Archived Writer's Notebook Messages

From August 19, 1997 to September 4, 1997

Toby Buckell Thu Sep 4 18:01:24 PDT 1997

Hello everyone: After a crazy summer I have returned to the world. I would have like to have taken the time to continue on the conversation for the summer, but my family has a strict no internet policy in the house, as well as a no cable policy. It works, we read a great deal. Writing suffered this summer, as I worked a great deal.
Being back in college is great, but right now I am juggling Soccer, classes, two jobs, Diana's death (I am British) and two delayed paychecks. I also have to start writing seriously again, as summer is always a low time for me. (My writing cycle is this: the idea and first bits of dialogue are concocted during class, later that night I proceed to tape these snippets to the moniter, write an outline, and go for it. I don't know what I'm going to do when I graduate.)
I did however get a great personalized rejection from Stanley Schmidt of Analog (I was close), so that made my summer.
Sorry for the long message, hope some of you still remember me.

Thu Sep 4 18:01:23 PDT 1997

Thu Sep 4 18:01:17 PDT 1997

Kae Thu Sep 4 14:56:45 PDT 1997

Mary: If I was the mother of the future King of England, and I was about to be proposed to, I wouldn't want to be anywhere where it could be sensationalized by the media. A little backwater bed-and-breakfast in some very romantic, private European grotto would work nicely. But that's just me.

Mary Thu Sep 4 14:25:48 PDT 1997

Kae -
Circumstances and evidence now indicate that Did took Diana to the Ritz to propose.
Where else would you take the mother of the future King of England - McDonald's?
I am a journalist, and not at all offended by any anti-press remarks. (You see, some of us can be ohjective). Luckily, I work for a small town Southern newspaper that comes out three times a week. We recently had to report the suicide of a young high school student. In keeping with our own policy, the name of the victim was not released. Only when it is, sorry, a very public figure or a very public suicide, do we even mention that it was a suicide. The obit was run another day, but in small town, it had been figured out already.
Our ethics paid off. A competitor, with its tabloid mentailty, not only listed every gruesome detail, but hinted through vague quotes that it was an accidental suicide caused by autoasphyxiation.
They were quite provably, horribly incorrect and were proven so.
There must be watch dogs. If the press is getting out of hand, let us know!


Britomart Thu Sep 4 14:01:15 PDT 1997

Don't believe the hype. There's a difference between "courting the press" and making a virtue out of necessity. Sure there's a market for pictures of celebs - there was also a market for slaves once, but we managed to legislate against that. The media are doing everything to shift the blame, because this event has put them painfully (and unfavourably) in the spotlight.

Kevin O'Regan Thu Sep 4 13:54:39 PDT 1997


I would just like to add a few things about the trajic Death of Princess Di. First; The car they were in was a specially made Mercedes with Bullet Proof Glass and Armor plating. It weighed a good deal more than normal cars, so therefore is difficult to control. The fact that the Driver was at least three times the legal limit (1/2 Gram of Alchohol per litre of blood) did not help at all. In fact it would have made the car hell to control and at the speed they were going, (Disputed by some to be 120KPH no 120MPH) it would have been likely that the car could easily have spun out of control and crashed.

Just some more information for those who were reading the piece before this.

I have a few Questions if any Writers out there could answer them I would be grateful;

1: I'd love to become a Writer, I already Write Short Stories but I have never taken Courses or anything like that and I was wondering if you could recommend an online or postal course that you have thought to be good? Or, do I need to do a course at all?

2: Is there anywhere I can send my short stories to get them reviewed or some such? Somoene who has experience with Stories that could give their views?

Kevin O'Regan.

Jack Beslanwitch Thu Sep 4 13:14:04 PDT 1997

In regard to Princess Diana, I was listening to Larry King and some others last night and there does seem to be some question about the test results. The driver in question drove from his home to the hotel, conversed intelligently with co-workers for approximately an hour, showed no evidence of staggering behavior and then drove with Princess Diana. The results say that he had four times the legal limit for alcohol. I am just reitterating what is being reported by one individual on Larry King, but there does seem to be a bit more evidence to be garnered here. Also, as pointed out earlier the regular driver was sent off as decoy to try to draw off some of the rapacious paparazzi. Also, it has been reported that the only person wearing a seat belt was the body guard who survived to reach the hospital. This may or may not be true. Also, the tunnel in question did not have a basic guard rail that is standard code practice here in the states to prevent just what happened to Princess Diana's car.

Given all of the above, the issues as to blame are still waiting for more definitive information. The driver has a part to play, the paparazzi have a part to play, the passengers themselves have a part to play if in fact they were not wearing their seat belts and the French government has a part to play for not having a guard rail around the post to direct the force of the impact into a more survivable crash. All of this said, I still hold a special place for the paparazzi, sort of in the sense that Dante had special circles of hell for certain professions. In watching a particular show last night as they interviewed two paparazzi who blatantly said that if you're in the public eye don't go into the public if you don't want your picture shot of anything you do and that they of course would have shot the pictures of the bodies. Out of their own mouths they condemned themselves.

Well, off of my soap box, and a bit of an announcement. I have been in email contact with Bill and Phillip and have been tossing around some new names for Writer Resources to differentiate this site since it has a new look. After a bit of thought and discussing it with my wife, I narrowed it down to Writer's Vault, Writer's Sanctuary or For Writers Only (all from Phillip - Thank you Phillip :-). I am leaning toward For Writers Only. If anybody else has an alternative suggestion I am open to it, but I'll probably have it up later this afternoon. Take care.

kae Thu Sep 4 08:57:20 PDT 1997

Well, I'm going to go out on a limb here. I know this will be a very unpopular entry, but I have to say this, and then off to Boston for the weekend. (!!) I feel really horrible about what happened to Diana-it only seems to happen to the good ones. I feel bad for her kids and her family. It definitely should not have happened. BUTÖ.

Diana was killed by a drunk driver, not the press. The media does go overboard stalking celebrities to get juicy stories, but hey, it goes with the territory. If Diana and her boyfriend were so concerned with privacy, and were so annoyed by the continual harassment of the paparazzi, then why on earth did they decide to go the Ritz-Carlton in Paris to toast their attraction to one another? The Ritz-Carlton! One of the most famous of all hotels! Paris! The most celebrated city in the world! Why didn't they chose a little backwater bed-and-breakfast in some very romantic, private European grotto? Surely it wasn't because the Ritz was cheaper.

Diana was by no means a media-shirker. Most of the time she courted the press-and the press was instrumental in creating her very popular, very respected reputation. There was plenty of schmoozing-from both sides-for the better part of the fifteen or so years she was a highly-touted public figure. She manipulated the media just as much as they manipulated her. What made her think that her millions of fans would automatically lose interest when she wanted them to? If, in fact, that was REALLY what she wanted? People LOVED Diana-they hung on her every word, every action. She knew this, and she used it to her advantage-and I don't mean that unflatteringly. She has done a lot of good work for AIDS and in third world countries due to the image that she and the press created. True, the media reveled in her personal problems, but that is what happens when you desire and become a public figure. The press should be blamed for their reprehensible conduct after the crash-taking photos of her damaged body, etc-but not for following her from a very, very public place.

Lisa Nickles Wed Sep 3 19:22:42 PDT 1997

I think it important to note in the wake of this terrible event, that there is a big difference between freedom of the press and a press out of control. Freedom, like ability, carries certain responsibilities with it.

I believe that freedom of the press means that we have the right to print the truth, unaltered by government or controlling factors. It does not mean that we have the right to hound an individual or group to the point of near madness to get a story. I used to think this a problem with the American press, but clearly I was wrong; it's a worldwide problem.

Also, the truth in media has become subjective. Many papers will slant the news to present the most scandalous, most sensational angle. Often, at that point, truth becomes irrelevant.

I do hope I have not insulted those of us who work in the journalistic arena. If I did, please know that I mean no insult, but I will not apologize for my opinion.

I pray that the angels look after those poor boys. If the future King of England sheds a tear for his mother in public it will be on every front page.

As for the driver being drunk... We all know how stupid that is. 'Nuff said.

I honestly hope that the families of the people killed and injured will be able to find peace amidst the chaos. I hope they can feel the many prayers that are with them at this time.

I'll put my soapbox back in the closet now...

Jack Beslanwitch Wed Sep 3 14:18:46 PDT 1997

Sorry to drop in so frequently, but just wanted to let all know that I am going to give this discussion a few more days and then archive. Notebook is about to reach a 100k and thought it time. This time, however, since Princess Diana's unfortunate death and the circumstances surrounding it have been such a part of this particular Notebook, I think I'll keep it intact and start with a completely blank slate when I do archive.

I also wanted to note the new voices that have sprung up here lately and be delighted by your input. Please feel welcome and return. Take care all and good writing.

Rosemary Wed Sep 3 10:58:27 PDT 1997

Hello everyone.
It looks like most of us are interested in the death of Princess Di. I have been sitting back watching bits and pieces and reading comments, wondering just exactly what I really did feel about the whole thing. Mostly confusion. I have a minor phobia about alcohol, and I know it comes from having alcoholic parents. So I worry that my feelings-- that alcohol contributed almost as much to the tragedy as the paparazzi-- are biased. My writers imagination joined my phobia and kicked out a vision of Princess Di and her new boyfriend in the back seat of the limo laughing and egging the driver on to higher speeds, to elude the buzzing pests. Iím throwing that out as perhaps another view but obviously not fact.

