Archived Messages - August 20, 1998 to September 2, 1998

Barb G. Wed Sep 2 14:44:42 PDT 1998

Hi Y'all,

Thanks Snarly for all your trouble. Truly mean it.

There is "common" law and "statutary" law regarding most things and this includes writing. With the common law your work is protected if the (c) copyright symbol is in place when the said work is published. Common law protects your work until your death and then fifty years thereafter.

It is the much simpler "common" law I was speaking of, though your information is great to have if we all go big-bucks one day where our work can be passed down in our estates. It is also protected there, too.

Thanks, again, Snarly for your trouble.

Havahappi and a cold one

S.N.Arly Wed Sep 2 14:12:13 PDT 1998

Sorry 'bout that undelining. Must not have closed the command.

S.N.Arly Wed Sep 2 14:10:45 PDT 1998

Copyright. Most people get all frothy about it and there's really not any reason to. I have been to the edge and back my friends and no, I'm not paranoid.. They really are out to get me. Or my stuff.

Ok, onto seriousness then. One might contact the library of congress (and let's see if I do this right...) Library of Congress. They like you to come to their site and gobble up info so you can send in your cash to get a de jure copyright on your stuff. The amount changes from time to time and last time I bothered to check it was around $25 or $30 (I don't remember numbers so you will want to check this out for yourself).

Another option is to pick up a mass media law text book from your local university. I actually took such a class in.... erg, 1993, I think. Very worth my time. This route gave me a pretty thorough understanding of Copyright law. The text Mass Media Law - Sixth edition, written by Don R. Pember, had a copyright of 1993. Let us move along to chapter 9, pages 455 to 498, shall we. This book is worth it just to get an understanding of laws pertaining to the media/print media without trying to actually decipher the leagalize. Not to say it's a child's fairy tale, but...

Anyway, there was a fairly significant law that came into effect in 1978. This law had a great deal to do with duration of copyright. You can see my previous post for that info. "What kinds of works are protected? The federal statute lists a wide variety of items that can be copyrighted, but this list is only illustrative. It includes:
1. Literary works
2. Musical works, including any accompanying words
3. Dramatic works, including any accompanying music
4. Pantomimes and choreographic works
5. Pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works
6. Motion pictures and otehr audiovisual works
7. Sound recordings" ( page 459).

The law specifically states that copyright covers "original works of authorship in any tangible medium or expression." Fixed tangible medium is defined as "sufficiently permanent or stable to permit it to be percieved, reproduced, or otherwise communicated for a period of more than a transitory duration."

What can't be copyrighted:
" 1. Trivial materials... titles, slogans, and minor variations on works in the public domain....
2. Ideas...
3. Utilitarian goods - things that exist to produce other things...
4. Methods, systems, and mathematical priciples, formulas, and equations...." ( page 460).

Copyright comes into effect at the instant of creation (I know this, but I can't find the actual page number or quote). If it was created after 1978 then it's good for such a long time who cares. I do believe there is a slightly shorter time span for works written under a pen name that is not public knowledge or some such thing. Don't feel like looking that one up either.

"In order for a work to be protected under copyright law, it must contain what is called a copyright notice." ( page 484). Proper notice includes the wordcopyright, the abbreviation Copr. or the circle c symbol (unless you're talking phono records). The year is needed, and the name of the copyright holder.

One disadvantage to registering witht he library of congress, is that if you sell your story you or the purchaser will need to pay to have the copyright changed to the proper owner. I think this is a $50 fee, but again I'm not sure.

There. That's my bit on copyright, again all in the USA. Hope it's helpful. Now I'm sick of the subject and won't look at it again for a while.


Works cited: Mass Media Law Sixth Edition; Pember, Don; Copyright 1993 Wm C. Brown communications Inc. Published by WCB Brown & Benchmark Publisher; Dubuque, IA

Fallingcow Wed Sep 2 13:41:00 PDT 1998

Hey everyone,

Getting directly to the subject, I am, as I mentioned in an earlier post, writing my first novel. The short stories I have written in the past seemed to have very little Dialogue in them, and I think this was because I was kind of afraid of it. I overcame that quickly when I started writing on this most recent project, and it now comes naturally to me. I had a lot of trouble with character description at first, but now that's getting easier. I'm having to go back and revise some of the prologue and first chapter to add descriptions. Another thing I had problems with was writing back story for characters. I have overcome that as well, and that is becoming easier too. I have yet to write an action scene, but it should be coming up in the next chapter. Since everything else is going well, I figure this must be the one I'll have trouble with. WISH ME LUCK!!!


Dallin Charvelle Wed Sep 2 13:05:45 PDT 1998

I have no idea about copyrights. In fact, most of my work might have already been stolen for all I know... stupid me.

S.K.S. Perry Wed Sep 2 12:38:20 PDT 1998

The following information is from the Copyright Website. Take a peek at

Copyright protects expression. The Copyright Act of 1976 states that the items of expression can include literary, dramatic, and musical works; pantomimes and choreography; pictorial, graphic and sculptural works; audio-visual works; sound recordings; and architectural works. An original expression is eligible for copyright protection as soon as it is fixed in a tangible form.

Consequently, almost any original expression that is fixed in a tangible form is protected as soon as it is expressed. For example, a graphic created in Photoshop is protected as soon as the file is saved to disk. This Web page was protected as soon as I stopped typing and saved the .html file. As you can see, most of the items that you are likely to encounter on the net are eligible for copyright protection, including the text of web pages, ASCII text documents, contents of email and Usenet messages, sound files, graphics files, executable computer programs and computer program listings.

However, not absolutely everything is eligible for copyright. These are items that by their very nature are not eligible for copyright protection:
Short phrases
Blank forms

Duration of Copyright Protection How long a copyright lasts depends in large part on when the work in question was created. Depending on whether the work was created before or after January 1, 1978 could have substantial affect on the life-span of the copyright. Pre 1978 (Published) The copyright expires 75 years from the date of publication (if the copyright was renewed).
Pre 1978 (Created, but not published) The copyright will expire on December 31, 2002.
1978 to present (copyright owned by an individual) The copyright will last for the life of the author, plus an additional 50 years.
1978 to present (copyright owned by employer of author) The copyright will last 75 years from the date of publication, or 100 years from the date of creation, whichever occurs first.


Barb G. Wed Sep 2 12:02:27 PDT 1998

Hi Y'all,

I thought I'd help with the subject of copyright law.

In "The Writer's Legal Guide" by Tad Crawford *copyrighted* in 1977. It states: Re: Common Law Copyright, happens when a writer's work is published and his/her copyright protection begins on that date of publication. So marking your work with the current year's date is for your own protection. (When it was written does not come into play here, although that's always interesting to the writer and his followers.)

It isn't necessary to contact the Library of Congress for a Copyright Statute law application, to protect your work, because as soon as it is published the date and symbol prove the ownership of that piece of work through common-law copyright provisions.

Snarly: If you have a new authority or book title where I could update my information, please share it with me and the rest of us. We all want our work to remain ours and ours alone.

On subject: Since I'm so rigid in my approach to writing, I find that all aspects of a new project give me pause. I am not comfortable as long as its in the writing or the early segmented form, so I agonize over the whole piece.

I love the characters, so that may be why I lean toward the Literary/Mainstream category, but the action and discription, and dialog are equally harrowing for me. I'm walking on eggs until a work is in some kind of readable, followable (is that a word??) manuscript form. I love it all, but it never gets easy.


Lydia Sweet Wed Sep 2 11:13:01 PDT 1998

Hi all,

On topic. I think I am doing ok on the descripton parts as both my critiquing cohorts have commented on this facet of my writing, but dialogue just gets stuck. Everyone is so polite and although I know medieval courtesies were a part of the social graces, I tend to think "Oh let go and let 'em cuss each other out.!" Then there is the theory that cursing is indicative of the uneducated mind. But gee, can't a person just get plain mad and forget to use $10 dollar words?

Real "knock 'em down action has not occured in my story yet, so I'm not sure how difficult I will find it. The only swordplay has been heard but out of sight.

As to sex I don't think it need to be in every chapter, that gets really tiresome and boring after a point, but I think graphic sex adds to the reality of the story. Leave it to the reader and he/she may give it a "Ho-Hum". Sweet love stories that can be read by the younger reader are a must, but a more adult audience may not like to be forced to use their imagination throughout the book. That is what the writer is for, isn't it? There are only 3 maybe 4 such scences in my book, but they are very necessary for the movement and forwarding of the story. Sex is a big part of romance folks. Who are we kidding? As to limiting the experience of the reader to my own views of sex, well he/she may learn something new they would like to try themselves, but I doubt it. Most readers are pretty savvy about such things.

All said in MHO of course.


Rachel Wed Sep 2 09:52:37 PDT 1998

Hi all

On topic - I find discription to be fairly easy and action not overly difficult, but that dialogue. It starts to trip and stumbel and then when I look back at what i'v written I find it sprawled out across the page in a most undignified manner.

Sex - Hum, all fun and games till you try to write about it and then all the shyness comes bounding forward. I have found that I seem to come at it in a roundabout sort of fade to black way. I'd rather leave it more or less to the readers imagination. We are all swinging from different branches on ye old sexual tree and i'd not want to limit my readers enjoyment by pushing my sexual preferences and attitudes on them.

Take care all

Dallin Charvelle Wed Sep 2 08:28:55 PDT 1998

To S.K.S.Perry: *lol* ...about the backdrops making the story hard to read. I've been told that by about everyone who's read the story. I know I need to change it, but work, work, and more work; prevent me from doing so at this time.

Still, I plan on changing most of the backdrops when I move my webpage to Geocities.

Dallin Charvelle "a 7yr old Malkavian with an imaginary friend"

S.K.S. Perry Wed Sep 2 08:07:38 PDT 1998

Time for my two cents worth (remember, I'm Candadian, so that's only about 1.4 cents American)

On the question of Action, Dialogue or Description:

I find action the easiest to write--I basically use the same trick S.N. Arly does. Probably being a life long martial artist doesn't hurt either. Dialogue comes next. As most of the my characters are based in part on someone I know, I basically follow real life speech patterns. For me, description is the hardest part of writing. As far as I'm concerned, that's were you make it or break it as a writer. It's in writing description that we strive to use all those neat litte literary tricks--symbols, similies, allituration, and so on. This is where you have to come up with new ways to say things--where your originallity or lack of it will show most prominately. Besides, the other two, Action and Dialogue, only stand out as a function of description. There's a big difference between:
"Drop dead," he said.
"Drop dead," he snarled as he bit back the urge to pumell the obnoxious little twirp.

As to sex, I've always been uncomfortable writing sex scenes. It makes me feel like a voyeur or peeping tom. It's bad enough that I'm watching someone else have sex(even if they are only fictional characters and the action's all in my head) but to actually give a play by play...well, let's just say that I'm actually rather shy, and I know that some women might read my stuff, and I think I'm starting to blush so enough about that.

When I do include sex (because God forbid it might actually be intergal to the plot)I try not to be too graphic. There are a lot of ways to write about it without being vulgar, or clinical. This is where the part about how well you can write description comes into play.

Dallin, I noticed that you said your character would not have sex until much later in your book because he would have a lot of false relationships before finding his true love. Generally, I've found that we don't realise that we're in a "false relationship" and not with our true love until the relationship fails. At the outset of any relationship, most of us believe it's true love. If we didn't, we wouldn't bother.

By the way Dallin, I did vist your website and tried to read some of your work, but found the background behind the writing caused to much eye strain. Sorry.

Oh well, enough rambling,

S.K.S. Perry

Zinza http://zinza.OnTheWeb.Nu/index.htm Wed Sep 2 07:40:23 PDT 1998

Irritating, it showed the sign... Well, use a combination with & and 'copy' and ;

That ought to work...*l*

Zinza http://zinza.OnTheWeb.Nu/index.htm Wed Sep 2 07:38:58 PDT 1998

If you want to write © in HTML, it's ©

I find it hardest to write the sections in between my ideas... I get some ideas, but I have to wait some chapters before I can put it in.

That's all for now

S.N.Arly Wed Sep 2 07:20:04 PDT 1998

In college I worked with a woman, who in her youth worked for the Madison Public Library. She and her cohorts were constantly removing the L from the sign and would answer the phone pubic library. This has been how I've referred to the library ever since.

Action, description or dialogue, huh? Well description is the easiest and one of my favorite aspects. This is likely why most of my stories end up longer than planned.

I've gotten pretty decent at writing action, which is very important. Too many writers rush through the action scenes, making them confusing. He did what? How'd she do that? Wait, I thought he was over here and... I will actually walk through some of the more active action scenes, such as fights, after I've written them, to see if they make soup in the spatial world.

I've always found dialogue the most difficult to write. I often feel it comes out stilted and unrealistic. My writer's group disagrees, but I still feel this is my weak spot. How many contractions are enough. How many are too much? How much to I mention dialect? What kinds of words/ language would THIS particular character use? I tend to use words that are too big for some of my simpler characters. "Duuuh, I think you have hepatosplenomegaly," mumbled the giant.

As for sex content, that's entirely up to the writer. It can depend on the kind of book you're writing, the audience you're aiming for, and your own personal feelings on the inclusion of graphic detail. If you're writing a romancce geared for adults, you're going to need more detail than a YA romance or SF book. If it's not integral to the stroy (doesn't really further plot and all) you don't need to get all pronographic. This may disturb your reader and pull them out of the story.

It's a tough balancing act, though. IMHO , humans are inately attracted to/interested in sex, small wonder. So it will naturally show up in the books people want to read. I usually try to include enough information to get my point across and focus on anything that's important (any character building that might show up here), but try not to go overboard. Then again, it does depend on what I'm writing.

Dallin Charvelle Wed Sep 2 07:12:30 PDT 1998

To Caroline Heske:

That is a very good question..."about what part of writing comes easiest". For me, the action is the easiest. I feel that this is mostly resulting from my "no margin for error" descriptions of each character's powers. Before I even began writing my story, I had created Dallin's power in full....including: the history of it, how it changes over time, its limitations, they way it reacts and counteracts with other types of magic, and its full potential. This may seem like a lot of work for a specific type of magic, but I feel that it is the reason I have several proof readers who have hounded me to finish the next chapter.

Also, concerning action scenes, I try to place myself in each person's place. I mean, if I were held at sword point against a flat wall; what would I do? Would I knee him in the groin? Would I push him back a step, and pull the rug - he had been standing on - from under him?

Although, when I write action scenes, I tend to describe what goes on in moderate detail; I truly wish I could rewrite everything, and follow Robert Jordan's idea. He named each sword play routine. He seems to never truly go into detail with what each is, leaving the reader's imagination open to all possibilities. I find this very enjoyable, considering I haven't found a limit to my imagination as of yet :)

This might've been a bit more than you wanted to know, and - yet - I may not of even hit the question you were really asking. Still, I hope that this may be of some help to you.

Another question you asked was concerning off-"camera" sex scenes.

I believe in keeping the focus off of the physical, and moreso on the emotional part of sex. As of yet, there are no sex-scenes in my book, and there won't be until probably around chapter 25-30. My reason for this is that the main character will have one or more false relationships before he meets his true love....even though she knows they are destined to be together and is waiting on him from the beginning. There will be much love expressed between the two along with passionate embraces and kisses, yet I will not "ever" go into detail during the sex scenes.

Maybe the reason for this is that my Dad is a preacher, and I managed to keep my virginity until I was 19....and maybe that was a little more than this writer's forum needed to know...

~ ~ ~

Well, to end my post, I'd like to ask 2 questions of my own:

#1 - As Caroline Heske mentioned, the non-action scenes - mostly the conversations - seem to be the hardest for me to write. I still not entirely sure how to format the conversations, and I also feel as if I give each of my characters a "bad ass" mouth. I do try to compensate by creating yet another flaw with my main character, though. Still, that's probably not the right way to go about this.

I would apprectiate anyone's opinion and, most especially, advice on this subject...

#2 - I seem to have created a world that will end up 8+ 800 page books. I've created more enemies than I can shake a stick at. Still, each of the enemies have their own purpose in the story...and a full background of how the came to be. I do not feel that it is appropriate to mention them and their purpose at the moment. That would ruin the story, and I can't stand people who tell what's going to happen. Still, there are enemies from 7 seperate sources; even though 5 of them have the same "boss's". Maybe I'll have them work as a team at some point against the heros and heroins.

