Archived Writer's Notebook Messages

From December 14, 1996 to January 2, 1997

Thu Jan 2 00:39:03 PST 1997

Just took a look at the Workbook and wanted to tell Philip that I really look forward to buying and reading this book in it's entirety. The latest installment was well written and enjoyable indeed.

Speaking of the Workbook, I wanted to post a challenge or something that will be a stimulus for some writing. I received a copy of Bryce2 for Christmas which allows me to do some interesting graphical experiments. So, I created something that is surrealistic, evocative and might be a basis for a story. You can find the image by Clicking Here. I would like to suggest that we do another chain story if that is acceptable. This is just a suggestion, however, so let the picture take you where your muse leads you or not.

Also, in the near future I will probably archive both the Notebook and the Workbook, but I'll carry over anything that relates to this project. Take care all and Happy New Year.

trudy Wed Jan 1 17:29:05 PST 1997


Great Kitty; wish I had read your posting before today ended. I spent most of it recovering from a hangover from too much cheap champaigne, coolers and beer. Slept until four p.m. Does that mean I should spend the rest of the year sleeping? Of course I did other things I hope to continue throughout the year like writing in my journal; reading; spending some quality, romantic time with hubby; thinking about a short story that is screaming to be written; and visiting with all of you now. Not too bad after all I guess. I could do worse the rest of the year.

Steve, I'll check out some writing books I have to see if they say anything about closure and get back to you.

Jack, I may try that character describing other character thing sometime. Sounds like it could be insightful. Thanks for sharing.

Trish, I think I've seen that character chart. It is extensive and I know I'll find it useful!

Ben, it's freezing as it should be in New Brusnwick this time of year. Maybe we'll all get back to regular weather patterns eh?

and Philip, I've been meaning to ask, what's the story on your orphan writer, Nancy Minard, from Prince Edward Island? From a fellow Maritimer, if she's still with you, say hello?

OK gotta go. Best wishes to you all for 1997 and I look forward to sharing many thoughts and writing strugles and successes with you. Trudy

Glad you enjoyed your trip Sherrie and welcome back!

Steve Moody Wed Jan 1 14:19:29 PST 1997

Greetings all and welcome to a new year :-)
I like the image of the new year as being like a field
just after a fresh new snow, untouched, unmarred, fresh
and crisp and clean. Its a new chance, a new opportunity
to accomplish those things which we failed to last year, as
well as a chance to broaden our vision to encompass even
greater things. :-)
As I stand here facing my own snow covered field (figuratively speaking of course ;-) )
I scribe my own resolutions for the coming year.
1. I am going to establish a more consistent writing
schedule (1 - 2 hours each day)
2. I am going to try and get to know each of you better :-)
3. I am going to submit at least one short story for
publication this year.
4. I am going to complete at least half of my novel.
Well those are my writing goals, and I wanted to thank
each of you again for your welcome to the Notebook and
to Jack especially for his help in answering my questions.
A toast to a wonderful and exciting New Year for all of us.
Happy New Year everyone

LIsa Nickles Wed Jan 1 13:41:39 PST 1997

WOW! First post of the New Year. I wish all new people welcome, and wish all of us great writing and much publication in the new year. I hope each of us receives what we truly want (or need) in this coming year.

Sherrie Tue Dec 31 16:03:25 PST 1996

Hooray! How wonderful to read all the postings. I've missed you so. Couldn't ever find a Net connection in San Diego. I'm sure they were there, but frankly, folks, I was just too busy. We hit DisneyLand on Christmas day (obviously, everybody else thought that was a neat idea, too). You gotta go, and when you do, head straight for the Indiana Jones ride. Too cool, baby! Absolutely beyond description (can you tell I'm into amusement park rides?). We were there 18 hours, and it wasn't enough.
Then we hit Sea World the day after Christmas. Very fun and funny. What a place. Of course, you have to understand a piece of my heart lies there. My writing office at home (a spare bedroom on the main floor) is a "sea" room--in color as well as decor. Love dolphins. Have a stuffed one I call "High Dive." Naturally, I brought home more stuff to add to the collection, and now I'm a bit depressed for having left the sand and surf behind. I NEED to live on the coast. Any coast. I don't care. I love the smell and the sounds and the damp.
We just got home about two hours ago and are ready for a quiet New Year's Eve (I'm not really into the drinking thing) and a football day tomorrow.
JACK: Congrats. I'm so proud of you and so thankful for all your work. I agree with Jonnie; you are indeed a very giving person. And don't give up on me regarding the complilation of bios. Now that I'm back, I'll slice off some time to work on it and send it to you, e-mail.
CARLA: Welcome, and regarding rights--everything I've ever sold to news and magazine was an "all rights" thing. Personally, I didn't/don't mind. I can always come up with better ideas and better ways to say it. That's for nonfiction. For my fiction work, I'm afraid I'm a little more possessive.
CHARLES: What do you hear from agents? And on the ghost-writing thing--I gave up writing "other" stuff because it got in the way of what I really wanted to do, which is write novels. But then, the outside writing I was doing took a lot of time and paid so very little. The best it gave me, really, was a pretty good bibliography and the tax deductions as a real writer (I bought TWO computers, this year). Only you can weight out whether or not it's worth it. For me? NO.
EVERYONE: I heard from Agent Kathy in the hour before we left town. She said the 11-signature approval of the offer I am to receive from the publisher was held up by one signature; the financial guy had already left for the holidays by the time the package hit his desk. She said the package should be finalized and presented to us during the first week or so of January. I'll keep you posted.
BEN: Sorry your Christmas was so much on the lean side, but you carry a good attitude about it. The reason I even mention it is because you talked about how tough it is the first few years in a new house. We've been in this one five years and just recently got curtains on all but two of the windows. It took a while to come up with the money (they're odd-sized windows). That, and it really wasn't THAT much of a priority for me. I'm not much into the materialism thing. Keep plugging away.
JONNIE: Congrats on all the work you've gotten done.
KEN: Welcome!
TRISH: I'm so thrilled about your "release from prison." Isn't that a terrifying place to be, when everything is plugged up and you're just certain you'll never write another word? I've been on a bit of a forced "writing vacation" since I finished Noble's Healing. I've been trying to work on the next novel (the radio station thing) but spitting and sputtering along like I needed carburator work. While on vacation, it broke free! Colin and Emily (characters in the new book) are now living, breathing entities who are not shy about reminding me where I should be (it gets so crowded in this head of mine). Therefore, I'm about to spill over into chapter SIX! Hooray for both of us. And welcome back, Trish. We expect to hear more about the idea(s) you intend to focus on. :-) :-) :-)
KITTY: We're in the final hours for resolutions, but something you said really spoke to me. If I should spend New Year's Day in the same manner I plan to spend the year's remaining 364 days, I shall spend it with Colin and Emily. To the more nitty-gritty, I find as I tap into this deeper part of myself--the one that draws in the sensory input and taps it into black marks on the page--I get more introspective, depressive, moody, fistidious, picky, negative, and generally difficult to get along with. I'd like to reverse that as much as possible. I can be so warm, sometimes. I want to be someone others are glad they know. It is my deepest wish.
Love, Sherrie

