Archived Writer's Notebook Messages

from April 30, 1998 to May 15, 1998

Toby Buckell Fri May 15 08:51:01 PDT 1998

Definite ditto on the travois here Goodweed.

Carol Megrail`megrail Fri May 15 07:41:16 PDT 1998

Congratulations Bill and Rhoda!

Goodweed, could you be thinking of a travois?

Goodweed of the North Fri May 15 03:24:09 PDT 1998

Hi everyone. Does anyone remember the name of a device used by the American Indians, or settlers used to haul an injured person out of the woods? It usually consisted of two stout poles with some sort of support between. Sometimes it was dragged behind a horse, sometimes behind a peron. I can't think of its name and my thesaurus didn't have it. Help, and thanks.

Sincerely; Goodweed of the North

Thu May 14 20:01:54 PDT 1998

Rhoda, I always do my first revision immediatly after finishing the first draft. But I think it depends on how you write. I only outline a chapter at a time as I write and things change a great deal by the end of the book, so with all those changes fresh in my mind, while I'm still in the grip of the novel, I go back and fix it. THEN I set it aside, start something new and later do about 20 more revisions! Happy revising!

Bill Thu May 14 19:00:05 PDT 1998

By the way, the article will fall right in line with your question. Bill......

Bill Thu May 14 18:54:39 PDT 1998

I thought that I would share my published article with you, so I put it in the "workbook." Any comments, good or bad, would be appreciated. Thanks Bill.....

Bill Thu May 14 18:52:00 PDT 1998

Rhoda, Yes! Do put it away for a time. How long depends on your patience. The longer, the better. You will be surprised what you will find if you forget about it for a while. I finished my novel in 8 months. You would not believe the problems I found after sitting on it. DO start another while you wait. It will take your mind off of the first one and keep you productive. I wish you the best of luck.

Thanks Jack. I'm still around, but I've been soooo busy. Finals tomorrow. yuk.


Jack Beslanwitch Thu May 14 14:13:33 PDT 1998

Congratulation Bill and Rhoda!!!!! :-)

I am absolutely swamped at the moment. I am hoping to make some subtle changes to the top of the Notebook (just four buttons leading to Purpose, Bios, Topic for the Week and Archives). Also, I have the password protected area up, but not a version of the Workbook installed. I have a deadline contract that has an opening date of the first of June. I will attempt to get at least the update to the top of the Notebook up this week. Password area may have to wait until first week in June.


Rhoda Thu May 14 11:31:58 PDT 1998


It is so good to see one of your postings on the Notebook. I wondered what had happened to you. Congratulations on your publication.

I've finally done it! I finished VALERIE'S SONG--534 pages of mostly dribble, I'm afraid, but there is some good writing there too, I hope. Now for the revisions.

I don't know whether to follow some advice and put the thing away for a few weeks or months or if I should get in there and start rewriting. Should I start another novel? Well, I'm doing nothing today that involves a word processor and proof-reading pen. I'm going to do something special like grocery shopping, walking the dog, or taking my kids to the park. Then tonight when the kids are in bed, I am going to read, read, and read. It will be so good to be alone with other people's thoughts and to get out of my own head for awhile.

Happy writing, everyone!


Jen Wed May 13 18:51:51 PDT 1998

(-: I promise I won't blame my failure on you, Gary! Thanks for all the advice, I really appeciate it. I've decided I am too impatient and after having one agent use up over six months of my time, only to reject me, I don't want to get in that position again, where all my hopes are pinned on one person. So I wrote my cover letter and put at the end of it, "This is a simultaneous submission". I will let everyone know if something comes of all of this, I promise!

Gary S Wed May 13 16:37:37 PDT 1998

Jen and Harry,

Harry makes his point quite clear and I am glad he offers it. However, Harry decribes a situation wherein the editor hears from the author that the work has been sold,and therefore his time has gone for naught and he has had no control over the matter. If the editor, on the other hand, hears from the author in the first or second place that other editors are interested he has the option to make an offer; and if the offer comes up short, at least he can't say he was blind-sided on the transaction.

I can see where this kind of decision making can be sressful. I can only suggest being forthright in your dealings, and let everyone know what you are doing. If an editor has an interest in your work, I believe nothing will stop him/her from digging down into the in-basket to look for your name on the return adress of an envelope. It is true that an editor's time is very valuable but s/he decides how he wants to distribute it and s/he will know that s/he is not bound to procede linearly.

I agree with Harry on the matter of bringing in an agent after the fact. From what I have read, editors have no problem with this. If they do, it is only because they have lost the opportunity to take advantage of your inexperience, but it is the exception in the business and not the rule, that editors are this predatory. Editors deal with agents all the time, so you are not introducing them to something they aren't prepared for. This can only result in getting for you, what is fair.

Of course, at the moment of truth, it is you and no advisor who will have to decide what to do. Let us all know how this goes and whatever happens, don't come back and say, "Gary, I did what you said and you ruined me." This is my disclaimer for the day.

Have fun, everyone.


Bill W. Wed May 13 16:12:22 PDT 1998

I have been lurking for so long. urg! School has kept me so busy, trying to write and keeping up with my school work. First, I want to welcome all who have joined since the semester's beginning.

Second, I have news!!!! I'M PUBLISHED! My very first publication, called "Why write right?" It is a freebie in the East Central College school newspaper, but it is a publication. My very first for two years of hard work. There is more to come soon. The paper wants to publish, in series, a 7500 word short story I have written. Yeah!!!!! I have to get studying for finals now. TAKE CARE AND HAVE FUN. Bill...

Harry Wed May 13 15:40:41 PDT 1998

Thanks for the helpful answers to my post. I've been pausing every ten thousand words in my novel to write short stories, in part because I want to and in part because having publishing credits on a cover letter helps earn a closer look from edotors. I've heard of agents discovering writers from short work they've published, but I wouldn't try to turn that into some kind of plan.

Gary, I've been told that editors hate simultaneous submissions because it wastes their most valuable commodity: time. No one wants to read your book, love it, leave a message on your machine gushing about it, then telling coworkers, secretaries and management about it only to receive a voice mail the next morning saying it's already been sold to Penquin House, and didn't he receive the letter withdrawing it from consideration? (which is 16 inches further down in his reading pile.

If the GLs say simultaneous submissions are okay, then cool, otherwise, I wouldn't want to tick off the customers.

Jen, I understand that is the best way to get an agent. Place the book yourself, and when they call to buy it (knock on wood) say "Great, I'll have my agent get back to you." Then dig up the list of prospective agents you've thoughtfully collected and explain your situation. I've been told that average folks shouldn't mess with publishing contracts; let a pro deal with it.

Tue May 12 22:40:28 PDT 1998

Your logic astounds me! Thanks. I'm getting ahead of myself once again! But I have another question. Say one of the publishers does want to buy it, would it be... wrong of me, since I went to them myself, to then get an agent and have them work the contract?

Gary S Tue May 12 22:04:40 PDT 1998


I find it hard to believe that an editor who is interested in your work will reject it on the grounds that someone else is intersted as well. I can't imagine why anyone would be so quick to sabotage one's own interest. It sounds like someone dropping out of an auction because he finds that others are bidding too. One is more likely to bid on the item until his own value of the object is met or exceeded. I have read of a procedure in the business actually referred to as an auction to a number of editors conducted by an agent on behalf of a client. If an agent can do this I would like to know the reasoning behind the theory that a writer can't do it himself. I suggest you might consider that some people are prone to promote scare tactics. If anyone sees a genuine caution in rebuttal to my view, I hope that s/he will not be silent.


