Archived Messages From June 8, 1998 to June 23, 1998

Brenda Brandon bdk@slip.net Mon Jun 22 19:46:59 PDT 1998

Hi Everyone,

First, thanks to GoodWeed, Jack, and all others who responded to my request for information about editors. (There's such an overkill of info out there, it's difficult to sort through it all...).

And I have found a couple of writer's groups that I plan to check out. (Perhaps I'll even muster the courage to put an excerpt out here...:>))

GoodWeed - an additional thanks to you for your wonderful sense of humor, and the chuckles you sent my way.

Jen - I don't know you, but CONGRATS anyway! I'm always so delighted to hear that all the hard work CAN pay off!

And to all - I'm so glad I found this site! I'm new at being a full time writer, and it's so nice to meet others who think and (sometimes) feel the way I do!

Best,
bb


Rhoda rfort@infoway.lib.nm.us Mon Jun 22 17:54:53 PDT 1998

Jen,

CONGRATULATIONS! At last your hard work, endurance, and persistance have paid off.

Hayden,

CONGRATULATIONS to you also for winning your prize. I don't think you have much to worry about on proper behavior for a writer. On this notebook, I have always found you friendly, helpful, and kind with a tremendous sense of humor. I can't imagine you being any other way no matter how successful you may become.

I have posted two possible beginnings for VALERIE'S SONG on the Workbook. One of my writer friends is bothered by the second one because there is no dialogue in it, and she wonders if I really need the scene, yet my husband likes it. I am confused now. I only want the best and most appropriate beginning I can write. I honestly like both of them, though I am a bit partial to the scene on the beach. Then there is the possibility that neither one of them is the best way to do it.

If anyone has time to read these and can give me any suggestions, I would appreciate it.

Got to go now.

See you all soon,

Rhoda


Hayden Mon Jun 22 16:43:03 PDT 1998

ALLL RIGHTTTT JEN!!!!!!!!

Way to go! Oh what a wonderful piece of news!!! All your hard work has got you on the road to fame and fortune.

And Jack, here again is Perfect proof that coming to this page makes great things happen. Nyuk Nyuk Nyuk.


Barb Garrett ragbag@isoc.net Mon Jun 22 16:41:10 PDT 1998

Hi all,

I have met some of the nicest people on the net within the last week, #1) you guys, #2) a curator from Vancouver who has offered to send me the titles of books that will have pictures and text regarding my research, and #3) a dentist who has helped me with dentistry questions for the 1800s.

See what I mean? Thanks again, and havahappi


Lydia Sweet lydiasweet@yahoo.com Mon Jun 22 14:43:49 PDT 1998

Jen,

WooHoo! Congrats! Congrats!

I am green with envy of the best kind! I am so proud for one of our own.

I tried to send you E-Mail but I gather you have taken your computer down for shipping.

Hope to hear from you as soon as you get set up again.

What a welcome home! WooHoo!

Lydia Sweet.


S.N.Arly moobeast@sprintmail.com Mon Jun 22 14:00:14 PDT 1998

Eeeg. Sorry 'bout all the typos in that post. Got tendonitis fat fingers and I tend to miss the keys. Let me know if I wasn't quite clear enough.


S.N.Arly Moobeast@sprintmail.com http://www.sfwa.org/Beware/Warnings.html Mon Jun 22 13:57:44 PDT 1998

Jen - Congratsy as well. Please to keep us informed. It's always nice to hear of others' success and experiences.

Eldonna - As far as I'm aware there are no good programs to magically set a book in Publisher-Friendly format. I'm no all knowing, so I could be wrong. However, it is easy enough to set up your stuff yourself and once you get in the habit it doesn't really seem such an onerous task. I prefer to use Word perfect, but you can use Microsoft word. Actually most word processors will do the few basic things a publisher wants.

1 inch margin all sides
double-space the whole thing
courier 10 (ick) or larger/equally radable font (some publishers are particular about the font so make sure you read the submission guidelines for any place you send your work)
The first page of short stories or the first page of chapters are usually started half-way down the page. With the title or chapter heading. Usually you will want (on the first page only) to put your name address phone, contact info either right flush or left flush. Again some publishers arte picky about this and some are not.
Number each pagea after the first one, and use this format: Story title/chapter/author name/page number. Some people swithc these elements around a bit, but all of them should be there.

Brenda - I agree with Jack. A writer's group is the best way to really critique your work. Make sure you're working with people who have a similar interest and committment level. I work with a very small group, but we are all SF 7 F writers and we are all very committed to our writing and making it our one and only career.

Many for-fee editing services are like modeling agencies. They're out there to leach of your dreams because they know that some people will pay anything for the hope of achieving that goal.

I've included (I think) the web address of some very good warnings that all writers should be aware of. It happens to be on the SFWA site, but they apply to all genres.

S.N.Arly


Kitty edwyer@spherenet.com Mon Jun 22 07:27:50 PDT 1998

Congratulations, felicitations, and hooray for you, Jen! Very exciting news, you must be floating! Which book, which publisher and what were you doing when you got the call? I'm very, very happy for you. Let us know when and where you land stateside. Safe journey.


Mon Jun 22 07:27:09 PDT 1998


Jack Beslanwitch jack@forwriters.com http://www.webwitch.com/top/ Mon Jun 22 00:29:08 PDT 1998

Jen:


Let me jump the gun ahead of Philip, Hayden and everybody else and say Horray!!! :-) Congratulations and from the tenor of your email message I suspect that you are destined for other climes that Turkey. Hope that is true. Let us know what is happening. Am very exciting by your news.


Jack

Jen jenholling@hotmail.com Mon Jun 22 00:13:31 PDT 1998

Hello all! I'm still in Turkey--won't be out until the end of the week. But I had to pop on and tell everyone the good news since I've shared all my angst over rejection the past few months! I sold a book! yeah! The editor called me in the middle of the night here in Turkey! It was the best phone call I've ever got!
Jen


Eldonna eldonna@fix.net Sun Jun 21 22:44:02 PDT 1998

From a beginner...

Does anyone have any suggestions for software that will allow me to import from microsoft word and magically set the book into the ideal format for a manuscript worthy of a publisher's eye?

I'm visualizing something that will automatically format my non-fiction book into the correct spacing, page-numbering, cover page, headings, chapters, etc. Does such a beast exist?

Thanks in advance for your help.

eldonna@fix.net


Michele michele@sassoonery.demon.co.uk http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Olympus/8608 Sat Jun 20 01:59:46 PDT 1998

Hi gang.

Philip - I thank you !!

Hayden - just be yourself. When I go and meet writers (not as often as I like !) I hope to find that despite the fame/hype.adulation etc. that they are still normal human beings with the same hopes and fears as the rest of us less fortunate mortals (don't forget published writers still get colds and bills and need to go to the bathroom the same as us !) I don't expect to meet demi-gods, saints or heroes but someone whose writing has stirred me and maybe inspired me. That's my opinion for what it's worth ! Enjoy yourself that is an important thing !

Anyway I must away - I have an interview and then I want to go do some research !! Catch you again folks.

Michele


Jack Beslanwitch jack@forwriters.com Fri Jun 19 22:15:07 PDT 1998

Brenda: This may be my own bias and others can cheerfully chime in on this, but I am highly suspicious of a for pay line by line or overall editing service. I am not saying they are the wrong way to go. However, my best recommendation is to find a real good critique writing group and have the whole thing critiqued. My own writing group, Writers Cramp has at least one novel in play as well as short stories. Or, I should say, the one I should be attending. Of late, other things have kept me very busy and scheduling has prevented me from joining in. However, in that group we have several Clarion graduates and one of those is a Writers of the Future Winner. Analysis and editing is all free for the price of becoming a member, which, in this case, is free. If you can at all find a group in your area that fulfills the bill of doing good honest non-ego based criticism of words on paper, that is much to be preferred. Others might have different experiences.


Oh, if there are any lurkers that will be attending Clarion West, I will at least be attending the first Clarion West party since it is happening where Writers Cramp takes place.
Take care everyone.


Jack

Brenda Brandon bdk@slip.net Fri Jun 19 16:13:42 PDT 1998

Hello,

I've been lurking here for the past few days, and thought I'd join in the fun...

Actually, I'm almost finished with my first novel, and I could use advise about (and/or referrals to) editors. I have workshopped parts of the novel, but have not yet had it professionally edited. Is this a must prior to submission? How do you find a good editor? What do they usually charge?

Any help will be greatly appreciated!

Best,

Brenda Brandon


Davidson Corry daicorry@aol.com Fri Jun 19 14:39:05 PDT 1998

E. Wayne --

From the Writing FAQ at http://www.sfwa.org (a good place to look for answers to your other questions, too):

"SFWA Nebula rules say a short story is 7499 words or fewer, novelette 7500-17,499, novella 17,500-39,999, novel 40,000 or more."

Novelettes can be sold to magazines in your genre (I'm told -- they haven't bought mine :-) but it's supposed to be easier to break in around 3500 words. (I haven't sold any of those, either :-(

And "Americana" is what Chico Marx calls someone from the U.S.

(no, seriously, it could mean U.S. antiques from the late 19th century up til about the 1950's, or language usages and idioms peculiar to the U.S., or cultural references that someone from Europe or Asia might not get -- what's the context? Oh, and don't forget that "America" runs from Baffin Island to Tierra del Fuego.)