Tue Dec 31 13:43:47 PST 1996

Hey y'all. Here we are on the threshold of another year. Time no longer flies for me, it has assumed the speed of light! So much to see, do, experience, and so little time! My motto for the new year comes from the immortal Cab Calloway: "You've got to accentuate the positive and elliminate the negative, latch on to the affirmative and don't mess with Mr. Inbetween." My resolutions for the new year are as follows: 1. To write more letters, e-mail or snail mail, to my family and friends. Communication is the key. 2. To work everyday on my fiction projects. I must make progress on this front. Discipline, discipline discipline! 3. To eat chocolate only on the weekend. And only the good stuff! Again, discipline, discipline, discipline! I think that's a modest and imminently doable list of goals. I wish you all a happy, healthy, and most auspicious start to the New Year. Don't forget to eat your collard greens (for money), your black eyed peas (for luck), and don't neglect to live the first day of the new year as you hope to live the other 364!
Happy New Year!

Steve Moody Tue Dec 31 11:30:26 PST 1996

Thanks for the welcome Trudy,
regarding my closure question, don't panic, I have been
doing a lot of reading and have not seen that issue dealt
with by any of my books. I might assume from that, that
it is not a major issue with most. It may be one of those
things that you just know, for me as a beginning writer
this "knowing" doesn't seem to come all that easy.
Perhaps its my stories rebelling at beeing constrained as
short stories ;-)
Thanks again for the welcome, and hope to make
new friends here. Please feel free to write me at the
above address if you wish to share more detailed thoughts
concerning your journey in to writery... we are all
fellow travelers on the same road ;-)

Jack Beslanwitch Mon Dec 30 23:06:36 PST 1996

I just spotted this thought on another mailing list and it's so simple that it almost strikes me as being profound. As a way of developing your characters have one character describe another character from his or her own viewpoint. And then turn the tables. The thought that comes to mind in this regard, is having Moby Dick describe Ahab ;-).

Happy New Years

trish Mon Dec 30 22:20:15 PST 1996

Hello all. We've added a few new folks since my last posting and I would like to add my (late) welcome to everyone.
PHILLIP: I appreciate your concern. It's nice to be missed. I've been lurking in the background for some time, battling a mild bout of depression and whatnot. But I feel a bit more like my old self now and it's high time I picked myself up and got on with life. I recently traded one job for another and the relief at leaving the old one was just overwhelming. The night I knew I would be telling the Dr. that I was quitting, it was just like a dam burst inside of me and all these ideas just came spilling out. I had been unable to write anything prior to that, and now can't turn off the ideas. What a tremendous relief. Anyway, in the words of Eeyore, "Thanks for noticing." (I don't know whether to credit that line to Disney or to A.A. Milne, both versions seem to have run together in my memory these days.)
JACK: Congratulations on your successes lately!!
Here's my updated bio:
Name: Patricia Mayfield
Home: Milan, TN
Family: Husband, Jeff; Daughter, Chrissy (2 yrs old); Cats,
Spike and Smokey
Job: Dental Hygienist
Published: None
Unpublished: None
Works in progress: You name it. Still trying to come up with the perfect mystery.

Gonna run now, but I plan to once again become a contributing member of our gang.


trudy Mon Dec 30 17:23:11 PST 1996

Just wanted to say welcome Steve. Regarding your closure question, I find I often have an idea of how stories will end as I start writing though I must admit sometimes the endings do change. Other than that I haven't written such an abundance of fiction that I have had trouble with this something I can look forward to???

Carla, that contest sounds legit. As far as publication after you win and have it published (think positive!) some publications may not be interested in it, but my guess is as long as a publication knows it's won a contest and been published they may want it. I think you just can't publish it with first publication rights after that first time...correct me if I'm wrong please, anyone. Good luck with the contest!

Happy New Year everyone. Will hopefully return in 1997 without too much of a hangover to see how you all survived. May you all have a wonderful New Year's Eve and an even better 1997. Trudy

Steve Moody Mon Dec 30 16:55:22 PST 1996

My thoughts come in the form of questions (seems
that is always the way it is with me ;-) ) Anyway hope
some of you can help :-)

1. How can you tell when a story is really ready for
closure? I get carried away far too often and lose
track of when and where to bring the story to a close,
anyone else have that problem, and if so what do you
do about it?