Gary S

Clyde Dixon Tue May 12 21:28:13 PDT 1998

The SF market publishes a lot of short fiction, at least compared to other markets, but it is also inundated by a flood of would-be authors. Thus, my advice was to write short if you like, but not to count on it as a way to get you novel published since the novel my well face less competition. Consider for a moment the 500 (from the 1994 Writer's Market) or so submissions Analog recieves each month; the current issue contains 1-short story, 2-novelettes, and 1-serialization.

My point being, that although a short story is quicker to write, it is not, necessarily, quicker to sell--in large part, because so many are written. This is not to say that one's odds are much better with a novel, just that neither market gives a clear advantage.

What we SF writers are facing here is a bit of market paradox; as a genre becomes more popular it attracts more readers AND more writers--much preferable, I suppose, to the alternative.

In anycase, that's my two bits toward the bus pass of your choice. I typically have both novel and short story underway--and yes, I do fantasize about getting a few short stories published and then getting a big offer on the novel, but I don't count on it, or recommend it, as a strategy to break into the market.

Myself, I find it all too easy to write this sort of thing, rather than fiction, and have thus started a couple of essay style shorts of true life experiences. I think I shall banish myself from further comment this week, as I have said plenty already, and try to concentrate on writing something to sell.

Write what you enjoy, enjoy what you write,

Michael Parish Tue May 12 17:38:52 PDT 1998

Actually, Clyde, the fantasy and science fiction markets are THE most receptive and lucrative markets out there for short story writers. If you don't believe me, check out the May edition of Writer's Digest and the Writer's Digest Yearbook 1998. They list the 50 (and 100) best magazine markets for writers. A big number of the magazines represented are fantasy / sci-fi magazines. Perhaps new novelists are facing an up hill battle (what else is new?) but short stories for magazines is definitely a promising option.

Philip Mon May 11 16:16:08 PDT 1998


A lightning visit only.....

On topic: Goodweed has been the recipient of, and must be our resident conduit for the all-important query letter. Come on Bob, give us the good oil. I'll come back later with some of the pit falls I've encountered after being published - in short, keep in mind that publishers are people who are prone to errors and mistakes as are we all.

The media: yes Clyde, manunfacturing the news commenced ages ago, well before you and I were born. Hollywood publicists certainly made it an art form.

With regard to conspiracies, they too have been flourishing for ages but appear rampant now as we all get on the bandwaggon. It takes such little effort to originate your own or put about your own misinformation; the international rumour mill is very receptive (as our intelligence agencies have always known).


Clyde Dixon Mon May 11 14:39:25 PDT 1998

Harry: Does having some short stories in print help get your book into print?
I have heard all sorts of reasoning on this issue. If you can, or do, write short fiction, I see no reason not to submit it. Some short story authors are actually sought out by agents and asked "Do you happen to have a novel in the works?" But don't count on anything like that.

The short story market is VERY competitive. And some genres, like fantasy, have little or no market at this point in time. Compared to the short story market, the shear volume of work involved in a novel weeds out much of the, would be, competition.

My own approach? I have many ideas that are short story ideas, so that is what they become. I have other ideas that are destined to be novels. In some cases a combination of short story ideas coalesce into a novel. Other times, I can pull the ideas for a short story from a novel--developing an interesting background plot, or background characters into a short story.

I would suggest that latter course of action, unless you have some short stories that you are dying to write. But if you have no real interest in writing short stories, don't. You may well find that you get a novel into print before a short story--very likely with today’s fantasy market. With SF . . . the market for short stories is good enough to give it a try, if that is your inclination, but don't put off work on your novel thinking that you must break into short fiction first, it would help, but selling that first novel would help more--it might even get those short story attempts into print!

Bottom line? There's no easy way to break into print, nothing succeeds like success, and I am changing my name to S. King.

On The Media: American view distorted?
Damn right. But what's new about that? In the past, at least much of the time, the news was held above the crass commercialism of the medium, no more. We turned off the TV around 3 years ago--it has not been missed. I listen to NPR (National Public Radio) some, it covers some stories that don't get mainstream coverage (like East Timor.)

In America, at least, one must remember that most media "content" is just spam to take up space between the real content, advertising--the advertising, after all, is what pays the bills. The so called "content" is just something to attract an audience--the more sensational, the stronger the attraction. With all the "reality" shows and such, we can't be far away from the day when they will start throwing children down wells and instigating riots for live broadcast--unless of course, they have already done that.

Any conspiracy at work here? I very much doubt it. The search for profits is all it takes.

The most profitable thing for us to do is to ignore the hype and start to write.


Harry Sun May 10 17:02:09 PDT 1998

I have a question as well: How important is it to publish short fiction before publishing (or attempting to publish) a novel?

In the sf/f/h crowd, I've heard that it's vital to have short fiction credits before marketing a novel.

I'm new to the fiction arena, and this is something I wonder about.

Jen Sun May 10 09:21:30 PDT 1998

While were still on the subject of getting published, I have a question about simultanious submissions. Is it frowned upon if you notify all the editors? I'm getting a little ahead of myself, but one of the editors I queried has asked to read the the entire manuscript "at my earliest convience". She's the first response I've received! I'm dying to send it to her, however what if one of the others I sent it to also asks? I've read it is okay as long as you notify the other editors, but I also remember reading in the past it was a good way to get myself rejected. Does anyone have any experience in this?

Jack Beslanwitch Sun May 10 02:18:40 PDT 1998

Hello all:

In re-reading what William wrote, I guess I would have to agree in part. However, I would say that it is a synergistic collaboration between the American public and the media. Whereas those of us that grew up in the 60s were drawn to foreign affairs and an understanding of the outside world if for no other reason that we were staring Vietnam as a war in the face, I get the sense that the subsequent generations in the mid 70s and beyond were guided into a somewhat narcistic and perhaps self indulgent focus on the American perspective. In part this was a worsening economic situation for a lot of years, again reinforced by the media. In part it is the educational system. In even larger measure it is a transit from written words as a focus to phosphors on a television screen. Point of fact I am acutely aware of how news on the American situation is accutely filtered. The economy is pictured as extremely positive and it is for a certain percentage of the population, but for another it is very bad indeed and has been getting more and more so over the last several decades. In some ways this has been disguised by the boom in prison construction.

Oh, well, I am babbling tremendously and a little drunk and everyone has gone home. Hope to have a new topic up tomorrow. Take care and know that I care for you all. Please forgive my disjointed ramblings.


Philip Sun May 10 01:21:10 PDT 1998


Hi William and all the folk at Jack's Bash.

I know exactly what you mean William - I'm sorry Jack but I agree with William. Having spent a fair amount of time in the States I can say I found it frustrating trying to find out what was happening outside the interests of mainstream America. I know most counties focus their home media for their target audiences but I believe American news, generally, to be inwardly directed and heavily homogenised.

On the other hand the British provide an extraordinarily diverse, unbiased media representation of world events. The Aussies have a go but we too pick up on world news providers who are mostly American - CNN etc.- which is an inexpensive service and excellent quality.

My work in progress, UTOPIA, is going well about a third of the work done. I'm going out to the central desert community of the same name (Utopia) very soon.

Glad to see you are in for your two cents worth TOBY.


