Archived Messages from December 7, 1998 to December 16, 1998

Jack Beslanwitch Wed Dec 16 23:32:16 PST 1998

I left this message earlier and it appears to have not gotten posted, so I will send it again.

Windspinner: I have corrected the Round Robin as desired and it now has a title of As Darkness Descends. I invite other Workbookers to give it a try.

Goodweed: Thank you for the kind words and hope that my redesign for this site into will meet with equal approval. Writers Notebook I think will continue being ever so slightly messy, chaotic and unstructured. That in my mind is one of its saving graces. It is freedom hall where you spit on the floor and call the dog....well... you get the idea :-). Take care everyone and happy holidays. I am off to watch CNN and see what else is happening.

Oh, and sometime tomorrow I will be archiving, but I will retain some of the posts over to the new Notebook so feel free to drop ideas and reflections.

Allein Wed Dec 16 20:05:32 PST 1998

Lena - In eighth grade, I did extensive searching on the Holocaust since it fascinated me. Don't get me wrong, I think it was horrible and all, but it was just kind of an interesting subject. Anyway, I'll be glad to help if you need any help.


Goodweed of the North Wed Dec 16 20:05:25 PST 1998

Thomas; I have been cruising the websites for quite some time. I ahve seen many people come and go. I have seen the occassional flame war here. All in all though, this is one of the finest writer's sites on the WWW. You can post anything because the purpose of this place (and you can correct me if I'm off the mark, Jack) is to allow writers, any writers, to post their work for critique, ask questions, share knowledge, and generaly assist each other as a writing community. It is a place to learn, to help others learn, and to share writing experiances. My other favorite site is Poets & Writers Speakeasy. It is similar, but a bit more structured. Both are exceptional places and I thank Jack for this one. I have learned much here, and made some good freinds. There are several people here I respect very much. They have helped me improve my own writing ten-fold. As to why this place seems favored by SF&F types, the web is a natural place for techies to cruise around in.

Lena; It is true that there is a freedom found in fantasy that isn't allowed in many other genres. However, the story must remain true within a set of parameters. It must be consistant, and believable. Also, if you use legendary, or mythological characters, you must know them inside and out. You must know both their strengths, and weaknesses. A bit of physics training doesn't hurt either. it allows you to explore and extrapolate on current knowledge. In science fiction, your story must be based (at least loosely) on science fact. Again, you can build your own universe, but it must have rules by which it works. The worlds of Marion Zimmer Bradley, for instance, weave both fantasy and science together to create a completely believable world, rich with vivd discriptions which can make you feel that you have lived in her world fo your entire life.

SKS; Have a great Christmas.

SN Arly; I still think you have one of the most unique "nicks" I've run into. Merry Christmas to you.

Toby, Caroline, Rhoda, Joan, and everyone else; I wish the most enjoyable holiday season to each of you.

To "The writer formerly known as Hayden" I wish you and your wife a pleasant, no, make that an unbelievable trip. Enjoy every moment of it.

Caroline; I pointed to one of the pictures (upper right corner) and received the reply; URL not available. The idea is great though. You have such an imagination. It will take you far.

Seeeeeya; Goodweed of the North

Lena Wed Dec 16 19:14:19 PST 1998

Greetings all,

It snowed today!

I myself enjoy writing fantasy/sci-fi. I have a theory about that... for me, at least, it is easier to write fantasy because it does not have to be correct. There is no research, I can make it all up and it can be as weird, unexpected, and strange as I like. Of course, this could be just laziness on my part, as I think several of my stories could easily be put in a historical setting, a modern day setting, etc... but there is something about the freedom in fantasy I just love. Any further thoughts on this?

Although, at the moment I have a young adult-type story on the Holocaust buzzing around in my mind, begging to be written, and the only thing that is holding me back is I know some major research would be required. So, if anybody out there is Jewish or knows some good facts on the Holocaust (particularly the death camp Auschwitz) it would be much appreciated.

SN Arly: Strange dream! <> Yup.

I wish I could remember my dreams, but I am a deep, deep sleeper. I do not even get that fleeting sensation of remembering a dream when I wake up... but the dreams I do remember are strange and very vivid. I don't believe in any of the metaphysical junk people try to make dreams into, but I do believe stuff in your dreams is in there for a reason. I've found that the emotions you feel during the dream generally seem to be more understandable then the images. For example, once I had a dream where two friends of mine and I were all taking a class on making lean-to's out of hedges (don't ask), and my two friends kept on sending me to get pruning shears and flower pots and other assorted gardening tools from the instructor. I felt left out. That was the point... I felt these two people were leaving me out in conversations, etc. There was more to the dream then that... something involving the British invading the school and riding a horse through a jungle gym, but that was the main gist of it. Psychology is fun... I'm taking a class in psychology next semester. Can't wait. I like my schedule for next semester - I have a creative writing class and psychology. What more do you want?

Thomas: Of course I'll try and find 'High Deryni'...

May we meet again in fair weather,
"She Who Writes Extremely Long Notes"

S.K.S. Perry Wed Dec 16 19:04:29 PST 1998

Hey, I'm up in Canada, and it's not even snowing here!

Thomas Wed Dec 16 17:24:15 PST 1998

Checked out the site; scanned the mouse across the screen; nothing happened.

Thomas Wed Dec 16 17:18:45 PST 1998

Isn't Santa waving on your screen when you call up this site, to the left of the list of Christmas songs you can listen to, if you are so inclined? If not, send me a copy of your software. And, snow! Where are you? I am in the Finger Lakes of New York. We have not only been experiencing unusual warmth, but a drought too. I heard, however, that we are to receive snow this week. I guess it's better than bombs.

Allein Wed Dec 16 17:11:26 PST 1998

S.N. Arly - At least SOMEBODY has snow!! :) It's not even raining here. I'm hoping for a white Christmas this year.

Hey all, I got a new e-mail address. I'm still on AOL, but I just thought I'd try out hotmail too. I almost never get e-mail to my hotmail address though. :( Oh well, I still get all my mail.

Bye bye,

Caroline Heske Wed Dec 16 15:27:48 PST 1998

Anyone who can be bothered clicking the above link will find a tricky little artistic effort of mine. (scan your mouse across it...)

Anyone seen Keith Mercik?

Thomas - Anyone's welcome to post anything from what I can gather...

But does anyone know WHY there are so many scifi/fantasy people on this site? It is kinda unusual.

Hi windspinner... and oh, that reminds me. JACK, I've lost my password and stuff to the workbook... If I get down on my hands and knees and beg do you think you could send me it again?

S.N.Arly Wed Dec 16 14:27:54 PST 1998


Sorry to shout.

Thomas - I'm a SF & F nut most of the time, though I do dabble in contemporary lit (mainstream lit) now and again. Right now, actually. Post whatever you want and see what happens!

SKS - Maybe it was just a fun dream. I've come to the conclusion that most of mine mean jack squat. And I remember a lot of them. They're vivid and they're scary. Had one where Tommie Lee Jones was going to eat my dog. Cook her in cream of mushroom soup, actually. Oh, and did I mention he was a demon? A couple of nights ago I was evidently convinced my pillow was trying to eat me. I am grateful for my tolerant spouse.

So.... maybe it was just your creativity leaking out. Then again, if you're convinced you're life doesn't have quite the action you're looking for (ah yes, another adrenaline junkie, Iknow the type *g*) maybe you were just reminding yourself that maybbe there's something else out there that'd be more.... er .... what you want. How's that for a freakishly long sentence?

Thomas/Rhoda - What the heck are you talking about? Waving Santa? Huh?

windspinner Wed Dec 16 13:02:37 PST 1998

'Fraid to say I'm new at all this so, criticism is requested to be light on my part.

I put a round robin in that new section, and the Almighty Jack (wink) told me I needed to post it.
So what does posting mean?
I found out a couple of minutes ago and am sorely steamed. Also, it turns out he named it by the first line (Which is really stupid considering the fact that we call it a first line for a reason. I didn't name it title). Boots crunched against the gravel is not a good name for a story, no matter how sardonic or hyperbole you are to be.
Oh, and hello to those I haven't met yet. (That's everybody)

I am also (how long is this going to be?!) requesting information about contests and somesuch. I like fantasy and sci fi, and generally write it too, but haven't actually submitted anything yet.

Thanks, oh and hi, again.

S.K.S. Perry Wed Dec 16 10:19:04 PST 1998


As far as I know you can post any type of writing you like. There are already areas for short stories, novels, and poetry, and if I'm not mistaken, Jack is going to divide these up into different generes eventuall. So dive in, the water may be murky, but the company's nice!

P.S. I kinda like that visual image about the dragons and the editors myself.

Be Well, Live Well.

Thomas Wed Dec 16 07:41:41 PST 1998

I like your interpretation about the money and success, but I still love the image of a dragon slaying those editors.

Oh no, please, not the flying deer! I'll accept the fat guy with the incessant hand gesture for a little while longer.

Hey all, I just got a password to join the notebook -- didn't really know much about it until yesterday. Thing is, I mostly write nonfiction: food, wine, history; for money I write corporate stuff: speeches, opening audio visual pieces for meetings, training et al. I have dabbled in short stories, and in fact have one out there awaiting a magazine response. I also write essays and a newspaper column. Are you all interested only in short story postings, and also are you mainly interested in sci-fi?

S.K.S. Perry Wed Dec 16 06:11:11 PST 1998

Hey all,

Thanks for your thoughts on my dream.


If all my dream is telling me is that I lack challenge in my life and my work, then I'd say my subconcious is totally redundant. That's something I've known for years. It's one of the main reasons I've become a writer!


