. Anyone hear from Sherrie lately?

Best to all,

David Goff ? None Wed Jun 4 15:05:04 PDT 1997

Don't you just hate it when you finally get somewhere, discovering. That does not look right for some reason. Maybe it's just, discover, discovery. Guess discovering is correct.

Paul Wed Jun 4 14:35:39 PDT 1997

Greetings all,

I am currently working on a sceen for a murder mystery I am writing. The story is multi-character. I am working in a flashback. I want each character to relay the flashback as it happens. I want it to start with one person and move onto the next. I'm having a hard time getting the idea to work. Does anyone have any suggestions on how I might be able to gel it better.

Eveyone, Have a good one.

Diane Wed Jun 4 05:51:30 PDT 1997

Sorry I haven't been back for a while. I've been extremely busy lately. I just published my first web page, and my agent wants me to hurry up and finish the novel I'm writing now. I also will be a columnist in a new zine. I'll give you more info on that as I get it.

On top of all that, I'm working 48 hours a week! The novel is coming along nicely - I've completed about 15 chapter now, and the end is finally in sight! I'll let you know when I send it off to my agent, and how she likes it!

Talk to you all later,

Philip Tue Jun 3 18:50:25 PDT 1997


I'm sorry I haven't been able to make it here for a while extremely busy.... still is, but I think I have it under control. Onto my fifth book...WOW... just saying it makes me sound like I've been writing for years. In fact my first book was published only in 1992... so I still think I'm a beginning writer.

Couldn't get to New York to my Writers Conference - disappointed - my sponsor (our government) pulled the plug one week before I was due to leave. Nice people, bad timing. I can't complain, they've really supported the arts especially this writer in previous years.

JACK: once again, thank you for this site. How is your book coming along... I read you go like a maniac then nothing... then you're a crazy person again... then nothing. Am I right to say you're run ragged? Sounds like you're making TV commercials.
My wife, ROZ, is visiting her father in White Rock, B.C. next week. I asked her to see if she can link up with Ben... BEN... if you are still able to read these postings... watch out she's coming your way (with books in hand)... she knows where you live. Last year when she went over she had to deplane in Sea-Tac and wait for hours to make a connection to Vancouver... her father said he would pick her up there, it's so close.

BRITOMART: clever, clever, clever, clever, clever, clever, clever, clever, clever, clever, clever, clever, clever, clever, clever, clever, clever, clever, clever, clever, clever, clever, clever, clever................. What are you? We all knew and we told you so. Well done mate! Hope to be at your launch at the Co-op on July 2nd......

Honestly...welcome to all the new people. This is a great place as I'm sure you have all found already. I don't see all your biographies in the space so graciously provided by Jack, our host, please send them in so we can all know who we are chatting to here.

KITTY: it is really good to see you're posting regularly again. Solid, level-headed advice. Are you busy writing too?

BILL: you sound like you are working hard...good on you. That's really the essence I believe to getting your work finished and published. Writing IS hard work.... but it also great fun... and if we're lucky, financially rewarding. Regarding romantic scenes: we have to be able to tackle anything, you know that... so come on get into - no matter if it's a mechanic stripping an engine down, or a surgeon extracting deceased organs, we have to be able to tackle. By romantic bits I take it your mean sex scenes... we had a good session on this once before here. Maybe we need a FAQ page (sorry Jack... just thinking aloud).

Come on guys one more time, sex scenes/how to write: ... how much... clinical... naming parts... timing... locations... stormy weather... trains rushing at tunnels... waves rushing up beaches... waterfalls... pacing... seduction.... climax... or fade to black.... etc

TABITHA: Yes... you managed to get one published... you beauty!

Really welcome to GWYNDA... MARY (Don't pay anyone for reading please)...DIANA (Good luck going it alone, with going back to school, we can all support you here with your writing)... BOB FLOWERS (Wow 108,750 words good effort... I think we decided previously that Charles is our champion query letter writer... ask him via email...look him up in our archives)... PAUL (the world's newest playwright... good luck with your scripts)...KAT (keep coming back)...JENNA (we all aspire to being 18... for chaos and Quantum mechanics see you local library - or your local university will help)...

