Archived Messages - August 10 to August 20, 1998

Jack Beslanwitch Thu Aug 20 21:49:33 PDT 1998

Hello all: Welcome to all the new faces. Feel free to drop your thoughts and contemplations. Well, I have been a bit remiss. Sometime tonight or tomorrow I will archive, retaining any messages for the new Notebook that arrive after this small announcement. Take care.

Kitty Thu Aug 20 21:01:16 PDT 1998

Mark, Thank you for the answer. Please pardon my lingering but I'm curious.... Who came up with this POV? Was it an engineer? Or someone who missed the message in Brave New World? Or is it something Spock said in an episode of Star Trek I can't remember? Bringing it back to fiction, I wonder if it is possible to write a compelling story without "suffering the inefficiency of emotion." Can anyone give an example of a good book (fiction) that was written by an author devoid of emotion? Or have I totally missed the boat here? Could this be a spiritual philosophy? Control and letting go makes me think of people who cloister themselves apart from the world. I am flummoxed, unenlightened, and sincerely hope one of y'all will illuminate the darkness.

Thu Aug 20 20:59:52 PDT 1998

Mark Thu Aug 20 19:09:04 PDT 1998

I posted a bit of my novel on the Writer's workbook. Forgive the double posting, I am still somewhat illeterate at the internet stuff. I made a minor error. Thank you..


Mark Thu Aug 20 18:46:44 PDT 1998

Hiya everyone,

Kitty: I can answer that one for you, if Mick doesn't mind..
The inefficiency of emotion is explained like this. Emotions get in the way of your everyday life. Think of how much easier it would be to deal with everyday life if you didn't have an emotional response to everything. Emotions make you use time and energy on things that are not crucial, therefore they are inefficient.
I admit, I myself don't feel the same, but to each his, or her, own, right?

I started my first college class last night, Freshman Comp. After seven years, I decided to start into school again. Slight delay, wouldn't you say? Opps. Anyway, class was fun, even if she only went over the syllabus and class expectations. I'm so excited about starting school up again. I'm hoping, though this may sound like blasphamey to some, that taking some literature classes will improve my writing. God knows it can't hurt my spelling, as I'm sure most of you have noticed.

Mick: I agree, enough. Let's move on to other topics...


Kitty Thu Aug 20 17:54:59 PDT 1998

Mick, What does it mean to "suffer the inefficiency of emotion?"

Thu Aug 20 17:54:52 PDT 1998

Thu Aug 20 17:53:58 PDT 1998

Mick Thu Aug 20 14:06:07 PDT 1998

Lo All

Well, I've left something in the workshop but I dunno if you'll get it, it's not there now but the message said something about reloading the guest page?



Allein-chan Thu Aug 20 14:04:35 PDT 1998

I'm finally writing again after getting KC's e-mail (thank you KC). I'm thinking of putting some of my story into the writer's workbook. But I want to wait until I have something a little more...interesting. :)
On the subject of men crying. Men do cry, but lots try to hold it back or not admit to it because we have this stereotype of men being macho and strong. And in our culture, if a man cries, he's seen as weak. But I think it'd be cool to have a man who's in touch with his sensitive side.

S.N. Arly - my real name is Heather, but I hate that name. I know that Allein means alone and I gave the name to my character because throughout the story he feels alone and isolated. He only has 2 real good friends, so he's kind of a loner. And he's one of my fave characters - which is why I chose it as a nickname.

Until later, toodles.

Jen Thu Aug 20 14:04:01 PDT 1998

SKS--I'm curious, are you sending query letters to the publishers first or just sending the entire manuscript out unsolicited? If your doing the latter it's not a good idea and as you see, time consuming. Craft a query letter and send it to 10 publishers at a time. If they ask for it from the query letter it will get different attention than an "unsolicited manuscript." You will get a quicker more personal reply. Also, as long as they don't ask for an "exclusive" reading (meaning they want no one else but themselves reading it--and in cases like that you can give them a time limit --8 weeks) then it's okay to send the entire manuscript to more than one publisher at a time, just mention in your cover letter that it is a simultaneous submission.

Barb G. ragbag Thu Aug 20 13:44:36 PDT 1998

Hi Y'all,

I wanted to add a little twist to my family foibles. I only remember my mother crying one time in my life. No, it wasn't when my dad died. And it wasn't when either of her parents died. It was when her old, sick dog, Ricky, died.

And she mourned for days afterward.

If men DO cry. And most of you say they do or at least should. Why do they feel the need to hide it? Women don't hide it, children don't hide it. Or maybe I'm not watching closely enough.

Seems a little warped to say "Havahappi" right now.

Mick Thu Aug 20 13:09:21 PDT 1998

Lo All

I didn't say anything about bottling up emotions, I was talking about control, about being aware of your emotions and then letting them go, when you have that skill then you no longer suffer the inefficiency of emotions.
Not from down under, Greg, I'm English.
Now, enough of all this nonsense, I'm putting something in workgroup hole. If you like it, say so, if you think it stinks, say so, but please, in both cases, say why.

S.K.S. Perry Thu Aug 20 12:41:03 PDT 1998

I finished writing my SF novel almost two years ago now and am still hard at work trying to get it published. If there's one thing I've learned from the experience so far,it's believe all the horror stories about publishers that you've read. After two years I've only managed to send my manuscript two three publishers (NO SIMULTANEOUS SUBMISSION!!!). To this date I'm still not certain if anyone has even read my novel. The first publisher returned it within 6 weeks with a form letter rejection. (It had to take at least three weeks just for it to travel back and forth in the mail.) The second publisher took 5 months, again with a form rejection. What's worse, he returned my manuscript to me even though I had told them it was disposable in my cover letter. They obviously hadn't read that! The last publisher held it for 9 months with no reply. After several queries to them as to the status of my manuscript, they finally informed me that they never recieved it but feel free to send it again. I did, of course. After 1 month I recieved another form rejection letter mailed to me in the return enevlope I had sent originally. (I knew this as I had recently moved and the mail was forwarded from my old place.) I'm now getting ready to send it to my fourth publisher. Never give up, right?

Donna Manganaris Thu Aug 20 12:13:31 PDT 1998


First off, I'd like to thank Ladysweet (aka Pat) for letting me know that this site exists. From looking around a bit, I see that it's filled with helpful and talented people.

Now for my two cents worth on the topic of men crying. I do feel that real men cry, although not at the little things that seem to set us women off.

My hubby, (god, he'd kill me for writing this) who is turning 49, has cried twice in 17 years. Once when his dog was his first. And then again when he saw his daughter born. I suspect he'll cry one more time when he watches her get married (that's IF she gets married, she's only 14).

Other than that, he has been the rock under my feet, steadying me in the wind. And my lover when the storm had passed. He's worked hard for 17 years to support this family, allowing me the unusual luxury of being a old fashioned housewife.

Hope to return soon,

Kitty Thu Aug 20 11:52:06 PDT 1998

Jesus wept.

I am not one to spout from the Bible, but the shortest verse keeps popping into my head every time I read one of these posts about whether real men cry. It has been my observation that "real men" don't have a list of things they do and don't do. They simply are.

I would point out that whether you are male or female, if you are prone to weeping like a watering pot, you are probably a very soggy person to be around. Damp and unpleasant.

Hayden, I always thought it was C'est l'amour, c'est la gare, but yours makes more sense. But then some might say love is like war.... Now I'm wracking my brain for the atribution.

Thu Aug 20 11:51:52 PDT 1998

lydiasweet Thu Aug 20 09:02:45 PDT 1998

Hi all,

I am posting chapter 10 of my novel to the workbook. I know that I am taking this out of text, but I want to know what is the impression you get from it. It is about 2,000 words take or give a few. Any and all suggestions are welcome and appreciated.


Goodweed of the North Thu Aug 20 04:47:56 PDT 1998

There have only been a few times I cried as an adult, oncewith deep and very painful second degree burns on my entilre right lower leg (the pain must rival that of childbirth (to put that cliche to rest)), when my stepfather died, when my father died, when my grandfather passed, on, and when my grandmother did the same. Oh, my oldest son and I have reduced each other to tears. we are both strong, both know more about how to hurt each other than a person should know (both physically and emotionally), and are both very close.

"Men don't cry" is a societal thing pushed on us from a very early age. That some men cry and others don't may be more controlled by genetics though. It's being discovered more and more that there are disticnt genetic traits which lead some to be more daring, or more nurturing in both men and women. Crying tendancies may be part of the same thing. Of course, ones own will can sometimes overide natural tendancies. To cry at the drop of a hat is needless. There are more constructive ways to relieve stress (writing for instance, or martial arts, or running...). But to bottle up ones emotions until a man goes postal is just as bad or worse as it can lead to serious mental breakdown. As in all things, moderation is the best course. Intelligent control is a good thing. To suppress crying altogether is buckling under societal pressure and shows a lack of knowing your own strengths.

This is my humble opinion.

Seeeeeya; Goodweed of the North

BEN WOESTENBURG Thu Aug 20 00:35:37 PDT 1998

Well hello one and all.

I had a great time in Seattle, and got to meet the main man, Jack. It was great. We went out for drinks (because a trip to Seattle wouldn't be a trip without at least a few drinks). I went down there wityh my friend, and he hit it off with Jack. We had a lot of laughs and hopefully our plans for the future work out. I don't know how it will be with all the car problems I'm having again. It looks like I might only get one day at the Surrey conference again, much to my chagrin.

I started the second part of my short story last night Jack, and where the first part starts with the burning of the mission, the second part starts with the after events of the battle and the rag-tag army returning after getting their butts slapped hard. Freda falls on her knees and starts to pray. Her hands start bleeding and the stigmatta stuff happens to her. I believe when you write a short story it's best to get right into the action. What better way to start the second part than with something like that? It makes it more lively (I hope), and keeps the reader's interest when it begins to lag.

I don't have a lot of time here, so I'll just put in a few words about this crying bit. I cry when the situation calls for it. I don't care what anyone says or thinks about it. (I keep it to myself kinda stuff so no one actually sees it), but what difference does that make?

Damn, now I gotta go. I just got called on the radio.

Greg Butchers Thu Aug 20 00:22:00 PDT 1998

Hi All,
On the subject of men crying. I was born and bred in New Zealand, a land where real men don't cry. In fact it's a land where the only real manly job involves chainsaws and killing things. So you can probably guess my opinion. Ah repressed emotions what a wonderful thing they are. But more
seriously, all men cry at some stages during their lives and I agree with most of the views expressed about it being cathartic(sp?). It was interesting to hear Lydia's view about men that cry all the time. I'm with you on that ne Lydia. As for Mick, your not from down under as well are you? Anyway good subject speak to you all latter.

Mark Wed Aug 19 20:41:17 PDT 1998

Hiya everyone,

Mick: I can't agree with you totally. i feel that cryin at the moment of conflict/crisis/pain, whatever, is useless at best, harmful in some situations. However, afterwards, there are times when you can't help but cry. My fiance left me recently for some very unpleasant reasons, and although I never let her see me cry, I never cried while dealing with her, when she was gone, and I was alone, I let it all come out. And believe me, it came out for a long time. When it was done though, I felt refreshed, healed. Men do cry, but when they do it is what makes the difference between a man and a boy.
In my humble opinion, of course.

Mark Wed Aug 19 20:37:34 PDT 1998

Jyuu-chan Wed Aug 19 19:37:05 PDT 1998

About men crying - This probably doesn't relate really well to the topic, but I felt like speaking up again. I've known guys who exist at both ends of the emotional scale: those who cry for nothing no way no how, and others who bawled when they saw Titanic. There are women who are different too -- I myself cry for very little and have actually had people ask me if I even feel sadness. A large number of my friends will cry at sad movies, whereas I watch and sometimes get angry (once I laughed at a sad part in a movie and everyone stared at me).

Anyway, I think that it's natural for guys to cry less than girls, but I don't believe for a moment that crying would make a guy weak or pathetic. Strangely enough, one of the few things that makes me cry is seeing a guy sob his heart out. Most usually when I cry it's to reduce stress -- I feel so much better afterwards! Is a guy not supposed to feel or be able to reduce stress this way? I'm confused, how would crying make a person weak? [sigh] Well, all I'm trying to say is that I agree with Jack. Maybe I should have said that and skipped the rest...

