Archived Messages for December 17, 1998 to December 22, 1998

Allein Tue Dec 22 21:43:22 PST 1998

Lena - K. I'll send that outline right to ya.

Lena Tue Dec 22 19:37:25 PST 1998

Greetings from the flip side,

So... where is the flip side? A mysterious place, the flip side, and I have heard a wise man tell me (after advising me never to sit on the pointy top of a mountain... ouch!) that what we know as the 'flip side' is actually the reverse side of the reverse side. But isn't that the original side? Yes, he said, grinning wickedly, then shifted uncomfortably. Those pointy mountains, ya know.

SNArly: Gee, long-lost twins! I don't suppose you would think it was too weird if I told you that, a few days ago, I went people-watching in a mall also. 'Twas fun, and I got some good descriptions. How's that for a coincidence!?!

To all those struggling to find a beginning/ending to their story: Don't worry about it. The way I figure it, just keep on writing and eventually something will come together. It's interesting to go back and pick out characters, plot ideas, and descriptions I have written in stories I never finished and put them into a story where I do have an ending. It just seems to work.

Ed: Watch your language! I'm shocked! (no, not really...)

Thomas: Okay, I'm underage for drinking but I've had wine (with parental permission) and I literally had to choke it down. One man's wine is another woman's nasty fermented grape concoction, I suppose. The reason my parents saw fit to try to give me an 'educated palette' is that I was going to go on a summer-exchange type program to Spain, where I would be expected to drink. Spain fell through and I am not able to go now, but I still had to choke down the whole bloody history of wine along with the wine itself. I'm afraid I'm scarred for life. Sorry, Tom.

Michelle: I've read "Reaper Man" by Terry Pratchett, but I did not think it was that funny. Did I just pick out a bad book?

To all Hitchhiker Fans: A general wet-towel-snap to the behind from yours truly. I certainly always have my towel... never know when it'll come in handy! And a round of Pan Galactic Gargle Blasters for all!

Allein: I'd love an outline. I still am trying to find the time to read the last few chapters of your story (I believe I've read up to chapter 8), but feel free to send me an outline.

Frank: How about you just tell the reader that the Queen of the Astroid Elves said you didn't need a first chapter? Start your story out with chapter two and be creative.

Farewell from the flip side,
(who is in a silly mood today)

Allein Tue Dec 22 19:27:04 PST 1998

Thomas - I guess they wouldn't. Sorry all. Actually, I've been depressed lately - my friend was sick, weather kept me from going to the movies, now I'm sick and I had to go to the dentist today. But, I'm seeing Prince of Egypt (hopefully) tomorrow so that should lift my mood. My friend called me and said he saw it today and that it was great.

NIE-way, I've just been writing for the last 45 minutes - salvation and punishment complete. Ok, so half the time I was talking to my friend on the phone, so I didn't get too much done, but I'm almost through with Chapter 11.

Bye bye, all.

Eddie French Tue Dec 22 19:11:15 PST 1998

Hi to the new faces, (actually some old late posters and some gen. new ones)
Iwould really like to say 'Happy holiday' to everyone right now.
This has not been the best lead in to Christmas that I can remember, but hey who's complaining.
No matter how bad off you may feel right now, just remember. Christmas is just a few days in the year,no different really than any other few days at any time.
Anyway, adversity can only add to experience when it comes to writing!
A word to those who will be spending Christmas and new year alone.
'Log On' and spend an hour or two online with your true friends on the world wide web!
Who needs the samaritans when the whole world is just waiting for you to log on and join in.
I promise to spend an hour after Christmas dinner (UK Time) on line to chat or answer any posts to this site, or just to keep in touch. (even at the expence of putting down a new game or prog. which I secretly know is among the pressies!)
It would be nice if anyone else could spend just a half hour at the same time. (Maybe we could co-ordinate the world times in shifts to accomodate a couple of time zones)
Any Takers?
Just to finally put the whole question of Bypasses to bed (Enough is enough)..
I'm just off to design a new fjiord on the Norwegian coast!
Artiblartfast....Fartiartblast....Bastifart...err..Sod it!
See you soon.

Thomas Tue Dec 22 18:49:53 PST 1998

That's feel not geel...these letters are too close and I can only use one damned finger at a time. I lost an "i" in a word to's that top line of the keyboard again...
Would these excuses work with editors?

Thomas Tue Dec 22 18:44:57 PST 1998

This is a writer's forum. We talk about writing, the writer's life and anything else that happens to pop into our author heads. We also have a critique section for works posted. Join in.

I don't think any of us can give you ideas without seeing the piece. Perhaps you should post all or some of it on the notebook.

Wow! You are getting it bad. We have the wind and cold, but only a dusting of snow. Hey, if you want black ice stories first person, I have two. I can enlighten you as to how it geels to lose control of a car and then to find yourself airborn over the island on Rt 390 near Rochester, and then to land in the opposite direction in the island, and then to start the car up and drive out of it and away!!!

I did not mention religion, only moral police. There is a new prohbition movement in the country and, sorry to say, many of those in it are behind the slowly creeping restrictions on alcohol (similar to cigarettes -- please, out there, let's not think I have any fond feelings for smoking, just for the freedom to choose it).
Now, about that not drinking anything -- one glass of wine with dinner can't hurt anyone, unless you are allergic to it. It is also proven healthful to the heart.

Did you know that beer is the first drink of civilization? Mesopotamian commoners drank barley beer -- they had no wheat then. The rulers and priests drank wine too.
All this is fresh in my head because I recently completed a book about the history of garlic, wine and olive oil, from Mesopotamia to Brooklyn, NY, where I was raised. I am now searching for an agent. Know anyone?

Are you pulling our collective legs? Running a goof on us perhaps? Do you honestly think that this to-the-point, brutally honest group would ever find you annoying and not say so without you asking? Sit down and write something; it is your salvation, and punishment.

Did I miss anyone? Sorry. Happy holiday to all.

Howard Tue Dec 22 17:57:41 PST 1998

Thomas -- a light dusting? SKS -- tractor trailers and cars? Our rain turned to whiteouts, and the interstate behind my house is currently closed due to a 20 car-10 tractor trailer pileup. It's a -15 wind chill factor, and blowing snow. Altogether a great night to research a "winter world" setting for a planetary colonization story -- if I was working on one of those, that is.
Come to think of it, I *am* working on a trucker thingie -- maybe I could work in a bit of "black ice" to liven things up...
Happy Christmas to all!

Hayden Tue Dec 22 17:25:58 PST 1998

Hi gang,

Dropped in to wish you all a very merry whatever and to see what you were all up to...but the page is far too large to go back over so I skipped through looking for those I knew. I saw a couple of 2 cents worths further down the page, so I am thinking of nabbing those and starting to build a condo somewhere in the south of france with them as well.

Goodweed, Snarls, Michelle (how's the Porsche?)Jack, Rhoda et al... Another month and I'll be back to my old tricks, giving you all plans for the condo, no doubt. Let me tell you though, I have 50K words to write and about 40 days to finish and rewrite, so it is going down to a photofinish. Luckily, I get ten whole days with nothing but bash the keyboard, so I should have it under control. To give you a hint, this one's about a young woman who is chosen as the Champion of Summer, but when she goes to the Tower of Elements for the investiture, she finds that not all is as it seems. Definitely about the fall of an empire, but no dark lords or magic's about one woman and her empathy with the other Champions and how she gets them to forgo the acclaim and bring down the powers. What am I going to call it? Ummmmm Ummmm sheez, I'll tell you when I'm finished.

