Archived Messages - September 2, 1998 to September 10, 1998

Jack Beslanwitch Thu Sep 10 18:43:44 PDT 1998

I just noticed how large the Notebook is getting. I will archive this sometime later tonight or early morning tomorrow. I'll carry over any posts that are added after this one to the new Notebook. Take care everyone.

Jack Beslanwitch Thu Sep 10 18:38:27 PDT 1998


     I am not sure where I said children were smaller versions of ourselves. Point of fact, I have been very busy and have just had a moment to catch up on the conversation about morality and conditioning. Interesting. But I suspect you were referring to someone else since I have not really been party to the discussion on morality and censorhsip.

     Throwing out my 1/2 penny on those subjects. Censorship? Alive and well and reprehensible in all forms and fashions. One of the truly divine aspects of the American constitutioinal system (and there are many non starters that should have been left out I will admit) is the first amendment and the ability to tell the government and the official of the government that they stink, especially when they really do. It is also heartening that the supreme court, conservative though they be, elected to give the internet the highest burden of proof as to why freedom of expression should be abridged here. I may not like many other decisions they make, but that makes me very happy.

     As for morality and ethics being innate. Sorry, the examples of ferile children in India and others examples of amoral conditioning leave this as an essentially non starter. Yes, there are moral strictures that cross cultural boundaries and are repeated again and again. However, if you pick out cultures that are in isolation from others, quite often you will find exceptions. Incest is taboo in most cultures, but has been social sanctioned in certain cultures. Cannibalism. The list could stretch on and on. The real issue here is not that we have morality as a universal when you talk about two people rubbing up against each. The same goes for politics. Get two people together and you will have politics. The innate aspect here is not the specifics of what behaviors are banned or condoned, but that some are. The pages may be blank initially but the book is there to be written on. Well, enough babbling comment for me. I am off to talk to a client. Take care everyone.

Colleen Thu Sep 10 17:44:45 PDT 1998

Just my 2 cents worth, but...I wanted to reply to the comment regarding the human psyche on a global basis as far as morality and guilt are concerned. If you look at mythological archetypical examples throughout history, there are similiar threads of human moral constants that exist. These commonalities in the way we view ourselves in relation to others are proven in the verbal and written folklore of civilizations that existed at vastly different moments in time. For example, we find the same threads of stories woven into cultures that did not have any direct contact. For concrete examples you can refer to Joseph Campbell or Jungian studies. It amazes me, that humans do seem to have a similiar vein of morality or whatever you want to call it that is evident in the stories passed down in various cultures. It is my opinion, at least for the present time , that stories are important to us because they strike these common strings in the instument of our soul or psyche or whatever. That is why we write, that is why we are touched by others' stories, that is why stories were told, for hundreds of years in front of village fires and passed down to the young. So....I disagree that humans are completely a blank moral slate. There is something to the existance of oral histories and folktales, that is bound to the essence of what we are as humans. -Bye for now-Thank you for letting me express myself freely. Colleen

Rhoda Thu Sep 10 17:20:41 PDT 1998


Sorry if strong feelings and opinions bother you. My response was not about anything doing with censorship but was about something S.N. Arly said regarding right and wrong.

I realize my views are not universally shared by everyone here, but I have no qualms expressing them however unpopular they may be. The moment we huddle up and keep back the sentiments that some might not like in an open forum, then democracy and free expression truely is jeopordized.

People utimately do not impose right or wrong, and if my posts were read correctly, that would have been understood to be my position. I said that God does. I am not going to war and pound anyone to accept what I believe, but at the same time when I hear something that I strongly disagree with I reserve the right to say "wrong, wrong, wrong," as long as the forum and place is appropriate.

Just because I disagree with S. N. Arly does not mean that I bear him ill will or that I don't respect him as a person and fellow writer. I merely wished to challenge his statement. If that makes some people uncomfortable, that is too bad.

Now, I wish to follow Kitty's lead and refrain from discussions on politics, sex and religion. It is really too tiring and time-consuming having to constantly explain yourself because people choose to misunderstand you.

I realize that my voicing of my opinion has not changed anyone's mind. I suppose in order to do that I shall have to mount a crusade, and I am far too timid and peacable for that sort of thing. I only hope some people took the time to think about an important question. I admit to enjoy discussions of politics and philosophy. In future, I will save the discussions for face to face debate with my friends who know better than to ever take anything I say in such a discussion personally.

Happy writing,


Rachel Thu Sep 10 16:42:22 PDT 1998

Does anyone know how I would go about getting permission to use a poem at the beginning of my novel?


Barb G. Thu Sep 10 16:17:18 PDT 1998

Hi Y'all,

Lisa: Your take on the question of censorship was the best and most eloquent on this discussion. Why am I not surprised?

I downloaded the notebook so that I could carefully read over the entries. And you know what? There's no way I could add to all that has been said and not repeat someone else's views.

The only thing that worries me is, and this worries me deeply is the "wrong, wrong, wrong" and the "wrong is wrong is wrong" statements. Here's why: WHO decides what is wrong and what is not? Me? You? We all have to examine the whole subject of censorship with great care and deliberation. Otherwise, *you* may require something to be outlawed for some religious, or phylosophical reason, and that exact something may be the very thing I'm fighting to have made available to all no matter what the medium used to impart that "something." So where do we take our negotiations?

So, my question remains the same: WHO do you want to make decisions for you regarding what you read, what you watch on TV, what music you listen to, whatever... WHO?


Kitty Thu Sep 10 15:37:03 PDT 1998

Caroline, I live across the lake from Oka and was here during the Oka Crisis. What do you need to know? I'll try to help.

Did anyone see the full page cartoon at the back of the New York Times Book Review section this weekend? It was about how editors choose books from the "slush" pile. Made me snicker and snort. Happy to send it to anyone who missed it.

As to censorship, I cannot comment as I am currently the cruel tyrant who refuses to allow her 9 year old daughter to see it because of the PG-13 rating despite the fact that all her friends and her friends younger siblings have seen it. I've told her three things. 1. The ship sinks. 2. Time will resolve her problem. 3. My job is to do my best to raise her into the best adult I know how and sometimes the choices I will make will not be the popular everyone-is-doing-it-why-not-me ones. C'est la vie.

As to absolute rights and wrongs... this puts me in mind of the medieval notion of "absolute might is equal to absolute right," the rule of the iron fist. It worked back in the the early days of the millenium--condoned by the church too. Hmmm.... Maybe it is time to reread The Prince by Machiavelli, from the Renaissance, a book often quoted out of context: "the end justifying the means." And then there were all those Crusaders pounding out of their castles to wrest the Holy Lands from the Infidels and committing some of the worst atrocities of their age, all in the name of Christendon. Leap forward a few centuries and there is the writing of the U.S. Constitution--a truly unique and enlightened document. As a U.S. citizen, I am biased, naturellement. I believe in the separation of Church and State and I will defend the Bill of Rights.

However, I was brought up not to discuss religion, politics or sex in public--and how more public can you be than on the net? Ta-ta for now. I'm off to help Jack build a castle, wrestle the new kitten from the bowels of the sofa bed, and be on my best behaviour at meet-the-teacher night.

Thu Sep 10 15:36:52 PDT 1998

Thu Sep 10 15:02:22 PDT 1998

Lydia Sweet Thu Sep 10 14:09:40 PDT 1998

Hi all,

I just love a good debate.

Greg - Killing, stealing, etc. were once a way of life for many tribes. That is how they survived. Conquer. The Romans for instance. They just took what ever they wanted. I'm sure they had good excuses to justify what they were doing, but it was still murderand theft. That belief, if you will, that your better, your stronger, your smarter, that allows you some special license to do as you please. Commonsense did not prevail in that very civilized society, how do you think it did in the barbarian societies?

Has commonsense won out in our society where we do have laws that are supposed to guard from those crimes? When someone does wrong whether moral or legal they tend to find some form of justification for their actions.

It is very important we take a close look at our beliefs and our prejudices, so we don't discover ourselvesjustifying our actions.

Just my two cents worth and had fun giving it too!


Irene http// Thu Sep 10 14:06:20 PDT 1998

Hi everyone :-)

To get to my opionion about censorship: I have three children and feel that they don not need to see violence or sex scenes beyong kissing and or touching. But I don't feel that adults should go by the same standards as children, true children are little people and have their own ideas, but through experience and time most of their ideas of the world change. I don't believe in telling my children lies when they ask a straight forward question, but I don't go into vivid detail either.

I think for example Adults should be able to watch an X-rated video if they so feel that they want to, that is their choice, if they derive pleasure from this then so be it as long as they are not infringing on other people or useing this for sick things. this is a little off the subject, but as children we are told that sex is bad, and that we should be ashamed of it and not do anything until we are married we are constantly bombarded about std's which is fine children need to know this but to the physici it tells us that when we as adults have sex we shouldn't derive pleasure from it, and we should feel guilty about this. That in my opionion is wrong!!! there are certain way of saying or censor things from or to children and makeing them understand what is wrong and what is right, without makeing them feel small, inferior, or stupid. In another example when we have children or are children when most of us tried to assert our independence it was a good slap across the face or we were told to shut up and go to our room, but then as adults we have trouble sticking up for ourselves. Yes you wouldn't tell your boss, to go get screwed when he makes you angry, but say for instance your mother-in law keeps steping in trying to be mother instead and your hubby wasn't noticeing or agreeing in order to keep down hell you try not to say to much instead of asserting yourself that goes back to the fact of being censored by your parents to shut up and go to your room you are not intitled to an opionion because you are a child.

As a mother after I have cooled off a bit from something silly that one of my kids have done I sit them down and ask them to talk to me and tell me what they were thinking and usually I get that silly grin and I don't know, but sometimes I get some really interesting answers, I try to keep in mind that my children and all children do have minds of there own but as said in an early statement they have not developed eneogh to understand some things in this world. I am hopeing that giving my children a chance to express their veiws now, at age 8, 5, & 2 that through ages of now and udult hood and maybe even beyond they will be more open and trusting of me and let me know what is going on in there lives. Because they know I am open minded eneough to understand, but not necessarily agree. I believe that being open with children you create a bond that no-one can penatrate and that means if they ask me how babies come into this world I set a statement to their age level and try to explain it. I know this is working because my eight year came home from school just a couple of days ago and said "Mommy what does the birds and bees mean" I told her it was about men and women and their bodies and being together " she ask me if that meant having sex... at first I was stuned, but then I realized she must have heard this at school... so I answered her question with a question to delve into what she already knew and to find out was it myth or fact... I said what do you mean sex? She answered you know when boys and girls kiss. I said well that is just kissing... but anyway the conversation went on the point I am trying to make is this Children are children undeveloped bodies and inexperienced minds censorship is definetly a priorty because I want to be the one who explains to my children why or what something is in truth and not let them get an idea or myth or by impressioned by some a violent sex filled movie. I don't think though in turn as long as my children are asleep and out the house and I am not in the public eye rubbing it in there face if I get to ready to watch or do something in the privacy of my own home with my spouse then it should be noone elses business.

no offense just my opionion and as I have said befor everyone has one and some of them stink

if someone likes doing something and it gives them pleasure and it isn't infringing on your rights as a person and as long as they are not hurting someone else leave them alone

In the great words of Hank Williams "Mind your own business"
debate and discussion is great, but understand everyone is intitled to their own opionion right or wrong

have a good one & keep an open mind :-)


S.K.S. Perry Thu Sep 10 10:01:23 PDT 1998

This is getting fun!


Of course everyone is conditioned by their society. But even within a small group, there may be several different types of conditioning--different religions, ethnic backgrounds and the like so that even though we're members of the same society, our conditioning may be totaly opposite.

The trick is to realise you have been conditioned, and then try to look at things with an open mind, and not just from the tiny world view that your parents, teachers and schools have saddled you with. Dare to challenge, investigate and explore the how's and why's of what you do and believe.

Life's a lot more interesting that way!

S.K.S. Perry

Greg Butchers Thu Sep 10 09:20:26 PDT 1998

Hi All,
Ah reasoned debate one of the few great pleasures that is truely free.
Rhoda: I my have misjudged you slightly as your latest stance has softened from what I perceived as purely black and white view. Certainly your "Do unto others.." maxim is very much the way I try to lead my life. Obviously if you come from a religious background which I think you do (correct me if I'm wrong) then obviously the moral issue is more rigid and defined for believers (of any faith) than it is for people who do not. Something I would like to pick up though is this. Are not killing,stealing etc morals or just commonsense, instincts if you like that any society needs to survive. As an aside I read a definition of anarchy as "Harmony without rule"
SKS: Just a small point, but I think it would be very difficult to make any response without it being conditioned by the society you live in. No one lives in a vacuum, and we are all conditioned by our surroundings.

S.N.Arly Thu Sep 10 09:01:17 PDT 1998

All this god talk makes me want to puke.

To quote - "Wrong, wrong, wrong."