William Sadorus Sun May 10 00:24:53 PDT 1998

Hello Philip, It's early Sunday morning here in the States. Thought I'd take the time to say 'Hi' here from Jack's. Thinkin' about coming down to AussieCon, but you know how that goes... Next weekend I'll be going to a local Media
Convention called Anglicon. The guests of honor are Craig Charles and Danny John Jewels, Lister and Cat of 'Red Dwarf'. Hopefully you'll know the references... Fun and excitement from my viewpoint, at least, especially that the Con's focus is British media. Unfortunately here in Washington, we've got a very limited view of the world. Especially when it's filtered through the U.S. media and publishing establishment. Jack just said that he doesn't believe in this.... I think the actually strikes home when I go to a bookstore or turn on the T.V. and see the meager offering that has been strained and homogenized for consumption in this country. Oh well, 'Rage Against the Machine', et al.... 'nough said. Be well, and hope to read of you soon. Wm

Toby Buckell Sat May 9 22:07:01 PDT 1998

Dangit, I can't believe I missed cookies!

I've spent the night writing. Since this shindig started I wrote 2500 words to the title of Abrupt Salvage and I'm very pleased with the result. It was fun to take a break and read the postings. That's my fun for the weekend. I now have a ten page research paper due late next week and a six page one due on monday.

Get back to some of you all later.

Philip Sat May 9 20:50:54 PDT 1998


Jack, Linda and Fran in the hot tub: what are you guys up to really? Do you have breakout sessions and get down to the nuts and bolts of SF writing? Take on themes which you broaden for discussions?

It's Sunday at 1:52 p.m. here and I'm at the office. The place I'm working for is called Wavelength, hence the new email address.

I'm a book and a half ahead of my publisher so I've taken on this contract (as well as my own work in progress). The job allows me to write, produce, direct, design and illustrate - I'm the Creative Director here.

FYI: Wavelength are also an ISP - this may yet prove to be a little too convenient.

Hi Kitty, if you are still awake!


Davidson Corry Sat May 9 20:50:05 PDT 1998

Kitty>> Davidson--what an august name!

Now, how the *heck* can you tell my birth month from my name??! What are you using, telepathy? What's the baud rate on that?

Thanks to Jack and Fran for their hospitality, the Social was a delight, and Kubota Gardens a wonderful surprise -- one of the things I love about Seattle is that it has places like this tucked in odd corners that no one knows about, except friends who turn you on to them.

For those of you who could only attend in bits and pieces (well, bits, anyway...) thanks for stopping by, and sorry you didn't get any of the cookies!

Kitty Sat May 9 20:27:39 PDT 1998

Hey y'all. That post between Philip and Kathy E was mine. Forgot to type in my name, my apologies. It's after 11 p.m., Ted's back from Asia and the day has been long, so I bid y'all a bonne nuit. But before I go, what about the soup?! We know who is in the tub and Jack's wandering through the gardens, but what about the hot and sour soup?
Philip congrats on the new project. How does the new e-mail address signify with the new project?
Leyla, where are you in Southeast Asia and from part of Canada do you hail?
It was a pleasure to participate Jack. Thank you for the opportunity.

Mary Higdon Sat May 9 19:47:57 PDT 1998

I'm just getting to the point where I am producing short non-fiction pieces for publication and am happy to find (what amounts to) an online writer's support group.

I attended a writer's workshop a few weeks ago where a local publishing company's editor and owner advised us that the small press houses typically do not work with agents (not that they are unwilling; it's just not common) and so a writer without an agent can stand a much better chance. Her other major piece of advise was to research carefully genre that each publisher prefers and target your submissions accordingly. I'm not certain, but I think that was Blue Mountain Press's editor that gave that advice. I hope it helps someone.

My writing has so far only been published in the local community newspaper (news articles and commentary) but I have not worked at going further yet. Instead I just want to improve my writing skills for awhile. After that, who knows?

Jack: I'll be in touch re web design stuff. I'm amused that I didn't know you write as well. What a life!


P.S. The party is grand!

Jack Beslanwitch Sat May 9 19:06:30 PDT 1998

Philip: Hi, I was out going to Kubota Gardens and then I oopsed and did not reload this page. Again, ooops. The bread does smell great and we having a great time. Fran is out sitting in the hottub.

I am going to get off and turn things over to Linda:

Heres Linda

hi there

Leyla Sat May 9 18:41:37 PDT 1998

Hi Everyone!

I'm a freelancer based in Southeast Asia -- although I do have a regular gig for one newspaper, the rest is much more up in the air, so much so that I've been wondering whether it's not time to start thinking of quitting and getting a job...

Let me tell you just a bit about myself: I'm Canadian, turned 45 a couple of days ago, and have hopscotched between journalism and corporate/international PR all my life, depending on my financial needs. Two years ago I wrote full-time for the United Nations in Geneva, saved some money, and quit to backpack around the world (or parts thereof).

I spent a year in Africa, traveling and writing, and managed to break even. This year I'm in Asia doing the same, though I've taken a breather from the backpacking life in Bangkok, where I'm supposed to be finishing the book I wrote on my Africa trip -- which I don't have time to do because I have to earn a living! (or so I tell myself as I sit reading things other people write...)

This can be a lonely life, since I haven't had a home for two years. But the worst part is the lack of interaction with others who write for a living. I get stale, I don't get challenged, and my stories all begin to look the same.

Mostly I write about development issues -- health, land mines, women, human rights, environment, corruption, population... and I tend to write for newspapers, though I'd like to move on to more magazine work. If I scratch the surface, what I'd REALLY like to be doing is travel writing, not so much descriptive but with a political or social angle ie. NOT 'This is beatiful Burma,' but 'Should we be visiting Burma at all?'

If anyone out there identifies with any of the above, I'd love to hear. This is the first time I've tried to post a message in a forum like this one, so I've probably broken all the rules... still -- that IS what they're made for, right??

Cheers, Leyla

Colleen Sat May 9 18:09:41 PDT 1998

Dear Jack,
I can smell the warm bread all the way from Seattle. Wish I could have joined you all. Sorry this is late but hope all went well. What a great group you must have. We don't have any fancy gardens nearby, so I planted David Austin English roses, and got really dirty. Hoped it would inspire me. Now I'm just hoping that the dog doesn't eat them all...he does that. Needless to say we don't have many cats in the area.
Thank you for sharing your meeting with us,
Take care all,


Philip Sat May 9 17:57:20 PDT 1998


A special hello to those at Jack's Book/Bash in Seattle.

Wish I wuz there!

My big news is that I've taken up one of those contract offers too good to refuse (one of those horse in the bed type offers). So, note my new email address.

Tell me how is it going Jack? I know I'm a little past the time you planned for us to gather but I'm sure you guys are still around. Did you have a big turn out?


Sat May 9 17:55:04 PDT 1998

Davidson--what an august name! As a result of the Great Ice Storm of '98, we now have a satellite dish and get west coast stations. I was watching the local Seattle news the other day and there was a story on all the road construction that will be underway this summer. A lot of squeezing down to one lane. Was that the traffic y'all are refering to or was it regular everyday traffic? Round here we spend a lot of time talking about the flukiness of the weather.
Toby, your stream of conciousness is babbling--couldn't resist:) There are lots of literary cats out there. I bet we could come up with a short list of cats from each genre: Chenur's Pride (I think)and the rest of the series - sci-fi, The Three Lives of Thomasina the Cat - YA by Paul Gallico before the Disney film, the poetry cats that the Broadway show CATS is based on, The Cat Who Ate Danish and series - mystery. Hmmmm, can't think of a romantic cat or a horror cat, maybe someone else can. However, as charmingly mysterious as they are, I don't think cats have exclusive rights to being writer's familiars.
Kathy, There are presses that specialize in women's issues/women's fiction. You might ask your friendly local booksellers if they know of any publishers that deal in the sort of book you have written. A university bookstore might be a good place to browse for information on appropriate publishing houses. Bon fortune!
Okay, nobody has told me about the soup or the gardens. Does this mean that no one eats at these gatherings and it is raining cats and dogs?
Catch y'all later!