2. When generating woes and troubles for your main
characters to sort through (and hopefully triumph over)
how can you tell when enough is enough?

3. When a story is in conception how can you tell
whether it will be born a short story or a novel?
Sonagram for stories ???? ;-)

Thanks for the help
-Steve :-)

Carla Mon Dec 30 07:05:20 PST 1996

Thanks for all of the responses to my question on entering contests. The one I entered is through the Mary Higgins Clark Mystery Magazine. It only comes out once a year, as far as I know it is in May and that's when the winners are announced. There wasn't any fee to enter, just some rules on length, format, etc. The publisher is Family Circle, and the grand prize is $1000 so I figured why not. The only question I had was: if once a person wins and the story is published in the magazine, does this prevent the story from being published elsewhere? I can dream, can't I??

Helpful hint: When I have trouble falling asleep, I think of a new story plot, complete with characters and setting and before I know it, I'm asleep. The difficult part is remembering it all in the morning.

Happy New Year everyone!

Lisa Nickles Sun Dec 29 16:43:06 PST 1996

Hi all.

Has everyone been introduced to the character chart at the Eclectic Writer website? ( It's extensive and you MUST know your character to complete it.

Just thought I'd mention it.

Jack Beslanwitch Sun Dec 29 15:19:45 PST 1996

Welcome from the realms of snow and ice and adventures in the wonderful world of slipping and sliding on the freeways. At least it cleared up enough so I could go and grab my upgraded computer yesterday. Also, it's raining right now here in Seattle, but that probably just means ice on top of snow on top of ice.

Jonnie: In answer to your question about an automated bio page. I don't think I have time at the moment to come up with what would be involved in the configuration you suggest - a chunk of PERL/CGI Scripting at the least. I probably will establish a bio page with a link from the top, culling material that has been collated here, in the Archives or passed along. I also probably at that time will solicit pictures from one and all. If someone has more time at the moment and would like to do this instead I would be delighted to host it here or point to another location.

Sorry that I am not more speedy on these upgrades, but I'll endeavor to get to them as soon as I can.

trudy Sun Dec 29 13:40:08 PST 1996

Jonnie, most contests have entry fees so don't necessarily keep that from your entering. I'm not sure how you can tell what is a vanity publishing contest and what isn't. The bunch I was caught by was World of Poetry Press so watch for them.
Does anyone know how to tell a bad contest from a legit one?

Ben, we seem to be swqitching weather patterns. Our temp. went up to around plus 9 today and melted all our snow. I guess we're 15 degrees above regular tempuratures for this time of year. Pretty bizarre!

Ben Woestenburg Sat Dec 28 12:09:51 PST 1996

I found something on the web yesterday that looked kind of interesting. It's called MIND'S EYE. They actually pay you for your stories. Take a look at it:
Hope it helps a bit.

TRUDY: It's snowing again. Been snowing all morning.(I thought this stuff was supposed to be going south?)Temperatures have been hovering at -7 Celcius for the week, with lows of -14. We're not used to this kind of weather.

Gotta go now.

p.s. So Harrison, where are you? Miss the witty banter.


Jonnie Sat Dec 28 10:09:02 PST 1996

Trudy, I read your note with great interest. I found a contest on the net last night and was thinking of submitting a short story. They want $10.00 to enter. Not a good idea, I take it. Thanks for the info.

trudy Sat Dec 28 09:32:01 PST 1996

Hi; thought I'd take a break from reading and check in to see what everyone is up to. Glad to see another new name has joined us.

Hello Carla. You ask for thoughts on entering contests and I am about to confide something I seldom do, just because I wouldn't want it to happen to someone else. I do enter contests occasionally, usually ones put on by a provincial writing organization I belong to, but there was a time I entered others. Be very wary of contests which ask you to pay a certain price for a copy of a publication that will have your poem, story, whatever in it along with other "winners". I received an honourable mention in such a contest then the request to pay half the cost of the book to recieve the publication (Yes in my young niave state, I fell for it hook, line and sinker). Anyways for years after I continued to receive awards for this poem which is really not terrible, but also not good. Stick with contests that award prizes with no strings attached; often the prize amounts are much less but winning is more an indication of your abilities. Anyone else dare to admit they fell for vanity publishing???

Ben, speaking of white Christmases. The snow has finally hit New Brunswick and with -14 C temperatures it doesn't look like it'll be going anywhere fast. Oh well makes curling up with a good book really enjoyable!

Lisa, you weren't being depressing though you sound a little bogged down. Just take it a page at a time and I like the idea of setting it aside for awhile. You'll come back with a fresh outlook on it. Good luck!

Jonnie I'm thoroughly enjoying my reading thank you!

Jack I am operating with Windows 95 and hubby has a variety stuff programmed though I mostly work in Microsoft Word. I'm terrible explaining anything I use on computers. If it works great; if it doesn't I call the computer whiz husband.
New Year's resolution to relax more and to write a little (fiction wise) everyday!

Anyway as we head into the new year, best wishes to everyone. Hope it proves to be productive and prosperous for all!!!


Ben Woesteburg Fri Dec 27 19:43:41 PST 1996

Merry Christmas and the best of the season to everyone.
Welcome to Carla.

It's funny, I wasn't dreaming of a white Christmas, but we got it anyway. I hope you're enjoying it Jack.

Hello Lisa. Welcome back!

Anyway, I can't stay on line too long because I have to go upstairs and watch TOY STORY with my wife and daughter. My son's at his cousin's house because it's his birthday today. He had a sleep over last night, and another tonight because the party's tomorrow. So it's TOY STORY and then INDEPENDENCE DAY right after.