Mata ne

Jack Beslanwitch Wed Aug 19 16:34:40 PDT 1998

Mick: I think what S.N was referring to and I will endorse his thesis to a certain extent as well, was that controlling or bottling up ones emotions is not a sign of maturity or mental health. Rather, it is a contributory factor in heart attacks, cancer and a variety of other disorders that are too numerous to enumerate. Relief of stress is proven to promote longevity. And tears. True cathartic tears have actually been shown to be biochemically distinctive and relieving of the stresses of life.

As to the question of some men not crying. Yes, there are the strong stoic types that never cry, bottle their emotions and might indeed act as you indicate. However, I question whether we should jump to the conclusion that these traits are distinctive to maturity. If anything, in my own humble opinion, laughter and tears are signs of a healthy human being.

p.s. There. Got it out of my system and got a chance to use that psychology degree for something :-)

Mick Wed Aug 19 15:02:12 PDT 1998

Lo All

S N, glad to see you've caught on, I've been full of it for 50 years and I aint going to stop for at least another 50 years, so I don't believe all that nonsense about people who cry live longer. I believe if the establishment, in this case scientists, tells you something, it is a good reason to take a long hard look at the 'facts?'.
Thanks Lydia, I don't respect that type of man either.
I know men can sometimes cry, but, I repeat, not for something as trivial as a relationship, if one ends, you just start a new one.

Best All


Lydia Sweet Wed Aug 19 14:33:35 PDT 1998

This is just MHO, but I have seen men that cry at the drop of a hat. I have little respect for this type man. But I have known men who cry rarely, such as at funerals or you catch them being touched by a really good movie. Two totally different situations, but these same men would not cry over the situation you describe, they would be furious. Very, very disappointed, but angry.

Mick, women in their 40's will take umbrage with you. Hormones will make a woman cry to see the sun come up in the morning. Please, there are many reasons's to cry and very few of them are a lack of maturity or emotional control.

Also, I don't think I have ever met a MAN who has never cried.


Barb G. Wed Aug 19 14:07:56 PDT 1998

Hi Y'all,

You men on the panel (sounds impressive doesn't it?). You don't know how much I appreciate your input re: crying.

My dad was a crier(is that spelled right?) He cried at weddings, at funerals, at birthdays, etc., etc., and I feel it made me think ALL men cry. There is more than a failed friendship -- there is an unanticipated question of the protagonist. His first reaction is anger. These are the people he called friends for nine years. Just because he's a homicide detective his friends have asked him to kill someone (actually they have EACH asked him to kill the other). He's hurt, confused, and deeply moved. He thought he knew them, but-- Well, you get the picture.

I asked my husband to read the new version (sans crying) and he liked it. Said it was much more realistic. I don't know.

But, it was wonderful to see how you guys felt. Thank you very much. I'm beholdin'


S.N.Arly Wed Aug 19 13:30:43 PDT 1998

Mick - You're full of it.

Humans cry, like it or not. And if you think it's commendable to "control" your emotions, that's fine. You go right ahead. But the rest of the world doen't agree with you. Likely not even half the world.

Very few things ever SOLVE anything and that doesn't stop most of us from doing those things. But tears can release (can we say catharsis) pent up stress, emotion, whatever. And where else is it to go if you don't release it?

Men and women who can cry live longer and this ain't literature either, it's called science.

Mick Wed Aug 19 12:56:14 PDT 1998

Lo All

Sorry, Jack and S N, I don't believe tears solve anything, that is why I say boys and children cry but men don't. Crying shows a lack of emotional control, in both men and women, people who cry have not grown up; and this aint literature.


S.N.Arly Wed Aug 19 06:39:53 PDT 1998

Aaah, Hayden/Gainlaw... such a scaliwag.

KC - I'd guessed it was a screen/pen name, especially after she mentioned her interests; has Japanimation/anime written all over it.

On matters of elves and were-folk - There are really no rules. There are some standards that other writers have set up, but there's no reason anyone has to stick with those. Who knows, maybe they've got elves all wrong. Maybe elves are really short and fat, and only live to be 9 standard earth years.

Caroline Heske Wed Aug 19 05:36:56 PDT 1998

I've just found this site... Terrific! I'm beginning to read through some people's stories. I'm writing a fantasy novel at the moment - of which I've probably written about 13 chapters. I've made a site for it at the address above, which includes a related art gallery, a preview of some of it, and some information about the world it's set in. I would be really interested to get people's opinions (it's at the address above).

Hayden Wed Aug 19 00:40:05 PDT 1998

All these new's like a train station!

C'est la mort, c'est la gare!

Don't panic, but I am retiring from these pages for a while to do a bit of research, and to finish a novel in progress. Those of you who wish to email me may do so. Gariess, please do as I no longer have your address, and we have photos to send.

I'll be back in about two months.

Cheers, and keep writing all of you.


K.C. Ramey Tue Aug 18 23:34:12 PDT 1998

S.A. Arly - Allein-chan knows that is what the name means. The name is actually one of the character's in her stories. I guess you would say it is her pen name. I wonder if she will check in here again. I'll have to e-mail her about it.

Jyuu-chan - I can help you type your older stories like the vampire one that you thought might work on my page. I would love to be able to read it and writing it wouldn't be too hard. Then you can have it back and do all of your editing. If you want, bring it to the party this weekend. I am working on my costume, honestly.

Keith - I agree with your idea of the length of an elf or were-creature lives.

Does any one know of a good book for researching geographical type stuff? I am working on a map for the Kingdom Twin Gates takes place in (chap. 3 and on). I need to know more about vegetation and animals that live in the mountains, near the ocean, and all the places in between. I am trying to figure out where certain plants and herds would be found. What terrain is like and the climates that go with it. I know that what I am looking for is a lot of stuff and most of it won't appear in my novel but I am having fun with it and thought that might be fun to research. It also adds "the author actually knows what she's talking about" aspect to the book. I have read books where the author has made a drastic mistake in something like that and I notice it. Other people may not because they don't have the experience in a certain area that I do. I was just curious and thought this was the best place to ask.

Thanks, K.C.

Keith M. Tue Aug 18 22:25:30 PDT 1998

Hullo, all!

Just got finished reading and critiquing and EXCELLENT novel-in-progress by LISA. I think that it has real marketable potential, and that she should post bits and pieces on her webpage!

Jyuu-Chan: As for other chapters.. I dunno.. I'm not sure I'm gonna post much more (probably just to INTERLUDE I, which is after Chapter 5). I don't want TOO much of my ideas floating around the net for the few untrustworthy souls in this world to steal.
As for the amount of energy Kanin absorbed, well, he's a special young boy, and the full extent of his powers hasn't been revealed yet (not even all the way into chapter 8!). However, that question (and more!) will be answered later in the book when Kanin and Andy the Wild take a nice trip to the heart of the Republic and to the Institute... I predict that will be around Chapter 11 or 12 (depends on how the next few chapters go.. I have a lot of storyline before then, but it could concievably fit in a few long chapters.. i dunno)...
Regarding character description, I kind of throw in bits and pieces of what the characters look like and how they think... It's a sort of "defensive mechanism" for my writer - in the first drafts of the current rewrite, I would spend too much time on describing the characters. Urged heavily by my friends and loyal fans (they're the same small group), I decided to build the character description gradually, putting in important features such as hair color and unique physical properties, but letting the reader create their own "vision" of what the characters look like... I like the approach. It's refreshing and new!

I actually have two preferences for the elven life-span... If the story is set more realistically, then they live just a tad longer than humans (see such example in TERRY BROOKS' SHANNARA books)... however, if the story is supposed to be more magical and fantastical, then elves should live AT LEAST three-times the normal human span (I refer specifically to RAYMOND E. FEIST's MIDKEMIA novels).
In my book, elves are a go-between... they average at about 200 years, and the oldest elf ever recorded died at the ripe old age of about 400 years!
Hope I could help.

I believe that any creature affected (infected?) with lycanthrope would have a slower metabolism that allowed them to live an increased life-span. In my years as a Dungeon Master for Dungeons & Dragons, I reasoned that were-creatures live the avg. human span plus the avg. span of the creature they turned into.
Again, hope I could help.

Well, see you all tomorrow, probably!


S.N.Arly Tue Aug 18 20:27:22 PDT 1998

And I return victorious. Defeated my own demons and have moved up in the world. Now I just have to get someone to buy my stories and life will be complete. Until I decide to test again....

Mick - About men crying, or not. Some need to learn. It's good for the soul.

About autobiography - some people might, and sure some of my characters might be, but not all, not by a long shot. And I do mean the main characters. I have some who are nearly my opposite, simply because that's how they were. But whatever works.

KC - Trust me, Moby Dick is far more dull than any Driver's Manual could ever be. A lot of it is important, if you can wade through the all the exciting language and colorful description used by the writers.

Welcome Mark, Alex, Jyuu and Allein.
Allein, did you know your name is German for alone?
Alex - nothing is easy in the publishing world and doubly so for novellas. Don't give up, however. There is hope as long as you are willing to work very hard. I happen to like novella length myself. It's an underappreciated art if you ask me, which you didn't.

Lisa - Guess I don't see it. We're always surrounded by people who could kill us, we simply don't think along those lines or choose not to see it. Anyone could have a gun or a knife, and age is no barrier.

Incidentally, looks like we're related. If you're interrested, I've found a lot of great Okinawan web sites. Some for specific styles and others are just general. Very interesting and worth checking out, I assure you. But then I'm very karate gung ho right now. Aside from testing, we just watched Masters of the Martial Arts. Very nice. A bit wierd, but nice anyway. They honored my Sensei's sensei who has since died. Also had a bit of an interview with Bruce Lee. Be like water.

I liked LOWD and your suggested treatment for it.

Jyuu-chan Tue Aug 18 20:21:25 PDT 1998

Keith and KC - Thanks! I feel a bit better about it now.

Keith - When are you gonna put the next chapter up?? ^_^ The only thing I could ask for is perhaps a bit of character description. I have my own ideas of what they could look like, but sometimes the author's ideas are important to the storyline. Also, if the energy Kanin pulled was that much, wouldn't it have fried a bit more than just the ogre?

I'm trying to get myself to write more on the computer (versus writing with pencil and paper), but it's harder for me to concentrate for some reason when I'm sitting in front of the computer screen. I want to have my stories on disk though 'cause some of my older writing is getting faded and hard to read. I also dislike taking my stories and reading it then typing it onto Clarisworks (although I have to do that for my already written stuff that I want saved). I don't love handwriting things, but at least I get to sit on my bed and get inspired by my room that way. Anyone have any ideas for making it less tedious to work on the computer?

Totally aside, does anyone have any clue what would be a reasonable age for an elf to live to? I'm thinking less than a thousand, but significantly more than a human (100 years max usually). Same question for were- (werewolves, weredragon). It makes sense that they'd live longer than humans, right? This question has been popping in and out of my head for a while and input is appreciated.

"One should believe completely, whenever love is the salvation...Open to infinity."

Mata ne!
(who loves quotes with a passion) ^0^

Jack Beslanwitch Tue Aug 18 20:17:10 PDT 1998

Mick: I am glad that I went back and re-read what Barb actually said. I almost went off half cocked when you wrote 'men do not cry over something as trivial as a relationship'. I concur that men or at least most men will not cry over a failed friendship with say another man. However, they will and do cry when a marriage or a very close loving relationship goes down in flame. The psychological mechanisms are the same, grief and mourning. With some of the very same cycle of stages.

Mark Tue Aug 18 19:34:04 PDT 1998

Hiya everyone,

Lisa: That was perhaps the best answer you could have given to me. Isn't it interesting when someone gives you advice and you just sit back and say, " Hmm, why the hell didn't I think of that?" Of course, if I had all the answers, I'd be the Master of all of Creation, not just a lowly struggling writer. I see a correlation here, how about you?