Ethics and morality are not absolute There's no such thing as universal moral standard; this implies instinctual knowledge which just isn't there. If it were, then why do children do "wrong" but feel no guilt? Because they're taught it's wrong. There might be very good reasons too, but it's learned. We can agree on standards of conduct, and must in order to create a civilized society, but that does not necessarily reflect moral agreement, nor do the laws constructed in light of the code of conduct.

Give me one universal right/wrong and I'll find you an exception (rhetorically speaking, because I may not actually have the time, but I'd try).

As I said before censorship and good taste are not the same. Keeping you temper and not calling your boss an SOB is not necessarilly censorship.

S.K.S. Perry Thu Sep 10 08:50:57 PDT 1998

Dear Rhoda,

Your statement that no society that ever attained wealth, influence and prominence by condoning murder to get ahead makes me wonder.First off, in many past societies, the way to become ruler was to challenge and kill the old king. I'd call that murder. But more importantly, is a society only considered a success if it is wealthy and influential, and that following this so called moral code is the only way to achieve this status. There are many poor, weak nations that have stronge ethics or morals, and apply them uniformly and regularly.
And just because a person or a nation attempts to explain why they did something doesn't mean they are feeling guilty about it or realise they've done something wrong. Don't you explain to your children why you're punishing them?

It's obvious you have strong views on the subject. All I'm saying is that you are responding based on the conditioning of the society you grew up in and the morals that were taught you. And though those morals may be admirable, unfortunately, they are not universal.

S.K.S. Perry

Rhoda Thu Sep 10 08:10:13 PDT 1998

Greg and S.K.S,

Perhaps I have wronged S.N. and you have interpreted his post better than I did. It is very true that different cultures look differently on many different issues. This is partly what makes every nation unique.

I really was not talking about how many wives a man should have or whether one should eat meat on Fridays or not, or whether it is considered abhorant for a woman to cover her head or not. I only meant that there are things that are universally wrong and things that are universally right.

No society that has ever gained wealth, influence and prominence has ever condoned the concept of murder to get ahead. In every major society from the beginning of time until now, lying was considered dishonorable. No society has ever condoned stealing. I do not mean to imply that societies such as Rome, Babylon, Greece, or the United States never did these things. I only mean to state that in their moral and legal code, these things were looked down upon and punished.

If there wasn't some universal standard of morality, then why do nations all over the world try to condone whatever evil they do on some "moral" basis? Radical Muslim terrorists justify their murder by past wrongs done to them by Zionists and Crusaders. Americans justified the taking of vast amounts of land from its native peoples by claiming "manifest destiny." Nations commit genocide and murder every day, but they are always ready to go before the United Nations and justify their acts. Hitler justified himself and his actions by dehumanizing the Jews and blaming all of Germany's problems on them. Everyone does the same thing when they commit wrong doing. Why would people bother if they didn't instinctively know that what they did was wrong?

I would have to say that the ten commandments are probably the closest thing that I know to absolute morality. Muslims, Jews, and Christians attempt to practice them. Moral people all over the world whether they wear veils, eat meat, have one wife, or have fifty wives would agree with the basic precepts--don't commit murder, don't commit adultery, do not steal, do not bear false witness against your neighbor, do not covet your neighbors possessions, and honor your parents. The first four commandments involving man's relationship with God might be subject to question by some because everyone's view of God is not the same, but in those last six, I would imagine you would find little argument. The golden rule is, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." If everyone really practiced such a rule there would be few wars and very little crime and life would be far more peaceful.

I hope no one is offended that I have chosen to pursue this topic as far as I have. I just wanted to clarify my last post. I realize that this is a philosophical and to some extent religious debate, and normally I shy away from those types of arguments, but the concept or right or wrong is an important one whatever you believe about it--whether it is subjective or objective. This debate courses through much of our literature.

Happy writing,


Greg Butchers Thu Sep 10 07:17:14 PDT 1998

Hi All,

Rhoda: I'm with SNarly and SKS on the moral question. I think SKS put the view very succently(sp). Certainly on the religion side, I have a couple of Muslim friends and some of the things that we "Westeners" consider normal they find abhorant. I have a couple of small children (ones 4) and I find it a bit disturbing when she sees thing on T.V which I think she shouldn't. Not because I think what she is seeing is morally wrong just that she's not old enough to understand what it means and takes everything at face value.

Goodweed: With you on Political Correctness - what a load of tosh - all it's done is stop people being individuals and having reasoned debate.


S.K.S. Perry Thu Sep 10 06:44:57 PDT 1998


I'm afraid I have to side with S.N. Arly here. The concepts of right and wrong are not absolute. They depend on culture and even the times we live in. For a concept to be absolute the idea would have to be something we all know, as a race, on an instinctive level. They depend on our values and morals, and these things have to be taught, and vary greatly from culture to culture. Even the bible has gone through changes in what it considers to be right and wrong. It used to be considered a sin to eat meat on fridays, and if you did you would go to hell--now it's not. In some cultures it is considered morally wrong for a woman to show her face in public. There have been cultures where: human sacrifice was not only right, but it was an honour to be sacrificed; murder is an acceptable way to get ahead (you're not paranoid if everyone really is out to get you); monogamy is considered selfish; stealing is an accepted profession; ect, ect. To us, these things are wrong because we have been taught they are wrong, and as I pointed out earlier about eating fish on Fridays, even our own values change.

And Jack,

Children are not just smaller versions of ourselves, they are children. They lack in discipline, experience, knowledge, and, as I stated above, have to be taught what is right from wrong. We are not born knowing what's good for us and what's bad. That's why we set age limits on when you can drink, drive, vote, babysit ect. To say that what's right for adults should be right for children just doesn't cut it.

Well, this was fun!

S.K.S. Perry

Philip Thu Sep 10 00:29:07 PDT 1998

Hello Caroline Heske,

Regarding the incident you mention - Surete du Quebec attacking the Kanienkehaka village of Kanehsatake - you will find loads of information in the State Library of Victoria. The Melbourne Age had a comprehensive coverage of this (pages upon pages) and you'll find it all there.


Dodger Maxwell Wed Sep 9 21:49:53 PDT 1998

Hey, fellow writers,
It's the everlasting gobstopper! I love writing and I have been writing poetry and stories (short and novel-length) ever since I visited England at the age of ten. In order for me to write the best material, I've found that I must totally submerge myself in belief of it for the time being. In other words, if I'm writing about an evil Santa Claus terrorizing a small town in California, I must believe in it totally. For years, I've believed in a secret society of aliens and it's been a frightening experience. I've seen ghosts and malicious demi-gods (maybe angels, maybe devils). Are they delusions? I don't know, but for right now, I want to believe in them and their power to influence my environment. I just can't let my environment take control of me, which it has at times. Well, my website doesn't have my old doctrines of beliefs because I'm revising right now. It's like when you check out the sixth edition of your Psychology book and you find out that everything in it is outdated so you need to check out the fifteenth edition. My old beliefs have slowly faded piece by piece, and now I have strong foundations in absolute chaos. God, help me. I'll get it together soon, but in the meantime, check out my website and read my poetry and quirks on life.

Caroline Heske Wed Sep 9 21:38:52 PDT 1998

Everyone - particularly those in Canada and northern US - I'm writing an essay on The Kanehsatake (Oka) Crisis of 1990, when the Surete du Quebec attacked the Kanienkehaka village of Kanehsatake near the town of Oka. It provoked massive riots in the area, by both First Nations people and the white residents of Chateauguay. If anyone remembers this - even if all you know is the kind of media coverage it got - that would be great! (I live in Melbourne, so there is not exactly reams of information here.)

On wrong is wrong - we have no Bill of Rights in Australia, and most people don't even know we have a constitution. I have a US exchange student in my politics class and she finds this *really* surprising.

Greg - I do read on sometimes, but this year I've had to study a lot of that kind of stuff at uni, and it's really depressing, so by the time I get to fiction I'm completely fed up. I don't mind if it's a character who's racist/sexist/whatever - that can be interesting - but when it's the author themselves...

Dallin - I brought up the political stuff because I have a scene in my book where my main character has to work as a farm labourer, and the area where she's working has been raiding frequently and violently by a group of religious fanatics. The country has a Monarchy, and is heavily weighed down by beaurocracy, and for whatever reason is not doing enough to protect the people from the raiding parties. Consequently the people are desperate - they just want to get on with their lives, but they don't know what to do. So they wonder what if the Emperor did this? What if we could choose our rulers? Why aren't we getting enough to live on? The whole place is on the brink of civil war. Yet, this whole discussion takes place in the middle of a drinking game and consequently a kissing scene. I guess I'm trying to say that these aren't boring or 'deep' issues, but can infiltrate every moment of a person's life - whether they want to think about them or not. Having said all this, I understand completely if you find this stuff depressing and prefer to read for entertainment - so do I a lot of the time - it's just that it's my character's job to stop the civil war and fix up the problems it created, and she can't do that convincingly unless I delve into the issues.

Rhoda Wed Sep 9 21:26:46 PDT 1998

I hate to get caught up in the censorship debate, but here goes:

Censorship is alive and well at my house. As long as my children live under my roof and I am responsible for them, I retain the right to censor all that comes into our house (espacially if I am paying for it). Of course my ten year old can read things and see movies my seven and four year cannot. I try to be balanced enough to not shield my children from too much and to trust their judgment as much as possible. If I do lay down the law on something (which I do not often have to do), I never do so without explaining my reasons to my children why they cannot see certain movies or hear certain music.

I believe everyone should have the right to say and write whatever they wish; however, no one has a God-given or legal right to be read or heard. If one is to exercise these freedoms then one must take responsibility for the consequences of saying or writing what they write. When we offer our opinion or create art in any form, the essense of what we say reflects on us as individuals.

S.N. Arly:

Wrong, wrong, wrong. Right and wrong are not subjective. They are absolute for everyone--everywhere. To say that they are not is to live an illusion. You have anarchy when a society or people cannot agree on standards of conduct or morality. More importantly, there are hard, concrete rules of living. I would say these standards are handed down by God. Many might not agree. That is their right. To believe that morality is subjective would be to say that Hitler was justified in the slaughter of six-million Jews. It was right for him. Please don't take it personally, S.N., that I do not agree with you, but there is no censorship here, so I feel confortable in admitting the vastly unpopular concept that morality is absolute.

Back to censorship. Censorship does exist in our society and in every other society. If you go into a job interview and state racist and sexist views, you probably won't get hired. You might have the legal right to call your boss an S.O.B., but if you do, don't expect to get a promotion. Better also think twice about telling the security person at the airport that you intend to blow up the airplane you are about to board. Put certain views in a letter to the editor and chances are you will get death threats and crank calls. There are many "sacred cows" in our society that no one dare speak out about. This is normal. There are such "sacred cows" in every society and every era. To say that we do not practice censorship is wrong. We all do it.

Happy writing,


Allein-chan Wed Sep 9 20:03:01 PDT 1998

Lisa - That was already brought to my attention by another person. I've changed it in the rewrite. But thanks for taking a look at my stories.

Well, I've got WAY lots of homework. See ya all.

S.N.Arly Wed Sep 9 19:14:16 PDT 1998

Barb D - Start reading it critically yourself, and keep a pen handy. A lot of people find it easier to spot errors when reading off paper (rather than compu screen) or wehn reading aloud. Farm the story out to ffriends, family or other writers. Thats what friends, family and other writers are there for.

Greg & Dallin - Bleah! There's no need to be a philosopher to provide valuable input. We're all just pretending to be sophisticated so you think we're as cool as we'd like to be.

On censorship -
As Allein said kids pick this stuff up. I actually learned my swear words in kindergarden (from a couple boys who'd been held back). Sex has always been there. And as for what kids read and see, it's largely up to the parents, to a point. Once you start letting them go anywhere out of your site, they start learning this stuff.

Goodweed, there is a difference between good taste and censorship. Some people like gratuitous sex and violence and if you're writing for that audience, then it should be in the book.

Wrong is not wrong. Morality is not some universally defined and accepted convention. What I believe is wrong for me, is wrong for me, not you, not the president, not some fruitcake in Russia. What's wrong for kids is not necessarilly wrong for adults, even on a morality level. Would you let a six year old child of yours have sex with someone? (Sorry but it's the only clear example I can think of off the top of my head) So if it's wrong for the child to have sex, is it wrong for an adult? I don't think so.
Children are NOT merely little adults lacking experience. True, most adults don't give kids the credit they deserve, but kids a lot of the time do not fully comprehend certain situations, events, yaddda yadda. Has nothing to do with experience; has to do with mental development.

Incidentally I've heard that quote before and I like it.