Mostly I thought some of you might be interested in the transcript of the Larry King show featuring the publisher of Globe Magazine, Fran Drescher, Whoopi Goldberg,and a number of others. Very interesting was a call from JonBenet Ramseyís mother. A lot of paparazzi bashing going on. It is part of the ( Interactive Web site. I had to skim the first part because Larry was talking with a representative of one of the photographers who spoke very little English. It wasnít easy to understand.
Itís still very hot here in south Texas and I donít get out much and I obviously watch too much television.
Good luck and be careful.

Wed Sep 3 10:58:23 PDT 1997

Joan Tue Sep 2 18:29:17 PDT 1997

Hi all--

I have so many conflicting feelings over Princess Diana's death that I'm not even going to go into them here. I'm just so tremendously sorry for the whole thing, and especially for the young princes.

Jack: I tried to click on your hyperlink(?) for Writers Resources and couldn't get there. The first time a message popped up that said it couldn't find that address. The second time, it took me to the address but only gave me a blank screen. I'm not sure whether it's just me/my computer, but thought I'd let you all know.

Bye for now--and bless you all for being such feeling people.


Jack Beslanwitch Tue Sep 2 13:35:38 PDT 1997

Breaking away from the discussion about Diana for the moment, I was wondering if people could drop by the main Writer Resources site and let me know what you think. Also, I have been tossing around some ideas in my head for differentiating this site from the hoste of other Writer Resources and Writers Resources. I was wondering if anybody had a suggestion for a new name since I now have a new interface for that part of my site. Any help along these lines would be greatly appreciated. You can either post it here or just email me

Bob Hanford Tue Sep 2 06:23:05 PDT 1997

Kimberly and Trudy: I'm sure you know by now that the drunken driver got drunk at home. He was off duty. The on-duty driver was sent out as a decoy and the at-home driver was called in to work. Had there been no need of a decoy...

If the "just doing my job" defense had any validity, every Nazi except Adolph Hitler would have been pardoned, and we would not have courtmartialed officers for atrocities in Vietnam.

It is called responsibility.

Kimberly Harner Tue Sep 2 00:42:15 PDT 1997

Diana's untimely exit is indeed a trajic end to a bittersweet life. My heart aches for young William and Harry. Now not only are they without a mother, they have lost that one true nurturing friend that is a boy's mother. The paparazzi are only half to blame for her death, the drunken driver of the Mercedes shares the other half. I can only imagine her terror and weep. I never realized how deeply the death of someone I never knew would affect me.

Bill Mon Sep 1 21:46:23 PDT 1997

The death of ANY person caused by the unscrupulous acts of another should NOT be allowed to continue. Those who cause such an occurrence, with total disregard and uncaring attitude for their fellow man, and with no more then self-greed as motive, should NOT be allowed to live among the human race.

Britomart Mon Sep 1 21:18:13 PDT 1997

I just had to wade into this one. Let's use our writers' imaginations for a moment. You are followed by photographers every day, you have no control over the representation of you in the mass media, you never know when somebody is taking your photo - this goes on for 17 years. You meet a new man, you want some private time to get to know him, but it's almost impossible because there are always photographers watching your every move, driven by greed because of the tremendous market in trafficking in people's privacy - the media cannot make the most basic distinction between your public life and your private life.

You go for dinner one night with your new male friend, and as you are leaving - more flash-bulbs going off. You'll do anything to get away - you just want to be left alone. You spend the last few minutes of your life cowering in the back seat of a car in desperation, before you realise with horror that the car is about to hit something and you are probably going to die, and never see your children again.

The media hounded that woman to a tragic and completely avoidable death. Now they have killed the goose that laid their golden eggs for them. I wonder what they'll do for an encore.

For anybody to die in those circumstances is tragic. Tragedy doesn't differentiate between rich and poor. The media do.

Jack Beslanwitch Mon Sep 1 17:10:47 PDT 1997

Just for everyones information there is now a ban the papparazzi page that can be found via the following logo:

Trudy Mon Sep 1 09:36:42 PDT 1997

Hi all, like everyone I am still reeling from the shock that something so terrible could have happened to Princess Diana. I remember when she was marrying Charles how I kept a scrapbook of every picture and news article I came across. I thought Diana was so beautiful (even had my hair done like hers for awhile) and practically inhaled everything written about her. Over the years that fascination has lessened but it's been easy to keep track of all her ups and downs "thanks" to the media.

As someone who works for the media though, I have always found it difficult some of the things reporters and photographers do for the sake of the news. I do feel the Paparazzi are responsible for her death in a way but ultimately it was a terrible, terrible accident. They were doing their jobs; I'm not sure you can place complete blame on them. I'm curious to see what others feel about the Paparazzi and what their responsibilities in this accident were. My prayers to all who loved Diana.

On a more positive note, as Kasin mentioned my second book review was accepted and published this Saturday. Now it's on to number three...the book is read, just have to get writing.

Happy Labour Day.


Bob Hanford Mon Sep 1 07:22:28 PDT 1997

I feel like a yard sale jigsaw puzzle with one more piece dropped under the bushes. Goodbye Princess and thank you for your grace.

Jack Beslanwitch Sun Aug 31 23:30:56 PDT 1997

The Royal Family has put up a web page where condolences can be expressed at In attempting to check it out, the server seemed to be somewhat overloaded. Which, as it happens, is no suprise. Phillip, I think, said it best.

Goodby Princes Diana

Our prayers will be with you and your children.

Kasin Hunter Sun Aug 31 20:11:10 PDT 1997

Okay. I know I've already posted twice, but I had to ask this.
The other day, a fellow web page programmer said that in order to boost his hits he's going to put in META commands of nothing but PORN words, even though his page has nothing to do with pron! What do y'all think about that kind of writing? (He said it gets people flocking to the pages.)

Kasin Hunter Sun Aug 31 20:05:48 PDT 1997

Philip, saw you note on the prize and grant rip-off thing going on. Where's the person responsible to see that the money is going to the right person. No prize police around?
Not good stewardship there. If I were to give away money for a cause, I'd be as sure as I could it was channeled correctly. Humm m . . ..

Kasin Hunter Sun Aug 31 19:56:21 PDT 1997

Honor is mine!
Nadia Giordana, the editor/publisher/co-owner of Poetry in Motion agreed to Showcase one of her pieces in Kasin's Keep Showcase. The work recently showed in her quarterly publication of Poetry in Motion, and when asked if I could use it in my website as one of September's contributors, she kindly said yes.

Check it out, along with return of humorist, Ronald Skinner, poet, Chris Kirby and art photo by Merry Mary (a fellow gardener).

I believe it's the best Showcase we've had to offer. All are welcome!

Now, to the topic of the day. Humor in the offerings. Yes, I think the funniest story is how I starting gardening--it would send chills up Russ's back (the garden manager at the store where I work.) I didn't know compost from mulch from top soil and commited plant homicide on a regular. It's a good thing I live in the desert--cactus are hard to kill!

So, I wrote this little short story about it, but it never sold. Guess you had to be there. Heeeee . . .

The good news this month is that I am finally getting Boak the Black (a mixed media art piece) published after trying for three years--did it, sent it out, got it back; redid it, sent it out, got it rejectedj--you know how it goes sometimes. But finally with a poem sent along to sweeten the deal, Boak will come out in print this October in the halloween issue of Poetry in Motion. He has over 3,000 pen strokes in the wings alone, so he HAD to be published, if you know what I mean. Passions, huh?

I just heard tonight that Di was killed in a car accident. We should send our prayers to her kids and all involved.

I don't know if Trudy has told you all yet, but her latest book review was accepted and coming out soon! I wanna copy! I'm so very proud of all her hard work!

Sigh. I'm beat. Gotta go. Don't work on Labor Day--except at eating too much, okay? Bless all.

Kasin Hunter.

Philip Sun Aug 31 14:50:12 PDT 1997

Goodbye Princess Diana.

Bill Sun Aug 31 10:49:28 PDT 1997

I must have poltergeists messing around with my novel while I am asleep because when I did an edit, I found this: "There's my home," Limoor said, pointing to a small moon flouncing around the room. Surely, I didn't write that! LOL

Sun Aug 31 10:35:02 PDT 1997

Jack Beslanwitch Sat Aug 30 23:13:10 PDT 1997

My timing could not have been worst. My condolence go out to any and all to whom Princess Diana was of interest. This is extremely disturbing news, both from the fact of her death and of the potential involvement of the Papparazzi. I think this is a sufficiently important cultural event that we might want to discuss the impact of historical invents on what we write and what we consider appropriate to write about. When I was nine years old, I had occasion to see John F. Kennedy in Billings, Montana, less than a year before he died. I am having somewhat the same sort of feelings as I felt when John F. Kennedy and Robert Kennedy were assassinated. I am not sayng that the Papparazzi assassinated Princess Diana, but the intimations are certainly being bandied about. No real evidence is being released, but individuals are being interviewed by the French Police, since Paparazzi activity is against the law there. We'll have to wait and see.

Jack Beslanwitch Sat Aug 30 16:12:45 PDT 1997

The suggested topic for this week took a left turn at Albacurquee, or was that Kookamonanga. Since things were quiet whether from connections over the internet or the long weekend here in the states, I thought we might discuss the funniest moments we have had in the course of our writing experience or what is the funniest/silliest/unexpected thing we have discovered that we wrote into a manuscript when we reviewed it. From these very pages, my propensity for mispelling words into interested discussions of people making sails under a pseudonym are one example.

Of course, as always, if people want to discuss something different, feel free. I invite Ben and any one else to stomp all over the topic of discussion.

Bill Thu Aug 28 21:01:37 PDT 1997

Can anyone tell me how to put links and name info on the bottom of an email automatically without having to type it in each time, or cut and paste from another file?

Bob, Thanks for the virus info.