Hayden Thu Jun 18 22:00:44 PDT 1998

Hi gang

With my heart I thank you, with my skill I thank you, with my whole being I thank you for your wishes and congratulations and all that you have posted. Mind you, with my bank balance I won't be thanking you :-)

Your comments reinforced what I believed to be true of what isrequired when meeting and mixing in literary circles. I will remain myself, and think of you all.

Boy this sounds like I am going on a long voyage, and it makes me feel like a bit of a fraud just asking you all what you think, because if this all falls off the shelf, there will be egg on my face, and as we all know it may be just around the block in the old Porsche, if anything.

I look forward to meeting you all on the trail. And Philip, when are you due down here?

Gariess: Sincere apologies...I have yet to attack the landscape with the camera even though we have had some fine weather, but Jo has demanded I drag her out this weekend to do the shoot. She will keep me honest.

GW North...you can send to my old email address, we have linked back to it again so things are now being received through there as well.


E. Wayne Swinhart theearl@ix.netcom.com Thu Jun 18 18:40:36 PDT 1998

I guess everyone will think I'm slower than the "Village Idiot", but here goes.

From a publishers or agents point of view, how many words are in:
1. An Article?
2. A Novel?
3. A Short Story?
4. A Book?

Exactly what is "Americana"?

What would be the contents of a "Bio"?

What would be the contents of an "Outline"?

I guess that's enough from a "New Guy"

I have been published before (several times, both as an author and as a photographer. But I still consider myself a novice at writing.

I have a "piece" nearing completion which will be about 10,000 words. Is that an article? Novel? Short Story?

All the guidelines I receive want either 1,500 to 4,500 words or they want 50,000+ words. Where do I sell this thing?

That is certainly enough for a newcomer. If anyone can answer, or tell me where to find the answer, I could sure use the help.

Thanks,

E.W.


Vera Lynn ghostsam@cadvision.com Thu Jun 18 17:37:37 PDT 1998

hey...

i just surfed onto this sight and like a few that i have seen here i am also 'unpublished'... aside from college anthologies and other minor things... i am currently working on a manuscript about water... *L dont ask where this idea came from... just a theme that popped into my head one day as i was puddle jumping... if any of you have any thoughts on the subject, please... email me or post here... :) i will look forward to brainstorming from your thoughts and reflections...

a new face in the crowd...
vera lynn


Colleen cstapley@dmci.net Thu Jun 18 17:11:43 PDT 1998

Hey Hayden,
Congratulations! It was so great to see your happy news! Way to go! I have a feeling that if you just relax ( we say "chill out") and let some of your spark show, you will do fine.Your honor is such a special one, soak up every moment. Your personality over the net, has been so enjoyable, sometimes just when I needed a lift, there your posting would be. You would be a fascinating character to meet and I am sure you will handle it like a true professional. Many of the authors I have met,are so down to earth and kind. They are willing to share there expertise and past experiences and I am sure you will be the same.
I haven't been visiting much as my little one is having health problems and it drains my creative spirit, soon as he is better I will be back. Take care everyone and thank you Jack for the site it is like visiting with old friends.


LydiaSweet lydiasweet@yahoo.com Thu Jun 18 13:13:07 PDT 1998

Hayden,

I've been away for a few days, so I'm just catching up on the postings of the last few days.

Who told you to be a prince from a far off land? When I meet or see authors during interviews, I look for the person who wrote the book. Somewhere in your book you exist. We often use personal feelings and experiences as our base point for emotion in our writing. In that instant you left "you" there. The reader is aware of this to a subliminal degree and he is looking for the adventurer, the sleuth, the doctor, the captain, the southern belle, the princess that is part of our character.

You have enough of the mysterious in your own personality to intrigue the public without contrivance. Meet the public the same as you would meet any new aquaintance, with openess, with courtesy and with a touch of reticence. We always hold back a little on first meetings. Once you have made the aquaintance, then you'll know how to proceed.

I'm very excited for you. Don't let the details overwhelm your enjoyment of the process. It'll be the time of your life. Act like it. Enjoy the ride, just stay behind the wheel.

Lydia.


Goodweed of the North bflowers@northenway.net Thu Jun 18 04:36:52 PDT 1998

Glen; interesting what if's. Could be a valuable tool. I think whenever we talk face-to-face with others about, bouncing ideas off one another, there are always what if's. It's a good strategy to find direction. Well done. Whis it was myself that had come up with it. You get braggin rights.

Seeeeeya; Godweed of the North


Glenn Allen glee@cyprus.com Thu Jun 18 04:19:38 PDT 1998

I wrote the "What if" stuff. I accidently hit the enter key when typeing the heading. Sorry!


Glenn Allen gallenlee@hotmail.com Thu Jun 18 04:17:31 PDT 1998

Goodweed of the North,
This works for me. I like it and others will too. First we have to have who is involved here, but yea, it'll work.


Glenn Allen glee@cyprus.com Thu Jun 18 01:52:08 PDT 1998

I'm sorry I accidently hit the "enter" key. I wasn't finished writing what I wanted to say. I coppied a file and pasted it and was going to write a little note of explanation and then it was gone --> to be posted. I use this method when I get stuck. Try it and see if it helps you, for those of you who get stuck or in a slump. This happens to be one of my best short stories so far and may even turn into a full fledged novel.

My home e-mail address is lee_enterprises@gila.net

Thanks
Glenn Allen


Thu Jun 18 01:39:45 PDT 1998

Once upon a time. . . I had "Writer's Block" and I sit at the computer and wrote "WHAT IF"


WHAT IF________________________?
WHAT IF: It was a mental jolt for Norah, WHAT IF NORAH EXPECTED WHAT HAPPENED TO HER OR THEM OR EVERYONE. WHAT IF IT WAS HER MIND THAT WAS CAUSING THE MENTAL CALAMITIES.
WHAT IF: one of the toughest experiences she ever had to face. WHAT IF IT WAS THE MOST JOYFUL EXPERIENCES SHE HAD EVER HAD. WHAT IF SHE WANTED THESE EXPERIENCES TO OCCUR WAS THE REASON THAT WHEN THE MACHINE WAS TURNED ON THAT IT HAPPENED THIS WAY. WHAT IF THE EXPERIENCES SHE WENT THROUGH WAS THE EASIEST SHE HAD EVER HAD TO GO THROUGH BUT WATCHING WHAT THE EFFECTS IT HAD ON EVERYONE ELSE WAS DISTRESSING TO HER AND HARD TO COPE WITH.
WHAT IF: It happened Tuesday afternoon in the W. E. Butler High School Science Lab.