There was nothing familiar about the people or surroundings, except that I've been in a lot of unarmed combat in my time. And as for needing excitement, I'm what you might call an adrenaline junkie, so that's a given.


I can't say the holiday crowds are bothering me, because I've had little experience with them. I'm blessed to have a wife who loves to shop, and had a handle on Christmas by August. And I always feel good about myself, and invincible. (Now we're on the Ego thing again.)

I managed to find a dream dictionary, and it says to dream of being a dragon fortells of incredible success and money. One can only hope!

Be Well, Live Well.

Jodi Tue Dec 15 23:35:00 PST 1998

oops, I didn't mean to do that twice, I'll get the hang of this soon!

(Exit blushing)

Jodi Tue Dec 15 23:33:23 PST 1998

Thanks for the welcome. Now I have one more final to study for and I can be a real live person again! Why did I ever think it would be FUN to go back to school!


Now, this may have nothing to do with your dream, but in European mythology the dragon is seen as a destroyer, a creature who lays waste to all and sundry. Are we perhaps a bit irritated with the holiday crowds?
In Chinese mythology, the dragon symbolizes the "Good Earth", the strength and power that is derived from nature. Maybe you are feeling good about yourself, kinda invincible.
As for the crystals, I'm clueless.



Tue Dec 15 23:32:58 PST 1998

Thanks for the welcome. Now I have one more final to study for and I can be a real live person again! Why did I ever think it would be FUN to go back to school!


Now, this may have nothing to do with your dream, but in European mythology the dragon is seen as a destroyer, a creature who lays waste to all and sundry. Are we perhaps a bit irritated with the holiday crowds?
In Chinese mythology, the dragon symbolizes the "Good Earth", the strength and power that is derived from nature. Maybe you are feeling good about yourself, kinda invincible.
As for the crystals, I'm clueless.



Goodweed of the North Tue Dec 15 21:17:00 PST 1998

For all of you adults here in our little cyber-comunity, and all of you beyond your years in wisdom youth, I have taken a uniue and funny short story, pulled from the vivid imagination of a young lady who attends seventh grade, and posted it in the workbook short story section. I merely typed it for her. She composed the entire story with no assistance. Her technique is a bit rough, even juvenile. But I love the imagination and wit (though I have to admit that the age group is entirely too focused on gross and disgusting things at times).

Hope you enjoy it as much as I did. Send her an e-mail critique of the content and readability. The technique will come in time. Don't be too harsh, but let her know where she stands. Thanks.

Seeeeeeeeya; Goodweed of the North

Caroline Heske Tue Dec 15 21:09:39 PST 1998

I'm proud to say that I've never had a rejection letter. It's a pity that this is because I've never tried to get anything published.

SNArly - Legal for just about everything. ;)

SKS - Is there something that you want to do, but are stopping yourself from doing it cause it's going to get someone upset if you do? Was there anyone you knew in the dream - or anything, or any places? Are you feeling like you need some excitement in your life? (Do I not have a clue what I'm talking about?)

Jack London... Did he write something about wolves? (Dunno why I'd think that...)

S.K.S. Perry Tue Dec 15 17:18:54 PST 1998


If you manage to mesh all of those stories together, I want the first autographed copy!!!

Be Well, Live Well.

Howard Tue Dec 15 17:06:03 PST 1998

Hi all! Gotta make this short, 'cause I'm having a "registry problem" and I dunno how long this beastie will hold together.
Rejects? I've had a few, but take consolation in the knowledge that (as I've mentioned to a few of you before) Jack London (you youngsters ever hear of him?) received 600 rejections before publishing his first short story. Dunno how apocryphal that anecdote is, but I've heard it from several sources.
Got several stories running through what's left of my psyche now, and that's why I write, I guess -- the overflow has to go somewhere, and this keyboard is as good a target as any. So far it's cheaper than a shrink...
Steve, I think Cree is about to get creamed by a runaway tox rig, and the kid from Pleasant Avenue will put the pieces back together and market the result as a souvenier from area 52. (That's 17 miles southeast of area 51).
Gotta run -- lost my bag of commas somewhere in the Borning Swamp.

Rhoda Tue Dec 15 16:47:27 PST 1998


Chill out! I love the waving Santa. Now if we could just have some prancing rain-deer, everything would be perfect.

Rhoda Tue Dec 15 16:44:55 PST 1998


I am not an expert about dreams, but since you asked...

Sounds to me as if you desire more challenge in your life. The things you are doing now are fun, but too easy. You have a lot of pent up energy and you are longing for a meaningfull way to put it to use. It could be that in your present job you are not fully using your talents and abilities.

See if you get anymore dreams with this similar pattern. If so, your subconscious is trying to tell you something.

Hope this helps,


Thomas Tue Dec 15 16:29:07 PST 1998

I dink vat we have heah iz a man who iz dinking too much about editors!

We are into the Christmas crunch. I am having a rough time getting on most sites -- takes forever. While we are on Christmas, am I the only one tired of that "waving Santa"?

S.K.S. Perry Tue Dec 15 14:28:09 PST 1998

Hey all,

Here I go again, hoggin the Notebook.

This may not be the proper place to post this, but so what. I've found that writers are an eclectic lot, and maybe there's one of you out there who can help me. It has to do with dream analyses.

I rarely remember my dreams…maybe one in a hundred, but last night I had one that was so strong and vivid it I actually woke up. I dreamed I was a red dragon, and I was in a fight with…something. My opponent was never really clear to me. We were fighting in an arena, sort of a Mortal Kombat type deal-you know, the Video Game. There were high walls all around us, and made of massive, square cut stone, with torches spaced along them to provide light. Even though we were engaged in combat, I knew it was all in fun, sort of like friendly sparring, and I was cleaning the other guys clock. I felt incredibly powerful. When the fight was over, I had this overwhelming desire to tear and rend, to fight a real opponent. There was some sort of straps wrapped around my claws with a tiny crystal embedded in the palm that prevented me from doing any real damage, but I knew they could be easily removed.

Well, what do you think?

S.K.S. Perry Tue Dec 15 12:47:21 PST 1998


You actually received a rejection with the words "stapelonian" and "turgid?" Don't you just hate rejection letters where you have to dig out the old dictionary to find out just how much they think your work sucks. Sheesh!

Thomas Tue Dec 15 12:46:41 PST 1998

It took Netscape so long to call up this page I have forgotten who wrote what, but I shall try to remember.

On ego: Oxford English Dict. says 1. Metaphiysics a conscious thinking subject. 2. Psychology the part of the mind that reacts to reality and has a sense of individuality. 3. a sense of self-esteem. For egocentric it reads 1. centered in the ego (lot of help that is). 2. self-centered, egoistic. And for egoism, an ethical theory that treats self interest as the foundation of morality (as in Ayn Rand).

Rhoda and Eddie said mouthsful on rejections. We could go on endlessly about the crass, callous, inconsiderate, cheap, et al, nature of the way editors and agents sometimes treat writers, but what would we get out of it? The best revenge is to become successful at writing. Whatever her name is who wrote the Men's Club said in a speech I attended that now that she is famous she tells agents and editors what to do, both figuratively and literally.
But Eddie's point is really critical. Even a rejection can be encouragement. It's just that these people are so direct and, I suppose, pressed for time that they fail to recognize there is a heart thumping, blood pumping, human being going to receive their mail. And I sure would like to know what some of those s.o.b's do with my stamps.

On feedback from readers: the ones with single-minded agendas and the politically correct make me, in the words of Holden Caulfield, puke. I do get tired of people who write about some group or some religion being offended by my rather innocuous Sunday column. I poke fun at many things and many people. I respond to some of my "admirers", when I am in the mood to respond, "Lighten up. The world will not end because I have tried to be funny and you did not think I was. But to call me names -- uncivilized." But then there is the feedback that thanks or relates or sends me a book or a magazine article. Got to take the bad with the good. The first time I learned about the power of my words was in seventh grade, and I never stopped loving the feeling.

S.K.S. Perry Tue Dec 15 12:17:55 PST 1998

Hey all,

I myself tend to take rejection letters personally, because let's face it, whoever wrote it personally thinks your work sucks!! I hope they don't mind if I personally think they're idiots.

I can't remember who the writer was, but she said in an interview that her Nebula Award winning story was rejected eleven times before being picked up. So while I may take the rejection personally, I also know that in all probablity it has nothing to do with the quality of my work, unless I really do suck...but that's another topic--something about Ego, right?

Be Well, Live Well.

S.N.Arly Tue Dec 15 10:27:33 PST 1998

Feylena - You're welcome. Now you have to read the next one. High Deryni I think. I''d've e-mailed you, but I'm goofing off at work and don't have that ability.

Thomas - I think I really need a working definition to continue in the discussion of ego. I belive I misinterpreted the intial mention because our definitions don't match.

I'm handicapped and I HATE those stupid mowers. We tie the clutch down to the handle when I mow. I know, it frees the maker of blame if I chop off my hand.

SKS - Isn't it nice to be read and appreciated?

On submitting and rejection letters - The first couple are a little tough, but you really do develop a tough skin and can handle it. It becomes just a part of the whole writing business, and it's really not that bad. Most are form letters (although those make you wonder if your story even got read). I save all of mine. Some can be useful, and I ignore the ones that look like they're designed to persuade me not to quit the day job. I am in a couple of writer's groups (on-line and in-person) so I do get honest feedback, and I know my writing doesn't suck.... but that's also a personal judegment call and what one editor thinks is total trash, another may consider a gold mine.

Gotta scram. Fingers are getting cold.