Bill Thu Aug 28 14:44:42 PDT 1997

I don't know enough to comment about using pseudonyms, but it is interesting reading what others have to say about the subject.

About authors missrepresenting themselves in color, creed, or gender etc.. It should be law that they have a disclosure in their book to acertain what they are doing and why. I would think that the public should have a right to know THE TRUTH. There may be perfectly good reasons for an author to represent themselves as someone other than he/she really is, but blatant missreprentation for purposes of greed or fame at the expense of others should NOT be allowed in any form.

Ben has introduced us to a new character in our story "The End of a Planet" in the Workbook, and quite smoothly I might add. Thanks Ben.

I thought, to help us to maintain interest in our story, I would list some questions to dwell over. Please, feel free to add questions of your own and share them with us. You may think of something that the next person does not. I believe it will help us ALL to learn to think in more detail about our own stories and give us new ideas for them. (Just a passing thought)

I wonder where Bill and Waldrorf come from? Friends, brothers, cousins? Where do the live? Are they long-time friends? What do they look like? Just because Bill has a poor appearance, is he really poverty-stricken, or is he a rich eccentric? Is Bill always that tough-minded, or does his heart go out for anyone? Why is Bill's ship the fastest. What does it look like? What kind of propulsion does it have? Weapons? How long has he owned it? What type of trading does he do? All Legitimate? Where does he trade? What kind of money do they use?

Thought I would leave more questions for someone else. Gee, thanks Kae, Trudy and others for helping me to learn to ask questions. It certainly helps me to build plot, character, etc.. HAVE FUN.

***Who is next to add to our story?***

Thu Aug 28 13:51:51 PDT 1997

kae Thu Aug 28 11:23:46 PDT 1997

Hey y'all: In lieu of the interesting conversation we've been having about writers assuming anothers' cultural background as a means to either tell their story OR make a buck (or maybe both), I thought you might be interested in seeing this. It's a quote I found from an interview with John Irving, who I think is one of the best writers of our time. I guess I'd have to say I agree with Irving, tho I don't appreciate the fact that people have been hurt by what they see as a cultural rip-off. Well, for what it's worth:

"...and nowadays, of course, we are burdened by this form of political correctness called "cultural appropriation." You know about this? That's when a Native American or a Hindi from Bombay gets angry because someone has "appropriated" his "culture" - meaning that I write a book about a Parsi from Bombay, but I'm not an actual Indian of any kind. Meaning that William Styron wasn't supposed to write "The Confessions of Nat Turner."

What would these "writers" you're telling me about have me do? Stay in Vermont and write about a writer watching the snow fall or teaching his youngest son how to ski? Boy, that would be interesting!

I say to these writers: Get an imagination or get another line of work. I suppose Flaubert should have written about Charles Bovary instead of Emma? I'm glad he "imagined" Emma. . . . She's much more interesting than Charles."

Philip Wed Aug 27 23:54:21 PDT 1997

An Australian newspaper on the same story ...

Back soon - Philip.

Philip Wed Aug 27 23:44:29 PDT 1997

I found a column in an American newspaper that covers the Aboriginal prize hoax I wrote about earlier ... check it out.

Back soon - Philip.

Jack Beslanwitch Wed Aug 27 23:16:52 PDT 1997

Correction on my last post Orycon is in the first week in November.

Jack Beslanwitch Wed Aug 27 23:13:55 PDT 1997

Ben: Good to see you dropping by. I know of the Surrey Writing Conference and am afraid I have way too many meetings I am going to be attending in September and October, including Orycon, a meeting of my wife's breast cancer list serve in Portland and a few others. On this vein, however, I might point out to anyone who is the Pacific Northwest and planning to attend Norwescon 21, that they now have their Writer Guidelines for their Writers Workshop now available. If anyone is planning on attending you might consider participating.

Ben Woestenburg Wed Aug 27 19:17:04 PDT 1997

Hello Phillip. It's good to see you're keeping yourself busy. It's an interesting subject. Personally, I've never considered thinking about passing myself off as black, or Indian (that's East Indian for us N.Americans),because I've always felt the quality of a person's writing supercedes the colour of his skin. I guess it's because I have no prejudices towards anyone -- okay, maybe ignorant pigs are an acception -- and believe that because I wouldn't do something like that, why would someone else? But I can see that it does happen, and I guess I can understand it too. An Aboriginal wanting to get published would naturally try to pass himself off as white because of the circumstances of his life. Just like women in the 18th and 19th century did it. It's the story they had that was important. However, to purposely try to manipulate the audience into believing you are something else for the sake of winning a prize or a government grant...? You might as well be a con artist trying to take a little old lady for everything she's worth. I have to agree it fraud, and I have to agree the person should be punished in some way -- he doesn't have to be drawn and quartered, but keel-hauling is not out of the question. I don't really think it has anything to do with Freud or Jung, or any of that other psyco-babble. It's just plain greed. They want something they're not eligable for, so they go to whatever lengths they have to in order to get it. I'm not one to analyze a man's motives and label it as one thing or another. I'm pretty simple that way. Greed, and the all mighty dollar is motivation enough (oh, I guess I am labeling him then). Fraud is fraud, and I can't look at it any other way. If a contest has stipulations, it's usually for a reason. If these people can't present the writer in person, they shouldn't be able to collect the prize.

But enough about that.

Jack: Did you know the Surrey Writer's conference was coming up in October? Why don't you take the train up and check it out? Lot's of interesting stuff there. I wanted to go for at least one day -- it's a three day event -- but, well, money's too tight right now to even consider it. I went a couple of years back. It was excellent. But then, I'd never been to a conference before and didn't have anything to compare it to.

I want to do some checking on the web now. I think I want to check out some facts about Judaism. It took me three months to get over my Catholic guilt by saying Christ didn't die the way the New Testament says he did. I have to go one step further and say that the Jews weren't responsible for it at all -- which I believe is true -- but that it was political and the Romans alone were responsible. If controversy sells books, then I've got a live one here. Any comments on that idea?


Philip Wed Aug 27 18:01:35 PDT 1997

HELLO EVERYONE: further to my upcoming panel discussion.

It is the non Aboriginal angles on this that I'm seeking and you've helped me with that. Most have a view and not afraid to state it.... I find that admirable particularly from the women in our group. Women, even modern western women, have been (and still are) oppressed in much the same way Aboriginal people are oppressed. Certain positions and social status are just not available to women.

So, what should happen when society recognises its past errors and provides a conduit to assist recognition of the downtrodden and it becomes abused?

If you think it's difficult getting published and you're white, try being an Aboriginal female in Australia. Who owns the presses? The prize the European Australian male claimed as his was for black Australian women writers, that rare offer of a conduit was siezed by an interloper.

Forget the skin colour for a second; imagine the outcry if a male posed as female in the United States and claimed a major literary cash prize (as part of an affirmative government action for women) only to be publicly exposed a year later. Mrs Doubtfire or not, that writer would be eagerly castrated by your feminists. Am I right?

I wish I could post all the private email I received today on this from this group and others but that would betray confidences - it sure makes interesting reading.

Thanks to all...

Back soon - Philip.

Wed Aug 27 17:28:25 PDT 1997

Lisa Nickles Wed Aug 27 17:11:33 PDT 1997

Phillip: I haven't posted for a while because I haven't been well;I was in a car accident. I think this needs an answer, though.

You ask creative license or literary fraud. The first question then becomes whether or not the ficticious life is being presented as non fiction or fiction. If the answer is non fiction, then the corresponding answer is fraud. If the individual is supposed to create a fictionalized version of him/her self, then the rules of the consest should be more specific. Jack is right, here in tyhe States a person would most probably be thrown in jail or fined for that. Besides having to face minority activist groups for years to come.

As for posing as one of a different ethnic group, I have always believed that a writer should stand or fall on his/her own merits. As writers, most of our stories come from the perspectives that we have developed as a result of ou experiences. If one makes up a life that will not come through in the writings. The exception, of course, being one whose reality and fantasy line is so blurred that the person believes the fantasy over the reality. In such situations there is probably a native illness that will manifest itself in one way or another.

I suspect that Freud and Jung would have taken very different approaches to a behavior such as this. Freud would hve seen a desire to be another where Jung would have seen a desire to express the self overriding the desire to be seen as self. (It's been years since I studied the pair, but I think I remember the theories relatively well.)

I will admit openly that my perspective is somewhat colored. (pun intended) In the same way that a person who is naturally good looking can't seem to understand why everyone is so concerned about looking good, I have a very interesting- if less than ideal- background to draw from. Someone who was raised in a near ideal situation may feel that there is a lack. I don't know. Phil, maybe you best bet with this lecture is to establish what is and is not fraud, then discuss whether or not it is necessary to use such methods to suceed in the writing field.


I apologize for bringing up a subject and not participating. By the time I was able to really sit down to the computer you had already archived that section.


I find mood music a good tool. Chopin's piano peices each have their own flavor of mood. Also, since I write fantasy, celtic music has a strong influence. I sometimes imagine a story beginning to end while I listen Funny thing is that I usually have to turn the music off while I'm writing. Go figure...

Pseudonyms also can affect writing. Maybe that's why each of my muses is specific to a writing style and they each have a different name. Sort of an internal pseudonym, so to speak. One way of looking at it I suppose...

Deb Borys Wed Aug 27 16:45:18 PDT 1997

PHILLIP: I would not necessarily say posing as someone with a different skin color is reprehensible. If I had something important to say and felt that the best way to get my message across would be for the reader to think I am different than I am--in other words, if I'm afraid the people who need to read my book will be less likely to buy it because I'm a white woman--then I think it would be important to sell myself as whatever race would be heard. Although I think this might be able to be done with no one knowing what color I am. If there is no picture or television promos, etc. I could just be Debra R. Borys and my readers could imagine me any color they want.