Oh yes and Jack, in answer to what you had said earlier. This computer has WORD 7, though my own has WORD 2. I don't have any programs that I use aside from the word processing on mine, but this one has all sorts of gadgets; C.D. ROM, and that sort of stuff.
And as for resolutions, I make the same one every year: Try to be a decent person to those I come into contact with, and don't let anything bother me. It seems to work. Every other kind I've ever made has always fallen to the wayside.


Lisa Nickles Fri Dec 27 16:07:28 PST 1996

Well, Happy New Year to all! (soon) I've turned my computer back on; it goes off during the holidays so I don't miss time I should be spending with my family.

The editing is coming along very, very slowly. I have to force myself to face the facts- emotionally it is a lot harder to edit a novel than it is to edit a short story. I guess I don't get as attached to the characters.

Eventually I'll finish chapter one... Or maybe I'd best put this project down until it is fun again. I don't know; I'm clearly not experienced with this level of writer's anguish! Any suggestions?

Geez... I'm being depressing again...

Jonnie Thu Dec 26 19:47:50 PST 1996

Hi, everyone and a merry welcome to Carla. Our snow has turned to rain. Just as well, 15 inches of the white stuff was enough for me. We got snowed in Christmas day. Couldn't get out our driveway. Wouldn't have done any good as we live on a county road, and there was no traffic.Drifts over five feet tall and not even our one ton pickup could get us through.Ben: did you get out?
Well, I finished 25 more pages. Up to page 220.
Philip: How's Aaron doing?
Jack: How about a bio click at the head of notebook like archives with individual passwords for each of us. We could keep our own updated.Make our own changes as necessary. And would be there for new people to preview and add their own. You might want to put some stipulation on it. (Have to be active for two, three months or whatever)
My resolution is to keep plugging along and to be published before turn of century. Maybe like NOW.
How many words can we put in workbook? Did I miss rules somewhere?
Here's a question for EVERYONE: Would you introduce a new plot in a book two thirds way through? Somewhat connected with first, but suddenly confusing the mystery? Of course, it wouldn't be nearly as detailed, but would add to the suspense.
Happy reading, Trudy.Bye for now. J

Jack Beslanwitch Thu Dec 26 14:47:32 PST 1996

Carla: Welcome. Hope you like the community we're building here. In answer to your question, the last I heard, most magazine will buy first serialization rights. You retain the copyright. This, of course, depends on the magazine and there are some that are buying all rights. You have the right to say no to whatever they offer and the magazine must explicitly define what rights it is buying and for how much.

On other notes for everyone. The prospects for me to do my computer project look positive. It's at the point of submitting an expanded chapter by chapter outline, a writing schedule and start talking contracts. So, still not a done deal, but looking very very good.

As a suggestion for a topic of discussion for the next week ... What software do people find useful. The new Electronic version of 1997 Writer's Market is proving interesting for me at the moment. It seems to have an elaborate way of culling out markets by price, subject area and a host of other features. All in all, I give it thumbs up. Also, as a side question, what word processors are people using. In my own case I'm using Word 7.0 and will probably be moving up to Word 97 in the near future. I suggest that this be in addition to the resolutions 99 suggestion. I rather like that one. Take care.

Carla Baldwin Thu Dec 26 12:03:11 PST 1996

Hi everyone. I was so glad to stumble onto your web site. I am writing from Utica, New York, which is about 45 minutes east of Syracuse. Go Crunch!! I was wondering if anyone had any thoughts on entering writing contests or sending your work into magazines, hoping to be published. What rights do these magazines have once you submit your work to them?

I have just recently finished a short story, my first, and have started a second. I find it a lot like painting. It is a such a tremendous struggle. I like the finished work much better if I walk away and ignore it for a while, then look at it later with a fresh perspective.

I am constantly reading. Any Daphne du Maurier fans out there?

trudy Thu Dec 26 07:49:44 PST 1996

Happy holidays to everyone!!!! I have been away spending Christmas with the family and seem to have missed so much here. Have read through most of the posts and will try to remember all the things I wish to say.
Jack congrats! Was there any doubt this would be an award winning site?
Welcome Ken. I really like that you called this an international family because that's exactly what it feels like.
Ben, no snow this way, at least where I am in New Brunswick. I did have a white Christmas at my mom's but when I drove to my own home an hour and a half away there wasn't a flake to be found. Can't say I mind too much; I'm not a real winter person.
Anyways hope everyone is enjoying their holidays as much as I. Finally received my autographed copy of Anne Rice's newest novel and also received four other books for Christmas, including the Lord of the Rings series (Can't believe I haven't read them yet!) so I think today is a curl up and read day.

Happy holidays,

Kitty Wed Dec 25 16:15:57 PST 1996

Happy holidays! The best of the season to everyone. I'll be back before the New Year.

ben Woestenburg Tue Dec 24 20:52:50 PST 1996

Well, it's 8:45 p.m.and we're finally going to start eating. The kids are all running amok, the adults are drinking beer and wine, waitng for the kids to eat before we begin. I try to drop by tommrow, but it seems unlikely. probably won't be able to make it back until Boxing Day, or maybe the day after.

Having a great time so far though!

Ben Ho-Ho-Ho!

Philip Tue Dec 24 15:54:29 PST 1996

MERRY CHRISTMAS, HAPPY HANUKKAH, SEASONS GREETINGS EVERYONE: it's already here - as we are one of the first countries this side of the date line it's Christmas morning (10:50am) right now. It's a warm day and expected to be about 85 F later. We are heading off to the beach where we have arranged to meet a horde of people armed with a bottle of champagne per person. The turkey is already in the oven.