Rhoda Tue Dec 15 09:11:55 PST 1998


I would love to get a rejection letter from an agent or editor telling me how horrid my work was. At least it shows they read the thing. I probably wouldn't have felt that way a couple of years ago in the days before I started trying to sell manuscripts.

The absolute worst thing is getting no response. You write your query, do everything the agency wanted and hear nothing. Worst yet is when it happens with an agent you had personally met before at a conference. This no response is the rudest one because no matter how bad or good you are at writing, you know that to that agent you are a "nothing," a virtual nobody. The agent doesn't stop to consider that you paid the postage in the SASE and that 32 cents comes out of your pocket. The agent is in this business for the money, and he or she really doesn't care about you or your money or the trouble you've gone through.

Most of the time you do get a response, but it is usually a slip of 2" x 2" paper informing you they cannot use your manuscript. Sometimes it is a form postcard, or if the agency is really professional, it is a nonpersonal form letter.

There have been those rare instances when an agent or editor has writen me some comment. In the case of my first novel, it was things like my writing was weak, or my beginning was too ponderous. These little hints were important because they at least indicated the individual took time to read some of it. Though I didn't agree with these comments on that first manuscript, I must confess that after two years from the time of writing it, I have found these comments to have been true. My writing was weak and my beginning too ponderous.

It is not unusual to make fifty to one hundred contacts with editors or agents in the selling of a single novel. It is nice to know early in the process if your work does have some sort of fatal error like a ponderous beginning. This knowledge saves you much expense and trouble down the line.

Value any criticism, even negative. It is a rare thing these days that anyone will tell you what they think about anything.

The best thing to do is get a friend or fellow writer whom you trust to read and critique the manuscript before you send it out. That is the great thing about sites like the Writer's Workbook--here you have the opportunity to do just that. Joining a writer's organization or a critique group will also help accomplish that purpose.

Happy writing!


Eddie french Tue Dec 15 08:02:59 PST 1998

Just a quick ? comment on the 'Rejection' letters which we all collect and the damage that a badly performed crit can do to an aspiring writer.

A long time ago (In a galaxy fa......) I wrote a short story called Alliance. It was a good V evil experiment mixed with the previous civilisation concept. There was also a sprinkling of history etc. etc.

I submitted the story to a magazine which will remain anonymous. I waited and waited. I recieved the letter some 8 weeks later. The crit included words like 'almost stapelonian in concept' 'Turgid' (you know the script)
I was so devastated that I refused to submit anything for about ten years.
What I missed was the footnote in the letter. It said

Please try us again!

BTW. In the submission guidelines it was stated quite clearly that the editors would not crit any work sent in (because of the volume of submissions. All replies would be by standard form of rejection or acceptance.
The crit which I recieved was hand written and clipped to the standard form of rejection .(Which also had a paragraph apologising for the impersonal mode of reply.)

If I'd known then what I know now.......

Oh well!


S.K.S. Perry Tue Dec 15 06:10:00 PST 1998


Not only do people misunderstand humour, but they often misunderstand the whole point of what you've written. Your lawnmower article is a perfect case in point. I think the problem is that there are too many people walking around with a huge chip on their shoulders, who take offence at the drop of a hat. Maybe it's just their way of getting attention and making themselves feel important.

Be Well, Live Well.

Thomas Tue Dec 15 06:02:43 PST 1998


That is exactly what I love about being a writer. I enjoy the negative as well as the positive feedback. Makes me know I touched someone.

Recently, I wrote a piece about the stupid, in my opinion, law in the U.S. which makes it mandatory for lawn mower manufacturers to no longer offer a neutral gear. When you release the clutch handle, the mower stops running. This is to protect ourselves from stupidly sticking our hands under a running mower blade, which of course does not spin while in neutral. My property is large, curvascious and bumpy (sounds good) and that means I am forever winding my way, releasing the clutch handle -- hence, turning off the mower.
I received a nasty email complaining that my piece denigrated the handicapped, which of course had nothing whatsoever to do with my complaint.

S.K.S. Perry Tue Dec 15 05:53:21 PST 1998


Speaking of the power of the Word, our base paper published "Intro to Ballet 101," a little bit of nonsense I wrote (It's posted on the Workbook, by the way.) I really didn't think anyone read the base paper, but apparently the Executive Director of the Quinte Ballet School does. Not only did she respond to the article, but she sent me two complimentary tickets (front row, center) to thier performance of the Nutcracker! I think she's daring me, and being who I am, I'll just have to go.

And Eddie, as to a misconstrued sense of humour, I had that problem with a few people here at the notebook who mistakenly thought they had offended me by comments I had made--all in fun. After a few reassurances that I'm really rather hard to offend, we straightened things out. The problem with written humour is that we don't have that face to face feedback that let's you know someone is just kidding. People often don't catch on that you're pulling their leg even when you are there in person, and it's made that much more difficult when there's none of those little cues--a wink, a grin--that you can pick up on from the written word.

Like I've said before, it's amazing that even writers, whose art is to express themselves on paper, can be so easily misunderstood.

Be Well, Live Well.

Thomas Tue Dec 15 05:51:52 PST 1998


I once worked with a Briton here in New York City. The first time he referred to me as "cheeky" I thought I had to go on a diet. Later, in the nineteen-seventies, I lived in Tehran, Iran for two years where I made friends with a Liverpudlian named Bryan. One day I arrived at the British club where he and I played squash and I met his wife who said to me, "your mate is in the hospital". I did not stop for an explanation. I ran to the telelphone to call the hospital to find out how my wife was doing.
Your first novel at 9. No, that's not an artist, that's a prodigy!


If an editor takes the time to write a few words that is a good sign, not as good as acceptance but good enough to invite you back. I was thinking: perhaps we need to change the word for the thing that happens when an editor declines a writer's material. Maybe it isn't rejection at all. Maybe we need a word that places the emphasis on the editor's lack of insight. I like to think that stack of "rejections" I have lying around in a drawer is actually a sack of misunderstandings.

Doesn't a rejection do something negative to one's ego?

On this ego and art thing -- love to get a discussion going. Ego is good. I mean, what else makes us want to express ourselves? What else makes us believe we have something to say? It's when we believe we have the ONLY something to say that we get into the ego baaaadlands. As for art, I guess everybody is an artist. The ones who actually do something with their art get the titles.

Allein Mon Dec 14 19:22:54 PST 1998

Eddie - don't worry about it. Lots of people who see my name at first think it's 'alien'. But my character Allein is an alien, so I don't mind. The name actually means 'alone' in German - but we already covered that when I joined. ^.~

Bye, bye,

Feylena Mon Dec 14 17:35:26 PST 1998


Well, I finally managed to post a story on the Writer's Workbook... yesch!

You see, I usually do most of my writing on Mat, my old clunker of a laptop, instead of the computer in our house with the modem... and, as Fate has it in for me, the two computers are non-compatable. Which means that if I want to post any of my stories, I first have to retype them. Why does Fate do this? Does she enjoy watching type... and type... and type... and, for a change, type some more...? Sometimes I just don't get it.

However, I really do want some feedback on this story, so feel free to make my effort worth the while.

Jai: So sorry, on that 'regection' note. I've never even submitted anything (no nerve) so I have not had to go through the agony of being rejected. After reading all your posts on the agonies of rejection, I'm not sure I want to! Jai, you have more courage than I. Someday it'll pay you back. Good luck, and have fun in the sun during your vacation, and I do mean sun. No snow yet!!!

I have not been online for a couple of days... nearing on a week... because I've been so bloody busy. This past weekend I worked at a Girl Scout camp and helped to run a Daddy-Daughter weekend. It was really great. The fathers all hovered protectively over their daughters, and acted all silly and sweet for their daughter. The girls were 7 to 10 years old, just little darlings. I washed a lot of rather nasty and greasy dishes. Ah well, not everything can be perfect, I suppose.

Oh, and whoever recommended "Deryni Rising" to me (I'm so sorry I don't remember!) you were right - that book rocked! Loved it. Feel free to e-mail me, whoever you are.

Welcome, Jodi, from another newcomer. You are the first person I've gotten to greet! Oh, this is so exciting!

I wrote a little throw-away essay on stereotypes last year for my English class, and I believe that topic sentence went something to the effect of "Stereotypes allow us to meet the characters, sympathize with them quickly, and go off on the quest - the real adventure." I always feel bad using cliches, but unfortunately it is hard to avoid it. To quote somebody, the only person who was able to be truly original was Adam. But I agree with Thomas, that if you do have a character who seems stereotypical, just twist their character a little, give them some little quirk that sets them apart.

And hey, I don't have an writer's ego - I mean, it's perfectly obvious I'm superior to everyone! No need for me to brag about it. ;-)

Fare thee well,

Eddie French Mon Dec 14 17:34:26 PST 1998

(Why do I think of 'alien' when I try to remember how to spell your name?)
Don't worry about getting down now and again. when you do just post it here!
See what happens!

Cheeky, quick, sharp, on top, (scouse attributes, scouse terms) These are the qualities which make a person 'respectable' in the town where I was born. I don't know just how far the reputation of 'liverpool humour' has travelled around the world.(remember the Beatles Interviews way back when?)
As a writer I have used these accepted attributes successfully in a play for radio which was broadcast on a local radio station back in 1985.
Although I had begun to have some success in this field, I found that it was not what I wanted to achieve.
I want only to write stories.
So Thomas, no need to explain. (Honestly!)

Have a good holiday

Why do we write?
Why do Crack addicts take crack?
I spend my days subconsciuosly arranging and re-arranging plots and scenes in my head.
A song, or a line in a song can inspire me to write a story (Leaving Birmingham was inspired by Peter gabriels 'Shoot into the light') We can't help it. It just happens and we have to follow through.

