Archived Writer's Notebook Messages

From October 9, 1996 to October 29, 1996

Jack Beslanwitch Mon Oct 28 17:40:06 PST 1996

OK, I took all the fragments of the train saga and wove them together into a single story in the same tone/tense. Apologies to everyone if I slightly rewrote the intent of your portions. Hope it works together and be interested what others think. I did this sort of on the spur of the moment and not with a great deal of proofreading so I may have not got it right. Still, I thought it should be put together in one chunk.

Ben: If I get a moment, I think I'll try to add something to your Cinderella and Her Sisters. A very nice beginning.

Take care.

Sherrie Mon Oct 28 14:10:20 PST 1996

TRISH: You're a little sneak--but I love ya, anyway;-).

Britomart Mon Oct 28 11:53:47 PST 1996

For who will not bide the burden of distresse,
Must not here thinke to liue: for life is wretchednesse.

Ben Woestenburg Sun Oct 27 21:50:54 PST 1996

I wrote something in the notebook. Anybody care to add to it, go ahead. I know how it's supposed to go, but I'm not telling because I want you guys to take it wherever you want to.

trish Sun Oct 27 20:11:07 PST 1996

Hi guys!! Just thought I'd let you know that I haven't dropped off the face of the earth or anything. Just been very busy lately and have more to come. Baking cakes and planning birthday parties, not to mention buying presents. Ever known many 2 yr. olds who get to have 2 parties?

I just finished Sherrie's manuscript, and I think she has really done a wonderful job on it. I stayed up half the night reading it Friday and finished it on Sat. I haven't had the chance to e-mail her to tell her how much I liked it, so let's just keep it between us, whadda ya say? (Sherrie, you weren't supposed to read that part.)

I'll catch up on what's been going on here and in the workbook as soon as I get time. Maybe soon I can hang around a little more.


Sherrie Sun Oct 27 18:09:13 PST 1996

BRITOMART: Thanks for the advice. You're right, it is about time I caught up on my reading--for fun. I'm presently reading "Plot" in the Writer's Digest Series, but it only tickles my mind to work. Know what I mean? As for your semester, congrats and hang in there. Personally, when I was in college, I carried a print-out of my last scene and a spiral notebook with me everywhere, just in case I had 60 seconds I could spend writing. In fact, I still do that. My book goes with me everywhere.
BEN: Since you like Colleen McCullough, have you read her first novel, "Tim?" It's a short read but memorable. A drop-dead gorgeous but mentally retarded man falls in love with a dowdy old spinster of exceptional intelligence. The premise raises--and answers--the question of whether or not those who are mentally impaired have a right to the same life as those who are not. I recommend it for everyone.
And I agree with your comment about watching/absorbing people around you as material for future characters. Man, do I love to just sit and watch people. Faces. They're so cool. So readable, sometimes.
See y'all later. And JACK, I hope you find that snow--for Fran's sake. This whole snowball fight idea sounds very sexy.

Bob Hanford Sun Oct 27 10:12:34 PST 1996

BEN: I agree with Britomart which is why I backed off and said I wasn't trying to talk you into anything. Write about what is fun to write about. The Leningrad siege came together for me when I decided that all the characters except Shostakovich will be down and outers because I have always written about street people or rural people to whom a dime is an extraordinary gift.
As I said, I just really enjoyed your flow of words and selfishly, I would enjoy hearing about your sawmill years.
Peace. Bob

Ben Woestenburg Sun Oct 27 09:09:41 PST 1996

HI Y'all!
I know exactly what you're saying Jack, and I can agree with it completely, and even take it a step farther. You see, I don't know how a writer can't not be influenced by what is happening around him. He trains his senses to watch the idiosyncracies of the people about him, whether it's his own family and friends, or just some interesting figure walking down the street with a strange limp, and then writes about it in a story becuase it has stuck out in his mind. Someone talks to you with a nasally voice, you remember it -- if he talks to you in a nasally voice and doesn't make any sense to you because what he says is right off the deep end, you use it. But as to whether you use these people, or places -- because scenery strikes the same chords within you, just like sounds, and smells -- but if you use them subconsciously or purposely, I don't think it makes that much of a difference. They are in your brain, and one way or another, they will come out. If one guy has a wit, you will use it. When I got bumped off my job and had to go on afternoon shift a while back, I ended up missing a concert I had been hoping to see. The Black Crows. I said to this friend at work, "I'm going to miss The Black Crows," and he responded by saying to me, "Well, you can be down here and watch A Flock Of Seagulls," (which for you younger members here, was a one hit wonder band back in the early eighties. And something the two of us used to party to.) How could you not use a person with a wit like that? You can't? He's a gimme.

So you see, as much as I don't really want to write the stories about these people, their characteristics leave me no choice but to use them in one way or another.
Thanks for the interesting topic guys, but I have to go write now.

Jack Beslanwitch Sun Oct 27 00:12:37 PDT 1996

Hi all,

Just to let you know, the party I went to was an anniversary part for Talebones Magazine. It was kind of cool and something of a departure to dress up in costume.

Sheri: I'll still try to have that snow ball fight with Fran.

Ben: History and time do not transform people. As I mentioned in my email, these characters are alive in settings in all points of history. Only the cosmetic outer layer is even barely touched and different. Your life experiences are exactly what makes for stories about any earthy and real and responsive period of history. Grab it with both hands and go with it.

Good writing all.

Britomart Sun Oct 27 00:04:20 PDT 1996

Hey Ben - I'm on your side. To me "write what you know" should be reversed to read "get to know what you want to write about". My stuff is always at least partially historical (I'm a Renaissance girl in every sense), and I'd much rather spend 400 pages with a fabulously rich and creepy historical story, than with an brilliantly realistic but ultimately prosaic slice of life tale. It's just personal taste, that's all. Give me the fantastic, the dark, the rich, the energetic, the out-of-the-ordinary. Do not give me body functions and problems with your mother. (Well, not your mother specifically - I'm sure you know what I mean).

And Sherrie, there is only one thing to do when you've finished writing a book, and that is to read a dozen more. Then you'll be refreshed and revitalised to start your next one (which, no doubt, you've been taking notes about for weeks/months). We must never forget that as writers, if we only write we're only doing half the job. Reading is just as important.

And everybody - I'm feeling mighty fine today: the light at the end of the tunnel (end of semester) is drawing closer, and all my assignments are starting to make sense (except the one on Derrida & literature - all help welcomed, no begged for). I can't wait to have the space in front of me to write a couple of ten-thousand words - GLOOOORIOUS!

Bye now!

Sat Oct 26 23:00:52 PDT 1996

Ben Woestenburg Sat Oct 26 23:00:48 PDT 1996

SHERRI: I know that you're right, and I probably will use these guys as characters, it would be hard to resist. It just might be that I see them so often, and know them so well, that I don't see the forest for the trees -- (and I guess that's a bad pun for someone working in a sawmill). It might also be the fact that I'm one of them. There are two 'me's', the one who goes to work everyday and uses industrial language like every other blue collar guy, and the other one who comes home and writes poetry and history, using it as an escape tool. I can tell you stories about these guys that would make you howl with laughter, but we all have stories like that about people we know. Personally, I'd like to hear stories from Bob. I think he's led a very full life. Oh, and thanks for the compliment, it's enough to make a young boy like me blush!

Sherrie Sat Oct 26 22:28:01 PDT 1996

Sorry. I keep doing this. Just wanted to let you know, the winds took the snow away--evaporated it. But there's more coming. Skiing anyone? Yahooo!

Sherrie Sat Oct 26 22:24:38 PDT 1996

JACK: Thanks for taking a sit on my bench; I'm not really alone, am I? Everyone who courts this obsession (as you all do, publshed or not) goes through this wretched uncertainty and separation. I guess the way to look at it is, in a few days or a week or maybe three--I'll know when--I'll jump back into where I left off in Chapter 5 of the next book (the place where it got sticky), I'll tune up the instruments and labor through a few bars then, pretty soon, it will be a symphony once again. And if no one buys the book? Well, that didn't stop me from writing it in the first place. I'll just keep writing. I can't not write. And by the way, why don't you lean on the rest of us a little for the confidence you lack? You see, we're all pretty certain your computer book will be on the shelves this time next year. You're sure a whiz at this page!
BEN: Sorry, ol' boy, I love your sawmill characters, too. My husband was in a motorcycle club (yes, a real club with the patches and clubhouse and the women in too much eyeliner and too little leather) when I met him. Guess I was in the club, too, though a woman is really more of a possession. We still see some of the guys about town, now and then. We're so establishment (motorhome and boat and--gasp--a minivan), and they're so still-stuck, back there in 1975. I feel sorry for them, but they're real people. It's more extreme and more transparent, but that's really where most people live, with their guilt-ladeling parents and ex-wives and that brother that just never seemed to get in step with society. I'll write about them, someday. Maybe I pull a few of them in and use them for models for my characters (emphasis on the CHARACTER part), now. If you could see your co-workers in that light--slip into your Steinbeck Hush Puppies, if you must--you might discover a treasure of reality better than anything/anyone you could ever fabricate. You're so talented. I look for good things from you.

Lisa Jean Bothell Sat Oct 26 21:12:57 PDT 1996

Howdy-do, all! I'm at a lovely Halloween party at the Edge Cafe with good ol' Jack Beslanovitch and am enjoying this page. I do want to invite anyone who'd like to visit my website, the Heliocentric NetPage, which has a list of writer's resources. We love visitors, though I don't have a guest page. I have a bimonthly newsletter there that has some neat market information. This is a really cool party - the local group "Don't Ask" is playing some folksy music they've written. People from Talebones Magazine are here too, as well as several who go to the local (Seattle WA) conventions Norwescon and Orycon. A good group. Take care all!

Bob Hanford Sat Oct 26 21:01:56 PDT 1996

BEN: Don't misunderstand: I'm not trying to talk you into anything. I just enjoyed the flow of your words when you were off-guard talking to Travis. The words were not as carefully planned as your poetry (of course.) I mixed that with the sawmill setting, the water, the blue collar guys and thought they would blend well together. Personally, I'd also love to read the First World War stuff.

Sat Oct 26 17:34:48 PDT 1996

Ben Woestenburg Sat Oct 26 17:34:36 PDT 1996

Finally alone.
Now Bob, back to what I was trying to tell you last night. People have always been telling me to write about what i know, unfortunately at the time, all I knew about were parties and drugs. I don't really feel comfortable writing about that sort of thing, because I basically like to write the things I myself would like to read. I love history. Ancient history is so much more interesting because there's so much more involved in it. When it comes to current history, I think the most current I like is the First World War. I even have some short stories I want to write about that period, in fact I might even throw the beginning of one I was working on a while back. The guys I work with are typical blue collar workers. They're ignorant in more ways than I can relate to you here. I work with bigots, thieves, drunks, liars, cheaters, drug dealers -- the whole nine yards. I suppose it was different when I was younger, but now that I'm older, somewhat wiser, married -- and an interracial marriage too -- there's not much in common with us anymore. I guess if I had more respect for some of these people (of course there are always some friendships that transcend the years and circumstances), then having more respect for these people would make it easier to want to talk about them. At least with history, I can use the people I know, but control them in whatever situations I want to.