Roslyn's father is over from Vancouver and we've picked up an orphan writer, Nancy Minard, from Prince Edward Island.

Will post again after I surface and detox - the best of the season - Philip

ben Woestenburg Mon Dec 23 19:43:48 PST 1996

Well, here it is almost Christmas and we're practically snowed in. Can you believe it? According to records, there's only been seven or so white Christmases in the last sixty years. Oh well, at least the kids are happy. Well, one is; the oldest one's sick, as well as my wife, who's in bed this very moment. The youngest one was out for most of the day just playing and frolicking in the snow. Of course I was at work contending with the crap. When you drive the only machine in the whole mill with a bucket on it, you get called to five different places at once -- and of course every one of them thinks they're the priority. I just told myself: 'one more day, one more day...' We have a small car, with no snow tires, and no weight, so we pretty well can't go anywhere. In fact, I walked ten blocks before someone came along and gave me a ride. The only good thing about that is that next year's got to be better. We've spent everything we have on the kids, and have nothing for each other, so we'll give each other cards and flowers and tell ourselves that next Christmas will be better. I'm not complaining though. I've heard that when you buy a new house, the first copule of years are the most difficult. I'll have to agree with that.

We're supposed to go to my parents for Christmas dinner, but they live an hour away. They keep closing the freeway because of white outs, so we don't even know if we'll be able to make it there either. A friend's offered to lend us her four-by-four to make the trip, but if they close the roads, it won't make any difference.

All in all, it'll still be a great Christmas. The kids will be happy, and that's all that matters as far as that goes. As for me, I don't care if I get anything or not. The older you get, the more your values change. Family and friends, these are all that matters. I hope you guys have as good a time as we will.


Jack Beslanwitch Mon Dec 23 14:50:02 PST 1996


I've seen this around several places, but they have reached their goal, quoting from their webpage:

Over 2,000 Hospitalized Children Receive Books!

Thanks to you, the Internet community,
we have reached our goal of 50,000
messages and HMI is currently distributing
2,000 books to hospitalized children who
can't be home for the holidays. In
recognition of the amazing and voluminous
show of support from people all over the
world, Houghton Mifflin plans to donate an
additional 500 books to these children.

During the campaign, we encouraged
people to share messages of favorite
holiday thoughts and memories with the
internet community. We will continue to
receive and post messages even though we
have reached our goal. There are now
63,124 messages on the message board
and we hope to see more! We invite you to
post a message now, or browse messages
sent by other participants. However we are
no longer accepting email messages at

Many thanks to all who have participated.
We appreciate your support.

It's cool that all those kids got their books and that they are contributing another 500 books. These sorts of announcements are cool. Feel free to add them. An update may need to be added as in this case. Take care.

Lisa A. Nickles Mon Dec 23 10:31:38 PST 1996

Here's something I recieved that I'd thought I'd share with you guys:

>Here's an easy, no-cost way to help a child at the Holidays;
>>>Houghton Mifflin Publishing Corp. will donate 1 book to a Children's
>>>Hospital for every 25 emails which they receive.
>>>Please take a minute to send an email and forward this information to
>>>other email friends. Last year HM received 23,000 emails; so far
>>>year they have only received around 3,400.
>>> Email them at: SHARE@HMCO.COM

I'm sure a few of us could help!
Happy holidays!

Bob Hanford Sun Dec 22 16:47:46 PST 1996

Hello everyone. Welcome Ken.
My computer turns into a pumpkin in the morning and it may be a few days till I replace it. So Very Happy Holidays to all of you. You've made this a memorable year.
My resolution is to try Ritalin. This is coming from a guy who fights taking one aspirin. But...perhaps it will help me to focus down on one subject.
Happy Holidays. Bob

Ken Gulden Sun Dec 22 11:48:28 PST 1996

KITTY: I grew up (through high school) in a small town not too far from Binghamton, NY. We were on the south border of the state nearly due north of Scranton,PA. The town's name is Vestal, NY. My company was headquartered in Clarksburg, MD (a mere crossing of road) a great place for an office. The windows of my office opened onto tall trees and wildlife. Our main service offices were located on the campus for the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Gaithersburg, MD and the Army Research Laboratory campus in Adelphi, MD. We also had a location just north and west of downtown DC, not far from
Georgetown (great food).

JONNIE: I didn't drive from OK to DC/MD except one time to get my car there and back. I flew every other weekend. I now have enogh frequent flyer miles on good old TWA to last for a good while. As a matter of fact not long ago I was flying from Baltimore/Washington International to OKC on my 41st anniversary of flying TWA. At the time I was 41 years, eighteen days old. My dad was in the army. Eighteen days after birth, I flew to Frankfurt on a Lockeed Constelation.

BEN: I am enjoying reading all of the "yammering" around this 'table'. I check this more than once a day now. I often have a glass of wine nearby also.

JACK: Well said. The love for words and helping combined with the different colors the prism of emotion and experience bends from these, is why I write. Do you write for a living?

No snow in Oklahoma today. It is 62` f. today. One and a half weeks ago it was in the 70s. Between then and now, there have been wind chill factors of -27` f.. I appreciate hearing about the snow. It reminds me of the mountains and fields of home.

If I do not write again before, Merry Holiday to each of you.