Anyway, I write Science Fiction, and my current project is a story that explains the " TRUTH " behind the alien abduction stories that have sprung into exsistance since the 1950's. Only, the story is told from seven hundred years in the future, where the consequences of those abductions have started an interstellar war. I used to worry about whether or not I could write enough words to make a book, but 7000 words into the introduction of the story, I think I'm gonna have to relearn that wonderful art of editing and rewriting before I'm done. Thanks again Lisa

K.C. Ramey Tue Aug 18 16:00:26 PDT 1998

Mick - Actually I like writing male characters better than female. Like in my novel-in-progress, Twin Gates, the lead character is a girl but the other three main characters are guys. My favorite characters in that story are Krys and Charley, both guys. Most of the stories I wrote when I was younger are from a guy's perspective also. But, then again, I was raised around boys. I have my brother and I went to a daycare that ended up with me being the only girl for years. I think it could also be because many of the books I have read have the traditional male hero. All the books at school that we are required to read are from when guys had all the power and women were like servents. I can write both genders equaly well but I prefer the male perspective. As for the autobiograph part - I write certin aspects of me and my friends into my characters, but I love writing characters that are my total opposite. I quess I like to write about the opposite sex and opposite attitude because through my writing I can live it, while I can't in real life. I can get into the head of a guy and see what is going on in there. If I can't figure out how a guy should act at a certain time I ask my brother (my total opposite including attitude, gender, outlook on life, ect. It's strange that we look like identical twins. ^^*). A fun thing to do is write a story from the bad guy/girl's point of veiw.

Sorry if any of this sounds mean or anything. I have been studying for my Driver's Ed writen test. Somebody should rewrite that book so that it doesn't go in one ear and out the other. I haven't read a duller book (yet). Well, gotta get back to studying.


mick Tue Aug 18 15:01:12 PDT 1998

Lo All

Barb, sorry, I agree with your husband, men don't cry over something as trivial as a relationship, boys and children may, but men, nah.

SN, I think every thing we write, including opposite genders, is autobiographical, I was mainly talking about lead characters, I can write better male lead characters than female because I'm a man, I'm sure female writers are the same.

all the best


Keith M. Tue Aug 18 08:38:00 PDT 1998

Hello Everyone!!

I'm so inspired! Since I skipped that damn chapter I was having trouble on and moved to the next chapter (with a whole new plotline introduction for a new main character), the creative juices have just been flowing!

Sorry if that sounds like gloating, but I always get really psyched when I can just write and write and write and... well, you get the idea!

If any of you are interested in reading my major project (novel-in-progress), I have posted the prologue and first 3 chapters on my web page(see address above), and would absolutely LOVE any helpful, insightful criticisms from all you wonderful writer-people!

Barb G: Yeah, I was talking POV. Just curious about everyone's preferences.

Alex: just go with the flow. The story ain't over till it's over. If you think you've got something going for you write (hah!) now, then go for it.
Personally, I consider a novel to be no less than 60,000 words, and no more than 180,000. Anything above 180k means that it's time for you to think about making two books (or more)... unless you happen to be Robert Jordan, with an average of 1000 pages per book.

Mark AND Alex: hello and welcome!

Lisa: Thank you. Hope you can read it soon (I'm anxious for critique from a person who doesn't know me or anything BUT that of my story - kinda the genuine reader-article, with a writer's heart and touch!)

Jyuu-chan: I agree with K.C... virtually every topic and idea has been written about or speculated over. That's perhaps the most daunting thing for a writer, to think those thoughts that what you're writing has been done before, perhaps better. But, actually, it's the easiest part.
If you're an avid reader (and I think all writers are) then you have an idea of what you REALLY like for stories and plots, and things that you might have done differently. Now, take those feelings and put a unique aspect to it - kinda like putting paint over rust (did that make any sense?)...
Take, for instance, my story. It's about three young boys coming to age in a fantasy-medieval setting. One is a promising wizard, one an aspiring warrior, the other a self-made outcast from the political society he was born into... all three have major hurdles to battle just as part of growing up. Now, add in a plot by the gods that no mortal being could ever understand, let alone WANT to understand; sprinkle in the idea that these boys are pawns to these gods (cosmic chess??), and must figure out what the hell is going on and why they're so important and, my favorite, how can they fulfill their destinies.
Sounds like the run-of-the-mill fantasy/adventure genre plotline? It is... but I've added sinister twists in the plotline, interesting quirks in the characters and the world around them - hell, I've even switched from the traditional KINGDOM nation to a REPUBLIC (it makes things way more interesting!).
So you see, it's just a matter of adding your own flavor to an old, well-known, well-used storyline, and try to make it the next bestseller!
Hope I didn't put you to sleep just now, I kinda got carried away. These are just the tips I tell myself when I start feeling like a "puppet-writer" on the strings of cliches. Like I say, though, "I would rather stand on the backs of giants, than be a giant myself." Meaning (in this case): I would rather expand, broaden, and make unique something that has already been done to make it my own - to add to the foundation, not BE the foundation.

Anyway, I've gone on WAAAY too long.

Chat with y'all later!!!

Keith M.

K.C. Ramey Mon Aug 17 23:38:18 PDT 1998

Jyuu-chan, Allein-chan: Nice to see that the both of you decided to check this place out. To everyone else - meet my little writers type group. Well sort of. We talk a lot about writing and Allein-chan and I are writing a story together (which we really need to work on more).

Jyuu-chan - What you are feeling is true. Almost everything we write has been done before. There are only a few truly new plots and story ideas. People have been writing stories for centuries and have used almost every idea out there. Our job as present day writers is to take what has been done before and improve upon it. Tell it in your own way. Don't I really sound different when I write than when I talk. Anyway, keep writing stories cuz you are good at it. Don't worry about if it has been done before enjoy it as yours. For those who don't know Jyuu-chan she isn't lying about being so happy that people sometimes do try to strangle her. I have never had a problem with her being so cheerful because it is nice to have people around that are always able to cheer you up when you are depressed. Now that I have given my little lecture on to other stuff.

Alex, Mark - Welcome

Kitty - I will try and get back to you on the Hermes Rocket Typewriter thing. It is just so hard to describe it because the only other typewriter I have seen is my electronic one that is on my desk in my room. My great grandmother used it to type letters and recipe cards. I will e-mail you more about it later. Sorry it has taken me so long to respond.


Mon Aug 17 23:14:21 PDT 1998

Jyuu-chan Mon Aug 17 22:43:59 PDT 1998

Ack, I hate to just jump in and complain (not about the notebook though).I have this terrible feeling that what I write has been done before. In all likelyhood it has, but it makes me feel that what I write isn't really worth it. Anyone else ever feel like that? I'm not usually this morose, but I felt like getting it off my chest. ^^*

Sorry for bein' depressing!
(who's usually so happy you want to strangle her)

Allein-chan Mon Aug 17 22:21:13 PDT 1998

Hi all!! I got this addy a long time ago (like in February) from KC, and I finally decided (after much procrastination) to write in and post a message. Actually this is my first time here and I came here because I love writing. I'm still writing the first story of my series about a prince and a princess who are in love and the whole sorta fairy tale bit with a little fantasy and a few adult situations (murder, violence, etc.). The stories are on my webpage if you'd like to go there and have a look around. I also draw and I'm pretty good at it but I'm working to improve. Some of my pix are up on my webpage too. Well, I've taken up my share of space and it's getting late.
Bye bye!!
Allein-chan ^.~

Lisa Mon Aug 17 22:19:54 PDT 1998

Hey there, everyone! :) It's about one thirty in the morning and I have major insomnia, so I figured I'd spread my wisdom about the world a little. Isn't that kind of me?
Kitty- prepared to sponge! My next class is tomorrow (or maybe today) at 6:30 PM. I'm just as nervous now as I was my first class, but this time I know I'll do better. It helps that my first two classes have made me realize just how durn *nice* these people are! Being hopelessly scarred from the evilness of the dreaded ballet class, this came as a complete shock to me. They're all just so... *nice*!
SNArly- It's not that I actually think the other karate-taking people would do me harm (on purpose), since, like I said, they're all simply peachy. It's that I'm used to being strong and capable of defending myself. In school I have a rep as a bit of a toughie (don't ask- I have *no* idea why). Being around a room full people that are waaayy stronger, quicker, more powerful- everything!- than me is rather unnerving, that's all.
For the record, I'm taking Okinawan Uechi-Ryu Karate Do. It also has a more formal name, though, which I can't for my life remember at this time.
Jyuu-Chan- Hi! :)
Mark- I don't know what I'm talking about, and my computer is starting to look at me funny (I think I need to sleep), but I think you're suffering from LOWD- a deadly disease, that, fortunately for the rest of humanity and unfortunately for us, affects only the writers of the population. It's Lack Of Writing Discipline, and it rears its ugly head quite often over a writing life. Bleh. My perscription for you- Outline!! Make an outline (as vague or exact as you like, but definately one with all the key events listed if nothing else) and STICK TO IT like a stamp to the thumb! And another thing you might try is making your characters less like you. In fact, make them your exact opposites. That way they can't live your life, you see?
Keith- I read the beginning of your novel! :D I love it! Of which, however, more in my next email- I'm getting waayyy too tired to remain sitting up straight. :)
Hope y'all have positively peachy days!


Mark Mon Aug 17 18:32:15 PDT 1998

Hiya everyone,
This is the first time I've ever posted here and I thought I would say hi. See the line above. I have a question also. I write alot, although I haven't finished anything yet either. When life is hard, as it sometimes gets, I have a hard time concentrating on the story I'm trying to write. I always end up turning it into a different story. I end up writing about what is happening in mylife, and not what I want to be happening in my characters lives. Does anyone know of a trick or way to get around that tendency? If so, it would help a lot if you could clue me in. Thanks, and once again, Hiya everyone..

Barb G Mon Aug 17 17:11:54 PDT 1998

Hi Y'all,

Thanks a million Jen. Yes that clears it up nicely.

Alex: First off, let me say, I haven't had a book published yet. But, when my story is told the book will be done. So if you've reached the end of your story, it's time to quit. But, if you feel some chapters need fleshing out then this is the time to do it. 26,000 words in a Novelette or a Novella and there are places for them, too.

Jen and Heydan and a couple others have had books published so they will be much for helpful.


Jen Mon Aug 17 13:59:10 PDT 1998

Barb, I'm speaking of POV, I'm not certain if Kieth is, but I had assumed he was. Gabaldon alternates scenes. The narrator in her first book, OUTLANDER, told the entire story in first person. But in the 2nd, 3rd and 4th books, we get other POV's, written in third person, though the original narrator still tells a large part of the story in first person. Am I making mroe sense now? (-:

Alex Mon Aug 17 13:58:43 PDT 1998

Hi! I'm new here, but I have a problem.

About how many words does a novel have to be for a first-time author to be published easily?

I'm about 26,000 words into my novel (8 chapters completed, about 120 pages), and I need to know if I need to expand the story some more or start wrapping up loose ends.

Will someone who's been published (or even has a clue) please help me?

Thanks a bunch

Barb G Mon Aug 17 12:06:06 PDT 1998

Hi Y'all,

Thanks Jen and Keith, I'll look them over.

Just to get this very clear in my head -- you're talking "I, You, He/She/It. And you don't mean POV, right?

Hey, this old dog CAN learn new tricks!


Jen Mon Aug 17 10:46:00 PDT 1998

I have also seen the mixing of first and third person done very well. Diana Gabaldon's OUTLANDER series. Of course, she breaks almost every rule you've ever heard or read about in her books and still manages to write bestsellers.

Keith M. Mon Aug 17 09:55:59 PDT 1998

Thanks again to all who have responded to me.

Barb G: the only reason I asked about a mixing of third and first person is because I have seen it done well. If anybody is a fan of Robert Heinlein, then you can concur: LAZURUS LONG was written with both perspectives, often shifting mid-story. I never got too confused reading it, and it is perhaps the best Heinlein novel I have read to date.

Well, I should get back to my writing now - chapter 7 is getting to be longer than I thought it would be... I like it when that happens!!


Barb G Mon Aug 17 07:09:47 PDT 1998

Hi Y'all,

Mick: I have to agree with Snarly on this one. Though, it might prove tough at times, it's great fun. Once I had a detective leave the house of a friend in tears (why he was in tears is unimportant).. My husband said, "No, hm-um, no way is a man going to cry about a failed friendship!!" So I changed the ending. Unless you know the whole story, you might not agree with my husband.

EW: Your story is probably "Creative Non-fiction." That is non-fiction that takes some fictional liberties with the text.

Keith: It's not wise to mix person: 1st and 3rd. It would be very unsettling for a reader to handle. I'm trying to think if I've ever seen it done -- but can't. You probably knew that and were just kidding, right?