The rub comes in, I think, that these pople, from what you say, are posing as Aboriginals to gain an unfair advantage--in short, for fradulent reasons. If a contest is targeted for a certain group of people, whether that be race, region or degree of experience, it is totally wrong to pretend to qualify for it, perhaps even illegal.

Then there is the middle line: someone lieing about their race, etc. just to get published, or to make money--not necessarly cheating on any written rules, but just "tweaking" the system, out to get all he can no matter what. Instances like this can not be called fraud, in my opinion, but certainly can be called contemptible. These people would not pass my criteria for the defintiion of an ethical person.

I must add a postscript to my first paragraph, however. As a white woman, my perspective on this issue is biased. I am not a member of a race that has a history of not receiving the respect it deserves, therefore, I don't always see racial issues as clearly as I should. It might be that from the Aboriginal perspective you would be correct in saying that it is always wrong to try to pass yourself off as a member of that culture.

So, having stated my opinion, I have now told you it is worthless! But at least you have heard how the view looks from this one white woman's window.

Jack Beslanwitch Wed Aug 27 11:15:41 PDT 1997

Phillip: I have to agree with your subject's titles first part. It is fraud, plain and simple, and, I would suspect, actionable legally.

Creating a more interesting persona with which to sell their books is a different issue and Freud/Jung might indeed have a field day with this. And we might look askance at the judgment of the writer who does this, depending on the circumstances.

I can think of at least one genre where it is necessary to pose as someone else to even write in it. For a man to write in the romance genre I think would be very difficulty. Sort of the flip side to some of the female writers in the last century that used pseudonyms of a different gender to get published. Sorry, I seem to be babbling on. Hope Kae and my reaction gives you some assistance.

kae Wed Aug 27 06:42:53 PDT 1997

Philip: My first impression would be to say that posing under another skin color is reprehensible. It borders on plagerism. BUT...I think I could understand why a writer OF INTEGRITY might be tempted to do it. Possibly he might be afraid of being accuzed of exploiting another race to make a buck, when actually, he just has an excellent story to tell. Maybe the writer is afraid that readers/critics will label him as a fraud w/o even reading his novel, simply becuz of his race, so he "poses" just to get the story out there. Not that I agree with it, you understand, but that could be why it happens.

But I think that the people you are describing--creating interesting public personas, etc--is a different story. They're just trying to sell books, make money and become famous. Now there's nothing wrong with wanting all that, mind you, but I think if you have to create a whole other person to do it, you're kind of missing the point. So it's inexcusable in that circumstance.

I ran into a similar problem a little while ago, and I did email you about it, remember, Philip? I have a character in my story that is a black man in a position of power. He just happens to be one of the most petty, conniving, bullying little drips to walk the earth. I was deathly afraid that I would be construed as a racist becuz this character is black. There are other black characters that are good, tho, so I decided to just leave him as is, and hope no one decides to use that as an excuse to bash my work.

This posing happens quite often in the world of pop music. Lots of musicians pretend to be from downtrodden circumstances becuz it will give them a more "authentic" flavor. I personally don't think anyone should have to apologise for who they are, and if they have a true conviction, they should go on with it. If it's real, intelligent people will understand.

Philip Wed Aug 27 03:33:40 PDT 1997


I was serious when I appealed to everyone previously about this matter. I would really like your input.

I have been invited to deliver a paper at the 'Spring Writing' festival in Sydney, the second biggest writing event on our calendar. A well known, right-wing journalist and I have a
moderator and our evocative topic is "Literary Fraud or Artistic Licence?"

In recent times we have had a spate of European Australians posing as Aboriginal writers taking out prizes and grants. They appear and accept the prize money on behalf of the black person they say cannot be present.

The grants and prizes have been put in place to encourage indigenous writers to step forward. Aboriginal Australians have been identified as the most illiterate social group in the developed, western world.

We have also had a run of fraudulent writers ripping off other's works and creating a whole manufactured life, making themselves more interesting as writers - a better public personna.

We all know about writing under another name but what about posing under another skin colour?

And what would Freud/Jung say?

Sincerely - Philip.

Debbie O. Tue Aug 26 16:15:57 PDT 1997

Well, when it comes to writing in silence, or with music, I opt for the music. Actually, any kind of noise; with two kids, noise is not an option, it's a rule. Even while they're sleeping, I need something, so I turn the radio on low. Usually though, the television is on, and it's registering in the back of my mind. On late night TV theres a show, Strange Universes, which is usually on while I'm writing, and/or before I go to bed. This show deals with the paranormal, and those who have had paranormal experiences. I make sure it's on when I'm falling to sleep, because it does wonders to my imagination.

Susan Tue Aug 26 14:03:08 PDT 1997

In regard to pen names, I have no opinion. I use my own name and really have no interest in using any other. A cousin of mine who wrote romance novels used both her real name and a pen name, though I know not why.

As to a writing regimen, I'm not really sure I have one. I try to write at least a page a day when I am writing, and generally produce about 3-4 pages a day. I write my first and second drafts in longhand. I don't really feel comfortable with a computer. I use it for final drafts. I can't do anything before my first cup of coffee, and I'm much more comfortable writing in the afternoon and early evening. I am not a morning person. What routine I have is subject to change based on my work and class schedule. I haven't done much this week because its the first week of classes and I'm trying to adjust to that routine as well. From time to time I have to take a few days off from writing because my brain just feels drained. I spend that time reading as much as possible to rejuvenate myself and generate inspiration and ideas. This may sound strange but I cannot write in absolute silence. I generally have the television going in the background, though when I'm writing I ignore it. Well, that's my writing regimen, if you could call it that. Strange, isn't it?

Bill Tue Aug 26 13:46:38 PDT 1997

IT HAS BEGUN. I've posted a story beginning it the workbook. We are all here to learn from each other, so please feel free to critique it. Who will be the first volunteer to add to the story? HAVE FUN!

Gwynda Shields Tue Aug 26 10:47:59 PDT 1997

Hey, guys, been awhile. But I've been keeping an eye on things. It has been busy. As for using a pseudonym? I will use my maiden name instead of my married name. (Which I kept only because of my kid when I divorced years ago) And, I refuse to give my ex any of the credit for anything I do. Besides, my Mother will be tickled.

Music? Great motivator for ideas. But, I really don't notice it once I'm in the motion of writing. Take care.
Peace * Light * Love

Mary Tue Aug 26 08:06:15 PDT 1997

I'm not sure if this will be a duplicate message, so if it is, sorry!

But I was wondering if anyone has heard of a publication called The Sunflower Dream or the Sunflower Odyssey?

I recently entered 2 short stories (for $5) to them and received a letter saying they would like to publish both, one in their fall issue, and one in an annual anthology.

Does anyone know if it could be a scam, I'm not really sure if I 'won' anything or what.

I'm sort of new to writing and would appreciate hearing about anybody's experiences with contests.

Thanks a lot!


Mary Tue Aug 26 07:55:55 PDT 1997

Hello Everyone!

Thanks Jack for the e-mail. I appreciate it.

I wonder if anyone out there has ever heard of a publication called The Sunflower Dream or The Sunflower Odyssey?

I recently entered two of my short stories (for a $5 fee) to this publication and received a letter stating that they would like to publish both, one in their fall issue and one in an annual anthology.

The problem is I'm not sure if I 'won' anything or what! Does anyone know if this is a scam? I'm sort of new to writing and don't really know all the ropes yet. I'd appreciate hearing about anybody's experiences with contests.

Thanks for your help!


Bob Hanford Tue Aug 26 05:45:52 PDT 1997

Tina: I use music to make the transition from left brain to right brain but then I need total silence to write. Actually, I'm watching a movie being shown just off to my left and I'm describing the action and writing down the dialogue as fast as I can type. It would be unususal for the music to be the same pace and atmosphere as the action.

However, both my son and daughter must have music when they write.

Re: When and how I write: Because of my ADD, write in short intense periods of 45 mins to hour and a half, several times a day. If I didn't have to work would probably write from midnight till half way through the night.

Jack Beslanwitch Mon Aug 25 23:03:06 PDT 1997

A quick response to the question about someone who has lackluster sails. Too write they would be soggy. However, to point out an interesting instance, I am not going to name names, but at least one writer who had reasonable sales, but was widely getting the reputation as a literati writer with a limited feminist audience was advised to use a pseudonym, I believe by her agent. She did so, the series of novels were submitted and a bidding war commenced that boosted her into six figures and beyond. Now the word has gotten out and book sellers at least in the Seattle area are pointing out that this popular fantasy series was really written by 'X'. So, it is not just poor sales, but niche market sales. Also, prolific writers like Stephen King have been known to generate novels with pseudonyms rather than over saturate a market. Also, some writers in the past have had a different pseudonym for each genre. Let's not even touch on the subject of men writing romance novels using pseudonyms. And if you believe it doesn't happen, I have a great piece of property, only cash ;-).

Take care.

Ben Woestenburg Mon Aug 25 22:29:32 PDT 1997

Hello one and all!
I'm so glad to be back, and I've just spent the last hour trying to find this page. There's so much here to try and answer. I haven't had the time to get on-line because of my own writing scheduel.I still get up as early as I can, because with the kids out of school, I know it's the only time I'll have. No wonder everyone says that next week is...'the most wonderful time of the year.'