Best wishes to all of you who come to the notebook, especially to all the new faces. It takes hard work, committment and discipline, but eventually you hit a stride and the novels seems to write themselves. (yeah, sure!)

Allein Tue Dec 22 16:04:36 PST 1998

S.K.S - Already wrote something today, actually, but thanx for the suggestion. ;^p
I've worked more on Chapter 11 - but then my stupid little bro. kicked me off to play his game. Luckily, he'll be busy playing play station games on Christmas, so I'm going to try and update my page then.

Happy holidays.

Goodweed of the North Tue Dec 22 15:45:15 PST 1998

Always, always, always be wary of categorizations. If you tend to categorize people, i.e. "morale police" then it will show up un your writing. For instance, I am a member of a church which frowns upon alcaholic beverages and several other things. But we also believe that it is every person's right and responsibility to choose their own paths in life. I may give a person my reasons for not drinking, but I won't push the idea on someone. I also expect others to give me the same freedoms. I have had people try to force me to drink at weddings, parties, etc. I quit because it made me physically ill every time I drank, and it tasted terrible to me (every alcoholic drink I tried). I quit drinking because I didn't enjoy it, before I joined the religeon I now belong to.

I only say this because there are those moral police who want to shove their ideas down everyone's throats. But not all of us who choose not to drink are that way.

If you do enjoy wine, beer, whatever, and it is a true enjoyment, not just an escape, please be careful on the slippery and often crowded roads. If you drink, dlon't drive (that's where non-drinking freinds come in handy, heh heh.

Here's whishing all a very merry and safe Christmas.

Seeeeya; Goodweed of the North

Julia Tue Dec 22 15:26:05 PST 1998

Hello... just surfing the 'net a little when I stumbled across this place. What's all of this about anyways?


S.K.S. Perry Tue Dec 22 14:16:09 PST 1998

Hi all,

I saw Star Trek Generations yesterday and I have to agree with S.N. Arly--it was like a really good episode with better special effects and makeup, and that's good enough for me. I'd rather watch a good episode of Star Trek anything anyday then some of the shlock that they comes out in the theaters nowadays. Don't get the idea that I'm a Treker either, though I do love the show. It's just that anyone who's into Science Fiction has to agree that Star Trek in all its incarnations has probably done more to legitimize SF than any other show, with the exception of maybe Star Wars. Go ahead, dissagree with me, I won't mind!

And Allein--no you're not a pest--Now stop bugging me and go write something!

Rhoda, thanks for the E-mail Christmas card, and the same to you.

Lydia, that goes for you too.

On Winter and Winter driving,

It finally snowed up here a bit last night, not even an inch, but it's cold enough that it hung around. I woke up this morning and my car doors were frozen shut--now they're frozen open. Winter driving is a joke up here. Let's just say that for a populace that lives with ice and snow every winter, we haven't learned much about driving in it.

I used to commute from Oshawa to Trenton every day, about an hour and a half each way through one of the worst snow belts in Canada, and one of the most dangerous stretches of hiway. If it wasn't dumping snow, freezing rain was blowing in off Lake Ontario. I saw some of the worst accidents almost on a daily basis. We'd be crawling along at twenty miles an hour and some moron would go flying past at sixty. Sure enough, you'd find him up ahead in the ditch somewhere, usually after taking a few other cars with him.

The worst have to be the transport trucks. After crawling along for an hour or so to get around the tractor-trailer that jacknifed and took out ten or twenty cars, you just get moving again and some yahoo in another transport would blow by you at seventy miles an hour. Some people just never learn.

On a happier note, I'm now on official Christmas leave until the 4th of Janurary. Hopefully I can get some writing and critiquing done.

For any of you who'll still be logging on over the holidays, I'll be here. For the rest of you, have a great Christmas, Hanuka (I KNOW I spelled that wrong!) New Years, or whatever other reason you have to be feastive.

Be Well, Live Well.

S.N.Arly Tue Dec 22 14:12:47 PST 1998

Ooops. That untagged beast below was from me. I was at work and in a hurry.

Lydia Sweet Tue Dec 22 14:04:37 PST 1998

Hi all,

I know you think I haven't been around, but I'm here most every day, actually several times a day except weekends. I simply haven't had anything to add to the current discussion.

I'm here now to wish everyone a very happy holiday. I will be gone until December 30th, but I'll be back standing to the side and listening very closely.

God Bless you and yours.


rinat Tue Dec 22 13:41:49 PST 1998

hi! great site. i can't really call myself a writer. i started writing poems and moved to write several short stories that i never finished. i wrote a good story now but i can't touch it. i like the story so much i can't edit it and can't go on. i don't have ideas about how do go on just new ideas. can anybody help me?

Allein Tue Dec 22 12:55:30 PST 1998

I wasn't asking because I think I'm being ignored. I'm asking about it because my friend said I was I want to know if anyone here thinks that.

Tue Dec 22 11:29:25 PST 1998

Ed - Huh? You lost me.

Frank - Yes but when you make up stuff, you still have to find a way to make it believable. Or the reader won't buy it, or the book.

I avoided chapter headings for a long time. Sometimes they only delay you or put undue pressure on you. Another thought is that you could try picking up the story anywhere. I'm not a linear writer, as just about everyone's heard by now, and I often write chapters out of order. I run into brick walls otherwise. I can also use this trick to get around some of the walls I bump into.

If I get a chance, I'll check out chapter one's current incarnation.

Rhoda - I'll try to give it a look-see, though I never saw the original, so it'll be a fresh set of eyes. And thanks for the e-mail.

Jack - I never check out the new topic anyway, I just check to see where the discussion is going (who stays on topic, anyway?). I scroll down to the posting box. It's faster and I'm impatient.

On Insurrection. Loved it, incidentally. It was better than the usual odd numbered ST movie, but not quite as good as the even numbered ones generally are. My spouse and I both felt it was like a VERY good episode. Which is good enough for a movie. They did a lot better with makeup and such (esp the ladies) this time. And the humor level was nice - enough and yet not too much (I was ready to vaporize Data in Generations). It was also nice to have something that wasn't quite so dark as the last one.

Caroline - agreements. And a happy birthday to you.

Thomas - Gotta hate those moral police. There's a group of us at my parents' cabin who make our own beer. Yum. But then I got spoiled by a trip to Germany when I was 16. Drinking age, what drinking age?

Allien - Relax. The only thing that might be (and I'm only telling you this because you seem pretty interested in knowing in all honesty) is your repeated questions about whetehr you're annoying or if you are being ignored. You aren't being ignored and you really aren't annoying. But do keep in mind that some of us don't have all that much time and we may not respond as often as you'd like. It's not supposed to be a snub, it's just the way things work. Keep posting your updates on your story and those who are interrested will check it out, if and when they have time.



Tue Dec 22 09:59:07 PST 1998

Allein Tue Dec 22 09:57:54 PST 1998

I have an outline (sort of) for the next few chapters in my story. :) If anyone wants, I can send it via e-mail to anyone who wants to know what's going to happen.

Does anyone here think I'm annoying? Be honest.
Bye bye,

Thomas Tue Dec 22 06:07:50 PST 1998

Thanks for the Netscape advice -- still searching for the answer.
What would you do in place of the Post Now button? As of Discussion Topic, I wondered what that was for!

I'm with you. If a writer is out there to sign books, then sign them with a smile or stay home. The people in line are buyers and/or fans; they deserve thanks not crummy behavior.
Oh, and the hope I have is that my doctor never utters the word bypass in my presence!