I'd apprectiate any comments or suggestions or ideas of how to handle so many enemies.

~ ~ ~

Thank you for your I'm not psychic,
Dallin Charvelle

Donna Manganaris Wed Sep 2 06:53:51 PDT 1998

Dear Caroline,

I find that the hardest thing for me to write is much is too much?

As far as dialog, I find it rather easy. Although I write the diaglog first and then insert whatever actions I want after the discussion is written.

Action is the easiest for me to write. My novel, "Echoes of the Past", is rather heavy on the action scenes. I found that watching movies that had scenes similar to mine was a great help. Watch them and think about how you would describe it on paper. I don't mean to lift the entire scene, but think about it from a literary pov.

Check out my website. I recently put an action scene on from "Echoes". Maybe it will help.


Caroline Heske Wed Sep 2 06:19:49 PDT 1998

Kitty - thanks for the suggestion, but I think I'll just take up S.K.S. Perry's simpler option of changing it to 'Helgrava, the child is gone.'

(Oh yeah, and the link immediately below this is incorrect so if you're trying to get to my site, don't click on it.)

Caroline Heske Wed Sep 2 06:13:27 PDT 1998

Gary suggested we change the topic. This of course leaves the irresistable question of what we change it to. So here are a couple of curious questions of mine:

What do people find it easiest/hardest to write? Action or description or dialogue? My easiest is dialogue and my hardest is action... the latter cause it scrolls past too fast in my mind and I can't jot it down unless I'm feeling inspired.

Most fantasy - as in epic Tolkienesque type fantasy, which is the type I write and why I'm asking the question - tend to have 'off screen' sex scenes. What are people's feelings on this?

In writing and reading, which do you value more: literary merit or entertainment value? And what constitutes literary merit anyway?

S.K.S. Perry Wed Sep 2 04:48:20 PDT 1998


I humbly accept the Grand Rumbling Fart Award with all modesty and just a little flatulence.

S.K.S. Perry

Gary S Wed Sep 2 01:55:30 PDT 1998

I suggest that we award SKS Perry the Grand Rumbling Fart Award(I like that, it has a nice strident pompous cadence to it.) for 1998 and move on from typos. No one is going to top the thousand cannon air biscuit of the Adirondacks. The trees must have defoliated for miles in all directions.

Way to go, Ess Kay. Love the 'Rondacks by the way. I was just up to the western 'Dacks and Cape Vincent for a week in the Thousand Islands (a great place) Expect to go back for the fall color. Fantastic Restaurants, They have lots of Sea Food for Lisa, if she wants to come. Two sniffing Grandaddys, no waiting. Lake George is hot too.

Power to your pens,


Kitty Tue Sep 1 23:15:27 PDT 1998

Dallin, Lloyd Alexander wrote the Black Cauldron, the series featuring Taran, the Assistant Pig-Keeper, which is the current bedtime book at our house. I read the series years ago when I was a girl in North Carolina. We used to say that North Carolina was a vale of humility between two mountains of conceit--referring, of course, to Virginia and South Carolina whose citizens were far more aristocratic and genteel than their tar heel neighbors. I am sure there is a story in how a fifth generation yankee toreador ended up in S.C. Unfortunately for you, there is not a lot of bull fighting in S.C., though it could be argued there is a lot of bull.
Caroline, if you are trying to come up with a way of referring to the child without referring to the gender, I have a suggestion which occurred to me after reading your post about changing the sentence from "she" to "child" to "it" or some such combination. I recall seeing a painting of a Spanish princess who was the heir presumptive to the throne. She was referred to in the title as "the Infanta". Though the "a" in Spanish would indicate a female, there was only one Infanta and everyone knew she was going to be queen one day. Likewise the French referred to their heir as "the Dauphin"--I'm not sure if Dauphin is specifically male. At any rate you could create your own nomiker indicating the child, regardless of sex, was the heir, recognized by that society as unique.
As to typos, the most notable one I have come across of late was in a memo from the school board announcing "pubic discussions" were on the agenda of some meeting. I pointed out the error to the school secretary who after we all had a good chuckle, quickly alerted the rather conservative school board.

Tue Sep 1 23:15:23 PDT 1998

Tue Sep 1 23:14:30 PDT 1998

S.N.Arly Tue Sep 1 21:09:21 PDT 1998

Caroline - I'd just stick with the word copyright, cause I have no idea how the c in a circle would turn out on html. Or you could try it and let us all know.

Incidentally, all my copyright info is for the US. Realized after I got off that we are an international bunch and I know next to nothing about other countries' policies and laws in this area.

Fallingcow - great name. Writing speed is all relative. If I have a lot of time and I'm really motivated I can really crank out that stories (multiple chapters). Last week I typed a little over 3000 words in a couple hours, but I was pressured to get the story done and I had the motivation. Other times I might bang out a couple hundred words and leave it at that.

Caroline Heske Tue Sep 1 20:46:06 PDT 1998

About the copyright symbol, the c in the circle, how does one make that come up in HTML? Anyone know?

Fallingcow Tue Sep 1 17:08:03 PDT 1998

HI MOOBEAST!!! I'm not the only cow in the neighborhood! Or cowish author, I suppose. I'm new to writing, but I have been doing a lot of research on the web. I'm in the second chapter of what could well become my first novel... at least it seems to have the potential for it. Out of curiosity, about how many words do some of you average on good days? I've written about 1600 between yesterday and the day before. I want to know if that is slow, average, or fast (ha ha, I doubt that). I'm just writing in my spare time, but I have not ruled it out as a full-time kinda thing.


S.N.Arly Tue Sep 1 15:11:46 PDT 1998

Soon I too shall join the ranks of web page owners, moo ha ha ha ha....

But until then, I'm just an ordinary old slob. Not old, exactly. Figuratively. My great-grandma lived to be 98. Now that's old.

Barb - My understanding of copyright law makes that not only unnecessary but inadvisable to some degree. Once something is written it is copyrighted to the author, regardless of whether the Library of Congress has it on file or not (common law vs de jure). It will remain coprighted to the author until or unless the author sells the story and copyright to a publisher (there are many contracts where the rights revert to the author affter a set period of time or prinitngs).

Also, once copyrighted, that piece is protected for... I actualy have to look this part up... Ok, according to Mass Media Law sixth edition, "Any work created after January 1, 1978, will be protected for the life of the creator, plus fifty years." This allows the author to enjoy any royalties as well as their family or heirs. Anything copyrighted prior to January 1, 1976 are protected for a total of 75 years.

The history of copyright is really pretty interresting and it's good to be familiar with it. Most publishers (magazine etc.), however assume that whatever comes across their desk is original (not plagaristic) and copyrighted. They don't actually like to see the copyright blob on the top right corner. It's a little odd, but...

To document you need either the little "c" in a circle, the word copyright or both plus the date.

If any of you are interested in improving your knowledge base in this area (and it's a good area to do it, too, this is where writers tend to get screwed), I reccomend a mass media law class. Because it deals largly with print media, it usually doesn't matter if you're writing a book or an article for the local journal.


Barb G. Tue Sep 1 14:09:24 PDT 1998

Hi Y'all,

A little FYI: Always update your (c) copyright every January 1st of each new year.

Saw old dates in the workbook and thought I'd mention it here, too.


Dallin Charvelle Tue Sep 1 13:29:08 PDT 1998

The thundering drumbeats in my head have now moved on. I pity the poor fool they pick next.

Well, now that my thoughts are once again able to come out of hiding; let me tell you a little about myself.

Dallin Charvelle is not my real name o'course, but I think you already knew that. I am 22 and I have just recently moved to South Carolina. I am - what the rednecks call down here - a damn yankee. Anyways, I have been reading fantasy for the last 2 years. I have been writing for the last 6 months. I had never thought of myself as a writer, but more as a sold-out rock star. Maybe I'll use some of my melodies as theme songs in my book. Well, I've been told that my writing style is a mixture of J.R.R.Tolkien and Terry Goodkind. If you like either of those authors, I would very much so appreciate your opinion of my writing style. In truth, I feel that my style most similarly resembles that guy who wrote "The Prydain Chronicals". You know...the series with "Taran, Assistant Pig Keeper", "The Black Cauldron", "High King". I believe that "The Black Cauldron" is also a Disney movie, though I have yet to see it.

Well, the authors I read are listed hereafter along with my personal "very opinionated" rating scale:

Robert Jordan - *****
Terry Goodkind - *****
David Eddings - ****
Stephen Lawhead - ****
Fred Saberhagen - **** - a good friend.
J.V.Jones - ****
J.R.R.Tolkien - ***
C.S.Lewis - ***
Margarett Weis - ***
Tracy Hickman - ***
Anne Rice - ***

I'm sure there are some more that I forgot to mention, or forgot their names; but these are the greatest in my opinion. I still think it's pretty cool that Robert Jordan lives an hour and a half from me.

Anyways, the name of my novel is "The Untold Prophecy". The name of the series I "plan" to write is "The Darkest Prophecy".

Well, this is my post in this here discussion group thing. I really don't know what else to say since I'm the newbie and all, so I'll just say.....

Dallin Charvelle "A 5th Generation Toreador"

Dallin Charvelle Tue Sep 1 11:00:58 PDT 1998

I am a writer, yet I do not feel like writing right now. That may be the result of the borderline explosion feeling in my head. Still, if you would be interested, my homepage contains 14 or so of my chapters from the book I am writing. The name of the novel is "The Untold Prophecy". I would classify the storyline as a medieval/magical adventure.


Lisa Tue Sep 1 10:37:27 PDT 1998

Hello, all! :) Just though I should pop in and let everybody know that no, I didn't die from seafood poisoning in Maine. I got back feeling perfectly peachy, if a little homicidal.... but then, those murderous urges are hardly unexpected, aren't they? I mean, somebody *else* try taking a six and a half hour drive in the same car as my grandfather, who sniffs on average every fourteen seconds, and see how normal they turn out. Yes, I counted the amount of time between sniffs. No, I didn't kill him. I was restrained from doing so because I was squashed against the car door by the huge mass of sweaters my grandmother brought with her.
(heh heh.. hah.. hah hah hah hah hah hah!! ::hysterical laughter::)
Allein-chan- With Microsoft Word you should be able to highlight a section, select "Copy" from the Edit Menu, then Paste the section where you want it ("paste" is also from the Edit Menu). To make italics, place this symbol < i > (only w/out the spaces) in front of the sentence you chose, and then to make the words normal again, write < /i > (again w/out the spaces). Hopefully that made sense.
On the subject of typos- I tend to type fast, and I never revise while writing fiction (because as soon as I do I can't stop and thus end up hideously mangling whatever it was I was trying to write), so I've encountered some astonishingly bad typos on occasion. None, however, quite so bad as the Fort Henry one... *l*
Something that wasn't exactly a typo but was still pretty darn stupid was when I named the main character of a story "Tamarin." It didn't occur to me that a Tamarin is a type of monkey until my best friend pointed that out and started laughing her head off.
I haven't been able to read that story since.
Have a peachy day, everyone.

~Lisa :)

S.K.S. Perry Tue Sep 1 09:56:53 PDT 1998

Bonjour, (I'm Canadian and we're officially bilinual, eh.)

Some of you are under the mistaken impression that the story I posted to the Workbook was the complete manuscript. It is only a part of what is now a finished short story. When I posted it, that was all I had.

Sorry for the misunderstanding.

S.K.S. Perry

Allein-chan Tue Sep 1 09:40:11 PDT 1998

Lydia - thanx for the instructions. I have Microsoft Word, but I think it'll still work.

Rachel Tue Sep 1 08:00:43 PDT 1998

Hi all

Well, well, well I am surrounded by creative little wonders.

Yesterday I had a young man move into my home. I had been told by his social worker that he was crative and liked to draw. I always like to encourage talents in the children that I come in contact with. It is so important for them to be able to value themselves and understand that they have much to give the world.

In any event this little guy settles into our house like a dream and shortly after is showing me his art work. This kid's got talent. (Yah, yah, I know what your all thinking. It could be a honeymoon period with this little fellow, but I don't think so i'v read the file and he is ready to settle.

It didn't take long before he found me parked with a pad and pencil sitting on the front step watching over the five other children who are currently an active part of my every day, who am I kidding every waking hour.

Being a kid he wanted to know what I was doing so I told him "writing" He plunks down next to me and says "I write"
and he does. He asked me to help him out and I was glad to we have jotted down all of his story ideas and I can see that all the children in my home will have plenty to keep them busy once the rainy season hits.

Summer has been so filled with activities that I have not had time to get all the kids down to the writers group, but it will still be active in the fall and I will get them there then. We have all been much too busy with the Lake and the river and the ocean and the lake and the river and the pool and the (Ithink you get the idea.)

I think I may drop one of my two short stories on the workbook. It's not very long only about 1500 words and I would like some feedback. I like it, but at the same time think "Uck, I wrote that piece of emotional sap, Ick, what was I thinking.) I seem to have a real love hate thing going on with these short stories of mine. Feel free to blast it.

Take care

Lydia Sweet Tue Sep 1 07:53:06 PDT 1998

Hi all,

Guess you thought I had just passed quietly away. Not a chance. I haven't had as much time lately, so I've been skimming the posts when I have a chance, but have little to say. (No rude comments here.)

Allein-chan: I'm not sure what WP format you have but I use WordPerfect and what I do is "Select All" from Edit and then "Copy" close my WP and go to the Workbook where it says "Post Here" (or maybe it says Now, oh well) then click "Paste" from Edit. Give it a try.

I can't think of any amusing mispells at the moment, but I really got a kick out of Fort Henry.(LOL)


Tue Sep 1 05:58:21 PDT 1998

Thanks to those of you who critiqued my story in the workbook.(Especially Caroline-I did get your E-Mail.) The feedback is greatly appreciated.

As to typos, Old Fort Henry is an historical military Fort in my area that offers tours. A few years ago a brochure actually made it out with the caption, "At one time, this Fart rumbled with the roar of a thousand cannons!"

S.K.S. Perry

Barb G. Tue Sep 1 05:50:59 PDT 1998

Hi Y'all,

My finger-tips are bloody! I've been working at a maniac's pace over the last five days. Can hardly type with the multiple band-aids (chortle, chortle).

I have two stories out there in cyber-land and would love to hear your comments.

Underworld Magazine (premiers today):


Please give them a look (Underworld has a call out for ms/s, so brush up your best work and send them in (via e-mail of course. Details are at the site.)

I've downloaded the Workbook again, so I'll get back to you fantastic writers later. God, the talent here!!(Oops, sorry Snarly and other athiests.)

Gottarun, but Havahappi

Caroline Heske Tue Sep 1 01:35:19 PDT 1998

S.K.S. Perry - I'm critiquing here because of email problems (again). Um... I like it. (ouch! that hurt!) Alright, alright. I've been over it with a very fine-toothed comb to TRY and find something negative to say about it, but basically it's very good. If I were you, I wouldn't touch it at all. Your style reminds me of David Brin (but I don't read much scifi so that's probably not a very informed opinion)... All I can say is that it does not sound like a short story in itself. It does not finish conclusively enough. It sounds like the first bit of a novel. If it was a novel, I can say I would damn well read the rest of it! I like the short, clipped sentences - and the droll humour. (incidentally, do you Canadians use British or American spellings - esp. re. double 'l's and 'our's (as in colour)?) I like the way you've thought of a world (or galaxy or universe as the case may be) behind it, and incorporate this information well within the plot.

And I want to see what results with this daring political assassination! I want double-triple-quadruple-crosses, and intergalactic warfare, and sex and blood and rock'n'roll (ahem ahem)...

Will we ever find out?

Gary S Tue Sep 1 00:13:26 PDT 1998

For all you typo fans out there in klutzville, my personal bugbear is the word "shot" because of the confounding proximity of the "i" to the "o." This seems to be consistent with most of the reported anecdotes. My all time favorite classified ad was "Used Cars For Farts" in my old home town fish wrapper.

LOL everyone. Watch out for those little Cub S----. They're
a nasty lot. And those Girl Scouts. Even worse; that cookie racket is highly suspect.


Allein-chan Mon Aug 31 19:23:48 PDT 1998

Caroline - skimmed through your story in the workbook about the prince. Sounds good - when I'm not so pressed for time I'm going to sit down and really read through it.