I've restructured my day now (under Dr.'s orders). My mornings are book hours and afternoons are short stories and clearing up this and that. So far it's working. Can stay at my keyboard no more than two hours at a stretch.

Keep writing, guys. The world needs our POV.


Jyuu-chan Sun Aug 16 22:03:27 PDT 1998

Hi! ^_^

Umm, I'm joining this kinda out of the blue at the suggestion of a friend (thanks K.C.!). I like to write (that's why I'm here), but I seem to have trouble ever finishing anything... ^^* I also like drawing, watching anime (Japanese animation), and reading just about anything put in front of me. Most of my writing revolves around the characters in shows that I watch, but some are original works. Well, until I actually think of something intelligent to say -- 'til next time!

Mata ne,
Jyuu-chan ^_^

W. Olivia Race Sun Aug 16 20:26:59 PDT 1998

Dear Keith: I can certainly understand your dilemma about writers block in the middle of a novel. Like the others, I suggest you just push forward. Worry about sequential order later. When I have this problem, I literally just type in, *Come back later* and then move on. You'll know what to put into that chapter when the story TELLS you to.

I usually write in first person because I'm too lazy to worry about what every character is worring about. The responsibility of being OMNISCENT drives me batty. Anyway, I like my stories/novels to be driven by a single characters compunctions. I did try a third person short story once and it just didn't flow. The rejections letters were brutal too!

Anyway, I'm still bloody unpublished but enjoying my craft as it were. Good luck on your novel.

S.N.Arly Sun Aug 16 20:25:32 PDT 1998

Geeeeze, I'm gone three days...

Hi everyone, I'm back. Didn't get quite as much writing done as I'd hoped, but really made progress. Also saw two bald eagles, played in the water and got shin splints practicing for the big test tomorrow night. Guess I'm not used to kicking in tennis shoes on uneaven ground.

Lisa - Men do have eylashes. I've known some men who have better eyelashes than women (the whole longer, darker, fuller business that mascara ads always promise).

About karate. Those people won't kill you. That's not what it means to be a martial artist. Consider yourself very, very lucky. There are not too many high ranking belts in my class so there isn't that wealth of knowledge. The more high ranking belts you have, the more people you can ask about any given technique or attack. I think you'd feel out of place no matter how many high ranking belts there were, because that's how everyone feels when they start. I felt like a complete dork. As did my sister and my spouse. We felt like morans and were sure we'd never get anywhere. That feeling fades in time, if you're willing to stick out the awkward parts and not be intimidated. Incidentally what style of karate is it and where did it originate. I study Shorin Ryu, which is from Okinawa. It is related to Shaolin Kung Fu and has it's roots in China.

Mick - When you put it that way, your initial statement/question is academic, unless we want to write about ourselves all the time (and I sure as hell don't - no one would read it!). To have variety in our characters, we have to take a leap and just write. Doesn't much matter if the character is not me same gender or not me different gender.

KC - When the computer is down, you might try paper and pens. Old fashioned, I know, but you might find a connection. I like to start my stuff longhand, but usually can't. Can't hold a pen/cil that long.

Uuuh, I know you may be new to the martial arts thing, but control is usually something others will respect in you. I know, you were probably joking and my spouse get it all the time (oh, do you beat each other up over housework...) but it really isn't funny. Not in today's world. Not ever.

EW - I believe that would be historic fiction. Or at least that's what I've heard it referred to as in the circles I frequent.

There's no pretty way to say it; novellas are a bitch to sell. Many successful writers (really successful) bully their publishers into prinitng a collection of their stuff at some point or another. Stephen King did this with Four Seasons. That's where you might print your novellas. Otherwise you could just keep trying. Some places will make an exception if a story is really good and they have space. I consider anythin longer than 10,000 words a novella. Once it has chapters I consider it a novel, but then every publisher (book, magazine, whatever) has its own df. It's too bad they're so tough to print, because they can be so very worthwhile.

Kieth - Alhtough this looks like this already been said, I'm going to reiterate it. Work with what you have, the rest will come. I frequently leve black holes in my novels. I'll have chapter 1, 2, and 3, then I'll skip to f1 (which is the first chapter to come after the black hole), f2 etc, then I might skip to ff1, and ff2 (the first and second chapters after the second black hole). My chapters get to change their names a lot.

Keith M Sun Aug 16 16:45:12 PDT 1998

Hey, I jsut want to thank everyone who prodded me to push past my "chapter block." In just one evening of writing I have nearly completed the 7th chapter, and have begun renewing my vigor for tackling the elusive 6th chapter.

I was also wondering: for those of you writing novels, do you utilize a first-person perspective, a third-person perspective, a mixing of both? I just want to get a feel for what the more 'popular' writing perspective is here. Personally, my novel is written in the third, though every few chapters it blitzes to a "storyteller" who is actually telling the story of my novel to a group of students - I've found that that is a great way to present information to the reader without having long, boring paragraphs of detail.

Anyway, it's time for me to get back to chapter 7 - I hear it calling my name...

Keith M

Goodweed of the North Sun Aug 16 15:54:41 PDT 1998

I'm trying something unproven and am putting a little faith in a new approach to finding an agent. I have allowed a site called Writer's Showplace to place my query, and first 1500 words on their site. The site charges some cash for the monthly service of making your story available to any agents and publishers to browse their site. The cost is small and they do have a tracker which shows how many hits each genre takes as well as how many total hits the site recieves. Here is the address if anyone is interested,

I hope this isn't abuse of the Writer's Notebook forum. If so, please let me know and I won't do it again. I just hope this works and is another avenue toward succesful pulication of our work.

Seeeeeeeya; Goodweed of the North

Kitty Sun Aug 16 12:01:15 PDT 1998

Keith, so write chapters 7,8, and 9 now. There is no rule that you have to write in sequential order. You may find that you incorporate all the important info in those chapters and won't need a boring chapter six background dump. At worst you'll have to come back after you've burned through to the end of your gripping tale and will have to lay down that chapter--but by then one chapter won't be so daunting. I think the key is to keep writing.
Rachel, have happy holidays full of fine weaather and fabulous adventures.
Lisa, in my mid-thirties I took a Criminal Investigation course at my local college. Not only was I the oldest person there (most were in their late teens, early twenties) but I was one of perhaps three women. All the other students were police wannabes, single, and working either at a bar as bouncers/bar help or at security companies. Not only did I stick out because I was a happily married woman with children, pets and the house and home thing going, but I was totally clueless about police tech stuff. However, I kept asking questions and I wasn't afraid to engage the professor--a 30 year veteran on the local police force, in discussions. When it came time to do our final project I was surprised at the number of guys who wanted to be my partner. The fellow I was paired up with told me he knew we would get a good mark because I was persistent and because of my doggedly asking questions, he had gotten more from that class than any of the others he'd taken. We aced the project, I aced the class. My point is, we all find ourselves from time to time surrounded by people who know far more about something than we do. I find the best thing is to plunge right in and educate yourself. What an opportunity! You are surrounded by an ocean of expertise greater than yours. The secret is not to compare yourself with the others, but to learn from them. Be a humble sponge. And by being open to learning, you may in turn teach them something.
What I'd like to know, now that I am considering signing up Jack for a martial arts class, what is the difference between karate bukokan,kuk sul wan, ect...?
K.C., I'm still curious about the history of the Hermes typewriter. Also are you familiar with the SCA?
Jack, your new computer sounds fabuloso, but loyalty compels me to point out that the Millienium G200 kicks butt graphically. What publiction are you reviewing the software for? I am assuming that you really wanted the Photshop and not Redneck Rampage. And how were the Avengers?
Ben, St. Freda sound intriguing. Hope y'all have a scrumptious lunch and great seats at the concert. We want to hear all about your big adventure down South, if you can find the time and the computer.
Hello, Philip and tout le monde!

Sun Aug 16 12:01:03 PDT 1998

Sun Aug 16 11:59:58 PDT 1998

Rachel Sun Aug 16 08:41:07 PDT 1998

Hi all:

Over the past few days I have done very little writing. I am gearing down for the family vacation so that I don't go into complete and sudden withdrawl. I have missed it, but at the same time it has been a much needed break.

The fam and I will be leaving tomorrow and will be gone for awhile. I am sure that there will be much for me to catch up on when I return. This Notebook sure is an active and fun place and I know that I will miss it.

When I get back I hope to go at my Novel with renewed energy and while i'm away I plan to sketch up the worlds and cultures and characters for my next project as well as some questions on probability/possibility for a couple of friends. Also plan to drag along a short that I wacked out. I think it's interesting and plan to submit it.

Take care all

Keith M. Sat Aug 15 20:28:23 PDT 1998

Hello. I'm totally new to this "notebook" place, but it appears to be a place where one can recieve criticism on a work one has.

I am currently attempting to write a novel, and have recently passed 20,000 words. It is in the Fantasy/Adventure genre. I have found that although I know exactly where I want to go with the book starting from two chapters away, I cannot even begin the chapter I am currently on.

This chapter I am working on (6) holds some valuable information that I know must be presented to the reader so as to give them a stronger understanding of the world around my characters, but each time I delve into the chapter, it becomes boring and drags the plot. I know almost exactly what I want for chapters 7, 8, and 9, but with my writing style that occasionally throws things in at random to make an interesting twist in the story I could never have planned out, I hesitate to leave a "blank spot" in the chapters.

I would greatly appreciate any help on how to fire up the
'ol creative juices when one hits a truly dry spell in between fast-paced storyline.

Well, thanks in advance!

Keith Mercik
aspiring novelist

p.s. please reply to my e-mail

Lisa Sat Aug 15 15:49:52 PDT 1998

Hello, y'all! Checking in as an excuse not to write, of course. I've been in a bit of a dry spell lately. I hope to clear that up once school starts, when I'll write with fiery determination and passion- anything but do my homework, you understand.
K.C. and Goodweed- It isn't so much that I'm young or a girl (although that's pretty bad too), it's that everyone in my class has been taking karate for ever. They're almost all blackbelts! ...And not just a simple *blackbelt*, but like *third degree* blackbelts.
IE: Have you ever looked around a room and realized that any one of the ten or fifteen people there could kill you if they felt so inclined? It's a rather shaky feeling, and though I know it's stupid it still bothers me. ::shrug::
In regards to archery, when I was little and living in Upperstate New York, my dad and I used to go in the woods out back and pretend we were (if you'll excuse the term) Indians. Me, I've always liked shooting tree stumps. :) Sadly, I haven't picked up a bow in quite a while. The only things to shoot around here are the neighbors. (Hmmm...)
E. W. Swinhart- Sounds like you're in a real pickle! You might want to check out *Novel and Short Story Writer's Market*, but I don't know if will help. Your work counts as either a novlette (7,000 to 25,000 words) or a novella (7,500 to 40,000 words)- according to Writer's Digest's *Getting Published: What Every Writer Needs To Know*- so there may not be anything in N&SSWM that will do you any good. Wish I could help you. :\
Well, I hope everyone has a peachy day!


Barb G Sat Aug 15 09:37:32 PDT 1998

Hi Y'all,

Thanks Jack, I needed that assurance. I love debating and hashing over a subject until it feels right.

Rachel: What I read was terrific, just some little things here and there. I call them nigglin' things. I'll e-mail if you want to have my suggestions. Please let me know.


E. W. Swinhart None Sat Aug 15 08:50:36 PDT 1998

I am both a published author (3 domestic magazine articles) and fotog (published in many foreign countries via stock photo agencies).

I am certain anyone doing these projects are doing it for self gratification and not for the money because "there ain't that much money for us average folk".

To some, my experience might seem as though I know my way around, but I don't. I'm still in the dark about the most basic things.


F'rinstance: I have written a piece which (I think) is in the "Creative History" category. That is; the events described actually happened (during WWII at an Army Air Force Base in NV). The dialogue I have used fits snugly with the events, but cannot be classified as being word for word what was actually said at the time.
I would like to make certain of the "Creative History" classification for this piece.

Second F'rinstance: I find my creative juices drying up after about 40 pages or so (the above article is 10,720 words). What is it called? A novella? short story?