You missed the lengthy conversations about the ease or lack of ease in writing in any particular genre. Your comments about the "Queen of the Asteroid Elves saying so" is the kind of thing that got the discussion going. One reason I was never a fantasy fan is that I crave credibility when I read or when I go to the movies -- not reality, but credibility. If the Queen tells me something is true, and I sense, feel or know it is not possible, then the Queen and all her minions lost me completely and forever, or until she comes up with an explanation worth my spare change.

We got the rain last night, in full force. This morning we have snow, light dusting so far. I went into the closet where the winter gear rests, and then I remembered that last March I broke the zipper on my US Air Force winter parka (I was stationed in Greenland for a year). Of course, I failed to get the zipper fixed and now it is too late!!!

We used to be able to buy alcohol at 18 in the United States, but the moral police changed that, and are poised to change the availability of alcohol as soon as the populace is readily complacent, which isn't far off. For the sake of clarity and to show my complete bias, I used to own a winery and I write about wine and food -- I consider wine a food not booze. So Caroline, consider drinking wine with your meals, if you do not already. (Get 'em while they are young!!)

Jack Beslanwitch Tue Dec 22 04:44:44 PST 1998

       Just a couple of questions, queries and speculations. As I contemplate the eventual move to and a new server for, I was wondering if folks thought the whole premise of a stipulated topic from me was still viable. Given that I have not had time to keep it up, it has sort of gone to the way side. I was thinking of just dropping both the Topic and the Post Now button. Also, I have a variation off the graphic above in mind as well.

       Also, and I may get myself in trouble on this one. We have been having a discussion on a mailing list I maintain, about Star Trek Insurrection. One person feels it is just an extended TV episode. I, however, felt it was the best outing of the Next Gen movie set so far. Just wondering. And if this too much off topic for the Notebook, send it my way off line.

Caroline Heske Mon Dec 21 21:42:01 PST 1998

Okay... I promised I'd keep out of it, but I TOTALLY disagree with Frank and must say so.

a) saying 'warp drive' when you don't have a clue how it works (apart from some vague garbled explanation about tachyons or whatever) is like using magic. Any fantasy writer worth the name actually has a coherent, structured, logical system of magic which they have to figure out as much as a science fiction writer's 'science'... (with apologies to those scifi writers who take already invented things and make a story around that idea)

b) it's scientifically inaccurate to have warp drives or gravity thingies anyway - if you're reading about this stuff, then you're doing a willing suspension of disbelief.

c) Scifi writers have all the technological wonders of the universe at their disposal - I'm still figuring how my character washes their clothes. Writing with pre-industrial limits is difficult and requires a lot of research.

So hmmph!

And yeah Ed - I reckon you're right.

Rhoda Mon Dec 21 20:28:44 PST 1998

I have gone back to revamp my first novel, THE RELUCTANT BARBARIAN. Everyone who read it told me that my beginning was a little too ponderous and confusing. I changed it and posted the first chapter on the Workbook. Please let me know if this is a good beginning, or if I should try again. Be brutally honest. I appreciate any feedback.

Happy writing!


Howard Mon Dec 21 20:12:12 PST 1998

Thomas -- the important thing to remember is --
btw - I'm from Lisle -- just east of the finger lakes, and it's raining like crazy here right now. Good thing it's the shortest day of the year!
Well, another Pan-galactic gargle blaster and I'll be ready to hit the sack.

François Mon Dec 21 18:30:41 PST 1998

Hello and happy holidays to all!
I am yet another fledgling SF writer in need of guidance. I have restarted my main story about a hundred times. I am getting really, really sick and tired of writing the words "chapter one" on my keyboard. I currently have a plot that I think can carry this thing through but I think what I really need right now is some feedback. . .

From my point of view, it is somewhat easier to write fantasy than sci-fi because you don't get the scientific accuracy problem. Example: asteroid colony in pre warp drive period. Okay, where do they get their gravity? Do they really constantly have to walk with magnets on their shoes? Whereas if I'm writing a fantasy story, it's easy: there's magical gravity and that's that! The Queen of the asteroid elves said so.

Also, even up here in Canada, there is little snow. Hey, maybe the weather patterns are altering and we'll have a tropical paradise whereas the US will become a parched Sahara-like roadwarior wasteland!
You won't invade us, right?

I'll be posting my ‘current' chapter one in the workbook. Rabid criticism and praise are equally welcome.

Frank Eddie French Mon Dec 21 17:28:46 PST 1998

You know...I have this crazy theory.
People who put themselves up in the limelight shout at the world....'Hey, here I am. Come and see me and I'll write my name in your notebook'. Have no right to be in a bad mood when it's time to deliver.
Call me a mad, impulsive, totally outspoken renegade!.
But I really can't help it.

Caroline Heske Mon Dec 21 17:09:49 PST 1998

Michele - Yeah, Discworld's wonderful! I actually managed to get to a signing in Melbourne this year and meet the man himself, but he seemed in a bad mood...

Merry Xmas, Happy Summer/Winter solstice, Happy New Year (take your pick of whatever is applicable that you celebrate)...

I'm 18 as of today - going to have to start those driving lessons so I can get my P's, and get some ID so I can buy alcohol and such stuff. I also got my uni results for the year, which I was pretty happy with - at least I did well enough that I think I can take a subject from another department without precisely meeting the prerequisites - which may be useful if I want to take, say, creative writing (since that's English, and I've done History and Politics).

I am half-way through Chapter 13 of Erannon (it's taken a brief - yet fun - dive into power politics)... My painting is also coming along well. I'm thinking it will be finished in a couple of weeks, though it's too big to fit on the scanner. I'll have to take it to a laser-imaging place and get a reduced copy made or something.

Eddie French Mon Dec 21 17:03:59 PST 1998

Are you trying to give me an Allein complex?

Bypasses are essential.
They provide the need for towels! (A must for inter-Galactic travel!)
They preclude the need for ALL but manic depressive humanoid? robots!
They enable two headed genetic abhorrents!
They enable dolphins to rule the universe!

I'm raving, I know!!
So long....and thanks for all the fish!

(A.K.A__ A.dent)

Thomas Mon Dec 21 16:23:20 PST 1998

At first I thought I was downloading flying deer. But you spared me.
Happy holiday to you.

S.N.Arly Mon Dec 21 10:29:04 PST 1998

Kevin - To amuse yourself? A big harumph in your direction as I am not amused.

On having trouble starting, don't start at the beginning. Start wherever you actually can. You may not be a linear writer (and if you haven't done much, then you wouldn't necessarilly know it yet). There's less pressur eon starting elsewhere, and I've almost alwyas used this approach, even back in my journalism days. I wrote the lead last. Another option is to write out your plot and flesh it out from there. This works really well for some people. They just take the plot and add to it (descrption, char & world devel, etc) and suddenly it's a story that follows the originally intended plot.

This whoe story writing thing takes a lot of practice and patientce. And remember, you can always edit. If you start out with total crap, you can come back later and fix it.

Babbie - practice, practice practice. It'll eventually come. Maybe try writing something with a simple problem and answer. You could use a children's book type setting to over-simlify. This might help you get into the habit of finding solutions and creating endings.

Mick - Happy Solstice.

Lena - That's me again. Hmm like taste in books. Like humor. Are you perhaps my long lost missing twin? Oh, wait. I'm not missing a twin.

Jack - We had this same discussion at writer's gorup last Tuesday. I could not for the life of me write romance. As one of my cohorts pointed out, it is essential to enjoy reading the genre you are trying to write in.

Goodweed - So what's the address to which we should send our comments on your little protegee? I read her story Friday night and thought I'd give her some feedback.

How'd you luck out with all that white stuff? We got some, but it was closely followed by the December deep freeze.