I was looking through the net trying to find a good agencyand got a few good leads. I did a lot of writing at work because of a lot of problems there. Everything is shutting down (only one shift working for the last two weeks), but apparently twenty years of seniority is enough to keep me working until tomorrow. I was training a guy on my job because he was the senior man of course, but he already knew how to do the job. I knew he knew the job, but the foreman weren't working at the mill then, so they didn't really think he knew how to do it. After half an hour reminding him of everything and where the new buttons, knobs and dealies were, I had six hours to sit down and write notes to myself. I got twelve pages. I wrote a plotline for the second book of the trilogy, researched the timeline in depth,and figured out how to kill everyone off properly. It's sort of funny how it fits in with the question of plotting earlier. I was going back and forth, remembering things and adding other things.It was really quite great. I had another day like that today, training a different guy on yet another job I had been taught half an hour before him. No wonder why the place is shutting down like this. They totally forgot I was even training this guy. (But don't worry, I haven't lost my job. I might be working again by Wednesday, Thursday/ week for sure.

I like to write with music. I don't like it when there's no music in the house, but my wife appreciates the silence. When I get hom from work I turn on the radio -- at a reasonable volume we both agree on -- just so I can hear it. Naturally, when I write, I want music in the background. I'm partial to rock, but I like everything: Jazz, Blues, Reggae, Classical, Opera, even Country now. It's just there to take up the empty space.

Gary, we really should get together sometime. The wine's done, and I really enjoy reading out loud to people. I like to read 'snippets'. My latest one is the three page crucifixion scene witnessed by Cornelius the first Gentile convert. You could tell me about the screenplay. I always read to poor Kim after he's had a good dinner and a couple of brews.

So now that I've got access to the computer for this week, I want to come over here tomorrow and print out the pages I fell behind on so I can read them. I've got a lot of catching up to do. Then I'll be able to make some comments that make sense.

Gotta go now though,

Joan Mon Aug 25 18:17:23 PDT 1997

Hi all--

Tina: I use music a lot to carry me off to wherever my story is going. I write fantasy, and Celtic music works wonders. The tape Riverdance is a favorite, and I remember blaring Beethoven while writing the peak point of my story. (Thank goodness I'd taken some days off work and no one else was home but our old black lab and I! Whatever world he's gone off to now, his ears are probably still ringing.)

Pseudonyms? I think I'd rather use my own name, but I can think of several more attractive ones. I have a friend who publishes romance, and her first 2 books were published under her married name. However, there was another romance writer who publishes reams of books, and she has the exact same name. My friend got tired of explaining that no, she wasn't THAT person, so she changed to her maiden name. There's one reason.

Oh Gawd--the pizza's here. Gotta run!


Bill Mon Aug 25 17:49:25 PDT 1997

Tina, You might say that I listen to music while I write. Depends on how you look at it. SciFi/Fantasy is my thing. I have difficulty leaving the TV off while I write, all day long. I watch, mostly hear, all the neat programs like "Star Wars", "Star Trek", "Sea quest", etc., etc.. Once in a while I'll pick up on an idea, or a passage, which I can use with some revision. I have even learned a new word or two when one caught my attention. It's funny how you can train your brain to do more than one thing at a time. It's probably more like a time-shared computer.

On another note, I have another vote for the go-ahead for the story. Our dear Trudy, xxxooo, suggested that we get a volenteer for the week to commit to the input for that week. Sounds good to me. Any more takers?

Mon Aug 25 16:43:00 PDT 1997

TOW: Psuedonyms. My Evelyn A. Archer, P.I. mini-mysteries are written under her name, but I do not consider it a psuedonym, actually. I chose that as a vehicle to identify my first person narrator in an effort to keep the stories under 1000 words (I am aiming at Women's World mini-mysteries, although they're not the ones who have bitten yet). This way, the reader knows right away the narrator is a woman and a private investigator. Be warned, though, if you use a psuedoymn all your friends and family will think it's a bad idea and spend more time talking about that so they won't have to tell you what they really think of your published story (listen to the voice of experience.)

JACK: Anyone who has poor sails on their books should be barred from publication--all the pages would get soggy!

Got to get back to work--there's too much to catch up on. Nesxt time I'mm address question number two.


Tina Mon Aug 25 16:04:59 PDT 1997

Hello fellow writers,

I am extremely curious to know, if other writers use music to help the creative juices flowing. I find certain pieces of music help me, it can be anything from Classical to hard rock. I know this is getting off the beaten track people, but its interesting to know if writers use any props.
Any comments anyone?

Rhoda Mon Aug 25 15:16:18 PDT 1997

I have always taken it for granted that when the blessed day comes that someone wishes to publish one of my novels, I would take a pseudonym. The reasons for having a pseudonym are so many. First of all there is the issue of privacy. There would be the desire to keep your family life seperate from your professional life. Also you don't want to have potential fans or detractors invading your private space.

The second benefit was brought out by the moderator. If you haven't been successful with your first pseudonym, then you could always change. Actually, I must think that changing your pseudonym would not be ample enough protection from the baggage of bad earnings at the book-stores. Publishers know who you are and what your writing history is no matter what you choose to call yourself. A person would need more than a new pseudonym to live down a history of unsuccessful publications.

The best benefit of a pseudonym might be the ability to establish yourself in another genre once you have made a reputation writing. Victoria Holt comes to mind here. When she wrote gothic suspense, she was Victoria Holt. When she wrote historical novels, she was Jean Plaidy, and when she wrote a family saga, she was Phillipa Carr. Some publishing houses such as Harliquin require their writers to have a pseudonym. I don't know if it is still true, but there was a time when Harliquin would not allow the writer to take the pseudonym to another publishing house.

I must bring up the only reason where a pseudonym might be counter-productive. For me, there is a desire for my classmates and teachers from high-school to know that I actually did go on to be a published writer as I claimed I wanted to do. I espacially want the folks who never believed I would or could do it to know. Petty, isn't it? Of course, good sense would over-ride my vanity and I would take pleasure choosing a pseudonym nicer sounding than my real name.

kae Mon Aug 25 10:40:07 PDT 1997

My last name is a pseudonym, but it's becuz I can't stand my husband's last name, or my parents' last name. Please don't tell 'em.

Debbie Mon Aug 25 09:35:07 PDT 1997

Thanks everyone, for your helpful hints.

I ended up taking yesterday off, to do some long overdue housework. Right before going to sleep, all these ideas, and plot points came out of nowhere. But, I was just too tired to get up and get some damn paper! I have just *got* to remember to keep a pen & paper by my bed! In any case, this morning, they were still floating around my head, and i'm feeling renewed. Maybe I was just trying too hard.

As for this weeks topic:
At one time, I was toying with the idea of using a pseudonym. My last name, OSORIO, is odd. It'a always mispronounced, and I just wanted something different. I also felt that those who knew me would associate whatever I wrote with Me, the person. However, I've
decided not to use one. In the event that I am published, I will use my given name. The fact that it is unusual will make it stick in readers' minds, and mispronunciations be damned!!

If it becomes absolutely necessary for a writer to use a pen name, then do so, but for the most part, I would wonder why the writer wouldn't want their own name on their work??

A writer who didn't want to use his name because in his past he . . .

Uh-oh, feel another idea coming on, BYE!

Jack Beslanwitch Mon Aug 25 00:02:29 PDT 1997

Just to let everyone know. I inadvertantly deleted Phillip's posting. He should repost it sometime in the near future. Take care.

Jack Beslanwitch Sun Aug 24 20:33:14 PDT 1997

Welcome to all the newcomers :-). Just to everyone know, I have archived the Workbook. To initiate the new Workbook I went back, re-edited the Train collaborative story with a special emphasis on tense and making the pieces fit together slightly better. If my fellow collaborators object, mea culpa. Anyway, I wanted there to be an example of collaborative fiction if anyone wanted to start something going.

Also, the new topics I have put forward for the coming week will be:

  1. What are the reasons for using a pseudonym and what do people feel about this issue. There are instances where authors who have poor sails on several books will be effectively barred from publication in which case there is a real necessity to submit under a pseudonym to even be considered. What do people about that scenario?
  2. Also, since people have picked it up. What are the working regimens that we use in terms of time. From the outset, no one writer has the perfect way to write, but it might be interesting to see how many words we produce at a sitting or when we write. Those sort of things.

As always, if you want to talk about something else. That's great. Take care all.

Rosemary Sun Aug 24 17:36:24 PDT 1997

I seem to write the way Joyce does. Usually I am given an assignment, ex: write about the color purple. I wound up with a 300 word short short about the life of a purple dragon that was published in our writers' group anthology. My novel started out with another class assignment. The teacher handed out copies of clasic paintings. Mine was a villa in the french countryside. I started out with gothic leanings and wound up with a light weight Sci Fi novel. I never know where my work is going. I wrote a suspenseful short story that really surprised me. Especially the way the early details all worked in.
The thing I am suggesting is that maybe our subconcious is a lot smarter than we are. At least mine is.
Debbie, give it a try. Start on page one and just write. You can always clean up the details later.
by and good luck all,
(Sorry about spelling, I didn't run it through my wordprocessor first.)

Philip Sun Aug 24 17:11:48 PDT 1997

HELLO EVERYONE: to follow on from what I mentioned in my earlier post about the way I work, eg: an extremely bizarre ritual killing in the desert etc... you may want to peek at the Workbook to see the rough copy of that first chapter in progress.

Rhoda Fort Sun Aug 24 16:19:20 PDT 1997


Your problem is so reminiscent of my experiences with writing. Everyone puts together a book somewhat differently. I don't really think there is any set way to build a plot, develope characters, and put the thing together.