Lisa Wed Sep 9 18:04:13 PDT 1998

Hello, all! Just stopping in to let everyone know that as far as I know I haven't actually dropped off the face of the planet. With the way my writing's going lately, however, I feel inclined to wish I had. Ah well. The cross I bear, I suppose.
Keith- umm... what emails? I haven't gotten anything from you lately. S'alright though, I emailed you and if you like you can write back and hear about my latest amazing feat of clumsiness: I did a headstand on my backpack by (and here's the scary part) accident.
Allein-chan- If I were Allein I would have an incredibly hard time telling someone that I was just beaten and raped. He says it so easily to a girl whom he doesn't even know that well. Mention that he trembled or hesitated before saying this, and then your excerpt will be *perfect*!! :)
On topic (censorship)- On the first day of school, my creative writing teacher handed out permission slips our parents had to sign in order for us to continue taking her class. She explained why: Apparently, a student of previous years was critiqing short fiction for another. He brought the fiction home and left in on the table or whatever, and his mother picked it up. My teacher didn't go into detail, but apparently the peice had a great deal of profanity, sex, violence, etc in it. Upon learning that her son was reading this stuff on an almost daily basis in a school enviroment, the mother decided to put an end to that pronto. She went to the Superintendant of the schools and asked not only to get my teacher fired but to get rid of creative writing. Fortunately the Super then wasn't as stupid as the one now is, and he refused both her requests, saying that's censorship and goes against the policy of the school.
My point is this (yes, I *do* have one): I am very firmly against censorship on material intended for someone over age 10. Beneath ten, certainly censor it. The mind is still too impressionable at that age for some of the world's grimmer realities. But really- *high school*?? Ninth, tenth grade? That woman must be very naive to believe that her son never swears, has never tried cigarrettes (sp?) or booze or drugs, has never kissed/slept with a girl. I can guarantee that if he's Wonder Dork and has not, he at least knows people who have, or he's seen the same sort of material on Southpark or Loveline or the news. Keeping him and other students from expressing themselves freely isn't going to protect him from anything. It's censorship, it's wrong, and in America it's a crime.
(Sorry if I'm rambling on and on here. I'm probably way off topic, too. But this upsets me, and, like I do with anything that upsets me, I felt the need to rant about it.)
Bye now. Have a lovely day, everybody...

~Lisa :)

Goodweed of the North Wed Sep 9 16:04:29 PDT 1998

This is going to be a tricky one. First, I agree whole-heartedly in freedom of speech. That includes the freedom to omit explicit sex and gratuitous violence. There is a place for rape, murder, crimes of passion, greed etc. in writing. I however feel that those types of subjects should be necessary and character-building for the hero/heroine. Something good should come out of it, even if it is the lesson that actions can and do hurt others.

I also believe that if it's wrong for a child, then it is equally wrong for an adult. To say that viewing hard core pornography is wrong for a child and not for an adult (this is just a for-instance) is like saying that it's wrong for a child to rape another person, but alright for an adult. Wrong is wrong, is wrong. Conversely, if a hard lesson can be learned by an extreme experiance, if it is within the ability of a child to grasp the lesson, is it wrong to teach it to him? I think not.

If we are true to our own standards, the standards should apply to everyone. Children are merely height and experiance challenged people. I hate political correctness.

The absolute best way to teach our children is by example. If we are true to our principles, no matter what, then they will be also.

Write what you believe is a great book. Go for that extraordinary phrase, the smooth, colorful sentence. Don't throw in a sex scene because you think it would attract our voyeristic natures. Don't leave out a sex scene where it is necessary. Remember also, our tools are; words; imagination (and that is key); and the ability to make the reader want more. If a scene is concluded too explicitly, or quickly, then what's next for the reader.

This is of course, my own opinion. As a great man once said, and I'm para-phrasing heavily, "I may detest your use of the language, but I will defend your right to use it with my life". Now don't post and tell me how off the mark I am with that statement. It may not be close to the original in text, but it caries the intended meaning.

Seeeeeya; Goodweed of the North

Allein-chan Wed Sep 9 15:15:51 PDT 1998

I don't really agree with censorship. I think that certain things should be kept from the eyes of very small children, but once they're in fourth or fifth grade, they've learned about swearing and drugs and sex (believe me, I've been there). But, adults should be able to read and see what they want.
On the subject of the constitution, people who believe in censorship say 'it was written two hundred years ago, they didn't know we'd have that today' but I think our constitutional rights should be protected.
Well, I'm tired and need sleep...precious sleep...Zzzz.. Bye, bye.

Greg Butchers Wed Sep 9 14:36:47 PDT 1998

Sorry about that I just posted to the workbook twice, you can delete one if you want.

Greg Butchers Wed Sep 9 14:30:56 PDT 1998

Hi again,
I thought the censorship topic might get a few responses.
I understand when you say you stop reading when you find things overtly racist, sexist or whatever, but sometimes it may be worth reading on to try and understand why they think like that. I'm not suggesting you subsribe to some white supremisist(sp) magazine or anything like that, but I think it's better to know the beast than dismiss it out of hand.
I get the same feeling sometimes. I don't contribute much as I don't think I can add anything. Maybe I just don't think of myself as being a proper writer, therefore am unable to contribute anything meaningful. I do read through most of the postings and just chip in when I can.

SNarly: Like your first pick up line.

Finally. I have left something on the workbook for the first time. It's just a start but I have no idea where to go with it. Or maybe it's just a very short short.
Until later

Barb D Wed Sep 9 13:15:49 PDT 1998

I just found this website a little while ago. I have a question to ask all of you. I have written a 629 page Romance Science Fiction, with a hint of the medevil era. Got any suggestions on how to get help proofreading and editing it. I know it is a good story, I just don't know what step to take next.

Catfish38 Wed Sep 9 10:51:49 PDT 1998

Hello folks.......
Just dropped in to see what was going on today. I see that it is the same ole' censorship rigamoral. I have to say that I agree with the fact that freedom of speech has to play a major role in today's world......(for everyone but the government that is...!), and in todays writing.......wether it be a newspaper, magazine, fiction/romance, or different genre...However; I also think that the one who does the reading should have the mentality and the competence to become their own judge. I also have found what s.k.s said to be true... schools, industry, people, would like to put alot us into a certain role, keep us there and then ask us to perform within their boundries.....
Ironically, it was the Constitution that gave us all, each and every single one of us, the right to speak our minds.....wether it be verbally or on paper. (At least I don't remember that there were any exceptions in that Statement.....

Dallin Charvelle Wed Sep 9 09:32:56 PDT 1998

To S.K.S.Perry :




S.N.Arly Wed Sep 9 06:49:43 PDT 1998

Caroline - I can't condone censorship of any kind. It's true that some subjects may be more or less appropriate for children and as a writer you may want to keep it in mind, but this isn't the same as censoring. That's more writing at a level your target audience will be capable of understanding.

I was always reading above my age level and my parents knew it. Encouraged it even. I drove the poor librarians at my schools and in town nuts. They were always telling me things like, "There are no pictures in that book, you know," (re: the Sword in the Tree in gradeschool) and "That's a really big book and it has to be back in two weeks. Do you really think you can handle it?" (2000 pg bio on Hitler). I frequenlty rummaged in the regular fiction section at the public library. And once I got into SF and F, there was nothing geared to my age, no then.

It doesn't really matter what the subject is, it could potentially fall into the hands of the "inappropriate" audience; and it's not up to the publishers to decide who should be allowed to read what and when.

So there's my two bits. It's up to the writer to write the story they want to give to the reader, not decide what's appropriate for the reader. And censorship - no way no how nuh uh.


S.K.S. Perry Wed Sep 9 06:07:03 PDT 1998


There are no mysteries of writing; we all write because we enjoy it. What difference does it make if your writing delves deep into politics or religion, or simply serves up amusing slices of life. The people who read your work will be entertained and probably learn something to boot no matter trivial or nonsensical the subject matter. And whether you know it or not, you too write because you have something you want to share. It's impossible to write without your views of life surfacing in your work. They may not include anything as "deep" as politics, but they are valid none the less.

S.K.S. Perry

Dallin Charvelle Blah blah blah Wed Sep 9 05:16:26 PDT 1998

I feel like a juvenile when I read the posts on this page. I mean, I don't think as deeply as everyone else does about all of the "mysteries" of writing. I write because I enjoy it, not because I'm trying to share my political rules.

Am I alone?


Caroline Heske Wed Sep 9 03:40:06 PDT 1998

Greg - If you're writing for an adult market, then I don't believe there should be ANY censorship. Free speech is too important. Though I tend to stop reading if the writer comes across as racist, or sexist, or homophobic - because that kind of thing really offends me, and often seem to indicate arrogance or narrow-mindedness.

If you are writing for kids, it gets a bit more tricky. Personally, I think they censor kids stuff way too much. When I was fourteen, I sent a story of mine off to the FAW National Awards - it was an open division, where you had to write a short story for 13-18yo readers. I ended up winning, but it was almost not picked cause the themes were thought to be too 'grown up' for that age group. The judges were so shocked when they found out a school-kid had written it that they rang around my school to check I wasn't dodgy or had plagiarised or something... It really highlighted for me how over-protective and unrealistic our censorship system was - particularly for teenagers. There was nothing in the story which shocked any of my friends - it was a fairly average story about an alien conspiracy. Sort of X-Filesy - and although there was violence and gore, it was pretty much skimmed over.

I think some censorship is necessary for kids, but if you wrap them in too much cotton-wool, you stop them acquiring the skills they'll actually need to face the world. Violence, drugs, sex are all things that involve teenagers, and to pretend this isn't so is to deny reality. If no-one lets you learn about these things, you feel uncomfortable in yourself in dealing with them - and very isolated. You don't get to make your up your own mind - you have to make split decisions when you're confronted with them.

Hiding the problems from kids can also provoke a backlash. For example, schools do their best to protect the girls from discrimination and encourage them to expect they will have as much chance in the workplace as boys. To this extent, they deliberately avoid telling you about the inequalities that do exist - things that become clear when you see that women still do 85% of the housework, and only earn 60% of men's wages for the same hours (that's USA figures approx.) Kids are told they will get a fair go, and then told about feminism and expected to feel sympathetic... It's not terribly surprising when they think feminists are a bunch of loonies whining about nothing.

Greg Butchers Wed Sep 9 00:37:25 PDT 1998

Hi all,
On the subject of writing about politics, religion etc. If someone has strongly held beliefs then of course they should write about them, it should give the story extra passion and feeling. The problem then of course is not making it boring for anyone without the same interests. I find that if I read something that I disagree with (even violently), if you get the impression that the writer truely believes it then you have to repsect that. It takes a lot of guts sometimes to stand up and be counted. This does however open up a whole new area of discussion. Press censorship. So as a sub topic what do people think is valid to write about and what is not.
On the subject of chat up lines, I always found being drunk helped immensly. It's amazing what rubbish you can come out with after a few drinks.
Thats all for now.
The Other Greg with one 'g'.

Allein-chan Tue Sep 8 17:43:34 PDT 1998

SKS Perry - thanx for answering my question. I'll keep that in mind when writing my story.

Caroline - it really depends on who reads the book. For instance, if it was me, you'd have to make politics very interesting before I'd read it (no offense - I just don't like politics), but other people don't really mind. So, do what you want and if people don't like it then they can just put the book down.

Well, until later, bye.

Irene Tue Sep 8 14:11:05 PDT 1998

Mark: this discussion may be history by now, but I believe that she needs a second chance, but before you do make sure she is commited to working it out and talking to you. Make sure if you want to know the full truth about what ever she did you are ready to hear it at the time because sometimes the truth hurts but it also can bring people closer together in many ways and ask her if she is ready to understand that you need some healing time. DON'T blame yourself or her instead findout were the problem lies between you both was it miscomunication on both sides that turned happiness into lonliness? Maybe it all started with a little misunderstanding and it grew out of control. Maybe she felt neglected "not saying you were!" but that doesn't make it any less real to her. You both have to be willing to meet in the middle no blaming, and no point fingers, no screaming and yelling just discussion. If you feel upset even though it may make you feel volnuarable tell her, it is better to get it out and know that you tried than living in steeping like a boiling pot and then later when have lost her forever wishing you have tried. The main thing is honest and can you learn to trust her again? This is only my opinion and opinions are like asswholes everyone has one and some of them stink. And only you know what you want to do.

Robert: Thanx for the E-mail...will return asap. until next time see ya on the flip side

Caroline: Feeling that you are the strange when your not is the pits!!! When none in the world seems to understand that you were the one wronged. I know that must have a terrible experience for you and it is something you will never get over but you will learn to work through it you are strong just look how far have already come... if you weren't you would never challenge your mother with the physichologist.

On a better note I have started a new book everyone about a writer whose husband is nearly killed in an airplane crash. Does anyone no how long the flight recorders have been around by any chance? Are they distroyable?

Ok well that is eneough for now besides my kids are coming home from school and I need to start dinner...

thanx for indulging me and have a great day :-)


Tue Sep 8 07:44:11 PDT 1998

Well, here goes:

Mark, You've heard all the reasons for not getting back with you're fiance. Now here are a couple of reasons why you should.
1. Everyone deserves a second chance
2. A friend of mine went through the same thing. He took her back and they've been very happily married now for over ten years.

Sometimes it takes losing something to realise how very much it means to you. I'm not saying that you should take her back. Only you can decide whether you can ever trust her again, and in the end it may not even be an issue. It's easy to say think with your head and not your heart, but love is an emotion, and therefore not subject to the clear cut directions--if A happens then do B.