It is nice to see my old friends TOBY and KAE hanging in here... very active too I read.

To other new people JOSHUA (the grammar and mechanics of storytelling IS writing, no short cuts - learn them well)... GARY (I lived near your house for a short while)... DIANE (please keep that first novel on the go... you sound like you are doing just fine)... JARRED ( please hang in here with us).

TRUDY: it is nice to see you still offering encouragement and advice... Iremember you were responsible for inviting me to this site in the first place about a year ago.

I promise I won't do another long winded posting like this for another year.

Back soon - Philip.

Bill Tue Jun 3 12:30:53 PDT 1997

Help!!! (Please) I'm terrible when it comes to writing romantic scenes. I've included a scene into the workbook from my, almost completed, novel, Galactic Entanglements. If anyone would be so kind as to share their ideas, (good or bad), with me and perhaps have suggestions of what I can add or subtract, I will run out into the front yard spinning cartwheels, yelling thank you, thank you.!!! Maybe I need to rewrite the whole scene?...I don't know????...Bill...

Jack Beslanwitch Mon Jun 2 19:10:08 PDT 1997

If anyone noticed confusing messages from me or an inability to reach the Notebook or the Workbook at various times in the last hour, I have to apologize. At points in the last hour I thought I had inadvertantly erased the workbook until I found an archived copy on another hard drive and was able to salvage things. Everything is back to normal and I can only chock it up to finish a chapter and getting it off at 5:30 this morning. Take care and good writing. And Bill, the Workbook should be working now.

Bob Flowers Mon Jun 2 13:53:56 PDT 1997

Hi Everyone again;
Thank you Trudy and Bill for the quick response to my question. I will utilize the information imediately. Welcome all persons ne to this notebook. If the response I got to my first tentative steps into this forum are any indication, this is a great place to visit. You will find many different age groups (I am 40 myself), and many differrent backgrounds. That is what will make this great. We will have the knowledge and experiance of many differing viewpoints, some fresh and bursting with the exuberance of youth, while others will give seasoned advice, and everything in between. The two things we have in common are a love of writing and the hope of being published. Well, as you can see, I love to talk to people and can get a bit wordy. So I'll sign off for now and again say thank you Trudy and Bill. This time, I got the e-mail address correct.

Bill Mon Jun 2 09:46:27 PDT 1997

Hi Kat, I'm glad you found us okay. You'll find some fantastic people here who graciously help with problems, or just share in others excitement. We all help each other. If you have a question, just ask...simple as that....

Hi Jenna, welcome...

Jenna Sun Jun 1 18:34:43 PDT 1997

Hi. I'm brand new to this site (haven't even explored it all yet), but I was intrigued and inspired by some comments I read here...especially by Britomart. Congradulations!! You must be so thrilled.

I'm fairly young, 18, though I hope that doesn't bother anyone. I've had three poems and two short stories published in local magazines, but nothing I would consider major. I love to write; it allows me to explore the thoughts and emotions I sometimes keep only to myself, hidden away. It is through these stories that they are allowed to surface and I am spared a mental breakdown. :-]

I also love sci-fi. I've attempted several times to write it, but I just seem to get too involved with the science (I'm into hard sci-fi, with more in-depth science portions). I seem to have more success with stream-of-consciousness, so I'm trying to incorporate the two. If anyone knows of some good resources on chaos or quantum mechanics, please let me know. Thanks!

Sorry this was kinda a long, drawn-out introduction...but I tend to ramble on sometimes. I'll try to check back here when I can, but if you want to write me, you'll have quicker results using my email. Thanks for listening! Good luck to you all.


Kat um, none at the moment? Sun Jun 1 18:24:56 PDT 1997

Hey all you writers! I'm kind of new to this message board, so bear with me here. Well I dunno what to write here, I usually write sci fi etc. Hi Bill Whitney! told ya I'd write! Well I'll post a longer note some other time. ttyl


Bill Sun Jun 1 16:38:55 PDT 1997

Hi Paul and welcome...