First of all, not everyone outlines. It helps some people, but doesn't do much at all for others. One of my friends, a published romance writer, writes her books from a very detailed synopsis. Another friend writes the settings and content of all her scenes on 3" X 5" index cards. I've heard that Diana Gabledon writes all her major scenes at the beginning. She then pastes them on a board. When she is ready to write the book, she writes in all the filler.

I prefer the synopsis. That is where I start. Usually I have the two or three major characters in mind as well as a few others and a broad direction of the plot. Then I write from the beginning. When the book becomes too overwhelming, I sit down and outline the rest of it; by that time I have a very good idea where the plot and the characters are going.

I might suggest that you just start to write the book. Unless you are a multi-published author, you will sell your finished manuscipt, not your outline.

Whenever I do hit a snag with my writing, I write anyway. What comes out might be garbage, but I just keep writing. Usually if I am persistent the flow returns within a day or two. The best way to overcome writer's block is just write. If you have a really bad case of it on your current project, try writing an article or a short story, or maybe even an editorial for your local newspaper and then come back to your novel.

Writing is primarily discipline. If I wrote only when I was inspired, I'd not write much of anything. The process of writing is what inspires me. A productive two hour session at my computer where I've written good stuff and moved my plot inspires me to come back for more.

Good luck on your project and keep us posted on your progress. You'll take off on it before you know it.

Philip Sun Aug 24 16:03:32 PDT 1997

DEBBIE O: I think what Susan suggests is good advice. About 90% of writers plot their work, break it down into chapters and write each chapter in turn. I don't do that, I know a few others who work like I do but we are well outnumbered. In workshops I conduct I ask writers to do what the majority of others do: give themselves chapter headings and write to their own brief, set their own essay (chapter) topics. You must create a path which you want us to take to get through your story, chapter headings are your signposts.

It's worth asking: should I begin with characters and place them in a story or have a storyline and add characters to it (or maybe a little of both)?

I start with the briefest of ideas or series of problems - eg: an extremely bizarre ritual killing in the desert. And I set out to add what is necessary to bring that story to my readers without boring the daylights out of them. Who could have done it? Who cares and who doesn't? Police and forensic difficulties? What will happen when the body is found? Who was it that was killed? You get the drift..... I ask myself hundreds of questions.

Morris West told me he asks himself "...and then what would happen next, in a logical sense".... and he either notes it briefly or writes it in detail.

Britomart once gave a breakdown on these pages as to how plots could be applied (using Shakespeare as her example) and I agreed with her findings entirely. She might spot this and come to the rescue or you could go searching through the archives for it.

Others might throw in their two cents worth. In any event, keep plugging, and I promise you the solutions will come ... but you must physically work at it. Good luck!

JOYCE: hello and welcome.... a poet and burgeoning novelist. That burning novel of yours .... does it have a title, an outline or theme yet?

Back soon - Philip.

Susan Sun Aug 24 15:19:50 PDT 1997

Hello All!

Debbie, I know where you're coming from. I've been in that situation before myself, and to some degree am in a similar predicament with a story I'm trying to turn into a novel. I'm really not sure what to tell you. For one thing I don't know what kind of story you're writing. Is it romance, science fiction, mystery? Since you have the characters thoroughly sketched out I suppose you could ask yourself, what kind of trouble would this character get into. That's a good way to get a story going. Or play the what if game. What if the character found his or herself in such and such situation, how would they react, or what would happen. You can develop the story from there. Or create an antagonist or villain to make said character's life difficult and build the story around some villainous plot. If it's mystery, throw in a murder, either of a friend or loved one, or of someone the character dislikes.

Well, I hope this helps. I can say however that I don't really have my act together. It just sounds like it. I'm not a published writer, but I hope to be some day. I have insecurities and I battle writer's block, and I look at my writing sometimes and think, Yuck! But then there are days where I feel really inspired and the story seems almost real, or I look at what I've written and think, this isn't so bad, this has potential, a little improvement might make this better, so don't give up. You're probably just as together as the rest of us. You're at least as together as I am.

Debbie O. Sun Aug 24 14:20:57 PDT 1997

Hello all, and welcome Joyce.

I'm feeling a little stuck on my writing. I've done a lot of character sketching, and am trying to put together a rough outline, but it's just not coming together. I've reached this point before, and simply gave up. I don't want to do that anymore. Can anyone offer any advice to help me get past this obstacle. How does one transform those pages and pages of notes into an outline--where do I start?

I've been reading all of the posts here, and I'm impressed. It sounds as though everyone has got their act together. I guess I'm a little intimidated. I know there's no easy way, except to sit down and write, but how do you know if you're going in the right direction?

Thanks for 'listening' to me, I really need to vent my frustrations today.

Joyce Wakefield grlpoet/ Sun Aug 24 09:06:47 PDT 1997

Hi, everyone! I have just found you this morning and enjoyed your conversations. I am 44 and my day job is administrative assistant/medical helper to an ophthalmologist. I live with my son, Jason, 26, a Yorkie, Randy (Dragonmaster's Lone Knight), and a parakeet named Bird. I belong to the Individual Artists of Oklahoma and am a member of their poetry performance committee. We hold readings at coffeehouses, bookstores, really, anywhere they will let us set up a mike! I have had one short story published (they paid me $170!) and two poems. Last week, I got called that two more poems have been sold to Wise Woman's Creations.

Of course, I would like to write THE novel and become "rich and famous", but I write regardless. I love the paper, the ink, books, and now, e-stuff. I'm new to the Net! I started writing when my second grade teacher read "Beowolf" to our class. My first story was "The Old Woman Who Lived in the Lake". At seven, I hadn't heard of plagarism yet. When I write, something inside takes over. The words come. I seldom know which direction they will end up, but they come. It is the greatest love of my life and the most undisiplined. That is why I like to visit with other writers, you lend me your voices so that I am inspired to use my own.

I look forward to sharing more with you and I thank you. Love ya!

Joan Sat Aug 23 23:31:57 PDT 1997

Hi all---Thanks to all who commented on my Writers Workbook submission. All comments, positive or critical, were helpful. I have questions for some of you, but only got back from the last day of vacation yesterday, so I need to re-read your thoughts first. Anyhow, thanks!

I think the train idea is neat. Is it a go yet?

I just found what looks like a neat Webpage. It's at

More later---what a great group you all are!


Bill Http:// Sat Aug 23 11:27:34 PDT 1997

Are you into exotic coffee? How about with a writing contest to boot? This one is strange. Check out the above link.

Alanna Sat Aug 23 05:59:27 PDT 1997

I am a new writer, and I have a question: I sent a short story manuscript to a SF magazine. I followed all the guidelines for this magazine and of course included a SASE. In a marketing book I read about the magazine, and it said that a reply is usually given between 2-3 weeks. It has been two months. While I wait to hear from this magazine, I cannot submit my manuscript elsewhere. What, if anything, do I do? I would appreciate advice.


Jack Beslanwitch Fri Aug 22 16:29:38 PDT 1997


Slight correction. I started the second installment of the Workbook with that shared story about the train. The Notebook started a good deal earlier. Still, I rather like the idea of a shared story being attempted again. If I can help, let me know. I just do not want to be the one to contribute the first installment this time.

Bill Fri Aug 22 12:39:56 PDT 1997

If any of you are into the Family Tree thing, please check out the above web site(my wifes). Personally I don't mess with it, but just in case you do, I though you might be interested.

BILL Fri Aug 22 12:14:02 PDT 1997

Attention All:

My turn to be long winded!!!!

The following I have discussed with Jack and he has given me the go-ahead. In fact, as some of you 'old-timers'(nothing to do with age) know, Kae, Trudy, Philip, Brit and a few others(I peeked at the archives), Jack started the notebook with a contributory story about a train.
Point being, I think it would really be neat if we can all do something like that again. We can visualize little bits of other's ideas and writing styles and thus help each of us to learn. Perhaps, when a new paragraph is posted, we could join in on critiquing the passage. I would like your input and suggestions regarding this matter. Jack has suggested that I start it out. That is fine by me, but It would inevitably start with a space oriented structure. (My thing). Maybe someone else would like to do the honors. (I'm not greedy)

A few things come to mind. I believe we would need an organized method of operation to keep it running smoothly. For example, It would be quite confusing, especially with the size and number of participants that Jack has so proudly built (and rightfully so), if everyone wrote the next paragraph at the same time. Which would we add to the story?

Suggestion 1: We name someone to keep track of all submissions, to keep from cluttering the Workbook. Perhaps the submission could be e-mailed to a volunteer and that person can draw the entry for that week from a hat (so to speak) and add it to the Workbook with credit given to the individual who submitted it.

Suggestion 2: Again to keep from cluttering the Workbook (I'm sure Jack will appreciate that), we submit only one new entry to the Workbook (on the story) each week, say by Sunday midnight. (whatever that comes to across the globe) Then by Tuesday or so that week, the submission can be pasted to the workbook.

Question: What happens if, over time, the story becomes quite large and MAYBE even good enough for publication? If by some strange accident that that should happen, perhaps the proceeds could go to help Jack maintain this fabulous site, or to a charity, or whatever. That maybe far fetched, but you never know what the future holds in store for those who are earnestly willing to make it happen. (Go ahead and laugh, I can take it....LOL)

If this is a viable idea, please do the following:

1:) Email me or add to the notebook your suggestions, comments, etc.
2:) Make suggestions as to who would be willing to maintain it. (Draw from the hat)
3:) Decide who you would like to start it.
4:) Does a weekly entry sound good for you.(of course no one person has to submit weekly, or at all)
The following link is to a contest that does something very similar, only they give you money if they post your part. Who needs money anyway...HeHe.