I think I agree with you. I wrote my first ten page 'Novel' when I was 9 years old. Was I an artist then?

Have I missed anyone? I'm not ignoring anyone today!


Jai Mon Dec 14 16:49:29 PST 1998


Got my first regection on sunday, I suppose I'll get alot more before I get published and the editor did provide a very small amount of great feedback. Good news though is that I'm on holidays, visiting family and basking in the invigerating greens of nature. But I'll miss being online, being able to surf this electronic ocean. See you all again in three weeks, hopefully with many new pages added to my novel and possible even the odd short story. Happy Hunting.

Yes, welcome, though I'm not sure if I can say that since I'm probably newer than you ( I've only been here for a few weeks now ).

Why do I write? Because I love inspiring people, inspiring feelings and thoughts. If I can write a novel that could be read by a thousand or a million people well.... Anyway that's the dream.

My struggle is holding what I have so far secret, not "publishing" it on my web page (though I do have the first two chapters). But I must, I must hoard my writting until it is complete then let it burst forth in all its magnificence.

Jai Shaw

P.S. I hope a small amount of my good humour or "outside interferrence" will rub off on you Allein-chan and make your day a little happier.

Allein-chan Mon Dec 14 15:08:54 PST 1998

Thanks all - I feel a little better now. :) Of course, it wasn't just here, it was school, church, home and everywhere else, so you guys aren't at fault. I just posted it here because I felt like getting it out and it's hard to tell people these things to their faces.
In better news, I raised my math grade by one whole point - I'm transferring to a better teacher next semester.

Caroline - I'll let you know how Prince of Egypt turns out, but it might be until after Christmas that I get a chance to see it. My allowence is limited, so I may have to rely on Christmas money.

K, well bye and happy holidays,

Thomas Mon Dec 14 14:20:43 PST 1998

Having an ego is not a negative thing to me; without it we would find it difficult to express ourselves or to get what we want out of life. Being egocentric is another matter, and that is not what I meant about being a writer, not that some writers aren't. On the subject of art, I believe you are an artist the moment you practice your art. If it is inside you, dormant, it is still art but unless you let it out, well, I don't know...
Yeah, the trouble with writing humor (God knows I have had trouble with it) arises when the person on the other end is unknown to you. I was just being cheeky myself -- I believe that is the word for it across the Atlantic.

Eddie French Mon Dec 14 14:15:35 PST 1998

Look what you did now! grin

We should get up a chat room. Now wouldn't that be fun

S.N.Arly Mon Dec 14 13:37:00 PST 1998

Thomas - I disagree with the ego thing. Not all artists have an ego the size of Texas. Likewise the inverse is true. I was very self conscious about writing when I was younger. Did that mean I wasn't an artist? When I started becoming confident in my writing was I becoming an artist? No. I was always a writer, will always be a writer, and I don't expect the ego thing to get out of control.

Jodi - My brain would rot otherwise. Ie: I write because I'm a writer.

Allein - Ignored? Not likely. If it feels that way, console yourself with the fact that we're all busy this time of year, whether we want to be or not. And according to a lot of prior posts, people ARE reading your story, so they're not exactly ignoring you.



Eddie French Mon Dec 14 12:33:24 PST 1998

Ooops! Sorry Thomas, per'aps me 'Liverpool' sense o'humer' just gorraway there for a mo'

Boy this is getting deep!
Psycho-analysis intrigues me
:¬) )-:

Thomas Mon Dec 14 10:05:06 PST 1998

Perhaps. But only if you misread the message and also if you allowed it to happen. I'm not the one using upper case!

Angel Mon Dec 14 10:02:55 PST 1998

Uh, make that 'NOT deliberately ignoring us'. How's that for a Fruedian slip?


Angel Mon Dec 14 09:59:50 PST 1998

Hi all.

I think, and this is pure psychobabble so take it for what it may be worth, that if a person is feeling bad about himself then everything that happens reinforces that sense of inadequacy(sp). For instance, feeling alone and overlooked can be intensified by not hearing the magic words "YOU GOT MAIL" or, for me, not having any new letters sent to my e-mail even if I haven't been to the computer for a week. At those times, it is easy to think that no one listens or cares, and we actually LOOK for ways to prove to ourselves that our perceptions are true. Sometimes, or most of the time, our perceptions are not true, people are deliberately ignoring us. They are busy or overlooked themselves, and their imagined slights are unintentional.

As for why writing, well, as I've described, writing is something I've always done, but I'd never described myself as a writer before recently. That first novel, with main character "Jharad", started with an image that wouldn't leave my head until I finally wrote it down. The story started there and continues to pressure me into being created.

Thanks for bearing with me.

Eddie french Mon Dec 14 08:20:01 PST 1998

You mean I'm being manipulated by a cranky person....RIGHT NOW??? :¬)

Thomas Mon Dec 14 06:34:46 PST 1998

There's a great writing lesson in watching how people use their moods to manipulate others. Lots of times cranky people are trying to get something, some response from those around them. If you study this manipulative tool, you can build great characters in your stories, ones who react to one another by their manipulative moves.

My schedule prevents me from getting to the sites often to read postings. I also have great difficulty concentrating on what I read on a computer screen, which means I have to download a lot of stuff, and I am not always free to do so. I like this group more for the connections made from writer-to-writer then for critiquing -- but that is my need at the moment. I get all the critiquing I need from those blasted editors.

S.K.S. Perry Mon Dec 14 05:45:54 PST 1998


I'm not ignoring you, honest. I read everything you post on the notebook, and it gets the same thought and consideration I give everyone else--for whatever that's worth!

In honesty though, I can't say as I've read much of your postings to the Workbook, but that's just laziness on my part. The truth is, you write too much! I could make a career out of just reading your stuff. In an effort to critique as many different works as possible and still find time to work on my own stories, I'm afraid I sometimes tend to overlook some of the longer works, although if I recall correctly, I have sent you a critique before.

I guess all I can say is that your just as much a part of our little writing family here as anyone else, your work, your thoughts, and opinions are just as valid as anyone's here, and if you're feeling ignored, believe me, it's not intentional.

Be Well, Live Well.

Martha V. Mon Dec 14 04:05:21 PST 1998

Jodi - "Why Write?" - Because I have to. Characters bang around in my head and stories play behind my eyes. Sometimes I think that the reality of these beings must mean that I need to visit the loony bin . . . that may be true, but for the most part I can keep people who don't exist in their rightful place and recognize that my conversations with them aren't real. The big thing is working with words. After decades of non-fiction writing on computers, writing fiction is like waking up in heaven. So to answer your question, I write because it is satisfying to me. When you can't sleep at five in the morning because a story wants out, you know you are a writer.

Caroline Heske Mon Dec 14 01:03:32 PST 1998

Allein - yeah, I thought Prince of Egypt looked good from it's preview too. Tell me if it's worth seeing. I love those kids cartoons when they're done really well (which is not very often.)

Rhoda Sun Dec 13 22:43:45 PST 1998


Welcome to the Notebook. I hope you enjoy it as I have. It is a fine group of people here.


So when are you overlooked? I'd like to read the stuff from your web-page. It might take me a few days, but I've been reading so much about it on the Notebook I must buzz over to your web-site and check it out.

I feel much better about Christmas now. I do not want anyone to believe that I am one of those who hate Christmas--bah, humbug and all that. We went to church this morning, sang Christmas carols, listened to the hand-bell choir, and enjoyed the beauty of the sanctuary with its greenery and decorations. In such a setting it is far easier to forget the little frustrations of the season and to reflect upon the birth of my savior and what His coming has meant to me. My children are watching their Christmas tapes, and once again I can enjoy RUDOLPH THE RED- NOSED RAINDEER, GARFIELD, THE SANTA CLAUSE, and JINGLE ALL THE WAY. My Christmas shopping is done. My packages are mailed. My Christmas cards are done. The weather has even cooperated by getting colder.

I've taken a little time off from my writing because of the business of the season though I am itching to work on a novel and a short story I've thought of. Is anyone here familiar with the market for romantic short stories? I've been reading some of them in women's magazines and they don't seem very complicated. Has anyone tried this market?


I have printed your story and have spent the week-end trying to find the time to read it. I will get to it soon and give you my thoughts on it.

It is a goal of mine to catch up on much of what I have missed while I struggled to recover from my move and to complete the final edits of my last novel.

Well, it is late and I must get some sleep.

Happy writing!


Allein-chan Sun Dec 13 21:02:15 PST 1998

Thomas - A thought just occured to me. Outside interferrence can make you feel a certain way. For instance, when my mom is cranky, everyone else is cranky.
My mom is always cranky on the holidays - Halloween was a particularly bad one. But, I'm going to see Prince of Egypt soon, so, that should make me happy.

See y'all,

Allein-chan Sun Dec 13 20:53:47 PST 1998

Thomas - Thank you.

Anyone need some good reading over the holidays - I've included the addy of my webpage. I'm planning on reading some other work of people here. I'll be updating soon.

Happy Holidays,

Thomas Sun Dec 13 18:30:30 PST 1998

The season is an external force. It has no bearing on one's internal. Get over feeling bad by doing something you enjoy. There! someone is not ignoring you.

The question -- why do we write -- is unanswerable: why do we breath?
I believe writing is both an art and a craft. The art is in the ideas and a writer's voice; the craft is in the delivery.
To get close to the answer to why we write you could look into the ego. Most artists have quite healthy egos. Many writers also engage in other arts.