S.K.S. Perry - I get a lot of 'I like it' comments too. Although (for anyone who does read my story) I would more like suggestions on how to improve. I find that 'I like it' really doesn't say anything and you can't improve unless you take some critisism. When I have time to read your story in the workbook, I'll tell you what I think. I hope you'll all take the time to read the little segment of mine I'm going to put up there.

Could anyone tell me how to put my story up there other than writing it all out? I'm not sure how to do this and I don't know how to make writing in italics.

And finally, let's all take a little time to pay our respects to Princess Diana. As most of you know, she died a year ago. Sorry about that - I'm one of her biggest fans.

Well, until I have something else to write - au revior (yes, that's probably spelled wrong - but I don't speak French - I took German).

Jenny B Mon Aug 31 18:02:04 PDT 1998

Hi all!

I'm new to this whole writing thing. I read some of Lyn's Poems in the workbook. I really liked them. I posted one of my own, and an essay as well. I wasn't sure if they are supposed to be posted here or in the workbook. Anyhow, I kind of fiddle around with essays and poetry. I've been submitting querries to some magazines. Most of my stuff is about childhood memories, or my current carreer... Mommying! And the usual husband, friend, life stuff. Here's another short essay. Any comments on my style or tips for getting published in magazines would be helpful. The following was published in my local paper for -- hold on -- forty bucks! Enjoy!

When the most recent school shooting occurred in Virginia, it didn’t have the same effect on me as the one in Jonesboro, Arkansas, or Springfield, Oregon. A stay-at-home Mom, I sometimes keep CNN on in my house to stay as informed as I can. And also, because there is nothing worthwhile on any of the other fifty two channels offered by my cable company. Even if I find a show that can be viewed by the whole family, it is interrupted by news briefs and movie previews which rapidly shove me back into the reality of life in the nineties. I am very disturbed by the lack of quality programming. But even more upsetting to me, is the news. I only watch it when my children are all asleep. Although I want them to be aware of the world in which we live, I can’t bear to have them asking me “Mommy, what does rape mean?” Or to see the confusion in their eyes when they hear about a baby being buried in a yard, or thrown into the garbage.
I know the world is different from the one in which I grew up. I am startlingly aware that my children are socially years ahead of where I was at the same age. They say things I didn’t even know how to pronounce. They snub things I wouldn’t have dared to snub. And they drink in the recklessly violent world around them with thirsty minds. For their own safety, I know they need to understand these horrific things. But they are still my children. Instinctively I want to protect them and shelter them from all the evils closing in on our lives.
The recent school shootings at several of our nation’s high schools has made me realize that as a parent, I am responsible. Not for the deaths of innocent victims, and not for the actions of misguided gun-toting youths. I am responsible for my own children. I must teach them, at the very tender age of two and three, what a gun is. They need to know about fire and water hazards. My son knows what to do in an emergency, “dial 911” he tells me proudly. But does he know not to inhale the chemicals in my garage? He knows to never chase his ball into the street. But if a stranger offers to retrieve it for him, does he know not to let him?
I had a friend who recently gave birth to her first child, a beautiful baby girl. One night, during her pregnancy, she was watching Liar, Liar with her husband. The movie is a comedy about a child who wishes his father would not lie for just one day. When the movie ended, my friend burst into tears. Although the hormones had something to do with it, she was overwhelmed by the awesome responsibility she would have to her unborn child. That is how I feel sometimes. That is how all parents should feel. But they don’t.
I cried when I saw the news report about the school shootings in Oregon. The suspect had also shot his parents, prior to opening fire at his high school. The tears came from deep within my soul. They poured out of me and caused my mind to flip through the pages of time. Oklahoma City, 162 dead, at the hands of a twenty-one year old man. A daycare, A DAYCARE center was in there. I wept for the children. Jonesboro, Arkansas, four dead. I wept for them. The many other tragedies that have become commonplace in our society flew through my mind. I wept deeply for all of the victims. And the survivors. The puddle of tears below me held in it my fading hope of a fragment of innocence for the young people that will soon run our world.
There are so many different opinions on the reason for the violence of our youths today. Single-parent households are more common than ever. In nearly seventy percent of all two-parent families, both parents work. Moms and Dads today don’t have time to teach their children everything. Our kids hear about priests raping alter boys, and lose faith in the church. They hear of students killing students, and fear school. They hear of our own President having numerous sexual exploits, and lose respect. Without these cornerstones of unity and learning, without heroes to look up to, who will our children want to be? The criminals of our society get more airtime than the good guys. And since our children watch more TV now than ever before, who do we think they will emulate?
Michael Jordan was criticized by lobbyists against smoking for lighting up a cigar after The Bulls won the championship. They said it would influence young people to smoke. The comments got very little airtime, but they still got on the air. But had he shot off a few rounds, it would have been all over the news. If the media cannot concentrate on devoting equal time to positive influence stories, they are contributing as much to the decaying morality of our youth as are the criminals. Let our heroes be heroes. And give the criminals what they deserve, less publicity.
That is the rule I try to abide by in my house. If the television, or radio for that matter, is on, and I hear a story about a criminal, I turn it off. If you cannot monitor every avenue of information that runs through your home, take the time to ensure there are a few positive streets. And not just dark alleys with smoking guns, and dying babies.
Our children are our future, as we are our parent’s past. Their mistakes and accomplishments are reflections of our own. The world is not a perfect place, and we do not all have time to be the village for our children. Take advantage of the many positive community services available. Do whatever it takes.
And the next time you hear of a school shooting (because there will be more), stop. Take it all in. And feel it. Shed a tear for the victims. Shed a tear for their families. Shed a tear for the fact that the news doesn’t horrify and shock you as much as it should. And then pick yourself up, look at your own kids, and take them to your local soup kitchen. Teach them the difference between right and wrong. And the knowledge that you have done the best you can will be its own reward.

Caroline Heske Mon Aug 31 17:50:58 PDT 1998

I have posted a short story I wrote a couple of years ago in the workbook. It works quite well, so I've been hesitant to touch it, but I know it DOES need improvement. If anyone has any ideas...

S.K.S. Perry - I've printed out your story (which should entertain me during my lecture) and will get back to you soon. I have sent you an email (twice) but I don't know if it's reached you...

W. Olivia Race Mon Aug 31 17:46:35 PDT 1998

Rachel- Regarding typos; I wrote a very rough draft of a story which included a shape-shifter. Well, during one very serious scene, a character said,
"Obviously, our combined energies in the circle forced the shit to her animal self"
A co-worker, who had been reading the draft burst into laughter and it became a running joke for weeks...the only thing worse than selling Cub Shits would be forcing a...well you get the idea.

On a more serious note: to all who have been reading and critiquing "Chovihani", I am just finishing the last paragraphs of the short story and will be posting in the Workbook in a few days. Let me know what you think.

Brenda Mon Aug 31 14:05:10 PDT 1998


You might have a look at the Writer's Digest Market books, too. The one for Shorts and Novels has an Awards/Contests section in the back, and I *think* I may have seen a grant or two for seniors. (If you don't have it, I believe most Libraries keep them on hand). What a kind thing to do, looking into this for her! Best of Luck!


Thanks. Just wanted to make sure you got them.


S.K.S. Perry Mon Aug 31 10:05:32 PDT 1998

Well, I've only gotten a couple of responses on my short story in the Workbook--mostly along the lines of "I like it"--but not any real critique good or bad. I guess that's good news?

S.K.S. Perry

S.N.Arly Mon Aug 31 09:57:37 PDT 1998

Brenda - Tried to e-mail you last night but it bounced. Didn't have time to check and see if I'd done something wrong. I have received a few e-mails from you, so I think you're sending OK.

Sue - You may want to try the State Arts Board. In Minnesota we have the Minnesota Arts Board and I'm sure most other states have something very similar. They send out convenient little packages listing all their yearly grants and the eligibility requirements. I'd try them first.

Rachel - That's gotta be the best one I've seen. When I was in Journalism school we had some good ones. This is my favorite, and it's real - did happen, I saw it. The Governor of Wisconsin has incredible veto power (line item) and so out came a headline that said: Thompson's pen is knife. Someone who wasn't overly fond of Thompson, played with the spacing so there was only a half-space between pen and is. Most people, therefore, read it as : Thompson's penis knife.

I'm always amused by the ones that make it thorugh the printing and distribution process.

Caroline Heske Mon Aug 31 09:39:46 PDT 1998

Dear everyone. The next installment of Erannon (chapters 3 and 4) are now on my site. You can get to them by clicking on the above link!

'Cub shits'! From recent babysitting experiences I wouldn't be entirely inclined to disagree! Ahem ahem...

Sue Mon Aug 31 09:27:05 PDT 1998

I'm looking for info on grants for which my 87 year old essayist/fiction writing mother might be eligible. Does anyone have any ideas on how to find such things? If so, I'd really appreciate you e-mailing me. Thanks!

Brenda Mon Aug 31 08:34:40 PDT 1998


Did you get my recent emails? (Had some trouble with Netscape mail, but it's been fine for about a week). Let me know. Thanks!


Hi everyone else!!

Caroline - interesting about the 'bloopers'....I'll have to look!

Bye now!

Rachel Mon Aug 31 08:27:42 PDT 1998

Typos can be very funny. I used to work for the Boy Scouts. No, not as a leader I worked out of the Regional Office and took care of registration, insurnace, and training for adults.

Well in any event we published a newsletter and I was responsible for helping out with the editing. My counterpart and I skimmed it over. You know, no worries, yah, yah looks great, whatever, i'm really busy here just go with it.

Well we ended up publishing a big add letting people know that "Cub Shits" were on sale, come and get them. Was supposed to have been Cub Shirts.

We are very lucky that most of the scouters in the region had excellent senses of humor. We did get some harsh responses, but well hey thats to be expected.

Jack - Hey, if you need a break you should kick back and take one. I'll bet your always working your backside off to make this place function properly, and once again it is much appreciated.

Take care all

S.N.Arly Mon Aug 31 07:10:43 PDT 1998

Caroline - My writer's group and I have a lot of fun with typos. For me calm quite frequently ends up as clam, which, of course, is a real word so I don't usually find it 'til later. He seemed entirely too clam. Just doesn't have the effect I was going for. I also had bolt turn into blot. She looked like she was going to blot. I still laugh when I get to that point in the book.

Then there are what I call misappropriated words. I had passengers debarking from a plane in the same story that someone was blotting, er bolting. Now according to Webster's, debark can also be synnonomous with disembark. However as a Sheltie owner/parent debark has an entirely different meaning. Teeka is fully barked (?) but her brother who comes to visit has this horrible raspy debarked bark. (For those who are now thoroughly confused debarking is the snipping of the pup's vocal chords to quiet down the sound).

So when I went back and re-read this part of the story, I envisioned a bunch of debarked people getting off the plane.

Guess you had to be there.

Caroline Heske Mon Aug 31 05:26:40 PDT 1998

Does anyone have any 'bloopers' from their stories (which normally amount to interesting typos). I included one the other day, here's another:

I have a character give a stirring political speech that's precipitates the most lauded rebellion in history, and one of the sentences accidentally ended up as:

"Take your anger out on them, my people. Revenge yourself for all the wrong they have brought upon you. Let your emotions fly out until you can feel calm again - until you know you won't wanke in the night to dreams of your children screaming."

Caroline Heske Mon Aug 31 05:23:20 PDT 1998

S.K.S. Perry - the above is another one you can reach me on (should you so want to).

Thanks for all the nice things you said! I know, harsh criticisms are probably more productive - but one needs the incentives to keep writing every now and then! I will, once I go find the disk etc., send the prologue into the notebook.

Now, more specifically... I was a little surprised you liked the first chapter than the prologue. That is my preference too, but everyone ELSE who's read it says the prologue's exciting and the first chapter drags. In fact, the prologue wasn't originally there, but was eventually written as a bid to get people to be patient for the action/adventure side of the story. I feel the first chapter's more solid - cause it gets down to the intracacies of an ordinary family. well, okay, not precisely ordinary... but it's not in the grip of a massive bloodbath, is it?:)

"Helgrava gone!" - uh... yes, this comment has been changed several times through the drafts. Helgrava presumably knows it's Jameta's job to work as a nurse for the child, and knows her well enough to read how completely distressed she was and what would have caused it - but I do take your point. Since I've already posted half the plot over the website, I don't suppose it matters if I say this too: The sentence was previously "Helgrava it's gone!" and prior to that "Helgrave she's gone!"... Cause I'm trying to do a bit of sneaky psychological manipulation... playing on the fact that society trains us to assign genderless humans with a male gender - and thereby hoping to stop everyone realising who Eran is until a good deal further down the track. Sounds crude, but generally seems to work. However, if anyone can think of an alternative sentence, it would be much appreciated.

Rebellion seemed a bit too open - well, yes it was. They weren't going to get anything past Him. I presume you figured he was the person running the meeting which made up the second scene... then you would have had a glimpse into his reasoning. It is true that if he had have wanted to quash the rebellion he could have. But he had a better idea. Also, this is (note the italics at the start of the prologue) the third such rebellion within the space of less than a decade - he's done some damn awful things and people are at the point where they've almost got more chance of staying alive rebelling than not. Oh, and incidentally, he can't tell what people are thinking - at least, not without singling them out in particular and doing some tricky stuff, but he does have a good spy network. Jameta's blind (and self-contradictory) worship is more indicative of his political power, hegemony, and the fear he inspires.

Yeh! Someone who finally realised I included the bird not because I was sick and twisted, but rather to add another dimension to the story. (Actually, did you pick up all the bird allusions throughout the prologue? There's one where Jameta thinks she's found the Child and a bird hits the window, and she notes that 'birds can't see the glass' - and that's meant to be a parallel with her. Then there's the chamber itself, with the light as a flickering heartbeat and the blood-red curtains, as thought THEY'RE the flies inside it... uh... there were more but they got more and more subtle)

I will be happy to critique your stuff any time you need it.

Thanks again!

Jack Beslanwitch Mon Aug 31 01:35:33 PDT 1998

Hope it is just a quiet Sunday. Hope to get some things out of the way this week so I get back to here with a new topicf, time to actually do the promised private Workbook and getting back to the link requests. Sorry, I have been absolutely swamped. Enough that I said to hell with it, had a barbecue in our back yard with Fran and then went walking for about three miles or so along Lake Washington at Coulan Park. It really felt nice to just step away from all the responsibilities and do something for us. Take care everyone.


Lyn Martin Sat Aug 29 13:27:07 PDT 1998

Barb G.-- Thank you for your comments on the poetry. I never thought of greeting cards, but it is a good thought, Thank you.

I mostly write for me, and friends. I write poetry, and occasionaly a short story, although it has been a long time sincie I have done that. I enjoy reading alot, and science fiction/fantasy is a favorite. I really like David Eddings, and Melanie Rawn, and Anne McCaffrey. Unfortunately I am better at rreading them than I am at writing them, so I stick to poems. I have a couple more in the workbook, if anyone cares to read them.

The web page address posted belongs to a friend of mine, who also shares a knack fro poetry. I hope you can check it out, and please sign the guestbook for him.
Thanks for the space, and everyone keep on smiling!!!

Sat Aug 29 10:39:49 PDT 1998


I just finished chapter one and it is as good or better than anything I've read. It's much stronger than the prologue. Great work!

Sat Aug 29 10:15:35 PDT 1998


Sorry, but I tried to post this to your E-Mail address but it didn't work. I hate to openly critique someone's work, but unfortunately I have no choice. Well--here goes.

I only had time to read over your prologue, but I like what I see so far. It leaves me wanting to read more--and I will!

Now, a few points. When Jameta first approaches Helgrava about the missing child, she utters, "Helgrava! Helgrava gone!" The statement made no sense to me. I knew what she meant, but how could it possibly make sense to Helgrava?

Also, everyone seems to know not only about the Rebellion, but that fact that it takes place tonight. Even Jameta, who seems to be a loyal supporter of the current regime. They talk pretty openly about it, even after you stated earlier that "It was said He could tell what people were thinking."
Rebellion is twice as dangerous when you live in a society of people with Talent.

You set the mood for the piece well, especially the foreshadowing and symbolism with the dead bird. (Great descriptive work!). The world you have created works for me.