Broken or cracked ribs are taped in place--strips of tape are wrapped around the ribcage. You can't really imobilize them, basically it just stops them from protruding outwards. It hurts like hell when you breath, or move..I speak from experience.


Most people have political or religous views don't they--why shouldn't your characters. Politics and religion are prime fodder for character and plot developement. Some of the greatest works of fantasy are political in nature:Alice in Wonderland, Gulliver's Travels, Animal Farm. There's nothing like politics or religion to stir up controversy.

S.K.S. Perry

Dallin Charvelle Temporarily out of Order Tue Sep 8 06:12:38 PDT 1998

Well..... pickup lines. Here are some I've heard and made up (mostly joke lines):

Do your feet hurt?..cause it must've been a long fall from heaven...

Those look too symmetrical to be real... . . . (slap)

Do your feet hurt?..cause you've been running through my mind all day...

Is your name Jeanie?... cause I swear you've been in my dreams...

~ ~ ~


Edo. Tue Sep 8 02:44:02 PDT 1998

Greg: These are good.....

That dress looks great on you. It would look better on my bedroom floor.

Here's 20p, call your Mum and tell her you're not coming home.

Look at the label in the girl's dress/top and say...
I thought so - Made in heaven.

If I could re-arrange the letters of the alphabet, I'd put U and I together.

You look knackerd. Well you have been running through my mind for an age.

Oh! I feel very sad. I've tried some of these.


Howard Tuckey Mon Sep 7 20:57:14 PDT 1998

Pickup lines? One that has worked for me (once) is "Will you marry me?" although I understand that one of the more recently successful lines is "What say we adjourn to the ante-room and engage in some inappropriate behaviour?"
Sex from the opposite viewpoint? What's the point? I enjoy it as much as the next person, as long as the next person is my lovely wife, if you take my meaning. If you want to try to imagine what Goes On there, then that's your problem. And if you *can't* imagine what goes on there, then that's your problem too. Not mine. I'm more interested in whether or not I can write a successful story that leaves sex *entirely* to the imagination. Much more of a challenge, yes? A challenge for the reader too, I think. Can it be done? Or are today's readers so hormonally conditioned that they must have that visual dose of orgiastic prose on every other page? In other words, can Tom Swift fly again, or must he now carry a three-pack of Trojans everywhere he goes?
And do today's writers possess enough vocabulary and imagination to make up for the lack of the afore-mentioned every other page? I think so, but I can't prove it, not yet.
Wait, maybe I can. Have you read any good books lately? Try "The Exchange" and "Another Fine Mess" in Ray Bradbury's "Quicker Than The Eye." Then there's "A Bullet In The Brain" by Tobias Wolfe.
Hope I didn't wear out my welcome...

Allein-chan Mon Sep 7 20:50:47 PDT 1998

S.N. Arly - thanx for the info.

Gregg - pickup lines. Here are a bunch of corny ones I found on the internet a while ago (I don't remember what page though):

- I'm Irish. Do you have any Irish in you? Would you like some?
- Chicks dig me; I wear colored underwear
- That dress would look great on the floor next to my bed.
- I know I don't look like much now, but I'm drinking milk
- Are you religious? Good, because I'm the answer to your prayers.
- Do I know you from somewhere because I don't recognize you w/ your clothes on?
- Miss, if you've lost your virginity, can I have the box it came in?
- Do you sleep on your front? Do you mind if I do?
- That's a nice shirt. Can I talk you out of it?
- I'll bet you ten bucks I could get all your clothes off in thrirty seconds.
- Since we shouldn't waste this day and age, what do you say we use these condoms in my pocket before they expire?
- I lost my phone number, can I borrow yours?
*Anime related - use with caution*
- In the name of the moon, will you punish me?
- Do you want to see my Dragonballs?

I'm not sure if these are what you're looking for, but just thought you could use a variety. I stumbled on the page by accident and just thought these were kind of funny or at least amusing. If those don't work, try this:
- Was your father a thief, because someone stole the stars and put them in your eyes.
Another one I came across - it's not funny, it's sweet. Maybe it'll come in handy sometime. Well, see ya all later.

S.N.Arly Mon Sep 7 19:46:31 PDT 1998

Rachel - Poetry slam is a poetry contest which was created... geeze I think it was ten or fifteen years ago intended to increase interest in poetry. National teams go and compete. I'm not sure exactly how it works but it's supposed to be pretty neat.

Allein- Most often bthe chest is just bound to keep the rib from moving. They don't usually get out of place and they're too tough to set without intrusive. Or so is my understanding. My mum had a broken rib once, and someone from karate as well. Also have had them tended to at the clinic.

Caroline - Political agendas show up a lot. As long as I don't feel propagandized or like the author is trying to convert me, I don't mind. Especially if it's essential to the story.

Gregg - The best pickup line I heard was in college. "Fuck me if I'm wrong, but don't I know you?" There's also, "I'm not trying to pick you up or anything..." And the old standby, "Want to see the color they painted my dorm room?"

Allein-chan Mon Sep 7 11:36:05 PDT 1998

Irene - Thanx for the info. In the rewrite I'll consider what you said about the fear. It's nice to hear from someone who's actually been in a situation like that, so I can get the facts and other things like that. Yes, my character was injured and because of the loss of blood and the head injury he did end up comatose. In the rewrite, the injuries are a tad more severe, but he goes in and out of consciousness.
Well, that's all, bye.

Irene Mon Sep 7 11:17:18 PDT 1998

Hello everyone Irene here... I write children's stories and have a large enough imagination to write on just about any subject... don't mean to toot my own horn lol. my question is how do you go about getting published and also how do you keep from getting the shaft? I mean someone steeling your work? I have no idea how to even get started after writing the story.

Allien: In 1992 I was attacked and nearly raped by a man I was 5 months pregnant at the time with my second child and had my 2 1/2 year daughter in the car with me.So I can speak first hand about the utter helplessness I felt, the fear was so intense I pead myself, durring the attack I went into what is called fight mode because I knew I had to protect my unborn child and my daughter who was in the car with me... but after wards I had nightmares wakeing up in sweat, trimmbleing in fear, and anger, and screaming in sheer terror. For a long time I couldn't even go to the grociery store alone with being afraid of every man that even passed by me I question my ability to judge character in people everyone seemed to be a threat and as far as the day after or that night after rescue... I did not fall into blissful sleep. blissful to me describes happiness... maybe your character falls into a comatose sleep from the shock of the injuries to his body and loss of blood. other than that, the story line isn't bad :-).

Good luck to you all!!

Barb G. Mon Sep 7 07:34:52 PDT 1998

Hi Y'all,

Jack: Also Huxley and Orwell made not-so-subtle allusions toward political awareness. 1984, for instance, had wide reaching ripples across the world, BUT the story still remained entertaining and spell-binding. And Huxley's "Brave New World" gave all its readers a little shiver of genuine fear, while making the reader glad he/she chose to read it (in most cases).

So...what we all seem to be saying, is that research and study on a subject add rather than take-away from a story no matter what it's length?

And that you don't have to "club your reader to death" with the impact of your message in order to entertain them?

And that skill alone is not enough? That maybe more of some other factors are essential to make a story/novel great?

If so, then Amen (I add a quick, sorry! to the athiests on the panel)

Gregg Mon Sep 7 07:23:57 PDT 1998

As crazy as this sounds I REALLY am doing research on this.
I normally do suspense, (Bytes of Passion, Borderline, Darkened Visions, Climate of Terror) but currently self-published a book entitled YOU KNOW YOU'VE BEEN SINGLE TOO LONG WHEN.
It has just started to take off with signings, TV and radio - and I am now doing a satire on pick-up line and put downs as a sequel.
What I am looking for are "pathetic, off the wall pick up lines anyone has used or put down lines that could be used in the Foxworthy type humor.
Thank you.


Goodweed of the North Mon Sep 7 06:57:08 PDT 1998

The pressure filled her abdomen as her muscles contracted involuntarily. "No,..." she said to herself, "...Not Yet." In spite of her fierce attempt to delay the inevitable birth, her labor had started.

Cindy felt the growing pain of her birth canal, stretching as the child moved through it. It felt as if a bowling ball was splitting her apart at the hips, from the inside. She lay on the elevator floor, alone, knowing the danger to both herself and her emerging child.

"Why did the power have to go out now!" she said aloud through gritted teeth.

Another contraction forced itself upon her. Her stomach muscles tightened, squeezing the tiny body downward. She felt her skin tear. Her nerve endings screemed signals of excruciating pain to her brain. She consiously pushed with every ounce of strength she could muster ignoring the pain as much as possible, focusing instead on the birth. She had no other choice. There was no turning back.

The contaction ended and Cindy breathed as she had been taught, using the "hee pant" rithym as a focal point against the pain. Another contraction started. She screamed. And then, it was over.

The baby lay on the elevator floor, kicking its tiny feet and crying energetically. Emotions of joy sept through Cindy, washing away the pain which had, but a moment before, filled every aspect of her life. In some deep part of her brain, she knew there would be pain to come, healing which would take place. But for now,that knowledge was buried as she cut the umbilical cord with scissors from her purse. Remembering the birthing films she had watched at "Lamaze" classes, she wrapped a rubber band tightly around the inch long protruding tube, pinching it off. . She ignored the continuing contractions as she took care of her new daughter's imediate needs.

The new mother laughed involuntarily as she thought of the poor janitor who had to clean up the mess, including the afterbirth. It wasn't that she wished that job on anyone, but rather, it relieved her stress and fear, clearing her mind for the important work to be done.

She gathered the baby in her arms and began cleaning it with her sweater. When complete, she wrapped it in her jacket, protecting it from the conditioned air of the building. Then, the elevator started to move.

Cindy held her child snugly against her bosom. A new life, a precios daughter had emerged into the world. The elevator door opened. Cindy's face, which had held a grimace of pain just moments before, shined out at the onlookers with a mother's love as she sat against the elevator wall.

"Somebody get an ambulace!" She heard. All was well.

I'm a guy. I have obviously never experianced childbirth, though I have attended each of my own childrens births. I have never seen a birth outside a hospital setting. I can only imagine what it is like. I know it must be filled with trepidation, worry, even panic. I know it must be painful. I have felt the pain of torn skin, of burned skin, of a cracked rib. To describe a birth and make it believable, I need to remeber the pain my wife went through, and couple it with pain I have felt. What I described above is only a small part of that pain. I kept it short and antisceptic, omiting the more descriptive and personal parts of the process for reasons of modesty (I took pictures of my wife breast-feeding our first baby in the hospital. My wife had something to say about that!).

This was thrown together in about five minutes. It isn't polished, or particularly well written. I believe it does show how we as writers can use words, derived from our own experiances, to extrapolate new experiances and understandings and present them in a believable way to an audience.

As Rhoda said so well, we as writers use our talents to convey interesting, believable, and entertaining material to our audience. It is our job to learn as much as is possible about a subject before writing about it.

In my own fantasy, the dragons abilities to fly, and belch fire are described scientifically, lending credance to an improbable creature. The dragon in my story is a reptile who consumes large amounts of food. Methane is produced by the digestion process. Instead of expelling the methane, the dragon stores it in bladders, which accounts for the creatures great size and relatively light weight. It is like a great hot-air baloon, sort of. This gives a creature, with too little chest muscle to fly like a bird, the abiity to generate enough lift with its wings to lift the massive body into the air.

There are several real-life animals in nature which can give elctric shock, an electric eel for example. I extrapolate that fact one step further and produce the same effect for my dragons. To breathe fire, they expell the methane from their mouths, while simultaneously igniting the gas with a spark they generate electro-chemically in an organ located on their upper lip. This creates a flame outside of their body, much like a probane torch produces flame outsid the nozzle. Of course the concept is presented to the audience more elegantly than I have written it here, but you get the idea.

I drew from my knowledge of several scientific disciplines and combined them to create my dragons. As someone else said, read as much about every topic you can find as you can. The larger the knowledge base with which you have to work, the more believable you can make you story. And that is true in all writing, both fictional and factual.

Of course, this is my humble opinion, open to discussion and debate.

Seeeeeya; Goodweed of the North

Donna Manganaris Mon Sep 7 05:56:25 PDT 1998


Concerning the idea of putting political agendas into a novel, I believe that if the story will benefit from it, why not?

Did Gene Roddenbury believe that mankind would ultimately benefit from overcoming their seemingly petty problems to explore the universe?

Did the people or person who wrote MAD MAX believe that technology will be mankind's demise?

Whatever your answer, I don't think these highly successful creations could have flown otherwise. So long as the political message adds to the intracacies (sp?) of the plot and the characters, I really don't think it matters. The author must also make it totally believable with the current trends and their characters' reactions by weaving it subtly into the tale. Don't use a sledge hammer, please!

But we must remember that even though an author might use these as a creative devise, it might not necessarily be their own belief, but a means to an end...the story.