WHAT IF: Norah's boyfriend Jeral was experimenting with some electronic gaget. WHAT IF MIKELL WAS WORKING ON AN ELECTRICAL DEVICE IN THE SCIENCE LAB BUT WAS OUT AND JAREL BEING CURIOUS ABOUT THE PROJECT JUST FLIPPED THE SWITCH AND WITHOUT ANYONE BEING CONNECTED TO THE INPUT ELECTRODES CAUSED STRANGE THINGS TO HAPPEN TO THE INHABITANTS OF THE ROOM AT THE TIME.
WHAT IF: He said it was supposed to convert dreams into television signals so others could see and hear the dreams. WHAT IF THAT WAS
WHAT IT WAS SUPPOSED TO DO UNDER NORMAL CONDITIONS, HOWEVER BECAUSE JERALFLIPPED THE SWITCH WITHOUT CONDITIONS BEING NORMAL THINGS WENT BESERK. HOW ABOUT SOMEBODY JUST HAPPENED TO WALK BY THE EQUIPMENT AND A BOOK ACCIDENTLY DROPPED AND HAPPENED TO TURN THE SWITCH TO THE ON POSITION. AND WHAT IF THE BOOK HAPPENED TO BE SOME ESOTERIC BOOK CONCERNING THE EXACT THINGS THAT OCCURED TO THE PEOPLE IN THE ROOM. WHAT IF THE MACHINE WAS SEARCHING FOR INFORMATION AND JUST HAPPENED TO TAP INTO THE ETHER OF THE UNIVERSAL INTELLIGENCE AND INVOLKED THE CONDITIONS ON THE PEOPLE IN THE ROOM. WHAT IF THE MACHINE INTERPREPITED EACH PERSONS EITHER CONSCIOUS OR UNCONSCIOUS DESIRES AND INVOLKED OR MADE IT SO IN REALITY.
WHAT IF: Something went wrong. MAY BE THINGS DIDN'T GO AS PLANNED BUT NOTHING WENT WRONG. MAYBE UNDER THE CONDITIONS THE MACHINE OPERATED IT WAS FUNCTIONING PERFECTLY NORMAL. WHAT IF EVERYTHING THAT HAPPENED WAS WRONG AND WAS NOT SUPPOSED TO HAPPEN BUT WHAT HAPPENED WAS WHAT EVERYONE SECRETLY WANTED TO HAPPEN.
WHAT IF: Who knows exactly happened. WHAT IF EVERYONE KNEW WHAT HAPPENED. WHAT IF EVERYONE HAD THE SAME VISION. WHAT IF EVERYONE HAD A UNIQUE VISION ALL DIFFERENT PERTINANT TO THEMSELVES. WHAT IF EVERYONE THOUGHT THEY KNEW EXACTLY WHAT HAPPENED AND EACH HAS A DIFFERENT EXPLANATION AS TO EXACTLY WHAT HAPPENED. WHAT IF ONLY NORAH AND JAREL KNEW WHAT HAPPENED AND IT WAS A TOTAL SURPRISE TO ALL THE REST OF THE PEOPLE IN THE LAB.
WHAT IF: But things began happen that no one could explain. WHAT IF NORAH AND JAREL WERE TELEKINETICALLY MAKING THINGS HAPPEN AND NO BODY KNEW OR COULD EXPLAIN WHAT WAS HAPPENING. WHAT IF EVEN NORAH AND JAREL HAD TO LEARN WHAT HAD HAPPENED TO THEMSELVES. WHAT IF THEY HAD TO EXPERIMENT OR ACCIDENTLY CAUSE THINGS TO HAPPEN WITH THEIR MINDS EVEN SCAREING THEMSELVES WHEN THINGS HAPPEN THAT THEY DESIRED TO HAPPEN DOES HAPPEN.
WHAT IF: Among the mental panic, they thought death had come for them. WHAT IF IT WAS MENTAL EXTACY. WHAT IF WHAT HAPPENED MADE THEM FEEL INVINCIBLE. WHAT IF OTHERS IN THE ROOM FELT THE TWO WERE LOOSING THEIR MINDS. WHAT IF OTHERS HAD KINETIC ABILITIES TOO.
WHAT IF: With the flip of a switch, a mind altering bomb exploded. WHAT IF AT THE FLIP OF THE SWITCH THERE WAS INSTANT ALTERED REALITY. WHAT IF IT FUSED BRAIN SYNAPSES BRIDGING ULTRA SENSORY EXPRESSIONISM. WHAT IF WHAT THE BOMB CHANGED WAS TAKING AWAY SOME TALENTS OTHERS HAD AND NOT ONLY GAVE THE TALENTS TO NORAH AND JAREL BUT ALSO ADDED A MULTITUDE OF TALENTS THAT NEITHER OF THEM ARE FULLY AWARE OF WHAT TALENTS THEY POSSES OR POTENTIALLY POSSES UNTIL A CERTAIN TALENT IS NEEDED THEN IT IS DISCOVERED AND CULTIVATED.
WHAT IF: It warped all of everyones mental processes for a moment, and WHAT IF SOME ARE DAMAGED PERMINANTLY AND SOME ARE ENHANCED FOREVER. WHAT IF SOME NOTICE NO DIFFERENCE AT ALL.
WHAT IF: possibly for some, forever. WHAT IF THE MENTAL PROCESSES THAT WERE CHANGED WERE ALSO GENETICALLY ENHANCED TO ADD DIFFERENT TALENTS AND COMBINE TALENTS AS THE TWO BRING CHILDREN INTO THE WORLD. THEY PASS ON THE GENETIC TALENT KEYS (GTK) EACH GENERATION.
WHAT IF: The lab began to tremble with loud noises like giant subways. WHAT IF ONLY THE NON-TALENTED SAW THESE THINGS HAPPENING. WHAT IF ONLY THE TALENTED LEARNING TO CONTROL OR COPE WITH THEIR NEW ADAPTATION SEEMED TO EXPERIENCE THE SOUNDS.
WHAT IF: Wretched screams were echoing from everywhere. WHAT IF ONLY THE NON-TALENTED SAW THESE THINGS HAPPENING. WHAT IF ONLY THE TALENTED LEARNING TO CONTROL OR COPE WITH THEIR NEW ADAPTATION SEEMED TO EXPERIENCE THE SOUNDS. WHAT IF THESE SCREAMS WERE NOT SCREAMS AT ALL BUT SOUNDS CREATED BY THE GENETIC MUTATION IN THE TALENTED.
WHAT IF: Screams of pain, like peacocks in heat being hit by a train. WHAT IF ONLY THE NON-TALENTED SAW THESE THINGS HAPPENING AND COULDN'T UNDERSTAND WHAT WAS HAPPENING AND ACTUALLY SCREAMED NOT ONLY PHYSICALLY BUT THE TALENTED ALSO HEARD THE REINFORCED MENTAL SCREAM. WHAT IF ONLY THE TALENTED LEARNING TO CONTROL OR COPE WITH THEIR NEW ADAPTATION SEEMED TO EXPERIENCE THESE SOUNDS.
WHAT IF: The floor heaved like a ship in a turbulent sea making it difficult to stand. WHAT IF ONLY THE NON-TALENTED SAW THESE THINGS HAPPENING AND HAD A HARD TIME STANDING UP. WHAT IF ONLY THE TALENTED LEARNING TO CONTROL OR COPE WITH THEIR NEW ADAPTATION SEEMED TO EXPERIENCE THESE PROBLEMS.
WHAT IF: The floor slammed against their feet. WHAT IF ONLY THE NON- TALENTED SAW THESE THINGS HAPPENING AND GOT WOOZEY. WHAT IF ONLY THE TALENTED LEARNING TO CONTROL OR COPE WITH THEIR NEW ADAPTATION SEEMED TO EXPERIENCE THIS PROBLEM AS THEIR GENETIC BRAIN SYNOPSES WERE FUSED.
WHAT IF: The vision echoed in Norah's head. WHAT IF BOTH NORAH AND JAREL WERE SEEING THE SAME VISION ECHOING IN THEIR HEADS. WHAT IF ONLY NORAH OR JAREL WAS ACTUALLY SEEING THIS IN THEIR HEAD THE THE OTHER ONE WAS SEEING WHAT WAS IN THE OTHERS MIND.
WHAT IF: Jeral curled his arms protectively about her to comfort her. WHAT IF JAREL WAS TRYING TO PROTECT NORAH FROM SOMETHING HE DIDN'T EVEN UNDERSTAND.
WHAT IF: She felt the first pressure of query against her mind at that time. WHAT IF JAREL WAS PRYING INTO NORAH'S MIND NOT KNOWING THAT HE COULD DO THIS. WHAT IF SHE LOOKED AT HIM WONDERING WHY HE WAS ASKING HER THIS QUESTION. WHAT QUESTION WAS HE QUERYING ABOUT?
WHAT IF: Jeral's mental tone was far stronger than his physical voice. WHAT IF HE SAID SOMETHING MENTALLY BUT NOT PHYSICALLY. WHAT IF SHE WAS LOOKING AT HIM AT THE TIME HE ASKED HER THE QUESTION AND HIS LIPS DID NOT MOVE. DESCRIBE WHAT HIS MENTAL TONE IS LIKE AS WELL AS HIS PHYSICAL TONE.
WHAT IF: She began thinking, these things just can't be, but it is obviously a physical reality. WHAT IF JAREL DID NOT HEAR NORAH SPEAK THESE THOUGHTS, CAN SHE CLOAK HER THOUGHTS FROM HIM? WHAT IF THINGS ARE ONLY A MENTAL AND PHYSICAL REALITY ONLY TO THE TWO OF THEM. WHAT IF THINGS ARE NOT ONLY A MENTAL AND PHYSICAL REALITY TO THE TWO OF THEM BUT ONLY THE OTHERS CAN ONLY SENSE THE PHYSICAL REALITY OF THINGS THEY CAN SEE.
WHAT IF: Lots of stuff is happening, but there is no purpose to it. WHAT IF THE AUTHOR NARRATES WHAT TYPE OF STUFF IS HAPPENING. WHAT IF THERE IS A NOTICABLE PURPOSE FOR ALL THAT IS HAPPENING FORTHE TALENTED BUT FOR THE NON-TALENTED THE THINGS THAT ARE HAPPENING THAT THEY SEE ARE MAKING NO CONNECTION TO A PURPOSE OR A REASON FOR THINGS THAT JUST SEEM TO HAPPEN FOR NO REASON.
WHAT IF: The device affected everyone in the room in a different way. WHAT IF THE AUTHOR GIVE EXAMPLES OF SOME OF THE EFFECTS OF THOSE AFFECTED BY THE DEVICE. WHAT IF ALL WERE AFFECTED BY THE DEVICE. WHAT IF NONE WERE AFFECTED BY THE DEVICE BUT SOME WERE AFFECTED BY SOME OF THE SIDE EFFECTS OF THE DEVICES OPERATION.
WHAT IF: They were struggling to understand their new kinetic abilities. WHAT IF SOME OF THEIR THOUGHTS BECAME REALITY AND STARTLED EVERYONE INCLUDING THEMSELVES (THE TALENTED). WHAT IF THIS WAS A NEW LEARNING CURVE CREATED IN THE CLASSROOM. WHAT IF WE TAKE EACH PERSON IN THE LAB THAT WAS AFFECTED BY THE DEVICE AND WRITE A SHORT STORY OR NOVEL CONCERNING THEIR LIVES AND THE LIVES OF THEIR CHILDREN AND THE EFFECTS CAUSED IN THEIR LIVES AND THE LIVES OF THEIR WORLDS.
WHAT IF: Norah and Jeral found several talents they never had before. WHAT IF THEY EACH HAD DIFFERENT TALENTS THAT COMPLIMENTED THE OTHERS IN LIFE. WHAT IF THEY COULD DEVELOP AND LEARN OTHER TALENTS THAT THEY NEVER POSSESED. WHAT IF THEY COULD CREATE NEW TALENTS NEVER BEFORE ENTERED INTO THE MIND OF MAN. WHAT IF THEY CREATED A NEW POWER SOURCE THAT WAS TO BECOME UNIVERSAL AND IT WAS TOTALLY DIFFERENT THAN THE OPERATION OF ELECTRICITY OR PNEUMATIC OR HYDRAULICS.
WHAT IF: Jeral's mental smirk was accompanied by a very delicate caress. WHAT IF THEY COULD BE ANYWHERE OR DO ANYTHING AS A GOD. WHAT IF THEY COULD MAKE LOVE WITH EACH OTHER AND NOT BE TOGETHER. IT IS ALL A FUNCTION OF THE MIND AND MENTAL CONDITIONING. WHAT IF MENTAL TELEPATHY, CLARIAUDIENCE, CLAIRAVOYANCE AND ALL THE TALENTS KNOWN IS AT THEIR CONTROL.
WHAT IF: Jeral teleported Nora and himself from the lab into the hall. WHAT IF THEY CAN TELEPORT THEMSELVES AS WELL AS THINGS JUST BY THINKING ABOUT WHAT THEY WANT. WHAT IF THE FEELING OF TELEPORTATION IS LIKE BLACKING OUT OR PASSING OUT OR FAINTING. WHAT IF YOU PICTURE YOURSELF OR THE ITEM YOU WANT TO TELEPORT IN THE PLACE WHERE THE FINAL DESTINATION IS TO BE AND THEN YOU BLACK OUT UNTIL YOU ARRIVE. WHAT IF YOU DON'T MAKE IT TO THE OTHER SIDE OF THE DESTINATION DO YOUR TALENT BECOME LIMITED OR IS IT HARDER TO FINALLY GET TO THE OTHER SIDE OR DO YOU DIE OR DO YOU END UP SOMEWHERE IF NOT AT THE PLACE OF YOUR DESTINATION. WHAT IF YOU DO NOT MAKE IT TO YOUR FINAL APPOINTED DESTINATION DUE TO LACK OF POWER OR ENERGY OR CONCENTRATION POWER AND YOU STILL END UP SOMEWHERE ELSE AND YOU ACTUALLY GAIN POWER BY BEING CUT SHORT ON YOUR DESTINATION.
WHAT IF: A display of their newly acquired kinetic skills. WHAT IF THEY INSTANTLY HAVE A KNOWLEDGE OF THEIR COMPLETE TALENT SKILLS AND UNDERSTAND THEIR ABILITY TO USE THEM. WHAT IF THEY SHOW OFF THEIR TALENT. WHAT IF THEY EXERCISE DISCRETE CONTROL OVER THEIR TALENT AND RAISE THEIR CHILDREN WITH RULES FOR TALENTS TO FOLLOW. WHAT IF SOME OF THEIR CHILDREN BECOME RENAGADES AND ABUSE THEIR TALENTS.
WHAT IF: He also felt her mind push at his. WHAT IF THEY BOTH EXPERIMENT WITH MIND READING AND MIND CONTROL.
WHAT IF: She began to catch a glimmer of what he held so tightly in his most personal mind. WHAT IF A TALENT DOES NOT CLOKE THEIR THOUGHTS OTHERS CAN READ THEIR MIND. WHAT IF YOU CAN SEE SOMEBODYS THOUGHTS AND THEY CAN BE ON SEVERAL DIFFERENT LEVELS. WHAT IF THE DIFFERENT LEVELS CAN BE SOCIAL, PERSONAL, COMMERCIAL, INTERNAL OR EXTERNAL.
WHAT IF: The hall was so eerily silent, you could almost hear the dust settling. WHAT IF TALENT WAS SO STRONG YOU COULD FEEL THE FLOOR VIBRATE FROM THE SUNS RAYS CRASHING ON THE FLOOR. WHAT IF THE BELL JUST RANG AND THE HALL WAY WAS FULL OF PEOPLE AND THEY SAW THESE TWO 'PORT INTO THE CROWDED HALLWAY. WHAT IF ALL OF A SUDDEN THE SCHOOL WAS TOTALLY VACANT AND NOT A SOUL AROUND. WHAT IF WHEN THE MACHINE CHANGED THINGS THAT IT ALSO CHANGED THE TIME OR THE WORLD THEY WERE LIVING IN AND ALL THINGS HAD CHANGED. WHAT IF THEY WERE JUST OUT OF PHASE A LITTLE BIT WITH THE REST OF THE PEOPLE.
WHAT IF: Encouraged him with body and mind. WHAT IF THERE COULD BE SOME TALENTED GOADING INVOLVED.
WHAT IF: Norah let exasperation (annoyance, distress, irritation, anger, animosity, bitterness, displeasure, resentment, opposite of patience) color her mind as well as her voice.
WHAT IF: Instantly she mind linked with Jeral. WHAT IF THEY WERE UNABLE TO COMBINE THEIR TALENT POWERS TO ACHIEVE GOALS OR TASKS. WHAT IF THE POWERS ARE NOT ADDITIVE WHERE EACH IS ON THEIR OWN UNIQUE MENTAL FREQUENCY.
WHAT IF: Following his startled gaze to see through his mental eyes. WHAT IF YOU CAN SHOW ALL EMOTIONS OF BOTH PHYSICAL AS WELL AS MENTAL BOTH MENTALLY AND PHYSICALLY. WHAT IF YOU CAN HEAR WITH ANOTHERS EARS OR SEE WITH ANOTHERS EYES. WHAT IF YOU CAN INFLUENCE OTHERS MINDS IF THEY ARE NOT CLOAKED.
WHAT IF: Gently then she felt the feathery touch of his mind in hers. WHAT IF YOU CAN COME ON STRONG OR GENTLE TO OTHERS DEPENDING ON THE CONTROL AND EMOTIONAL POWER PUT INTO THE MENTAL CONNECTION.