The prologue, chapter one and two might be a little too long to post to the workbook. Linking to your sight to read your work is a good idea. You could start by posting just the prologue and mentioning that those interested in
helping you out could read the rest at your web site--I certainly will.

I just have one thing to say about criticism. Take it with a grain of salt. Everyone, no matter how inept, always feels qualified to tell you how what you've written could be better. I've had people who could barely string two
syllables together, not to mention sentences, give me advice on my writing.

Remember, in the end the final Edit is yours--unless someone is paying for your work. Then they can change whatever they want!

I hope I've been of some help. Maybe you'll do the same for me sometime.

S.K.S. Perry

Rachel Sat Aug 29 08:33:13 PDT 1998

Hi all

Good news. I got a call back from that other writers group. They are situated about a half hour highway drive from me, and meet on dates and times that work well for me.

The woman who called me back suggested that I come by and check them out to see if their what I want.

They will be meeting on September 6th, and I am already feeling sick to my stomach, but don't sweat it, i'll go.

I have written two short stories now, both are under 2000 words in fact both are pretty much 1500. Am considering putting them into the workbook, but have that old freaked out feeling.

Did some more reading on writing and went back to give the old novel afew hits with the thinking stick, and Dan thinks that it is much better. God that thing may never be done. Every time I think Oh, this could be it, I turn and looke at it with a cold hard eye and think "Yah right, not by a long short, i'm not sending you out there looking like that!"
Caroline - Been by the site and started to read over Erannon, didn't get far before I had to rush off, but you got my attention and I plan to go back to your site and get a good read in.

Take care all

Caroline Heske Sat Aug 29 07:17:10 PDT 1998

Rachel - re. a writing group, I know what you mean. Some friends and I started one in Geelong, but it soon became a social group dominated by one or two people, who generally told you to shut up and till you agreed with them. I left. But I'm in college, so I go around knocking on people's doors until I find someone who can help me... Actually, those people in the group were mostly my friends before we started it - and they did give pretty honest criticisms - but now a lot of us aren't talking to each other... Which ultimately didn't help anything.

Everyone - I gather some people have posted their novels over time through the workbook. I would really like some of you to have a look at mine - but I'm pretty sure that even if I did it chapter by chapter, each bit would be too long to stick in there. The link above leads to the shortish prologue, and longish chapters 1 and 2. Could someone who knows what they're doing take a quick scan of these and tell me if they are too long to stick in?

(And hey, you know if you just want to read it, that's fine too. I found another embarrassing sentence today: 'Erannon smeared the juice over her face, then washed her hands with some soap and water from her bladder'... oops.)

Fri Aug 28 22:34:37 PDT 1998

Allein-chan Fri Aug 28 19:43:37 PDT 1998

KC - thanks.

Well, I'm almost finished with chapter seven of my first story and I'll be starting on chapter eight, maybe as soon as tomorrow. I'll put part of chapter eight in the workbook.

Well, till later..

Bill Fri Aug 28 18:58:44 PDT 1998

Hi all,
I sure miss talking to everyone, Jack, Goodweed, Rhonda, and all else, but school is keeping me sooooo busy. I'm taking 19 credit hours this semester--too damn much homework–lots of reading.

Anyway, I just had to delurk to tell ya all that I'm published again. I have a rather lengthy article published in the college newspaper. That's two published credits now. I also have an article which will come out in their next paper to make three published credits. I've been named the paper's commentary writer--makes me tingle all over. Hehe.

Hi to all newcomers and welcome to the best site on the Web. You won't hear from me often while I am in school, but I won't be taking classes next summer, so I'll have more free time to contribute.

Hope everyone has fun. Bill.....;)

S.N.Arly Fri Aug 28 14:14:53 PDT 1998

Rachel - There are a lot of good reasons for having people who aren't just your friends read what you write. Yes, your friends may not want to hurt your feelings and honesty is important, but that's not all.

Before I got inot a writer's group I had friends and family read my stuff. They were all pretty good about honset feedback, but as non-writers, there is so much they aren't able to tell me. It's good to get the view of a regular ole reader, but in order to identify and correct a lot of writing constructs, you need the help of other writers who might identify problems in your work that you miss. I discovered I have a tremendous Multi-POV problem in short stories. I've been working on it and it's improved a great deal. My cohorts in writing were able to tell me WHY something didn't have the impact I'd hoped for, or how to enhance the impact (shorter sentences, terser words and phrases, etc).

Consider that one exclusive group freakish. A real writer alwyas welcomes new blood. A new pair of eyes and a fresh point of view might see soemthing everyone else has missed.

The bookstore thing sounds really cool. And as for what you would do, that's uup to you. Some writer's groups work as a training ground where you get assignments to work on. This month, write a two page description of a place. This month develop a scene, and set the mood, in under 1000 words. My group doesn't do assignments right now, but we may in the future. We just swap stories. We meet (alternating houses) and each of us gives our own critique about the previous month's stories (we usually go over one story until we're done before moving to the next). Then we distribute the next story and explain what we're looking for. Last night, I explained that they were getting a VERY rough first draft. I haven't actually read the story myself and was finishing it as they started showing up at my house. It had been written in third person until two days ago, when I switched it to first, which I typically avoid. It's also a difficult story/plot to really do justice to. So they know what I'm looking for. Sometimes I just want a line edits, other times I'll take whatever they have to say.

Lisa - Never liked fish, even in my pre-VegHead days.

Gary S Fri Aug 28 11:16:42 PDT 1998


Before you spend more energy on the opening pages of DH, I must tell you that I have come up with a likely way to adress the questions you raise, and the solution should be an easy one. All your questions such as children of the marriage, D's reaction to his abandonment, etc. are things that could help the early going. I think I can incorporate a compass point into this device as well. My original thought (apparently not a good one) was that this stuff would all fall into place along the way, but learning how I am missing the concerns of the reader shows that I should use different devices with this area of plot development. Good show Caroline. Later, I will have some time to make good my threat and see if I actually do fix this thing or if, in fact, I screw it up even more.

I think you pondered wether Dobie winds up in a romance with the Vet and this seems likely given the conditioning we develop toward the stories we read. Dobie and the Vet become involved in a tempestuous embroilment and at the current stage of completion it has no resemblance to a romance. But given the uncertainty in human nature and the unpredictability of even the characters we create, (Mine often do take on lives of their own, making me some kind of strangely active spectator in my own stories.) no one can rule out a romantic involvement before it ends, not even me.

Thank you again, Caroline and Rachel. Now I am going to indulge in a fantasy of being in some dockside seafood cafe. The hazy daylight spilling across an old wooden floor; the humid air filled with the scent of mealtimes of the long and recent past. The air thrums down from the lazy ceiling fan above that stirs the funky essence of seafood, soap, cooking fat and undistinguishabe odors long captured in the woodwork. Rich aromatic steam is trailing from the kitchen door after waitresses briskly carrying trays piled high with mouth watering delights to patrons who wait in hungry, happy anticipation.

Of course, Lisa, if you really hate seafood, you should refuse to eat it and sit there stubbornly. I'm sure that after a few days, when your Daddy sees that you are beginning to fade away, he will buy you a lovely steak, or the dead flesh of some other land bound animal. Perhaps you don't eat cow, pig, or sheep either, in which case you might get a lovely salad on which to graze. Then you can be grateful that you don't live in a land of cannibals. You do live in a land without cannibals, don't you?

Later, all


W. Olivia Race Fri Aug 28 10:36:56 PDT 1998

Thanks to all who have given me encouragment on "Chovihani"; my ego is definitely stoked! Seriously, I have been kicking this particular story around for a couple of months. The problem I'm having is moving forward. I know Donya motivation; I know that eventually she gets what she wants. But I need to come up with a scene that culminates with her becoming Chovihani and realizing that she didn't really need what she'd sought for so long. Geez, I'm even confusing myself now...

The story is like a parable: Sometimes you're better off not getting what you want. Think before you leap??? Is this as good as it gets???

I need serious help...Anyway, now you know what I mean about voices in one's head.

K.C. Ramey Fri Aug 28 10:16:39 PDT 1998

Allein-chan - I'm sorry about not mentioning you as one of the people who corrects my work. It was 7 am and I am still use to noon for waking up. Well, off to the fair to ride all the new rides.


Allein-chan Lunika@aol Fri Aug 28 08:27:59 PDT 1998

KC - I feel hurt. I look over your stories too and correct things. And I don't know about your elementary school, but mine taught spelling up through fifth grade.

K.C. Ramey Fri Aug 28 08:17:59 PDT 1998

S.K.S. Perry - I loved your story! That was very interesting. When you write more don't forget to post it.


K.C. Ramey Fri Aug 28 08:00:09 PDT 1998

Spelling - one thing I am absolutely horrible at. They decided that with my class (class of 2000, thank you very much) at my elementary the we didn't need to learn how to spell. "Oh, they will pick it up through reading" they said. I have been reading a lot and I still can't spell worth chicken scraps. That is why I have friends like Jyuu-chan to spell check everything I do. I am great at grammar because that is what they taught us instead. The teachers at the high school wonder why the whole class of 2000 can't spell worth beans. Well, actually that depends where you went to elementary school. The school finally smartened up and decided to teach phonics again but they decided to leave us poor innocent rotten speller on our own. I remember that when I was in elementary school my mom got yelled at by my teachers because she tried to correct my spelling. It wasn't till half way through 7th grade that I figured out that "when" was spelled WHEN instead of WEN how I had always written it because no body told me otherwise. Then there are those lovely words that mean different things when you spell them differently. If I can't spell them in the first place how am I suppose to know which one is which. Ugh. I am rambling but that is a touchy subject. It is also the reason I didn't start to really write until 7th grade and also one of the contributing factors to my extremely slow reading. The other factor is Dyslexia - really helps with the spelling. Why me? At least I'm not the only one. Many many people I know can't spell. Guess where they went to elementary school!! I should quit my rambling. For my final comment on this topic - What ever you send to a publisher should be thoroughly spell checked (thank goodness for spell checker and friends who can spell.). I have every one I know read all my work and make any comments and corrections.

Jyuu-chan - I finished Guilty Pleasures. Good book. Andrew is finishing it up right now. Next time I see you I will give it back to you. Can I borrow the next one please.

Lisa - I hope you have fun, or at least as much fun as is possible. Doesn't sound to fun to me but then again I have my annoying brother who keeps reminding me of the fact that he is now taller than I am. Also when ever we go on long car trips we normally bring all 3 dogs with us. What fun!!

fifth element - saw it, liked it, brother loved it. Don't know anything else to add to on this topic.

I am writing a short story that I hope to have finished and up for critique soon. It is called "Reflections" and is based on a poem I wrote by the same name. I posted the poem on the workbook a while back when it didn't have a title but it is up on my webpage. The story is a real tear jurker (for those people who cry at really sad parts in books, myself included). I have to get back to working on my stories and cleaning the house.

Matta ashita,

Barb G. Fri Aug 28 07:54:57 PDT 1998

Hi Y'all,

Lyn Martin: Couldn't acess your address. There are some minor meter problems with your poems. Nothing gigantic but a beat missed here and there can spell the acceptance or rejection of a piece. Your poetry is very sweet, more suited for greeting cards, I think. Now, don't get all bent out of shape -- there is a heap of money in writing for them. Just suggestions and should be taken as just that...

Gotta run,


S.K.S. Perry Fri Aug 28 07:42:10 PDT 1998

I just posted part of a short story I'm working on to the Workbook. Unforntunately I goofed and posted the same thing twice. (Forgive me, it was my first attempt. How was I to know hitting the space bar would post it?) Any comments would be appreciated. Tell my what you think--what you like, what you don't like ect. Also I'm really struggling for a title on this one. Any suggestions?


Rachel Fri Aug 28 07:30:16 PDT 1998

Hi all

SNArly - Thought about what you said a ways back about finding somebody other than friends to read my stories.

I am very interested in what my friends have to say, but don't really know if they will be honest with me. After all their my friends, and they don't want to risk hurting my feelings (right?)

Well what I am saying is that I have renewed my search for a writers group. After some investigation into my unanswered phonecalls to one. I discovered that no they are not all dead, they simply do not like new people, so much so that they will not even return a phone call. I was told not to feel bad, this is just they way this group operates.

Oh well, doesn't really sound like the sort of group I would want to be a part of. Made some calls and got another phone number for another writing group, not so close to my home, but hey still under half an hours drive.

If that doesn't pan out I may just take the plunge and try to start something myself. Called this bookstore and got a very helpful woman who is willing to give me space and post the group in her calender of events. I told her I was a little shy and didn't really know what I was doing, but would consider this.

If I were to start one of these things, what exactly would we talk about, do we just show up and do what we do on this page, only in person, or should we follow some sort of a structure, or is it an anything goes sort of deal?

Uck, I feel sick even thinking of it, but I really believe I may do it. Well unless that is I can sit back and have this very helpful lady at the store do it for me. I am such a scardy cat.

Bookstore is also talking about putting on a mini writers workshop, sounded fun to me. Making plans to attend one day of the Surrey Writers Conference, that is if it is not too late, will be checking into this later today, or tomorrow.

Any suggestions about writers group would be appreciated .

Take care all

Brenda Thu Aug 27 22:24:47 PDT 1998

W. Olivia Race: I just read you story fragment, and I agree with Caroline, it's a keeper! Your narrator's voice is strong and clear, and I get a real sense of who she is. The plot is intrigueing (sp?) and I am very interested to see what comes next. Judging by your last sentence, it seems that you do have *some* ideas about where you are taking this? I'm not sure what kind of help/suggestions you are looking for, perhaps you could be a little more specific?
You can post here, or email me, if you prefer. But - Don't give this one up!

Barb: I know what you mean about loving Sci-Fi, but not being able to write it. I've got about 4 half stories. I just seems to get to a certain point, and then I give them up. The parts I've written seem okay, so I don't know what it's about... Oh, well. I guess I do better with realistic fiction.

Hi everyone else!
Good night now!

Caroline Heske Thu Aug 27 21:54:35 PDT 1998

Sorry, that previous post was me.

Thu Aug 27 21:53:56 PDT 1998

Oh, and incidentally, Keith was right about Lisa's book. What she's sent me of it so far is VERY good.

Caroline Heske Thu Aug 27 21:52:55 PDT 1998

Olivia - You can't stop it there! It's brilliant! I want to know what's going to happen next...

Gary - As to a way of incorporating direction, I didn't suggest something because although I personally don't know where you're heading, but I assume you do. If you tell me (though I understand if you don't want to) I might be able to make a useful suggestion of how you could bring it out...

S.N.Arly Thu Aug 27 21:00:29 PDT 1998

Hey all. Just got done with my in-person writer's group and boy did it go well. Good feedback on a rewrite that will be in the mail Monday. It's so nice to work with otehr writers to get the bugs out of your own stories. We all have our areas of expertise and weakness. It's nice when we can help each other out.

After work I also mangaed to finish the story I wanted to distribute this month. Crammed out a little over 3000 words to finish er up, unfortunately did not get to read through it myself. We'll have to see how much the story suffered from the rush. What a rush!

As if I haven't said this enough - Writer's groups are great. If you're not swapping stories with someone, I strongly suggest you start!

W. Olivia Race - I will also try to get to your workbook post in the near future to give you a critique. It may take a few days, I've been swamped. Though I think I've finally located my PFD.

W. Olivia Race Thu Aug 27 20:00:14 PDT 1998

Hi all. Dark SCI-FI?. Never heard of the term frankly. Dark Fantasy, yes, but never dark Sci-Fi. Any how, I guess any genre could be twisted into something dark if the voices in your head allow it. Seriously, some of the best writers of horror, fantasy and even science fiction must have voices they need to exorcize. Therein lies their brilliance

BTW, saw the Fifth Element and thought it was interesting in a flashy sort of way. Didn't under stand the rock star character at all. Of course I went with a date who started to snore quite loudly throught the last half of the movie so I spent most of that time hitting him so we didn't get kicked out of the theater for noice pollution.

Lastly, I finally got the nerve to post a story in the work book and invite you all to read and comment freely. I've already gotten a response which was helpful.

Good Writing!