Allein-chan Sun Dec 13 16:58:53 PST 1998

Jodi - Welcome. Everyone here is really nice. Actually, I'm kinda annoying and a little overlooked - no one talks to me.
:( Hope you visit again soon.

Jodi Sun Dec 13 16:22:06 PST 1998

Greetings of the Season (regardless of how you choose to view it) to one and all:

About three months ago I came upon this site quite unexpectedly. I was actually looking for a computer software related site. At that time, my schedule did not allow more than an occasional visit to your pages. I have dropped by and looked through your comments about once a month. I have been looking forward to a time when I could join and become an active participant in the conversations you pursue. That time has come!

I have been writing for about 15 years. I am not published, though that is something that I would like to change. Most of my work is still written out in notebooks and I am undertaking the arduous task of transferring it to the computer. What I have read here has encouraged me to continue with this undertaking.

This week however, that needs to be placed on hold, I am preparing a paper for my literature class, and I have a bit of research to do. Therefore, I have a question for the experts (that means you guys). What do writers think of writers? Not a specific writer, but as a profession, or a calling. Why do we do it? In addition, other than the poem by Kipling, does anyone know of anything published on what a writer is?

Any input that you could give on this topic would be greatly appreciated. You can either post it here or send it to me at



Allein-chan Sun Dec 13 16:05:18 PST 1998

I don't know the power of the word. I've never had anything published, but I will when our school's lit. zine comes out.
Of course, why bother putting it here. No one cares what I have to say anyway - at least, that's kinda the way I feel right now (stress of the X-mas season).
A fairly saddened, Allein-chan

Thomas Sun Dec 13 10:57:53 PST 1998

Yeah, the power of the word!
Let's start this subject going: anyone out there have a point at which you recognized truly the power of your words?
I experienced it a few times -- both good and bad. My most recent was the threatening phone calls for taking to task in my Sunday column our local electric utility company for poor service. I touched a nerve when I told how I learned from an employee that the rural community in which I live is too small a market for the company to upgrade its equipment into this century. In the phone calls I was being "persuaded" to leave town.
Another time I wrote an not-so-politically correct piece about product safety rules that have inundated us with government warnings and how we seek the government to guard us against our own stupidity. Whew! Woke up a few single-purposed groups with that one.
On the good side, I get letters and phone calls from people who my words have touched in some way. That is nice.

Caroline Heske Sun Dec 13 06:07:45 PST 1998

Briefly passing through...

Well done Toby!

SKS - I'm getting to those chapters, I swear it!

And Chapter 12 is finished... 13 down - 22 or so to go... oh well, it sounded better when I just talked about chapter twelve... *sigh*

Rhoda Sat Dec 12 20:38:13 PST 1998


Way to go, friend! Congratulations on getting published.

Allein-chan Sat Dec 12 18:45:07 PST 1998

Just found time and finished chapter ten. Chapter 11 is on the way. It's getting rather good.

Goodweed of the North Sat Dec 12 18:12:34 PST 1998

We got a dusting of snow, but it's nearly melted off now. It's cold enough to support the white stuff though. Let's hope some falls within the next two weeks. To quote a great lyric, "I'm dreaming of a white Christmas".

I placed a couple of poems in the poetry section. Have a look. Enjoy, or not. If you like 'em, I'll post more. I have no asperations of publishing my poetry. I write it for the enjoyment it gives me. I like the upbeat stuff, like "Chicago", by Carl Sandberg, or anything by Robert Frost. Got to go. Good writing to all of you.

Seeeeeya; Goodweed of the North

Allein-chan Sat Dec 12 16:25:04 PST 1998

Hi all. I just felt like writing in. We have rain today. :(
The weather man said that if the sky is a water balloon, there's a hole right above the Kitsap Pennisula and it's not going to go away anytime soon. Anyone have snow yet?

I'll update my page as soon as I can and get chapter 10 up there - if I get it finished soon it might be up this week. :)

Bye bye,

Toby B Sat Dec 12 11:58:01 PST 1998

Yes: I get a huge weird deja-vu but not quite feeling. I also write for the college campus newspaper now, and everytime I read my stuff its like 'yeah, I wrote that??!! Wow.'

Thomas Sat Dec 12 11:32:54 PST 1998

You old pro.
Do you get that feeling I talked about when you read your words in print, that sense that you vaguely recognize the words as having come from you?

Sat Dec 12 10:20:12 PST 1998

What I meant to say was:

Sixth time I've had something published, but it's only my second paid sale :). My first paid sale was October.

Thanks all...

Toby B Sat Dec 12 10:17:57 PST 1998

Sorry Thomas, not the first time...second sale sixth time, only my second paid fiction sale though :)

eddie French Sat Dec 12 08:42:22 PST 1998

Nice one Toby :¬)

Thomas Sat Dec 12 08:18:00 PST 1998

Assume it is your first time -- ah, the first time! Congratulations.
The first time I saw my words in print I was unsure I had written them as they appeared. I believed the editor changed every sentence, so I compared the published piece to my copy of the submission. It was true: I had written the stuff. There were a few edits, but mostly they were my thoughts and words -- ah, the first time.
What am I saying? Even after years of writing I have that experience each time I see my stuff published. I write a Sunday newspaper column, and it happens there too, every week.
I spend hours, days, weeks, months or years with a piece, after I put the words down on paper (er, digital paper these days) my brain seems to remove them, and when they reappear they seem vaguely like old friends.
But, ah, the first time.

Goodweed of the North Sat Dec 12 07:39:01 PST 1998

Toby; Congrats. You prove once more that good things can come to those who work their tales off. No one desearves it more. Enjoy the moment.

Seeeeeya; Goodweed of the North

Barb G. Sat Dec 12 06:51:21 PST 1998

Hi Y'all,

Toby: Great news! Congratulations!

Gottarun -- Havahappi

S.K.S. Perry Sat Dec 12 06:39:34 PST 1998

Hey Toby,

Congrats on getting published. It's nice to see someone is, and it gives the rest of us incentive and hope.

Be Well, Live Well.

Allein-chan Fri Dec 11 18:47:33 PST 1998

Toby - That's congrats on being published, by the way. I sort of ran on w/out making a paragraph separation like I meant to. :)

Allein-chan Fri Dec 11 17:10:12 PST 1998

Toby - CONGRATS!!! I went to your webpage (we're both in Area51). I liked it, although, I couldn't spend too much time there because my time is limited. You seem like a very nice person. Please drop by my webpage when you have the time. :)


J T Lyons Fri Dec 11 16:59:56 PST 1998

Just thought I would mention that you _must_ go to the above mentioned site. ~grin~ They are an on-line zine for non-published writers, and actually you will see a short story that I wrote, which they kindly put up on there page. ~grin~ Anyway, check it out, ok? Go on, you must be a little curious by now!

Toby B Fri Dec 11 16:39:06 PST 1998

Speaking of rejections: I didn't get one today, I got an acceptance from Jackhammer for a small 750 worder I wrote for last weeks Creative Writing class.

Made my week!


Thomas Thu Dec 10 17:02:28 PST 1998

Not only have I seen some of the crap that's in print, according to my rejection slips, I have written some of it!
After a week in New York City to drum up writing assignments in my old profession as script writer for corporate meetings (need the money, man) I am convinced that success in anything is mostly who you know.
Where I live now (300 miles from New York City) I can't get arrested for indecent exposure on the highway (maybe I should color purple what's left of my hair). But I am in New York City for five days and I come up with two $1,200 writing gigs. That's what friends are for -- forget editors.
Incidentally, I think using stereotypes sucks...shows a lack of ingenuity, or at the least, laziness. I believe writing should always strive to offer something starkly personal and, if possible, unique. Let's say you've got a character who in your mind is stereotypical -- add something unexpected to that character, something you might do but the character would never be expected to do. Good writing is in the writer's voice and outlook.

You are right; let's not go there.

Allein-chan htttp:// Thu Dec 10 14:02:34 PST 1998

S.N. Arly - I don't have a problem with it either (some of my friends dress this way and my brother would too if my parents would let him). I know people like that. And, actually, there's a story behind how Allein's uncle looks. On Halloween, my friend Cliff dressed up like a punk rocker and we were discussing my story. And we were discussing Allein's uncle so, Cliff asked me how he looked (at first he was clean-cut and nice looking) so I said (in a joking fashion), "Ah...kinda like you." So, I didn't start out with him as that kind of person, but after that conversation the description stuck. I later thought, though, that it might be a nice idea to have one of the prim and proper Andersons go awry.
And like I said before, the other rapits comes across as a nice looking guy, but I can't say more than that or anyone reading the story might know who it is. So, I did put both sides in there.
Just thought I'd say that. Bye bye.

S.N.Arly Thu Dec 10 13:46:13 PST 1998

Jai - I don't tend to lose the big picture, but to keep my characters and storyline fluid I'll go back two to thhree chapters and just read it. I love continuity.

I actually reread anytime I pick up something I've put down, even if it's overnight. I'm working on a short story right now and I'll go back and read yesterday's additions before continuoing on today. Some people consider rereading a waste of time, but it works for me and I think I end up doing fewer major revisions.

SKS - If you're talking about the length of time for novel querrys and subs, oh, yah. Time frame is completely irrelevant.

Thomas - Yes. WE are just to miraculously fall into the publishers lap once we have achieved true greatness in writing. If we haven't gotten there, we must not be that great. What a tragedy. Then again, one would tend to wonder if that logic truly fits. Have you SEEN some of the crap that's in print?