Hey Rhoda - those people who cliam to have better traction due to 4-wheel-drive are full of it. All it does is helps them get out of the ditch once they get there. Really. It's actually harder to control 4WD on ice. Most people don't know that and drive along with a false sense of security in their trendy little sport utes and when they plow someone it's bad. But not for them. To whomever they clobber in the smaller car.

Michelle - Seen Insurrection yet?

Thomas - Yes, but it's unnatural. It's so wrong it's disturbing.

What do you mean? Don't you know about bytpasses? They've got to be built. You've got to have bypasses.

Holy cows this got long. That's what happens when I don't check in over the weekend. Happy writing all. I'm going to the maul... er mall tonight to work on some character and scene building. Yum. I am crazy.


Thomas Mon Dec 21 05:55:23 PST 1998

One more thing about the weather. Just so you guys do not gloat too much, the Finger Lakes region has just lost an unseasonably beautiful autumn. Record highs, not a drop of snow, et al. I am not complaining -- love it -- except that my garlic and shallot crop has tall stalks, and my fig trees are flowing sap. That's not good.

I spent a few months in the Texas panhandle when I was in the Air Force a thousand years ago. The one vivd memory I have, besides those ...hole drill instructors, was that in April we would rise at 5 and have to wear a sweater and overcoat, gloves and woolen caps to breakfast and to our drill station. By 5 that evening, as we marched back to barracks, the temperature was near the eighties and we had to carry our winter gear. That is one place where the saying, if you don't like the weather, wait a few minutes...had great meaning.

What's with the bypass stuff?

Michele Mon Dec 21 00:31:33 PST 1998

HI there all you people,

Guess I missed out on the whole SF conversation owing to the fact I've been rushed off my feet trying to get things done before the end of term - gee, I love college but I'm glad the vacation is here - I'm shattered ! I think it's the daily round trip of 40 miles that wears me out most !

I noticed Rhoda mentioned Star Trek - being a fellow Trekkie and fan of Tolkien, I smiled - I read very little SF myself - but I do read Terry Pratchett - and how many of you have heard of him ? Most of the American correspondents I've mentioned his name to have never heard of him - I've hopes of some of the Australians having come across him though as I know he's read widely there. His "Discworld" books are seriously funny ! :-)

Anyway in case I don't get back here before the end of the week . . . .



PS Eddie - I call last night's a sharp frost !

Goodweed of the North Sun Dec 20 22:48:20 PST 1998

Hey Jack; I tried to e-mail you via the address which popped up in my e-mail, but it was returned. Sooo, I'm posting the letter here. I hope you recieve it. Gotta go. Got work tomorow. Bah! Humbug!! Can't wait for the vacation time to kick in on Thursday, even if it's going to be a short one. I love Christmas. Got the tree finished tonight. Now it's time to get a bit of writing in before bed.
Here's the message; Jack; I did indeed want to keep it Helldes. It has no reference to the other places mentioned and is up to whomever wants to jump in and expound on this new place.

I have one suggestion for the authors begining each subject, or story start; Give an idea of the direction of the plot. This will give direction to those adding to the project. As I said, this is just a suggestion. You may have found in past projects that looser rules are better, I'm new at this. I do like the idea of a critique section for the roud-robin stories. Are you going to be the one correcting the typos? In future contributions, I will use my word processor, spell-checker, then cut & paste into the story to try and reduce your workload.

Again, I think this can be a great opportunity to hone our skills. Thanks.

Seeeeeeya; Goodweed of the North (Bob Flowers)

Seeeeeeya; Goodweed of the North

Goodweed of the North Sun Dec 20 22:46:22 PST 1998

Hey Jack; I tried to e-mail you via the address which popped up in my e-mail, but it was returned. Sooo, I'm posting the letter here. I hope you recieve it. Gotta go. Got work tomorow. Bah! Humbug!! Can't wait for the vacation time to kick in on Thursday, even if it's going to be a short one. I love Christmas. Got the tree finished tonight. Now it's time to get a bit of writing in before bed.

Seeeeeeya; Goodweed of the North

Rhoda Sun Dec 20 17:53:32 PST 1998

Icy weather has struck the Texas Panhandle. Right now there is this thin layer of ice on the ground, and it is slick. Having grown up in the mid-west, I have no problem with snow. You can get your traction in that, but this ice is horrible. They canceled our family night Christmas celebration at church tonight. It was really the right thing to do because most of us who don't have four wheel drive vehicles cannot manage our vehicles on a sheet of ice.

I have greatly enjoyed the conversation here about fantasy/sci-fi. Wish I had something to contribute, but I don't since the extent of my experience is watching Star Trek and reading Tolkien. I think I read H.G. Wells when I was a kid. I have been posting here on the Notebook for well over a year and a half, and I knew from the beginning that I was one of the few here that didn't read or write sci-fi. Still I have been intrigued by following what others have said and by reading some of the sci-fi postings on the Workbook.

Personally I think that anything done well takes effort. In order to make sci-fi believeable, the writer must have a good feeling for the world he has created. The same thing applies if one is writing a historical novel, contemperary romance, etc. In sci-fi you can't depend upon a good plot device or upon some twist to physical laws. Like any other genre the success of your venture relies upon good characters whom the reader can identify with. To do all this well, it takes much thought and some research.


We had a November and half of December here that was more like early September. It was great--no need for coats, no scraping the ice off the car in the morning. Now we are making up for it. Your time will come, friend. Enjoy the weather while you may.

Happy writing!

Eddie French Sun Dec 20 17:11:23 PST 1998

Hmmmm. Bypass...Not before sure to take a towel

Lena Sun Dec 20 16:39:02 PST 1998

Hullo to all and especially to Rachel,

It's funny what different people term 'bad weather.' I was born and raised in the South, and I never even owned a winter coat until I moved to... ominous music... Michigan! In Alabama, for example, we used to have 3 to 5 snow days every year, never mind that it maybe snowed once or twice in that time. So here I was, a newcomer to Michigan with my first-ever winter coat, and it snowed for the first time. We got maybe four inches of snow, and I was ecstatic because, hey, it snowed and everyone knows that when it snows, school gets canceled!

They didn't cancel school. Welcome to Michigan.

Oh, and if you want to read a really, and I mean REALLY bad fantasy novel by a non-genre author, read "The Fellowship of the Talisman" by Clifford D. Simak. That book is so bad it's funny.

Finally recovered from the ranting and raving on her last note,

In a bad English accent: "What do you mean, why's it got to be built? It's a bypass! You've got to build bypasses!"

Eddie French Sun Dec 20 13:13:25 PST 1998

Hi Rachel,

Seems so strange you people talking about snow!
Here in the UK we are experiencing extremely mild weather for this time of the year.
Sunny days and absolutely no frost, which is unheard of for early winter.
Saying that, it has gone just a tad cold tonight!

There! I spoke about the weather....not a word about writing.

BTW. The answer may be 42...But the question got lost somewhere along the way!
I think it was because of the new hyperspace freeway!

A. Dent

Thomas Sun Dec 20 12:33:43 PST 1998

On the subject of driving in winter: I live in the Finger Lakes in NY State. What never ceases to stick in my craw is the FACT that even people who have lived here all their lives (well, not yet -- they haven't died) seem to forget how to drive in the first snow storm of the season. But what I truly dislike most is road salt. Around here, road salt is dumped after a certain date in November and until a certain date in May, whether it rains or snows or threatens one or the other. My view is that when it snows, everybody should take the day off from their jobs, stay home and write a lettr, a story, a book, a shopping list for when the snow melts.

Hey all, I posted a short story I am working on if you want to take a look. The market for it is a NY City magazine.