Lisa Thu Aug 27 19:18:31 PDT 1998

Hello, everybody! :)
Jyuu-chan- I hope I didn't mislead you into thinking the movie critics were the ones who disliked Fifth Elements. As far as I know, it got pretty good reviews. It was a few of my personal friends that hated it with the fiery passion of a thousand buring suns. I have very...*ahem*... different people as my best buddies, and a few of them are offended by the oddest things. (Which is why, I fear, I manage to insult people so often. I never mean to, but my foot has a way of leaping into my mouth when I least expect it. Uncanny, that.)
Caroline- Good god! Another evil plot twist! I don't even want to *think* about something like that happening. But, if it were to happen to me, I'd still stick with my first answer. Don't kill the kid. Only this time don't take a cruise, hire a witch to exorcise these evil demon things for you. Or, take witch-lessons and then do it yourself if there aren't any witches-for-hire anywhere near. (You realize, of course, that I am being rather flippant. I mean this in the most serious way possible. Cruises are no fun at ALL when you've got all sorts of icky things joy-riding in your conscience.)
Okay, well, I'd better be going. I want to get a good nights sleep so I can wake bright and early for... (::dramatic music::) the six and a half hour drive to Maine.
Oooh, wheee. Joy joy. yippe. skip.
By the by, that means that if I'm not around and I don't answer any emails, no, I haven't blown you off, I'm having the *time of my life* in a smelly seaside cafe in Fishville eating seafood (which I hate).
Have them peachy days.

~Lisa (:P Seafood! Yuck!)

Mark Hamstra Thu Aug 27 19:12:20 PDT 1998

Lisa, Barb, and Arly, thanks for your kind words as well as the poet whose name I cannot recall at this moment, sorry.

Gary S Thu Aug 27 13:52:08 PDT 1998

What a love/hate relationship we must have with the computer.

We love the word processor and we hate it when we near the end of a laborious posting to the notebook and the whole thing goes kaflooey and disappears from the screen.

Well, at least my energy is diminished and you will be spared the full version of this message which has evaporated into the nether-world of cyberspace.

Caroline and Rachel, (In alphabetical order). Thank you for responding to Dobie Harrison. Caroline identified a fatal flaw in the failure to guide the reader in the early going.

This shows the value of critique. It is the distance between the viewpoint of the writer and that of the reader. To realize the value, I must identify for myself the same weakness and figure what to do about it (the tough part). If anyone sees the same problem and has a suggestion, it would bring a bit more depth to the exercise.

Rachel, I guess it is safe to say that if one sees humor, then it is there. The fabric of DH is essentially humor and it is presented in an off beat way, so you are quite right. The more I can exploit the laughability of Dobie's tragic circumstances, the better I am doing my job. However, if I can't act upon Caroline's observation it won't matter much.
If the reader can't be interested, the reader will likewise not be amused.

It is gratifying to have gotten your responses. I will be happy to see some others.

Speaking of gratification, I recieved an email from a fellow
who read my short story, The Thirty Caliber Machine Gun. In the letter he tells me that he spent twelve years in the service and he relived it all through my story. Luckily his experience was positive and he reports that he enjoyed the story immensely. This is curious because twelve years is a very unusual length of service. It usually indicates a serious problem between a soldier and his army.

I think a lot of you will agree that this is the greatest kind of gratification--to have genuinely entertained a reader. Of course I couldn't blame anyone for holding a three million dollar contract in higher regard.

Till later,


Allein-chan Thu Aug 27 12:50:06 PDT 1998

Hmm..I tried signing my guestbook too and it didn't take. Well, if you have any comments, questions or suggestions, just send me an e-mail. I would really appreciate suggestions on how to improve my stories. Nice comments are always liked. All questions will be answered.

I think that spelling and abbreviations are okay in rough drafts and outlines, but in the product you send to publishers, all the spelling should be correct, naturally. Although, I constantly find myself using incorrect spelling and abbreviations on homework assignments. :)

Well, I'll be back later. Buh, bye.

Barb G, Thu Aug 27 11:54:15 PDT 1998

Hi Y'all,

Thanks, you guys, for explaining Fifth Element and Dark SF. I am going to rent the movie w/Willis.

Caroline: Thanks, yes, it does help to know the reasons for things. I'm still unsure about the premise, but that's MY problem not yours.

Is "Lord of Illusions" a Clive Barker book? Just wondering.

My cup of tea is hemlock, thank you. I love "Horror" is all its scary aspects. Am reading "Fear Nothing" by Koontz right now. NOT one of his best...neither was "Tick Tock."

Spelling. It's amazing how lazy I've become because of the #*&@+ spelchecker! Havahappi

Rachel Thu Aug 27 08:28:21 PDT 1998

Hi all

Rachel Thu Aug 27 08:27:30 PDT 1998

Hi all

Gary - Read over Dobie - Liked it - Struck me as a little offbeat and odd, but then I enjoy offbeat and odd so fly at er. I also found the entier piece somewhat amusing, if that was not your intent just chalk it up to my unusual sense of humor.

Take care all

S.K.S. Perry Thu Aug 27 08:00:17 PDT 1998

Why is it that as soon as we start discussing spelling, mine goes all to pot?


I visited your web site and signed your guest book, but it didn't seem to take. Maybe there's a problem with it?

S.K.S. Perry Thu Aug 27 07:19:41 PDT 1998


I've always though of Dark Sci-Fi (sorry Jack) as more along the lines of Alien, Screamers, Sphere or Event Horizon. I realise these are movies but you get the point--unless you haven't seen them. How about works by Philip K. Dick (Do Androids dream of Electric Sheep aka Bladerunner) I've always though Clive Barker is more of a Horror novelist. Most of his stories lack any real "science", real or speculative, that would classify them as Science Fiction.

As to whether or not my opinion has changed about killing the child, if I were your character, I'd be trying to find some way to exercise the spirit or demon, especially since I was in real danger of being possessed myself soon.

S.N.Arly Thu Aug 27 07:02:42 PDT 1998

Damn keyboard...

As I was saying, not shiney happy.

When Gene Roddenberry created Star Trek, he wanted a positive view of the future. This would be the complete antithesis of dark SF. Dark SF usually deals with the sark possibilities for the future. Now I'm not much of a utopian, and I don't really have a lot of hope or respect for the human race most of the time. A great deal of my SF leans heavilly into the dark. Dark themes, darker settings.

Having a little trouble articulating, but I think you get the point. Stayed up last night defeating demons and I think I'll have the stroy done before witers group tonight. Woo hoo!

Didn't see 5th element. From the commercials it looked too much like a cheap rip off of Bladerunners, which was good but shouldn't be duplicated/replicated/whatver.

Jyuu/Mark - Spelling does matter. Not in the creating process, but it's significant in the selling process. I'm usually pretty good, but sometimes my fingers aren't cooperative, so I usually have another pair of eyes preview my work before I ship it out.

Gary - When I get a moment I'll respond to your request for critiques.

S.N.Arly Thu Aug 27 06:55:15 PDT 1998

Barb G. - On dark SF. I don't know that you could consider this it's own separate genre, more of a subgenre or facet of regular ole SF we know and love. The point in dark SF, however is that things aren't all shiney happy.

Caroline Heske Thu Aug 27 02:25:59 PDT 1998

Gary - re. Dobie. It reads quite well - there are no paragraphs I would pick that jarr or anything... What I did notice, though, was that I got about half-way through and began to think 'does this have a point'? What I mean is that there didn't seem to be much of a sense of direction, or a hint that the story was going to contain anything more than a romance with the vet (perhaps it's not). If a writer does this, I feel they have to offer the reader something else to keep reading - like some off-beat humour, or something unexpected... Also I noticed he didn't have much of a reaction one way or another to his wife leaving him - not even an 'oh well, was getting sick of her anyway' (which seems more in his line than getting stressed or anything). It seems a little unusual that they didn't have any kids. Was there a reason? They're just some humble suggestions.

Gary S Thu Aug 27 02:13:58 PDT 1998


You asked if spelling matters. I agree that spelling is largely a knack and people of equal intelligence and abilities can be miles apart in the ability to spell easily.

I spoke to an agent who handles--so he says, and I believe him--a couple of heavy hitter writers who have deplorable spelling skills.

What the agent tells his clients about spelling is that they are responsible for presenting manuscripts which are in proper form gramatically, in format, and spelling. The writer has to do this and the agent doesn't care how he gets it done. The same goes for the publisher. Learn the skill or pay someone to do it, find a friend, have a spouse do it, but it is a must.

I can spell. I have the knack, but I understand how difficult it is for others who don't have it. I remember struggling classmates trying to satisfy aggressive teachers.

Very little fun, there. I got mine in math, where I was as devoid of the knack for numbers as the others were for letters. I had to go into the world of the numbers to seek my fortune. Not too many chances in the world of words. I had to struggle to bring myself up to snuff with the math required in the jobs I did over the years. You can struggle it out.

So my point is that you can struggle out the spelling as well, and at least in writing you can employ the alternative of paid or unpaid people to work over a manuscript where one can hardly keep a mathemetician at one's side in the industrial world.

The deal is that spelling doesn't have to be important but it does have to be dealt with.


Gary S

Gariess Thu Aug 27 01:36:55 PDT 1998

Dear Webbies, Correspondents, and other fellow wizards with whom I come to hob-knob. (paraphrasing the wizard of Oz in one of his more conciliatory moments.)

I have submitted a bit of business to the workbook to which I hope you will apply your attention.

It is the opening chapter of a small novel (not novella or novellette--at least for now.) The title is Dobie Harrison.
I have worked on it from time to time for some months now. and since it is not an obsessive project and something that I only drag out for fun at times when I am so inclined, I thought it could be a good object for crtitique in the workbook.

The thing I felt it might be good for would be for an open exercise in the *notebook* where people could offer critiques and discussions somewhat along the lines of a workshop or classroom exercise where participants are encouraged--if not outright instructed--to present their thoughts before the body in whole.

I realize people here often seek response in private email and that this has been the accepted form for such activity in this forum. However, I have hinted in the past that we might have an open go at a piece of work and the response
has been largely weak or none. I will try again with this bit and see if the time is any better for the idea. I feel that it could be fun, interesting and lively. I promise that I will not be offended by any remarks made reasonably and in good faith. If you say that paragraph three is so corny it should be eliminated entirely, or if the first half of page two is such a bore you can't stay awake, or if you say "What were you thinking of in chapter two? The whole thing has nothing to do with the the action." That will be fine. It would be nice if you refrain from things like. "You must be *stupid* to make a character so incompatible with anything in the plot. Just trying to get the idea across. Don't be offended if it seems I am trying to tell you how to behave. I am not speaking to those who don't need to be told, but we do have unknown or little known people pop up at times and I didn't think it would hurt to tell what its about, to be on the safe side.

On another matter: The word, "Grammar" is coming up a lot lately and there has been some talk of spelling. For some time now, this word comes up spelled g-r-a-m-m-e-r. There's no 'e'lads. Just to be sure there was no alternate spelling--because you had me wondering--I checked it in my ten-gallon Webster's, the one you used to go into the library and use to flatten out your rumply art class pictures, for the fifth grade. Well I did anyway. No 'e.'

It would be fun if Hayden/Grayell/Hoonaheck would pop back in for this. I don't think he can really stay away for two months. It will be too much for him. He'll be chewing his hat in 3 weeks wondering what we are saying about him. Well, what I"m saying about him, anyway. I know you don't know him for the miscreant he really is. "He's a Joker, he's a croaker, he's a midnite toker." Nah, he's a joker, not those other things. But he is a devilish mischief maker. He bears watching.

Warmest regards,

Gary S

Mark Wed Aug 26 22:08:05 PDT 1998

Hiya everyone,

Jyuu-Chan:What's a hint? I've never noticed anyone giving me any hints...have I been missing something?
Seriously though, I don't think it really matters if you can spell well, that is what a dictionary is for ( or spell checker, even better) I just have an incredibly easy time finding reasons to explain to myself why none of work is good enough for submission yet. Spelling, and grammer in general, is a favorite current excuse of mine. Wonderful life, being a writer. If it weren't so damned bloody awful, a man could grow to love it...


Jyuu-chan Wed Aug 26 20:23:23 PDT 1998

This always happens! I take too long writing something and when I go to see it in the notebook there's something else new up that I want to respond to! Argh...

Caroline - May I ask what you find so bad about Clive Barker? I've read Weaveworld and Thief of Always and found them to be strange, but very intriguing. Thief of Always was especially good.

Mark - Does it matter wether you're a good speller or not? I have some writer friends who can't spell worth a damn, but write better than most. I'm kinda naturally a good speller, but I find the longer I'm on the 'net the more I use abbreviations and the more I don't care how I spell stuff. Maybe that's a hint that I should get a life... not that I listen to hints... ^_-

Mata ne,

Jyuu-chan Wed Aug 26 20:12:04 PDT 1998

Lisa - I'm curious -- who got ticked off about The Fifth Element? I expected that movie to be totally different BTW... It was much funnier than I thought it would be(I don't know, I just expected it to be dark for some reason).

Anyway, about the fifth element. As stated already, there are the four elements (fire, water, wind, earth) and then there's a mysterious fifth element (well, it usually starts out as mysterious anyway). In Tanya Huff's series (Sing The Four Quarters, Fifth Quarter, No Quarter) the fifth element or "quarter" is that of the body. More specifically the soul. In the story there are bards that can manipulate the elementals of each quarter and those who can manipulate the fifth can heal people or kill them. I know this wasn't the answer that was being looked for, but I felt like talking.

[looks back at what she wrote] Hmm, I was really in my element with that question, wasn't I? [winces] Okay, bad pun.

Mata ne,

Caroline Heske Wed Aug 26 19:49:54 PDT 1998

Barb G - Why can't dad kill his kid? There's something like an entity controlling him.

Let's take your basic 'possession' scenario, but being rather cluey, the guy says, "hey, let's not have this evil spirit wandering about causing massive destruction" and locks it into his flesh. He is definitely the lesser of the two parties, however manages to keep some control over himself cause the spirit thing can't be bothered with managing all the details of daily-life. So the guy is sort of slowly going immorally insane - until the day he meets this woman who he falls in love with - and for some reason, her support gives him the strength to gain some control over the spirit. They have a kid (who subsequently becomes my main character) and the guy thinks he's living a fairly happy life and everything's nice. Unfortunately, some arsehole accidentally kills the woman, and his emotional backlash causes him to almost lose it entirely - the kid is virtually the only thing that's letting him hang on.

Then he starts to notice something odd about the kid - a sort of resonance - and realises that although he locked the thing in his flesh, his action had one MAJOR flaw... However, the spirit bit that's in the kid hasn't really gained self-awareness yet. The guy, realising she (the kid) has the potential to become very destructive, tries to destroy her - but the rather cluey spirit thing in his mind, won't let him. Through a complicated scenario which I won't waste this message explaining, the kid becomes separated from her father and grows up (and she's my main character).

When the father later rapes that girl, it's on the impetus of the spirit (and why he doesn't kill her etc.)... And why he knows he won't be able to kill her child - however since the thing in Erannon (his first kid) still isn't fully conscious, he asks her to do it.

Does this change anyone's opinions about the father and whether she should kill the kid?

What is dark scifi? I suppose it's scifi with a gothic edge (I haven't read many books like that, but I imagine the movies 'The Crow' and 'Dark City' would qualify) Also Clive Barker's books (which I can't stand - I just get about 50 pages in and am so sickened I can't read on...)

Lisa - *The Snow Goose* is definitely worth reading, though it's not scifi or fantasy... it's just... well, beautiful... I haven't met anybody who's read it who didn't like it (and few people who didn't cry over it)

Lisa Wed Aug 26 18:45:53 PDT 1998

Hiya, everybody. I'm feeling mighty puzzled this stormy eve. I just spoke with a good friend of mine whom I haven't talked to in, god, over a year... It was really weird.
But anyway...
Caroline- That makes too of us- I don't know what my story's about either! :) I'm still not finished with my current novel, so I won't let myself think of the next one too often lest I lose all interest in *Book of Shadows*.
Thanks for your estimates! They make sense. I hadn't thought of how long a portrait would take at all, so I'm glad somebody had the common sense to point it out to me. :)
No, I haven't read *The Snow Goose*. I'm not big on short stories generally, but if you think it's worth my time, maybe I'll check it out.
Barb- The Fifth Element isn't only used in sci-fi. It's a very important magickal concept, as the crowning power... a combination of the other four Elements (Earth, Air, Fire, Water) as well as their leader. There are actual modern-day religions that base themselves around the Elements, with different priests/priestesses each assuming the role of one Element in coven circles. ...The movie with Bruce Willis exploited these religions, and although personally I rather liked that movie, I can see why it ticked some people off. :)
The problem with Gail being an intern is that I've never had a job. I have no idea what it'd be like; I can't exactly write about it, not plausibly anyway. ...Stupid child labor laws... ( ;) )
Have them peachy days, peoples.