Third: Where do you sell this piece? "Writers Market" advertises on their front cover how to sell "..books, short stories, novels,...", but makes no further mention elswhere in the book.
Most of the publishers listed in the book state they want either "up to 6,000 words", or (on their rejection letters)tell you they want 50,000+ words.
Agents won't take on a project of under 50,000 words.
So, where do you sell 10,000 words?

If anyone has answers, I'd appreciate a line.

merci beaucoup,

E. W, Swinhart

E. W. Swinhart None Sat Aug 15 08:50:24 PDT 1998

I am both a published author (3 domestic magazine articles) and fotog (published in many foreign countries via stock photo agencies).

I am certain anyone doing these projects are doing it for self gratification and not for the money because "there ain't that much money for us average folk".

To some, my experience might seem as though I know my way around, but I don't. I'm still in the dark about the most basic things.


F'rinstance: I have written a piece which (I think) is in the "Creative History" category. That is; the events described actually happened (during WWII at an Army Air Force Base in NV). The dialogue I have used fits snugly with the events, but cannot be classified as being word for word what was actually said at the time.
I would like to make certain of the "Creative History" classification for this piece.

Second F'rinstance: I find my creative juices drying up after about 40 pages or so (the above article is 10,720 words). What is it called? A novella? short story?

Third: Where do you sell this piece? "Writers Market" advertises on their front cover how to sell "..books, short stories, novels,...", but makes no further mention elswhere in the book.
Most of the publishers listed in the book state they want either "up to 6,000 words", or (on their rejection letters)tell you they want 50,000+ words.
Agents won't take on a project of under 50,000 words.
So, where do you sell 10,000 words?

If anyone has answers, I'd appreciate a line.

merci beaucoup,

E. W, Swinhart

Goodweed of the North Sat Aug 15 06:49:48 PDT 1998

K.C. and Lisa. You don't have to be a young teenager to feel out of place in Martial Arts. I took judo about twenty years ago and was fairly good at it. After I stopped, it took me until I was about 39 years of age before I started Kuk Sul Won with my kids. Because I didn't have anywhere to put them while I attended the adult class, I went to the kids class. The kids were aged from about five years old to 15 years of age. I was of course a beginner in this new form and so started as a white belt. Though my previous training was invaluable for such techniques as take downs and falling, it left me totaly unprepared for other aspects of Kuk Sul. Like you, I felt out of place. But I got over it, progressed, and when my children got old enough to move up to more adult training, I went with them. I thoroughly enjoy Kuk Sul.

K.C. Archery, like martial arts requires discipline. It is an art of consistancy and concentration. Your only competitor is your own body. When you master yurself, your arrows will strike where you want them to. I have been shooting a bow for most of my life. I was at one time an excellent archer. Now I don't practice enough. I don't miss the target, but I can no longer place ten arrows in a three inch diameter circle from 40 yards. When I was able to do that, I was practicing a minimum of 3 to 4 hours a day. Now I put that effort (at least 2 housrs a day) into my writing.

In anything you want to succeed in, you must practice, and strive to improve. Good luck and most of all, have fun at it. I sure do. I still go out about twice a week and try to kill the hay bails with arrows.

Sorry everyone else. I know this was off topic, but K.C. and Ramey touched some fond and current memories and passions. The lessons learned from those two activities can be applied to writing as well. Only one thing will make us better writers, practice, practice, and more practice.

Seeeeeya; Goodweed of the North

K.C. Ramey Sat Aug 15 01:12:06 PDT 1998

Hi all,

I'm not going to even try to figure out what is happening. I have been away from the computer for a while and when I am working on it, it crashes!! What a pain. Lucky for me my dad has built many computers (seeing as we have 5 of them). Why did it have to be MY computer that crashed. So I am stuck using my dad's computer (only other one with Internet access) until he completely formats mine. I wouldn't mind so much if he wasn't always complaining about papers on his desk being moved. "But Dad, I needed to be able to SEE the keyboard!!" So now I have the lovely task of trying to get every file I want to keep saved on discs. I hope I don't forget something. Oh well, enough with my ranting and raving.

Lisa - Take heart. I am the only girl in my Butokukan class. And I am the only new person. What fun. I do like the fact that if I get mad at my boyfriend I can beat him up in class. "Opps, did I do that?!" Na, I would never hurt him. Keep it up though, karate is great for story writing. So is Archery. They are finally making an archery group at the sportsman club my family belongs to. I already shoot guns there and now I get to do Archery (which I like a lot better than shooting a gun). I want to go see one of the black powder competitions because they have to do everything authentic, clothes and all. They have to hand sew their own clothes and make everything themselves. Talk about interactive learning! You get to see the genuine article. People in old fashion clothes, made the old fashion way, shooting old fashion guns. I want my computer!!! I want to write my stories. I am really whining! Oh, well. Maybe I should kick my brother off of his. Now that's an idea.

Got to go steal . . . um, I mean borrow my brother's computer. Have a great day, K.C.

Lisa Fri Aug 14 21:42:27 PDT 1998

Hey, everybody! I haven't been around *here* in a while. ::glances around at the smoking trenches and the Batteries poised for attack just off the battlefield:: Looks a bit different. Did I miss something?
:) In news of me that I for some reason feel like relating (get your little notebooks and pencils ready), I started karate yesterday. I'm so happy! The only thing is, everyone in my class is either a brown or a black belt and about twenty years older than me. I also get the strange suspicion that a good half of them are cops. I feel reeeeally out of place.
Anyway! Mick- I do know what you mean about the gender thing, actually. I don't understand men at all, and I tend to make them rather effeminate in both my writing and my sketching. I have spent *hours* of annoyance trying to decide whether I should draw a man's eyes with eyelashes or not.
There are, however, some authors that write from the viewpoint of the opposite gender so well that I have mistaken the *author's* gender until usually halfway through the book (which is when I often become curious and look at the about the author). L.E. Modesitt Jr and J.V. Jones spring immediately to mind.
Olivia- Seems to me I always get sick when I tell someone I never do. Hmm...
On topic- I agree with the idea of interactive research. There's a lot of stuff that can't be written about until it's experienced. Which makes writing extremely frustrating for a 14-year old stuck at home all day because both parents work. ...At least I can write convincingly about boredom, right? :P
Aright, I had best go snore for a few hours before karate tomorrow morn. Don't want to humiliate myself any more than I absolutely have to. ::sigh::


Jack Beslanwitch Fri Aug 14 20:20:51 PDT 1998

Hello everyone: Philip, good to hear from you. Hayden, is cool. It is interesting how what purports to be a bit of a flame war here would even be a ripple in the water at virtually any other mailing list. So be at ease. Remember that this is freedom hall. You can spit on the floor and call the dog a bastard. So, enjoy the quirks and excesses that we might indulge ourselves in here.

I've gotten my car back and after the other persons insurance company paid out $3300 in damages I now have a brand new just like new Honda Civic. Cool.

And my desktop (Pentium II 400, 128 megs of ram, Starfighter AGP video card with 8 megs of ram) is all stable and running like a banshee. I tested Infini-D and Bryce 3D on it and rendered 3D objects in lightning speed. So, now I can get back on track, catch up the link requests, get the password Workbook area going, pick up on four different contracts and have some fun and breathing space somewhere in there somewhere.

Just as an aside, I am doing a review of Photoshop 5.0 and Redneck Rampage Rides Again (no bucks, but get the software). Redneck Rampage is lude crude and thoroughouly socially unacceptable but is beautiful on this new machine. Take care everyone and happy that as bad as things were looking there for about three weeks, things are definitely beginning to look up now. I am just on my way out the door to go see the Avengers, despite the thumbs down reviews. Being a fan of the old show when it first appeared in the 60s, I will like it whatever they do with it.

Oh, and Ben, I will look forward to your call on Sunday. If anyone else wants to join in either give me a call (206) 723-9906 or email me. Well, enough blathering on. Take care all.

Mick Fri Aug 14 15:00:18 PDT 1998

Lo All

God, I wish I had never opened this can of worms, however...
Hayden, I never suggested that we can't know the opposite gender, I suggested that we can't know what it's LIKE to be the opposite gender. I know, specifically, what it is like to be one man, I have a general idea of what other men think and feel, I, and all other men, have no idea at all of what it is LIKE to be a woman, what women think and feel. I can ask, and get a rough idea, but it will not have the emotion and colour that lay behind a woman's thoughts and feelings. The same can be said about women trying to find out about what it really is like to be a man.


Rachel Fri Aug 14 08:45:16 PDT 1998

Hi all

Well I take it from your complete lack of response that there was nothing horrificly wrong with the chapter I left. Either that or it was so long and dull (I know it's a rather dull chapter) that all your brains melted and leaked out your ears and your are now unable to think.

I think that I will go with the it's complete perfection and none of you have any complaints theory, that one works well for me.

On the gender thing. I plan to have the story read over by a couple of men and if they don't like the thought processes or wording I will gladly take any advice on the male voice that they are willing to offer. I think that after I have my feedback that there will be some changes. Also working on overall flow.

I will be off on vacation in just afew days and am busy packing. We are off to Canon Beach, Oregon. A beautiful place that I would recommend to anyone.

Take care all

Ben Woestenburg Thu Aug 13 22:51:12 PDT 1998

Jack: No problems about phoning you. I'll phone you Sunday night and let you suggest a place for us to meet (hopefully a good pub lunch because I'll be hungry and plenty thirsty). I love good ol' Yankee beer because it's so weak and tastes so good(joke).

I've been working on this story called ST.FREDA, about a young gfirl in Manchuria 1937. It's a stroy I've had inmy head for a number of years in all sorts of different incarnations. I'll bring you a part of it so you can check it at your liesure. I have no way of getting onto the page with a story, so if you wanna post it up for me, I have no problems with that. I'm at work right now. I can't believe how great it's been here this week. The temperature's a balmy 80(F), and the water in the river's at least 68. If you fall in, you don't actually mind. It's a far cry from the 39(F) or so each winter. I've got a lot of time to work on my story on this job too. I print it up at home and then re-read it and make corrections here at work, sitting down with a cup of coffee and watching the sun sink into the western sky. The mountains and water make for some pretty good sunsets.

I look forward to talking with you Jack and will see you on Monday!

Hayden Thu Aug 13 21:21:44 PDT 1998

I see no war zone!!!!
(Maybe I should wear glasses)

I definitely do NOT want to RESEARCH back through the posting to see why everyone is having a go at Gary--just let him be, gang.

If we, with our civil tongues and carefully constructed sentences, cannot have an opinion put forward for open discussion, then um...oh, ummm.... well just ummm, okay.

As to writing male and female characters, I have four brothers and five sisters, and I know them so well that I could (I think) write from their perspectives without doing them a dis-service. So don't think it can't be done, and done well enough. (Sure I'm blowing my own trumpet, but then again, when you drive a Porsche, you are allowed to do that sort of thing.) The difficulty comes when you try to write a character who is neither male nor female, and believe me, they are the most interesting ones of the lot. Try writing about a woman who has gone through a gender change (which I had to do for Supplejack) and you will see how much you really know about either gender. Cliches off please...and leave out the dirty words.

As Philip says, the real writing, and the intense looking at the human "soul" so to speak, is when your writing takes you into places you were not expecting. That is where research, hard thinking, and a lot of beautiful writing comes in to play.

That and chocolate biscuits and hot coffee, of course.

We have had to reformat our c: drive at home, so all email lost. Can those of you who normally send me personal email please do so again at any of my old addresses.

Catch ya
Hayden Gainlaw

W. Olivia Race Thu Aug 13 20:25:22 PDT 1998

Hello all. I am back (barely) after a hellacious illness that left me bedridden for darn near two weeks. Frustrating and annoying because I never get sick. Also I haven't had the chance to write (although I did get a few rejection letters -- they made me feel SO much better). Anyway, I tried intense research in the middle of one short story. I learned a lot, but it got me off track from my story idea and now the short story is unfinished. This is probably because I did it "bass ackwards" and tried research after the story was started but hey! I like to live dangerously.

Most of my stories are dark fantasy so my research just involves keeping my supernatural content "real" and consistant if that makes sense.

Anyway, thanks for letting my sound off on the keyboard. Geez I missed this.

Philip Thu Aug 13 17:07:27 PDT 1998


Research: as a writer I regularly take my stories into areas which I know nothing about... so I simply research those areas

Another war zone?

No, its just a Gary S mumbling rude utterances ... again.