Kathy E Sat May 9 16:50:38 PDT 1998

Well, I can't comment much because I have not been published. I have submitted my book to approximately twenty-five publishers, and I have received nice rejection
letters. One of the problems I have noticed is that I am not sending them to publishers who are interested in this type of material. My book is about a women's issue (sexual molestion) but the ones that I send it too say they are not interested in that type of book at this time. It is a positive book about some women who successfully work out their problems with this issue.
Oh well, I teach and when school is out I will probably try again. Maybe I will write a different book. Who knows?

Sat May 9 16:40:52 PDT 1998

But wait, is it just me, or does every writer have or share a fascination with furry felines and their mysterious ways...

Sat May 9 16:39:38 PDT 1998

Cat stories as in verbal ones, not actually written down ones...

Toby Buckell Sat May 9 16:38:22 PDT 1998

I could live with that. I have plenty of cat stories. And wait, I think every once in a while I get around to writing things too...

Davidson Corry Sat May 9 15:42:46 PDT 1998

Well, Kitty, if the current session is any indication, we sit around complaining about traffic and comparing the remarkable personalities of cats for an hour, until someone finally says "say, are we gonna review anything today?"

I'm new to the group, tho (only my second session) so I shouldn't speak, I suppose. We do read each other's stuff, pick out plot holes before editors can see them, and generally share viewpoints. I've learned some useful things in only two sessions, and I look forward to more. It's also nice to meet some fellow sufferers in person!

Glad you could join us, if only in spirit. Salut!

Kitty Sat May 9 15:23:20 PDT 1998

Hey, Jack and Fran and the Writer's Cramp gang! What exactly do y'all do at these meetings? Hot tubs, exotic garden strolls, recitations of epic tales, and hot and sour soup made from special recipes hardly sound like the typical writer's group meeting. So, who's in the hot tub? When do we get the gustatorial description of the soup (and the recipe)? Are the gardens transcendentally sublime? And do y'all all write sci-fi? As for the Eye of Argon... is there a prize if you manage to get through the first part and maintain an air of serene composure?
Have to go pop the pizza in the oven. I'll check back later.

Jack Beslanwitch Sat May 9 14:46:16 PDT 1998

Welcome to the Notebook from Writers Cramp. At this moment we, actually they since I have not had a chance to read the manuscripts, are reviewing them. As soon as they are done I will try to get them guided over to say hello.

Jen and GS: glad you like Critters. I have been linking to Critters from For Writers Only for a couple of years in the category of Writers Groups, but by and large rely on my local group, Writers Cramp for those purposes.

At any rate, we are open and the Social has begun. Hot and Sour soup nearly made, several loaves of bread out of the bread machine and helium baloons on the ceiling. The Eye of Argon is printed out and waiting. :-)


Jen Johnson Sat May 9 14:04:07 PDT 1998

Hi! I'm new here, having stumbled across this link during a search for kindred spirits. Since as of now I've yet to even submit anything, I don't have much advice on how to get someone to actually read a submission. But I did notice a few references to the Critters' Workshop, and wanted to throw in a plug.
I've been a Critter now for about a month and a half, and have critiqued the works of approx. 15 other writers, in addition to having a short story of my own read. Both experiences have been highly educational. Seeing how other writers handle plot, character development, etc, in a first (or maybe second) draft has done me more good than reading any number of polished books.
Most importantly, I got my first opportunity to have perfect strangers (vice friends and family, who all too often say what they think you want to hear instead of what you need to hear) read my work. It was sometimes painful (one reader referred to my beloved characters as "chuckleheads;" it might have been a bit harsh, but I was sadly forced to agree, in part, upon reading his justification), but also very encouraging and always a learning experience.
It's a workshop for writers of SciFi, Fantasy, and Horror, and you can pick the genre you critique. All they ask is you critique an average of one work a week, and you may submit as many works of your own as you like. They're a great group, with a mix of beginners and professionals, the home page has some terrific links, and it's free (unlike too many of the other stops I've made on the Web). I advise anyone looking for a dedicated critique group to stop by and give Critters a try.


Best of luck to all,
Jen Johnson

Jack Beslanwitch Sat May 9 11:27:13 PDT 1998

I'll drop a note off when I get the laptop up and linked to this page, around 3:00 or so my time.

Joan: Yes, there will be a Westercon in Spokane, Westercon52 July 2-5, 1999. I have been to Moscon in years gone past. So, my information about it may be out of date. It is smaller and has a strong artistic showing given the presence of Jon Gustaffson. Joan, given your location in Montana, you might want to consider Miscon May 22-24, as well. However, this is a small relaxicon. One I plan to attend, actually. But, for you as a writer, Westercon 52 in Spokane or Norwescon in Seattle gives you more opportunities for paneling and opportunity to meet editors and other writers. Take care.

Oh, and I know all about procrastination. Actually, I am the proverbial procrastinator. Nothing is better done than it might be done tomorrow and not today. ;-)

Joan Fri May 8 21:39:17 PDT 1998


Happy Friday! Not to jump off the subject, but is anyone else out there a procrastinator (with a capital P)? I've had a novel and a short story ready for three weeks to put in the mail, and darned if they're not still at home!

Jack: Do you know when the SF&F convention is in Spokane (is that Westercon??). I'd like to maybe go, since it's not far for me. (P.S.---Have you ever been to Moscon? And if so, what did you think of it?)

Night, all. May your dreams be productive!


Jen Fri May 8 21:05:40 PDT 1998

I have read just the opposite of what Clyde has--granted, much of it was in books written by literary agents, but they were successful literary agents--that you can't get your material read anymore without an agent. And when I sent out my queries to agents, although I was rejected, I got a good response. Five asked for sample chapters and one asked for the entire manuscript. The agent that asked to read the entire manuscript was very legitimate with 25 years in the business. However... I have also been doing some research on published author's in my field, historical romance, and I am finding many, many of them got publisher first, agent later. Some of them it was the other way around, agent first. And it seems the ones that got an agent first got far better deals on their first books then the ones that didn't.

Anyway, these are just my own findings and they are limited to what resources are available to me in Turkey! So there might be other evidence out there. But I do think what it points to is doing your research. Don't send a Sci Fi manuscipt to an agent or editor that does romance and you've already lessened your chances of being rejected. Also read books about it. Micheal Larson, a literary agent, has a wonderful book about the whole busness of writing and it goes into ways to annoy an agent, which I suspect would also pertain to an editor as well. By avoiding the little things, that can also increase your chances. And of course, writing well is important!

Rhoda Fri May 8 20:13:22 PDT 1998

I am enjoying all the comments on agents and publication. It is good to hear of other people's experiences in this process. This is why I appreciate the Notebook and all that you, Jack, have done to put it together.


It finally happened. I got some time to look over your chapter.

Speaking of conferences, I am planning to attend the Colorado Gold conference this coming fall in Denver. It will be my first conference since fall of last year, and I can't wait to go. Conferences are not only great places to meet other authors, editors and agents. They are also great fun. For two to three days, you do nothing but learn about writing, talk about writing and immerse yourself into the subject you enjoy best in the world. What can beat that? Writing is a lonely profession. Only those who do it truely understand what is involved in it, so it is wonderful to be in a place where everyone else has something to do with the process. A truely good conference will also provide workshops given by published authors that provide knowledge and inspiration.

Have a happy weekend, everyone.