I am by no means no expert, but maybe instead of a short story, you could let this unending character burn himself out in a novel. If he has that much to do and that much to say then perhaps your mind needs to bring him out and let him do his thing. Hmmmm....Food for thought...Bill...

Paul Sun Jun 1 14:12:48 PDT 1997


I am new to the group, so I am a little unsure of what to say. It seems like everything I write, mostly short stories, ends up becoming a script. That's my true passion.
Even though, nothing has been sold yet, I am staying hopeful. Currently, I am working on story set in a fantasy world, Robin Hood time frame, about a Prince, whose parents are murdered. Later, the Prince is acused of the crime and sentenced to live the remainder of his life in the Tower. As his cousin, who actually had the Prince's parents murdered, takes his place as King, his kingdom and two others are invaded by a race of beings created from EVIL. The rest is about GOOD vs. EVIL.

Well thats what I am working on. It's driving me nuts. It never seems to end. When I write, I let the characters take control. I have this one particular character who just won't go away. He drags the story on an on. I thought about eliminating him from the story, but if it was not for him, there would be no story.

He's like my Uncle Lester, as long as there is food on the table, he keeps coming back for more.

I am virtually new to the relm of fantasy, could someone suggest a book or a web site, which could help me with some research.

Have a good one.

Trudy Sat May 31 20:10:26 PDT 1997

Bob, Welcome, and though others will have to help you with the how to write a query (looks like Bill's found a few links though that I'll have to check out as well) I wanted to put my two cents in about copyright. This comes from the Canadian Writers' Market book (paraphrased naturally)... the moment you have written something it is automatically copyrighted. However if you think there's a chance someone may say your work is their's sometime then copyrighting can be done with the Federal Department of Communications Copyright and Industrial Design Branch for a fee...or you can mail a copy of your manuscript to yourself in a registered package which remains unopened on the off chance there is a problem. Just thought I'd share...the latter is a choice I have made because it is less costly but I'm not sure about a 300 page manuscript what would be less expensive. Good luck! And keep us posted. Trudy

Bill Sat May 31 18:21:18 PDT 1997

Bob, I tried to respon to your e-mail, but it returned to me??? is you address correct?
Anyway, check out the below addresses and you may find some of the inf you are looking for...Bill...

Tabitha htt:// Sat May 31 13:43:12 PDT 1997

GOT ONE!!! As I may have mentioned I spent some time early this week submiting
everything in my poetry file to a zillion different zeens. Well one of them took.
I'd tell you where it will be but I didn't keep any records of where I submitted and
to what. Or is that what to where?? At any rate its definetly my smile for the day.

Bob Flowers Sat May 31 12:34:39 PDT 1997

I am brand new to the role of prospective author. Today is May 31, 1997 and I just completed a 108,750 word novel (approximately three hundred pages). As you can imagine, I am very excited about getting it published. I have been searching the internet for about four hours today searching for any instructional info about sending queries, what a query is, finding agents, etc.
I will register the story for copywrite after my next paycheck. A few select freinds, and a published author have critiqued parts of the story and all gave glowing reports. I have a tremendously positive outlook.
I do need help in this new endeavor though. Although I have a bachelors degree in electrical engineering technology and technical report writing, I am clueless about writinga query and submitting my manuscript to an agent or publishing house.
This somewhat wordy text is my humble plea for help. I would like to get my first book published as I am thirty pages into the second book of what is planned as a continuing fantasy series. Any information given is more than I currently have.
As I am new to this notebook, I don't know you Brit, but I can understand your jubilation. Every author puts a little piece of themselves into their work and success is a tremendous feeling (especialy after hundreds of hours of work).
Thank you for your support and I look forward to confering with all of you proven and prospective authors.
Thanks and good luck.