Rachel Sun Dec 20 12:04:47 PST 1998

Hi all

Just wanted to drop a post in to wish you all the best of the season.

Life has been wild and crazy with the children off for the month of December, but have to admit I have been having fun.

Also want to thank you all for being here. This site has been a wonderful inspiration and support.

Hope to have time to visit this site a little more often in the new year.

Take care all


Goodweed of the North Sun Dec 20 00:19:25 PST 1998

Friday, Dec. 19, 1998 - It snowed a complete 12" bringing to me my beloved "White Christmas". I like the white stuff. I only like ice if it is covering large bodies of water which lend themselves to snowmobiling, ice-fishing, etc. (used to like it more when I was a teen and could ski behind cars on the slippery streets (Teens! Don't try this at home. It could result in injurey or even death)).

Jack, I can relate to the "people who don't have a clue about winter driving" thing. I got caught in a blizzard on the loop, which circles Chicago. People came onto the highway off of on-ramps and slid accross four lanes. I was having no traction problems. I was afraid some fool was going to make me have to do some evasive-style driving. I was in Memphis when they closed down the entire city because of an overnight freezing rain. Up here where I live, they don't shut down, even when old Jack Frost dumps five feet of the white stuff in a day and night. The only time we stay home is when white-out conditions exist, and then only if we feel like it. Driving in snow, dangerous, tricky, ha! I laugh in the face of blizzards. When the streets get a bit slick, it's play time. Can't very well do donuts in the church parking lot on dry pavement (course it's easier to do wheelies on my motor-cycle then). I'm a pretty straight laced guy. But I do like to play in and on my vehicles. Adds a bit of zest to life. Down-hill skiing is a kick too, especialy when you have to ski beyond your abilities (I thought it said intermediate slooooooope!).

Seeeeeeya; Goodweed of the North

Jack Beslanwitch Sat Dec 19 22:25:15 PST 1998

      On the basis that I love it, I can concur that science fiction and fantasy are an easier time, but given that same reasoning I would be between a rock and hard place trying to write a romance novel whether historical or harlequin style. This is not because this is necessarily bad literature any more than pulp science fiction was/is or any other genre that you might touch on. I might personally not be caught dead trying to read a harlequin and can only look on in awe at the marketing genius that has turned this whole area into such a successful portion of the publishing industry. So, my reactions were predicated on the run of the discussion and not the original meditation that due to love of, reading of and so forth, it becomes easier. At the very least, it is easier on this level for those of us who are lovers of and readers of SF and F. How this can be substantiated is when you see mainstream authors taking on science fiction and exploring what they think is fresh territory in a plot idea. The only problem is that they are totally clueless about what they are writing about and often times totally miss a dozen years and more of speculation on the ramification of this or that technology. I suspect that a mainstream author writing fantasy might have an easier time of it so long as they are good at characterization, but even there they can run afoul of the archetypes and assumtpions of a genre without doing their research. This is not necessarily bad in all cases. It can mean some fresh perspectives and delightful results. It can also result in unintended humor. Happily, most of the results of this sort that I remember seeing were encountered ten years or so ago and usually best selling authors in other genres who attempted to write a plot line in science fiction or fantasy non necessarily terribly well. They went back to their usual stomping grounds and continued to be successful there.

     I guess I am blowing off a little steam since I just spent a very aggravating time creeping up an ice covered hill and back down when I discovered I-5, a local main highway in Seattle and the rest of the west coast, was a parking lot due to ice on the road, several major accidents and the cluelessness of many Seattle drivers about how to drive on ice and snow. Or, I should say, when I saw it I elected to take the surface street and go home again. Then I had to spend the next hour and more going up that hill only to discover the cross street was blocked with accidents, taking a u turn, going back down and going home. Thus missing the Tingstad and Rumble concert I was thoroughly looking forward to. Whoever praised the snow should live in Seattle where it immediately turns to ice. Give me a good old fashioned three feet of snow and driving winds like I used to enjoy in Montana any day over this. Now that was a rant. Take care everyone and happy holidays.

Caroline Heske Sat Dec 19 21:50:39 PST 1998

Here's my two cents worth - I write fantasy cause I love it - like any genre you can put in a lot of time and effort and do it well, or put in a little bit of effort and just have fun. I find I do actually do a lot of research: ie. how does a silversmith smith? and spend inordinate amounts of time simply world-building... But since everyone's basically said this already, I'll shut up now.

Kevin - Don't get frustrated... enjoy the scenes you are writing for what they are, and make sure you keep them. You have the rest of your life to write this novel - have fun!

Lena Sat Dec 19 18:08:19 PST 1998

Ya know, I think the reason I write such long notes is the fact that I can usually only check up on this site every few days, and so much is written in that time and I want to respond to it all! Oh, the follies of trying to keep up with the discussions of writers. ;-)

42 is the answer,

Lena Sat Dec 19 18:05:19 PST 1998

Whoa... I started quite a debate with my (seemingly) innocent remark that fantasy/sci-fi is easier for me to write. Since this subject seems to have taken on a life of its own, let me go back and say a few words. (Of course, knowing me, this will turn into a novel-sized undertaking...)

It is easier for me to write fantasy because I love it. Amazingly enough, I had never realized this simple fact... I am being completely serious here... until I read all of your posts questioning my lack of commitment as a writer, how 'difficult' it is to create a world in your mind, how there is research for fantasy but it is a different kind, etc. So many of your comments made me think of myself. It got me thinking, and at this moment I feel slightly giddy and my hands are shaking as I'm typing because this is so *weird* because I'm finally figuring out something that goes on in my mind that I never could quite vocalize.

I have a history teacher who is a big reader. He impresses the class daily by casually mentioning how he has read this historical novel, and that book, and is currently reading this book about the Civil War. I was in awe too, until I thought about it logically and realized that I read just as many books as he does, but most of the books that I read are fantasies. I already do my research. Those books--every bloody flamin' one--has made me want to write fantasy. I know fantasy/sci-fi. And I can write it.

That is why I feel so strained when I try to write, say, a historical novel. I suddenly make writing into work and research and labor, making myself do it even though my heart is telling me I belong in my room, hiding under the blankets and typing on Mat (my laptop) about some strange land only I know exist. As I told a friend of mine, fantasy is somehow special to me. Chances are, if you met me in real life you would have no clue I even read fantasy... I don't talk about it casually. I only have one person I share my writing with, and she I trust more then myself. You probably don't realize it, but putting a story of mine on the Workbook was a leap of faith for me, made mostly out of desperation because I could not make that story as good as I knew it could be.

Okay, okay, this is admittedly a mild epiphany, but it is interesting for me. I did not even get to read all of the discussion on this subject, because this page has already pushed my original post on the subject off and I have not gotten to the archives yet. So extend me your patience, and I'll restrain myself. It's just so cool. I knew I loved fantasy, I just never knew I *loved* it.

-Lena (yes, it is Lena and not Leyna... sorry!)

Oh, by the way, to whoever said that Stephen R. Donaldson's mirror series was good... I just finished the first book a few days ago ("Mirror of her Dreams") and it was just neat that someone out there happened to mention it. I have never read the Thomas Covenent series all the way through, because I always start with good intentions but never quite make it through. Perhaps someday.

Allein Sat Dec 19 17:58:59 PST 1998

Hi all! It's snowing here!! Not very much though.

Just thought I'd come and tell you that, yes, I am still alive.

I went to a Christmas party last night. There was plenty of good food and a gift exchange. I got a bath set with beauty soap, hand and body lotion and bath crystals (they make the water smell nice).