Steve Pradarelli Thu Aug 21 20:30:01 PDT 1997

First off, glad I stumbled on this page. It's great to see so much angst and celebration over such a noble endeavor as writing. I'm what you'd call your typical putterer. Some men take apart toasters, or tinker with their cars. I write -- sort of. I'll read something by James Lee Burke or Clive Barker or Milan Kundera and become so bloody inspired that I march right up to my computer, type out a few lines, dream up a character here, a smidgen of plot or dialogue there and then --- march to the kitchen for a glass of milk and some of those lovely animal crackers my wife bought in the two-pound sack. Or finger through my CD collection for just the right music. Or realize suddenly that I forgot to take out the garbage. Then I'll head back to the computer -- click, tap, click -- then putter some more, then type some more, and so on.
You get my drift.
Sometimes I get really into dreaming up a plot, scribbling notes on little bits of paper and matchbooks and what have you, only to find when I actually sit down to start writing that it'll take me all of six pages to tell the story I've conceived. Then I become maudlin and go in search of the animal cookies, my conviction as soggy as baby's bib.
I don't know if there's much hope for me, frankly, but if anyone has any literary lifelines, I'd sure be grateful. I think my biggest problem, besides a terribly short attention span, is that I've been in journalism for 10-plus years. My job, day in and out, has been to express the most sweeping human tragedies -- hunger, poverty, death -- as simply as possible. In fiction, I'm expected to do just the opposite: to build up scenes, to lead readers on a journey of discovery, to be SUBTLE for God's sake!
Ok. I've rambled long enough.

Philip Thu Aug 21 17:06:23 PDT 1997

KAE: I think writing to a formula would be a demeaning experience. But you know there are many wealthy formula hacks in this world and I'm sure they are extremely happy. But I can't write to a formula, I even resist being lumped into a genre or being categorised in any way. (I do write about Aboriginal Australians but my planned seventh book has no Aboriginal people in it at all). My first book was a historic novel, set in 1869 but was based on piles of factual research. There was a lot of pressure on me to write a sequel to this book as it was a best seller but I resisted. My next was about a thrill-killer and set in the present day. My upcoming novel is a thriller dealing with corporate and government corruption. My current work is non fiction about a shocking crime and a Florida public baying for capital punishment. I have no difficulty inventing different characters and fresh storylines for my fiction, I resolutely resist imitating my previous works. Simply, I practice non formula writing because the thought of doing it makes me anxious and nauseous. As for 'happy endings'... that is a whole new question worthy of serious examination.

CHRISTOPHER: about writing habits and volume - I write every day, seven days a week. I rise about 6:30 am and I'm working by 7:30 - I work up to 1:00 or 2:00 in the afternoon, occasionally I write for the entire day... and less occasionally all night as well. But normally I finish up at 2:00 pm and I feel I've done okay if I've completed 2,000 words by then. Mind you, my 2,000 words is a third draft in the old (typewriter) terms. I fully rewrite all my work about fifteen times before letting it go to my agent.

In short, it doesn't matter how prolific you are at putting words down as long as you are working earnestly and not merely posing as writer. It's an agreeable pose for lazy, untalented impostors. Anyway for goodness sake, work hard at the language, get it right and I guarantee you your reader will be engrossed by your story and your characters will come bounding off the page. I believe the public and critics are forgiving if a book is well written.

JACK: The final chapter...well done! Whew, I hope you feel okay about it. Anxiety is normal.

Back soon - Philip.

Trudy Thu Aug 21 15:30:08 PDT 1997

Wow, go a little insane in life and what goes crazy in the notebook too.

First to comment on the topic...I have to write for writing's sake; getting published (although it's a big bonus) is not something I think about when I'm writing my non-fiction. I just want to write the best story I can and hope it pleases any who I feel confident enough to share it with. I don't think I've ever sat down to write something that I knew would be published in the non-fiction genre except maybe that story Kasin had in Kasin's Keep's Showcase last month. As for my muse it will keep repeating a line over and over to me until I write it down sometimes...pretty damn persistent I'd say.

Anyway, hi to all, newcomers and previous friends. I'm going to do a little catching up now. Hope I discover all is well. Take care. Trudy

Jack Beslanwitch Thu Aug 21 14:48:37 PDT 1997

Kae: Not important. Actually, I have a new subject in mind that Bill suggested, but I'll await dropping it on everyone until Sunday. As to discussions and suggested topics. Suggested topics are just that, something to focus on if anything else does not come to mind. So speak away and be happy :-). Take care everyone. Last chapter of the first draft phase is in to me editor. Now, I get to go back and rewrite. Take care and good writing.

kae Thu Aug 21 06:59:26 PDT 1997

Susan: You're right, as were several others on the page. I used the word "pulp" wrong. I guess what I meant was "pop." But that's not really fair, either, becuz not all Pop Fiction is bad--in fact, a lot of it is quite good. I guess the same can be said for Pulp. I read a Dashell Hammet (sp?) novel in college (required), and tho it wasn't something I thought was spectacular, it wasn't what I'd consider garbage. (I did need a 20s Gangster Dictionary, tho--half the time the jargon was so thick it seemed like another language!) I was just wondering if the people that contribute to the page were more interested in writing for others' entertainment, or if they were going for the Nobel Prize. I studied creative writing in college, and if any of the creative writing majors wrote anything that was even a little bit "poppy," they were filetted, peppered and devoured before they ever knew what hit them. I was one of the unfortunate ones--I was writing murder stories back then. For years I didn't write anything becuz I thought that if I was incapable of writing Nobel-quality work, then why embarrass myself writing the "fun" kind of stuff I do write. But I've grown. (Partly due to this page, in fact.)

Christopher: I don't know. I don't write everyday. I procrastinate more than a ten-month baby. You should just do what you're comfortable with, really. Like everyone around here has always said, there are no rules.

Hey Bill! That HarperCollins thing was pretty scary. Yikes. I started reading what you sent me, BTW, with my evil blue pen in hand. I'll send it to you snail-mail.

Rosemary: I read a couple Koonz novels on the advice of a friend whose opinion I really valued. Hideaway and one that had "eyes" in the title. They were okay, but both had the same old predictable endings--bad guy dies, child gets rescued, marital problems resolved, blah blah. I'm sure the guy is rich, but I don't know, just cranking out the same novel over and over--it just wouldn't be enough for me.

What does everyone think about writing stories with a formula vs writing a story that is more, I guess, "free-form?" How about the published people on the page--which do you do? If any of you write to a pattern, is it something you do becuz it's basically required, or do you like doing it? Does the structure provide comfort, or do you enjoy the structure becuz you like to try and deviate from it, while still remaining in its boundaries? Just some thoughts here...

And how about happy endings? Has anyone else ever been told that a happy ending is practically a requirement? Has anyone ever had to re-write an ending for those reasons? I've been told that I might have problems publishing my novel, becuz it has a truly horrific ending.

Heh heh heh.

Jack: Just let me know if you don't appreciate me stepping on the posted topic--I'll shut up.

Rosemary Wed Aug 20 19:21:46 PDT 1997

I wasn't able to check up on the notebook Tuesday or most of Wednsday. I just finished catching up and this is one of the most productive batch of messages I have seen yet. I copied the Harper Collins message and sent it to a friend who is almost finished with her first draft of a "Kill the Lawyers" novel. If one publisher can get away with that, what's to keep others from starting it?
I quit reading Steven King about half way through Cujo. I had a St. Bernard at the time.
No one has mentioned Dean Koontz. I loved the first four or five of his novels that I tried but then I got greedy and wasn't discriminating with the next three or for. Suddenly they were all from the same formula. Wierd Wacko mentally connected to good guy or gal. I've seen him in interviews and he said the publishers always try to get him to write another like his last hit, but he said he doesn't write like that. I'll have to try one of his more recent books to see if he has changed his colors. It sure looked like formula writing for the money to me.
Enough badmouthing (sour grapes) for now.
I want to say that the quality of the messages on Wednesday's postings says there are some excellent writers here and I feel privilaged to listen in.

Philip Wed Aug 20 17:50:25 PDT 1997

SHERRIE..... where are you? I miss you.
The last I recall was when you ran off excitedly after you were contracted to write two novels. Was it last year?
Please come back.

Goodweed of the North Wed Aug 20 17:17:18 PDT 1997

Bill Whitney:
You come up with jems and share them freely with all.
Glad you told us about Harper Collins! Got your last
e-mail. The RTF format came through beautifully.
I posted this rather than sending to Bill via e-mail
because he deserves a public thank you from all of us. He
continually keeps us informed of any pertinant thing which
might help us.
I gotta tip my hat to him and Jack who makes this page
possible. Good work guys. And the rest of you, keep the
dialogue true to your convictions. However, be sensitive
to each other. We are most of us, flegling authors. None
of us can yet stand on a pedestal. And keep pounding the

Seeeeya; Goodweed of the North

Deb O. Wed Aug 20 15:43:58 PDT 1997

Hello All,

Bill: Haven't had a chance to read the rest of your chapter, but you will be hearing from me soon.

I just wanted to say that I am glad that I was led to this page. It is good to know there are other writers going through what I am going through.

Okay, I'm getting off the net . . . (for now, anyway). I'm supposed to be writing now.


Jack Beslanwitch Wed Aug 20 15:29:26 PDT 1997

Hello all: Things certainly have been lively here lately. So much so that I was forced to archive after only a couple of weeks. I've retained messages back to Britomart's announcements that she would be taking a hiatus. We'll miss your wisdom and look forward to seeing come back soon. Good luck with school, your next book and the screen rights.