I don't know if any of this makes any sense to anyone, but like I said, who wants to hear an endless barrage of depressing stories that will make you shake your head, muttering to yourself...Losers? At least I understand these guys, and I can accept their faults, even overlook them, because I get to go home afterwards, don't I?

Jack Beslanwitch Sat Oct 26 16:04:41 PDT 1996


   I know a little of what you're going through on the front end of a project. I just sent out the hopefully final proposal (aka Editorial Fact Sheet) to my potential publisher and am waiting on pins and needles with thoughts like, naaah, never happen, don't deserve it, yes, it will happen, of course it will happen, to and if it does This is a computer/programmer project, so presumably involving slightly different neurons in the writing, but the waiting is still nerve wracking.

Snow in Idaho? All we're getting over here in Seattle is rain (of course - even if it wasn't raining I probably would say it was), although the thought of driving up to Snoqualmie Pass and having a friendly snow ball fight with my wife has some appeal. Take care all and Merry Samhain or Happy Halloween or some such.

Ben Woestenburg Fri Oct 25 23:54:30 PDT 1996

Hi guys. I spent all night waiting to get on this computer because it's Friday of course, and the kids come first. Or that's what everyone keeps telling me.
Whatever. I'm trying to write something for you Bob, but I've got two kids down here, we're having a bit of a sleep over tonight, and they keep asking me questions about Superman, and which superhero I'd like to be if I could be anyone in the world. They are driving, they're just kids. Anyway Bob, the guys at work tell me I should write a book about the guys I work with, but if I did that, I'd have nothing but law suits. I mean, I work with guys who have nick names like Stevie Vee and Bomber Tom. I could do a lot with them, and I could tell you more, but the kids are saying the usual: 'Are you finished typing yet? How can I sleep if you make all that noise?' I had to wait from 4:30 until now, and now the kid tells me that I'm making too much noise for him. I'd tell him to hit the road, but the computer belongs to his Dad, and this is the only time he gets to use it. So, I'll have to get back to you on this one and call it a night. God, I had Superman now.

Sherrie Fri Oct 25 21:58:51 PDT 1996

I forgot to ask (cut me some slack; it's Friday night), how do you folks get through the post-partum? The book is finished, on the agent's desk, and I'm up and down and hyper-kinetic and sleepy . . . and lost. I'm exhausted; should I rest? Or should I plow into the next book, to give my mind some peace? You see, it keeps nagging that, though I've done it once, I'll never do it again. I'm a one-tune jukebox. What do you say?

Sherrie Fri Oct 25 21:53:20 PDT 1996

Hi Everybody. You can't believe the October I've had. More on that in a minute.
Guess I neglected to mention, in my bio, that I'm married to a teddy bear of a guy named Harry; he's put up with my mood swings for 21 years now. We have two boys, Mike, who is on a Navy frigate in the Pacific (just left Australia, and he LOVED it), and Erik, who will graduate from high school in June. He joined the Navy (nuke, surface ships) this week. He leaves next August. Mike got married when he was home on leave last June; his wife is filing for divorce as soon as she can gather the money. He'll be home to put his life in storage as soon as he gets back to the States, mid-November. Been pretty tough on all of us, but we're working through it. And remember where I was going to cut my hours at my day job (health and safety officer) in Nov. or Dec.? They did it for me, as of Monday. I'm back to 25 hr/wk until we get another contract in place with the Department of Energy and good ol' Auntie Hazel (O'Leary).
My agent has heard from two of the nine publishers she contacted about my book; they've requested, and received, the full manuscript. She's contacting the other seven, and I'm waiting and trying to convince myself I can do this again, that I CAN write another book, that the creative process won't always stick and gum the way it seems to right now. I'm in chapter six of the next book in the series, but . . . I'd forgotten just how much work it is to write.
You're all so incredibly talented. I haven't said much, but I've been reading and listening.
Hey, whatever happened to Tobin? Anyone hear?
And by the way, it snowed today in Idaho. The lawns are white and the roads are shiny.
More later, Sherrie

Britomart Fri Oct 25 17:15:10 PDT 1996

Hey there, Georgie-folk! Last night went great, and afterwards we went to a seedy underground bar and played pinball, drank Sub-Zero and watched a great live band. It will go down as one of the best nights of my 26th year. Especially because I've been working so hard at uni and I needed to let off a little steam - have to get back into it today though. Thanks for all your support and encouragement - now that's what it feels like to belong to a very cool writers' group.

We've all been talking about what we're reading at the moment, but I'd really like to know what some people's favourite books of all time are. Some of my faves are Donna Tartt's "Secret History"; Emily Bronte's "Wuthering Heights"; Thomas Harris's "Silence of the Lambs"; Anne Rice's "The Witching Hour"; Rosalind Miles's "I, Elizabeth" - but my all time favourite book is Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein": quite simply the best book ever written in the English lanuage imho!

Gotta go - Edmund Spenser awaits...


Bob Hanford Fri Oct 25 07:28:53 PDT 1996

BEN: You ought to write mainstream/slice of life. You're a natural. Sawmill setting, the water, no overbearing plot, just this is how it was...
I also love to collect books but I've found the greatest joy is giving them away, especially those that took years to find, a first edition Carl Sandburg, T.S. Eliot by Amy Lowell. I couldn't even tell you how many times I've bought Dag Hammarskjold's Markings, highlighted favorite passages, then given it to a new or old friend. After all, a gift doesn't mean anything unless it is hard to give.
Enjoy your current writing very much but sure would love to see some mainstream like your passage to Travis.
Peace. Bob

Ben Woestenburg Fri Oct 25 06:05:06 PDT 1996

BOB: You wanted to know what I am reading. It seems like everyone generally reads in the same way. ie., as many books as they can at the same time. At the moment I' only involved with two: HARLOT'S GHOST by Norman Mailer, and something I picked up in a small, obscure and out of the way used bookstore, SCARAMOUCHE THE KING MAKER, by Rafael Sabatini. I was reading Crichton's LOST WORLD, but put it down and my wife sort of moved it aside -- she's not really a reader. I like to read books in series. I'm reading Colleen McCullogh's Roman series -- FIRST MAN IN ROME, THE GRASS CROWN., etc., -- which are O.K., but not really great. They do have excellent glossaries in them however. I was collecting the CHUNG KUO novels by David Wingate -- a series set in the future that's just unbelievable, and then the publisher changed from hardcover to paperback. God I hate that. I like to collect books, to see which ones retain their values, and which increase. I even managed to get my hands on a copy of Clavell's TAI PAN -- my all time favourite story -- in first edition Book of the Month club selection.

TRAVIS: 23? That was my best year believe it or not. Everything came together, as they say -- or so I thought back then. Now I know that my best year has yet to come. You want to know what it's like in a sawmill? Well, I thought it would be a great job when I first got out of school. I can't complain about the money. I make more money that half of the guys I went to school with. And I suppose parts of it are fun. I had lots of fun when I worked on the water, on the boom boats. And I suppose one of the biggest reasons I stayed there was because I like the people I work with. It's a small mill, although growing it seems, and the crew is young, or we were. They've been my biggest distraction. When you're 19 years old and making that kind of money, you tend to do stupid things -- or at least I did. Sex, alcohol and drugs...and more of the latter as opposed to the former much to my chagrin back then. I never did anything in school, and thought, once I got out, that I would have to experience life. I never said no to anything they offered me, and as a result, lost years of my life in wasted partying. I did everything...and I mean everything. The fact that I actually made it this far is as big a surprise to me as it is to my friends and family. I've been in this job for almost twenty years now. I've got a sore back and I'm missing a fingertip on mu right index finger, just below the nail. The finger beside it is kind of screwy too. But I've grown up there, lived through it all, and wouldn't want to do it again. I have no real regrets, except that I didn't go to university when I had the chance. Now the bills are so huge, I can't afford not to work. A mill's O.K. if you don't mind the weather -- which I don't -- or the people you work with -- who are great -- or you get a nice job -- which I have. I've always had jobs where I could either read or write. Those were the only job postings I took for a long time. The water was great for that! I managed to read WAR AND PEACE at work if you can imagine that. Hell, when I was on afternoon shift this last summer, I wrote every night.
That's more than enough, in fact too much, for now. I have to finish my work this morning and then get ready for work. Enjoy your nice, soft, warm, dry, air conditioned job...I know I would.

Bob Hanford Fri Oct 25 05:18:59 PDT 1996

Kitty and Charles: Thank you both and a public thank you to Jennifer who took it upon herself to e-mail everyone in the group.
My question asking what everyone is reading is paying off for me already. The back of the book I'm reading, At Home in Mitford, quotes a bookseller from LA: "We almost never order more than five copies of any book - except something like Conroy's Beach Music. But after we read your first book we ordered fifty." Now Charles is reading Beach Music. So..guess what book I'm reading next. Thanks to all who answered.
Britomart: Anxious to know how it went...
Thanks again to everyone.

Charles Samuel Fri Oct 25 02:38:40 PDT 1996

by the way, does anyone subscribe to PUBLISHERS' WEEKLY?

Charles Samuel Fri Oct 25 02:33:19 PDT 1996

Hi everybody. My wife was in Toronto for the past ten days and I was holding the fort with the six kiddies. Needless to say I was a little busy. Sorry I missed Bob's birthday party.

Any here's a belated greeting (with apologies to Jack from whom I cribbed the html code).

Yom Huledet Samayach Bob

That's how we say, "Happy Birthday Bob" here in Jerusalem. May you be blessed with health, happiness and success in your writing. We all eagerly look forward to picking up you book about the siege of Leningrad in the bookstores!

Charles Samuel

by the way, I'm currently reading:
BEACH MUSIC - Pat Conroy, THE HORSE WHISPERER - Nicholas Evans, WILD HORSES - Dick Francis (I have no real interest in horses, it's just a coincidence) and EXECUTIVE ORDERS - Tom Clancy. I like to see what the competition is doing. In my own fiction I try to combine the humanity of Conroy with the thrills of Clancy.

BRITOMART: RE: your concern about people not wanting to spend 400 pages with an unpleasant first person heroine, here's some sage advice I got from a friend who is a successful hollywood screenwriter, " have to have a main character that people are rooting for who is going after a compelling goal. Several thousand years of
storytelling can't be all wrong." Anyway, you have a raw natural talent and passion for writing, and you've got a twenty year jumpstart ahead of most of us! Go for it.

PHILIP: Thanks for putting up the bios. It helps flesh out the characters in our growing community. I hope to post something soon.

Have a great weekend everybody!