Hello Kitty ... Hayden!


Mick Thu Aug 13 15:12:18 PDT 1998

I know this aint literature, but I believe men and women are so different that perhaps they are different species that happen to need each other.


Thu Aug 13 14:46:08 PDT 1998


Check out Wally Lamb's "She's Come Undone". This is an excellent book, and Lamb captured a woman's point of view so well I *almost* had to wonder about him! :)

Actually, I'm working on some male point of view stuff myself right now, and it has been interesting getting feedback on the work from a couple of men...

Research: I agree wholeheartedly with Kitty; we have the capacity, if we choose to employ it, to research, every single moment of our lives. Waking or asleep.



Lydia Sweet Thu Aug 13 14:37:37 PDT 1998

Yes, Mick

I have noticed the difference in the male version of women and the female version of men.

Men write women who are incredibly beautiful and subservient and women write men who are too good to be true. Of course in a perfect world? (Tongue is in cheek. Smile).


S.N.Arly Thu Aug 13 14:26:28 PDT 1998

Mick - I dunno, I've found very believable characters of both genders written by both genders. I've also found some that... well, let's just say they stretch credibility (and poetic license) and leave it at that. Other than what our culture tells us to believe about ourselves (and then, not all of us buy it), I don't really think we're all that different.

All - Have a nice weekend. I'm headed to Northern WI for a relaxing weekend on,in and near the lake. Get to play with the personal watercraft in a biiiig lake this time. I hope to complete at least one short story and get one, maybe two others started, despite the distractions. No phone, so I'll have to catch up with you all Monday.

And speaking of poetic license, how often do we have to renew? Is there a test involved? What's the fine for writing without a license? Writing under the influence? If you make too many bad puns with your license be revoked?

Greg Butchers Thu Aug 13 13:54:36 PDT 1998

Hi Guys

I haven't logged on in a while and I seem to have stumbled into a war zone. In my opinion all knowledge is good knowledge, its so facto all research is good. As my old granny used to say "Do what you can, when you can, but don't get caught" I don't think the last bit's relevant but she is 93.
As for the less than friendly postings.I have no problem with people having a go at each other, but as we are all meant to be or are aspiring to be writers, I would expect it to be of a slightly higher standard than "time of the month jokes". No offence intended obviously. Barb G I may be wrong, but didn't you receive a snooty mail a few months back, not that I'm saying it's all your fault of course. (And because there are no visual or oral clues, you can construe to your hearts content.) Of course if it wasn't you accept my humblest apologies for my ignorance.
And now for something completely different.
I noticed a few days (possibly weeks) back people where talking about finding time to write. Well my wife and kids have been away for two whole days and I have managed to write for about an hour - in fact about the same time I've been on this site tonight. It seems I can only write when I know I should really be doing something else. But I have achieved something - I've sent off my first short story to a publisher/magazine. So now I suppose I have to wait for months to get the "No thanks letter".
That's it for now, I'll pop my head back out the trenches latter.

Mick Thu Aug 13 13:23:54 PDT 1998

Lo all

At last everything with the move is done, until the missus finds something else, and I can get down to reading the notebook and getting some writing done. It seems the debate is over research, and writing what you know. That's OK, but, how about science fiction and fantasy, certainly the scientific facts and old mythology can be researched, but then you have to get down to a lot of ,knoweledgeable? invention. And how about writing from the point of view of the opposite gender? I have no idea of what it is to be a woman and no woman knows what it is to be a man, nor shall we ever, yet we have women writing male characters and men writing female characters. To me male characters written by women never seem true, because I know what it is to be a man. I am sure all you women out there can say the same for the reverse.


Barb G. Thu Aug 13 13:06:01 PDT 1998

Hi Y'all,

Well, I've stepped in it now, haven't I?

Gary: Unless I'm mistaken (and I've been mistaken before) these pages are for lively discussions about writing. If I pushed your sensitivity buttons -- good for me! Got the juices flowing didn't I? Now go write a short story about bitches!

K.C. & Snarly & All: Research (that nasty word) comes in many forms. Doing is great. Reading is great. Observing is great. The beauty of writing when it comes right down to it is that once you are alone facing that screen, hunched over the keyboard, you can do whatever the hell you want to. If you want to wing it, wing it. If you want to load yourself down with reading, read on. If you want to prowl around a majestic old castle, prowl. If you want to ride a horse or go up in a balloon, that's wonderful. It all fits in the same category.

So, calm down Gary. If you had mentioned the script of "Sling Blade" rather than the movie, I might have been easier on you. You don't have to do one bit of research if you don't want to.


Jen Thu Aug 13 10:36:48 PDT 1998

Kitty: Well said!

K.C. Ramey Thu Aug 13 10:28:56 PDT 1998

Ugh - research. I think that research became sort of a torturous thing to me due to school. You have to have so many references and you have to look up what they want you to. If I was given free choice on subject I don't think I would have minded much. I do some research for my self like reading books on mythological animals and fun stuff like that. I agree with the research of learning by doing. with Search and Rescue I have had great opportunities to learn about people. I know what certain age groups and professions do when they are lost in the woods. I know a lot about Alzheimer. I have had the chance to talk to coroners and find out what happens to a body after it dies. I know a whole lot on scent theory and the abilities of a dog. I have been riding horses since I was 5 and know about all the gates of a normal horse and a gated horse (major difference). I am learning to shoot guns. From small hand guns and revolvers to rifles. I have done some archery and I can always ask my mom if I need to know more about it for a character that uses a bow and arrow. I have been in 3 different styles of karate and that has improved the fighting in my stories. I know a lot about depression, ADHAD, and a variety of phobias from being around my brother and I plan on writing his Biography some day. I have done a lot of stuff like thin in my short 16 years on earth and I plan on doing a whole lot more. I don't mind that type of research but I can't stand reading some of those really wordy reference books. Well I have taken up enough space.


Kitty Thu Aug 13 09:36:31 PDT 1998

I think the criteria for research should be the need for knowledge whether you are writing contemporarily or historically. And there is more to research than opening books. Choreographing a fight scene with a martial arts expert IS research. Clambering around a castle IS research. Observing what is around you and being exquisitely aware of the data your senses are taking in IS research (I'm thinking about the smell of eucalyptis in the air in San Francisco, the clarity of light in Italy, etc..) The point of research, IMHO, is to maintain credibility and that sense of recognition and commonality. However, for the writer of historicals, whether the torridly romantic or more grounded in history variety, research is essential simply because the reader who loves historicals generally knows something about their favored period. Nothing will throw you out of the magic of a story than a jarringly inaccurate detail, like the lusty lord and lady writhing about on satin sheets in 10th century Scotland--ick!
Going back to the start of this discussion,the quote "write what you know," I think it is taken too literally. Perhaps the speaker wasn't so much exhorting the aspiring writer to confine himself to the narrow scope of his own experiences, but encouraging him to go out, live, observe, learn, listen to the world around you, take it all in and spit it back out on paper. Jack London, Mark Twain, and Earnest Hemingway all wrote what they knew. On the other hand,Bret Harte, who never left the big city, wrote some of the most thrilling wild west tales but he knew how to listen to travellers from the West and he knew how to tell a tale.

As to whether a post was snarky or not, I would gently remind everyone that though this is a forum for discussion, we are bereft of those visual and oral clues that often help convey the meaning of the speaker. It is a limitation of htis medium. We read these posts and interpret them according to our state of mind, mood, etc... If a post hits a discordant note, I prefer to give the writer the benefit of the doubt or simply respond with a "I'm confused. What did you mean by that?" One aspect I admire greatly about this site is the extreme civility of the participants, especially in the midst of our lively debates. I hope it will continue.

Thu Aug 13 09:36:25 PDT 1998

Thu Aug 13 09:35:24 PDT 1998

Jen Thu Aug 13 07:15:14 PDT 1998

I don't think Barb was being sarcastic either. Research for historicals is an absolute must. Contemporaries can be written with little or no research, as Snarly alludes to by mentioning how he is well versed in electronics and other things. He can write knowledably about it with little or no research.

S.N.Arly Thu Aug 13 06:57:13 PDT 1998

Gary - Sounds like you need to go back and re-read Barb's post. I don't think she was being smart-assed. But then if you interpreted it that way, maybe you need to take some Midol yourself.

Barb - If the means aren't present I can be patient. I've made most of my major life decisions base don what I can learn and how it will advance my writing. I'm also not above calling in favors.

My brother taught me to sail, he also taught me about basic electronics. I'm involved with a local amateur/ham radio club and I've improved my electronics there. I quiz the docs where I work for the plausibility of certain things. I've even gotten them to read for me once in a while. I'm still waiting to go horseback riding with someone who has a clue. I've got a couple good prospects there. Karate has improved my fight scenes immeasurably (we usally walk through them to see how well they work). I do what traveling I can, and there's a lot to learn in just that. I'm saving up for another trip to Europe, as it's been nearly ten years. Just being places/experiencing life can be research.

If I really need info or experience and can't get it any other way, I may resort to the book method, but it really is my last option. I know enough people with varied enough interests that I can usually get help from someone. And they all like to help. Someday I'll be famous (or so they think) and they can say they knew me when I had no clue about horseback riding.

I also keep files of stuff. Literally. Anytime I run across information that I think may be useful in the future, into the file it goes. I keep a database of names. I read a lot and pick up information there, as well. I guess if you're looking for it, you'll find the wherewithall or the patience.

Barb G. Wed Aug 12 20:27:41 PDT 1998

When you adress a comment to me I respond to it. I didn't direct my original observation on research to you, specifically, but you did direct your response to me. I didn't enjoy your smart-assed remark about having only a movie to use an example. I suppose you believe that a movie doesn't carry the credibility of one of your "period" pieces. Are you having one now?


Barb G. Wed Aug 12 16:04:07 PDT 1998

Hi Y'all,

Gary: You sound like a knowledgeable man. Surely you figured out that I was writing about "reasearch" for period pieces, i.e., books and stories. Research is not needed for contemporary writing (unless you live in a cave.) It's a shame you had only a movie to make your point...

Snarly: What if you don't have to the wherwithall to GO?

Edo: Don't I wish!


Jack Beslanwitch Wed Aug 12 15:37:44 PDT 1998

Ben: I concur that Pike Place Market would be a good place to meet, but virtually impossible to figure out where to meet. We are talking about a spot with several hundred to several thousand people milling around on three and more levels. I say again, please give me a phone call (206) 723-9906 so we can arrange for a definitive way to meet up. Take care.

Colleen Wed Aug 12 07:54:56 PDT 1998

There is no end to the exploits of the infamous Hayden. Much like "Matilda", vanishing into the the wonders of the
open road. As has been state previously, I am glad to see you are back. I am sure your presence was missed at home as well and it is always a welcome moment when the lost lamb returns.
Thank you for the descriptions and commentary on your visits. I think that is where I lay in the field of research. I have to see things for myself and then create my stories. I can do research, but this often leaves out the subtle sensory subtlties that only a real experience can provide. Few and far between are those who can really pull off the pure research works of fiction. A writer I heard speak once said she kept a notebook with her and when I heard excerpts from it, and then how it was used in her writing, it was powerful. Even when I am teaching I may get an inspiration for a story idea, I scribble it down on a piece of scrap for later use. My kindergarteners get used to this after a while, all of a sudden in the middle of an activity I say,"thats a great story idea!" They help me remember it sometime until I write it down. I am also amazed at how my love of writing flows over into the classroom. It is so amazing to see the children all laying around the room in their special spots, writing and listening to music. For some of them this may mean scribbles, or pictures or a few consonants representing their thoughts. As long as they can tell me their story it is fine. What is really neat is when I go to stop the process and there are those who yell out "No, I'm not done yet....." Just had to share this as the school year is beginning and my two loves, writing and children come together again. Also, I often get my story inspirations by getting the title first. Does anyone else experience this? Just wondering. Bye for now, Colleen

Edo Wed Aug 12 07:25:46 PDT 1998

I have been told many a time: "write about what you know." When I am not being a writer I work as an IT consultant. I could use this knowledge in a story pertaining to the computer world. However, I have chosen to write about something that I no nothing about. In order for me to do this well, I have absorbed myself in related material. Being pessimistic I have always thought that if I don't actually get this manuscript published I have learn about something I previously new nothing about.