Barb G. Wed Aug 26 18:30:53 PDT 1998

Hi Y'all,

SKS: Thank you very much. No I haven't seen that movie yet. I say the term used in a mags GLs and wondered what it was. They stated they didn't want anything fifth-elementist.

So, Here's another question: What is Dark Sci-Fi?

I absolute love the genre and tried to write some awhile back but they got very poor receptions. Kind of scared me off. One was named: Transmutation University and the other was Daddy's Little Humanoid. Maybe that tells you something!!

To love science-fiction the way I do, you'd think maybe I could write something good, but I can't.

Don't forget the Dark Sci-Fi question.


Jack Beslanwitch Wed Aug 26 17:48:48 PDT 1998

Just a personal pet peeve on my part. Although Forest J. Ackerman seems to have won the battle, I prefer the term science fiction over sci fi. sci fi always brings up connotations of B-Movies with bad plots. But, the SciFi channel and others have largely made this a moot point.

Oh, well. One other thing about the whole issue of space opera. Perhaps the quintessential examples of space opera being written today and quite successfully so, is Lois McMaster Bujold. Her Miles Verkosigan stories, especially the early ones like The Warriors Apprentice and The Vor Game are wonderful reads and examples of this. Later ones such as The Mirror Dance and Memory are equally successful in my mind. If you have not tried this author, please do so.

S.K.S. Perry Wed Aug 26 10:39:08 PDT 1998

Thanks for the help on the definition. It seems as if about 90% of the Sci-Fi novels out there could qualify as Space Operas. I think I'll just send it out as Sci-Fi and let the publishers figure it out for themselves. It should be self evident from the query letter.


I'm assuming your talking about the movie with Bruce Willis?

Traditionally, the four elements of Life are Earth, Air, Fire and Water. The premise of the film is that the fifth element was the four elements combined and personified. Obviously any being who was the living synthesis of the four elements combined would be extremely powerful. Kinda mystic like, huh?

Barb G Wed Aug 26 06:55:25 PDT 1998

Hi Y'all,

Caroline: Did we ever learn why the Immortal Papa couldn't kill his own baby?

Lisa: She could work in the gallery as an Aide or Intern. My father did that as a very young artist. His paintings have filled my home with their warmth and style. (I know, who cares?) Money-wise though, I have no idea what a good fee would be.

You Sci-Fi writers: What the heck is the Fifth Element?

Hey guys, work hard today, Bonnie's coming!!


Caroline Heske Tue Aug 25 20:47:41 PDT 1998

Lisa - i've never been called 'evil' before - it's somewhat of a novelty! But I wanted to make a point with 'Erannon', that fantasy can be just as grippingly adventurous if one replaces the sword-fights with psychological fights. Sometimes violence in the mind can be much more disturbing. With regards to your artist... Well, it would depend on how good they were - but let's say they could do an accurate look-alike portrait of a passing tourist in 15 minutes - they could probably charge about $20 Aus, so I suppose that would be about $12 American. That's for black and white. Coloured portraits (say in pastels) might take about 40 minutes, but they would probably sell for closer to $35 American. It would also depend on WHERE they were doing the drawing. If they did it in your average main street, I'd estimate the figures above - if they did it in a poor area, I would imagine they'd have trouble getting people to pay over a quarter of that - yet if they did it in a nicish restaurant or out the front of an art gallery or something, they could probably double their fee. Hope that helps!:)

I have no idea what your story's about, but your questions triggered a memory in me of Paul Gallico's 'The Snow Goose' which is only about 45 pages long. Have you read it?

Mark Tue Aug 25 19:38:41 PDT 1998

Hiya everyone,
I've had one hell of a rough week, and it isn't even half way over yet. Wonderful. Sorry I haven't responded in so long, I haven't even had a chance to log on since I last posted. I had a lot to catch up on, obviously.

Barb: I have tried to write horror, but it doesn't seem to be my cup of tea. I usually can get the horrifying scenes very well, but my mind locks up, can't seem to imagine what someone would do in the situations I envision ( SP?), except for go into all kinds of convulsions. So I usually don't get much further than that. Thank you, by the way, for knowing exactly what I was talking about with the confusion bit. Glad to see I'm not the only one out here who has no idea what the opposite sex is up to.

Rachel: I think I understand what you mean about the horrors of living in a mind that feels with such intensity, because I have been stuck in this one of mine for 25 years now. All I can say is, the low ARE very bad, but when you reach the highs, it seems like you could fly to the moon. It balances out, for me. It has taken a lot of work on my part to be able to deal with the overwhelming despair I can feel, I have to admit. BUT....anyway, I understand your meaning precisly

Incidentally, I was glad to see that I am not the only person here who makes a few mistakes with spelling. I was afraid that every other aspiring writer already had a perfect encylopedia memorized in their brain. ( Note the slight hint of sarcasm )

Also incidentally, I realized that I put the uneditted version of my story in the Workbook, so please forgive the sloppy drivel. At least you get an idea.
Well, gotta go, have a good evening everyone,

Allein-chan Tue Aug 25 16:28:45 PDT 1998

I guess I was wrong about the space opera thing. Oh well, my bad.

Nie-way, I finally figured out what my stories would be classified as: SciFi, Comedy, Romance, Mystery, Fantasy and probably other things too. I really try to pack it all in there. I'd probably say they're more mystery up until you reach stories 5 & 6, which are more fantasy. Maybe they would be young adult - actually, maybe they should just be adult. There are some things that may be inappropriate for children under 16. I mean, there's no really graphic sex scenes or anything - I wouldn't put THAT in my stories. But there are scenes of love (kept to hugging, cuddling and kissing) between boys, one character is a rapist/child molester, graphic talk about murder and other such naughty things. Well, until next time, auf wiedersehen.

Mick Tue Aug 25 15:32:44 PDT 1998

Lo All

if any of you are interested there is a site:, blimey, I hope that's right, that is stuffed full of definitions of SF.


S.N.Arly moobeast Tue Aug 25 14:37:14 PDT 1998

SKS Perry - Space opera (according to the SFA or some such place) is: High adventure in space, usually leaning a bit in the direction of camp. The sort of thing found in movies and comics of the early 20th century. Trademarks include close encounters with bug-eyed monsters and total babes. Flash Gordon is considered vintage space opera while Trek is more sophisticated contemporary space opera.

So it doesn't have ot be soap operaesque, thank goodness. But that element can be present.

Brenda Tue Aug 25 13:43:01 PDT 1998

Hi Everybody!

Just wanted to drop a note and let everyone know I'm still around. I check in here regularly, and recent discussions have been *very* interesting! I just haven't felt like joining in...

Rhoda - I'll keep my fingers crossed for you on your agents!

On topic: My main character, who is NOT a princess - has short dark hair, but is very attractive. I was actually thinking, prior to this discussion, about making her blonde, but thanks to all of you, I've tossed that idea. I also have a truck driver in my story, and while I've attributed him with some stereotypical traits, I've thrown in a few twists to let the reader know he is unique.

On crying: Whether for joy or pain, I think it's one human trait we simply could not do without. I love Spock to death (Star Trek), but most folks reactions to him (in my own observations) have been to the so-called 'human' side of him - when he DID let his emotions 'get in the way'.

That's it for now. Thanks to everyone for the lively discussions.


Allein-chan Tue Aug 25 13:07:15 PDT 1998

S.K.S. Perry - maybe it's a story like a soap opera, only the characters are alien or it has something to do with space. If that's the case, my stories would be classified as that too.

This isn't really writing related, but I felt like leaving something here just to let you know that I am still alive - okay, lame excuse since it hasn't even been twenty four hours since my last entry. Actually, I just saw the new Pocahontas movie and it's REALLY good. It's so much better than the original - more suspense and action. New songs. And Pocahontas makes an appearance in *gasp* her underwear. Well, I don't remember what they're called, but actually, the underwear covered more of her body than the Native American dress did.
Nie-way, it was really cool - a must see. But you had better grab it fast. I got to the video store, like, five minutes after they opened and one copy was already gone! It's going fast - probably 'cause people have heard about it since April and really want to see it. I think I use the word 'really' too much. So, that's all for now. I'm going to update my webpage as soon as I can. Thanks to all who have come to it. Until later..

Lisa Tue Aug 25 12:56:53 PDT 1998

Hey, everybody! :) I need some help (but not in the way you might think).
One of the characters in my next story is going to be a painter living in Boston. She can do almost all types of painting (portraits, abstract, landscape, etc), but not much else. How would my character market her painting skills? What sort of job could she get, outside of commercial business-type thingys (since I know nothing about those and so can't exactly write about 'em)?
And another thing: If she were to set up an easel on the streets and paint portraits for tourists walking by, how much would she get paid? I was thinking somewhere around ten dollars, but I'm not sure.
Any opinions (or blind guesses) are appreciated. :) Have them peachy days!

~Lisa :)

Mick Tue Aug 25 12:35:22 PDT 1998

Lo All

SKS, Space opera, try something like Star Wars, or Star Trek, any of the series, or should that be generation?


S.K.S. Perry Tue Aug 25 11:15:31 PDT 1998

Quick question folks. What's the definition of a Space Opera? What classifies a story as being one? I think my novel might qualify but I'm not really sure.

Your help on this one would be greatly appreciated.

Barb G. Tue Aug 25 10:09:54 PDT 1998

Hi Y'all,

Rachel: Now I see what you were saying. I, too, tearup at the strangest times. Say a note of thanks from one of your kids that says you're the greatest Mom ever. Or getting something you really wanted badly, but thought was out of reach. Sharing the sunset with your friends. Getting the dog to go outside (No, I'm making light of a very nice subject. Forgive me.)

Thanks for your e-mail, too.

Havahappi guys

Lisa Tue Aug 25 09:34:40 PDT 1998

Hi, everybody! :) I'm taking a brief break from my writing because I think if I don't I'm going to start to gibber and foam at the mouth, so I figured I might as well drop in here and bore some people a bit.
Mark- Sounds like you have low self-confidence! I think that must be one of the job qualifications for writing. I wonder, if you had to submit a resume in order to write, where would you stick that in? Under "hobbies", maybe? "Areas of expertise"?
:} Anyway, if you're published you obviously have something going for you, and judging from your posts I would say that something is good writing. Keep at it. We all have our little struggles (though some struggles are worse than others. for instance, the one with the ravenous demon king with the uzi, that was very nasty...).
Caroline- Oh my GOD!!! You must be evil. How on earth could you think of these situations otherwise?? They're altogether quite horrific, and I sure as heck wouldn't want to be *your* main characters. But if I had to be one, I would tell dear old dad to go boil his head, give the friend whom I owe a favor some cash, and then hoof it. Maybe take a cruise. Maybe find my lover/the homosexual prostitue and steal some valuable little trinkets from him, sell them, and *then* take a cruise.
But I would *not*, under any circumstances, murder my friend's baby. Or my friend, either, for that matter. Or any baby. I wouldn't murder anybody! (I'll never make a good fantasy heroine. Oh, well. Isn't too high on my list of things to become anyway, so I s'pose it doesn't matter.)
Allein-chan- On my way to your homepage! (Heck, it's either that or go back to my writing.. nyuuhhh...slobber slobber)
Have fabulously weird-but-peachy days, people, or I'll talk to that demon king and get 'im down here. (You think I'm kidding?? That's what you know. You obviously haven't seen my sister early in the morning before...)

~Lisa :)

Rachel Tue Aug 25 07:21:12 PDT 1998

In my past post said "I also tear up at the oddest times" That was not to say that it is strange to tear up at the birth of a child, death of a loved one or moving music." It was a run on sentance. "In those situations I tend to mist up and am more of a private crier."

Take care

Rachel Tue Aug 25 07:18:28 PDT 1998

Hey there

I didn't mean "painfull intensity" they way that some of you seemed to interpret it.

I work with children and teens and come in contact with many adults who have lived through mental, physical and sexual abuse, or a mixture of any of the above, it is to their intense emotional pain that I am speaking, sorry about that.

I was not referring to the sort of intensity that one feels at the birth of a child or the loss of a loved one or a moving piece of music. I also tear up at the oddest times, we all experience the things that we see, feel and hear differently, that is part of what makes life and this world we live in such a grand adventure.

I was I supose talking about the horror of being a person so deeply tormented by their emotions that they fall into a dark pit of dispair from which they feel there is only one escape, and after you have seen this in a child of 5 or 6 years you will know what it is that I am talking about.

I do not wish to seem as if I am snaping here, but do not want to be misinterpreted as a cool or unfeeling person who would try to make emotional intensity seem like a crime.

Take care all

S.K.S. Perry Tue Aug 25 05:13:08 PDT 1998


Wouldn't the child be immortal also? In that case, how could you kill it. As to your lover being a gay prostitute, that's either a problem or not depending on your character's personal moral ethics.

Jack Beslanwitch Tue Aug 25 02:00:36 PDT 1998

Lyn: Welcome. But, just a suggestion. Please use the Workbook for poems and short pieces. BTW, as I've said, I now have my main computer back, but am absolutely swamped. As soon as I can get a breathing spell I'll implement the private Workbook. So, sharpen your pencils. My current thinking is to have four Workbooks with associated critique areas. One for novels, one for short stories, one for young writers and one for collaborative story projects. As demand requires, I may break things out subsequently into areas for specific genres. In particular, I am likely to have a separate area for science fiction and fantasy. But we will see how things go. Take care everyone.

Allein-chan Mon Aug 24 22:24:10 PDT 1998

Killing mothers...immortal fathers..moral prostitues...I've been reading the last few enteries, and yet, I feel I've missed something. But then again, I miss out on a lot of things. My brain won't check back in from vacation until about three days after school begins. ^.~ Just kidding!! But I must have missed something. Oh well. I've been doing some work on my story and Chapter 7 of my first story might soon be up on my webpage. I beg people to check out my webpage and sign the guestbook with good thoughts (this is with the exception of KC and Jyuu-chan who have already done this). Lots of people visit, but no one signs the guestbook. :( Oh, well. I guess it doesn't matter so long as people see it.

Lyn Martin - nice poem. Liked it a lot! Keep up writing! :)

Idonow - welcome to the writer's notebook.

Well, until I have something not boring to say - Hasta La Vista!

Caroline Heske Mon Aug 24 20:56:16 PDT 1998

Killing the mother too... That's an interesting one. I hadn't thought of that. Well, just to make matters really interesting, Dad's an immortal (note immortal not god), so you CAN'T kill him. The child isn't an antichrist, but the same thing that's wrong with it is wrong with you - so presumably you have a bit of a moral dilemma why it should die and you shouldn't. You're an immortal, so suicide isn't an option. Oh, yeah, and in addition you've just found out that your lover is working as a gay prostitute...

Emotional conflict (S.K.S Perry)? I do my best!

Lyn Martin Mon Aug 24 18:24:54 PDT 1998

Just wanted to share a poem I wrote, and also to share the web address of a friend of mine, who also enjoys writing poetry. Thank you for reading!!

A Bit of Advice From A Most Treasured Friend

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

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

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

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

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

You smiled at me and began walking away,
You paused then, and turned back to hear me say,
"I'm glad that our paths were destined to mend,
For in you I have found A Most Treasured Friend."

Well there it is, for better or worse, thank you for reading.
I hope to have another one some day soon.

idonow Mon Aug 24 18:20:48 PDT 1998

Hi. I'm new here (as if you couldn't tell). I am a writer of short fiction (primarily science fiction and fantasy, and not a few romances--but don't hold that against me), but I have never been published. I have been told that I have talent, but I lack a very important asset: the company and advice of other writers. I would be enormously grateful for yours!
Somebody please send me an e-mail. I have never had an e-mail address before, and I want to play with my new toy.

Clyde Dixon Mon Aug 24 17:13:37 PDT 1998

Lots of new names. Yes I am still around. Just got back from vacation, nine year anniversary. Now it's on with a serious job search.