Jack Beslanwitch Fri May 8 19:04:13 PDT 1998

I just wanted to reinforce what Kitty said. If you want to meet editors, agents and so on or find out about them attend writers conferences. There are a lot of them and not all will be useful, but they will be educational in the extreme. Here in the Pacific Northwest we have a whole raft of conventions ranging from the general science fiction, specific writing retreats such as Clarion West and science fiction conventions for the literate and the writing such as Potlatch. Check your own geographical areas and I am sure you will find many appropriate to your field of writing.

Oh, and look forward to seeing and sharing comments with everyone toward the end and after the Writers Cramp meeting between 1:00 and 3:00ish local time. Also, if any are in the immediate Seattle environs, again I invite you to come and say hello. The hot tub is warm and I am just doing the double chicken stock for making my extra special hot and sour soup. Take care everyone.


Clyde Dixon Fri May 8 15:42:01 PDT 1998

A friend of mine has written an interesting Fantasy novel. It has made the rounds to the usual publishers of such material, one of which sent an encouraging rejection letter. My friend reworked the material and sent it back. He again got an encouraging rejection letter, but one that went into some detail about what to change. Again he submitted to the same publisher and was told that they had never seen a successful rewrite of a rejected manuscript, but that they would be very interested in seeing his future writing efforts.

Very encouraging, yet frustrating. He obviously came very close to the mark. He has moved on to work on other material now--it seems that many successful authors have first, second, or even third manuscripts that went unsold.

Regarding agents: I have always read that you don’t need an agent until you have an offer from a publisher, and that most legitimate agents won’t be interested in you until then. The agents job is to get you the best offer possible, to retain for you as many rights as possible, and to market those rights for as much as possible.

It is your job to write something good enough to be noticed by a publisher--my friend had no contacts or agents of any kind, just me and some other friends to read the first draft. So the first, and most important, step lies with us as writers--write well. Then persistence. Persistence to move on and write the next project. Persistence to keep the manuscripts in the mail until they sell or exhaust the possible markets.

Write it. It will sell or it won’t. Either way we will learn and grow as writers. Though it would be nice to get feedback, as my friend did, most publishers are too busy to bother, and even if they did, I suspect that they would all say something different. You have to create something that the publisher will want, once seen, but that until you create it did not exist. Each publisher will be captivated by slightly different material--start with the one who publishes material the most like yours. For some of us, there may not currently be a commercial publisher for our material--that doesn’t make it bad, just not commercial, for now anyway.


Kitty Fri May 8 08:07:35 PDT 1998

Hey y'all! My first paid writing job, freelancing for a weekly newspaper, landed quite unexpectedly in my lap and in my disbelief at my good fortune, I sought professional advice. I approached a respected editor from one of the two English dailies. The gentleman told me to save myself the grief, to give up on the local market and the best thing I could do was to try to peddle my stories to newpapers and magazines in the States. In his opinion, the market was glutted with journalists/writers with experience and I didn't have the hope of a candle in a thunderstorm. It was a very deflating meeting, especially since the weekly was waiting for my first story, an interview of an author who had been a guest speaker at a romance writer's conference recently held in the city. Deflated but undeterred, I submitted the interview which was sent back to me by the editor who pointed out how overwritten and long it was for a newspaper article. After painful revisions, it was published, and much to my surprise, they asked for another piece. The editor of the weekly taught me a lot about writing . He was courteous and patience personified. After about two years I was writing a weekly column, feature stories, and was sending out stuff to other markets. Yet, if I had taken to heart the advice from the first editor, this would be a very different tale.

As to agents, I think everyone should see the film Jerry MacGuire. Above and beyond the love story, it gives a pretty good picture about the role and nature of agents. An agent's job is to sell. They are sales people. They are middlemen. They don't create the product, they market it. What they are looking for is a product that can be sold for the best return for you and for THEM. Some will look at the long term, some will want a quick hit. There are ones who care about their clients, and ones who see the client only as a source of income--but you could say that about writers and writing too. As a writer in search of an agent, you have to find someone who believes in your work and will do their best by you.
I recently heard an interview with Loreena McKennit, a very well known Celtic singer/composer/ musician up here who also handles all aspects of her career. She told a story about sitting on a plane next to an agent. In the course of their conversation she told him she would be happy to hire an agent for a flat fee of $100,000.00 per year garunteed, if she could find one who would take the offer. The agent laughed and said he didn't know an agent who would take such an offer. If she made more money, then so should the agent. She disagreed. She felt the services provided were worth a set salary and until she found an agent willing to work according to her terms, she would continue to do the job herself. Here's an artist with a clear sighted approach to the business end of music.

I'll mention it again. If you want to meet editors, agents and published authors, you may want to consider attending a writer's conference. Some are meetfests for fans, some are more craft oriented, but all seem to have a fair share of professionals milling about. Several years ago, I went to Bouchercon, which is a mystery lovers convention, and the ratio of published authors to fans was 2 to 1. You had to be blind and immobile not to trip over an author. Authors and agents were a bit more elusive as they were there for the most part to connect with their cllients. Sara Paretsky, Elizabeth Peters, Margaret Maron, Carolyn Hart and a whole slew of other well known authors (including men, but for some reason, I read mostly women mystery authors) were in attendance. These conventions/conferences are held every year all over the continent. Many have workshops and/or provide an opportunity to book an appointment with agents/ editors who will look at sample chapters. They make a nice weekend away. Save the change from you pockets for a year, and you've probably paid for the trip. If at all possible, volunteer to work the event and you'll get the insider's view. I've only been to three conventions/conferences (the first for my first paid writing assignment, the second was RWA with a friend who is a published novelist and Bouchercon which I was doing a story on and attending as a fan), so my perspective is limited. If there is an agent, editor, or more experienced conventioneer/conferencer out there who could contribute more to what one might expect form these events, I'd be happy to read about it.

I've rambled long enough. This weekend is my children's dance show. When he realized he wouldn't be back from Asia for the great performances, Ted dashed out and bought a videocam with instructions for me to record every moment. However, he neglected to give me some basic lessons like how to turn the thing on. So, I'm off to read the manual and make sure the battery is charged.

Jack, hope to pop into your cyber soiree.

Bye y'all!

Goodweed of the North Fri May 8 03:41:02 PDT 1998

Hi all; On getting published, for anyone who hasn't heard it before (I realy don't know who that might be) do your homework. To echo Jen, get the names of the editors who would be interested in your type of writing. When looking for agents, never, ever, ever go to an agent who charges any kind of up front money except for SASE. Whey should they work for you if you pay them before they sell your manuscript.

An interesting idea was put forth by a published cartoonist from another sight. He states that agents are employees of writers. We pay them to market our work. If a strong stance is taken at the outset, including things like payment schedules, acceptable fees, marketing updates, changes to the presented contract, etc., the agent will know you are professional and you can tailor the author/agent relationship to better serve yourself. He also recommended offering an additional 5% as incentive for the agent to work harder on YOUR MANUSCRIPT, placing it at the top of his/her interest list.

Hope this helps.

Hello Hayden, glad to see you back. Didn't see your e-mail address on your posting.

T.B., glad you've embraced the touch-type method. It's much faster and easier than the Hunt-and-peck method.

Joan, I can relate. My only scholarly student out of four children (sixth grader who has never gotten a grade below an "A" since she started school, pretty scary, huh) was up until 11:00 p.m. last night working on math assignments. The night before, she finished a 20 page report on the three dogs we have owned and impressed myself and her teacher tremendously. The other students in her class averaged five page reports at best. The amazing part of it was that her report was actually intelligent and interesting. She used correct grammer, was fastidious about her spelling, her punctuation, etc. The child amazes me. She is worthless at housework however, and keeps us busy playing taxi, along with her three siblings. I'm the only decent typist in my house, so I end up typing the younger kids' reports. The two older kids can struggle through their own.