I'm going to see Prince of Egypt on Monday.

Take care, all.

PS: Does anyone think I'm just a tad too perky?

Howard Sat Dec 19 12:23:25 PST 1998

Easier to write Fantasy/Science Fiction? I think not! Consider the old couplet:
"O what a tangled web we weave,
When first we practice to deceive"
In order to be successful, a good fantasy writer -- like a good liar -- has to be able to remember what he said a few chapters back. I'm not saying that fantasy writers are liars, but I *have* heard some pretty good liars invent some far out fantasies! :-)
It's hard enough to remember what went on before in mainstream fiction, but when the world you write about exists only in your mind it's doubly hard! That's why it's not a bad idea to also compose a parallel glossary/history along with your story. It will help keep you on track, and if your world catches on and becomes another Middle Earth you have an "Idiot's Guide to &wherever" all ready to sell to the same publisher!
Happy Chrietmas to all!

Eddie French Sat Dec 19 12:07:57 PST 1998

Kevin and Babbie,
First of all, welcome to the group.
You have definately come to the right place for help. (Perhaps you could get together (Babbie could start and Kevin could finish :¬)
There are also some dedicated people who subscribe to various newsgroups from where excellent support can be found.
(Do a search in Newsgroups with the word 'Writers')
Just to echo Thomas 'Don't give up'.
You will find that these initial prblems which you are experiencing will fade with time and practise. But you have to keep writing. (as long as you feel that this is what you want to do)
It's a pity that you missed the recent debate on the 'need' to write. (Try looking through the archives, you may find some helpful postings)
As you progress through these little problems which you speak of then you will soon experience the joy of reading through your first completed work.
Then all you have to suffer is the Crits from the good people around here :¬)
Stick with it. It's really worth it when it's good.

Mick Sat Dec 19 10:53:41 PST 1998

Merry Mid-winter festival All.

Babbie majo Sat Dec 19 10:11:46 PST 1998

Hi! I'm just a beginner and getting trouble with some stuff. I have wrote lots of stories but none of these were published since I started. I don't have confidence to publish this because I'm getting trouble of finding the solution to the problem. What I mean is, for me it's very easy to find a problem suitable for the story but when I'm trying to find a solution for that it got worst. Some of my stories don't have endings because of my problem. Can you please help me?

Thomas Sat Dec 19 07:53:00 PST 1998

Jack again,

Now that I think of it, why is it my latest version of Netscape will not allow me to link directly with email addresses? With the prior version I had no trouble. Have I not done something in set-up that I should have done.

Thomas Sat Dec 19 07:51:23 PST 1998

Do not give up. Some writers benefit greatly from creating an outline of their story first. Others jump right in, and then find they need to stop to think it through -- then they create an outline. Others still jump right in and do well that way. As a beginner, you might want to try the outline route -- see if it works for you.
Also, I am not sure in my years as a writer that I ever used my original beginning for anything I have written. What normally happens is I write for a while and then realize that my starting point actually arrives a few paragraps, or even pages, after I have warmed up. This is not uncommon. In fact, I know one editor who uniformly throws out the beginning of most of what he receives from writers and then says, "now your story has begun."

Thanks for the update, although I haven't a clue what those references to NT, IIS and UNIX Boxes mean. I ain't no computer nerd, just a dumb writer -- the former confirmed, the latter still trying to earn a living.

Kevin Marc Shelton Sat Dec 19 03:14:22 PST 1998

To whom this may concern,
I am a beginner writer. I have written some stories, mostly to amuse myself, and would like to become a serious fantasy (non-sexual...ha..ha)story writer. I have some idea about what I want to write about and where I would like the story to go, however, my biggest problem is that I cannot find a place to begin the story. Every time I sit down and write something I find that I have to go back in time so that the readers understand the motivations of some of the secondary characters. Please help I am almost to the point of giving up here.
Kevin Shelton (desparate)

Kevin Marc Shelton Sat Dec 19 03:10:01 PST 1998

To whom this may concern,

Jack Beslanwitch Fri Dec 18 17:16:47 PST 1998

Hello all:

      Just drug my ahead above water to look around and smell something other than HTML code and graphic design. To answer the various questions, I will be moving most of what currently exists at to in stages over the next month or so as I have time to do the radical redesign that I have in mind (more structured content, search capability and an animated look and feel using flash) However, this is an NT box and IIS and the script I am using for the Notebook (which I like very much) needs a UNIX box. So, I am shopping around for a lower priced location for on a unix box. The Notebook will remain at for that reason. If you want the more technical reason hit me up offline.

      As for Writers Workbook, I have been holding off updating the Workbook logins and passwords until I had made the upgrade on the Workbook. Partly this will make things a little more complicated and easy. The new design will allow for each manuscript to be stored separately and you will be able to view a list of the manuscript by their titles and authors and go directly to that manuscript rather than loading a large document and scroll through everything. At that stage I will be breaking these up into genre specific areas and hopefully more user friendly. However, this rests on the IIS server and the round robins will not so depending where you go in the workbook you will have login twice. This probably makes everybody more confused rather than clearer, but my small attempt at keeping everyone notified. Oh, I also will be planning to set up a separate forum like this in the Workbook for those participating in the round robins to critique what has been added, note the danger of tense or view point changes and so on. I have blathered on enough I think. Happy holidays and new and productive and published year for all.

Thomas Fri Dec 18 16:26:30 PST 1998

Where's Leyna, anyway. Her comment, made about 1,000 postings ago, got us into this marathon sci-fi/commitment discussion. Me, I just love a great debate!

Litter Fri Dec 18 16:19:50 PST 1998

OK, looks like I got into this after everyone else has already had their say but here goes:

I write Science Fiction but make sure I’m as thoroughly versed as I can be with whatever phenomenon that is happening within the context of my own writing. For myself I prefer to have a passing acquaintance, at least, with any law of physics I decide to break, then it is easier to introduce the bluff – faster than light travel, tele-transportation, anti-gravity devices and the like.

For my current book, although I would regard it as ‘Soft’ Sci-Fi, I felt that I had to find out many things including: speeds of comets, impact damage for varying sizes of missiles impacting the earth, tectonic movement, Earthquake and volcanic activity regions and mechanisms, movement speeds of impact shockwaves through rock, etc., etc. My sources vary from library books and CDRom’s to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory web site. I chose the subject matter so I suppose I made it difficult for myself. I would not have felt particularly comfortable not doing the research and I have learned much

Pedants may still pull me up but at least I will be prepared and am not as open to techno-critics as I would’ve been otherwise.

By the way Jack I like the idea of a ‘Faster than Life Drive’! However many mainstream physicists are looking into faster than light particles, in the genuine belief that they do exist, as well as quark pairs (not the DS9 one) communicating instantaneously at galactic distances! Remember much of our early science fiction is now science fact. Is that an awesome responsibility or what?

The Compliments of the Season to you all,


Allein Fri Dec 18 16:01:50 PST 1998

Rhoda - I wasn't implying that Jack should change it. I'm just asking about why it wasn't changed because I'm curious.


Rhoda Fri Dec 18 15:49:38 PST 1998


Don't feel honor-bound to change that Workbook password too often. I have passwords for everything these days and I am never too anxious to learn a new one. I like my present password just fine.

Allein Fri Dec 18 15:26:02 PST 1998

YES!!! I am finally free of the prison we commonly refer to as school!!! Well, for two weeks anyway. :D

And I have big plans for these two weeks - write back to my pen pals, go to Christmas party tonight, see Prince of Egypt, celebrate Christmas with my family :) and, of course, write more chapters to my story. Actually, I've written chapter eleven already, I just have to type it into the computer. I also wrote what will either be chapter twelve or chapter thirteen. I haven't decided yet. There's an important event in the story that has to happen soon and the part I just wrote today happens after wards, so I either have to make chapter eleven longer (and it's already pretty long) or make another chapter. Well, I have plenty of time to figure it out.