Philip mclaren4@ozemail.com.au Thu Jun 18 00:00:40 PDT 1998

HAYDEN: be yourself, post published.

You have every right to be wary of success and how this may impact on the behaviour of the self. Over recent years I've attended numerous literary events (appearing at about half of them) and it is worth noting that the more of these things you see or do the more relaxed you are about being yourself.

Initially you may be on guard and present the 'other' self to the public. But you will return to your good old self when you realise that you are the expert on you and your work - and that is mostly what people (your readers) want to know.

Of course there will also be opponents of your work but I'm sure you will handle those with your usual wit.

Philip.


Jack Beslanwitch jack@forwriters.com Wed Jun 17 13:59:46 PDT 1998

A couple of places to check that I have found interesting and often times useful are listed below. You may have already tried them since they are on the Historical area of For Writers Only:




Hope these help.


Barb ragbag@isoc.net Wed Jun 17 09:53:43 PDT 1998

Hello again, thanks for the help guys. But, I'm still open for any suggestions re research. Any and all comments will be welcome. Time period I need is 1850-1900 NOT just civil war stuff, though that is of immeasurable use as background.

Inresponse to the lady who's interested in working for her local paper. Most papers need "stringers" (I was one in college) and fillers are always needed. You said you're in school - try your school paper (I also did that for three years at UC. Hope I've been of some help.


Robert Burns rd- burns@tamu.edu http://overton.tamu.edu/rdb Wed Jun 17 08:06:58 PDT 1998

Hayden,

I think various character types have different expectations
of authors. Some want to project a godlike or at least wise-old-sage personna on authors. These are people, I suspect, who need to place responsibility for their existence or behavoir on some higher power.

Others, expect a star quality, that is a kind of consumer hero, who eats more, buys more, f___'s more, and does everything else more than us normal human beings.

Sounds like your mysterious prince covers both of these.

It's dangerous to sterotype, but you're probably asking the wrong group of people (writers)about what they expect a writer to be. But having little common sense and even less tact, I'll take a stab at it anyway. I think writers expect other writers to be good craftsmen (or crafters to be less sexist) and story tellers. That's about it. At least that all I expect.

Upon restrospection, I believe I been through all these developmental stages myself. Maybe there are others; maybe there's something after the writer stage.

BTW, Hayden, I looked for you on this site's biography page, hoping to find some titles of your published works. Did I overlook it.

Robert B.


S.N.Arly moobeast@sprintmail.com Wed Jun 17 07:06:21 PDT 1998

Hayden: Congratsy and good luck. WIsh I had your dillema, however somedya I suppose I could regret saying so.

I think a lot of people tend to have unrealistic expectations and ideals about authors. Since we can't be all-knowing, and most of us really aren't geniuses (at least in the way the world expects) I think it's probably best to just maintain a polite and professional appearance and attitude.

I grew up in the land of Minnesota Nice and have found that it works well in a lot of places and ways I wouldn't have expected. Being nice and polite can hardly offend anyone and although you may not live up to reader expectations, you won't shatter those expectations either. Ever seen the barfly (gaaag). You don't want to look brilliant on paper and turn out to be a total slimeball in real life.

All that said, you also don't want to look like a cardboard cutout or someone's pet author. You've got to be yourself too. And I agree with Jack about the fun. If it's not fun, why do it?

Keep us updated on how it all goes.


Jack Beslanwitch jack@forwriters.com Wed Jun 17 02:35:23 PDT 1998

Hayden:

     Congratulations on at least the glimmer of hope that is dogging your heals. It is welcome to see someone on the welcome end of that publishing curve. Others here, Britomart comes to mind, have gone on to great acclamation since arriving on these cyberspace shores.