Writing, well . . . I did a poem for the wife, but that's about it for a while. Trying to brush-up on (or learn) too many skills at the moment, including touch typing (either Toby or S.N. inspired me to give it a try, with their own success--though I can do 40wpm one handed, as long as they are my words.)

As to the topic, writing the other sex, it may be helpfull to look at some of the books written to help couples with their relationships. A large part of many such books focus on the different priorities and expectations of the sexes. Of course everyone is different, but there is a trend for each sex to react or think in a different way in response to the same situation.

Take Care and good writing,

Barb G. Mon Aug 24 13:59:26 PDT 1998

And another thing!! (My husband kids me to death about that particular opening into a thought...)

Rachel: I'd be interested, too, to know why you assume someone who cries easily is tormented with such "painful intersity" because of it. Please elucidate.

Mark: Hang in there, pal. The little gremlin that is making you hesitant about your writing, may be the fear of success. Now, before you get all angry with me, let me tell you what made me say this. It was the use of the word "sabotaged." I've been down that dark and lonely road. Don't let it make you quit. Down deep, I think you know that your writing is excellent and you're afraid to admit it to yourself for fear of jinxing it! You can poo-poo my take on it, but give it some thought.

Catch ya later, Havahappi

Barb G. Mon Aug 24 13:31:43 PDT 1998

Hi Y'all,

Caroline: Why can't dear old dad do his own dirty work? He had no trouble, evidently, raping a girl, so why would he stop at murder? What possible excuse does he have to not hunt and kill this baby on his own?


Barb G. ragbag Mon Aug 24 13:28:23 PDT 1998

S.N.Arly Mon Aug 24 09:03:01 PDT 1998

Mark - Relax. Don't panic. We all face blocks and barriers of some nature or another. The best thing to do is keep trying and DO NOT let yourself get upset. That will only reinforce any psychological barriers.

If you've been published you have no real reason to fear that you aren't any good. Someone obviously thinks you are. It also means you've completed stories in the past and if you've done it once, you can do it again.

Caroline - That'd be what we call a no brainer. Dad's obviously a loser, why anyone would think they owe him any thing, much less loyalty, is beyond me.

I'd have to agree with SKS Perry on this. I'd get me my gun and shoot me a rapist. Oh wait, I don't own a gun. Ah well. Bare hands it is....

S.K.S. Perry Mon Aug 24 08:46:29 PDT 1998


I can't possibly imagine a strong enough moral reason for me to ever murder a child, especially at the request of a man I've just met and who admits to being a rapist. (I would, however, have no problem killing this deranged individual.)

If we're talking about the realm of fantasy here, and the child is perhaps the Antichrist or some such thing, then the child would have to die. A debt to an old friend, even if it involved great personal sacrifice, is not worth the death of others. You might consider putting the mother out of her misery as a kind of mercy killing. Talk about creating emotional conflict within a character!

S.K.S. Perry Mon Aug 24 08:27:51 PDT 1998


Your comment about what a horror it must be to live in a mind where everything is felt with such painful intensity struck me as odd. You mentioned the joyous occasions where even your husband "misted up". We often tend to overlook the fact that intense feelings of happiness, love, wonder and laughter can also bring tears to our eyes. I've heard musical pieces where just right synthesis of harmony and sentiment touched me in a way that caused me to tear up. My wife and children have gifted me with many proud and beautiful moments where it was difficult to remain clear-eyed. It was at these times of painful intensity that I felt truly alive.

Caroline Heske Mon Aug 24 08:02:14 PDT 1998

Perhaps the only way to avoid stereotypes in this day and age, I mean when so much has been 'done before', is to simply have a variety of characters.

Also, stereotypes can be useful, particularly for minor characters, because readers can so quickly grasp the kind of person you're aiming at - I find first impressions (in real life) are commonly stereotypical anyway.

Something I occasionally do is deliberately make a character stereotypical, because I want to make a point about some feature that stereotype exemplifies - or for humour. Nevertheless, I am against stereotyping major characters, or a certain group of characters (which is frequently men in women's writing, and commonly women in men's writing).

Jyuu-Chan and K.C. Ramey - thanks for your suggestions!

How about this one: What if you were a young woman, orphaned as a child, and one day you finally meet your biological father... He tells you quite calmly that last year he was travelling to town x and met a girl who he raped. He then asks you to find this girl, and if she's had a baby, to kill it. You have a means of identifying the child and (take my word for it) a very strong moral reason to do so. However, when you finally track the girl down, she turns out to be an old friend of yours, who once made a great sacrifice to help you... In fact, this sacrifice led her to being at the place where your father raped her. She is overjoyed to see you, and no longer seems to be quite psychologically stable. Her family and close friends reckon that her young daughter is basically all that she's living for... The question is: What do you do?

S.K.S. Perry Mon Aug 24 07:54:32 PDT 1998

Rachel Mon Aug 24 05:47:06 PDT 1998

Hi all

Well I certainly did miss alot in the past week.

I just have to put in my thoughts on males crying. I have had many male friends and three fathers in my lifetime to check notes on and I have seen many different ways that men react to tears, I for the most part have found that most men I have come in contact with are not "big criers" but that most of them have cried on one occassion or another, most often death of family memeber or family pet. My husband cried at the birth of our children, and misted up at the wedding. I think that it is natural to cry from time to time and very healthy. On the other hand I have known people who seem to cry all the time and find that unsetteling to say the least. I wonder to myself what a horror it must be to live in a mind where everything is felt with such painful intensity.

On the princess always being blond. Not in my stories, I don't really have any princessess I have a perspective high lady, or an honor lady, the odd Empress, but some of these women don't even have hair, they tend more towards long tails and well are obviously not human. I have alot of fun with my usual writing because given the fact that I am dealing in nonexistant beings and made up planets I can do whatever I want. (kinda a fun feeling)

Jen - Thanks for the info you posted August 20 regarding sending out queary letters, I had begun to serriously wonder how to tackel that.

Rhoda - Congrats!!!

Take care all

Mark Hamstra Sun Aug 23 22:21:04 PDT 1998

With writing I find myself struggling with a strange type of duality: an intense desire to write, create, and develop stories, and a subtle insidious fear of something-I'm-not-quite-sure, perhaps the fear that I am incapable, that I have no talent, or perhaps the fear of discovering I do not have that 'will to power' to stick a story out to the end. I have published a couple of stories, and I find beginning them easy enough, but after the first couple of pages the demon surfaces and I find myself, almost unconsciously, sabotaging myself and the momentum by searching for distractions. Lately I have found this post-one-page barrier creeping closer and infecting even the initial sentences, so that when I approach the story or character or the snatches of dialogue to write them down, I become self conscious and cannot continue. My incapacity feeds on itself, and the cavity it creates continues to widen.


Allein-chan Sun Aug 23 21:10:51 PDT 1998

I've found - as I've talked to people about some of my characters that if they dress a certain way, or have a certain hair or skin color, then the readers stereotype them and expect them to act a certain way. For example, one of my characters is a cross-dresser and people expect him to act feminine, but, given that throughout most of the series, he's going through adolescence, he can and does act masculine. Another character dresses oddly, has wild, dyed hair and is somewhat of an outcast. But throughout the series, the reader will find that she's intelligent, caring and has many goals and dreams for the future. They're are also some characters which could be stereotyped (for instance there's guys, girls, name it, I'll probably have it in my stories) - but they don't fit their respective stereotypes (most don't, anyway). I think it is hard not to stereotype characters in stories, but I always try not to over do it. Bye, bye. ^.~
- Allein-chan

K.C. Ramey Sun Aug 23 18:37:46 PDT 1998

Yikkes. I am away from the computer for a few days and there are tons of posts. Well I read them all and thought I would add my bit.

Some characters in my stories are stereotypical. How can you avoid it? Some stereotypes are correct. There is only one person in all my stories who is totally stereotyped. That is Darlyne from Twin Gates. She is the stereotypical teenaged valley girl, but that is how I wanted her to be. I think some characters need to be slightly stereotype or else you could end up with unbelievable characters. Most of my characters are based on people I know. The main characters in Twin Gates, Krys and Jessie, are based on how me and my brother look. There attitudes are different though. I put part of how I act and how some of my friends act into Jessie and Krys is more how I act. Billy is based on an old friend and my cousin's attitudes and Charley is completely original. (I haven't found any stereotypes for Mixlings! Then again I created them and they can act how they want to act.) I have found that I go with what I know and "stereotype" with that information. If I find that all my female friends do a certain thing then I use it as a stereotype for my character so on so forth. I hope this makes sense to everyone. Does anyone else use people you know to create characters?

Caroline - I agree with Jyuu-chan's suggestion. I believe that Erannon should feel Sedett's feelings for Astrinada and possibly tease him about it. Just a thought.

Lisa - Thanks for the suggestion. I need to buy a new Atlas anyway and I have 3 complete sets of Encyclopedias. I will be in U.S. history this year so it won't necessarily give me the information I need but I will be searching through everything I learn.

I have to go to sleep. Hosting an overnight costume party was exhausting work. Not to mention cleaning before and after it and making a costume for myself and my boyfriend. Jyuu-chan and I are going to write a Fan Fiction about it and post it on my web page with the pictures from it. Okay you can wake up now, I'm done.


Barb G. Sun Aug 23 17:23:34 PDT 1998

Hi Y'all,

Company is gone - whew - and I'm here again.

Rhoda: Congratulations and welcome back.

Mark: Ta-Da! Bingo! In your very pragmatic and understated way you have the whole question of writing characters who are opposite of ourselves as protagonists in our stories. (As an aside: Do you write horror? And Heinlein bugs me too.)


Shaun Curran Sun Aug 23 16:26:04 PDT 1998

I remember back about two years ago when I first started writing, I had all the female characters in my story not only be lesbians, but act like tomboys. Thank God I've changed that idea!

I notice that in all of us, there is a small part of us that is feminine. Crying is not nessecerally (sp?) feminine, crying is natural. Several of my characters have feminine aspects, and in some ways they model people who I know in everyday life.

On a more personal level, one character I created, Catalina Kanwak, (boy named Catalina) his only real weakness is that he takes things too personally. Take that your own way. I view that as a feminine character trait, but that's just my own opinion ^_^;;;;;;

Hopefully, I won't get flamed for writing this^_^;

Shaun "Catalina Richard" Curran

Keith M. Sun Aug 23 09:50:33 PDT 1998

Hello, All! It's been a while since I've been here, but I think I can make a few *slightly* interesting contributions.


Lesse, stereotypical characters in my novel??? Should it be?? I try to avoid it, but sometimes you CAN'T avoid it. The characters in my novel-in-progress are a combination of their background/history/environment and "what-the-author-needs-to-portray" ... at least, that is how they are in the beginning.
Let me explain. Whenever I begin a story (be it short or long), I have in mind the basics of my characters (short background, how they grew up, what they look like, etc.), and always add in a few flaws. More often than not, the flaws are the reason they're in the story (as will be exampled below). However, as I write, I let the CHARACTERS do what they will, I NEVER, NEVER, NEVER, force a character to do something. Perhaps it's the schizophrenia in me, but I let the characters "talk" to me (before you guys call the shrink, just know that I used to see me and he kinda went crazy. *true* story). Anyway, as I write I let the characters "do their own thing" and dictate part of the story.
Finally, the examples, so you can understand what I'm talking about.
EXAMPLE I: My main main character, called Kanin, is just developing magical powers. In cliche, he's ignorant of the power (even with his mentor), destined to be a great mage, and is orphaned. In addition, he's not exactly the most handsome kid, but he's not bad... but he's got a quick temper, he's rash and hasty, and more often than not wants a quick solution. Also, like many teens, he often lets his emotions in the way. By the way, he's male - could you tell?
EXAMPLE II: Just introduced in chap 7 is the Merchant's Daughter - Carissa Delannon. She will become a princess (much much later in the book), but she's nothing like what one would expect. She blatantly defies her father, and she has dark black hair (not blonde). However, she has an extremely emotional side that she cannot control, and spends a good deal of chap 7 in tears (well, okay, so her best friend is dying - still, some might consider her tears as being stereotypically female. you be the judge).
EXAMPLE III: Captain Josian Mark - the salty sea captain. Now here is, at first glance, a stereotypical character. He's bulky, got a stringy beard, smells like fish, and loves good ale and fine women. However, his ship, the Sunset Lady, is more of a barge than a caravel. He's the uncle of one of the main characters, and he's the brother of a colonial governor (sort of a disgrace to his family, in a way). When I first introduced him, he was, in my mind, only to be there when the ship came in occasionally, being the gruff, briny, salty seaman. But, then it just so happened he was in port when Kanin's future mentor needed to come to Gyleford (the tiny colony town where much of the book takes place), and it was revealed that behind this gruff exterior was a man who cares about his nephew and his nephew's friends.

Okay, you are all probably asleep at the computer by now, so I'll shut my trap. Just wanted to give a little into this topic discussion.
To sum up, I would say MODERATION IN ALL THINGS, EVEN CHARACTERIZATION. (maybe I should have said that first???)


Keith M.

Toby Buckell Sun Aug 23 09:29:40 PDT 1998

Jyuu Chan-

sorry about the misqoute...:)

Rhoda- good luck with the agents...

Susan Katz Sun Aug 23 03:32:04 PDT 1998

Rhoda, good luck with the agents!!!

Jyuu-chan Sat Aug 22 22:20:30 PDT 1998

As I was writing my last contribution, someone else entered their's. So when I went to see my entry there's another new one! How frustrating.

Caroline - I love these types of problems! I think that perhaps Sedett and Erannon should keep it from her for a while (since maybe they don't want to alienate her completely), but somehow she finds out without them telling her. I think characters should have to face up to what they dislike or fear (a character in one of my stories has to confront the man who abused him as a child). Also, some interesting situations could ensue from Erannon feeling the overflow from Sedett's emotions toward Astrinada. >: ) Well, actually that depends on how you want it to work, but there's quite a bit you could do there.

Just my $0.02

Mata ne,

Jyuu-chan Sat Aug 22 22:09:59 PDT 1998

Toby - The person you were referring to is me, but you misquoted. ^_^; What I said was "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." Most men I know cry for nothing and would probably laugh if anyone asked if they cried at Titanic. *I* didn't cry at Titanic (which for some reason led some of my friends to believe that I'm insane). Umm, I'll make it more clear. "I know guys who never cry and at least one who cried at Anastasia." Yes, Anastasia as in the animated feature that was in theaters earlier this year. [shrug] It takes all kinds I guess.

On topic - I love writing from the male point of view. I'm not sure why, but I enjoy it more. I'm not sure if I'm doing it right, but I haven't had any complaints from anyone who's read my stuff. I try not to stereotype my characters, but I can't help but think that someone is gonna say "well, the hero was rather stereotypical" no matter how I write it. I try and add flaws to my characters, but it might be that even the flaws are stereotypical! Some of what I write is taking pre-existing characters from tv shows or even other books and writing new stuff with them (Fan Fiction). So there I can't do anything if a character is stereotypical, except maybe explore a side of him/her that was never seen or thought of by the viewers of the program or readers of the book (yes, I know you're not really supposed to do that, but I don't make a profit from it). Mou~, I can't believe I wrote this much! I love this list so I hope I'm not boring you overmuch...

Also, I'm thinking of posting one of my newly completed works, but I'm not sure if I should, considering it's one of the aforementioned fan fictions and I don't think anyone's seen the show it's from (except for KC).

"The magic of today is often tomorrow's science."

Mata ne!

Caroline Heske Sat Aug 22 21:55:08 PDT 1998

I'm having a problem with my novel at the moment, which is sort of related to this discussion, so I'll put it up here. People's ideas are REALLY welcome. It goes like this:

Astrinada(female, about 13), and Sedett (male, about 16) grew up in a village together. They have always been very good friends. From a very early age Astrinada has had a phobia of magic. When Sedett was 12, he was apprenticed to a Merchant - who turned out to be a magician and trained Sedett likewise (however there's a slave trade in such people so they're keeping things fairly quiet). Four years later, when Sedett's an adult, circumstances force him to return home. There is a definite (but unacted upon) sexual attraction between the two - even after Sedett tells her of his less ordinary talents. A month or so after his homecoming, their village is attacked by a bunch of raving religious loonies. Believing the attackers to be after the children, it is organised for Sedett, Astrinada, and some of the older children/young adults to sneak them out of the village. They are ambushed and Sedett and Astrinada are the only survivors - Astrinada wouldn't even have survived if Sedett hadn't incinerated their attackers, which does not relieve her of her phobia, rather it makes her think the world's gone crazy. They return to the village to discover the attackers boarded up all the adults in one of the buildings and burned them alive. A few days later, Sedett is arrested by Guards because he cannot prove he has work, and so will be put into a labour gang... (it's a very beaurocratic (sp?) country). He does not try and escape, because he believes the slave-traders may be in alliance with the government and that would be saying 'here I am, come and get me'.