Jack Beslanwitch Mon Sep 7 03:50:00 PDT 1998

    Caroline: It really depends on the quality of the writing and the story in question. David Brin is noted for getting on a soap box on occasion in regard to his views about the environment and issues relating to it. Earth, his entire Startide Rising or rather books living in that universe and a range of others, have varied from oppressively so in this regard to subtly so. Given how much of a fan I am of David Brin's writing, this is not a problem.

    Tom Clancy has a tremendously right wing attitude. In most outings this does not tend to detract from his stories since the strength of the action tends to carry you along, but his latest time out in Randbow Six the retread plot line elements and the card board cut out presentation of environmentalists as genocidal villains falls very much flat on its face in my opinion.

    L.Neil Smith used his political soap box for libertarianism to write fun, wildly improbable and always readable stories predicated on the notion that the Whiskey Rebellion won and they strung up Alexander Hamilton and George Washington for good measure.

So long as the stories will keep your reader turning the pages, that is all that counts.

Allein: My wife is an RN. I will relay your question to her and either have her post it here or pass it along via email. Take care everyone.

Caroline Heske Mon Sep 7 02:38:06 PDT 1998

Here's a question: What does everyone think of writers pushing political agendas in novels. I don't mean overt campaigning for parties or anything - more general philosophies. Does it make the writing more interesting? Or does it irritate you?

Mark - If she cheated on you, she doesn't seem to feel as much for you as you feel for her. I think that if you take her back, you have to accept this as a starting point... are you prepared to risk the possibility that things might go wrong? It obviously hurt a lot the first time cause you care so much about this girl. Still, life is a game of chance - you have to be in it to win it. If you feel confident enough in yourself to be able to face life if you get unlucky, give it another go. No-one's perfect. Forget about notions of whether she DESERVES you - don't let your pride get in the way of your happiness.

Dallin Charvelle Sun Sep 6 22:13:16 PDT 1998

To anyone who cares...

I'm tired as can be possible without falling over out of my chair. I just wrote to say...... I forgot.

Well, this girl that DJ's at the local radio station in Savannah, GA shaved my head last night, so I'm now Bald!


Allein-chan Sun Sep 6 20:38:57 PDT 1998

I know I've been leaving a lot of posts - I've had close to nothing to do today. But, does anyone know how a doctor would set a broken rib so it doesn't move? I need to find this out for my story.
Well, gotta go. I did get around to doing my homework. ^_^

Rachel Sun Sep 6 20:01:37 PDT 1998

Hi all

Well I did it. I took a deep breath and went off to writers group, skipping out on the first half of the legendary "Family Picnic" The second half was alot of fun and it was good to see everyone again.

My family do not get together very often, but when we do it's because we want to, so that makes it nice.

The people at the writers group are all very nice. At least they seem nice, I get the feeling that they will not spare my writing one little bit and that is exactly what I want.

They talked about something called a "Poetry Slam" and I am still not quite sure what that was, if anyone here could tell me I would appreciate it.

Does anyone else ever type up a big post and then delete it right at the end and bail on comments and questions?

Take care all

Allein-chan Sun Sep 6 17:05:31 PDT 1998

Why the hell did my previous message show up three times when it wouldn't before?

Allein-chan Sun Sep 6 17:03:33 PDT 1998

KC - I know I'll have to take more than two years of Japanese to write anything meaningful. But I'm planning to take it next year and in college.

Mark - Don't go back. She cheated on you once. She'll probably just do it again.

Well, I should go and - forget it, I'm not gonna get around to it today. Bye bye.

Allein-chan Sun Sep 6 17:00:55 PDT 1998

Mark - I agree with the other ones. Don't go back to her. If she cheated on you once she will no doubt do it again.

KC - I know I'll have to be past 2nd year Japanese to write anything meaningful. But I didn't say I was anywhere close to doing that. If Japanese appeals to me long enough then I'll most likely take it next year and continue in college.

Well, I have to go and...forget it, I won't get around to it today. Bye bye.

Allein-chan Sun Sep 6 17:00:48 PDT 1998

Mark - I agree with the other ones. Don't go back to her. If she cheated on you once she will no doubt do it again.

KC - I know I'll have to be past 2nd year Japanese to write anything meaningful. But I didn't say I was anywhere close to doing that. If Japanese appeals to me long enough then I'll most likely take it next year and continue in college.

Well, I have to go and...forget it, I won't get around to it today. Bye bye.

Allein-chan Sun Sep 6 17:00:37 PDT 1998

Mark - I agree with the other ones. Don't go back to her. If she cheated on you once she will no doubt do it again.

KC - I know I'll have to be past 2nd year Japanese to write anything meaningful. But I didn't say I was anywhere close to doing that. If Japanese appeals to me long enough then I'll most likely take it next year and continue in college.

Well, I have to go and...forget it, I won't get around to it today. Bye bye.

Allein-chan Sun Sep 6 16:56:35 PDT 1998

K.C. Ramey http:/// Sun Sep 6 16:14:55 PDT 1998

Mark - Don't go back to her. She knew what she was doing when she cheated on you. If you do take her back it is like saying it's okay to cheat on you because she can get you back afterwards. Listen to your brain. It is what runs our whole bodies and tells us what is wrong or right.

Zinza - as for you question for the guys I would like to add a little that I know even thou I'm a girl. If a guy loves you enough he should respect your wishes. If you tell him you don't want to be touched a certain way he should listen. I know that my boyfriend would. If I ever didn't like what he was doing I just tell him and he stops and never does it again. The same thing works vice versa - if he doesn't like something I am doing and he tells me I won't do it again because I don't want to lose him. I hope that helped a little.

Allein-chan - You will have to be past at least 2nd year Japanese if you plan on writing anything that makes much sense and doesn't read like "there is a chair in the room" (haya no naka ni isu desu). Especially since you have Mori-sensei as a teacher. If you work on it hard enough and do some outside studying you might be able to write stories sooner.

I have to go clean my airbrush and see if I can get it to work. Never tried to airbrush before so this will be a new experience.

Keep on Writin',

Rhoda Sun Sep 6 16:10:38 PDT 1998

Hello, everyone

I still haven't found either one of my dictionaries. I've had a busy week-end and not time for much packing. I am sick of summer. It has been 95 degrees or hotter here every day for a week. Somehow 95 degrees in New Mexico didn't seem as hot as 95 degrees in Perryton. Perhaps the humity makes the difference.

I think one thing that has been overlooked in the current discussion is that we are writers and as writers we deal somewhat with illusion. We can't bring things visually to life nearly as well as the screenwriters and directers can. Everything we do is expressed with the written word, and that can be more to our advantage than disadvantage. If we deal with very tramatic situations such as rape, violence, war, starvation, disaster, despair, and many other negative things that happen to people, it is our responsibility to present them as realistically as possible, but we must also remember that we are writing FICTION. No matter how much we know clinically, we must use word choices, situations, dialogue and all of our tools to portray the emotions in a believable manner.

S.N. or any other man here might never experience the pains of childbirth, but if he is any kind of writer, he will be able to present those experiences in a more poignant manner than One million women who have gone through the experience but who have no idea how to relate their feelings, pain, joy, etc on paper. We are all human enough to know feelings of powerlessness, despair, pain, anger, unresolved grief and all of the other emotions that touch our existence. I don't really believe that a person must experience rape or war or whatever to write about it credibly. All we need to do is be able to empathize. We think the thing through and work to bring it to life with the written word.

As writers we are constantly observing those around us. We might not understand the cause of pain in a tortured soul we know, but we know how that pain causes that person to behave and react. We cannot ever really enter a real person's head and know just what they are thinking and feeling. We can only see the results of what goes on in their heads. Remember also that every human being is unique and each individual will react to an experience differently than someone else who has had the same thing happen.

We really must not be too hard on ourselves to try to "really understand" every situation. Our best attempts at understanding things are inadequate and we must content ourselves with presenting an illusion of reality which is what fiction really is. Our own experiences, our imaginations, our empathy, and our writing skills are what gives our fiction credance to the writer.

Hope this helps,


Allein-chan Sun Sep 6 13:32:58 PDT 1998

As I said before I'm working on the rewrite to my little rape scene. I need some advise on how to express in writing what a character is feeling when he feels fear, confusion, violation and all the other things one might feel after they are raped. I'm very bad at describing things that you can't see or touch. Anger isn't really an issue at the time, but after he's been raped and he reflects on it, he does get rather angry, so if anyone knows how to express that in writing, that would be helpful as well.
Well, I better start on the homework, I still haven't done (and heaven knows I probably won't get around to doing it until tomorrow anyway). See ya all,

Mick Sun Sep 6 13:00:03 PDT 1998

Lo Zinza

that's a tough one to work out, I would imagine you will get a different answer from every man you ask. There are all sorts of signals you have to interpret to know when a woman wants you to touch her, I find it dificult to put my finger on them (no pun intended) but there is certainly something you feel, just seem to know.

Allein-chan Sun Sep 6 11:57:24 PDT 1998

Zinza - you're not the only one. If I'm bored, I find myself writing little poems or messages in German, then translating them to English. But (no offense to anyone who likes German) I find the language awfully boring and I can't wait to learn enough Japanese to do this.

Well, I've already given my two cents about sex. I haven't gotten much response to my story, so I'm already doing a rewrite without much help. So, um, I guess I'll just go now and do the homework that I probably should have done on Friday.
See all

S.N.Arly Sun Sep 6 11:02:40 PDT 1998

David - When you say you're coming up empty, what do you mean? You aren't finishing what you're wtiitng? You haven't got enough ideas? You're having trouble selling you finished work? If you could specify it might make it easier for us to respond in a constructive way. For me at least.

Zinza - On the language/translation thing. Not likely. It's just that most of us one here are english as a first language (and I imagine in many cases it's English as an only language). I will translate over to German. I will occasionally writie in German and translate over to English. I've beenout of that loop a bit of late and you sort of lose your touch, but I still do it occasionaly.

On topic - Again it's back to reasearch to write believable about something real that you know nothing about. Ie: asking women who have had babies to read over your childbirth scene.

Another option, which I use a lot, is to focus on the aspects I KNOW and not go into too much detail on what I don't. You don't want to be too vague. Eg: a lot of the time I'll describe the electronics behind something futuristic, rather than the physics or chemistry.

Rachel danolson@ Sun Sep 6 07:21:50 PDT 1998

Zinza http://zinza.OnTheWeb.Nu/index.htm Sun Sep 6 02:53:58 PDT 1998

I have a question for all guys here:
If a girl doesn't like that you touches her, but she likes you, is that anything you can feel? Yes, I'm doing research.

And for everybody else:
Am I the only one to write in another language then English, and translate it into English when I feel like it?


Gary S Sat Sep 5 23:54:55 PDT 1998

I can't recall a time when the forum was so frought with powerful personal experiences.

If someone in your situation--which seems classically straightforward--can act upon advice, I would suggest you take what has already been offered. It is never that simple and yet it is always that simple. It's a big emotional complex nightmare that has a simple but not painless solution. End it, as tough as it is. Time is a necessary element in the resolution.

I congratulate your... brave example? Not being flip, its hard to know what to say and equally hard to say nothing. I read through your posting and I just hate what you had to endure. I can't say I like this discussion of rape and sexual imposition. It isn't something I like to ponder. You were quite right to point out that it isn't really about sex but about power and in the worst instances, hatred, anger and violence. I had the feeling that this has been overlooked, in part, in most of the discussion.
Reading your message, I wanted to believe that you were practicing your skills of fiction and that in the end you would say something like. "How's that for a plot line?" At any rate I hope it all shapes up for you and the sooner the happier.

It's good to see you back.


W. Olivia Race Sat Sep 5 21:23:53 PDT 1998

Hello all...geez, I don't show up for a week and the Notebook is filled w/ interesting conversations...

On writing about experiences that I have little or no real experience in, the novel that I have been writing for two years (working title: Bad Mojo) has a main protagonist who experienced sexual abuse as a child; her past directly effects how she deals w/just about everyone. I have no direct knowledge of abuse of this short. So I talked to a friend who did and spent years getting her head on straight. That gave me the impetus to change a major sex scene in the novel. It was revamped several times before I "felt" it was honest enough to leave alone.

My novel is an urban dark fantasy set in an alternative version of my home town. Now, obviously I'm not gifted with magical powers and vampires and ghouls are not real (at least I hope not!. But, if you want to convince your reader that they are, the "real" elements of your story should ring true.

Thats my two cents.

David L. Gebhart Sat Sep 5 14:57:21 PDT 1998

Since it's such a good topic I'll include my feelings.

I feel that to write a sex scene, especially one we know nothing about is to ask people what they think. Interview someone, read a book, or go out of our way to experience it. Now, writing about childbirth would be impossible for a man, but he could ask his partner or someone he knows.
We're all writers, so, we should be good writers and get to the facts. Making something up is the worst possible thing.

Zinza-good point.