     In regard to your question about the etiquette of writers I recommend just being yourself. Those writers who I have encountered on less than desirable circumstances usually relate to over imbibing in alcohol. There are some other occasions where deep seated psychological problems are released in association with alcohol. Happily, some of those who had too great a taste for Scotch have tempered in nearer times or so the word is being passed along. However, I would think from your comments here that you have a deep and abiding and generous spirit and this will serve you well in your associations with fans, would be writers that want to drink in your wisdom and all the others.

     The important thing is to have fun and maintain your professionalism. If in fact you are successful, lest you run afoul of the midlist scourge it is always good to be able to converse and deal intelligently with the editors and your fans and write with a vengeance. If you want to let down your guard, as Heinlein put it 'Strong drink makes you shoot at Tax Collectors and miss'. Still, I must go back to the have fun because if it is not fun, why do it :-). Take care and excuse the ramble.


Jack

G. W. North bflowers@northernway.net Tue Jun 16 21:46:22 PDT 1998

Hayden; I don't have your address so I'll post here for you. On the subject of dealing with your public and good etiquette, you already have the tools. ou use them her all the time. And you have quite a following on this site. I don't know how much public experiance you have, but I have had a bit. Always treat the people with genuine respect until they give you a reason to treat them otherwise. Then, treat them with respect anyways. I have made freinds of enemies by apologizing for when I knew I was in the right. Of course, it depends on the situation. Common courtesy goes a long way. The downside is that if you let them, people will burn you out with their needs. You must pace yourself. To be free with advice in topics with which you are trained, or highly experianced is a two edged sword. Others will ask politely or demand your time. The most important people you have to worry about are yourself, and your wife. After that, give as your energies allow. It feels good to help others, and to bask in admiration. Humility and reality are the cornerstones of your strength. Remember who you are, not who the public wants you to be. I have heard of too many persons who became bitter from the constant pressures of the limelight. You are the one in control of your life. Always remember that.

Seeeeeya; G. W. North


Charlotte Kremer CharlieK@zianet.com Tue Jun 16 21:04:09 PDT 1998

I'm new to the group here but would like to say that sometimes I have defeated writers block and got to know my characters better by sitting back and having a written dialogue with them. Has anyone else tried this?


Larry Brown brown1ie@aol.com Tue Jun 16 20:13:45 PDT 1998

Clyde, on electronic books. The future is inevitable, but I find, when writing, that if I need to do some serious editing (most of the time), I need hard copy. Gotta have it on paper. Is this just me?

Hayden, on meeting your public. Lucky you. Have no experience, but lots of opinions. Here's this. Once, at a con, I was among a handful of people invited to a famous writer's room for an all night beer drinking session. Famous Writer (FW) is someone I'd never met but had admired for years. I swear, the guy writes like a fallen angel. A bazallion people agree with my estimate of FW's talent. In person, he had bad manners, bad breath, and was a bad beer drinker and his sole topic of conversation was to whine about his taxes. A complete bore. So, never confuse the person with his writing. Be yourself, whatever that is, and I'll probably be one of the people at the bookstore waiting in line to purchase your latest book. Good luck. Brownie


Larry Brown brown1ie@aol.com Tue Jun 16 20:06:59 PDT 1998

I'M DOING THIS IN SEGMENTS BECAUSE MIGHTY AOL KEEPS KICKING ME OFF LINE.

Goodweed, on scientific accuracy. I know, if you make a mistake, you're gonna hear about it from people who know. But I've read a ton of SF and I'm practically a science illiterate. I couldn't give you an intelligent explanation of how a refrigerator works. If you're a good storyteller, I'll buy your premise. Like Alice, I can believe ten impossible things before breakfast for the sake of a good story. And I have a hunch I'm in the majority.


Larry Brown brown1ie@aol.com Tue Jun 16 20:02:59 PDT 1998

Goodweed, Toby, on info dumps. Agree, agree, agree. Enuf of this, "As you know, captain . . ." stuff. George Scithers once advised writers, "Avoid cliches like the plague," but here's a cliche that has some value I believe. Dialogue must do one of three things: delineate character, advance the plot, or tell a joke. Otherwise, eliminate it. Some of the old time pulp writers had a rule that at least twenty-five percent of their copy had to be dialogue. Hey, I know a rule like that is absurd, but they were writing for a penny a word or whatever, and it did result in some lively writing. Dialogue can really move a story. If it's good.

(A pulp story: E. S. Gardner once created a pulp character who was supposed to be a crack shot, yet whenever he shot someone the text would run -- "Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang!" "Why," an editor asked, "if he's such a good shot, does he always have to shoot six times?" And Gardner replied, "At a penny a word, I'm not gonna leave him with five cents worth of unexploded ammunition in his six-shooter.")


Hayden Tue Jun 16 17:12:19 PDT 1998

Hi all,

Most of you will know that I come here everyday, and sometimes twice a day to see the comments that have been posted and the replied they illicit. Some of the opinions are quite wonderful to read and some of the subject matter makes thoughts rumble around in the empty shell of my head for a while, though most of them I think I have fairly well tapped and need not worry about them. We usually discuss the craft of writing, from how we use dialogue and overcome writers block (the current subjects) through to things like which descriptions best conjur up the characters we are trying to create for the reader; but very rarely do we talk about what it is to be a writer.

I suppose this subject is closer to my heart than the craft of writing as I stand on the brink of a full time career as a fantasy/scifi writer. Being nominated for the George Turner Prize for Scifi/Fantasy has made the whole dream-becomes-reality snowball a daunting thrill.

I have yet to face book signings, interviews, speaking tours, more interviews, or--heaven help me--fans; and I am well aware of the problem of messianic thought patterns. What I am searching for, and no doubt a few of you will have ideas on, is the etiquette of being a writer. How does one handle themselves when they are in the face of the public? To be natural is not enough, and to be a clown is out of the question, and somewhere in the shadow there lurks the bumbling fool which I will avoid like the plague. Yet what do we look for when we see writers, or listen to them speak, or have them sign our books? I have been advised that the best way to deal with it all is to "act like a prince from a far land", and have recommended that others do the same, but is there another way to do it?

You are welcomed to comment.


Goodweed of the North bflowers@northernway.net Tue Jun 16 15:04:45 PDT 1998

Toby. I loved it. You are absolutely correct. Info dump must be handled with finesse. It can be effective, but as you have so succinctly pointed out, it can be a bit much. Thanks for the comment. I would love to comment on writer's block, but haven't yet experianced it. I have no coping mechanisms, or maybe they're on automatic. I don't know. I do know that the larger your knowledge base is, the more likely you are to find what you need. Also, research into a character (I mean the characters you have invented) may provide a clue or logical next step. A loose outline can help guide you through key points you want to get in the story, and will allow you to refresh your memory as well. If nothing else works, a "V8" juice with lots of Tabasco sauce, or a good cold glass of grapefruit juice is sure to get the juices flowing again. If you don't like either of those two drinks, use them as incentive, i.e. if I don't get writing, I'll have to drink this stuff. If you do like it, it's a reward.

Strong medicine, heh, heh, heh.

Seeeeeya; Goodweed of the North


Clyde Dixon noxid@pacifier.com http://www.pacifier.com/~noxid/ Tue Jun 16 12:56:02 PDT 1998

Larry: Good tips on writer's block. We gave up the TV around 3 years ago, but reading is still a constant vice. Not that reading is a bad thing, but I can't stop myself from reading a newspaper or magazine if there is one around. My wife brings such a thing home and there goes the rest of the day!

Speaking of magazines and reading; the latest Wired has an article about 3 Electronic Book devices that will be out this Fall. I don't think any of them quite have the idea right yet, but they are getting there. One of the companys has Barnes and Noble as a partner. As I was saying when we talked about this before, electronic books are going to happen, these 3 designs may not be successful, but sooner or later they will get it right. They will keep pursuing this because it fixes everything that is wrong, to the bean counters anyway, with the publishing industry.

This is not to say that I like electrons better than pulp, or that you should, or that all pulp based books will go away, only that electronic books are most diffenatly going to appear on the scene, and soon.

Ultimately music will go the same way with a secure version of the MP3 format.

It is simply much cheaper for publishers to send us all electrons rather than matter. With any luck, we creators may be able to get some of the savings turned into royalties. At the least, it will be very cheap for publishers to keep all of our works published.

CAD


Toby Buckell TorHyth@Yahoo.com http://www.geocities.com/Area51/Nebula/1145 Tue Jun 16 07:03:03 PDT 1998

Dialogue is usefull for imparting info, but the greatest stumbling block, and particularly in the information rich world of Science Fiction, is the ramming of info down the readers throat through dialouge...

"Jones, what we particularly need now is a molecular destabilizer, that is the only way we can get the impermeable crystalline skin of the alien monster to dissolve and thus be able to kill it."

"Exactly, all of our conventional efforts to this point have failed due to the nature of the skin. It is an epoxied fused crystal matrix structure, invulnerable. Our bullets have bounced off of it... The molecular destabilizer just might do it..."

"As you know, the molecular destabilizer works by exciting..."

I've read some stories close enough. It is dangerous. Sometimes it is easier just to tell the reader outright occasionally what's up than to do this...But I'm not disagreeing with Goodweed, just pointing out the dangers of dialouge explanation. I usually don't do it unless I have to, and leave dialouge for the character interaction.

On writer's block. Yeah it sucks, but I go ahead and write despite it. It usually clears up after a few paragraphs, and it's worth the stuff that comes later even if I have to delete the offending first start.