Jack - you said that the password to the writer's workbook would change every month or so. I haven't gotten an update on the password. Is this still in affect?

Well, Happy Holidays everyone.

Allein (has left the building)

Thomas Fri Dec 18 14:44:09 PST 1998

Thanks Toby. I suppose Jack will inform us when to make the change.

Toby b Fri Dec 18 13:50:46 PST 1998

The ForWriters thingey:

If I remember correctly, I think Jack has grabbed the domain name and is getting ready to move this site to that address at some time. It would discern it from the northwest SF resource area...correct me if I'm wrong Jack...

Thomas Fri Dec 18 11:10:40 PST 1998

OK, ok, before I go into my diatribe I need to ask once again: what is Jack talking about with I must have missed something.

Now, about that commitment thing. It is quite clear by reading these postings that all writers if they aren't should be committed -- oops, I made a joke!

Really, I detect too much defensiveness on the subject. Why not just admit that you are committed to writing? Most of you have said it but in other ways. "I write because I have to, because I love to, because others will read my words and get something from them." Sounds like a commitment to me.

I write because I learned at 12 years-old the power of words and I have never stopped writing since, and have never stopped being impressed by the power of communicating in words. I think writing is difficult yet easy, fun yet work, creative yet stupid, art yet craft, dark yet light , and everything in between. But most of all, to do it continually or continuously takes commitment.

S.N.Arly Fri Dec 18 08:04:51 PST 1998

Eddie - depending on the project, there may be some research behind either SF or F. I recently wrote a short on dryads. I decided to make the whole thing up, since I know nothing about the commonly accepted myths about dryads, and I like to break the rules. Someone in my writers group, however, has been working with some very non-traditional vampire stories. He still wants to keep the vampires within the currently accepted mythos, so he has had to do a great deal of research. And that's just fantasy.

For SF (even soft) you need to be accurate or people WILL call you on it. I tend to avoid chemisty and go light on physics, beecasue those are my weaker points. I'll emphasize the electronics and biology (esp botanical) stuff. That way I know I know what I'm saying.

I never could get into the Chronicles of Thomas Covenant. Tried twice, but couldn't get through chapter one. What a whiner! Liked his mirror books though.

Why SF/F? Beacuse it's fun! Why do some people like to swim? If you try to find the answer to the personal taste Whys, you'll be looking a while. : )

Toby - I agree. If the research is fun, it doesn't seem like research or work.

Goodweed - Aaaaaah. Well thanks. And our snow has also pretty much gone. There are still remnants, but... I've NEVER had a white Christmas either, and I fear I may have to accept it and haul my ass to Canada if I want some snow.

SKS - I agree. I tell people I'm a writer. Sometimes I am a serious writer, so they don't think I'm just kidding (I have an uncle-in-law who always tells people he's a writer because he's a stay-at-home dad. He doesn't actually write, though. He just thinks the stigma is better). I don't say I'm committed, because A) they'll think I'm loopy as a fruit bat and B) It just sounds so icky.

There are very few things that compare to writing. Few things that can bring the kind of euphoria of when you've hit a really creative streak. If you don't want to dabble in recreational chemicals, that is. And it's fun. It's an accomplishment to look at something you've written and say, I did this. I created these people and they are mine. They live, they breathe and they feel exactly real. Maybe I have a god complex.

Ok that's waaaay more than I'd meant to write, but once I got going...

Who was attacked by rabid rats in the middle of the night.

S.K.S. Perry Fri Dec 18 05:04:08 PST 1998

All right guys, lay off Thomas!

He never said writing SF&F was easy, he just said that if that was your reason for writing it, you should questions your committment. So let's blast him for that!


Most of us here are not "committed" writers. That makes it sound like a chore, and while it may be such at times, we write because we love it. Heck, we're lucky if we ever get published, never mind paid.

I don't write to further the art, or to change the world, or to inspire the downtrodden. I write to tell a good, entertaining story that's trapped inside me, and that I would force everyone to read it I could. (It's that Ego thing again.) I write because their are people who love to read, and I'm hoping they'll love to read my stuff, the way I loved to read Burroughs, or Chalker, or Tolkien, or Jack London (honest Howard!).

Oh, and Eddie? That little crack about summary population control--others have tried, all have failed. Also, I've found a lot of Peter Gabriel's music inspirational. His songs seem to draw vivid pictures in my mind, and I can't help filling in the background.

Be Well, Live Well

Jack Beslanwitch Fri Dec 18 02:06:38 PST 1998

Just to let everyone know, I have archived back to yesterday, maintaining a majority of the posts in regard to our discussion of science fiction and fantasy and the ease or lack thereof involved in doing research and writing. I also have made the first move from off of here to The Writers Notebook Archives now reside there and, given that I have 50 megabytes of space, I have unzipped the first 25 or so archives of our messages. It is somewhat surprising to me that the Notebook began life on June 30, 1996. I look forward to all the surprises and twists and turns that will come in the next two and a half years. Take care everyone.

Goodweed of the North Fri Dec 18 00:01:03 PST 1998

It has snowed in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan for the past three days. The problem is; too little. Every time it snows, the sun pokes out and melts it. The air has dropped to good winter-time temperatures. It is definately cold enough to support snow. I hope we get absolutely dumped on by old Jack Frost (about three feet worth) in the next couple of days. If not, it will be my first ever green Christmas here in the Sault (and that's in forty..., uh, I mean thirty..., uh, I mean twenty-three years).

SN Arly; A nick is the name you are known by in cyber-space. Shortened form of nick-name, like my nick, "Goodweed of the North". Were that my real name, I would have had to grow up tough like "A Boy Named Sue" instead of the lovable teddy bear that I am.

I'm still dreaming of a white Christmas..., and wishing everybody a great holiday.

Seeeeeya; Goodweed of the North

toby b Thu Dec 17 23:11:23 PST 1998

I'm on the side of research and lots of hard work myself. SF requires reams of detail and wordbuilding that has to be accurate. You can come up with some things that regular fiction doesn't let you, but that doesn't excuse things that aren't well thought out.

However, well thought out doesn't mean sitting for hours researching until finally writing a word. I am constantly doing research in my spare time, reading popular science, launchspace, discover, watching the tech news on the Discovery channel, on the web. Anything that interests me gets noted and filed, so that it becomes research already done. The reason SF may seem easier for some is that some people tend to be interested and caught up in things like that, that don't seem like research, but are. But even here that is no excuse IMHO for not being consistent. If the masters of the field can get caught out, so can you, so will you be, and your credibility is lost. If you are hard sf, know your physics, if sociological, know your stuff, alternate histories, research research research, and in fantasy, you need to be familiar with mythology, magic systems, and magic ecology. The best SF/F is consisten enough that an entire world is created, and that is no small task. For some it may be fun hard work, but it is still hard work in my book. I love it though, or I wouldn't be doing it.

Eddie french Thu Dec 17 21:44:23 PST 1998

Go easy!

Sci-fi Fantasy is easy..... I don't think so!....Really!
Yes, the research is easier. (There is none!)
But.. hey, The worlds which we create are only as good as our limited? imaginations!
Sometimes the strict worlds of regimented research are so much easier to create..after all, the reality is there for all to see and agree with. (And the boundaries have been well documented by a diverse cross section of credited writers)
The skills required to create alternate 'realities' are dependant on abstract modes of thinking requiring a specific depth of intellect which is often difficult to achieve for those who rely entirely on factual events based entirely within a structured regime of recorded facts.