Can we help each other with research?

I'm off to Rodes, Greece, on Saturday. Does anyone need any research material?

S.N.Arly Wed Aug 12 07:11:03 PDT 1998

If you're like me, and I know I am, interactive research is the only way to go.

So you have characters who ride horses? Go ride some horses just to see. Using sailing in a story - go, learn from someone who knows how. You don't need to go out in the ocean by yourself in a Sunfish - unless you feel it's really integral to the story.

Gary - Weird how much more we use those digits than we realize, until we maul 'em.

ben woestenburg Wed Aug 12 00:28:46 PDT 1998

Jack: I'mat work again sneaking onto the web and hoping this goes through. So far it looks like everything will be a go as far as next week is concerned. My friend says he hopes to be leaving here at around ten or eleven, so will be able to meet you for lunch sometime around two or something. He suggest Pike's market. I said fine. You'll like him. I'm looking forward to meeting you, andI want to bring a camera so I can get a picture of you, but I know I'll forget it. I always do.

I've been writing as much as I can, but with summer holidays and tje little woman working as much as she is, it's hard to find the time. I'm on steady afternoons for the summer while the kids are out so that there's always someone around, and I find myself falling asleep at the keyboard more often that not. I guess staying up til four and getting up at nine or ten is taking its toll on me. But no matter. I still plug on. I'm into short stories and though I can't seem to write as many as I want to, or as fast as I can, I still manage to get them out. I haven't sold any yet, so consequently I still have long hair (which of course the wife hates with a passion), but I think its only a matter of time.

I hope to be going to the Surrey Writer's Conference again this year. This has got to be one of the best conferences around according to the writers, editors and agents that attend it. They all tell us that at other conferences it seems the writers are treated as special entities, while up here, they are here primarily for the wirters. They have an excellent selction of workshops and genre luncheons. Maybe you can make it up here Jack? It takes place in October and lasts three days. I want to go all three days because I've never been able to before, but I'll be happy just to make it ofr two -- although I know I'll have to settle for one.

As for the research subject I think I have to add -- like so many others have that I chanced to see as I was gleaning through the entries -- that I love it. I don't think you can write an honest story without knowing what you're talking about. How can you write about the second world war or the first world war if you don't know anything about it? How can you talk about the south Pacific islands if you don't know the names of any?

But that's all I have the time for right now. Hopefully I'll be able to get back here again and read through some more of the entries, but in the meantime, I have to report back to my job because it's almost time for me to go home. I don't have the car tonight so I'm getting a ride up the hill and then I'll be walking the rest of the way. But that's my choice. I find the walk relaxing. It only takes about half an hour or forty-five minutes. I guess I can use the exercise.

See you later, Ben.

Gary S Tue Aug 11 20:34:18 PDT 1998


I guess I must explain myself further on the subject of research. It depends on what you do and what your methods are.

Alluding to your file cabinets, you seem to put great store in fact gathering. Other writers are not so dedicated to facts or in great need of them. I offer almost any King story as evidence. A good example (not of King) is the screenplay for "Slingblade" Rent that video and take notes on how many "facts" are used in its making. Don't bother to sharpen your pencil.


As a father might do with a wayward son who has given him a great scare by wandering off, I will simply say I am glad you are back.

I can't do more of this typing right now. I have a forefinger which has become a fishing casualty and this is a very clumsy process. I am retyping every other word.



Rachel Tue Aug 11 17:20:00 PDT 1998

Hi all

I left what I call a chapter in the Workbook. I was wondering if it is really one chapter or if it should be broken up into a couple of different ones. It by the way is chapter two.

I would appreciate any words of wisdome or writing tips that you've got.

Those of you who gave me writing tips last time will see that in this post they are in action. At least I hope they are.

Yikes, I still feel sick putting something out there for people to read, hope one day that goes away, or when I one day publish I will have to put another bathroom in my house just for me to throw up in.

Tell me what you think.


Goodweed of teh North Tue Aug 11 15:43:39 PDT 1998

You just can't completely get away from research. I'm fortunate in that I have always loved to read scientific as well as fantastic material. By fantastic, I mean such things as mythology, far fetched tales, and fantasy. I have been reading about science in nearly every form since early childhood. Even so, I find that sometimes I have forgoten a key piece of information for my science-fiction story, or one of my fantasy works. Thus, the research.

Generally, I have enough background to handle most things which come up. Sometimes though, I need to research the present to extrapolate the future. By using present knowledge to create something new in my futureristic world, I have had the immense joy of seeing actual parallel research taking place in the real world. For instance, when I first started my sci-fi story, I included a paper which contained pressure sensitive micro-circuits imbeded in a flexible membrane, a computer-book if you will. The name of course for my "book" is more eloquent of course. The point is however, that such a creation is being developed at present. I have had other creative ideas ahead of their time and seen the actual idea brought to mass market by others. Oh for unlimeted research money and tools.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that recreational study educates one far beyond the needs of the mundane. Learn anything and everything you can about everything. Learn History, genetics, macro/micro sociology, medicine, physics, how to tan leather, primitive survival skills, etc. These things bring a story to life. What is a detective who can not recognize the bitter almond scent of arsenic. How can a character be believable in the deep, primitive forest without knowing simple survival techniques. The more knowledge you have, the more intelligence you can infuse into your characters. I find pure study boring. Yet, I recieve popular science monthly, and have consumed every issue for 15 years. I have written computer programs in C++, Assembly, Basic, Atlas, etc. I even created a tracking unit for my senior electronics project at my alma-mater. The work was sometimes tedious. The results were spectacular. The darn thing worked flawlessly. My characters could design a solar powered refrigerator if asked to. Why, because I could.
Give yourself every chance for success. Study doesn't hae to be dry. Find something interesting. It can be micro-biology, or the history of the Lacota Sioux. It doesn't matter.

I now find that I must research once more. The characters in my current fantasy project are engaging in swordplay, something I know very little about. I need to learn the language.

I hope this wasn't too long. I know I can be rather verbose at times. Welcome back to the man from ... where is Hayden/Gainlaw from anyway? Certainly not Snowy River. No place to drive a porsche there. Better invest in a Mohler Car. Lets see if you can find what that is, heh heh heh.

Seeeeeeya; Goodweed of the North

S.N.Arly Tue Aug 11 15:19:22 PDT 1998

Hayden- Shaddup!

There, happy? So whose self esteem and confidence had you noticed creeping away? If you see it, step on its tail so it can't get out, then we'll figure out who it belongs to.

Lydia - I like a writer's group with a like-interest format. It's more useful to me. There are only three of us at the moment in my group, although we're working on one or two others we'd like to assimilate. Even still, the group is restricted to serious writers of SF & F. This gives us a bit more focus and purpose.

I think writing shorts can be very educational. In working on them, I have found flaws in my writing style that I can improve, and indeed have. You also need to keep in mind that shorts are dynamically very different, and so the style will not be the same. On one hand it's like learning to write all over again, and on the other it's just the same as always with fewer words. There's less description (which can be hard for me), less dialogue, less everything, but you still want to make an impact. Big impact in little space and time; this can be tough to accomplish initially. It is rewarding though. And I've been able to force more of my friends to read my shorts than my novels. Less of a committment, you know.

Lydia Sweet Tue Aug 11 14:50:03 PDT 1998

Hayden/Gainlaw just what are we to call this rowdy little fellow. I hear him gunning the engine on the virtual Porshe. He did a hit and run and is laughing his A off. That's ok, we will indeed get you back in one way or another and we are certainly glad to have you back.


Toby Buckell Tue Aug 11 14:34:03 PDT 1998

Hello all:

On the research, I too love to pick people's minds. Knowing people is the most important research. I had the oppurtunity to actually meet a living legend once, he was a character who had had half a book written about him. I didn't realize who he was until he started a story about a sail down to Florida with a friend who had just gotten out of the mental ward when a hurrincane struck. That's the beginning of the story, and as he is telling it I realize I had just read it only the previous week in one of my Insane Tales of the Caribbean books. Since then I have realized that some people are really interesting, and well worth knowing.

I've recently been running to get in shape for soccer, basically a 5k run to warm up then a mile sprint to see what my time looks like. I have the mile under seven minutes, I'm aiming for under six, which is required when I report in for pre-season. It's not fun, but I push my self on, the other few summers I skipped it and suffered in pre-season and got to warm the bench. The funny thing is that I'm writing more as I run more, I have more energy. I guess putting my nose to the grindstone by running is giving me this overall sense of quiet perserverence. This is strange, because at heart, I am basically a lazy person. My novel has jumped on ahead a few more chapters this week, and I may be moving onto the one third way mark before the week is up. Scary, I might have to actually finish the darn thing sometime soon.

Stranger things have happened, right, but I keep standing off to the side of the table and egging myself on as I write, in the same fashion, I might add, that I egg myself on as I play soccer. I think I am onto something :)

Good luck writing all...


Rachel Tue Aug 11 13:03:32 PDT 1998


Good to see you back, look forward to reading your notes again.

Take care

Gainlaw aka Hayden aka world hopper Tue Aug 11 12:54:51 PDT 1998

So, you might be asking, has the globetrotting, good-for-nothing, goddamn greasy groan-making gnome from the southern shores finally returned to home base? Guess I have, and I can see from some of the recent postings that it is high time I added a few words of wisdom to this wacky place. Illiteration aside, I can see a lack of self esteem and absent confidence creeping in here. Must be a terrible draught if you are standing near the door to your ego. Actually, if you attached a set of hanging chimes and a few wind instruments to the doorpost, you could have music playing and save on electricity bills.

Yes, I am being naughty, and I feel like the kid who has been out of the room and has to make a lot of noise so that everyone will notice he is back. You can all yell and say "shuddup" and I will notice you have missed me, and I can also get miffed at the abrasive response, and then I will feel both happy and sad at the same time.

So what has all this got to do with the business of writing?
Not much, except that we have to have at least some of those personality components (confidence, ego and self esteem--which are almost the same things) in place to give the worlds we create more complete "scenery" both physically and emotionally.

Or am I wrong?

Consider also, that if you do get published you will have to have those things in place to deal with a mob of rowdy fans who will more than willingly tell you what you have done wrong, or as someone has posted below, have some wonderful "expert" tell you whether the science is right and whether it is at all possible. The "facts" of your stories should be plausible, but not alway possible, otherwise magic becomes just a twisted form of physics, and popular fiction becomes something you have on toast because the arsenic is in the coffee.

So, at 5:48 am, it is about time I left this note in the page and went on to the important part of the day, namely, writing another 3 scenes for my novel. Adieu, and hello again.


Jack Beslanwitch Tue Aug 11 11:38:13 PDT 1998

Lydia: Short stories are some of the most difficult to do and the quickest to realize you are doing it wrong since they are so short and require such precision of language. So, I heartily applaud any efforts in the shortness realm. On the group itself. I was interested to know if any of the members of your group are published. In my own group, Writers Cramp, we have two that have been published and three that have been to Clarion. And since our focus is science fiction and fantasy we are a bit more targeted. Good luck and will be interested to hear how things go.

On music, I range from having classical (Dvorak's New World Symphony or Mozart via Amadeus), movie themes (Titanic and Amadeus would also fit here as well), New Age (Kitaro) and a scattering of Jethro Tull as in Songs From The Woods, Cat Stevens, Carol King, Joe Jackson's Heaven and Hell (if you have not heard this musical rendition of the seven deadly sins try it) and for desert Queen. I like others, but this gives a bit of a taste of what I will listen to as web design, write or enter posts here. Take care.


Lindy Briggs Tue Aug 11 10:26:23 PDT 1998

I'm new here, and just an amateur writer, so please forgive any unintentional mistakes I might make. I'm working on a short story-- if you can call it short-- and I'd like somebody to read it or the outline and tell me if I should give it up, or if it's worth anything.

Lydia Sweet Tue Aug 11 09:01:27 PDT 1998

Hi all,

The writers group was interesting to say the least, but not what I really had in mind.

The group consisted of 5 writers including myself for this particular evening. They were an older man and woman, (somewhere in there late 60's or early 70's) both of whom were writing their memories and very eloquent about it. The woman blew me away with her short story about taking wash to to the stream.