Well, back to getting published.

Seeeeeya, Goodweed of the North

GS Thu May 7 19:04:43 PDT 1998


Just an addendum to the prior posting.
The URL for critters is:
It will be better to bring up this page and see the layout.
You can join directly from the page.

Best wishes,


Gary S Thu May 7 14:56:11 PDT 1998

Sorry to stray from the topic, but the subject of getting published is one that never goes away for long in a group of writers. I just wanted to recommend a website for critiquing and getting one's work critiqued. You can contact: "" to sign up.

The system requires that you submit work into the queue and do a minimum number of critiques while your work moves up the line.

You'll get to see some interesting stuff in the process from others in the queue. I also believe you can select the genre of your interest. Maybe some of you know of it.
I just find that it's a good resource and wanted to pass it along.

Later dudes,


Joan Wed May 6 22:23:16 PDT 1998

Hi guys--

Just checking in for the night. But it's 11:20pm, and my poor daughter is struggling along with her pre-algebra, and has a track meet tomorrow. And I think I have it tough!

Quote of note by Author Michael Palmer, which kind of addresses Jack's worthy topic:
"In the process of getting a novel written, there is no substitute for long hours alone and in doubt."

Kind of grim, but at least if we know what to expect, we can deal with it.



Gary S gsouza@capeonramp Wed May 6 19:48:00 PDT 1998

"...Agents can't be trusted."

The Mamas and The Papas. circa, '67


Jen Wed May 6 19:39:43 PDT 1998

Being unpublished, I have nothing of real value to contribute to the topic either, but I can say what I'm doing now. I feel I have exhausted the agents, at least on my first manuscript, so for the next round I went straight to the publisher. I made a note of all the imprints that published the same kind of books I write, historical romance, then I found the editor within each house that dealt with hiistorical romance and that was whom I sent my queries to. I don't know that this will work any better than querying agents. I can only cross my fingers. So I guess it's advice.... sort of.
Since my last experience, I'm finding it almost impossible to get my hopes up anymore. I haven't stopped writing at all, but my confidence is very low. But if I am anything, I'm persistent. If that's part of what it takes, then I have that in droves.

Colleen Wed May 6 19:38:30 PDT 1998

Hey Hayden...
Here I am...sort of .... sending out more and more polished manuscripts. I did get a very positive letter from a wonderful editor at a large publishing house. It meant the world to me. It encouraged me to work even harder. So for now I am working. It wasn't an acceptance but it did offer some good comments. This is a tough business.
You and I are gone but not forgotten,

Take care

Rhoda Wed May 6 15:20:16 PDT 1998


If you are still lurking about, know that I haven't forgotten you. I gladly bestow all my precious American wheat pennies upon yourself. I'll even give you my bicentenial quarters, half-dollars and silver dollars.


I've been wondering where you have been for so long. It is so good to have you back on the Notebook. I'm glad all went well with your surgery.


Hang in there. I will read it. I have not forgotten.


I've marked my calendar for your May 9th shindig.

Now for the topic:

I must admit for once in my life, I have no advice to offer. I do not know how to get my books in print, for believe me, if I did, I'd have done it already. I have dealt well with about three or four editors, but I have a rough time with agents (even the ones I've dealt with socially and have never sent to.)

I dread this process more than anything. I am glad that I went through it once with my first book, for it was illuminating. I really must admit that though I was not the worst writer, I had much to learn. I probably didn't have a marketable manuscript for my first book. No one was wrong in rejecting me. I just wish some could have done it a little better. I wish someone had the guts to tell me my book was badly written, and just plain stunk. I could have tolerated that. It was just the silence involving the query letters that never got responded to that hurt. I had done my research and provided EVERYTHING these agents had asked for.

I think I am still smarting over the experience, and I need to get over it. You need a thick skin in this business. Furthermore, you need persistence. I would advise anyone reading here to do what I am desperately trying to do--put your emotions aside and press on and do what needs to be done to get your book sold.

Meanwhile, I am going to come by the Notebook at least once a day and read through every post with an open mind. I really wish to glean wisdom from those here with a desire to share it. I get good advice from my author friends here in New Mexico, but they don't know everything.

I must go, but I wait with baited breath to see what others have to say on this issue.

Happy writing,


Lydia Sweet Wed May 6 08:40:47 PDT 1998

I have been here all along, Hayden. I guess I was a little to quiet about it though. You at least managed to get us to show ourselves.

But we are here. Just nothing to share at this time. I have no experience you know and have managed to sound ditzy enough without jumping up and down doing the fruge to "Pennies from Heaven"



Gary S gsouza@capeonramp Wed May 6 08:25:39 PDT 1998

And that unsigned one was me, Gary S. Begging your pardon, or just begging, as we beggars are wont to do. Don't get an attitude; What do you think Hayden came looking for? More pennies for the Portia, I'll wager.

What is it this time, Hayden? Fuel? More Tin Knockers to pay? Oh, sorry, I forgot what you British and Colonial types call Tin Knockers. Is it Panel Beaters or some such?
Have to go.


Wed May 6 06:51:26 PDT 1998


Ever the bon vivant. Oh, sorry, you're sensitive about french, ah well, c'est la gare.

I now you didn't mean me when you called for the crowd to show themselves; you know where I am, unless you forgot yourself. I forgot myself, yesterday. I looked everywhere for me and finally realized I was right there all the time. Have you ever done that; of course you have; everyone has.

So, we could dance while we wait for the others. How about a nice Tango? You can lead if you insist. HEY, SAILOR, I WAS HERE FIRST.

Hayden Tue May 5 23:37:53 PDT 1998

Okay, you guys. Where are you all? Just because I find myself too busy to talk to anyone, doesn't mean you have to sulk in the corner, waiting for me to enter the room and dance about!

Egomaniac? Why not. Buy one at your corner store and keep it for a rainy day! Don't forget the free steakknives.

Gary S gsouza@capeonramp. Mon May 4 22:04:55 PDT 1998


Congratulations on your patience. I wish I could do the touch thing myself. I think I average around twenty five words per with my current four finger method. I seem to be maxed out at that. It has , up to now, been able to keep pace with my thought process, but there are times I wish my fingers could do the running instead of the plodding.

Best wishes, All


Toby Buckell Mon May 4 15:49:38 PDT 1998

That unsigned one was me, Toby Buckell.

Sun May 3 22:17:55 PDT 1998


I totally agree with you. Name dropping is one of the most powerful tools success in our society has used, and even though you can succeed without it, it has been known to help.

When I first came to the States I met in my church a colleague of Stanly Schmidt's who, when they heard I wrote Sci Fi wondered if I had ever heard of Analog? I said, but of course. The end result was that a manuscript of one of my stories got sent straight and personally to him and he personally replied. As a result of our correspondance he now looks at every story I send him and sends back a critique. I love it. I haven't published there yet, but all of you with subscriptions, watch out. Someday a Toby special will be there :)

Networking and meeting people helps a lot. Another reason Jack's site rocks so much is because here we get to network with each other and give friendship to this lonely bussiness.

Write lots:

Joan Sun May 3 19:20:03 PDT 1998

Hi all---

Sorry about the long silence. Good grief, there was a lot to catch up on in the archives!

Bob H--Wow, I'm sorry you had to go through that surgery. However, it sounds like you have such a good outlook. And there's such a difference between this surgery and recovery from it now, and the ordeal it was 10 or 15 years ago. Best of luck on your second start on life!