On stereotypes - I don't want to get into a big debate over this, but I do want to point out that both sides have valid points. There are definitley times when use of a stereotype can push a story along, and eliminate a lot of description and or development that might otherise be needed to fill out the character or place. This is especially useful in short stuff. On the other hand, there are a lot of sterotypes that are overused and many that are inaccurate to begin with. So I guess it's probably best to use them with caution. Be aware of them when they show up in your stories, and make sure they really belong there.

I personally don't have a problem with body piercings, tattos and unnaturally tinted hair. I have friends like this, who are wonderful people who just don't want to look like they do, or they happen to like purple hair. Statistically speaking, there are also a lot of deliberately clean-cut rapists.

So again, just something to be aware of and use cautiously.


Julie Thu Dec 10 12:34:18 PST 1998

it's so interesting to see writing and poetry writing skills develop in young adults. when my daughter was 6 she started writing volumes of rhymes about dogs and trees. Now at 10 her poems have a different flavor -- about people and relationships. She carries her notebook with her where ever she goes to write a song here and a poem there. It's so amazing to see. Please feel free to go read her poem "Autumn" on my web site. Let me know what you think. Julie.

S.K.S. Perry Thu Dec 10 09:07:59 PST 1998


I usually find that reading the last chapter I'm working on reminds me of the tone and voice of the story. If you're a long way into a novel, it's sometimes handy to keep a list of relevent plot developements, characters--including descriptions, any new words or philosophies you may have created, ect. I add this stuff to a separate document and keep it minimized while I work away, then if there's something I'm not sure of, I can find out with a simple click of the mouse.


As always, there's a thousand insignificant reasons why editors don't do these little things to make life easier, but what it really comes down to, "We don't have to, so why should we?" Writing must be one of the few professions where you basically have to beg and grovel so that someone will let you work for them. "Oh please, let me be your slave. I promise I'll make you lots of money."

It says something about the type of people we are, and I really don't want to go there!!

Be Well, Live Well.

Thomas Thu Dec 10 07:13:45 PST 1998

your story about the editor and the rapist points out that editors often believe they are the true arbiters of the public's taste. And how does one know when one will touch an editor's nerve?

SKS, forget the e-mail route, at least for a while. The reason it won't happen is that too many people, even those with a computer sitting on their desks, still are afraid to use the thing. And I heard that editors are generally afraid that e-mail is so easy they will be bombarded with messages if they let it be known that they have e-mail adresses. You've got to understand their job is not to find new and unusual writers, but to wait for the writers to fall into their laps. Anyway, editors have a direct line to Divine Intervention, why do they need e-mail?

Jai,(great name) on that novel problem. Perhaps what you need to do is go back only to the last chapter or few pages you wrote. If you continue that way you should be following the line reasonably well, but even if not. A book or story or any writing can be, and usually is, changed and altered after its completion, so don't try to change it too much during its creation. Incidentally, I have the same problem so I needed that!

S.K.S. Perry Thu Dec 10 06:18:07 PST 1998

Oh ya,

A further note on response times. I mail from Canada, mostly to the U.S. markets. I live about an hour from Toronto, yet I've had mail take up to seven days just to get there. You can imagine the kind of holdups that might result in trying to mail stuff to the U.S., what with going through customs and all (they tend to like to check large envelopes.) I figure I'm probably not out of line adding a month or two to the response times stated.

And on a further note to the "Why can't publishers make things easier on us?" it would be nice if they could E-mail there rejection or acceptance slips. Most of them have web sites, and it has to be a lot faster than snail mail. I'm sure they could set up electronic form letters. It may not be any more personal than it is now, but at least it would cut down on their response time.

S.K.S. Perry Thu Dec 10 05:01:54 PST 1998


Yes I've heard of the Black Hole, but the spread on response times for some of these things is so great as to be meaningless.

Jai Shaw Wed Dec 9 19:29:10 PST 1998

Another thing,

S.K.S. Perry,
About your five month wait, have you heard of The Black Hole?

It's a site that gives best, worst and average times that submissions have taken to get a response. Might help ease your mind. Good luck.

Allein-chan Wed Dec 9 18:43:25 PST 1998

Hey everyone. I don't remember if I said I'd get the next two chapters of my story up on my webpage by Sunday. Well, if I did, I won't. Not possible. Ain't gonna happen. I've been really busy with school right now. I have loads of tests and essays and such before winter break. So, over winter break, I might get three chapters up on my webpage.
So, for anyone who's been reading my story (please read my story - not like I'm begging, but PLEASE read my story!! - j/k :) I won't have it updated until sometime after the 19th.

Barb - Don't listen to that guy. I stereotyped my sexual assulters too. Take Allein's uncle (if you've read my story - you'll know what's going on). His uncle has spiked hair and piercings and tattoos and looks like one of those people that parents never want their kids to hang with. Only, he's not a kid, he's 27. The only time, in fact, that he looks somewhat normal is at Allein's birthday party when he dyes his hair blonde (to cover up all the pink, blue, green, etc.) and combed it nicely, put on a suit (covered up his tattoos), and took out his piercings (except for one earring, of course). And the rapist - well, I can't really go there because people might realize who he is then (I'll say this much though - it's not Allein's uncle), but he's rather creepy looking too. I don't really believe in stereotyping, but sometimes, it can do a story some good.

Well, I've babbled too much, and mostly about stuff you people probably don't care about, so, bye for now.
(Wow, that was a long post!)

Jai Shaw Wed Dec 9 18:37:58 PST 1998


I often find such happens when I force myself to do somthing. Sort of a backlash effect, an unwillingness to continue for a while, though this seems to be more of a personal problem.

I have been wondering latly about a method of mine,
Whenever I stop on my novel for a period I reread it to the point I'm up to, to get the "big picture" clear in my head. But as the novel is begining to grow large this is becoming quite a chore, anyone have methods of overcoming this problem, ways of keeping the "big picture" in mind while still being able leave the project for another every so often?

Jai Shaw

S.K.S. Perry Wed Dec 9 17:05:40 PST 1998


Nope, at the moment the Undead are just lying around, probably waiting for Music to revive them.

Be Well, Live Well.

Barb G. Wed Dec 9 16:44:18 PST 1998

Hi Y'all,

Thomas: Sorry, pal. Been done. I got it. It's called Rotten Rejections - Publisher: Bill Henderson, edited by Andre' Bernard, Penquin books. It's hilarious. You'll love it. My sadistic daughter got it for me last Christmas!

Just to mention two: Animal Farm, George Orwell=
"I am highly critical of many aspects of internal and external Soviet policy; but I could not possibly publish...a general attack of this kind."
Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Anita Loos=
"Do you realize, young woman, that you're the first American writer ever to poke fun at sex?"

I sent a story out last year about the rape of a 12 year-old girl. The editor wrote back: "I am sick and tired seeing men bashed and portrayed as mashers. I didn't like the fact that the man had bad teeth, and had his hair slicked back! Too stereotypical. Anyway, it's the girl's fault, because she should have known better than to go into the woods with the rapist."
(They weren't exactly holding hands and speaking sweet nothings into each other's ears. She was dragged, beaten, etc., etc.)

Sorry didn't mean to vent on you guys, but it still rankles!

SKS: Hey, what about the undead? Do you expect them to just walk around like they're alive or something?


Thomas Wed Dec 9 14:55:17 PST 1998

SKS. Thanks for both the advice and the laughs.

I think I am going to try the SAR route (self addressed rejection) along with my SASE. I'll go one better. I am going to send them a SAA (self addressed acceptance) and I might even give myself a raise in the process.
I am thinking about making a book out of rejections, but who in the hell would believe some of the stuff we get? However, anyone who wants to collaborate on such a book, let me know -- I think I have the first 200 chapters covered.

As for the three-month/four-month routine, it can't hurt to drop them a line, since they are the ones who are late in responding. I am twiddling my thumbs over a publisher in California who, about five weeks ago, phoned me to ask to see my complete nonfiction manuscript. I sent it Priority Mail (two to three days here in the USA). Since he called me raving about the sample chapters I sent him, I thought things would go well and smoothly. Now I guess I shall have to contact him. Ain't no way these editors make it easy.

Here's one for you: when I got home from Thanksgiving holiday I had an email from an editor at a magazine canceling our appointment. We never had an appointment. I responded by saying you must have been mistaken, but I would like to discuss those story ideas you mentioned. She responded by saying I was mistaken and we had an appointment in her office for the day before Thanksgiving.

Now, since she is in the Midwest and I am in the Northeast, and I know I do not make appointments at such distances on a daily basis, I might have remembered this one -- might have if it was real. She obviously has someone else in mind. She has not answered my last email, which of course I brought to the point -- I still would like to discuss those story ideas. I mean, the other guy, who was so lucky to have an appointment to discuss them, did not show up.

Litter Wed Dec 9 14:34:19 PST 1998

Hi Ya'all

Just back from a wonderful trip to 'Loosiana'. I was going to catch up but I guess things have been archived again so I shall say more when I have overcome the jet-lag and seen the archives.

Greetings and felicitations.


Michele Wed Dec 9 14:03:13 PST 1998

Wow ! I seem to have started a major conversation there - crikey !

On the topic of what Christmas is for, etc. I guess because I am a Christian I believe it should have a more loving tone that it generally does these days. I don't HATE Christmas at all, so don't anybody think that - I just hate the fact that it's rammed in your face from August onwards. I've just finished writing my cards to everyone and I've been thinking pleasant thoughts of all my friends as I did it. But I'm not a kid any more - we've always had little money in our family so Christmas has never been that big a deal to me in terms of gifts.

Um I think I'm probably wittering now - blame it on the fact I was working on my essay until late last night and then slept badly so I'm overtired now.

I wish everyone a loving time this holiday - whatever your religious beliefs and I wish you all success in your writing.