Cheerio...
TB


Goodweed of the North bflowers@northernway.net Mon Jun 15 19:39:32 PDT 1998

Dialog is many things. It accomplishes many things. For instance, Jack mentions information dump. Often times, we writers find ourselves searching for ways to inform the audience about information we know in our heads. For instance, in science fiction, many are they who enjoy a good yarn without knowing anything about astro-physics, or technology, though they may be amazed at it. Sometimes there are absolutes which will force actions within a story. A "black hole" will bend light and draw that energy toward the gravitational center, thus distorting visual space. If a ships captain does not know the location of such an anomaly, he/she may get trapped in the gravitational field, or it may distort navigational reconings and throw the ship off course. Of course we who write the stories know this and will make sure that our characters know this (unless tragedy is supposed to happen). The readers who do not know this must be clued in. If we are lazy and just let something unnatural take place in our story, the reader who does understand such principles will be at worst, insulted. That is where dialogue comes in. The Captain might give an order to the navigation officer to make allowances for the anomally and then quiz the officer why he did this. The reader gets the sense that this is a wise Captain who is teaching his subordinates. While in actuality, it is the author teaching the less educated readers so they can grasp the nuances of the story. The responses of both Captain and Navigator also helps develop their characters. Dialogue can be used to set the stage for pivotal action. It can be used to develop emotional response in both the characters and readers. Dialogue gives the reader a sense of sharing in the lives of the characters. Why are movies more popular than mimes? Dialogue is the answer. The settings and action are taken care of by descriptive naration. Nothing will characterize a person better than what they say.

Other things like tags, descriptive movements as lead-ins, emotional displays, etc. have been discussed most eloquently by others previous to this post.

Imho, dialogue is probably the most important aspect of fictional writing. It brings the characters to life. In the extreme, we often see animals humanized with dialogue in animal stories. Dragons, and all sorts of mythical creatures speak in countless tales.


Well, gotta go get back to my ill feeling wife. She needs some TLC.

Seeeeeya; Goodweed of the North


Philip mclaren4@ozemail.com.au Mon Jun 15 16:30:09 PDT 1998

Hello Everyone: I'm still around but seem to lurk more than contribute lately. Jack was right, I'm extremely busy but enjoying the challenge tremendously - in recent years I need to be pushed to the edge. I can tell you for certain I'm at my edge.

Is that a good thing? Yes it is!

At the end of the month the biggest book fair ever staged in in Australia will begin in Sydney. Australia's Arts Council has contacted authors to meet some of the international publishers while they are here for that event. I'm one of the fortunate few who are invited to personal meetings with these guys and later to attend a cocktail function to welcome them to our country (to get to know them better). I'll report back on the experience.

Michele, I still love you.

Philip.


Jack Beslanwitch jack@forwriters.com Mon Jun 15 12:35:35 PDT 1998

Michele: Re Philip, I suspect that given he has a regular paying position (not sure what) and has two books apparently contracted for and due over the next year or so, he is probably just way too busy with work he apparrently enjoys. We should all have that problem :-) I am sure he will get back when time and breathing space permits.


Davidson Corry daicorry@aol.com Mon Jun 15 10:53:26 PDT 1998

Hi, Erin --

Hope you made it back; I'm not at my usual machine and don't have e-mail here. Besides, this might be of interest to others.

No, newspapers don't hire freelance writers. Editors do. That's not (entirely) a flippancy, but a hint that you want to establish a personal and professional relationship with a particular person. Someone you've sold one article to is often a bit easier to sell another.

Small-town newspapers are often dry as bones intentionally. They can't compete with dailies, TV etc. as news vehicles. Instead, they are the journal-of-record for the Chamber of Commerce, Kiwanis, PTA, Boosters' Committee, Little League etc. Between those and the advertising, there may be little room for an article, much less a regular column. But it's worth trying.

Broaden your market, though. There's all sorts of places you can sell travel writing (and remember that all travel writing is local-interest in *some* locale). Hit the malls and see what sort of "newspapers" are given away free -- I recently did several travel articles for Factory Outlets Northwest, a free quarterly tabloid in western WA and OR. Local AAA clubs have newsletters. Call Chambers of Commerce and Convention & Visitors Bureaus, see what they're giving away. Find out who advertises in their stuff, call the advertisers and find out where else they're advertising, see if you can sell something there. Publish in local club newsletters -- unpaid, but someone might see your stuff.

Make sure to retain copyright and reprint rights on your work -- most local editors will ask for everything but not pay for it, and won't push it if you talk to them up-front. Travel articles can often be sold two or three times, with little or no changes.

If this sounds like a lot of work -- yup, sorry, it is. Selling your writing is a full-time job, no way around it. Writing itself is another. And getting through school is a third.

You didn't really have your heart set on ever sleeping again, did you?

Good luck! -- Davidson


Michele michele@sassoonery.demon.co.uk http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Olympus/8608 Mon Jun 15 06:27:38 PDT 1998

Hello.

Joan - if the attachment isn't still there when you get back let me know and I'll re-email it to you.

Gary - that's a bummer about having your PC stolen. One of the advantages of being an old-fashioned sort of writer is that I write in longhand so having my computer stolen whilst being irritating wouldn't be disastrous as far as the work was concerned - not that I'm gloating - don't think that ! You have my sympathies for what they're worth.

Istuck my web page on this message so that people can check out my biography of Dr Rivers, Sassoon's psychiatrist - if you're interested that is ! I wrote it last week and managed to get it on my website finally !!

Writer's Block - I tend to go away and do something unrelated - usually play computer games - to overcome it - but then I suffer from it less often being a writer of non-fiction.

Anyone heard anything from Philip Mclaren lately ? And hi to Toby - and welcome back !

Michele


Maggie Grinnell Msuspect@aol.com Sun Jun 14 15:57:11 PDT 1998

Writing is hard even when you want to write. There is the tv, friends, phone, spouses, everything else to distrubt the moment of creativity. I found out that when i am not in a happy mood, i cant write. But it is in my blood and it is the only thing keeping me going.


Larry Brown brown1ie@aol.com Sun Jun 14 11:36:55 PDT 1998

Writer's block:

After contributing a note to this site, I discovered
www.sff.net/People/LisaRC/into2.htm

This is probably not new to most of you, but it was to me. An entire site devoted to writer's block! And humor, like Mary Poppin's spoonful of sugar, makes anything go down easier. brownie


Larry Brown brown1ie@aol.com Sat Jun 13 09:41:49 PDT 1998

Writer's block:

Several years ago I attended a writer's workshop sponsored by Portland University, held at Canon Beach as part of its Haystack summer program. One of the teachers was Gene Wolfe. Of course I think he's a great writer, and like many writers he's an omnivorous reader. His solution to writer's block was not to allow himself to read -- anything. Or watch TV. Etc. He said he sometimes had writer's block for as long as thirty minutes.

Although this is hardly an original thought, it sometimes helps to allow yourself to write really bad first drafts. Shut out your internal editor and just whang away. I've heard this called the diarrhea method. There is a French expression, "the appetite comes while eating." Often the best ideas come while writing.

Unfortunately, the very best method is no longer available to me. Years ago I was a newspaper reporter, primarily a feature writer, and there is nothing like having a deadline to meet. You just can't look at a city editor thirty minutes before deadline and say, "Gee, boss, I think I've got writer's block." I mean, plumbers never get plumber's block. But if you're on your own, especially fiction, often the stick has no force and there's always that awful suspicion the carrot is only an illusion.

I do think it helps to read what other writers have to say, and that's why it was so wonderful to find your site today. Brownie


Toby Buckell Torhyth@yahoo.com http://www.geocities.com/Area51/Nebula/1145 Sat Jun 13 07:52:35 PDT 1998

But dudes. I'm back. I just helped sail a boat from the British Virgin Islands to New York and got back yesterday. It was something else. Tortola to Bermuda was cake, but we ran into a storm after leaving Bermuda and made awful time. I'm glad to be back, I haven't written anything in two weeks at sea.

Right now I'm in Newport where I'll be for most of the summer. New England rocks, it beats the hell out of Ohio, you can walk to the library, to eat, to do anything and all the major cities are all close to each other. I have somewhere in the US that I can see myself hanging around after I graduate (if that is...).

Take it easy, I'll talk some more on the subject later when I have the time.

TB


S.N.Arly Moobeast@sprintmail.com Sat Jun 13 05:53:35 PDT 1998

Erin - rather than just e-mailing, I'm going to post this here too since others may have a similar question. There are not a lot of openings for free lance journalists out there. Unless you're planning on working with a very small paper, you have to be EXTREEMELY good before the editor will pick up your stuff. Most of the larger (read: well known and read) papers don't take freelance work either becuase they are on a set budget and will very rarely outsource.
The AP wire and Knight Ridder (another news line) and such related businesses had effectively ruined the journalism freelance market. When needing to fill space or report on a story without using a staff reporter, most papers will go to a wire service because it is cheap and reliable.

Another point to keep in mind is that freelance journalists don't make much money. Until or unless you're well known, you'll make far less than the average McDonalds employee.

In other words, you have to be completely devoted to journalism (this means obeying style rules and inverted pyramid writing) and willing to starve. And you've got to be able to face rejection after rejection as well as a bit of back stabbing. A story you query a paper with might get written by a staff writer while yours is rejected.

Need I say, been there done that. Not worth it. But then I prefer a more creative style of writing.