Hayden, hope you come back. Your help and humor have been invaluable.

OK, since I'm not yet published (man, am I getting tired of saying that!), the best hint I can think of for getting your query or manuscript looked at is kind of a networking thing. I have a friend (Kathy) who publishes sci/fi. She, in turn, is an acquaintance of Jane Yolen who, along with being an award winning sci-fi/fantasy writer, was at that time publishing a small line of young-adult SF&F books for Harcourt Brace. Kathy suggested I send my one YA book to Jane Yolen. So, when I wrote to Jane, I told her that Kathy had suggested sending the book to Jane. Jane read it, and though she didn't buy it for various reasons, she gave me the names of three other editors at three different companies who would be interested. I sent to two of those who also (DARN IT) didn't buy, but the letters I got from them were the most detailed and encouraging I've had. They told me what they liked and what they didn't. I've never had that much feedback from an editor who I just queried "cold" without someone they knew/respected referring me to them. Just a thought---but I do believe it helps. If someone from a workshop, class, seminar, convention, etc., can give you an editor's name, you've got just a little leg up.


Gary S Sun May 3 08:13:32 PDT 1998

Hi folks,

Pushing for publication is a whole other can of beans. My best advice is to get rich by other means and hire someone else to get your stuff published. Consider the opportunities for the greedy that exist in today's world.
You can market some piece of overpriced junk on television to a material driven public and get fat as a tick on the profits. Then you can pay some other chump to market your stories. Hell, you can even get somedody to write 'em for you. God, I love free enterprise.

I put a little bit of my "Ambivalent book of cats" in the workbook. Have at it; you may reply in the forum or in private, if you have a notion to reply at all.

Later, dudes,

Gary S

Toby B Sat May 2 15:53:31 PDT 1998

Here's my newest thing: being able to touch type helps. I'm not saying it is a necesary thing, but man, what a difference it makes.

Until two weeks ago I was the master of the hunt and peck routine. Then I had an almost religous conversion. I realized that with my eyes on the screen I could actually get a better sense of what I was writing. Spelling mistakes are spotted faster and easier, and it is easier to see the effect of your words. That and I don't get so easily confused when I have to look at something outside of my screen and keyboard, like notes. Then there's the speed issue. It's frustrating at first, because you're going slowly, but after a week you can really churn out the wordage. This is great because I for one have bursts of writing, then pauses, and these I can now keep up with. It is now possible to get the first draft of a five thousand worder off in a good evening.

I know most people learn the skill in high school, but I never did, and being able to type like this is the coolest and most helpful thing that is extremely practical right off the bat.

Adding two cents to the porsche fund coffer,

Jean Henderson Sat May 2 10:31:21 PDT 1998

I'm new to your board, although I've sent in my bio.
On the most recent topic of the business of writing, I have a few quick suggestions, not that I'm an expert, as I've yet to be published! Keep the query letters short with only enough information to peak the publisher's interest. Be sure to give an idea of what your manuscript is about in as little detail as possible, explaining why you feel the material will be of interest to the reader. The publisher probably doesn't want a writer telling them how to do their business, but they appreciate knowing you have researched your target "audience." Be certain the publisher accepts your type of manuscript, not that you send your query letter to a strictly Sci-fi publisher expecting to have a romance novel or non-fiction work accepted.

Colleen cstapley@dmcinet Sat May 2 07:33:50 PDT 1998

To: Bob, I am so glad things went ok. Now time to enjoy every moment.

To: Hayden, It won't be the same without you. I will look out for the porsche as long as you don't mind that it has a few more miles on it when you get it back....

To all: I think that getting published is a quest that involves so many elements. Luck is one of them. Networking with other writers is another. I have also found that researching the publishers carefully, to know what kinds of books they put out and how many, is also key. And one friend who has helped me so much told me once, HONE, HONE, HONE. Make your manuscript the best it can be before it ever leaves your hands.

Take care all, I am sorry to be absent for so long, I have been doing all of the above.

Tesser Well...Colleen

Michele Sat May 2 01:59:27 PDT 1998

Hey gang !

Thanks to Jack for posting up my new email address. I'm actually sitting in the local library borrowing their Internet PC so I can visit this page and see what you guys have been up to all this last week.

I'm gonna miss Hayden - hope that Porsche gets looked after properly since *I* paid for it ! I'll keep my pennies till he gets back !

I finished the day job last week and it's been a major relief this week to be out of there - a more soulless place would be hard to find. Anyway I've been making use of the free time (I'm looking for temp. work until I go to College in Sept.) to get some research and reading done - bliss ! However I still have time to email so if anyone who knows me wants to drop me a line (or 3 !) I'll be happy to hear from you as I feel kinda isolated without access to the Notebook . . . but it's so expensive having to wait an hour for a page to download at home and then to have the wretched thing crash before it got to the end was just TOO much ! So please guys and girls take time to drop me a little message !

Sorry not to be able to contribute to the topic (again !) but what's new there !! I just keep plugging away at the old research and ONE of these days (weeks, months, years ?!) I'll have something valuable to contribute - meantime keep on truckin' (and writing of course !!)


Jack Beslanwitch Sat May 2 01:21:49 PDT 1998

Quick addendum to my previous post, the double chicken stock is the basis for my very special Hot and Sour Chicken Soup. Take care and look forward to everyone dropping in with their posts starting around 3:00 PM Saturday on May 9th. This will be the tail end of the Writers Cramp meeting and I will make it a point to refresh the Notebook listing on my Notebook computer so that the Writers Notebook can be forum for interactive activity between those from around the world with my local writers group and the remaining party members that elect to drop in at our social. Take care and feel free to add your comments about the publishing industry and what is happening at this time.

   I would also like to know the feeling of others about those who have been previously published and who have gotten their publication rights back and are currently selling their works via the internet in a version of self publication. In my email conversation with several of such individuals their is a great deal of animus and anger as they describe those that elect to publish via established publishers as treeware. This extends the length and breadth of this weeks topical discussion, but I thought that the angst with regard to established publishers and how they treat writers is worth a touch and go among us. If this seems like something without relation to the established topic, feel free to ignore. Take care everyone.

Jack Beslanwitch Fri May 1 22:05:09 PDT 1998

     Bob: Fran indicates that she is getting a lot of useful recipes from various list serves. She is not on the actual list serves but the recipies have been passed along to her via her maintenance support group. Another source that is good from front to back with lots of useful information is a cookbook called Looney Spoons by Janet and Greta Podleski. Although she indicates that any cookbook that includes nutritional information to help judge by is good.

     My own personal favorite and one that definitely should not be in your library is Barbara Tropp's China Moon Cookbook As the review I have linked to indicates, this is not for the quick and easy crowd. When I make my variation of her Chicken Stock it takes me three days. Actually, I plan to do just that for the party next Saturday. Many of the recipes are not appropriate as I hint at above, but many others are and the lessons in cooking to create subtle intensity on the tastebuds is beyond belief. One of my treasured memories is actually visiting Barbara Tropp's restaurant in San Francisco, a small little bistro style Chinese restaurant. The menu changes each night apparently and we had a leisurely and absolutely wonderful experience topped at the end with ginger ice cream. Something that definitely should not go on your diet, but that has a built in safety factor in that any more than one scoop and the wonderful sweetness turns hot, very very hot.

At any rate good luck with your lifestyle changes :-)

Gary S gsouza@capeonramp. Fri May 1 21:43:28 PDT 1998

To all,

I'm out of the topic again, but I'll be looking for questions I can answer. Literary Market Place is a good publication. It's full of Agents, publishers, and services.
Caveat Emptor.