Zinza http://zinza.OnTheWeb.Nu/index.htm Sat Sep 5 14:12:37 PDT 1998


I often write short stories, and then I use feelings from my own life, but much worse. Examples are one story where a girl commits suicide, and then haunts the bullies. I've been bullied, but it has never been that bad.

Thank's for the space

Dallin Charvelle Sat Sep 5 09:31:11 PDT 1998

To Mark:

I understand your situation perfectly... The one person I've ever loved cheated on me with a good friend of mine. Shortly afterwards, she asked for me back. I told her no...


Michele Sat Sep 5 01:58:20 PDT 1998

Hi gang !

Rhoda it's brilliant to see you back again - I saw the message you left in my guestbook - I'll email you real soon !

For anyone who's interested there are now 3 samples of my non-fiction writing up on my web site - address above . . . Sorry not to have dropped by more often but my PC can't cope when this page is very long - it fails to download so unless I can get onto the local library's PC (which invariably isn't working) I can't stop by often - I hope this will change soon - when I get free Internet access from my college . . .
Jack I love your groovy sign-off !

And does anyone have an email address for Philip Mclaren please ?? If so please email me at the above address. Many thanks.

See you all around !


David L. Gebhart Fri Sep 4 21:23:12 PDT 1998

Well, I don't know how I ran into this page, but it seems really cool.

I'm working on YA sports novels aimed at ages 14-17. I've been at it for over three years for now, and I have still come up empty. I live in Canada, so, anyone that can offer me help would be greatly appreciated.

-John- Fri Sep 4 19:52:42 PDT 1998

If you go back to her, yo uhave no pride. Once a cheater always a cheater. Move on to someoen who is more worthy of you, and vice versa.


Mark Fri Sep 4 18:03:34 PDT 1998

Hiya everyone,

Hi there every one. I apologize for not writing in such a long time. I have had a rough time this week. let me explain, and ask for everyones input. My ex-fiance has shown back up into my life, suddenly. She wants to date again, try and be friends again, interject her life back into mine.
I love this woman more tha I have ever loved anyone in my entire existance. BUT...she chested on me while I was away on a business trip for three motnhs. I know that the cheating makes it all seem so easy, but it isn't to me. I still dream of her at nights.
So, my question is...should I care, or should I leave her in the past? I need help, because me own soul says take her back, to hell with the consequences, while my mind says leave her behind, to hell with the possibilities...

Allein-chan Fri Sep 4 15:26:39 PDT 1998

Thanks to KC's valuable information (she gave me at school), I'm more aware of how to use the workbook, so next time I put something in there, it won't appear twice.

S.K.S. Perry for responding - I'm in the midst of rewriting this scene - it was written a while ago. Although, the character is fairly down to earth and smart, I agree he'd be a little more afraid.

NIE-way, I'd better be going. I'll try to get the rewrite up soon. Hopefully more people will respond and I can do a good job on it. Bye for now.

Rhoda Fri Sep 4 12:03:53 PDT 1998

Hello, everyone,

It is good to be back. We have moved and it is crazy around here. I can't find anything! There must be twenty million boxes piled up around the house. But I did get my computer together. My speakers were one place, my power cord another, but I ferreted it all out and here I am. As you can see, my new e-mail address is shorter. Where I had only one hour a day internet before, I have unlimited access (Of course it isn't free anymore).

I've read through most of the posts and back to the archives. These are heavy topics, and after all I've been through these past several weeks, I don't know if I am up to anything so serious.

Well, I will give it a try.

First, I think we must ask the question what our major purpose is for writing what we write. There is literature that is meant to be escapism--pure fantasy or pure entertainment. Of course no matter how light it is it must live up to reality on some level. Then there is literature that moves, teaches, or seers the soul.

I wish to mention for balance that there are a wealth of novels out there written for no other purpose than to shield folks from heartless, mundane reality. In such books, you had better not deal with things such as rape or intense violence, and when such things are mentioned, you must brush by it lightly. I've had friends who have been rejected because of too much violence. As a reader, I sometimes want escape. Other times I want reality. It all depends upon my mood. I do believe that when we find it necessary to portray the big, bad and the ugly, we need to do it carefully and with sensitivity. We don't want to beat our gentle readers over the head.

My novel, VALERIE'S SONG involves rape in the general sense. My poor heroine isn't "forced" but she has little choice. These scenes where my heroine's captor abuses her emotionally and physically were not pleasant to write, but they needed to be added to present the situation in a believable manner. Though Dark Age Britain is a mystical, interesting setting, it is a brutal one as well.

I must be going. For those who have my old e-mail address in their address book, eliminate it and add the new one.

Please forgive my spelling. I haven't found my dictionary yet.

Happy writing!


Barb G. Fri Sep 4 07:21:55 PDT 1998

Hi Y'all,

Caroline: May I say how sad I am for you. That posting must have been very painful for you to share. But, can you see how that pain and disgust can make your prose more rich and authentic.

Jack: Yes, it very tough to catch raw emotion on a page in black and white. But, emotional pain comes to all us and you're right to say that pain can be translated into similar or non-similar themes in our writing.

My book is about two boys who have been raped, not forcibly but much more damaging to their psyches with innuendo, subtle stroking, admiring their naked bodies, etc. And, of course, I'm not a boy for one; I've never been raped by either of my parents or relatives; but, through interview with psychiatrist and a psychologist, I have put together many scenes that *feel* authentic.

I really think as writers we have an obligation to our readers to bring as much truth in our fiction as possible. And I think that "truth" can be gleaned in other settings rather than "actual" experience. I'm very comfortable writing the young men's story. Maybe I'll fall flat on my face, but so far the writing is progressing according to my plans.


Caroline Heske Fri Sep 4 03:02:35 PDT 1998

I take it that our definition of 'rape' is including more than the act itself - extending to any kind of sexual abuse, and possibly verbal sexual harrassment? Well, at least on these later two matters I can offer a more personal perspective.

I have a cousin with cerebral palsy - he is perhaps 13 yrs older than me. Because of his disability he had trouble completing school - getting a job etc. I'm pretty sure he's still illiterate (and he'd be 30 now). When I was perhaps six or seven my parents decided to help him out, by putting up a portable flat in our backyard - so he could gain some independence while having people around should he need it. I - jealous at losing our backyard - protested vehemently, and was told I was selfish to do so, and reminded how lucky I was not to be disabled etc. etc. So the cousin moved in, and I felt vaguely ashamed. He must have been about twenty at the time.

I learnt piano, and had to practice for half an hour a day. Sometimes when I practiced he would sit nearby and listen to me, and I would think he was creepy (sorry, but it's hard for a six-year-old to feel sympathetic to a man who can't stop drooling). Still, he was my cousin, and remembering my parents' earlier reprimand, I did my best to be nice to him. He used to ask me to sit on his lap, which I did. One day he put his hands down my pants, and I said that I didn't want him to do that... I knew nothing of the facts of life at the time, so I didn't feel sexually harassed. It was more that I didn't like him being close to me... I went around thinking I had selfishly indulged myself by pushing him away.

This happened a few more times, and then after he tried to feel me up I went and told my mum. I said that I didn't like it, and that I was sorry but I just couldn't put up with it, and could she please tell him to stop. She said okay, and told me to go and play. I don't know what she said to him - but when he did it the next time, I said I'd tell mum, and he stopped and never did it again. Half a year later he was still refusing to try and learn how to read and my parents got frustrated and found him a flat in another town.

That side of my family is very working-class, which meant they bonded to each other quite strongly, but also that the men were typically 'masculine' and the women reasonably 'feminine'. Even though no-one's Christian, we have these big Xmas parties every year where we all get together and we have a roast and exchange presents. My birthday is 3 days before Xmas, and it's summer and holidays, so all round, it's a pretty exciting time. On my 16th birthday, my parents gave me this lovely dress I'd been wanting (they were very excited cause I've never taken much of an interest in clothes or other 'girly' things) - which was long and white and lacy and very low-cut. (Anyone who's been to my website, it's the one I'm wearing in the photo). Being sort of excited, I wore it to Xmas lunch. In the sweaty Australian summer, we all packed my Nanna's tiny living room - I ended up sitting between my little five-year-old cousin (let's call him X) and an oldish uncle.

I wasn't drinking anything - cause I don't really like alcohol, and when I drink it, I don't get tipsy, I just fall asleep - but the adults were cheerfully getting into it. After a while, little X became fascinated by my cleavage, and kept saying "I want to see what's down there." We all found this naive comment rather charming, and those who had too much to drink started encouraging him. X tried to put his hands down my dress, and I moved them away with a laugh, saying, "I don't think so, X." And all my aunts and uncles started saying, "Go on Caroline! Let him have a look. He just wants to see 'what's down there'!" I said, "Well, he just can't!".

Then my little sister came over and started teasing me and things got out of control (she'd also been drinking). She and my uncle started to tickle me. I'm very ticklish, so I was just sort of squirming around helplessly, laughing, trying to gasp at them to stop - but they held me down until X had stuck his hands down my top and felt around. And then they all laughed - including my parents - and went back to my meal, and I stalked off - furious and upset.

It wasn't what X had done. He was only five, how was he to know? It was the fact that everyone had stood by and helped him, and laughed when I was obviously distressed. And the fact that no-one came out and said, "Gee, are you okay? We didn't realise you were upset - we didn't mean it to get so out of control...". No-one said that. Not even later when they had sobered up.

I was angry at myself, because when they were holding me down and laughing at me I had been shit-scared. I hadn't been able to sit up and tell them where the hell to go, cause I'd been trying to breathe in amongst being tickled. I was angry at them cause they had done that to me. But I didn't want to cause a scene, so i just tried to set the incident aside.

But a couple of months later - when I'd been through a crisis at school, and I had to suddenly go away to boarding school, and change a subject in the middle of my final year of high-school, and I lost contact with all my friends, and there was the pressure of exams and getting into a uni course etc. - I came home one weekend because I was homesick, and my mother was going away that weekend to help that first cousin (the one with cerebral palsy) move into a new house. All the bitterness, the anger, the fear, and the guilt all welled up and I told her that I couldn't understand why she was still helping him when he was such a prick. She got angry cause she didn't understand. She didn't understand because I couldn't bring myself to explain WHY I didn't want her helping him. I'd never spoken or even written about it before. I had a heavy sense of guilt attached to it, because he did have cerebral palsy, and I hadn't wanted him in the house in the first place.

So the conversation diverged into the incident at Xmas. My mother, who has been a feminist since before I was born, had the nerve to say - "It was just an innocent game. If you don't want that kind of thing to happen, you shouldn't have worn that dress."

So I ended up just storming off to my room and bursting into tears - and I was furious cause I couldn't make myself understood, and because my mother wasn't sensitive enough to figure it out... the fact that she had FORGOTTEN what happened when he was here... it was like her saying, it doesn't matter, it's not that important. And that she'd blame ME for what happened at Xmas - that she thought it was silly that I was upset. She didn't understand that the feeling I'd had came down to this: no-one likes to feel defenceless, humiliated, guilty, alone... and at fault basically because of what they look like.

It is to her credit that when she saw how upset I was, she did make an effort to understand... but it has always hurt that I had to get a professional psychologist to explain it to her before the matter got resolved. After this, I agreed to let the matter go, cause all I'd really wanted was for SOMEONE to understand, and tell me, "It's alright. You're not a hypersensitive man-hating feminist. That's a perfectly natural reaction and I'm sorry it happened, and I won't stand by if another such situation arises in the future." Because it's so easy, when no-one is supporting you, to think "It's just me, I should have put up with it."

Rape can happen to a man - as in Allein's story - just as it can happen to a woman, because it is NOT about sex. It is about POWER. It's about one person losing the freedom to control their body, and being completely at the mercy of another. It is about being afraid, and trapped a mess of guilt in your own mind. Reactions can come years and years after the act, or straight away, and can be incredibly hard to talk about - even to those you love most. Since my mother understood, I find that sometimes I need to find someone, and just tell them about it - just to be reassured in myself. I hate the fact that this feels like a weakness, and that a couple of stupid arseholes can affect me for so long.

Well, thanks for listening.

K.C. Ramey Thu Sep 3 21:59:37 PDT 1998

I like this topic. Creating a scene that is of something we haven't experienced. I had to learn this last week in my Acting class. We had to make ourselves cry and then be totally peppy and then back to sad and depressed. With both acting and writing a book you don't always have the pleasure or not so pleasureful experience of things first hand. Take our other subject, rape. An actor or a writer hasn't necessarily been raped and been able to find out what the horror of it was really like, to be able to play/write the part. The actor has to put together all the different emotions that he thinks goes into being a rape victim. My teacher suggested taking emotions that you have felt in the past, the pain of braking an arm, being burnt, the joy of falling in love, and all of the other events in your life and put the ones that fit the situation together and intensify them. I guess you could do the same thing for writing. At least that is what I do. Having a very active imagination doesn't hurt any either. There is another type of acting called Method Acting where you go out and get as close to doing the situation the character is in. For example one actor ran 10 miles and then jumped into a lake just to be able to experience the same situation his character was going to be in. We sort of talked about this when we were talking about research and interactive research. If you need to know what it is like to give birth go to the hospital and see if you can get permission from somebody to watch them give birth. Another good way is to ask you mother what it is like. My mother had a miscarriage, a normal birth (me), and a C- section (my bro). If I ever needed the knowledge of how it felt or if I need someone to critique how I wrote it I have her read it or tell me. I make sure that a wide range of people read my work and tell me if I made a mistake some where. I can have 30 people read it and think it is just fine and then the 31st person tells me that a certain situation wouldn't happen that way because they have had that happen.