Jonnie Sun Dec 22 07:23:22 PST 1996

I haven't gone to sleep, but keep my eye on this page everyday.What a wide and varied group we have here. But then isn't that what makes writing so interesting? We all pull from our life experiences, our friends, our jobs, our interest in reading and studying.And when we put our thoughts on paper, we always put a little of ourselves there also. (probably a great deal of ourselves) I've could write a note to you all when I had written ten pages and edited my last chapter before the one I'm working on now.
I want to add my congrats to all the others: Sherrie, Charles, Philip, and Jack. Hope I didn't leave anyone out.
I've been spending about two hours a day getting used to the net. (this has got to stop!!!) And I want to say, Jack, that I've yet to find anything as detailed and helpful as your great work on the resource pages. The Omni award was well chosen. You've given a great deal to these pages. I'm not sure why you chose to do it in the first place, but it seems to me that you have to have a very giving spirit and you must love people. Thanks for caring.
Deb, Tell us about your time in Atlanta. Hope you accomplished great things.
Ken, welcome! Don't feel left out. Keep plugging along and before you know it, Ben, Ken, and Jonnie will be published too.
Brit, what's the password?
Harrison, where are you?
We have approx. eight inches of powdered snow in our neck of the woods-beautiful glazed frosting which hides the brown sleeping earth.Our horses are sniffing and snorting at the white mass and playfully running in the field.
Ben, be careful with your drinking. The E.R.s are full of people who think nothing of drinking and driving. I have enough work to do!
Oh, yes, Ken, I'm wondering how you could have driven to work in D.C. and lived in Ok. I'm sure I missed something in the translation. I have to write twenty-five more pages before signing on again. But be assured I check in everyday. Happy holidays. J

Jack Beslanwitch Sat Dec 21 22:24:03 PST 1996

Kitty: Resolutions '99. I like it.

   My resolution is that I will sit down and spend a set amount of time writing fiction each day come rain (which in Seattle is often) or shine, sleet or snow, turn off my damn editor when I do this and complete what I start to write whether or not it is good.

This wonderful art form is born out of our love of language and how language is wedded to experience and emotion and the dark corridors of our own unconscious. Out of that delicate dance comes wonder in the writer and wonder in the reader, if we're lucky. Past wonder comes meaning, for the writer and the reader, again, if we're lucky. And not a meaning necessarily intended by the writer. Rather, one born out of the unique road trudged by the reader. The universe grants us pain and it is our jobs as human beings and writers to invest it with joy. Or do a damn good job of trying. And if that is not enough of a ramble, I'm not sure what is. Take care all.

Ben Woestenburg Sat Dec 21 21:40:11 PST 1996

Okay Kitty, you caught me. But 5 days? Wow.

First, I want to extend my congrats to Jack. He's done a great job with this, and the Resources page. When I first stumbled on to this page, I thought: Whoa, this is just what I've been looking for. I'm happy for you Jack, and happy to see you getting the recognition we all think you deserve.

KEN: Welcome aboard, and don't feel shy or threatened by the successes the others have all garnered through the years. I'm not published. Haven't done a damn thing. You've got more out there than I do. So don't worry about not being in the same league or other such silliness. It seems to me, the people on this page are all here to help in whatever capacity we can. Sometimes a person's depressed for whatever reasons, and someone's there with words of wisdom to help that person; or someone doesn't know how they should approach a subject, and someone can help with that. There's no one here sitting on their laurels being pretentious. In fact, I'll bet if we could, we'd all be sitting around a table with a couple of jugs of wine yammering away and laughing endlessly. (I know I would.)

KITTY: Okay Kitty, you got me on that one, and I apologize. I have to tell the truth. I've been doing a lot of drinking of course, it being the season...but hey, when isn't it? I've been trying to look through my Roman novel because I know it's time to get back at it. I've been doing the same thing you do, checking in on the page every night, but not always having anything to say. Christmas is like that for us around here...lots of food, lots of laughs, lots of drinking. I wish you could be here with us just so you could hear the things my wife says sometimes. She's an Island Girl, and so doesn't know much about sensing snow. She can't figure out how everyone can smell snow in the air. She has a bucket outside and she filled it with snow because she said when the snow melted in it, she could use it to water her plants in the spring. We had to explain that it takes ten inches of snow to make one inch of water. She was only going to have four inches of water if she was lucky. We've made wine, which we had to test; Irish cream, another night of tasting, Khaluha...yes, another night of testing. By the time I get to the computer, I fall asleep in front of the monitor and wake up several hours later. I've even been sleeping in till way past 6:00 a.m.

PHILLIP: A C-D Rom Encyclopedia! I'd love a chance at something like that! Of course, it would have to be Roman history or something like that, but...well, I just don't know what to say. If you can fit it into your tight scheduele, then go for it. Why not? It's like being a major contributor to the 'Cambridge Ancient History' series. Of course, you have to like history to write something like that, and researching, and -- I don't have to tell you. You know exactly what's involved. But definitely something to consider.

CHARLES: I want to get through reading the first three chapters, thinking of how I can write a query that best suits what I'm trying to convey, and then I'll send it off to you. It seems when I read what I've written, I see mistakes that I know have to be changed. So I fix it as I go along, or fall asleep -- all that drinking with my dear wife of course -- which will bring me right back to New Year's.

LISA: Where you been lately?

JONNIE:Have you got those hundred pages written yet?

TRUDY: Is everyone on holidays? How's the snow on that side? My daughter was concerned when we had a snowfall last week or so. I guess she thinks there's a certain allotment, and if we pass it, we won't get any for Christmas. So it snowed again the other day -- though it's almost gone now. It snows just enough to screw everything up for everyone. But hey, I'm not complaining. If we get seventeen days of snow during the winter, who's going to complain about that?

SHERRIE: I know, you've left for the land of sun and fun, and we won't see you for a while at least. But hurry back. I'm not getting old, and hardly feeble -- yet. I'm still a kid in my own mind, and my kids help to keep me that way.

DEB: I hope you enjoyed Atlanta. (This is for when you get back.)