On an extraneous count. I was wondering what people thought of my zipping the archives. I am a little hesitant because not everyone has a PC, but the archives are over 2 megs in size. Also, some have voiced a desire for this. I leave it open to the group. I just checked, a zipped file with the graphics and the archives up to the most recent would be 775 k. I have the space to continue including the raw archives. So, let me know.

As for topics. I will continue with the present published vs art until Sunday and then come up with something new. Take care all and good writing.

Susan Wed Aug 20 11:56:59 PDT 1997

 Kae, I think you and I have differing definitions of "pulp". What I think of as pulps are the magazines of the 30s and 40s which featured stories of almost every genre, such as Black Cat Mystery Magazine, Amazing Stories, etc. They were very popular with readers and highly affordable in a time when thanks to the Depression, money was scarce. For the most part they were escapist fiction whose adventures allowed readers to forget about the trials and hardships of daily life during the Depression. The stories were of varying quality. Asimov and many other great writers started their careers in the pulps. If you want to learn how to write action stories, read the pulps. The Shadow stories taught me a lot about setting up atmosphere and creating edge of the seat action scenes.

As for Stephen King, I don't read him as I don't care for horror, so I can't make any contribution to that part of the discussion. I have read Asimov's Foundation series and loved his writing so much that I've begun reading his robot novels, his Empire novels, and any other Asimov stories I can get ahold of. I look at my own writing and it pales next to Asimov. He's managed to tie all his series together into one epic storyline that says so much about the human race. I truly believe he was the greatest science fiction writer ever. But I believe what made him great was that he simply told a great story, and that's what writing all boils down to, telling a good story. If you lose that ability, then you should just stop writing.

Well enough of the lecture. It's time for me to get back to writing. 

Christopher Pomeroy Wed Aug 20 09:55:21 PDT 1997

 First, let me apologize for sending the blank. My pinky hit the enter key--- oops.

I popped on the list a few months ago and then abruptly disappeared. I've been busy writing my first novel and going to school. This page is always full of anecdotal inspiration; it's nice to be back.

However, I am here with a purpose-- more specifically, a question. How fast is fast writing, and how slow is slow writing ( personal examples will suffice, I know this is unbelievably subjective). I only have a few hours each day to write and I usually carve out between 200-700 words. This is a great deal slower then when I was working on newspapers writing features, columns and reviews, but I find that in order for my fiction writing to be solid, it needs more coddling. I've tried the Kerouac thing and my writing looses focus-- by the end it sounds like three people wrote it without consulting one another.

I doubt finding out how fast others write will slow or speed my pace. For now, as pitifully slow as it seems to me, it works. I'm just curious about the color of everyone else's grass..

Christopher Pomeroy snakeskin Wed Aug 20 09:42:14 PDT 1997


Bill Wed Aug 20 08:16:22 PDT 1997

 Here is something I picked up from writer's request. I hope it doesn't effect anyone here.

Dear Friends and Colleagues,
>The following notice arrived in my mail today from the Authors
> Guild; many of you may have received it, as well. My agent has
> been in the forefront of this fight, as one of her clients was
> affected. The matter at hand is the cancellation of at least 106
> contracts, for no cause, by HarperCollins Publishers. The Authors
> Guild notice is as follows:
>When HarperCollins Publishers acknowledged cancelling at least
> 106 book contracts last month, it said that it would pay the
> balance of the advances due under these contracts. (Legal
> considerations--rather than kindly impulses--appear to have led
> HarperCollins to adopt this policy. HarperCollins' liability may
> significantly exceed those advances.) We've learned that
> HarperCollins is trying to impose unwarranted conditions on these
> payments.
>HarperCollins is asking authors of cancelled works to sign waiver
> agreements. One version of this agreement asks the author to
> repay a substantial portion of the advance if the work is sold
> elsewhere. The author is asked to report to HarperCollins twice
> yearly for five years on efforts made to resell the cancelled
> book. Only on agreeing to these conditions, and waiving claims
> against HarperCollins, would the author receive the balance of
> the advance due.
>That is the extent of this notice. While most of you probably
> have not been affected by these cancellations, you know other
> writers who may have been, or who know writers who may have been
> affected.
>Thank you for your time and assistance. As writers, we cannot
> stand idly by and watch publishers turn our contracts into so
> much toilet paper.
>Please forward this notice freely to writers and friends of
> writers.

Goodweed of the North Tue Aug 19 22:32:21 PDT 1997

 Can't afford the time to do this as I have so much work
to do on my book and get so little time to do it in. Kae;
your rough draft is finished. Music to my ears. I gotta
say that its going to get published. I know your writing.
It has power and is beleivable, and it touches the lives
of every blue collar worker as well as some white collar
types. We can all identify. GOOD WORK.
On the topic, I have to agree with the general
concensus. I know that as hard as I try to get a clean
rough draft, I seriously need the vision of others to help
me find the mistakes in my own work. Bill, Roger, Kae,
and Charles can attest to that (Roger and Charles are not
on this site). It is terribly hard to catch my own
mistakes because I'm seeing them from my own perspective.
I haven't read much King, but have read incredible
stories such as Hucklberry Finn, Catch 22, Lord of the
Rings, The Apprentice Adept Series, etc. A great example
of a series which didn't pan out (at least for my tastes)
was Dune. The first book was absolutely incredible. The
following books were far inferior to the first. Yet I
believe this stems from the athors change from a
believable, though other-worldly storyline to an almost
cartoonish yarn where the heroe transforms into a part
human, part worm creature. The extrapolation was a bit
much for me. On the other hand, The Foundation Trilogy
was brilliant in every book. Even the latter continuations
were equal to the first. Few writers can create wonderful
literature everytime they write. Stephen R. Donaldson's
"Thomas Covenant, Unbeliever" Series is another great work.
As with Asimov's work, it goes more into the psyci of the
characters and works with human conflict rather than just
spin a good yarn. Maybe that's just me though. I tend
more toward stories with a bit of phillosophy thrown in.
Anyway, I think there are very few authors who can
just throw words on paper via formula and be succesful. It
takes so much effort to maintain the continuity and
integrity of a story. I can't imagine just throwing
something together. (I even have a genuine respect for
the 1940-1970 era comic books. They often taught me
lessons in personal integrity, honesty, and tenacity.
I even learned a new word form one, (probably more),
metamorphosis from the D.C. character, Metamorpho.
I am fond of saying to my kids that unlike my father,
even if I don't necessarily like an art style, esecially
in music, it doesn't mean that I can't recognize the
talent of the artist.
I also gotta agree with Kae. If there were no chance of
getting published, I wouldn't write. I can't even enjoy
fishing if I can't share the experiance with someone, and
I used to love fishing (expecially in a good trout stream).
We all need a bit of nurturing and if we can become
sucessful, hey, that's good for ego strokes. But always
remember, every new experiance brings its own unique
challenges. It is true that there are NO free rides. But
there is always something new to learn and enjoy.
Gotta get back to my own editing.

Seeeeeya; Goodweed of the North

Robert Johnston Tue Aug 19 22:17:36 PDT 1997

 Another rebirth is about to be induced. The mother is in danger. Rather than abort the process-it is time to bear down and endure the quickening.
Take that life-giving experience and write!!! 

Lyn Martin Tue Aug 19 19:04:09 PDT 1997

 Hi. I've never written anything on the internet before, but I thought I'd give it a try. I would like to leave this poem for all to read. It was published by The Natonal Library of Poetry in a book called A Journey of the Mind. I hope you all enjoy it.

A Bit of Advice From A Most Treasured Friend

You entered my life at a time when I was down,
You lifted me up, and made me look around.
You said "life can be cruel, viscious and mean,
But you can control it if you dare to dream.

Focus yourself, set your own goals,
Then push onward, reach out and take hold.
Never look back, you can't change the past,
Always look foreward, and hold your dreams fast.

Let go of the bad times, it's the good times you'll treasure,
Cherish good friendships, they'll be there forever.
Open your heart, trust the people who care,
They are the ones who will always be there.

There will be mistakes, but in them a lesson,
Learn from them, they can be a blessing.
Give of yourself freely, you have wisdom to share.
Let good advice show loved ones you care.

Then later in years, when old age has come,
Look back on life's battles, those lost and those won.
Pass on your wisdom to those in need,
Your words will be valued, you are an inspiration, indeed."

By Lyn Martin

Britomart Tue Aug 19 13:56:51 PDT 1997

 Entertainment, entertainment, entertainment! That's what books are about (except for text books) imho. Of course, the cyncial thing to say is "try buying your groceries with your artistic integrity". I love to read books because they help me escape. I love to be drawn into the page and forget where I am.

The awful thing is that acclaim and entertainment always get separated. Some of the writers I love who write entertainment fiction are brilliant, clever, beautiful writers. It's the subject matter that stops them from getting the acclaim they deserve. Even Angela Carter seems to get her critical acclaim conditionally.

Kae, I don't think you're talking about "form" or "content", but "taste". Don't you wish we could do this forum in real time, live, with beverages (either warm or alcoholic)? Sometimes it's so frustrating in cyber-space when you get warmed up with a topic.

Phil, yes I do have a panel topic, I'm just not sure how to approach it. I will ring Stuart today and check. I'm actually the "participating chair". Also, have you heard of the Aurealis Awards for speculative fiction? I've been nominated for a couple.

And Everybody, I think I'm going to have to bow out for a while. I have a heavy date with Michel Foucault this semester, not to mention Aphra Behn, Mary Wollstonecraft and Jane Austen, and the intriguing Dr John Dee. It's the last semester of my arts degree, and I want to focus on studying. I'll drop by from time to time, and you can always e-mail me if it's urgent. Jack, I hope you enjoy the book. I hope you're all still here come November!!!

Britomart x 

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