Kitty edwyer@spherenet Thu Oct 24 20:44:56 PDT 1996

Before this very special day ends, allow me to add my voice to the chorus of Happy Birthday Bob! Another reason why October is one of my favorite times of the year. --Kitty

Bob Hanford Thu Oct 24 20:18:53 PDT 1996

Thank you. Between all of you and Jennifer, you truly made it a wonderful day.

Ben Woestenburg Thu Oct 24 19:49:55 PDT 1996

Well Bob, I'm still a little illiterate when it comes to all those fancy doo-dads, so how about a simple HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

Ben Woestenburg Thu Oct 24 19:49:36 PDT 1996

Well Bob, I'm still a little illiterate when it comes to all those fancy doo-dads, so how about a simple HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

Jack Beslanwitch Thu Oct 24 17:31:04 PDT 1996

Happy Birthday Bob

Thank you for sharing your writing life with us here. It is greatly appreciated.

Jack Beslanwitch

p.s. Slight problems with HTML are just fine among friends. Sorry I didn't catch it earlier. Take care all.

Travis Emmitt Thu Oct 24 17:23:11 PDT 1996

Oops, my post isn't relevent any more. Sorry! I guess I took too long typing it in. :)

Time to go home!

See you guys tomorrow!


Trav Thu Oct 24 17:19:01 PDT 1996

The perils of one shot HTML!

That should have been <center><h1>HAPPY BIRTHDAY BOB!</h1></center>

Also, it's generally frowned upon to use headers to force font size changes, so instead of <h1> and </h1> you might want <font size=+2><b> and </b></font> respectively.

Like this (crossing my fingers here):


Hope that worked!


Thu Oct 24 15:44:20 PDT 1996


Philip Thu Oct 24 14:39:34 PDT 1996


I know what your thinking... another year, another dollar.

(No that's not it).

Another year, another novel?....yeah that sounds right!

Have a good one mate - Philip.

Britomart Thu Oct 24 13:39:59 PDT 1996

Good morning all!

Bob: At the moment I'm reading "Piers Plowman" for uni (it's a medieval allegory that goes on forever); and Matthew Lewis' "The Monk" for fun. It's a late 18th century Gothic novel, which is something I'm really into at the moment.

Travis: 23 eh? Now I don't feel like such a kiddie. You asked what people do during the day, well I'm a full-time student - 2nd year undergraduate, studying English Lit. (Specialising in Renaissance lit, which is why I chose the name Britomart as a writers' group pseudonym). I also work part time for a youth group, and that's where I should be getting ready to go at the moment. I piss me off sometimes, because if I was any sort of a decent money manager, I could have quit my part-time job and lived off my advance and my student allowance - but I had to have new frocks, didn't I? You also asked about the weather - it is clear, warm and smells heavenly in Brisbane at the moment. Every second tree along the river is a jacaranda, and the world is covered in purple petals. You gotta love it. BTW, how do you do the bold/blinking text in your messages? Are you just using HTM language? I think I tried it once and it didn't work. Perhaps I should experiment a bit?

But you'll probably be most interested to know that I used to "sing for my supper", that is, I was a muso for a while. I played bass in a noise band called the Vampigs, and I also sang in a couple of cover bands. My boyfriend is still a full-time muso, and his band is just releasing their first CD nationally next month.

Charles: Thanks for the comments and criticism - the protag is supposed to be a miserable bitch, by the way - that's why I've been wondering about transferring it all into 3rd person. She might be a bit much to spend 400 pages with.

Everybody: I have to read two chapters of my book in front of hundreds of people tonight and I'm dead scared. I suppose by the time you have all offered support it will be over and done, so I'll just imagine what you might say - I'll carry you all around in my head this evening. Hope you like the trip (we're going to the Gold Coast).


Travis Emmitt Thu Oct 24 11:26:30 PDT 1996

Hey, I see the bios now, thanks Philip! Here's mine for part 2:

I'm 23 (hmm, seem to be a baby of the bunch) and have never gotten anything published. My three life dreams are to become a musician, a writer, and a game designer. Do I sound like a computer nerd? Well, B I N G O !

I'll write the other 159 words after I've had a chance to gain some unique life experiences; right now I'm pretty nondescript.

Travis Emmitt Thu Oct 24 11:03:26 PDT 1996

BEN: Hi! Working in a sawmill sounds fun, actually! is it mostly physical labor, or are you into managing? Do you get a lot of time to ponder story ideas while you are at the mill? Blow some rain down here! =)

Right now I'm a computer programmer for a U.S. Defense contractor. I debug other people's code and write utilities to help them do their engineering work quicker. I enjoy the utility writing, because I get a chance to be creative, but debugging is tedious and unrewarding.

PHILIP: This might be a FAQ, but how long did it take you to write Sweet Water - Stolen Land?

BOB: Right now I'm reading Terry Goodkind's Stone of Tears. It's the second in a trilogy, page-turning fantasy, 900+ pages long! I'm amazed that he can hold our interest level for so long. However, it doesn't have the torrent of memorable images that Tolkien's books do (for me at least). I'd classify Goodkind as light, easy, extremely likeable reading, like the TV show Friends, while Tolkien is more like Star Wars.

EVERYBODY: I heartily plug! They have tons of books, lots of reviews (by both professional reviewers and customers), and an easy-to-use interface. They even have music CDs and tapes!


Bob Hanford Thu Oct 24 07:16:56 PDT 1996

Hello all,
What's everyone reading at the moment? I fell into a delightful book called, At Home in Mitford, by Jan Karon.
I often grab five or six adjoining books off the library shelf hoping to get one good one. Works more often than not. Great way to discover good writers. This book is so gentle its like a professional massage. The biggest problem the protags have is what to name the town flower.
TRUDY: Do you find time to read? When you get a chance, maybe after Christmas, could you talk about writing all day as a vocation then coming home and writing? I've been so tempted so many times to take a writing job but am concerned I won't want to write my stuff. Know you're tremendously busy so when things settle down for you. Thank you.
Sun just came out after six days of rain.

Ben Woestenburg Wed Oct 23 20:10:34 PDT 1996

PHILLIP: I just read the bios you posted in the workbook. Ver impressive. I didn't realize the group was actually that large. I just wanted to thank you for the effort you put in. I'm sure once everyone else sees it, they'll be glad you did it as well.
Thanks again

Philip Wed Oct 23 19:59:51 PDT 1996


thank you for ordering the book. I'll go out for those coffees in the morning. You will read in the first paragraphs of 'Sweet Water' that I deliberately chose to challenge the 'don't-open-with-weather' maxim. I guess I succeeded because the Book won the David Unaipon Award for Literature that year and was a national best seller, sitting right up there with The Firm and Jurassic Park. I like challenges but I didn't chance doing that again.

I'm on the run, back soon - Philip.

Ben Woestenburg Wed Oct 23 19:35:42 PDT 1996

Hey Travis, nice to see you back!
You said you wanted to know about bios and such stuff. I know I wrote it down somewhere. I work in a sawmill by day -- sometimes by night -- work too much overtime jsut to help get by, and write whenever I can. I have a job where I can sometimes write every once in a while.
It's raining here, by the way. I guess you could use a bit of that, as well as the wind that's been whipping around.
By the way, what do you do during the day?

Ben Woestenburg Wed Oct 23 19:35:34 PDT 1996

Hey Travis, nice to see you back!
You said you wanted to know about bios and such stuff. I know I wrote it down somewhere. I work in a sawmill by day -- sometimes by night -- work too much overtime jsut to help get by, and write whenever I can. I have a job where I can sometimes write every once in a while.
It's raining here, by the way. I guess you could use a bit of that, as well as the wind that's been whipping around.
By the way, what do you do during the day?

Bob Hanford Wed Oct 23 19:00:01 PDT 1996

PHILIP: Second Travis's thanks for the Amazon booksite. Guess you can order two capuchinos.

Travis Emmitt Wed Oct 23 14:40:45 PDT 1996

Hi everyone! I enjoyed catching up on all the posts today. You guys are really a literate, polite bunch! It is a joy to read your correspondence. This is the first discussion list I've been on which is actually interesting most of the time!

PHILIP: I've checked with several book stores around my area (Anaheim, California) but none have Sweet Water - Stolen Land. So I went ahead and used; thanks for telling us about that wonderful site!

JENNIFER: I used to know some Wiccans in college. They told me they could cast spells, but I didn't see 'em do it. (I Also knew a lot of Christians, who said they could speak w/ God, but again I didn't see anything).

I am curious, how many of you have "day jobs" unrelated to creative writing? Someone mentioned a bio page once; how do we access it from this page?

Man, I'm tired. All this Santa Ana smoke's giving me a headache! Floods in the North East, fires in the South West; someone tell us about your good weather!


Tue Oct 22 22:41:34 PDT 1996

Ben Woestenburg Tue Oct 22 22:41:25 PDT 1996

TRUDY: I wish I could occupy myself as much as you seem to! I only have two books on the go, and right now, it seems like niether one of them are going very fast. I give myself time limits, but that doesn't seem to help. I stay up 'til all hours of the night, or get up at strange times in the morning, but still...It's work. It's work I love, don't get me wrong about that, but it's something that has to be worked at. I finished a poem off last night, read what had to be reworded tonight, and then realized that it didn't have to be reworded, but rewritten. It will take another week just to write one poem, possibly longer.
I wish I had more distractions...(but not too many.)

trudy Tue Oct 22 22:31:44 PDT 1996

Hey everyone, just popped in for a moment of sanity. Work is insane and I'm working late on several stories including three promoting quality of life in our fair city, three on curling, and two on car care. I planned to finish five tonight (they're all out in the paper Friday and Saturday), but only managed two; I've been fighting off a flu bug and am just feeling extremely stressed and run down. How does everyone deal with having too much on their plates? I know if I can make it to Christmas it'll slow down again but for now that seems too far away for my survival. Thanks for listening! Hope everyone else is doing well; can't wait til I have more time to go through the postings more varefully; including the Workbook. later, trudy

Bob Hanford Tue Oct 22 05:45:41 PDT 1996

JACK: Thank you.
AMY: Please come back and join us. Thanks for the kudo on the letter.
BEN: Don't take my use of the word, "minimalist" too seriously. I'm sure the minimalists would disown me. I just write tightly, aware that verbs are our best tools and adjectives can maim an otherwise excellent manuscript. Robert Frost said we are born with only ten adjectives to last us our entire writing career.
Peace. Bob

Jack Beslanwitch Mon Oct 21 22:24:33 PDT 1996


Feel free adding those things to the Workbook that you so desire. The only cautionary note I have is that until I have time to figure out how to password protect the area, I recommend the more salable manuscripts go via email.

I hope others do not mind that I did some judicious editing when several messages got repeated several times. I will set up a separate archive for the Workbook when it's gets a bit larger and perhaps as soon as I have it security enabled. Maybe leave the existing Workbook public to view as an example of what we're about, but pasword protect all future entries.