I should go and get ready for bed so I can be up early enough to go to school in the morning. What fun a pep assembly. Can't wait.


Allein-chan Thu Sep 3 21:52:59 PDT 1998

Oops, caught a mistake. I meant to say I'd tried to leave it in the workbook - not the notebook. Well, I'll be leaving now. bye bye.

Allein-chan Thu Sep 3 21:51:45 PDT 1998


Allein-chan Thu Sep 3 21:50:55 PDT 1998

Well, I've tried twice to leave part of my story in the notebook with cutting and pasting, but it refuses to show up, so I'm just going to leave it here because I'm hella tired and I have school tomorrow. This is a piece I worked on a long time ago about the rape scene in my story - I talked about it before. The rapist is simply referred to as 'the rapist' here because his identity is a mystery and I don't want it revealed. Also, I'm not telling where they are (what kind of building structure he lives in) because it's kind of a clue as to who the rapist might be. Yes, my character Allein is a boy, however, he looks, acts, sounds and occasionally dresses like a girl. Well, I think that's about it. It's not very good but that's the purpose of a rough draft. If anyone has any suggestions on how to improve it, I'd like to hear them. Nice comments are also welcome - I just don't want to hear 'I like it' - that tells me nothing. So, without further ado, here is:
"This is a nice place," Allein said stepping into (the place where they're at).
The rapist closed the door behind them. "Thanks. Actually, the living room here is a mess, let's go into the bedroom, it's a lot cleaner."
Allein nodded, noticing that the living room wasn't exactly organized. He followed the rapist into the bedroom. "So now what?"
The rapist pointed towards the bed. "Sit down."
Allein sat on the bed while the older man turned the heater up and then sat down next to him. "Cold for a July night, don't you think?"
Allein nodded. "It's nice in here."
"I think so." He noticed the boy didn't look happy. "What's wrong?"
"Um, nothing really. It's just...well..."
"Do I scare you?"
"No, I'm not scared. I'm um...I just don't feel well."
The rapist put his arm around Allein and let the boy lean against him. He placed a hand on Allein's forehead. "You do feel warm." Very warm, he thought. I want to hold you and feel your body heat and not let go.
He looked at Allein knowing that this was the right time. "I think I can make you feel better."
Allein turned his head to look at the older man and to his surprise, the rapist kissed him. Allein pulled away and jumped up very fast. "What was that for?!"
The rapist stood up and walked towards the boy. "You don't need to fight it. You know you want to."
Allein was scared now, but he felt frozen and couldn't move. "N-no, I don't. I want to go home now."
The older man stroked Allein's cheek. "You know you do. Besides, your bus doesn't come for another forty five minutes, how are you going to get home?"
Crap! Allein thought. He's right. How am I going to get home? Well, I can't stay here with this pervert! He shifted a little and took a small step back. "I-I'll call my mom. She'll pick me up."
The rapist leaned closer; his lips were almost touching Allein's. "I love you." Allein heard him unzipping his pants. Suddenly, he found he could run and dashed out of (the place they're at). He ran down the deserted street. It was late, so no one was out. He looked behind him and saw the rapist chasing behind.
Allein darted down a nearby alley and came to a dead end. He was breathing hard and could hear the rapist coming closer and closer. He quickly ran into an abandoned building, which made one side of the alley. At one time, it had been a warehouse. He crouched down, leaning against the wall, panting. He drew his knees up to his chest and put his head in his arms. Tears fell from his eyes. He heard the rapist enter the building. There was no where to hide or run. He knew then that the man was going to have his way, whether Allein approved or not. He felt a hand on his shoulder and looked up into the older man's evil-looking eyes. "Why are you doing this to me?"
"I love you. At first I didn't think your magic could work, but here I am wanting to have sex with you."
"Magic? What magic?"
The rapist leveled his face with Allein's. "Before I saw you I was a normal family man devoted to my wife and children. My wife and son are dead and my daughter is no longer with me. It's all because of you!"
Allein was confused. "I didn't do anything! I'm just a kid!"
"No you're not! You're a demon from the underworld, sent to tempt me! You were sent from the devil god himself to destroy me by driving me mad with your beauty!"
"I am not a demon! You're crazy!"
"I am not. I would not have fallen for you if you hadn't used some sort of magic."
"I didn't use any magic! I don't know magic!"
The rapist slapped Allein across the face. "You liar! You only do the bidding of the devil god!"
"No I don't!"
"But, I am going to have my way with you, then kill you!"
Allein sobbed even harder. "Go away!"
The boy was yanked into an upright position. "Shut up, fowl demon! And take your clothes off!"
The rapist pointed a sharp knife at Allein. "Do as I say! Now take your clothes off!"
Allein undressed as quickly as possible, which wasn't easy when he was crying and trembling hard. Finally he stood there naked, and embarrassed. "Happy now?"
The rapist grabbed him and kissed the young boy passionately. "You are the most beautiful creature in the universe. It's a pity I'll have to destroy you."
"I'm not evil!"
Allein was thrown forcefully to the ground. He screamed. He felt the rapist hold onto his head from behind and smash his face into the hard concrete floor. Allein cried harder, which he previously thought not possible. Blood spurted from his broken nose. The older man lay on top of the boy and continued with his task. How wonderfully soft his hair is, he thought. Golden blonde curls, skin soft as rose petals, eyes as blue as the ocean. But to tempt me as such, must be a demon. There's no other way, but to kill him.
Allein lay still, though with almost two hundred pounds on top of him, there wasn't much else he could do. He felt the rapist kissing his neck and playing with his hair. He also, oddly, felt the sensation of physical pleasure, even though he hated this man with every ounce of strength in his body. The experience only reinforced the hate more, but the pleasure couldn't be overlooked. It almost hurt because his muscles were so tense. He unintentionally let a few soft moans escape his mouth.
The rapist whispered in his ear. "I knew you'd like it."
Allein clenched his teeth together. "I don't like it! I hate you!"
Allein felt the older man slide off of him. The boy rolled over and panted for a few moments. He'd gone beyond crying; he just wanted to be home and safe with his parents and sisters. He felt the rapist lay a kiss on his lips. He could tell that the man was in love with him, but he found it disgusting. He exhaled when the older man's mouth left his and went to his neck. He squirmed. His boyfriend was the only one who had ever kissed him in such a manner. The rapist lay his head on Allein's chest and could hear his heart beating. It was fast - an obvious sign that the young child was scared. The rapist stood and zipped his pants back up. "Well, I suppose it's time to kill you. Evil demon."
"I'm not a demon."
"A demon wouldn't admit to being one would he."
"Fine then, I am a demon!"
"I knew you'd admit it."
" said..."
"It was a trick. Honestly, Allein Anderson, you're too trusting."
"I would never trust you again!"
The rapist walked over to the wall and picked up a crowbar he'd hidden there earlier in the shadows. He raised it high and hit Allein in the chest. The boy screamed.
"Be quiet!" The rapist yelled.
More blows came and all of them hurt. He heard the crowbar being dropped and looked up in time to see a shiny object coming in his direction. The knife, Allein realized. He put out his hand just in time - the knife plunged through it but missed his neck, which is where it had been headed. The rapist pulled the knife upwards, splitting Allein's hand in half. The boy screamed. The last thing he heard was a crack as the crowbar was smashed against his head. He fell unconscious to the floor.

He awoke sometime later. He realized he'd been placed into a garbage dumpster. He also noticed that his hand was wrapped up tightly in the vest he had been wearing - the rapist must have had some sympathy, or figured he was dead and couldn't stand to look at his mutilated hand. Dry blood was caked on his nose and upper lip. He was still naked and awfully cold. A wrapper from a bag of potato chips seemed to float by and land next to him. He could hear two boys and a girl talking together. He managed to make a small noise.
"What was that?" The girl asked.
"It was the wrapper saying: please don't throw me away, I'll be your friend," one of the boys joked.
The other boy intervened. "Just forget it, it's probably a mouse or something."
Allein felt hot tears spring into his eyes. "Help!" He wanted to move but found he didn't have the energy. The girl peered over the side of the dumpster. He recognized her as Cassidy, from his science class. The girl Troz had a crush on and she felt similar about him. "Cassidy, please help!" He found himself sobbing again.
Cassidy removed her coat and put it over him. Being a Lemu, she had fur that could keep her warm. "What happened to you?"
He saw the boys look in as well. He knew he'd seen them around school, but didn't know their names. "I was raped and beaten and I'm cold and scared."
Cassidy stroked his hair. "Shush, don't worry." She spoke to the boys. "Daviso, go to a pay viz-phone and call for help."
One of the boys rushed off. Allein felt his body relaxing. The burning thirst in his throat reminded him that he needed his insulin, or he'd risk getting very sick. But then there were his injuries. He felt Cassidy hold his hand. Her hand was warm. His eyelids felt too heavy to keep open.
She squeezed his hand. "Allein, don't die on me!"
He managed a whisper. "I'm so sleepy."
"Then sleep, just don't die. I'll call Rean for you."
An image of Rean, his boyfriend, appeared in his mind. "Rean. But you don't have his number."
"Yes I do."
Allein closed his eyes and darkness descended upon him. He fell into a deep, dreamless and blissful sleep.

Jack Beslanwitch Thu Sep 3 17:59:29 PDT 1998

Whatever the experience that we are not privy to, I believe the critical point is to find something we can relate to by which avenue we can bring at least the appearance of authenticity. When a man talks about a woman having a child, especially natural child birth, there is little or no way that we as men can truly relate. However, we can approach the experience from issues of pain, of focus, of joy and fear. All of these are universal that we all have experienced. However, it is how we tie these emotions together and relate them to the process of giving life. Or reaking vengenace and violence. Or what have you. What I wanted to stear things towards was the best approach to make our writing about unexperienced events more authentic. Science fiction and fantasy does this all the time. Nobody has jacked into a computer, but William Gibson rivets his audience and makes them believe that the denizens of Neuromancer and subsequent books are plunging into the guts of cyberspace and makes us believe it. Same for the events of being possessed by a demon in a horror novel. Or, what have you. My question is how we can spring to the emotions and details that are in our life and that we know and use those to make this unreal experience authentic and real for our readers. Oh, well, enough ramblings.

Thu Sep 3 16:01:41 PDT 1998

Allein-chan Thu Sep 3 15:32:01 PDT 1998

A man can be raped. It is possible - in fact, that's the rape scene in my series. However, the victim is a child, so you can see how the older man would over power him. And I suppose that, even though it's forceful, the police would consider it to be child molestation rather than rape. Though, the boy (who is 14) does consider it rape because of the beating involved and because he feels violated. Actually, most people who hear about this character feel that after being tricked and molested and beaten and stalked and all that other bad stuff, he should have learned. But as said in an earlier conversation in the notebook, a character has to have flaws. This boy is entirely too trusting. In fact, after he's raped, the rapist comes back and asks the boy to come with him (the boy knows the rapist's identity but no one else does at this point) and he does. Yes, I'd say that is too trusting.
Well, I've been rambling so I'll shut up now and let someone else write.
Love, peace and chicken grease,

Gary S Thu Sep 3 14:35:00 PDT 1998

I had a real bad idea when I suggested changing topics. This place looks like some hyper-manic rape crisis center. Somebody even mentioned a broomstick. Where's the door?
Typos don't seem so bad all of a sudden.

Walking out backwards,


S.N.Arly Thu Sep 3 14:25:23 PDT 1998

Barb - I used to have a love-hate relationship with my splints. Now I just love them. It may take a while, but you'll get used to them.

So, you have CTS and they're trying conservative measures? You on an NSAID too (not that you have to answer, your medical history is yours alone)? Mmmm NSAIDs make the world ... uh.... less inflamed?

Much luck with the treatment. And please, please listen to your doctor. I didn't.

Mick Thu Sep 3 13:08:18 PDT 1998

Lo All

Male rape
Possible to be raped by another man, by a woman I don't know. If I remember my biology right if a person is under threat the adrenal gland starts pumping glycogen into the bloodstream for fight or flight, and starves the stomach and sexual organs of blood, with a man - no blood, no erection, therefore no rape; maybe?

Barb G. Thu Sep 3 12:53:54 PDT 1998

Hi Y'all,

This ought to be interesting. I was fitted for my wrist splints for Carpal TS today. God, my spelling will be worse than usual (if that's possible).

In 1976, I got this great idea to write a book on the occult, witch-craft in modern world type of thing, the setting being in a small community theatre. I went to the Playhouse in the Park in Cincinnati and attended 14 rehearsal days with the director's blessing. Went to the opening and was invited to the party, etc. etc. But,someone along the way said,"It'll never work, this book of yours. You have to write about what your know!"