S.N.Arly Wed Dec 9 13:56:13 PST 1998

Howard - Nice story.

Thomas - I'd say you over did it and need a break. That usually happend to me right after pushing headlong trhough a project and suddenly finishing it. Take some time to do some other things you like, and if you happen to get inspired along the way...

SKS - Too bad publishers write the rules. You have some great ideas there. And it should be "if you haven't heard from us in three months, we are just a pack of losers anyway, so don't bother to send it agian. We gave the last copy to our cleaning lady and she lined her birdcage with it. Ha!"


S.K.S. Perry Wed Dec 9 10:29:46 PST 1998

I HAVE TAKEN OVER THE NOTEBOOK. Ok, maybe it just seems that way. I've noticed a lot of the rants and raves here are mine. Boy, are you people tolerant!

Guess what? Here's another one. I've been waiting now a little over four months on a response to a story I've submitted. Now that might not sound like much, but the editor states on their website that if you haven't heard from them in three months, consider your manuscript lost and resubmit. Well, that's just unacceptable, especially if you're paranoid like I am. I mean, we all know what the mail service is like, and I'm mailing from Canada. It could have taken over a month just to get there. What if they did get it, and it's their rejection (or God willing, acceptence) slip that got lost in the mail. You know the minute I resubmit it that something will show up in my mailbox.

Why can't they just post the title of manuscripts received on their web page, then at least you'd know if it got there or not. (There actually is one mag in Canada that does this.) With all the nit-picky crap they expect from us, it wouldn't hurt them to help out a little, especially since it really isn't any extra work for them. Most of them keep a log anyway.

Gee, maybe we could make it even easier on them and send our own rejection slips along with the SASE. I'm sure I could write a much nicer one then they do. Something along the lines of, "Wow, your work is awesome--truly Hugo or Nebula award material--however our editor had trouble with the words over two syllables, so unfortunately we can't use it. We promise, though, that we'll eagerly read anything else you send us, and give it our personal attention."

Thank you, I feel much better now.

Be Well, Live Well.

Jack Beslanwitch Wed Dec 9 09:26:49 PST 1998

Just wanted to make note, also, that I have added a collaborative fiction/round robin for a start of a story suggested by Gail Williams. There is another couple that I have to ferret out of my email that I will be adding as well. So, for those who are members of Writers Workbook jump in, the waters fine and I know from my previous experience with The Train that some interesting, surprising and wonderful things can happen. Also, feel free to cc the existing authors and discuss what is happening in the story. This will give you opportunities for true collaborative writing by discussing elements of the plot and characterization that might be possible. Take care. Oh, and as I am scratching up a few moments from other responsibilities and considering the move to, if I employed flash would everybody be able to make use of the site. Or would this be an imposition, feedback is appreciated.

S.K.S. Perry Wed Dec 9 07:55:59 PST 1998

Oh ya,

Lydia, did you receive the suggestions I sent you on Chapters 12-13 of Elaina? Please confirm.

S.K.S. Perry Wed Dec 9 07:38:30 PST 1998


If your stuck for ideas, try an art museum, or magazine, or a website where you can view artwork. Pictures are great for inspiration. Question what you see. This can even work with abstract art. It's almost like a Roarshak (sp?) test, where free association takes over.

Or watch the news and extrapolate from a story you see there--a sort of what if experience. For example, I saw something on the news the other night where a manhunt was called off for an escaped prisoner. It seems his drowned body was recovered by a couple of guys on a fishing trip, and guess what, they just happened to be guards at the prison. The town was singing their praises and talking medals, but the paranoid guy inside me thought it sounded just a little too coincidental, and I started thinking--what if?

Hope this helps.

Be Well, Live Well.

feylena Wed Dec 9 07:32:48 PST 1998

May the Wombat of the Season bless you all...

Merry New Year and a Happy Christmas,

Thomas Wed Dec 9 06:43:32 PST 1998

OK. Enough of Christmas for me. We are like the house impeachment panel -- no one is being persuaded otherwise.
I have a thought to share.
Last week I was frantically writing two separate (and paying) assignments, right down to deadline on Friday. By Saturday I was exhausted.
I took the weekend off from writing -- unusual for me. Then on Monday, I sat down to my (un-paying) creative writing, but found I had been spent of ideas, and I can't get motivated right now to come up with anything. In fact, I am working on editing my second nonfiction book, and I can't make myself concentrate on it either.
Seems the much needed work last week emptied out this muddled head. This is a new experience for me -- any thoughts out there!

S.K.S. Perry Wed Dec 9 06:09:39 PST 1998

It's not hard to understand why so many people are disillusioned with Christmas. The media hypes it as a time of love and joy, where families get together and miracles happen. For most of us, that it far from reality. Our expectations of Christmas can not help but to fall short of the images of the holiday season that advertisers and the entertainment industry constantly bombard us with. Why do we have this nasty habit of comparing ourselves and our lives to the media ideal. We can never live up to their examples, and wind up feeling depressed and despondent. It's no wonder the suicide rate is so high this time of year. It's unfortunate that our society dwells more on what we don't have than what we do have--and the commercialism of Christmas only amplifies this shortcoming in our psyche.

It is unfortunate that we can't express love and joy for our fellow man (no sexism intended)all year round. But that's the way it is. Some of you have complained that Christmas merely serves to point this out. Rather than harp on this negative aspect, be grateful that at least there is a time of year when people are so inclined.

Live Well, Be Well.

Jack Beslanwitch Wed Dec 9 01:56:17 PST 1998

Correction: I meant to say that the holidays cannot live up to the expectations put on it by many of our early upbringings. Fumble fingered again. :-)

Jack Beslanwitch Tue Dec 8 21:41:55 PST 1998

      Whether we are talking about Christmas, Yule, Chanukka, the Saturnalia or whole variety of other celebrations at this time of year either in our own life times or ages gone past, it is almost a universal that at the time when the days become the shortest, it is a time for reflection and celebration that the days will start to get longer. So, whatever culture you might consider, there is a tendency to mark this time of year with some kind of special regard. That Christians opted to co-opt it as a time to celebrate the birth of Christ (which, BTW, had nothing to do with the month of December) is an artifact of Christianity attempting to accomodate itself to the prevailing calendar of holidays in ancient Rome, still does not take away from the familial aspects. Christmas, for me, is really about children and an opportunity for them experience a sense of wonder. Whether you are talking about the presents, the food, the mythic aspects of Santa Clause and some would say the more religious aspects as well, it can be a special time for children. In my own life I have experienced it both way. I have fond memories of my mother and Christmas and alternatively the depression my father and by proxy I felt in terms of my mother's death when I was ten. Still, as my relationship with the extended family of my wife has matured, I find it a joyous time with opportunities for felowship, good dinners with friends and the opportunity to help others where possible. I am all too put off by the over commercialization aspects of Christmas, or, let me say, the holidays. However, it is an opportunity to extend to others when at other times of the years we might feel somewhat restrained from doing so.
      Also, I have archived, reserving some of the posts about Christmas back to yesterday. Sorry about my ramble. I think because it is such a significant holiday for children we all come away from it with heightened feelings both positive and negative that filter through our consciousness into adulthood without our even being aware of them. For one thing, the holiday can live up to the expectations put on it by many of our early upbringings. Oh, well, take care everyone and Happy Holidays.

Goodweed of the North Tue Dec 8 19:44:14 PST 1998

I had a fairly long posting, but I couldn't help puting strong beliefs into it. So on the subject of Christmas, I will just say; Enjoy the holidays and share a bit of laughter with those around you (I erased a long section of this posting. It got a bit preachy).

Now for the DAD tone. All right you guys. Get up from in front of the "boob-tube", sit down at the computer and start enjoying the round-robin. I can't wait to see what develops with this thing. There are a lot of imaginative people in this group.

Merry and productive writing to you all, and to all a good night.

Seeeeeya; Goodweed of the North

Angel Tue Dec 8 16:59:42 PST 1998

Hey all...
Just wanted to add my 2 cents in about X-mas...I always wondered what the hoopla was all about. I figured that to some extent it was guilt or false pride that motivated people to search high and low to find the perfect present at this time of year, and to talk of 'peace on earth' and the 'season of joy'. I always thought that it was a shame that these topics were not discussed at other times, and that just being with people, giving them your attention and love throughout the year was a decent enough gift. So I tend to avoid the extremism involved with the biggest shopping season of the year, maybe succumbing to make something for my friends and relations like ginger bread or a mixed tape of songs they like from the radio. So far, no complaints, and enough compliments to keep me going.
I don't have much money to spend, but even if I did, I wouldn't. I guess I just don't want to judge friendships on a pricetag.

On the subject of multiple projects, I have always had bunches o' things going at the same time. Currently, I have 6 novels I'm still writing, 3 short stories I'm revising, and ideas galore that I just jot down when I have a moment. I started my 1st novel when I was 16, and it's always been my favorite..My login name is that of the main character. I find it easy to switch gears from my scifi to my spy novel to the young adult one I've got cooking. It keeps me fresh, and if I get stuck, I can look at something else. The only thing is that I have a problem deciding something is finished. I don't want to let go, I guess. Anybody else?
Sorry to have babbled. Thanks for listening.--Angel

eddie French Tue Dec 8 14:55:27 PST 1998

Bah Humbug :¬)

If any one is interested I've just posted an oldie of mine in th short story workshop.
I'd appreciate your opinions


Lydia Sweet Tue Dec 8 14:31:11 PST 1998


Yes, love is seasonless, but isn't it nice that we have a specific season to remind us to remember that, and that as a human race we actually respond to the call to remember the humanity in ourselves? People get so involved in the daily task of living, we tend to forget and take for granted the ones we love the most. At Christmas we remember to tell them and share that outpouring of love with the rest of the world.