Besides, I really think Bob's Letter to his Daughter deserves to be read by anyone ever dreams of writing. Take care everyone.

Ben Woestenburg Mon Oct 21 19:45:53 PDT 1996

Well Jack, I came into this thing through a different server, and though it took some time, I managed. It's funny how when you think you can just zip into something it never works the way you think it will. Anyway, I found a picture of you, and to be quite honest, I was surprised. You're a lot younger than I thought you were, or at least pictured you. Nice 'stache too. Anyway, I thought I'd come in through this server because it links directly with the e-mail, and that way I don't have to abanndon one for the other.

CHARLES: I'll e-mail you with a few questions that might make it a lot easier for you. I just have to finish this poem I've been working on for the last couple of weeks -- sometimes things just don't go very well when you think they should. Anyway, once I get it done I'll be ready to start the second part of the book, the part where I get to kill everyone. I've put myself on a time limit, telling myself I have to be done by mid-December. Unfortunately, I don't know how long after that I'll be able to drop in. At least until I get on-line with my own P.C.

BRITOMART: I don't know what happened with the poem I tried to send you this morning. Phillip received his last night with no problems, but then, Kitty said she had problems too. I think if it's all right with Jack, maybe it would be better if I put it in the Workbook?

Jennifer Mon Oct 21 16:07:50 PDT 1996

Of course I'll share. I searched Celtic,druids,wicca and then just continued from there.
Bob, I like breaking the rules sometimes..Haha, Well back to the grind..

Charles Samuel Mon Oct 21 15:08:55 PDT 1996

BRITOMART: I know exactly how you're feeling writing the first chapter
of your next novel. Getting feedback from others who like it should
give you the fuel to get through the summer. Good luck.

SELF PUBLISHING: I agree wholeheartedly with Philip. Self publishing is
a wonderful learning experience and can be a lot of fun, but I wouldn't
try it in North America. Get the book produced is the easy part.
Distribution is next to impossible. I was advised by an agent to self-
publish in a foreign market only as a vehicle to generate sales and
attract the attention of the major North American publishers. They
are the key to real success.

PHILIP: Thanks for the invaluable info concerning treatments. I'll
email you directly for further discussion of this topic. I'm not
sure it is of interest to everyone else.

BEN: Please email me with more details of the kind of research you're
looking for about Jerusalem. How detailed of a map are you looking for?

BOB: Thanks for the input. In general I prefer to keep things lean and
mean also. Who was it who attributed their success to, "leaving out the parts
the reader skips over." I think it was Mary Higgins Clark, but I'm not
sure. I'm looking forward to hearing your impressions as your novel
progresses. I forgot to mention that I really liked the letter you
posted in the workbook.

Bye all,

Britomart Mon Oct 21 13:56:16 PDT 1996

Jennifer: Don't hold out on us, girl - what's this fabulous resource that you've found?

Bob: Jealousy's a curse, dear. ;-)

Bob Hanford Mon Oct 21 12:07:37 PDT 1996

JENNIFER AND BRITOMART: I'm not sure so much cheeriness and happiness and almost joy is allowed. I'm going to check the rule book.

Jennifer Mon Oct 21 08:12:11 PDT 1996

I'm so excited found a great net resource and plan to eat it up all day. Kitty I sent you a message and it was returned. Thanks so much for the info. Well I plan to download and write all day and maybe night..I hope I'll have something for the workbook. Happy writing everyone.
Lisa I hope you are feeling better..
Thanks for your help everyone..

Mon Oct 21 02:22:39 PDT 1996

Britomart Mon Oct 21 02:22:04 PDT 1996

Hi everyone! Feeling groovy tonight because I just finished chapter one of my new book, and now I'm past that "ohmigod what if I never have another idea" stage. I'm so pleased with it, I think I might read it at this reading I'm doing on Friday night. Why not, eh? I'll take some time to give it a good editing first - between all my assignments and keeping my flat clean.

Jennifer, I'll e-mail you soon with some references.

Ben, that is my e-mail address - I'm a uni student so I get free net access. Perhaps when you've tried to put my user name in, you've retyped but haven't retained the case - it is a case sensitive user name, so the "s" before the number must be lower case. Philip and Jennifer have e-mailed me no probs. Anyway, it's the thought that counts. And that line from "Paradise Lost" has become very useful in my twenties (which I'm still struggling through, you realise) - "what matter where if I be still the same" - it helps.

Bye now!
From a very cheery Britomart...

Philip Sun Oct 20 19:38:07 PDT 1996

BEN: please e-mail SCATHELOCKE WILL and FRIAR TUCK to me when you get a chance. I'm sorry to have to turn down your offer to collaborate, I just don't illustrate any more. I simply don't have enough time in this life to do all the things I specifically want to do. However, I can suggest you post a note on the bulletin board (a real life board) at the Vancouver Art College. I had my studio directly opposite and know that place as a very active centre for many talented B.C. artists of all ages - you'll find your collaborator there, I'll guarantee it.
SELF PUBLISHING: I believe there are numerous advantages for and against this. But when one's work is validated by industry professionals - chosen for publication - it is reviewed and received by the public in a more serious light. This is my preference and recommendation to you. But I know of many successful self published works - THE BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY and MUTANT MESSAGE FROM DOWN UNDER to name two. Both were originally self-published books and both were quickly taken up by mainstream publishers offering million dollar advances to their authors because they had been selling so well. By one important measure, sales, they were successful - no matter what you or I thought of them. But the time and multi-functions required for sourcing a quality, competitively-priced printer; determining the physical make up of the book as well as creating a saleable jacket; funding the production and on-going distribution and administration; tackling the on-going niceties of marketing, being the reliable distributor, dealing with unsympathetic booksellers (most can't, don't or won't provide space to anyone but major distributors) - I'd rather be channelling into writing. Self publishing (or vanity publishing as it is often called) offers writers protection from the well-founded fear of their pride-filled manuscript being rejected; or as a last resort after numerous rejections, justifying the months already put into the work. Understandably, it becomes a worthwhile option for some.
And yes thanks, I plan to enjoy our upcoming summer.

CHARLES: the length of a film treatment is much like the length of a book - they are as long as they become. I have seen a Hollywood treatment of 300 pages of single spaced type - about 135,000 words. The Australian Film Commission insists film treatments represent four pages per half hour of screen time, MINIMUM. So they want to read a sixteen page treatment for a film which is proposed to run for two hours. I once gave them an eighty page treatment and they were pleased. I wanted no misunderstanding of what a film of my book would be like. They funded me an advance to develop my screenplay so it proved successful. A Canadian writer I met, who wrote some early Star Treks among other things, said when writing treatments for Hollywood producers who chased production money, he'd do them in a form close to the novel - putting in scenes, cuts and a few directorial notes, in third person and in the present tense. He said he did this so "money people" who aren't used to reading scripts would understand what the film was about and how it might look - it was a sales document. As well you should consider doing a short synopsis of about 400 words and a longer version of about 2,000 words (both sales documents). A full time screenplay writer I know skips all the early judgemental stages (which might trivialise his work or misrepresent it) and produce a "first draft" - it is actually a well crafted script, the end result of several "drafts" but is called the "first draft" - it is less time consuming in the end, he says. You may already know that a finished screenplay in English should represent one page for one minute of running time - this is a hard and fast rule etched in stone, internationally. The format and style of the finished script is critical for production and technical staff uses - a true blueprint - broken down into many components. For instance, scenes that take place in one location, no matter where they appear in the script, are shot consecutively and are literally cut up and stuck back together into fifths of a page - this is done by many different people working on the film. Shooting schedules are done which reflect a certain number of pages per half day, and a certain number of shots that is required to create each scene, and time allocated for each separate shot set up (taking into account the necessary lighting and costume changes for day or night and different days in your story). The responsibility we writers bear! - Back soon - Philip.

Sun Oct 20 17:22:26 PDT 1996

ben Woestenburg Sun Oct 20 17:22:10 PDT 1996

BRITOMART: Thanks for the flowers. They looked great. It's been a long time since someone besides my wife has given me a gift...a long time. (She liked them too by the way.) I wanted to send you a thank you card through one of the links I found off the website the flowers came from, but when I sent it to you, it came back. I was talking to Kitty earlier (I finally managed to get my poem across to her), and she suggested that perhaps you were using the university's computer. I thought it made sense, because I tried to get hold of you once before. So can you explain if this is correct, or perhaps I'm doing something wrong -- again. Oh, by the way, that line you sent with the flowers? "The mind is its own place and in itself can make a Heaven of Hell or a Hell of Heaven..." One of my all time favourite lines ever written. I lived my life according to that as I somehow managed to live through my twenties. Thanks again.

trudy Sun Oct 20 17:15:00 PDT 1996

Oh my; how busy we've been. I haven't had a chance to stop in and I don't have time to catch up completely. Just wanted to say hello and let you all know I'm in the land of the living, a very busy one! Take care and hope to drop in for a long visit soon. Later. Trudy

Philip Sun Oct 20 16:05:43 PDT 1996

LISA: I like your poem I AM MAN. I like it for the important, thoughtful ideas and stances you've taken and woven into your meter. The Greeks realised long ago that concepts and the questioning of concepts is why we all develop as individuals, social groups and nations. Thinking people agree, this is an essential practice for most human endeavours. When we, as writers, put our insights up for examination, whether embodied in fiction, non fiction, poetry, plays or lyrics, what we are really doing is pushing at the intellectual corners, refining what went before, providing more diverse and intelligent ethics for ourselves and, hopefully, influencing others. What I hear from your words Lisa, is a post-Liberation female declaring she is Man; words of race; infinite souls; one who is claiming the survival of her line and who accepts no ceiling to her goals; wonders at life's mysteries and human understanding; and one who strongly underlines compassion. "I am woman, hear me roar, in numbers too big to ignore..." - I hear the roar and admire the juxtaposition you created in I AM MAN. Good push Lisa!

Britomart Sat Oct 19 18:21:35 PDT 1996

Jennifer: I write about witches, so if you have any specific research enquiries, e-mail me. I've researched a lot about the practice of occult and witchcraft in a couple of different time periods.

Ben: Milton's "Paradise Lost" is it! Expect those virtual flowers any day now.

ben woestenburg Sat Oct 19 17:13:34 PDT 1996

Sorry Jack, not a glitch, just me again.

Well Kitty. I couldn't understand why when I sent you my excerpt it came back to me. I spent a long time trying to figure out how to do it, and then realized that I'd given you the wrong excerpt. Doesn't really matter though. I think you might find THE BALLAD OF SCATHELOCKE WILL just as interesting as you would have found Friar Tuck. If anyone else wants to read it, let me know. That is, if I can get it through to Kitty. I'd hate to think that it came back to me because of something I did wrong...but hey, it seems it's been that kind of a month for me.