Now I have to go back upstairs because my wine glass has been sitting beside me and standing empty for far too long. I hope you all have a great Christmas, because I know I will. Hell, I still got my kids both believing in it. We've always given just one present that came from Santa, and told them the others came from different people -- aunts, uncles, grandparents -- and so they let themselves believe. Of cousre, before we lived here we lived in a basement suite that had a fireplace and I would drop cinders on the hearth and carpet, knock things over so it looked like that poor old guys had a hard time getting through the chimney(?) -- I can't believe it, but suddenly I don't know if that's spelt right.

Anyways, Go out and get good and blasted, because everyone needs a good drunken bender at least once a year. In my case, it's a little more frequently, but that because some old habits are hard to break -- and others I don't want to.

Ben. HO-HO-HO!

Kitty edwyer@spherenet Sat Dec 21 17:24:15 PST 1996

Hey y'all! Omnivision winner, eh?! I think you're all right. Papa Jack created this warm and welcoming spot on the net, but without Bob, Philip, Charles, Ben, Harrison, Sherrie, Trudy, Deb, Lisa, Jonnie, Jennifer, Brit, Trish, et al.... this house would not be a home.
So much good news posted lately... Philip, what a thrilling challenge, an Encyclopedia of Aboriginal Art! I am awed and mightily impressed that you are considering such a daunting task. Keep us posted. Also, was this a holiday concert your son was in and, if so, how does Sweet Charity fit into the holly jolly theme?
Charles, am I correct in inferring that you are taking a screenwriting class? Whenever a film is adapted from a book, I always read the book. They are two very different mediums and while a book can have the pacing of a movie, a movie with the pacing of a book would be snoozingly long. As to the ghost writing offer, what are your instincts telling you? Is this a project you could be passionate about? Or is this work for hire? It certainly would be one more credit on your resume, but you've already been published and have a track record. Let us know what you decide and what kind of ghost writing is it? Biography or cookbook?
Sherrie, hope you are feelling better.
Lisa, didn't anyone tell you not to eat while at the computer?! If we don't here from you within a reasonable amount of time, we'll know your keyboard was gummed up with cookie crumbs and chocolate bits--or you're hard at work editing.
Ben, your a fine one for talking about popping in and out! Not a peep from you in five days. Surely you can wrap presents, hang lights, stir the wassail bowl, AND tippity-tap on the computer in the wee hours! Hope to see your inimitable postings soon.
Welcome, Ken. What part of upstate New York and what part of D.C. And how did you come to decide on Oklahoma City?
Jack, for a subject, what if we compiled a "Resolution '99?" We could each post a writing related resolution for the new year and, if so inclined, include a thought or commentary on "this wonderful art form." Then on the eve of the year 2,000, we can look back and see where our journey has taken us. Its a thought and I'm volunteering to compile the entries of those who wish to participate.
It's Winter Solstice here, the shortest day of the year. The sun set around 4 p.m. For the next three months, as we enter the coldest depths of winter, I will be telling myself that the days are getting longer, the days are getting longer. Tell me, Philip is it Summer Solstice in Australia?

Ken Gulden Sat Dec 21 14:13:03 PST 1996

Hello everyone!

This morning,I was up early, not able to sleep, surfing (I am learning how) when I came across this 'international family'. As most of you seem very successful (having been published much) I was not sure if this was a place for me. Jack was kind and said this was a place for aspiring writers as well. This is great. I will contribute where I am able. I will learn and sponge more.

To use a format which Bob recently did;

NAME: Ken Gulden (pen name - Kenneth Kage)
HOME: Oklahoma City, OK (originally a dairy farm in upstate NY)
FAMILY: Beth, my spouse and four felines
JOB: Unemployed (I recently resigned a long commute [Washington, DC area] where I ran a financial services firm
PUBLISHED: Two poems
UNPUBLISHED: A novel (mystical sometimes in-love love story) and hundreds of poems
WORKS IN PROGRESS: Always more poems and a novel (murder mystery/sci-fi/love story) and another (on the back burner)

If any of you would email me to let me know more about yourself I would be greatful.

Congratulations Jack on the recognition!


Bob Hanford Sat Dec 21 13:41:06 PST 1996

JACK: Charles and Philip said it all. My first thought when I read your post was that I certainly had nothing to do with it. The credit is all yours and much deserved. Congratulations!

Charles Samuel Sat Dec 21 12:51:57 PST 1996

JACK: Congratulations!!! Hard work and creativity eventually get noticed. We all have been saying all along what a great place this is. Now others are recognizing it as well. Enjoy! And thank your wife for all of us too.

Philip Sat Dec 21 11:47:45 PST 1996

JACK: the credit is all yours my friend.Congratuations, well done - I couldn't agree more with those astute judges. This site is unique from my experience on the Net. Apart from the international family you've created here, there is the another essence that I've not found elsewhere - the quality of a thoughtful and caring, sharing fellowship usually reserved usually for religious-style groups. Writers are united here, isolated at our work but joined at your Notebook.

Jack Beslanwitch Fri Dec 20 19:12:40 PST 1996

Hello everyone:

Just got word that Omni Magazine has selected Writer Resources as an Omnivision Winner. I'm not precisely sure all what that constitutes beyond posting a nifty looking banner graphic if I want, but felt I should mention that all of those here had something to do with this.

Charles: I sort of go along with Deb on your ghostwriting question. If it looks like it would be fun and something that would stimulate your interest, I would say go for it. Otherwise, think about what your priorities are.

If anyone has a suggestion for a topic of discussion, I'm encouraging them to drop it off. Of course, what with the holidays coming up, I'm not sure how much activity we're going to have here. Take care and just to reinforce what I said earlier, I wish a happy, productive and healthy new year for everyone and their families.