Sound good anyway!!

Anyone who has dreams like yours should be immediately subject to 'summary population control'...on the spot!

Why is this group interested mainly in science fiction?

I can't remember who asked this question but the answer is probably......
Bye,....and thanks for all the fish!!

(if you don't get that then you probably shouldn't be here anyway)

Seriously, What makes Fantasy so compelling is the strength of the characters, (after all, if the reality is entirely made up then it just means that the characters have to be that much more convincing!)
Who has read Steven Donaldson?
The hero (Thomas Covenant)is a leper!!! and a coward to boot!
How's that for an atypical hero!

Those of you who obliged (Thank you) by emailing me with critiques of my short 'Leaving Birmingham' will no doubt suspect (correctly) that this story was written in a flurry of short lived inspiration brought on by some external event.
Go to the top of the class!
No editing, No re-writes. That was from the heart. Inspired by the music and lyrics of a song by Peter Gabriel.
(Shoot into the light)
It took about three hours to get it down as it is written.
I know it is not perfect but I love it all the same.
Who doesn't have a piece of work which holds a special memory or meaning?
(I don't know why I'm telling you this!)

To be continued.......

Jack Beslanwitch Thu Dec 17 20:51:02 PST 1998

I think I just made a Freudian slip there. Faster than light drives. Faster than light drives. However, I might like to explore just what a faster than life drive might involve.


Jack Beslanwitch Thu Dec 17 20:48:31 PST 1998

I am going to have to fall on the side of SF or Fantasy being easier to write is not necessarily so. The contention that you can be looser with the facts whether historical or scientific is very far from the truth. Witness the grief that Larry Niven received when a typo missed had the earth going in the wrong direction and the number of people who called him on it. Science fiction requires, yes, that the science be internal consistent and you can indeed depart radically from reality. Witness the plethora of warp drives and faster than life mechanisms. However, the fine line between disregarding the facts and needing to have them dead right is a very very narrow one. And finally ask Harry Turtledove about not needing to be historically accurate. Whether his World War series or the various incarnations of the South won series, he is the consummate historian. It more or less falls into the old cliche that you have to know the rules before you can break them. Just my 2 c. worth and opinion. Also, given that the novel I have been kicking around involves massive amounts of historical research and I am attempting to be very very accurate. (that is given when I have time to write :-)

Take care everyone.


Thomas Thu Dec 17 14:56:14 PST 1998

Must be my weak communication skills at work. I was referring to Leyna's comment that she chooses to write sci-fi because it is easier (or she thinks it is). I question commitment to writing if one chooses a genre for the purpose of ease. But I don't believe for a minute that writing anything is easy. If so, I ain't found it.

We have had snow on and off all day, but none to stick with us. The day has, however, broken our warm spell.

If you will all excuse me, being a sometimes wine writer, I must attend the monthly local winemakers dinner. Now there is a facet of writing that truly is easy for me to do -- the research, that is.

Is it me, or the Christmas rush, but I am having the devil of a time getting online these days -- took nearly 20 minutes to get to make this posting.

S.K.S. Perry Thu Dec 17 10:42:09 PST 1998


Perhaps I find SF easier because it is more fun to write. Believe me, it's not easy to create entire functioning worlds, civilizations, religions, races...I could go on for ever. If you want it to be believable, research is invaluable. And you have to have a working knowledge of just about everything.

I guess what I meant by easier is that you're not tied down by what is known. You can sort of play with the boundaries--as a matter of fact, it's required. To a lot of people, that makes it more difficult. Try coming up with an original "what if?" and then make it plausable.

If you want to see the kind of detail that can go into creating these realities, ask Caroline. She's got Erannon's world naile--right down to histories, religions, wouldn't believe the detail. Read her stuff, talk to her, then tell me it's easy.

Be Well, Live Well.

S.N.Arly Thu Dec 17 08:23:01 PST 1998

Caroline - Why unusual. There are a lot of us out there. Becasue we tend to get criticised as not real writers a lot, I think we tend to gather where we find others of our ilk.

Jack - Lost the workbook link. Thought the button at the top of the page would get me there, but it doesn't. Could you post or send me the address and I'll bookmark it this time.

Allein - It takes people a while to switch. I had people sending e-mail to my old address nearly a year after I'd switched.

I've been told that if you feel strongly connected to a certain period in time, you probably lived there in a past life. If that's the case, it looks like I was in Europe during Hitler's reign. I have also been fascinated by the whole thing in the past. Actually have done a great deal of research on Hitler himself. Yes it's not a pleasent part of our history, but if we don't study it, we'll forget and do it again... or have we already done so?

Thomas - Oh. Him. I only see him when I get to the top of the page, so he doesn't get the chance to bug me much.

My QTH would be St. Paul, MN. We even kept a little snow, and there's news that we may even get mroe today.

Feylena - I don't think fantasy is any easier to write than SF. Just different, with a different emphasis. When making up everything the burden of proof, as it were, is on the writer. You have to combine information with stuff that will interest the reader. That's not necesarily easier than making your physics factual. But then we all have our talents in different areas.

Both the Kelson trilogies are pretty good. The Camber of Culdi trilogy is also good. After that you know the story, so the books that take place between the last Camber book and Deryni Rising are pretty depressing.

Goodweed - Uh, thanks. I think. What's a "nick"? Happy Holidays to you and yours as well.


Thomas Thu Dec 17 07:05:56 PST 1998

Let me correct Leyna's name. Also forgot to put my thoughts in on the sci-fi writing.

I have to say, anyone who goes into writing in a particular genre just because it is easier needs to rethink commitment. In any event, I do not believe any writing is easier than any other -- perhaps more accessible, but not easier. I find research stimulating. It helps to sharpen a writer's observation skills, not to mention that you learn something in the process.

Thomas Thu Dec 17 07:00:05 PST 1998

Hey all, thanks for the encouragement on the notebook postings. I visited last night and will get something on there soon.

I read your piece. Strong. I will send along a deeper critique.

I lost the train of thought on your note to me...

Perhaps I missed something. What is going on with

Snow hit the ground this morning. It was a light but consistent falling. Yet, as it lay there on the unusually warm December earth, it did not have a chance -- melted in minutes.

Well, got to get to writing my weekly newspaper column in which I lambaste the neighborhood and its happenings. This week I am starting off with that stupid real estate sign attempting to lure buyers with "Large 1/2 acre lots for sale". I suppose those with "Small 1/2 acre lots" should be jealous.

S.K.S. Perry Thu Dec 17 05:59:16 PST 1998


I agree with you on your thoughts about writing SF&F. I find it a lot easier (and more fun) to write as I don't have to worry about being historically accurate, or even scientifically accurate for that matter. Goodweed is correct in stating that you do have to make your science plausible. I'm not saying you have to pound out the details of how interdimensional space travel works or anything like that, but the laws you set down have to be at least consistant to make your story believable. There are readers out there who will tear your work apart for whatever slight scientific inaccuracy--like you shouldn't be able to hear explosions in space, or that people who warped all around the galaxy would find themselves in a different time line than everyone else. Unless you are writing Hard Science Fiction, you really don't have to worry about these things. In Star Wars, most of the science was never explained, we just accepted that Lightsabers were possible, the Force was real, and Princess Leia could wear all those hairpins in her head and not be struck by lightening.
The trick, I guess, is in writing something that allows you to convince the reader that the impossible isn't really. It's kind of like faking sincerity.

Be Well, Live Well.

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