Oh, and Jack, this is definitely the best page anyone could ever dream of. I'm glad to have stumbled across it. Cyberspace would have been pretty boring if all I could do was research the same things over and over and over...


Jennifer Sat Oct 19 12:48:00 PDT 1996

LIZA, Your words really touched my heart. Thanks for sharing..

Jennifer Sat Oct 19 11:49:40 PDT 1996

The problem with living in the mts. research is difficult. I really need to know about the the birth of witchs, Wicca,I found several books in the new age sections but I don't know how reliable they are.
By the way it is snowing out right now. First snow of the season.

Kitty edwyer@spherenet Sat Oct 19 08:02:52 PDT 1996

Many apologies y'all. The last couple of times I've posted I have misspelled my e-mail addy. Anyone who may have tried to send something to me would not have been able to because we know how literal the computer is. My error, my apologies and I can spend the weekend gnashing my teeth at thought of all the fascinating e-mail I may have missed. I will also be installing some brakes on my speeding fingers and eating lots of carrots so that my keen sight can catch an error at fifty paces. Sounds like I'm going to have lots of fun this weekend!
Jennifer, what exactly do you want to know about Wicca? I am not an adherent, but know a bit about the subject and have some reference books that may be of help.
Jack, I think it means the Writers Resource is a great place on the net and people should cruise on over. Don't most of these search engines have ever changing lists of "hot" sites. If you consider how huge the net is and how you can easily wander aimelessly hour after hour through a labyrinth of sites, it makes sense that there are "site critics" who zip around making list of great places on the net. Anyone who has gone beyond the Notebook knows how comprehensive your site is. Great job, most deserving of the accolade. --Kitty

Jack Beslanwitch Sat Oct 19 00:29:35 PDT 1996

Hi everyone. Just testing to see if all the time stamps are a glitch. Also, just discovered that Writer Resources and by inference this site is an Infoseek Select Site. Don't know that that means anything particularly, but thought I'd throw it in. Take care.

Fri Oct 18 23:13:58 PDT 1996

Ben Woestenburg Fri Oct 18 23:13:49 PDT 1996

I just read the archived messages I missed, and see that Phillip came up with the solution I finally settled on, i.e., the question of proper punctuation. The more I read what little tidbits you leave behind, the more I loike you.

Anyway, BRITOMART: I saw that little note you left me, and guess what, you owe me flowers I think. Let's try John Milton, from PARADISE LOST: Pandoemonium, the high capitol of Satan and his peers...1. 756 and...a sloemn council forthwith to be held at Pandoemonium. I had to look this up in my books you know, so I'm going to give it all to you. The word originally comes from late Latin DAEMONIUM, which means evil spirit, as well as the Greek word DAIMONION, which means spirit, or deity.

By the way, I love Milton's Paradise as illustrated by Gustave Dore.

See you tomorrow.

Fri Oct 18 22:35:16 PDT 1996

Ben Woestenburg Fri Oct 18 22:35:11 PDT 1996

Hey you guys, you don't know how good it is to be back. I must admit though, I spent a lot of nights cruising through the net, and found all sorts of stuff for me.I sure could get into this research area. If only I could figure out a way to do it for pay...Anyway

CHARLES: Now I hope you don't mind, but I'm going to have to pick your brain apart until you start screaming, wondering when that crazy Canuck is gonna leave you alone. I'll do it by e-mail, of course, because I think some of these people might like a break. But is it possible to get a map of the city, circa 40-50 C.E.? I have one map of Jerusalem, and it's one of those things where they have the city of David super imposed inside the city of Herod, and then the city at the time of Christ. It's pretty lame, but I haven't been able to find anything about the kind of history I want (I mean, I even stumbled onto the Jerusalem homepage if you guys can believe that!)

LISA: I posted my message yesterday, and just missed you by half an hour or so. Sorry. I read the poem and enjoyed it. I'm sort of a traditionalist when it comes to my peotry. I like stuff that makes sense, looks good, as opposed to all over the page, and rhymes. And I liked that one.

PHILLIP: I want to get to know you a lot. As I recall, you had mentioned something somewhere about illustrations. Perhaps we could talk? Does the word collaboration sound good? I'm picky about my drawings I should warn you, not because I don't like Modern Art, because I do, or Van Gogh or Monet, (I love them), but because the story needs something like a Dore or Tenniel. And how do you feel about self publishing? I think it has lots of potential, if it's approached from the right angle. Five hundred copies max, each one costing two or three dollars to print, selling for anywhere from ten to fifteen dollars...can we say Profits?
Drop me a line, we'll do lunch.

KITTY: Where are you girlie? I went into the office at work today to talk to the computer nerd there -- he's a really great guy, blonde hair, green eyes, now there's something you don't see very often. You can't help but look at his eyes when you talk to him. Anyway, he told me how to post my poem onto the email, and like I said before, because you asked first, you get the first copy. But not tonight. I'm going to need time to try it out first. I'm not a total nerd yet, but by God I'm working hard at it!

BOB: I know you say you're a minimalist, and I know it's good to be that sometimes, but sometimes you have to pontificate. You have to get a point across and whether you use a character or simply describe, sometimes you simply have to use more words than you thought you might. And you know what, there's nothing wrong with it, because being a minimalist makes up for it, and the reader is willing to forgive you for spouting off.

Anyways, gotta go for a bit. I want to read the workbook.

Jennifer Fri Oct 18 18:45:10 PDT 1996

Hi everyone!! Working on a good idea I hope. Anyone know anything about Wicca? I think I have a great story and will put some in the workbook soon. Speaking of the workbook there is some incredible work there. I am inpressed. I'll write more later. Miss you all..

Bob Hanford Fri Oct 18 08:45:19 PDT 1996

Hello everyone.
Ben. Welcome back! Glad you figured out the problem. And tks for your support in my endeavor. Unfortunately, I cannot remember anything since I was not in Leningrad 41-45. It is the details, the tiny things that I need to find in my research. That is what has stopped me in the past. Now with the net perhaps I have a chance. I can use all the help I can get.
Philip. You continue to blow me away with your help and unconditional support. You are like the big brother I never had. The flashback you sent is most appreciated since one of the older characters is constantly moaning about how the tsar would have handled the situation. Tks. Just so you don't spin your wheels, the fighting will just be a shadowy backdrop; the reader will be aware it is going on by reference to the front but there will be few details about it.
Kitty. I was lucky enough to learn the Russian language (from native) with no American accent allowed. I learned the music, the dances; I even dreampt in Russian. This was for Air Force Intelligence of course. In my deep immersion, I read Salisbury's 900 Days and fell in love with what I saw as an extraordinary commitment to life by the two million people who did not die when they should have. I think we learn so much about ourselves when we study (or write) about men and women struggling minute to minute to survive. I.e., were an alien to land here and ask, "What is the homo sapiens like?" I would give him the book, 900 Days. Because when our backs are against the proverbial wall, we are extraordinary. Answer to the question about the sign offs is, drum roll.....Anton Chekhov. But your thoughts about Pasternak were good. Tks so much for your help and interest.
Charles. Enjoyed your first and second chapters. I am a minimalist so would have chopped the adjectives by 75% but you have a published novel and I don't. But thoroughly enjoyed both.
Peace. Bob

Charles Samuel Fri Oct 18 04:44:59 PDT 1996

JACK: Thanks a lot for all your help. By the way, I used to be a computer systems consultant in Canada before moving to Israel. Iíd be happy to give you feedback on your computer project when it comes through G-d willing. A fair amount of what I used to do was communicating complex computerize to a client in language he or she could understand.

JACK and PHILIP: They say that imitation is the highest form of flatterly. I guess the highest form of praise for an author is, ďWatch out, someone might steal this!Ē Anyway, Iím pleased you felt some of my stuff was stealable.

BEN: Not only do I live in Jerusalem, I work in the Old City of Jerusalem and my window overlooks the Temple Mount and the Western Wall. For anyone who appreciates history, itís like living in a dream.

BOB: Kitty is right. As a father of six kids I can say there are a lot of similarities in the experience. The writing and revisiing seems to drag on forever and then it gets to the printer and itís like hitting transition. Things pick up to a frantic pace (particularly if youíre self publishing) and then all of a sudden some ďnurseĒ from the factory floor drops this little creation in your hand. What a thrill! The dream is real. Youíre right that
there is a certain melancholy when the book then takes a life on its own when it moves into the bookstores and your not around to supervise every detail but thatís part of the process. Time to move onto the next one...
I canít imagine someone choosing not to have children because eventually theyíll move out of the house.
Enjoy the process... thereís nothing like it.

LISA: Thanks for your input about the middle-east. The compromise Iím making is staging a fair chunk of the story in New York and making both the hero and heroine Americans. Weíll see how it goes.

PHILIP: Thanks for the samples of the book, treatment and screenplay of the same material. It is very helpful. However, if the treatment follows the story scene by scene isnít the result going to be huge? I thought producers want to see the whole thing done in a few pages... five or six max.

BRITOMART: I know youíre right about getting the hero in early. Iíve just been too lazy to figure out how to do it. This group is great... now it would be embarrassing if I didnít come up with a solution and today I think I came up with one by adding a chapter between the original chapter one and two. Boy do I wish I had a summer (8 weeks!) of uninterrupted writing time. Letís see the first draft of a whole book. By the way, if you open up your word processor at the same time as your WEB browser is open: block the text in the WP, copy it, then switch to the browser (by holding down the ALT, TAB keys), click into the message section of the workbook and PASTE. Zap it should be there. I donít know how computer savvy you are. If this is not understandable Iíll send you simpler, clearer instructions via email.

A great weekend to all,

Jack Beslanwitch Fri Oct 18 00:12:37 PDT 1996

Welcome back Ben!!!!

Thought it had to be something simple like that.

First proposal on my computer project is out now and out of my hands so I can concentrate back on the Notebook, Workbook and my other pages. That said, I think I have it figured out how to do a password protected area for us to share things in and have less concerns about plagiarism and copyright issues. I have to emphasize I think I've got it figured out. Thinking always has a way of getting me into trouble ;-). I'll leave it up to the rest of you to give me some guidance how we handle who gets passwords and who does not and how to select them. That's given I pull this off. I'll keep you posted.

Also, I mentioned a bit back that I plan to take all the fragments of the Train Story and do my rewrite. That's next on my agenda. Take care and thank you for making this a wonderful little community hidden away in cyberspace.

Thu Oct 17 23:35:04 PDT 1996

Ben Woestenburg Thu Oct 17 23:34:57 PDT 1996

Hey, I'm back!

Manni, the man that owns this computer, came over tonight and we went cruising through the net together. We even found a page for Spam that made us laugh for quite a while. Anyway, I finally steered him over here and explained my problem. He laughed at me, called me a geek and a nerd, and then told me to hit the 'Refresh' icon. So I did, and lo and behold, did I have a lot of catching up to do. He told me to hit the icon everytime I posted anything.