Bob Flowers Sat May 31 12:33:17 PDT 1997

I am brand new to the role of prospective author. Today is May 31, 1997 and I just completed a 108,750 word novel (approximately three hundred pages). As you can imagine, I am very excited about getting it published. I have been searching the internet for about four hours today searching for any instructional info about sending queries, what a query is, finding agents, etc.
I will register the story for copywrite after my next paycheck. A few select freinds, and a published author have critiqued parts of the story and all gave glowing reports. I have a tremendously positive outlook.
I do need help in this new endeavor though. Although I have a bachelors degree in electrical engineering technology and technical report writing, I am clueless about writing and submitting my manuscript to an agent or publishing house.
This somewhat wordy text is my humble plea for help. I would like to get my first book published as I am thirty pages into the second book of what is planned as a continuing fantasy series. Any information given is more than I currently have.
As I am new to this notebook, I don't know you Brit, but I can understand your jubilation. Every author puts a little piece of themselves into their work and success is a tremendous feeling (especialy after hundreds of hours of work).
Thank you for your support and I look forward to confering with all of you proven and prospective authors.
Thanks and good luck.

Jack Beslanwitch Fri May 30 23:28:35 PDT 1997

It was time to archive again. So, I've bedded down our entries up to Britomart's exciting news that her books had arrived. That looks in my eyes to be a perfect note to begin this new tabula rasa. A couple of new faces have sent me bios, but I have not noticed them leaving messages here. So, the Notebook keeps growing and changing as some of us have to bow out to work and only occasionally raise their heads above water to peruse the entries and leave their thoughts. I am a bit in that category. I only took this break, do my thing and then back to the word processor. Take care everyone and thank you for making this such a wonderful place on the internet. It really is a labor of love for me.

Trudy Fri May 30 18:06:27 PDT 1997

Diane, the rest of us I'm sure you will find this page very inspiring.

Everyone...the page is up...when you go to you will be at my newspapers homepage. Scroll down click on the special feature for Transportation Week. The page that takes you to (which I have to make them changew because it hides so much text under that roadway) will link you to four of my stories which were in today's paper...they are the National Transportation Week one, the Forterm one, the railway one and the potash one. The rest are messages and a scedule and one canned piece. Hope you enjoy them if you link to them.

Later Trudy

Diane Scirica Fri May 30 16:06:11 PDT 1997

Wow! This page really is inspiring. I've been telling myself that someday I'm going to write a novel/story/something and get published. My life has been a little topsy turvey lately (divorce, deciding to go back to school) so I haven't even attempted to write anything. I like to keep a journal, though, just to keep that writing muscle in shape. School's out for the Summer, and I'm temping at Microsoft until Fall. Another way I like to keep my story-telling muscle excercised is to make up stories (on the spot) for my 6 year old daughter. She loves them no matter how bad they are, and I've actually made up a couple of good ones. Now I just need to write them out.

The Mutant Species of Papaya
or Papaya for short

Trudy Thu May 29 15:57:43 PDT 1997

Hey everyone...congrats Brit...that is so exciting...I can only imagine how you the book going to be available in Canada do you know...or must I do a mail order thing?

On a less exciting note, but exciting to me nonetheless, I am going world wide tomorrow. One of my projects at work is going on line tomorrow. It's about National Transportation Week and Port Days. One of the reasons I've been so busy of late. Anyway in case you have time and are interested it should be accessible from NBPub's home page at by late afternoon. If the link isn't obvious, I'll let you know as soonas I get home exactly where to find it and some of my stories!
I'm also excited because the paper is using two photos I took of a farm in our farming supplement and I get photo credit! Looks so good in the portfolio...if I ever get it done.

Anyway later. Trudy

AJ Austin Thu May 29 15:56:44 PDT 1997

Brit, bet it feels great! Thanks for the inspiration and good luck with sales.