Joy to all.


Howard Tue Dec 8 14:08:42 PST 1998

Christmas? Let me tell you a true story about Christmas. I know it's true because it happened to me.
Back in the dark ages, when my wife and I had been married about 6 years, we were really struggling financially. It was almost Christmas, and we were broke. Very broke.
One evening at supper we talked about it with our three kids, Karin (5), Kristin (3) and Andria (1) Of course Andria didn't talk much then (but she makes up for it now). Our youngest daughter wasn't around yet, but she was on the way.
We told the kids that we didn't have much money, and that there wouldn't be a lot under the tree, or even in their stockings. We discussed it for a while, and they were okay with the idea.
After supper we cleaned up the dishes, and I sat in my overstuffed chair (boy did I love that chair!) and got back to my book. The two younger girls were playing, and Karin was helping mommy finish up in the kitchen. After a few minutes she came into the living room and stood there for a minute, then climbed up on the arm of my chair, put her arms around my neck, and gave me a kiss on the cheek. Then she put her head on my shoulder and whispered in my ear: "Don't worry about me, daddy, just get something for Krissie and Andria."
I couldn't see to read my book for a while -- everything got a bit blurry, just as this screen is right now. It's that way every time I think of that special gift from my five year old daughter. Somehow she got it right, and I thank God for that, every time.

S.N.Arly Tue Dec 8 13:53:39 PST 1998

SKS - You face THE Tick. My favorite episode has got to be that moustache feeling. That or the science fair with Tongue Tongue. Would you like an individually wrapped slice of processed cheese?

Feylena - Start with Deryni Rising. Makes more sense, although they really could be read out of order.

Caroline - Dare I ask, legal for what?


Thomas Tue Dec 8 13:05:02 PST 1998

Hello all. I just have one more thing to say about Christmas and then I swear, no more.
When I was about 12 I remember looking at all the family and neighbors having a great time at a Christmas party and asking my older brother why it is that these people can't act that way all year. His reply was disheartening. He said, "because this is the time of year for love."
Silly me, I thought love was for every season.

Lydia Sweet Tue Dec 8 08:47:05 PST 1998

Hey Jack, I'm back! This silly system of mine or the change you made in the Christmas greeting is letting me back in.????

Hi all,

I was glancing through the thoughts you have about Christmas and can agree with points from both the negative and positive sides. I hear more complaints each year about the pushing of the season and the commercialism. I agree these things are happening, but it is only a problem if I let it be. Finances are extremely tight this year and I found myself starting to obsess about the expense and the pressure of pleasing everyone. It dawned on me that I have no desire to buy my children's affection or that of my family and friends in general. I know that is not the intention of the gifts that we buy, but at some point that seems to be the result. I decided this year I was not going into debt, nor was I going to feel guilty about not being able to provide my offspring with the overboard buying I usually do. I sat my kids down and told them face to face what to expect and what not to expect. Materialistic as they are, they are also loving considerate kids and have been very supportive and understanding of our circumstances.

With the stress of expenses removed my spirits have revived and I can deal with bad mannered and ill tempered relatives if necessary. I can get back to what Christmas has always meants to me. Lots of time spent with family and friends in happy reverie and loving companionship. I can take more time for contemplation of my soul and my relationship with my maker and the sacrifices he made for me and the amazing gift of life that this holiday is all about for me.

I know not everyone here is Christian and would not deem to push my beliefs upon you, but the holiday season, no matter your religion or non-religion, is "love" centered. No matter who you are, you can relate to that and share it.

Happy Holidays


Tue Dec 8 05:04:21 PST 1998

S.K.S. Perry Mon Dec 7 19:17:33 PST 1998

Of all the horrible luck (and I do mean horrible) I've had in my life, the one thing I'm incredibly grateful for is my family. I've read all these posts about how dissapointed most of you are in Christmas. Not me. I LOVE it. Always have, always will. I guess it's because to me Christmas has more to do with family than anything else. For me, it's not the religious aspect of christmas that counts, (as I've said before, religion and I are rather wary of each other)it's a celebration of family. Sometimes I wonder if I'm the only one on the face of the earth that comes from a loving, supportive family. My parents have always told us how proud they are of us, not because of what we do for a living, but because of who we are as people. I am proud of my parents, my brother and my sister, and let them know it, and they do the same for me. We know that we could count on each other any time, any place.

None of us are what you might call financial successes, so the gifts we give at christmas mean all that much more to us. I know that whatever my brother gives me, whether it's expensive or not, store bought or home made, he chose it with me in mind. I can't remember ever getting anything from them that I didn't want or need. It's the thought that counts. I know you've all heard that before, but when you know there really is thought behind the gift you've been given, and it's not just something they picked out at the last minute because it's tradition, what difference does it make what it cost or where they got it.

There's no bickering or family squables at our dinner table (honest). It's a time when we are all happy that we can be together. I've been doubly blessed because my wife fits in perfectly with my family. Christmas was never a big thing with her before. Now it is. She's like a little kid, and gets much more enjoyment picking out the perfect gift for everyone than she does opening her own.

I guess what I'm trying to say after this long drawn out ramble, is that maybe you dislike christmas for the wrong reasons. Let's face it, it's only as commercial as you make it. It doesn't have to be commercial in your home. For me, it's a bright, happy holiday.

Live Well, Be Well.

Caroline Heske Mon Dec 7 18:44:16 PST 1998

Dear Everyone,

After receiving a concerned post from SKS, this is a brief note to say that I am still alive and missing you all - as I know you are missing me ;)

I'm enjoying myself in the summer sun of Brisbane, but I'm leaving to return to Melbourne/Geelong tonight... ugh! the bus-trip is going to be hell - 2500km is a long bloody way. Hello to all the lovely old people here, and the lovely new ones (especially Jai cause you're from Oz, and Feylena cause you said something nice about Erannon).

Two weeks today till I'm 18 and legal! (That's exciting if you're my age)

Keith - I had this cool idea for that good-turning-evil-and-possibly-turning-good-again character in your novel, so I'll write to you sometime about it.

On Erannon - I have almost finished Chapter 12...

On Xmas - The family get-together can be a bit of a strain, but I enjoy catching up with my little cousins... I have such a weak spot for kids. Oh yeah, and I've got to get around to buying Chrissie presents, but I don't mind shopping so much when I'm buying stuff for other people.

Rhoda Mon Dec 7 17:44:19 PST 1998


I think you have some good points on the subject of Christmas. I've spent the better part of my day trying to decorate my house for Christmas. Most of our stuff is still in boxes and we have no idea where the packers put it. Because I've spent so much time looking for things I've yet to find, laundry has piled up, dishes fill the sink, and my house looks horrible. My Christmas spirit is sadly lacking.

I think it is terrible the amount of conspicous consumption and materialism that goes on this time of the year; however, you don't have to go along with it. I am thankful to say my children have never heard of a furby. My oldest is still contented with her Barbies and paper dolls. My middle child loves Godzilla and glow-in-the-dark stars which he buys with his allowance and plasters upon his bed. My youngest loves anything with wheels--toy trains, cars, trucks and farm machinery. Kids get peer pressure at school for the acquisition of fancy, trendy toys, but so many parents cater to their every whim. So many of us are afraid of our children being out of the main stream, or else we don't want to be bagered, so in order to earn some peace, we go out and get the toy of the moment. I think I've been fortunate so far that my children haven't demanded anything unreasonable. Perhaps having no television in my home has been a benefit.


It depends on why you are writing. If you write to sell your work or if you write to create something big such as a novel, then writing when you don't feel like it is a must. If writing is a hobby, then you can get away with writing only when in the mood.

Everyone works. Some people are accountants, CEO's, secretaries, teachers, etc. Some of us are writers. Some of us slave away at our day jobs holding in our hearts the hope that someday we can make a living with our writing. Success in anything requires discipline and hard work. Writing is no exception. There are times when I sit down and write and I'd rather be doing anything else, but if I write consistently, the fun and adventure of it enters in and then the writing is not so much of a chore.

The big high comes when the manuscript is complete. You look at what you did and somehow you know you have surpassed what you ever thought you could do. I've had this experience twice, and there is no feeling like it in the world. Editors and agents might not be impressed with what I write, but what the heck. At least I know in my heart of hearts, I gave it my best, followed through with my commitment, learned a lot in the process and ended up with a good story. If someone wants to pay me for it, then so much the better.

Now, back to the laundry.

Happy writing,


toby b Mon Dec 7 17:43:27 PST 1998

Ah Christmas:

I must say, there are some things I like about it, mostly the three weeks of vacation I get. On the other hand, the whole greed/gift thing gets to me. I really hate getting thoughtless gifts from relatives who obviously aren't that interested in getting something or aren't sure what to get. Me and my younger cousins either don't get each other anything at all, or we just send each other money. We prefer not to send each other anything. I'm the sort of person who buys things for people throughout the year as I see them and give them to people.

The other problem is that most of the time I am broke for Christmas, and I really don't have the money to go wild buying things. I don't like the pressure that is put on me to produce, I hate sitting around knowing that I couldn't get everyone something, it is peer pressure in the worst way.

What doesn't help is the fact that I have my birthday on Jan 2, which means I always get these funny packages called 'Christmas/Birthday' gifts...:-) One of the fun things to do is go shopping on my birthday with the fam, when all my B-day gifts can be found for a third of the cost...

And while I'm at it, can I say that the Furby is the most pointless new fad. At least 'tickle me elmo' vibrated...


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