Hello Charles. You can't imagine how excited I was when I read that you were living in Jerusalem. I've been researching that city for years, and to actually meet someone who lives there...well, you can imagine how happy I am.

Phillip and Britomart: Enjoy the coming summer. If it's anything like ours was, you might have some pretty hot days. I had to scrape ice off my windows for the first time this week, and now it's raining, which is okay, because it always warms up when it rains. We have wind warnings and rain warnings, and hey, that's why I love Vancouver. If I didn't like the weather, I would have left a long time ago.

Lisa: Encourage that man to write everyday. Don't force him, because we all know how hard it is to get a guy to do anything you want him to. (We can be pretty stubborn that way.)

Bob: I have to tell you I'm pretty happy you've decided to write your history of the Lenningrad siege. I know what it's like to have something in your head for years and years, thinking you're just not ready for it yet. I thought that with my novel -- the one I've put on hold until I finish this poem -- and one day decided that I had better just sit down and write it. The research was the easiest part, because I would simply look something up as I needed it -- and you'd be surprised what sort of facts you remember when you're writing something. Anyway, like Phillip says, the first draft isn't important except that it's the one that you actually finish first. I've been re-writing forever, changing things, adding things, deleting things. It's great, and you'll love it
And like Kitty says, it's the closest we'll ever get to giving birth.

I hope to be able to get my email working with yet another server we have here -- the things you learn when the guy who owns it shows up, eh?

Well, I have to go now because it's getting late and 6:30 a.m. comes pretty quickly.

I'll drop in tomorrow and see what I can see. Like I said, I'm glad I'm back and sorry for being so stupid this computer. Mine's a dinosaur, and easier for me to use. (By the way Kitty, I'm feeling much happier now that I'm not frustrated anymore.)

Lisa Nickles Thu Oct 17 22:53:01 PDT 1996

Hi all. Feeling much better today. My favoite pastime is rolling along at a fabulous pace. I want to say that I'll have the first draft of my book done by January, but I know better. (smirk)

Kitty: Thanks for the words of encouragement. My competitive nature gets the better of me sometimes. I'll have to take that element and turn it into a character so I can work on it. :-)

Charles: Unfortunately, I must agree with the assesment given. With all of the negative press from Desert Storm and other recent events, many Americans seem to be almost avoidant of anything having to do with the middle east.

Eric: It is true that peers tend to be brutal. In truth, I'd prefer a brutal assesment than a patronizing pat on the back. It doesn't have to be one way or the other, but you can only control your own actions. If a peer is being too nice, ask where he/she thinks the weaker spots are; if a peer is being too vicious, ask about the stronger parts. In any case, peers are much better to ask than family and friends; you almost never get a useful answer out of them.

I feel like sharing a work of poetry with you guys today, I hope you don,t mind.


I am Man, regardless of race;

I know my own soul and my beautiful face

That shows a thousand generations,

And eyes twice as old. In quiet contemplation

As I look to the hills from whence cometh my strength

My faith and my life know no limits. No lengths

To the good I can do; such contests I choose,

For we all are part of this great cosmic ruse

That we know as LIFE- and all with the same goal.

After all, we're all merely parts of a whole.

I am Man, no matter my gender;

I have a heart, and hands that can render

The cities my people have built to the ground.

I've searched, like most others, but I haven't found

The secrets of life we all wish to possess

One secret I know to be true is, unless

We learn to stop drawing harsh lines in the sand,

Such secrets of life we shall never command.

A birthright withheld by our own separations,

Atrocities, and our Earth's denigration.

I am Man, regardless of birth-

Things I possess don't determine my worth.

Better the pauper with a heart made of gold

Than a king on his throne, whose heart is as cold

As the metal upon which his carcass reclines.

One, such as he, will pay heavy fines

On judgement day when he meets his maker;

Such is the fate of one who's a taker.

Beautiful souls who are loving and giving,

Earn better rest when leaving the living.

I am Man, and I know my place

Within my own species; we are all of one race

Hold tight the belief that we will all learn

That no matter the fights, nor the books that they burn,

No matter what brilliant ideas they suppress,

We are all as one, and by that we are blessed-

For the hardest of hearts can never withstand

The changes in motion. Time has command.

I rejoice for the future; for the day we all can

Look at each other and exclaim, "I am Man!"

Be well, my friends,
Kitty Dwyer edwyer@spherent Thu Oct 17 17:00:06 PDT 1996

Bob, As someone who has given birth, in the literal rather than literary sense, believe me you will not truly know your "child" until the umbilical cord is cut. Then you will see that what you have created is unique and seperate from you, but at the same time is inextricably tied to you. It is not something to mourn, but to celebrate. Bittersweet, perhaps, but if you did not go forward with this project you would be left with bitter regret. Before you enter post pregnancy euphoria, however, please satisfy my curiousity on two points... 1. How did you arrive at this story about the siege of Leningrad? Is it a fascination with the history? Is it personal experience--a parent, a relative? 2. Who is the Russian you were emulating when you wrote "Keep the wind in you hands, etc... ?" I have no clue--on a wild guess I would say Boris Pasternak only because he was a poet and, if I recall correctly, there is a scene somewhere in the first 100 pages of Dr. Zhivago about a field of daffodils and a flurry of butterflies.
Jack, I neglected to comment in my last post how happy and thrilled I am for you about your new project. How is it going? And did I read correectly that you are collaborating with someone else on the project. How do you like that? Interesting, isn't it?
Tamlin, I am sending a lady upon a grey palfrey along the winding path that leads to the living stone tower. Johann watches the figure garbed in blue approach steadily, unrelentingly and though reason tells him to flee heedlessly down the slick stone stairs to descend the other side of the tor, he does not. He leans far over the parapet to watch as she slips through the entryway and strains to hear the tap tap of her footsteps. Are his wanderings at an end? --Kitty

Philip Thu Oct 17 15:08:01 PDT 1996

BOB: such sweet sorrow parting brings - why is that? Your posting in the book is so moving. I cried for a whole day before I could tell anyone I'd finished my first novel. When I could finally speak I told my wife and she cried too. It is a beautiful and sad experience both at the same time and is akin to birth and death as you so write. But the life you lead when writing the novel, inside the pages and especially a period novel, is life as real as any other - enjoy your magical journey.

Jack Beslanwitch Wed Oct 16 21:57:34 PDT 1996

I just wanted to reinforce what Philip pointed out. The nature of copyrights on web pages is somewhat nebulous so a little bit up sounds good, but too much could be an inviting target.

I have thought, when I can carve out some time, to making the Workbook a password protected area and have a limited access to it. There are others that do this. I just wanted to be sure what others thought. Input is welcome and no guarantees on when I would have time to implement it. Take care everyone.

Philip Wed Oct 16 17:32:24 PDT 1996

HELLO EVERYONE: I feel really good today, my present work is raging along - I've increased my output by 25%. We are well into spring here in Sydney. Blossoms dot the entire neighbourhood, there's colour everywhere. Throughout the day, sensational bouquets and birdsong drift into my workcave, welcome distractions all.
CHARLES: caution.... you should think about how much of your work you leave on the Net. I'm sure you know there are thousands of lurkers - professional thieves - in cyber space who will download the lot and sell it, claiming it as their own. Thank you for your kind words - because of the nature of writing we all tread our trails separately and mostly alone. Personally, I've received generous support from noted writers - still do - and plan to give support wherever I'm made welcome.
SCREENPLAYS: I've spent half my life in the film and television industries and have seen numerous screenplays and treatments. I've also written quite a few and two recently - of my first two books - for which I was well paid I'm pleased to say. I will post examples in the Workbook. My first book is in the early stages of pre-production for a mini-series for US television. My second will be a feature film completed before the mini-series, it is also for US distribution.
BOB: pleased to read that you've taken the plunge. How exciting! You sound so positive, I'm sure you've struck it: the right project, time of life, place, inner strength, motivation etc. The Siege of Leningrad - whoaaa - ambitious. I'm sure you realise what lies ahead and are prepared for the long haul. Curses too, now I'll have to do my research - *L - for Leningrad* - I'm here, 100% behind you mate.
MY BOOKS: yes, my first book *Sweet Water - Stolen Land* is the only one available in pockets of the US - I've found a place in Seattle where you can get it, Amazon Books. You will find them on the Net, and can place orders on the Net or by snail-mail - # - I get $1.50 for every book sold, so your purchase will almost buy me a cappuccino.
Sorry, not finished here yet but have to run, back soon - Philip.

Britomart Wed Oct 16 15:36:45 PDT 1996

Dear Everyone

Hellooooooo!!!! I am currently procrastinating about writing a paper on popular fiction. Only 3 weeks and 9000 words of assessment to go, then I'm having three and a half months off - I can already smell summer (or perhaps that's the 102 year old potatoes in the bottom of my pantry). Boy oh boy am I gonna do some writin'! Last summer break I wrote 70,000 words of what became my first published novel. This summer, I'm going to have to see if I can top it.

Boy, am I excited about being on holidays.

Charles: Two things about your last post and about your story. First, I agree with Phil about the weather. How interesting do you find the weather report? Do you really want to start a book with that much interest? I know that a lot of published writers do it, but it always bugs me. If you need to set the scene weather-wise, you can always put it in a couple of lines down, but start with something that grabs your reader around the throat and shakes them, and I think that your story and the ideas just in the first chapter will do that really effectively. Second, about not introducing your hero and heroine until later in the book. I guess it depends on how short your chapters are, but it does seem kinda late to be introducing the protags. Maybe you need to condense some of the stuff that goes before. Also, a "teaser" prologue always works well, and you can maybe stick at least one of the main characters in there. I think it puts the book a bit out of proportion otherwise. You know, I always look to Shakespeare for plot proportion. By the end of act one (that is, the first fifth of the story) we know who the protag is and what he's doing, the main conflict is on stage, the main characters have been introduced or hinted at, and we know what's at stake. I think it's really, really important to get that stuff up and running ASAP, otherwise you run the risk of of bugging your reader. If I were you (and I know I'm not, and this is purely opinion) I'd reduce everything in those first few chapters before the hero and heroine get on stage to a prologue, maybe use a bit of flashing back later if necessary, and introduce at least one of the protags on page one of chapter one. But that's just an opinion, I must stress, and you obviously know what you're doing if you've had a book published already.

God, that was a long paragraph. Sorry - didn't mean for it to sound like a lecture. Your writing style is great, and you have a lovely turn of phrase in places: I like the bit about feeling "the air of death" surrounding him. Very creepy.

Meanwhile, can anybody tell me how to post something into the Writers' Workbook without having to retype the whole thing? I always thought I'd never stick anything in there, but it only seems fair because everybody else is forthcoming. Perhaps you guys can tell me if my protag is too miserable to spend the whole book with. My first chapter is about 3000 words - is that too much to stick in the workbook.