Good to see you out of surgery, I'm a heart patient myself, but haven't had surgery yet. Not looking forward to it, but I know it's coming one day. Fight the good fight with those cigarettes, Remember, they put you in surgery once and they'll do it again. Nice threat, huh? Mr, sensitive, that's me.


You can check the recent archives for the posting you mentioned. It was Rhoda Fort or Joan Rhodda.


Gonna miss you, mate.

Everybody keep on truckin.'


Bob Hanford Fri May 1 19:07:22 PDT 1998

Carol: Tks so much for taking a moment to tell me about your hubby's success.
It echoed the same thing I'm hearing over and over again but at this early stage
can't hear good, positive things too many times.
Kitty: Hello old friend. Don't see myself ever leaving PA. And yes to both projects.
Tough first. Have finished research on novel on Rage and Resignation and am well
into the early chapters. The enforced time away from commercial carpentry projects
will be a plus for the novel. AND, have the delightful project (by October) of building
crib for my newest grandchild to be.
Jack: Thanks as always for your positiveness. In my typically obcessive way, just
got a copy of "Don't Eat Your Heart Out" cookbook. I intend to turn this into an adventure.
Always wanted a kitchen abloom with sixty or seventy herbs with yours truly knowing
how to use each and every one. Well, here we go. Tks everyone. Bob

Jack Beslanwitch Fri May 1 18:27:17 PDT 1998

         As one who quit a two and a half to three packs a day smoking habit about 6 years ago, I have to say it is definitely doable. Unfortunately, the other side of the equation about losing weight and eating healthy is not the case. I currently stand around 60 pounds more than when I quit smoking. Fran, in contrast, has lost 62 pounds, is hitting the treadmill that we have in the house daily to the tune of 600 to 700 calories worth of exercise per day. I have to concur that she is happier, healthier and in better shape than I :-). She is very encouraging about joining her on the treadmill and I have so far resisted. So, good luck with your new life and prayers for a healthy recovery.


Kitty Fri May 1 18:18:43 PDT 1998

Lydia, as Jen wrote most publishers have home pages these days and with some you can e-mail a request for guidelines. RWA (Romance Writers of America) has a site with lots of info and links. You may also want to try typing in some of your favorite authors into your browser and see what comes up. Many writers have official and unofficial home pages (including some here at the Notebook). Diana Gabaldon has quite an extensive site and she's one writere who's stretched all traditional notions of historical romance. Another thing you may want to do is attend a Romance Writers Conference. There are a lot around from big national ones to the more regional. They are usually on a weekend and it is pretty standard to have workshops with published authors, editors and agents prowling about, and lots of handouts. Perhaps we could cajole Jack or Philip into commenting about the purpose of the writer's conference from the perspective of the aspiring writer, the published author, the editor, and the agent. I think both of them have attended a few as active participants. I am assuming you are working on a romance from your post, but I think all the above is applicable to any genre. Bottom line, I believe you must write the story you are passionate about-- you may be the one to push the limits, to show the traditionalists there is yet one more way to invent the wheel.
Bob, I'm happy to read that you are on the road to recovery and better health. Are you currently working on a project and is it writing or carpentry? Are y'all still in PA? We were flirting with the notion of moving down to Bucks County.
Hayden, hurry up and switch over. I've an empty stable so if you want, park the Porsche next to the Merc, but someone else will have to be responsible for putting out buckets for your pennies.
Have to go now. Ted's back from Texas and I've got to get some serious bonding in before he's off to Asia. Friday night is date night! Yeehaw!

Hayden Grayell Fri May 1 16:12:16 PDT 1998

Sorry, gang...I'm dropping out of the world for a while. We are changing service providers, so we will not have email for a while. Those of you who post to me will find your email returned, no doubt, but it is not personal. Hopefully when we come back on line, we will also have a website for you all visit.

Sorry I can't make your gathering Jack.

Can someone look after the Porsche for me, please?

Carol Megrail Fri May 1 14:53:40 PDT 1998

Bob, couldn't see your post without commenting -- and congratulating you on your recovery. My husband (48) had a heart attack and emergency quad a year ago last January, lost 70 lbs. (yes, 70)and was going mountain climbing in Colorado with our son in August. Since then, he's kept the weight off, goes to the health club three nights a week for the treadmill, and generally is much happier, as well as healthier. I feel like I suddenly married a younger man! It IS going to be a better life now.

Bob Hanford Fri May 1 11:57:46 PDT 1998

Goodness. One week I'm a poster to this uniquely talented group and the next, I'm
a resource. Anyone needing details of quad bypass heart surgery, drop me a line.
Just got back from hospital today. Now get to start second life. But second one without
cigarettes, doughnuts, high cholestrol, etc. Looking forward to it. Now there's a great
Agree with Philip: so nice to have so many of the core group back. Gary, Charles, Kitty,
and Philip.

Jen Fri May 1 11:50:32 PDT 1998

Lydia: You can write to publishers like Harliquen for guidelines, I've heard their requirements are very strict. Other publishers like Bantam and Dell do have homepages with some instructions for submissions and descritpions of what they're looking for. My own suggestion is read the kind of romance you're writing. I've read romances where the heroine and hero didn't meet face to face until page 281! (Son of the Morning by Linda Howard--Pocket Books--a very entertaining read.) Pay attention to the publishers of the books you're reading for market research and you'll know what they're looking for.

Lydia Sweet Fri May 1 11:38:34 PDT 1998

I seem to be the first to comment on our new topic, but I'm not contributing, I'm asking for assistance. (Again!) I haven't gotten to the point of having a manuscript ready for submission and before I THINK I do, I would like some information on specific publishing requirements for my genre'. If there is a link you know of or if you happen to know off the top of you head, I would love to hear from you. I had someone tell me or saw it, (can't remember exactly, an aging thing I believe.) that romance required dialogue every page and hero and heroine must meet within the first 10 pages. Is this accurate? There must be more I'm totally unaware of and would hate to get this thing totally written only to have extra rewrites necessary to correct things I should have known from the start.

Dying to hear from you.


Jack Beslanwitch Thu Apr 30 13:55:39 PDT 1998

    I took some time out and have archived the Notebook and tried to catch up some of the link requests for For Writers Only. It looks like I will be very busy indeed. Sufficiently so as a web designer that I have virtually dropped out of doing any writing. I am hoping when this next contract is up in a couple of weeks or so to have a breather and then get the private area up and hopefully use it as a catalyst for getting back to some of my own writing.

    Until then, I would still like to invite visitors to the Notebook who are in the Seattle area to come to the social Fran and I are having on May 9th. For those outside of the area, I invite them to drop messages off and look for messages from those at the party, especially members of my local writers group, Writers Cramp. It should be a fun time and if this wonderful weather holds(it was in the 80s here in Seattle with lots of Sun) even more so.

I have also added a new a slightly different topic for discussion:

Lets shift over to a discussion of the mundane aspects of the business of writings. By this I mean the best tips that we know for getting from saved to our hard disks to published by someone else. How do you write a good cover letter. What are the politics of dealing with an agent or publisher and what should we do and what should we not do. Stretch the envelope here and touch upon anything that might be deemed helpful. Also, if you have experiences good or bad in this regard and wish to share them, feel free. I realize that some of what I just archived includes Jen's horrifying experience. Actually, Jen, it was your post that prompted this particular suggestion for a discussion by us. So, here is a tabula rasa for people to scribble on. Have fun.


Return to Writer's Notebook