So Astrinada is left by herself, fairly young and with her whole world gone to pieces. She knows which city Sedett has gone to, but is unable to concieve of how she will get there without being arrested (she's a minor), until, like a miracle, she meets up with Erannon (female, 15) who has also lost her family and home and is travelling to that city. Erannon is sort of reassuringly normal.

They get to the city okay, but when they arrive, they realise Erannon is wanted for the attempted assassination of the Crown Prince, and some Guards try to arrest them. They are stopped by Sedett, who throws a sort of smoke bomb which sends the Guards unconscious, but before Erannon starts to run away with them, she also breathes in some of the smoke and starts to get dizzy. They hide out in someone's kitchen cellar when it becomes clear Erannon has lost control of her body and is in fact hallucinating. In the grip of such a hallucination, Erannon has a flashback from her childhood, and attacks Sedett - magically (she had not known she could do this). What results is a sort of mind-meld between the two of them. Astrinada is aware something happened - and is devastated that her sort of 'saviour' has turned out to be her worst nightmare etc.) - but she cannot know what.

Sedett and Erannon have no idea what the Link entails, but have discovered so far that they can talk as easy as thinking, can swap bodies (with a good deal of concentration), can feel each other's emotions, and have to concentrate hard not to finish each other's sentences. They find it increasingly difficult to disagree with each other.

The problem is this: Do they tell Astrinada? If so, how would she react? How does Sedett react to this problem? (I know what Eran thinks) Should Sedett's feelings towards Astrinada overflow into Erannon's mind?

Jack Beslanwitch Sat Aug 22 16:44:54 PDT 1998

Toby: Just as an aside, no I did not cry at Titanic, but enjoyed the movie and the plot. From the point at which the ship started to sink I was riveted. I did, however, find myself crying in Saving Private Ryan. This perhaps relates to unresolved issues as a veteran. And, no, movies, especially public movies, are not a likely place for me to be found shedding a tear. :-)

Allein-chan Sat Aug 22 14:11:01 PDT 1998

Donna M. - you're right about the princess always being blonde. That didn't even come to mind until I realized that one of the princesses in my story is blonde.

Also, what is it with blondes always being ditzy or dumb? I'm blonde and I'm not ditzy or dumb at all. I'm a very intelligent and creative person.

I see stereotyping a lot in books. I even absentmindedly do it sometimes. So, now that I've added my two cents worth, I'll let someone else have a turn. Toodles.

Rhoda Sat Aug 22 13:48:55 PDT 1998

I'm back to New Mexico from Perryton, Texas to do our move this week. This computer will be the last thing I pack.

I had a wonderful time in Michigan. I also had the opportunity to meet Goodweed. He is as nice as his posts. Thank you, Goodweed, for giving me, Frank, and Daniel a wonderful evening. Give my regards to Deb and your kids.

Our house fell through in Perryton, so we are once again shopping around for a residence though we have managed to find a rental house. If the moving van comes as planned, I should be packing up my computer this Friday and no one will hear from me after that until I am able to find an Internet Service Provider in the new location.

Great news! I sent out my query letter for my present project and have nabbed two agents who wish to see the manuscript. I never got this far with THE RELUCTANT BARBARIAN. Perhaps it only means I just learned to write better queries, but I am pleased with these developments. I just hope I am able to send these manuscipts out soon with the move and everything.

I must go. There is much to do. I also want to find time to read some of the archived posts before I comment on the present topic.

I missed the Notebook. It's wonderful to be back, though it be for a short time.

Happy writing,


Toby Buckell Sat Aug 22 13:27:12 PDT 1998

Male/female characters: another classic debate. I think a lot has to do with upbringing. I for one refuse to cry. I'm sure the physcologists around here will have fun with that, but there it is. I trade tears in for rage, and everyone says rage is bad etc... but when the shit hits the fan I hold everything in, never panic, and maintain a calm exterior, when it is time for the literal explosion I do it in a small room with weights to lift until I tire myself out, or things that can be broken. As a result I tend to be very calm in high stress situations. I noticed a posting a while back that said that person knew two extremes of emotional men, those who cried at the drop of a hat, and those who cried only at a movie like Titanic. I can honestly say the only thing that interested me in that movie was the level of detial in the sets and cool computer animation, the plot was boring, and the relationship detail aimed at the female audience as obviously as the ever popular Baywatch is inexplicably aimed primarily at the male audience. Most men I know don't cry at movies, I'm not trying to be a chauvinist here, but that is just the way most of us are raised. However, that is my most typical male area, while I can't stand crying I also get bored by watching sports on TV, and share a deep appreciation of the arts most of my colleagues find suspect.

On me writing female characters. I try to emulate Stephen King in that I don't portray differences so much as I seek to portray similarities. Most of my women characters seem to be stoic-smart-tough-hard asses out to challange the world. I'm not a fan of the ditzy female character. I also try to portray my characters more like Hemingway, though, with lots more dialouge than straight explaining, to allow the reader to come up with their own interpretations of reactions.

I also hate perfect characters. Perfect people aren't interesting, messed up people are. Throw in flaws and you get a person. IMHO.

Donna Manganaris Sat Aug 22 12:05:59 PDT 1998


In my SFR novel, "Echoes of the Past", I have killed off three would-be rapists, two revolutionaries, and a controlling woman who was coniving to succeed at Eldress of the Keep.

The hero is not good looking, the heroine is. I tried not to sterotype hair color either...why is the princess always blonde?!

Out of the 9 main characters, one definitely dies...the other is thrown into a river. All the others have vital parts in the sequel.


Mark Sat Aug 22 11:45:46 PDT 1998

Hiya everyone,

Well, I had to put my two cents worth in, so here I am. I have noticed that stories that are written VERY well, in my opinion, you can hardly tell any difference in the way that male or female characters are portrayed, unless they are filling a role that is specific to that gender. Stephen King is very good at this, showing his characters having all the same type of goals or motivations. They may all react in different ways, but he doesn't portray a difference that is specifically because one character is a male and the other female.
Robert Heinlen, on the other hand, goes to the total extreme, where his male characters are MEN, manly men, whereas his female characters are almost always dittzy, simple minded and weak. I love his stories, but his characters drive me mad. L. Ron Hubbard did the same thing. It is maddening to read a seven hundred page book where the characters are all so blatently stereotyped.

I try not to stereotype in my own writing, but I have the disadvantage we all have of not having the slightest understanding of how the mind of the opposite sex works. All my real life dealings with women leave me confused, so when I write about female characters, they usually end up being very odd people. Which says a lot about my level of knowledge on how women work, right?

Caroline Heske Sat Aug 22 07:34:29 PDT 1998

As a general rule, I have noticed in fantasy books that there are more male characters than female, that the heros of BOTH sexes are good looking, and interestingly - that the male characters are more disposable than female characters. I first noticed the last point when I finished drafting 'Erannon' and saw that of the seven or so main male characters, six were dead - but none of the women, (consequently, I had to go to great lengths to resurrect them, because I wanted to really explore male characters, but weren't able to before they died). My friend, who is also writing a fantasy book, laughed at me and said that exposed me as a rabid feminist, until he look at his own novel and noticed the same thing. I've since found this in most fantasy novels - does anyone else have it in their writing?

Generally, I try to avoid stereotyping my characters according to sex (one reason I now tend to avoid Eddings like the plague), but also to avoid stereotyping their sexuality. I don't think I've read a fantasy novel that does the latter without being specifically erotic. Does anyone know of any?

Lisa Fri Aug 21 18:31:29 PDT 1998

Hello, everyone! :) Whoosh, I just got through reading the archives for the last couple days, and did I ever miss a great topic (the one about crying). I guess that's what I get for not coming here that frequently, hmm?
Keith- Like hell I'll put my novel on my webpage! Never ever ever, uh-uh, no. It's bad enough when other writers read/critique it, but if I get another "it's fine" from someone who's read perhaps two books in his entire life I'm going to go **insane**!! I hate nothing more than people that just sort of shrug off something you've practically breathed your soul into. Grr...
K.C.- As for learning geographical stuff in order to draw a map, I personally took the slightly tedious approach of...(:dramatic music:) reading an atlas. No, I'm not kidding. ...I also went through some of my old social studies and history notes, a few encyclopedias, and that sort of thing. It's extremely time consuming (and often quite dull) to learn about geography, but it's worth it once you've got all that stuff inside your skull for future reference. (I s'pose this is one reason not to fall asleep in history class, huh?)
On topic- I try never to use stereotypical characters in my stories, but, since I don't really understand men, on occasion I have trouble not doing so. I try to create my characters' personalites based on their backgrounds, their pasts, and what I need each particular character to do/be.
I admit that some of my characters have actually been the exact stereotype for their sex (if that made sense), although most times that's because I made them that way purposely. Take, for instance, Lady Cerise, a character in my current novel. She's the woman-hater's stereotypical woman: stunningly beautiful, conniving, intelligent but playing dumb, etc. But in my novel's case she had to be that way, because it was for love/lust of Cerise that a man tried to murder one of the main characters (whom Cerise had been trying to chat up for several months).
Okay, well, I probably have more to say on this topic, but if I do I can't think of it right now, so I guess I must take my leave. Have a peachy day, everybody!

~Lisa :)

Donna Manganaris Fri Aug 21 16:37:53 PDT 1998


The typical american woman's dream man comes charging up on his white steed, saves her from distress and sweeps her off her feet. But what if his armor is rusty and he's carrying around his dead wife with him? Then what would the american woman do?

Characters, to be interesting, must have flaws. And somewhere along the plotline they must confront those flaws. Here's the we as writers want them all to change for the better?

I believe, stereotyping characters either through their personal history or physical appearance is easy. It's own job as writers to put that twist into them that makes them stand out from the others crowding the cattle-call line.

Personally getting the other sex's POV has been easy. I ask hubby. I ask him how he would react to this and this situation. Then I watch tv, and read and see how other characters react. Sitting on a bench in the mall is a good way to get the reactions we seldom see. Watch and listen.

Allein-chan Fri Aug 21 13:19:41 PDT 1998

Barb G. - There is a lot of male-bashing tripe out there, but I agree with you about having a character the way you want him. Incedently, there's a male rapist in my story too, so I can understand how you'd want to make your character seem sneaky and all. Although, mine is a long story (series, actually) and so, I make a little mystery out of the identity of "the stalker" as he's called. A few of my friends already know who it is, but of course, since I want to publish my stories, they would never tell. :) Okay, well, I'm done putting things on here. I'll wait until I have something interesting to write.
Auf Wiedersehen,

PS. If you want to read what I've written of my first story, it's on my webpage.

Barb G. Fri Aug 21 11:35:52 PDT 1998

Hi Y'all,

I agree whole heartedly with Goodweed on this one. Growing up in a home where the man wept and the woman did not, gave me a glimpse into how different we all are.

My dad allowed me to see the softer side of a man's nature, and my mom let me see that a woman can be strong if she wants to be. Maybe even callous, at times (a trait usually, forgive me, stereotyped in men). I'm very comfortable writing from a male perspective, although I certainly am NOT saying that I'm any kind of expert. I hope you follow what I'm saying.

I had a short story come back where the editor was very, very angry that I had portrayed a male rapist with slicked back hair and bad teeth. He said he was sick of seeing all the male-bashing tripe out there and said he never considered this type of fiction.

My reaction was: should I have put him in a three-piece suit and had his hair styled by Clinton's barber? Should he have been driving a Corvette? Aren't we allowed to take some liberties with a character when we want a person to appear sneaky and gross? I didn't ask those questions of the editor, I simply crossed him off my list for future submissions.


S.K.S. Perry Fri Aug 21 07:00:34 PDT 1998

As writers, do we create stereotypical characters, or do we just write what we know? Most of my characters are base on people I am aquainted with. Usually any one character is based on several different personas, including snipets of my own personality. Does that mean that the people these characters are based on are typical stereotypes? I hope not.

I have met very few people who fit easily into any one catagory. When you stereotype someone, it is usually because you are looking at them through a very narrow focus and seeing only a tiny facet of their lives and personality.If the characters I have created fit easily into these molds, then I have failed as a writer to develope fully realised characters with any depth. They are certainly no one the reader will care about one way or another.

There is no doubt that men and women are different. We think differently, act and react differently, and are motivated by different desires. The crime is in thinking that the way men act or think is better than the way women act or think, and vice versa.

And maybe that's the biggest problem with male and female stereotypes--that we judge them as being either good or bad depending on our persepective.

S.K.S. (Steven) Perry

Lydia Sweet Fri Aug 21 06:24:23 PDT 1998

Hi all,

On topic. We are a product of our environment. The qualities we perceive as strong or weak in both male and female have a great deal to do with the perception of those around us as we are nurtured from infancy. I may perceive a man who cries easily as weak, however, I do try not to develop an opinion without getting to know a person first. My husband is a fairly good judge of character, but I feel he tends to jump to fast. I always try to give a person the benefit of the doubt before I form an opion of who that person is. My husband thinks I'm not a very good judge of people perhaps he is right, but I like to think I just take my time.

Being writer's I think we tend to have a more open mind toward people and personalities. Ok, we artsy or artistic types tend to accept things and people that would not be considered "main stream".

I left a chapter on the Workbood yesterday and asked for impressions. Actually it deals with the topic. A man who has been raised to feel nothing at all emotionally is confronted with something that would touch the hardest of hearts. How does he deal with it? I want to know if how I portray this character is plausible.


Goodweed of the North Fri Aug 21 03:36:48 PDT 1998

I can only base my female characters on what I know. I believe the opposite sex is less different than society would presume. We both want and require resect, love, nurturing, strength of character, and a sense of self worth. We are pushed into different roles by societal pressures and physiology. Though there are exceptions, men are physically able to do heavier manual labor than women. Other than that though, we seem to be pretty much the same.

I have never met a person of either sex who didn't have talents and natural abilities they couldn't expand through training and practice. I try to put that phillosphy into my characters. We are equal, but different. Some of my bad-guys are men, some are women. It is the same with my good-guys (the "guys" part is a generic term).

A good story, regardless of genre, should reflect real life. It may be set in ancient Rome, or in space, or in the present inner-city jungle. It doesn't really matter. People of both sexes must find a way to overcome their problems in an intelligent, and exciting way to capture the reader's imagination.

I think slight magnification of male/female traits is acceptable, as in Conan the Barbarian, or Mae West movies, to catch both extremes. It provides entertainment, even if there aren't such persons in reality. But the same is true of presenting people as accurately as possible, as in bio's and historical fiction/history.

The point is, stereotyping by sex is not a good thing. It portrays ignorance, and false pride. Not many are going to read a something by an extremist group which espouses hatred, unless of course they already belong to such a group. Both males and females are essential to our species. Both are of equal importance. I am not ashamed to be male, nor should any woman be ashamed of being female. We are different, but equal. IMHO our characters should reflect that philosophy, or at least be taught that lesson as we move through the story (maybe a chauvanistic type learns to respect a strong woman for her talents and contributions in a story).

Well, gotta get ready for work. I really should have been working on my second story. Well, It'll just have to be done on my lunch break, if I'm in town today.

Seeeeya; Goodweed of the North

Jack Beslanwitch Fri Aug 21 03:08:57 PDT 1998

Well, I have archived and added an expanded and rephrased topic. Since we had such a lively discussions on the merits or lack thereof of crying on the part of males, why don't we expand this whole issue and consider how we as men or women see characters of the opposite sex from the writer. Suggestions from those of the same sex as to how we are doing this right or wrong are cheerfully solicited. If any have alternate topics they would like to cover as always they are welcome to suggest and strike out in undiscovered territories.

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