To Brit, Toby and anyone else who is in school and writing as well, I admire you. I thought I would have so much more time as a student. Yeah, right. I've barely had time to breathe. I am taking a Shakespeare class and an English novel class so you can imagine there is a LOT of reading. (Brit, do you have a topic for your Shakespeare paper yet?) But, I am enjoying myself. The professors are great and I love to read. I guess I'll keep my head above water and find some time on weekends. Thank goodness for summer TV re-runs; with nothing on, maybe I'll get something done.

Philip, good to hear from you. Good luck in getting your work done.

To any newbies, welcome.

Good luck to everyone, see ya!


Mary Wed May 28 20:30:07 PDT 1997

BRIT: Huzzah! Huzzah! (Sorry - just spent a weekend at a Renaissance Faire.)
You have inspired us all.
Thanks to KITTY, JACk and GWYNDA for the agent advice. I pulled the manuscript and have already submitted it elsewhere.

Gwynda Wed May 28 12:20:06 PDT 1997

Brit, congrads! That is great. And, Tabitha, way to go. So many people tell me, 'you never know until you send it in'. So, go for it! And, Brit, I am posting your note also, so in my darkest hours I can gain inspiration. peace, light, and love to you all!

Tabitha Wed May 28 12:10:49 PDT 1997

Brit your success has inspired me. Just this week I have sent my two one act plays off in the mail to parts mysteriouse.
Well, a one act theater festival in Seatle. And I have spent the last two days sending ever single unpublished poem in my
poetry file off to different electronic Zeens. I'm going to get those words off that hard drive and make them work for their

Bill Wed May 28 11:04:48 PDT 1997

Brit...WHEW!!! All this excitement nearly melted my screen. My modem vibrated and my hard drive spun so fast it flew off somewhere into the next galaxy.

I'm thrilled for ya...I checked out your sample chapter-NEAT.
AND, you need to lose 5lbs like I need another flat tire(I've had 3 in the last week)....PS>>>Anyone in the market for a fistful of used nails?????

Anyway, I need to catch the next space shuttle to go find my hard drive, so later...Bill...

Kitty Wed May 28 09:24:17 PDT 1997

Brit: How exciting! I am very happy for you.

Deb Borys Wed May 28 06:24:34 PDT 1997

BRITOMART: I copied your post and plan to hang it by my desk with the paragraph about how it was all worth it in BIG BOLD LETTERS for inspiration. I'm so happy for you. And can't wait to get to that moment myself.

Jack Beslanwitch Tue May 27 21:41:33 PDT 1997



Britomart Tue May 27 14:52:40 PDT 1997

MY BOOKS ARE HERE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

You can imagine how fantastic it feels, finally to hold the finished product in my hands, feel it, smell it (mmmm...) One writer I know told me that getting the book wasn't as exciting as signing the contract - WRONG! This is the most exciting moment of my life. Opening that carton was like opening the box that had my dream-come-true in it, and it feels f***ing FANTASTIC!

The books look beautiful: I know you've all seen the cover, but it is a matte finish, and the title is silver embossed. It's all in shades of black and red and silver, and it just looks AWESOME. I'm so proud I can barely speak. I keep opening it and flicking through the pages and thinking "wow, I wrote all those words".

For all you who have had books published - how do I go back to normal after this experience? For all you who haven't - this moment is worth every tortuous sentence, every late night or early morning, every episode of Seinfeld you had to miss, every argument you had with your partner about leaving you alone, every hair you pulled out. It is worth EVERYTHING.

In other news, I had a photo shoot for publicity pictures for my publishers, and I've posted two nice ones at the internet location above. They are taken by a photographer for The Australian which is our national quality broadsheet. I don't know if they're particularly flattering of me, but they are beautiful photographs. They take a while to load, but perhaps you've got a spare five minutes.

To conclude, I'm just completely stoked. At the moment, I couldn't imagine feeling happier, even though my car is still a bomb, I could stand to lose 5 kilograms and I have a Shakespeare essay due at the end of the week that I haven't started. Really, really, this is the best moment of my life.

Love and thanks to you all for putting up with my mood swings, and for the kindness and encouragement.

Britomart xxx

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