Gotta go! Lotsaluv

Charles Samuel Wed Oct 16 13:03:34 PDT 1996

EVERYONE: I was so pleased with the feedback about my
first chapter of BURIED SECRETS that you've encouraged
me to post the second chapter. I look forward to your
thoughts. Philip, Bob, Kitty et al. what do you say?

Philip: I liked THE SHAMAN as a screenplay better. I get
a 'screenplay' feel from LIGHTNING MINE also. Do
you prefer writing screenplays over novels? A producer
friend of mine recommended I write up BURIED SECRETS
as a film treatment and get it optioned before publishing
(or even writing it) as a book. Do you have much experience
with treatements? Does anyone out there have a sample
of a good treatment? By the way, I'm waiting breathlessly
for Arnold Schwarzenegger to pop onto the scene and
find Shoemaker.:)

Kitty: I have a venture capital friend in New York who's
always looking for hi-tech projects to invest in or take
public. Would that be of help to your husband? Where is
he from in Canada?

Trudy: I think I found the link to this page from a message
you left in Inkspot. Thanks! The water's much warmer over

Shalom from Jerusalem -- Charles.

Bob Hanford Wed Oct 16 10:08:01 PDT 1996

Hello all. Back, tanned and rested from the simple pleasures of Assateague Island. Backing away from the trees and able to see the forest, decided early on to stop taking life for granted and write the novel on the Siege of
Hope upon hope I don't have to resurrect my Russian language
skills. But I must get into the hour by hour workings of the bakeries (for one thing) and am not sure I'll find what I need translated into English. But...feel great about the decision. Certainly impelled into this task by Philip and Britomart and now Charles (Soon as I can buy dozen donuts, am going to read your first chapter. Fresh pot of coffee and phone on answering machine. Love the surprises that can come at any moment in the Workbook.)
Kitty. So glad you're back. Circle complete again. Had not read Tales of the City but was accumulation of columns sent to editor (I wanted to do the same thing) that resulted in her suggestion they be basis for novel. However, as I said, am going to write the one I've wanted to write for about 15 years.
Philip. Thanks for research site. Have already bookmarked. Could you please respond to my question about the availability of your books here in the US? Tks.
Charles. A warm welcome. Re: opening lines. When writing magazine articles, I spend as much time on the opening line as I do on all the rest of the article put together. Usually I will sit at computer screen till I've written ten different lines. Then same the next day, etc.
Ben. Hope Jack was able to take care of your "cache" problem.
To everyone else a big hello and as everyone keeps repeating, this is a wonderful group and I'm so proud and pleased to be a part of it.
Peace. Bob

Charles Samuel Tue Oct 15 13:07:09 PDT 1996

EVERYBODY: I hope you all realize what a treasure Philip is.

PHILIP: Thanks so much for all the effort you put into responding to my posting. There were
quite a few gems in your edit/rewrite that with your permission I'll incorporate into the next
draft. Some really lovely strokes... powerful, passionate and punch. Thanks for encouraging
me to stretch, and thanks for the praise.

BURIED SECRETS is going to be based loosely on real events. I have had some personal
contact with the events and personalities. My first novel THE JERUSALEM CONSPIRACY
is a political thriller which was based very much on personal contact with real people and
real events.

I do know that a book is judged by its cover. THE JERUSALEM CONSPIRACY was sold
here to the national distributor/chain based SOLELY on the title and a full color mockup of the cover.
I have a commitment from the distributor/bookstore chain for BURIED SECRETS based SOLELY
on the title, the fact that it is 'an archeological thriller' and the track record of the first book.
I imagine a great opening line will only help. I'll work on it and thanks for the practical advice.

Originally I didn't start with the weather, but then when I noticed so many bestselling thrillers open
with the weather, I added a couple of sentences. I'll play with it.

By the way, Ahmed is not a major character in the book. That's why I didn't develop him. He's more
or less a vehicle to introduce us to THE CAVE and the OSSUARY - (coffin) which are the focal
points of the book. I'm having trouble getting the actual hero and heroine introduced early enough.
The heroine will appear only in chapter five and the hero comes on in six. I know this is stretching
it but there are other key characters who need to set the stage for the heroes to enter onto. I'll make
some more postings soon so you see what I mean.

In the meantime... thanks again for your amazing input. Where were you when I was writing
my first novel?!

BEN: Hope you got the email re: the postings you missed. By the way, my father was born in
Amsterdam. I'm originally from Toronto. My wife is there right now attending a family wedding.
I'm holding the fort and taking care of our six beautiful kiddies.

Best to all... Charles.

Jack Tue Oct 15 12:18:59 PDT 1996


It sounds like your browser is reading this page from cache rather than your browser updating it. Why it would do that with this page and not the Workbook, I'm not sure. I've sent an email to that effect and hope you can get on here and see what everyone else is saying.

Take care.

Ben Woestenburg Mon Oct 14 22:21:01 PDT 1996

This is bad.

Real Bad.

It's been a week now and nothing's posting on the board here. I know someone's been doing something because I checked out the workbook and read the latest entries. I'm sort of stuck out here in cyberspace with no way of communicating with anyone. Sort of reminds me of smoething I once saw on a STAR TREK episode.

Oh well, I guess I'm outa here for a while, or at least until what little glitch has gotten into me gets out.

I've enjoyed talking to you guys more than anything else, because I live an isolated sort of life out here in the real world. I don't know any other writers except you people, and now, who knows when I'll be able to see you again?


trudy Mon Oct 14 17:36:39 PDT 1996

Happy Thanksgiving all!!! I'm stuffed and I had Thanksgiving with the family yesterday!
Haven't got a lot of time (seems to be a common theme with me these days). I thought I'd get some computer catching up done but twas not to be I guess. I can't believe my long weekend is over *sigh*. I really have to get into the Workbook soon and see what everyone is chatting about; sounds interesting.
Hope all is well with everyone. Hope to be back soon. Trudy

Kitty Dwyer edwyer@spherenet Mon Oct 14 10:05:34 PDT 1996

Hey y'all and happy Canadian Thanksgiving tout le monde.
Philip, gosh, golly, gee, I thought we were tossing around ideas about the foundations upon which the story of The Shaman rests.. This is the prelim stuff that doesn't show up in the final product--not much at least. I can noodle around with the idea, but I know nothing about screenplays nor what direction you were going so I may be way out in left field here. Were you proposing your screenplay as an exercise like the Cobain Train? In which case, I hope others jump in too. As to the Lightning Mine, yes I want to know what happened to A. Shoemanker, but even more I want to know about the couple under the tree. Who are they and where are they and why did David Lynch's The Wave pop into my mind when I read that passage? I'd certainly be willing to read on. And finally, you asked about bios... I'll be brief. I am an American (from the South) married to a Canadian (we met at university). We have two bright and beautiful children, Caitlin and Jack. Our four-legged companions are Nanny, the 10 year old Great Dane, and T.C. the neurotic Dalmatian. We live in the country. My husband is in computer graphics, high-tech cutting edge stuff. My children are in school. I now have the time to return to writing (my writing experience is somewhere in the archives, so won't repeat). Are you going to e-mail us a copy of the collected bios?
Trudy, I once received a rejection slip that couldn't have been more the two inches in heigth. There was one sentence on it along the lines of "We don't want it." I'm still laughing at the thought of that tiny slip of paper rattling round that big business sized envelope.
Bob, I enjoyed reading your piece in the Workbook. I understand how it would be difficult to place. It would appeal to a very specific audience--writers and/or bibliophiles. I could see it being a part of a larger work, helping to illustrate the personality of a main character. Have you read Armistead Maupins' Tales of the City series? Each "chapter" was actually a column in a San Francisco newspaper, and yet, he ended up with a cohesive story which kept me turning pages years ago when I read it and when I should have been studying for exams. How was your trip to Assateague?
Ben are you having computer problems or are you a bit melancholy? Couldn't tell from your last two posts, but was concerned.
Lisa, apples and oranges. You are probably your husband's inspiration. Writing is not a competitive sport. There is a business side to it, of course, but your work is no less important than his.
Sherrie, have you heard from your agent?
Jennifer, I liked you poem but agree with Philip regarding "warm fuzzies." The phrase jarred me out of the mood of the poem.
Charles, I'm saving your first chapter "for dessert" as Bob would say. However, regarding your initital question, I would write the story I wanted to tell regardless of the location. A good story is compelling.
Think I'm caught up. Catch y'all later. --Kitty

ben woestenburg Mon Oct 14 00:09:57 PDT 1996

Well, it's Sunday night, midnight, and I still can't get on. I managed to read the new entries in the workbook, and I liked them all. Not long enough, but I guess that's understandable. Nobody wants to write something that goes on endlessly. I'll check in tomorrow and see if I'm back on. Seems I only get postings about once a week, and usually on Monday nights.
Catch y'all later...I hope.

Philip Sun Oct 13 18:45:53 PDT 1996

CHARLES: good work, well crafted, very interesting story, exotic location et al. I could taste the dust and smell the refreshing rain beating down on it. I don't know where the plot is going but I am intrigrued enough to read on. If BURIED SECRETS is a true story I would be even more intrigued - if so, you should have told us in a short preamble. If you tell us also that the author is somehow connected to this land and/or story then it would be absolutely compelling reading.

For me the subject is superb. For my own aesthetic, parts of it are over written. This is hard to define here but I will send you an email giving an example of a second draft in part.

Against the popular notion, people do judge books by covers and opening lines - you may already know this. Advice given to me years ago and my advice to all writers is work on your opening lines until you know yours can stand beside those of writers you admire. Key words you might keep in mind for opening lines are: action, excite, intrigue, who, where, when and atmosphere. And don't forget to develop main characters early. They say to open with weather is done to death, don't open with it unless you really want to take on the challenge of that maxim and risk receiving publishers' rejection letters.

What I'll send is only my opinion, take from it what you want, disregard the rest. That's what I do with advice given to me. Please receive it the good spirit it is given. You are obviously a fine writer, keep going. I look forward to reading more of your work. - Philip.

Charles Samuel Sun Oct 13 14:07:55 PDT 1996

PHILIP: Thanks for the encouragement. I decided to post
the first chapter of my next novel in the workbook.
Please let me know what you think... not just Philip
but anyone else who wants to throw in their two cents.
Thanks a lot. My local fans are fairly homogeneous and
it's great having such a diverse crowd out there in
cyberspace to provide critiques.

Philip Sat Oct 12 22:10:36 PDT 1996

KITTY: what you suggest for THE SHAMAN sounds good to me - now jump in and rewrite it. One of the reasons I left the plot and characters so loose was that anyone so motivated can move it to suit their projections. Back later - Philip.