My quick comeback was: "Melville never saw a whale in his life."

But, that splash of cold-water in my face made me back away from that idea. I guess what I'm trying to say is, write what you want to write. If you have to do extra research -- big deal! If you're passionate about a story, book, whatever, go with it. To he-- to the naysayers.


Catalina Kanwak Thu Sep 3 11:43:16 PDT 1998

Well, I REALLY stay away from sex scenes, mostly because of the fact that my works are geared to a younger audience and I always get embaressed when I write about sex, because I'm afraid what I have written doesn't sound believeable enough, and because the younger audience might chuckle, and say to themselves,' this is a stupid part in this short story, why the hell did he put this in here?", so I really tend to avoid it. But I might kind of curve around the topic, I mean, make it so obvious that they are going to have sex, like, 'The man carried the woman into the bedroom, giggling. The door was slammed shut and for a few minutes we heard nothing but silence. But then came the occasional shriek and I grew flustered."

Just my two bits ^_^

Catalina Kanwak

S.N.Arly Thu Sep 3 10:30:23 PDT 1998

Aaah yes. Male rape. Always brings a series of chuckles and grins. Until you mention the use of a broomstick, not some individual's df perhaps, and yes it does have it's own word, but it usally wipes the grins off the faces of those who think oh yah, like a woman could rape me. Giggle giggle.

armando noel falcon none Thu Sep 3 10:11:04 PDT 1998

you wont reach me i am always dissconected.
for begginers i would like to say i don't have much tome to
write because i need to get to my class, i go to school at
university of houston downtown, art and other stuff. i love to wtite, anything, and i belive i have a unnatural skill at it because it just seems to flow from my mind washing up on the pages as my hand touches the keyboard. currently i have started to write a series of books called Chronicles of Parmarsia. in the process i have been trying to actually create the technological advancements that i have in my books. i have succeed thus far, one a machine that constantly picks up speed by it's own means, two gravity manipulation and displacement, three no i am not psyco. sorry got to run to class my address is :

Monarch Falcon
4049 woodfox st
houston tx. 77018

Greg Butchers Thu Sep 3 09:24:58 PDT 1998

Hi all,

Lydia: Male rape? Interesting. It' a subject my wife and I have had many a discussion/arguement over. I believe it's possible and my wife says not. Her main arguement is that how can you make a man perform under pressure. While I agree with that to a point, although I'm sure a gun at your head could do wonders, I think it comes down to how you define rape. Strictly speaking I don't think a man could be raped by a women, as rape is usually defined as penetration, whereas a man could rape a man. My arguement is that the term rape should be applied to a much wider definition. i.e any unwilling sex act. Also I think rape is just as much a mental thing as physical. I can sympathise with your husband although I'm sure deep down he agrees with you. I sure he could imagine situations that would repulse him to be in, if he had no choice.
On the wider topic of writing about things you haven't experienced - surely that's what writing fiction is all about. I'm sure Stephen Kings never meet a ghost or that Asimov ever met a robot. Personal experience and research helps but it's whats in your head that counts.

Dallin Charvelle Thu Sep 3 08:07:28 PDT 1998

Dated: 10-3-98 : 10:00am to 10:21am

I've been thinking about what was mentioned about writing about what we know nothing or very little about. Here is my attempt at it for today...

This is my attempt at writing about a subject I know very little about ..... running a nuclear power plant. *lol*

~ ~ ~

Randall sat in his uselessly cushioned chair watching the lights in front of him blink to no particular pattern. Once again, he rearranged the way he was sitting, to place his weight on another part of his backside. You would've thought that they could have at least spent a little extra money to give their employee of the month an air-cushioned chair. That wasn't the way it was with Nucleonics Inc, though. A certificate and a pat on the back was all that was earned by his hard back-breaking work.

A green light turned to yellow as a rapid series of beeps sounded from the controls. "Hmmm..." The temperature had risen above 2800 degrees. How could he have left the rods in the chamber so long? Usually he caught any fluctuations in temperature within the first 15 degrees, not 115.

As he eased the rods on out with the gentle turn of the exposure knob, he silently reprimanded himself for such a mistake. If not for the beeping, he might've left the rods in even longer. Then would come the meltdown, and the nuclear explosion causing the radioactive isotopes to litter the surrounding country for an average of 40 to 45 miles.

He laughed. Everyone thought traffic controllers had the pressuring jobs. If only they knew what went on in the mind of a man who held the lives of over 30 thousand people in his hands for 8 hours each day.

"Oh no", thought Randall as he watched - through the window - a small squadron of nuke technicians enter the radioactive area. Their heat-resistant suits shined as they placed themselves at various controls around the nuclear chamber. They must've also seen the fluctuation in the temperature, but why hadn't they called him first to ask what was wrong?

Randall picked up the phone and buzzed the chamber below. It was then that he realized the phone was dead, and that the rods still hadn't retracted! What was happening? Sabotage? The very thought of it sent a ripple down his spine.

The figures below around the chamber were scrambling frantically around the room. Knobs were turned, levers switched, buttons press. Nothing did any good, the rods were still being bombarded by the chemicals.

An automated voice rang out above his head, "30 seconds to nuclear meltdown."

~ ~ ~

Well, I know very little about nuclear power plants and the such. What I wrote was based mostly upon TV shows that I've seen growing up. I gave the main character a complaining nature on purpose, because I felt like trying something else I had never done before.

Well, I hope this is a good attempt at writing what I know nothing about...


Lydia Sweet Thu Sep 3 07:37:53 PDT 1998

Hi all,

An intimate experience I personally could not experience?
Well I must admit I'm stumped.A male orgasim is the only intimate act that comes immediately to mind that I can not experience. Rape I suppose would be another intimate, though brutal experience. I happen to be covering that topic in my current writings and I may not have experienced rape, but being a woman I think I can give it realistic quality.

Here is a thought. What would it be like to be a man who is raped? I had better clarify raped by a woman. This aspect of crime has baffled me for a long time. I realize anyone can be forced to do something they don't want to, but the emphasis most men of my aquaintance put on sex would eliminate this from being a harrowing experience. I'm not saying it is not a crime, I would simply like a man's take on this. My husband doesn't count. He grins ear to ear at the mention of such a topic.


Donna Manganaris Thu Sep 3 07:16:42 PDT 1998

I'm just a humble 'housewife'. So, my 'experience' in many, if not all, fields is terribly lacking. However, I find that if I'm a good listener and observer of mankind's various conditions, I can see and feel many situations through the eyes of my characters.

I enjoy sitting in the mall and watching as people pass, sometimes eavesdropping on snippets of conversations. Somewhere I read that an author rides the bus and does the exact same thing. Only he takes down phrases that the people say. I don't go quite that far!

S.N.Arly Thu Sep 3 07:06:27 PDT 1998

I think we most convincingly write about things we know about and understand. This doesn't mean we can't fudge, and as an SF & F writer I have to do it on a regular basis. But I do make sure that I know something, even the barest details, about everything I can know something about. That way the entire story isn't fraught with vague references and inuendo. I've got actual facts interspersed with a lot of imagination, which really defines what most writing is.

Dallin Charvelle Thu Sep 3 05:25:32 PDT 1998

I've just noticed the topic of writing what we do not know. Maybe I'm just a wuss, but I loath to take on a subject directly that I have no knowledge about. For example, in my first chapter, the shepherding scene is descriptive and not lacking in "meat"; yet I never go into detail about what is exactly done. I tend to find things that are closely related "in the same scene", and write about them.

If I do feel the need to tackle a situation straight on, I'll do research first....over the net of course.

The biggest side-track of my book is probably the details that go into the music therein. I am a guitar player, and therefore know most of the basic chords, scales, and arpeggios... and that is why I choose to write about it... other than the fact that I love music theory.

This probably goes 100% against the "write what you DON'T know about" topic... yet I still enjoy doing it, and the reader's - so far - have enjoyed reading it.

I feel as though I'm probably the rookie of the bunch, and have much to learn...and change...about my style of writing; yet I find it hard to change what the readers enjoy reading. Does this make sense?

Fair thee well until the next message cometh,

Caroline Heske Thu Sep 3 02:21:25 PDT 1998

It's a writer's business to make things up convincingly, I think. In fantasy or scifi, it's absolutely integral to the story to do it well, cause you CAN'T afford to rely on personal experience. It's about empathy, most of all. Just about anything can HAPPEN, but it's the characters reactions to it which have to be most believable.

I am facing a most difficult situation at the moment, where I have to write what is a sort of 'group mind' between two of my characters - but it's not static, they sort of have to grow into it. It's the kind of thing that no-one can say "you're wrong, that's not how it would happen" because they can't know any better than you, but where you HAVE to make it convincing enough that they don't say it, even in their heads.

Gary S gsouza@capeonramp. Wed Sep 2 21:11:48 PDT 1998

Jack, and all,

Interesting question: how dow we write about things we are unable to experience. On reflection it seems that much of what we write about, we can't or never do experience personally. The essential engine is our imaginations. I imagine, if I choose to write from a woman's point of view --which I don't--the prospect of childbirth involves emotions of trepidation, apprehension, and other difficult aspects as well as more positive things such as anticipation, hopefulness, perhaps joy. If we accept the task, we call upon the closest things in our own experience that put us in the picture we are working on. In total a man is as much at sea on the response to childbirth as a woman might be on a soldier's ordeal in the battle of the Ardennes in World War Two. If a woman wants to write about that she may do as well as any man perhaps excluding a talented writer who fought that campaign. Again, most of what we write is crafted more from our skills and imagination than our actual experiences; borrow a feeling, emotion, or reaction from our own world and use it in the one we create. That's what we are doing most of the time.



Keith M. Wed Sep 2 19:06:12 PDT 1998

Hello all!

Just got back on the net after about a week off. I haven't gone through the archives yet to see what I missed, so I'm plunging blindly on through this tunnel.

it seems to me that the topic here is about writing sex scenes. I think I'll add my half cent worth here.

sex in a book is solely the decision of the author. as allein-chan said, it depends on the audience you're trying to reach.

personally, I try to keep sex in my book down to a minimum unless it aids the storyline. I will say honestly at 16 that I have had a few sexual encounters, so that writing an "intimate" scene poses no problems for me - however, since I want to reach the largest possible audience, there is (and will be) mostly just allusions to sex. However, there is one part of my book where two characters do have sex, and it is a VERY important point in the book because the girl gets pregnant and it creates a much complicated situation! so in that case, I'll write part, most, or all of the sex scene.

well, that's about all I have to say write now. see-ya chaps in cyberspace!

Keith M.

p.s. LISA - please reply to my last e-mail... are you getting them??

Lisa Wed Sep 2 18:57:11 PDT 1998

Hey, guys! :) Don't have much time to write this, so I shall be brief (kinda).
I tend to avoid sex scenes because, like Allein-chan, I don't know anything about sex and don't plan to until after I marry (*if* I marry, that is). I do have a few scenes in my novel that are *somewhat* sexual in nature, rather a lot of dialogue mentioning sex ("'that whore would *never* get into my bed!' Weryn shouted. 'Never!'") and also an attempted rape, but I couldn't really go beyond that 'cause I just don't know.
There are a lot of things I just don't know anything about because I'm so young, which I find extremely frustrating. :( But, like my mom always tells me, I shouldn't wish my life away, right?
By the way, on my mac I make a copyright symbol by holding down the "option" key and then pressing the letter "g". Like this- . Might not work for you pc-users, though.
Have a lovely day, all.

~Lisa :)

Jack Beslanwitch Wed Sep 2 17:35:52 PDT 1998

    Woe!!!! I have been very much out of the loop to let the Notebook almost reach 200k in size. I have archived back to the last posting by Allein-chan. Also, I have made a change in the proposed topic for discussion.

    The topic of how to write a good sex scene has been dealt with in the past on Writers Notebook, but we might want to stretch the parameters and go beyond romantic scenes and talk about how best to write a scene about intimate experiences believably when we have not lived them or physically unable to live them. In this category, I am thinking of child birth from the woman's point of view when you are male writing the scene or vica versa. There are a range of other experiences that might fall into this category.

As always, if you want to continue a past topic line or strike out on your own, feel free.

Allein-chan Wed Sep 2 15:53:02 PDT 1998

I don't know much about copyrights so I won't get into that conversation.

On sex - I find it difficult to write scenes about sex not only because it makes me uncomfortable but because I've never had experiance (I'm sixteen, a virgin and proud of it)! I do write scenes about kissing and such but steamy making out is about as far as I'll go - especially since my stories are aimed more at teens. There's only one scene that really talks about sex in my series but it's a rape scene and I concentrate more on the beating than the sexual part of it. I think that if you're comfortable puting it in books, then by all means do so (as long as it's a book for adults or mature teens). And if you don't want to or don't think it's appropriate, then it probably shouldn't go into the book.

Well, until next time sayonara!

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