Rhoda rfort@infoway.lib.nm.us Sat Jun 13 02:36:22 PDT 1998

Writer's Block-- I've often said that the best way out of writer's block for me is just to write through it. I find that most the time if I write several pages a day, the writing from the first two days might be horrible, but it often gets better as I keep doing it. This is espacially true if the writer's block is caused by me not being able to write for several days or if there is something else on my mind other than my writing. Apparently, Robert, you are already writing every day and it isn't helping. I would suggest reading material closely related to what you write. Maybe you need a rest from your writing.

Reading other books similar to the ones I am working on is an inspiration. It is refreshing to read other works in one's chosen genre when working hard on a story. I find sometimes that I've written too long and too hard and as a result the guality of my writing suffers. That is the time to take a break from the writing and start reading. It is also helpful to read related non-fiction at such a time. Also helpful is to rent and watch some good videos related to what you are writing.

Another suggestion for writer's block is to work on something else for a few days. That way you are still writing, but you are resting from the old material that is mentally wearing you out. This might be a good time to write a short article or start out-lining your next book. After a few days of doing something new, than go back to the old stuff.

In regards to dialogue, that seems to come easy to me, because I when I am not writing, I am usually talking. As a result, the characters in my books tend to talk a lot also. Dialogue is the best way to advance a story and should be used as much as possible as long as it is appropriate. As far as tags, they should be used as sparingly as possible. Use too many and they get in the way. Use too few and the reader forgets who is saying what. I believe it is good whenever a writer can deviate from "said" by using more descriptive verbs. I don't agree that this is a sign of weak writing. If one can combine description and action in a piece of dialogue as someone earlier suggested, I believe that is all the better.

Accents are great as long as they are used carefully. I agree that when they are used too much by main characters, they get too distracting. There are often phases or word choices that foreign characters can use that give color to their dialogue without it being too complicated. For instance, a Scotsman usually says "Aye" rather than "yes." A Swede or German will say, "ya" and a Russian will say "Da." I think a good way to learn accents is to watch movies where the actors the do accents well. I agree, I wouldn't pattern any of my Scots characters after Montgomery Scott of the U.S.S Enterprise. Mel Gibson in BRAVEHEART might be a good person to learn from. There is also ROB ROY and a very excellent one is MRS.BROWN, the movie about Queen Victoria's relationship with her Scottish servant at Balmoral. BBS productions give a good rendering of all sorts of British accents from Cockney to cultured. I would suggest reading books by authors who do their accents well. Learn from them. If you are writing about Scotland, see so many movies, documentaries and read so many books that you can can hear these folks speaking in your mind. Then sit down and write their dialogue.

I've been away this past week and have enjoyed catching up on all the previous posts. I welcome all the newcomers. Take care, everyone, and happy writing.

Rhoda


Erin SongInMind@aol.com Sat Jun 13 02:18:03 PDT 1998

Hi there!.
I have a slightly unusual question....one that might be difficult to answer.
I am a published abstract prosist and poet, but I can write factually as well and I'm a frequent traveler. I live in a small town with one of those typical small town newspapers--that is, it's well presented but it's pretty much bare-bones. Does anyone out there in freaky cyberspace know if newspapers regularly hire writers free-lance? You see, I am also a student so I don't think a full time newspaper job would be...er....convenient. Emails would be greatly appreciated and always read, as my computer will probably crash and lose this link as soon as I hit "send." Such is my luck.
Thanks a million!


Terry Hewitt cabulary@flash.net Fri Jun 12 17:26:25 PDT 1998

I am so glad I found this page !!!

I am looking to make a start in humor writing, and was wondering if anyone knew of clubs or groups in the Detroit metro area which specialize in group readings or similar ways to share one's work.

Ideally I'd like to get into screenwriting for comedy sketches in the vein of Kids in the Hall or similar, but feel I need to find out more to get there from here.

If you have advice to offer in the humor or screenwriting field then please e-mail me.

Thanks much


Harry Fri Jun 12 14:47:33 PDT 1998

That was me, posting that link below. Forgot to add my name.


Fri Jun 12 14:46:32 PDT 1998

Barb, try The Internet Reasearch FAQ. It's a good place to start researching on the net.


Robert Burns rd-burns@tamu.edu http://overton.tamu.edu/rdb Fri Jun 12 14:29:42 PDT 1998

Hayden,

I didn't consider you message nasty at all, though I do
think you misunderstood my motives. I do have writer's block in the classical sense. I write nearly every day. I
have, I suppose energy slump. Neither my writing nor my mind-bent lends themselves to the short subject and I'm
not ready to put in the year to two-year part-time effort to produce a novel right now. It just seems like a too lonely, too unrewarding endeavor.

A collaborative effort, on the other hand, seems like fun. Writing should be fun, you know. Particularly since it so rarely pays well. I can write all day long.
What I'd like to recover is the fun of writing. I welcome your response. Don't worry about starting a flame war.
My hide has been toughened by hundreds of rejections and dozens of arrogant editors.

Barb,
I wasn't clear on your problems with research. If you explain further I might be able to help.


I


Barb Garrett ragbag@isoc.net Fri Jun 12 13:56:44 PDT 1998

I LOVE this! My God...is this the next best thing to face to face or what?
My problem is one regarding research. I'm stymied. I bought the PC to sit in my chair and find what I needed on the net, but maybe I'm doing it wrong.
Please HELP me!
My novel lays limp in the in/out basket.


S.N.Arly moobeast@sprintmail.com Fri Jun 12 13:45:05 PDT 1998

Gary - I can relate. I once had my computer stolen and boy did that just suck. I had backups of everything on disk and hardcopies as well, but it was the stuff in progess that I hadn't backed up. I have a splendid horror story involving my chilhood fears and monsters at the bottom of the lake at my parents' cabin. But most of it got stolen and I haven't been able to work on it since. I figure someday I'll pick it up and I'll know what to do with it. But right now it's like running into a brick wall.

But we writers are gluttons for punnishment. We always pick up the pieces and start over.

On writer's block: I strongly believe that you shouldn't let your writer's block control you. I also understand that sometimes pushing on it won't move the brick wall. I'm very fond of cicumnavigating it. If I can't create I find it useful to edit. I have lots of work to edit, so this works quite well. After a little editing of something else, I can often come back to the project at hand and nail it down.

If I'm having problems with something already in progress, I'll go to an earlier art (the beginning or two chapters before the trouble spot)and edit until I hit blank page. I usually find that this gets me back into the story, refamiliarizes me with the characters and world and pushes me back on track.

As a wrtiter this is useful for more than just curing a creative block, since we also need to spend a great deal of time editing.


Joan rhodda@montana.com Fri Jun 12 07:15:30 PDT 1998

Hey guys-

I, too, am sneaking this in at work! I'm incommunicado for a few weeks, as our house has been towed away, and excavation begun for a new house (modular). Anyway, that means, no phone lines, no computer, etc. Argh! Haven't time to catch up, but I'm still here and will be back in full force once we're not "homeless."

Michelle--I didn't get to print out your E-mail attachment before went off line. Don't know if it will still be there when I jump back on, but I hope so! Anyway, I'll E you when I get back. Write on!

Oh, PS re the topic, dialog tags work nicely--i.e., He dug his toe into the soft, dry silt. "Aw, what for?" . . . or, She scratched her head, then dug something out from under her fingernail. "I dunno." Just something to let someone know who said what, without having to say he said she said.

Bye for now.

Joan




Colleen cstapley@dmci.net Fri Jun 12 06:23:31 PDT 1998

Hi-
Just a quick note to reinforce the concept of a critique group to keep you writing. It is the best thing I ever did. I hate to go empty handed and a deadline to work for is so helpful. Good Luck...


BenWoestenburg Fri Jun 12 00:23:15 PDT 1998

Hey guys it's me. I'm sneaking this in on the computer at work. I've been writing steadily for the last month or two and sending out a story a week. I have a sure feeling that I will be in print within the next couple of stories. I don't know if this is going to go through, so I'm holding my breath. I wish I had the time to read everything here and catch up, but I don't. I'm just dropping by to let you know that I haven't fallen off the face of the earth yet.
Ben


Hayden Thu Jun 11 23:53:43 PDT 1998

No matter how nasty this message seems, I still believe it should be posted. I mean it with all good grace, and with genuine warmth.

Robert

I think you will find that using a collaborative project to kickstart the muse who have deserted you is not a valuable exercise. DO NOT DO IT. No matter how much you add to the project, what you are doing is to get someone else to break you out of the cycle. It is worse than procrastination. YOU have to find a way through the fence, grasshopper. Whether you are stymied by fear or fright, YOU have to get yourself into gear and force away the block.

Not only fear and fright can slow you down, but also fame. You have written before and now may be afraid that the ideas you have are not worthy of what was done before; or the ideas seem inconsequential compared to those ideas you built on before--but it never ends. We are thinking caring people and that makes us thinking caring writers.

I am not against collaborative project, and in fact I am trying to hold my end up with a collaborative project with someone I met here in this room, but neither of us did it to get over the hump. We are doing it out of the love of a subject.

If you want to get over the hum, write about a writer with writer's block-- which has been done before, but never well.