Kitty Dwyer edwyer@pherenet Sat Oct 12 17:09:05 PDT 1996

Philip, I've been thinking about The Shaman. If Independance Day is the reference point for the New York of the future, as suggested in your previous post, would there even be a New York? And would there be an Internatonal Court to award the Native Americans anything? I'm pretty sure that when I saw ID, pretty much the whole eastern seaboard was levelled by the visitors. My extrapolation was that the world order had undergone a major upset which I think could work very well for you. Despite the ultimate victory thanks to Quaid, Smith, and Goldblum, the USA could no longer exist as we know it. Heck, th whole world would be entering a "dark age." So, why not have the Native Americans simply claim territory as their own? Certainly, Native American groups who had promoted traditional culture would be in a better position to survive in a world where most major cities and modern infrastrucure had been destroyed. Why shouldn't the Native Americans simply declare that their land was an independent state by virtue of their being there and being able to hold it. Isn't this what the Europeans did 400 years ago--ignore what was there before them and declare they were kings of the hill? And why would Native Americans want the twisted radiated, nuked, imploded--whatever, remains of a city when they could keep their now more valuable territorial land. Kind of like the Mormons making a paradise out of Utah--the joke being on all the religiously intolerant people who had driven the Mormons out of green arable lands. Also, if you went this route, Native American characters could step forward as leaders in the new world order because they would know how to survive.
Now about these "hairless" fellows. Is this coven patterned after Satanic cults which are a perversion of Christianity and have nothing to do with Paganism or the Wiccan faith which predates Christianity? If it is the former, the adherents must have arrested development around about senior high school when so many kids dabble in heavy metal and "black magic." It won't fly with the latter because they are rather benign, believing what you send out into the world you will recieve back threefold or more. Anyway, why are they roaming the streets commiting senseless acts of violence? Do they have a leader? Are they chaos incarnate and thus impossible to predict or counteract? Or is there a leader--evil itself, and a greater plan that we are as yet unaware of?
Have to go. Hope I haven't been to presumptious but you did ask for our thoughts. Have you seen the British series Survivors? Have to go. --Kitty

Philip Sat Oct 12 15:02:55 PDT 1996

WELCOME CHARLES: your books sounds very interesting. I believe if work is found to be popular or good literature in one place it transplants well to other places... of course not in every case. And don't worry, there will always be the Wilbur Smiths, we all need them - writers, readers, publishers, distributors, the pulp and paper industry etc - for one reason or another. Good luck and please keep posting here. Shalom - Philip.

Charles Samuel Sat Oct 12 13:31:51 PDT 1996

Hi Everybody,

I've scanned the archives and gotten to know a little
about your group. You seem to be having a lot of fun.

I'm a writer living in Jerusalem
and have written a local bestselling thriller in
English. Currently I'm negotiating with a major
publisher in America to pick it up. Also I've written
a popular non-fiction book about the Gulf War. It
is being published next year in North America by
a small house in Baltimore.

Some people have advised me that for my next novel
I should steer away from middle east themes if I
want to sell it in North America. Do you agree?
Why is it that people want to read about Wilber
Smith's lions but not about the human struggle
going on in Israel?

Shalom from Jerusalem,
Charles Samuel.

Lisa Nickles Fri Oct 11 21:30:45 PDT 1996

Hi guys,

Feeling a little bummed out this evening. My husband has finally decided to take on a writing project that he's been talking about for years. (After I bought a laptop word processor for him to force him into it.) He is doing a book on his experiences from the perspecive on a midwestern country boy living in an inner city black neighborhood- including, of course, the perceptions/reactions of others to our mixed marriage. It promises to be a very interesting project.
Being a fiction writer, I'm feeling a little inadequate when faced with someone doing, what feels to me, to be a significant work. I'm careful not to let him know this because I know that an idea can be killed with a withering look. I'm very excited for him, and pleased to see the enthusiasm with which he attacks his project, but I'm also feeling guilty as hell, and it's affecting my writing.
Just thought I'd vent... I'll come back when I'm in a better mood.

Britomart Fri Oct 11 20:01:44 PDT 1996

Sometimes my life gets WAAAAY out of control. Here I am trying to write an essay on a 16th Century epic poem, thinking about finishing the first chapter of my new book so that I can read it at a reading I have to do next week, worrying about all the other assignments I have due between now and November 14, noticing that my flat is turning into a pig sty all around me... ARRGH! Still, if I didn't have all this to do, I guess I'd be bored

TRAVIS: I've been thinking about your original enquiry about drugs/other mental states and writing, and I've remembered exactly what you have to read. Get a copy of Thomas de Quincey's "Confessions of an English Opium Eater". He was an early 19th Century essayist who spent most of his waking life whacked out on laundanum. There is a section entitled "The Pains of Opium" in which he describes the nightmares he has when he's trying to withdraw. I'll just give you a small example:

"All this and much more than I can say, the reader must enter into before he can comprehend the unimaginable horror which these dreams of Oriental imagery and mythological tortures impressed upon me. Under the connecting feeling of tropical heat and vertical sun-lights, I brought together all creatures,... that are found in tropical regions. From kindred feelings, I soon brought Egypt and all her gods under the same law. I was stared at, hooted at, grinned at, chattered at, by monkeys, paroquets, cockatoos. I ran into pagodas: and was fixed for centuries an the summit, or in secret rooms... I fled from the wrath of Brama through all the forests of Asia. I came suddenly upon Isis and Osiris: I had done a deed, they said, which the ibis and the crocodile trembled at. I was buried for a thousand years, in stone coffins, with mummies and sphinxes, in narrow chambers at the heart of eternal pyramids. I was kissed, with cancerous kisses, by crocodiles; and laid, confounded with all unutterable slimy things, amongst reeds and Nilotic mud."

I guess you can see how he's reined in those bursts of insensible creativity and constrained them to a purposeful kind of narrative. Perhaps it's time for a 20th century version of de Quincey's work, though I suspect some of the beat poets might have already done that.

Canadian Ben: Did you miss my literature challenge? It should be archived. Sorry you didn't get a chance to guess where Britomart came from.

I really should go and do some work. Bye all.

trudy Fri Oct 11 16:42:28 PDT 1996

KITTY: Welcome back! You've been missed.
JACK: That was not a complaint; just wanted people to read my weird rejection!
ERIC: I think you've had a bad experience, or else I've been very fortunate. All the writers I've met (including those in the Notebook) have been very encouraging even when they had to be critical and say something that might hurt. And I agree completely with Kitty; the Writer's Notebook is a wonderful gathering place as I'm sure you will find if you remain...hope to see you often.

Oh everyone, about writers haven; I'm still subscribed and though I don't find it nearly as much fun or as helpful as the Notebook, there are a few aspects I'm finding interesting (like critiquing)(don't worry I haven't posted anything to them yet - you'll see anything first in the workbook). Overall I like the way the notebook is set up rather than relying so heavily on e-mail; it's fun having a full mailbox though!

happy writing, trudy

Kitty Dwyer edwyer@spherenet Fri Oct 11 08:58:56 PDT 1996

Eric: Perhaps you should read through the archives of this site. The participants of the Notebook are neither judgemental not vicious--yet we all write, go figure. Quite a number of us have declared that we are not here to critique. Any suggestions, thought, comments, etc.. are on a take-or-ignore basis. What is wonderful about the Notebook is the support we give each other without being sycophantic. I can't speak for the others nor comment about groups I do not belong to, but I can say inequivocally, as a writer, the Notebook is where I want to be. Hope you (and all lurkers) will join and add your unique perspective to the ongoing dialogue. You can thank Jack for creating such a positive place for writers to be.
Hey y'all! I'm back. Philip I hope the coffee is a special Aussie blend, hot, fragrant and strong. Am reading through the postings and I have a few thoughts... What I don't have right at this moment is time to post, but I intend to pop in frequently and catch up over the weekend. --Kitty

Eric Thu Oct 10 22:49:23 PDT 1996

I just want some input on my thoughts about writers, me being
one of them, but I noticed writers seem to be to judgemental.
Maybe I'm being too judgemental, but that's just me. I also
notice in writing groups writers tend to be more vicious to
their peers. Why is this? Also why does constructive
criticizism have to be either all negative, the tear into
them approach, or completely good, the afraid to hurt their
feelings approach? Why can't it be both positive and some
negative? I'm just spewing, although I'd appreciate and
repsonses on this even negative ones. Please e-mail your

Jack Thu Oct 10 19:02:14 PDT 1996

   The rejection that comes to my mind was a rather poorly written little story that I submitted to Astounding about twelve or thirteen years ago. The editor's comment was "Perhaps, what I'm trying to say is perfervid." I had to go and look that one up.

Philip: Thanks for the new resource. I've looked and decided to add it to the Resource page.

Trudy: Sorry, I should have carried your thread forward. I'll try to pay closer attention.

Take care all.

trudy Thu Oct 10 16:44:17 PDT 1996

BRITOMART: did you have your name on each of the pages of the item you submitted, or was it returned too? Maybe they got your cover mixed up with someone elses' poem!? Writer's nightmare!
PHILIP: can't wait until I have more time to check out that great page! Thanks.

Does anyone else have any weird rejection stories? Britomart's is on this page, however Jack archived right after mine so it is easily found if anyone wants to read it and then post their own.

If anyone wants a work sheet type thing I picked up on the net somewhere on helping create a character, e-mail me and I'll e-mail it. I haven't used it yet but it looks useful.

Later all; happy writing. Trudy

Philip Thu Oct 10 14:46:00 PDT 1996

HELLO EVERYONE: found an interesting site for writers who do their research - more later - Philip.

Britomart Thu Oct 10 13:42:47 PDT 1996

Hey everyone. It looks so empty in here, we'd better get cracking filling it with lots of interesting messages.

Trudy's last post about rejections got me thinking of one rejection I had that was most curious. I had sent out my first novel - a Fay Weldonesque black comedy - and sat on my hands waiting to hear. When it came back, the publisher had included a letter that said: "We liked your work very much, unfortunately we no longer publish poetry". Hmmm. Unless it was an epic poem in free verse (that just happened to resemble regular prose), I don't know what happened. It had my name on it, so it certainly wasn't the wrong letter. And what was I to make of the "we liked your work very much" if they obviously didn't know my work wasn't poetry? Ah, well. Maybe my writing was particularly poetic... One lives in hope.

ben woestenburg Wed Oct 9 21:16:17 PDT 1996

So it's wednesday, 9:30 p.m., and I was just wondering if anyone's been writing here and I'm not getting the messages again. I suspect it might be the case.

So, see ya'll next week some time...I hope.


Jack Beslanwitch Wed Oct 9 19:13:11 PDT 1996

Hello and welcome to a new blank sheet for your thoughts and experiences to flow. Finally got two moments to rub together and archived the fourth installment of Writers Notebook. 127 k was about as large as I like to let things run. Still plugging away on my book proposal, aka, Editorial Fact Sheet, let you know how things turn out when I know. Also, if I hadn't mentioned it, this is a collaborative process with another programmer/writer, so I might have some thoughts to share about the collaborative process as well when things settle down. Take care.