Then we had a man in his 40's that wrote poetry. Good prose and rythm but the content was hardly something I would want to curl up in front of the fire with. One was about the death of a rich man from syphillis and the second was about the execution of a black man for the rape of a white woman. Woeful at best.

Lastly was a young man in his late 20's or early 30's. The first thing you find out about him is that he is slightly slow or mildly retarded. He is very outspoken in manner, but his speech is slightly slurred and you have to listen closely to catch what he is saying in his rush. He writes about music and moralistic themes. It was difficult to tell the true quaility of his work because I was taking much of the time to decipher what he was saying, but the story he wrote had an excellent basis and with a tad of work would be great for the preacher to relate on a Sunday morning as the intro into the main sermon.

The host of the group, I was told, was absent due to heart problems, so no homework or projects were assigned. They meet again in 2 weeks. I think I will probably attend again, although this does not seem to be the type format I need for novel writing.

I might try my hand at a short story: strickly for the club meeting.



S.N.Arly Tue Aug 11 07:33:37 PDT 1998

Sometimes I just hate technology. In trying to upgrade Netscape, I've disabled my own internet capabilities. Three days of trying to use the "easy to install" CD that I received from the provider formerly known as Sprint Internet Passport, and now I'm down to using Netscape 2.5 on the laptop.

Lydia - I was actually thinking that description might solve the problem as effectivley (and maybe more so) than using actual names. I'm a description feind anyway, so it's the first way I try to solve nearly any problem.

I was thinking along the same lines as Lisa initially. It could be two kids, but it could be one kid and dad just remarried so his son would have a mother for the unpleasant part of child rearing (diapers, motor skill devel, and such).

Hope the writer's group went well. I admit I was more than a little uncertain on the first day of my writer's group. There are times when I'm still uncertain, especially if I'm not sure about the story I distributed the previous month. But, I've found it to be invaluable. Writers can give much better criticism. The average person might say, "I don't like it, but I can't tell you why." A writer could say, "Your sentence structure is very awkward in this key section, which makes it lose it's impact.

Barb - I don't usually listen to music when I write. In fact I avoid it. If the neigborhood is too noisy (lots of little kids) I may put on something without words (or I'm inclined to sing along and get distracted). I'll use it as a filter, so I keep it fairly quiet. Music of choice in these circumstances: Nearly antyhing classical, celtic music, renaissance music, etc along those lines.

On research- Science Fiction Age included an article this month on the accuracy (or inaccuracy) of some sci fi. They focused on TV and movie stuff, but applies anywhere. They were a bit critical of Star Trek, and found Babylon 5 to be the most scientifically likely. The writers did admit that one of the elements that keep slightly inaccurate shows going is the POSSIBILIY.

Ironically, I don't much care for a lot of hard core research, and I was a journalism major. I prefer to talk to experts, pick their brains as Lydia mentioned. It's more interesting and I think you get a lot more info than just reading dry text.

I'll research when I have to, because I believe you can't write about what you don't know, but it's not my favorite aspect of writing. There are a few things that do interest me enough to inspire me to research in depth, and those are the things I'm most liekly to use anyway.

Rachel Tue Aug 11 07:30:04 PDT 1998

Hi all

I am almost half way through the third draft and it is still going well.

I am feeling that after I get feedback from my three readers that I will make afew more changes and then I guess I get to live the adventure of the quest for pusblishing..

On research I think it's fun. History is a blast and I even enjoy reading manuals and policy books. Oh I can feel you all shuddering from here. Yah I know sounds dull, dull, dull but to me it isn't. I like to know about what I am doing, and don't mind digging in to find out, in fact very much enjoy it.

Have to admit that most of my research over the past few years has been into children and their behavioral challenges, commonly prescribed meds and dealing with FAS, FAE and mental and phsical disabilities. I find the notion of researching materials for a book of my own very exciting.

Take care all

Barb G. Tue Aug 11 07:12:12 PDT 1998

Hi Y'all,

Now that Jack has chosen the ugly "R" thing for the topic, I'm going to leap to another subject (it's my perverse nature, and nothing to do with the devil this time!) although it is the bane of my existence. I procrastinate 'til the very last possible minute and thereby make it into work rather than a romp through the library, but my views on it remain constant. To me, it's necessary.

New topic: (for moi) MUSIC! I find that any kind of music playing unobtrusively in the background eases my troubled spirit and soothes away the kinks of the real world while I'm composing prose. And -- I'm the mom who asked her children: "How can you do your homework with that #*%! sterio on so loud!!

Now I see. Most of the time I can't even discern the tune or the artist, but the rhythm and melodic thrum helps in some undefinable way. Only my need; maybe not yours. I will say this, though, bluegrass is the one God-awful form I cannot abide whether I'm writing or not.

Hey, Havahappi

Lydia Sweet Tue Aug 11 06:49:59 PDT 1998

Hi all,

I have put research down quite hard, but that doesn't mean I don't know the necessity or usefulness of good research. I love discovering interesting tidbits of information that blow away common perception of historical people. I found that many us form our opion from fiction and movies. How many times have we found the lies in those stories while researching. I don't like to read dry text. It is difficult for me. I am a vocal person as you may well have guessed by now. I love talking to someone who has the knowledge I seek and picking from them the points I seek. Also being able to debate facts and philosophy comes into play with an interactive discussion that takes away the drudgery of pouring over dry textbooks.

My thoughts only.


Lisa Mon Aug 10 21:41:06 PDT 1998

Check that- put the rabbit to *bed*, not to sleep. I'd never put my bunny down, even if he is mean, messy, and happens to shed more than both my dogs combined.
For real this time-

~Lisa :)

Lisa Mon Aug 10 21:35:23 PDT 1998

Hello, y'all! :) I'm finally back after just the *worst* weekend. I'm so happy to be home with my weird family and my killer rabbit I could just... er... check my email! Yeah!
Anyway! Lydia- I read both versions of your prologue. With the first one the idea that there could be two children wouldn't have crossed my mind without your post. Being a very lazy person, I would've assumed that his Lordship had married another woman in his dead wife's stead. The second version with the names was a great deal clearer, but were I thou I'd add descriptions of the two boys, too, to show relation (or that they're not related; whatever the case may be). You've got to make sure that all the lazy (and terribly sleepy) people like me don't get confused, 'cause when we do it comes naturally to blame the author and swear off every buying one of his/her books again.
It's America, baby! Groovy, baby, yeah!
Barb- As a history nut, I love to research. I get story ideas just from reading about fashions in the 1800's and stuff. It's great. :)
Well, well, well. Time to put the rabbit to sleep. I hope he doesn't bite me again. (Last time it drew blood. Vicious leepus.)

~Lisa :)

Jack Beslanwitch Mon Aug 10 21:05:02 PDT 1998

I am still largely computer deprived or, I should say, stuck to trying to work with my laptop. So, I was a little remiss in not noticing how large the Notebook had become. I have archived up until today and changed the topic to relate more to the discussion already in place. Let's keep it simple while I am still largely computer deprived and carry on what we have already been discussing. Research. Research. Research Anything and everything you might want to say or discuss about it. Most of the elements are in place for the Workbook to go private, but I want to wait until I have my desktop system up and stable so I can shepherd and maintain maintenance on a timely basis.

Also, Ben, I got your email and responded but have not heard anything back. Please call me at (206) 723-9906. I still would like to arrange for a get together.

Oh, final comment. Since I have been computer deprived of late I have been taking in a few of the movies. I strongly endorse seeing Saving Private Ryan. The first half hour is some of the best and most affecting movie making I have ever seen. Albeit quite violent. Take care and hope to have my real computer back soon.


Chris Tannlund Mon Aug 10 20:41:12 PDT 1998

Poetry submissions wanted! Tintern Abbey: The On-Line Journal of Contemporary Poetry seeks immediate submissions for our 10/1/98 debut issue, theme: "The October Project" - think autumn, harvest, homecomings, festivals, Halloween, life receeding toward winter in a fiery blaze of glory... Visit now for complete guidelines and list of future themes. New poets welcome. Debut issue submission deadline is 9/15/98, but we'd like to review as many submissions as possible before 8/31/98. Don't delay! Submissions for future themes can be sent at any time.

Barb G. Mon Aug 10 17:04:19 PDT 1998

Hi Y'all,

Gary: How can a fiction writer make his or her fiction believable without having some facts to hang the story onto. Even in Sci-Fi where almost anything goes, there has to be that core of actual science realism or possibility. Right? And you're absolutely right when you say no story should rely only on the research to move the bulk of the story-line.

I guess what it comes down to, is where do you stand? Do you research anything before you get into a new project?

I have this annoying habit of saving everything that crosses my desk. Research is a part of the reason my two file cabinets are bulging. But, I have gone to the well of knowledge and extracted bits and pieces here and there and used them in short stories. Research is never a waste of time (in my humble opinion). What do the rest of you think?

It would be interesting to know how you feel.

I'm going to download the entire workbook and take my time reading over the next few days. Write on!


Lydia Sweet Mon Aug 10 12:41:35 PDT 1998

Hi all,
SNarly, what if I left out the names and gave clearer descriptions of the children to maintain a little mystery?

I'm attending my first Writer's Club meeting tonight. Wish me luck. (she says with shaking knees.)


S.N.Arly Mon Aug 10 12:19:25 PDT 1998

Lydia - Checked the updated version. Including the names clears it up.

So what happens next, what happens next? huh? huh?

Lydia Sweet Mon Aug 10 09:24:34 PDT 1998

I have dropped the Prologue on the Workbook again with some very minor changes. See if this works.

Thanks Lydia

Rachel Mon Aug 10 08:08:57 PDT 1998

Hi all

I have completed the second and am into the third draft. I am feeling good about the way that things have come together.

I am also feeling very nervouse. I have found three people to read it over for me. That is a very strange feeling, knowing that it will soon be read.

Having all those nautious uncertain feelings, but i'm not stopping now. I have put alot of time and effort into this puppy and even if nobody else in the world likes it I know that I do.

Have begun to contemplate publishing and plan to go back and read over the archives for suggestions, but once I am into it I am sure that I will be here looking for much advice.

I should really get down to some editing as I don't have much time before the crew will awaken and then thats it for my writing time.

By the way I have decided that I love my minivan and really don't know what took me so long.

Take care all

S.N.Arly Mon Aug 10 07:45:12 PDT 1998

Lydia - Until I get further information, I see only one child, with the possibility of two. It's one of those things that wouldn't bother me (would almost be expected)in a story if it became clear shortly after that second scene. If you let it go too far without clarification, there will be people who think it's one child.

Goodweed - Can relate. Been there.

I'm currently having a lot of trouble with an "easy upgrade" to Netscape 4, provided by my Internet service. Easy my ass. Lost all my bookmarks, address book, and previously received e-mail (until I dug through the recycle bin for a while). "Takes less than 20 minutes" the packaging brags. I'm not a computer moran, the user is not broken, and I've spent several days on this stupid thing. The helpful friendly tech support guy told me that the CD does have known issues.

Grrreeeeaaat. Think I'll be going back to Netscape 3 as soon as I can delete all the new junk hogging my drive.

Lydia Sweet Mon Aug 10 06:38:08 PDT 1998

Hi all,

Seems to be some computers burning out, out there. You guys are pushing them hard. These things are terribly addictive.
I shudder to think what my family is going to be like once we have one of "them" in our home. We are all "off home base" addicts except my husband. But knowing him, once we get one in the house, he will fall victim also.

Jen thanks for all the help you have been on my story. I have never had so much fun and anticipation for something as watching my story take shape in black and white.

I am posting to the Workbook as very short prologue. Over the weekend I had some of my family read it. They seem the have some problem with clarity. Do you see two children or one?

Give me your opinion.

Thanks, Lydia

Goodweed of the North Mon Aug 10 04:56:12 PDT 1998

Hi everyone;

Hope all goes well with you and that your muse visits often.
My monitor is now useful as a boat anchor (too bad I don't have a boat). I am currently shopping for a new one and will be off the notebook until I purchase it. This of course will drive me nuts!

ve been going through notebook withdrawal since Thursday. I know I don't post much as when I do, I hope to add to the knowledge base here. However, I do read postings every day. Of course I can't now. I had to come to work a half hour early to get on this morning. It is now 7:55 a.m. and time to go to work. I'll be back! Aaaaaaahahahahaha.

Seeeeeeya; Goodweed of the North

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