Gary Lante lante@hal9000.net.au Thu Jun 11 20:15:33 PDT 1998

Hello

I have just found this sight, being an unpublished writer of sci fi and fantasy I thought that I would say hi. Unfortunately I have had a breakin and lost my computers with all my stories note for 5 books. Arrrrghh

The frustations of being an Author


Robert Burns rd-burns@tamu.edu overton.tamu.edu/rdb Thu Jun 11 13:56:00 PDT 1998

Thanks for all the advice. I guess I was just having a bad day. Three kids, a house in progress and a full-time job don't leave much time for me to write. (I'd like to give up
the full-time day job, but I need it to finish the house and raise the kids.)

And Corry. Yep. I guess the gift is to keep writing though two-hundred years dead.

I really need to jumpstart my writing processes. Would anyone care to collaborate in a collective work? We could begin a novel here on this system. An epistolary novel might work out well with several writing for one or two characters.

Anyone care to give it a try?


Sesi Thu Jun 11 13:45:09 PDT 1998

Hello Everyone. I haven't been on for a while but there is a reason. I have been working on my story. Though I haven't gotten very far. I have a HUGE case of writers block and I can't overcome it. I'm afraid if I don't get over it soon I'll never continue with my story. Any suggestions?


Davidson Corry daicorry@aol.com Thu Jun 11 12:47:40 PDT 1998

I've been jennycraigging some of my earlier stories recently (hmmm... I guess that would be richardsimmonsing, wouldn't it?), and it occurred to me that writing dialogue is like riding a bicycle:

When you start out, you drop in a lot of "he said", like pushing off with your feet to keep your balance. It's only when you begin keeping your feet on the pedals that you start to get somewhere.


Jen jenholling@hotmail.com Thu Jun 11 01:02:00 PDT 1998

Wanted to say bye to everyone for a while! I've enjoyed the forum and all interesting opinions! I'm going off-line for a few weeks since I have to mail my computer back to the states!!!! I'm leaving Turkey! Yay!
Jen


W. Olivia RAce nicirace@msn.com Wed Jun 10 18:34:16 PDT 1998

I'm in a dilemma of sorts...Started a short story that I woke up one night and outlined in my journal. Was half way through when the muse deserted me. So I tried to research more of the back ground (its about a camp of gypsies and magic). Research is what kills me....

Anyway, I do pretty good with dialogue, the beginnings, and the middles I have trouble with.

Well, I guess I've procrastinated enough...time to return to the story.


Lydia Sweet lydiasweet@yahoo.com Wed Jun 10 11:07:41 PDT 1998

Hi, guys.

Haven't had much time to browse through lately, but managed to find a few minutes here and there in the last few days.

I find the topic comments have helped me understand something about my own manuscript. Some of my story seemed stilted with all the "he said, she said" I was putting in. It seems ridiculous that I am having so much trouble remembering correct grammar and dialog performance as much as I read. But for so long I was so busy reading, I rarely looked at form or technique. I simply read what I found interesting. Your comments are giving me ideas and insight to where some of my problems lie.

I appreciate the "dialogue" that happens right here. It is invaluable.

Thanks for being here.

Lydia.


Davidson Corry daicorry@aol.com Wed Jun 10 09:30:44 PDT 1998

Robert: well, if you *can* give up writing fiction, maybe you should. But all the returns aren't in yet. My guess is, you've still got the itch. Interesting ideas in your Web page fragments, and the mechanics of the writing are good. Are you discouraged about *writing*, or just about selling what you write?
I agree with Clyde that a change of format, shorter and/or different stuff, might recharge the batteries. Also, I've recently joined a critique group. Having a deadline, something to bring to the meeting, forces me to find time to write; my pride, to write something I'm satisfied with. I don't always agree with the criticisms I get, but they at least compel me to examine why.
You could always go back to poetry. I particularly liked the one about 'the giftie gie us'.


Jack Beslanwitch Wed Jun 10 01:30:04 PDT 1998

Summer: I can sincerely relate. When I was working on a project for a computer book that ultimately proved a non deal due to the software never materializing (can we say Microsoft vaporware :-), I found the prospect of set weekly deadlines a helpful motivator. I found myself researching to death and not being able to write or only finally getting down to writing at the very last moment. In the end, what I did was build artificial deadlines for myself and fail to meet them, but got going at the last minute and started getting results a day or two late. The trick was tricking my procrastinating inner editor to believe the deadline.


Also, I found any way of tricking the inner editor off and just write was good. This could mean turning the computer screen off and just let the words flow through the fingers without thinking about them. Another is to write long hand. This may be peculiar to myself. I learned how to type when I was eight years old and have always found typing to be more natural than sitting and writing long hand. So, when I actually sit there and do it, it somehow short circuits the editorial process and I am able to write. Others have other possibilities. However, speaking only for myself, anything that gets you writing and keeps you writing is to the better. Especially when you have a writing deadline leering at you with great big bloodshoot eyes.


Jack

Clyde Dixon noxid@pacifier.com http://pacifier.com/~noxid Tue Jun 9 22:49:53 PDT 1998

Robert:
"Messengers of an Alien God" had me hooked by the time I read the second chapter. You have some interesting ideas there and set the reader up well to ponder what all of this could mean. But the first chapter/paragraph/sentence did not pull me in so fast. I would want a stronger start, something that makes the reader ask more questions; to be curious about what is going on and to have at least a semi-clear stake in the welfare of a character. By the second chapter you are accomplishing those things, but you may have lost the reader/editor before then.
I see no reason to give up on fiction. Three books is a lot of writing; I can understand feeling down about the prospects of writing more, but I am sure that you have learned a lot in the writing of those books. Consider them an internship. For a change, you might try some shorter fiction; quicker to write, perhaps quicker to sell, at the least a change of pace.

Summer:
Such a problem to have! Where does one sign-up? So why discouraged? What happened (or didn't?) In my case, I could certainly see myself freezing up in the face of deadlines and unfulfilled expectations; I do that already and I don't even have an editor. Try a break from the normal, take a walk in the park, go out for lunch, but bring your notepad.
You might also try a vacation. Yes vacation. Take two days and go to the beach or lake or whatever you have around. Have fun. Don't think about the writing. Odds are you'll be writing on a napkin at some greasy spoon the first day, but that's not the real idea (don't bring any writing stuff, it's a vacation.) The real idea is to free yourself from the guilt or not making progress and to unwind and refresh the mind. Then when your vacation is over its back to work.

Well, enough of cheap advice. Perhaps others have thoughts with fuel enough to at least get the Porsche around the block once. Good luck and writing to all,
CAD


Summer Leigh SummerLeigh_98@yahoo.com Tue Jun 9 16:34:37 PDT 1998

Help! This is my first post on this notebook. I'm trying to finish a book an editor requested (I know, I'm lucky) but I've been discouraged & haven't written for a while. Can't get back into the swing of things. Anyone got any suggestions?


Robert Burns rd-burns@tamu.edu http://overton.tamu.edu/rdb Tue Jun 9 12:42:28 PDT 1998

After three unpublished novels, I've hit a severe slump. I have started a couple of novels in the last couple of years, but lost interest.

Not that I don't write something on a weekly basis. I do. My job involves writing news releases and magazine articles, but as most who read this know, that kind of writing isn't very satisfying. ("That's not writing. That's typewriting." -- Truman Copote.)

I've put samples of novels up as HTML files at my web site. Check them out. Tell me if I made the right decision in giving up fiction writing.

RB


Michele michele@sassoonery.demon.co.uk Tue Jun 9 03:22:00 PDT 1998

Hiya !

Can't offer any comments on dialogue (what's new ?) so I won't offer to address the current topic. In the UK those short stories of 50 words are known as mini-sagas - one of the broadsheet papers ran a competition a couple of years ago and the best ones were published in a fund-raising book. I never even attempted it as fiction (long or short) isn't my forte and anyway I have enough trouble keeping things short (take a look at this post for example !).

On the writing front - for those of you who're interested - I've gone back to the research on the grounds that I haven't enough material to continue writing - but given that I started the writing in order to see what gaps I had in my knowledge I can live with this ! I found the gaps pretty quickly !

I'm also working on a biography of Rivers for my web site and will let you know when it's up and anyone who's interested can go take a look !

The temping continues to be intermittent . . . but so does the research !!

Thanks to Joan, Rhodda and Colleen for taking the time and trouble to email me - *much* appreciated !

Michele


Jack Beslanwitch jack@forwriters.com Mon Jun 8 17:51:06 PDT 1998

Well, finally got around to archiving, but have not had a chance to research and get the cookie set up and operating correctly. So, for those who are unaware, the current proposed topic relates to the use of dialog in our writing and how it makes our writing work more effectively.

Goodweed: your snippet of dialog and story works quite effectively in my mind. No, it is not to fragmented. What makes it work is the immediacy of the conflict and the understandable human dimensions of that conflict. There are also some nice turns of phrasing there. Perhaps, more importantly, this bit makes me want to know more about these two. Take care.


Goodweed of the North bflowers@northernway.net Mon Jun 8 03:31:55 PDT 1998

Never tried this before. Does this work or is it too fragented? I really should be writing my bio right now.

"Where ya goin'?"
"Nowhere special."
"What's in the bag?"
"Memories. You want to come?"
"You know I can't leave. I've got
a meeting tonight."
"Yeah, a meeting...", under her breath,
"...always a meeting."
"When will you be home?"
"After I'm more important than the meetings."
Angrily, "What's that suppposed to mean!"
"Goodbye. Enjoy the meeting."

Had to correct and post again. Sorry 'bout that.

Seeeeeeeeya; Goodweed of the North


Return to Writers Notebook