Deb Borys Thu Dec 19 22:03:44 PST 1996

CHARLES:If it was me, and at this stage in my life, I would do the ghostwriting for a) the experience/resume building, and b) the money. If, however, I had enough money (will I ever?!) and credits to my name, I would only take on the project if I had sufficient interest and/or did not have projects of my own that were pleading for their lives.

Off to Atlanta for the next ten days. It's a "working" vacation--in two ways. I will be staying at the Open Door, which is a homeless shelter, and doing volunteer work part of the time. I also am researching PAINT IT BLACK, the second novel in the suspense series I have started that is now sitting on a back burner.

Happy holidays. Don't forget me while I'm gone.

Thu Dec 19 21:53:43 PST 1996


Charles Samuel Thu Dec 19 13:39:16 PST 1996

oops! that's from me below.

Thu Dec 19 13:37:24 PST 1996

EVERYONE: Had a great session with my screenwriting teacher this past week. She gave me some terrific pointers but said that there would have to be major differences between the book and the film. My style is to thread subtle moral and ethical messages throughout a 'thriller' plot. When this is adapted to the screen... you're usually left with the thriller plot and the subtle messages get lost. Whoever read JURASSIC PARK and also saw the film will know what I mean. Anyway, it also seems that there is no standard format for film treatments. Here's an email from a screenwriter friend who has two or three made-for-TV films produced each year. I asked for one of his treatments as a sample of what sells today in Los Angeles:

"You're out of luck as far as treatments go. Generally, I don't do written ones as a matter of policy. What I do is a system of blocks that outline the story, really just a digestion of a bunch of post-its I slap up on a wall. I'd send you one, but I fear it wouldn't make much sense without me talking through it, which is how I always present my stories. Producers and execs generally love it, because it allows you to see the whole movement of the story on one page, and also, they don't have to read it!!!"

Well, that's a little hard to do from 10,000 miles away!

Anyway, I might try to do the treatment anyway, just as an exercise.

Still waiting for responses from the agents, and a couple more asked to see the book.

In the meantime, I was approached about ghost-writing a non-fiction book for a celebrity that will probably be pre-sold by her agent. I have mixed feelings about it. What do you guys think? On one hand, I could spend the time writing my own book with my name on it. On the other hand, I guess professionally it goes onto my resume when dealing with publishers and agents as 'my' book... sort of? Plus it's not exactly the kind of book I would write, but it does sound intriguing. She would do all the research and interviewing and I would write it up.

PHILIP: Congrats on the CD offer. Sounds exciting. It's definitely the wave of the future and an opportunity to explore a new medium. Seems to fit in with your character... and you seem to be able to juggle a lot of projects with one hand tied behind your back.

The MS is not writing itself. I had a discussion with my wife tonight and we decided it might be wise to put it on the back burner until an agent picks up THE JERUSALEM CONSPIRACY. I have enough to show agents and publishers of my 'next' novel. In the meantime another opportunity has opened up for a 'self-help' book (other than the ghost writing project) I discovered my contact who helped get me my celeb quotes has access to much more than that. Anyway I could probably get the self-help book done in a couple of months. All the research is already done.

The school year ends in June. July and August is when all the tourists show up here. I spoke to some people who are checking out opportunities here. I'll keep you posted. According to my wife I've been known to lecture in my sleep... with my eyes closed! And as for juggling, I don't love it but I seem to be doing it all the time. What do you think that means?

By the way, what's happening in NY in May? I might be there.

BEN: Three chapters and a query sounds great. Let's see them!

SHERRY: Have a great break and let's hear good news soon.

KITTY, DEB, JONNIE, HARRISON, BRIT, JACK, TRUDY, LISA, BOB, TRISH, et al... Have a great weekend. See you soon.


Philip Thu Dec 19 01:35:10 PST 1996

TRISH: where are you? Miss you... long time no post!

Sherrie Wed Dec 18 22:11:12 PST 1996

Yes, I've stopped stuttering. Now I'm sick . . . again. After orbiting me for weeks, the flu has landed, and just 48 hours before we leave for Christmas in California. Perhaps I'll see the doctor/quack tomorrow (an old joke). Actually, I tend to do this--go at full speed until my body stops. You'd think I'd learn.
You all sound great. Glad Jonnie is up and running once again. I wonder if Ben is getting a little old and feebie (feeble) (Sorry, Ben, but I hope I never get that casual about a nice set of shoulders, thick thighs, strong hands, a defined jawline . . . you get the idea). You must be a wonderful carpenter, Bob. I'm so proud of you, Jack. Pass some of those goodies my way, Lisa; I'm having chocolate withdrawals. Impressive, Philip. I received your e-mial, Kitty. Let me know if I need to send those chapters again. Watch your blood pressure, Harry. I never use anyone else's opening lines, Deby, not even for practice, but I do pride myself on mine and suppose I'd be flattered if someone else used one for a launch--to a limit! How's the agent-search, Charles? And HI, Brit. Tell us how the war is going; we won't tell your secret.
See y'all later. Should hear more about that offer in the next day or two. Will pass it on to you. As we speak, Son Mike is looking for a cafe or library with an internet connection so I can stop in here during the 10 days I'll be gone. Leaving Katie at the kennel is bad enough.

Deb Borys Wed Dec 18 20:39:36 PST 1996

Just a quickie ;-)
KITTY: I didn't make it clear, but Year of the Horses is a short story, and I haven't found a market for it yet.

The piece probably does qualify as soft sci-fi. It's actually sort of a "new age" alternative future theme.


Bob Hanford Wed Dec 18 16:45:17 PST 1996

PHILIP: Wow! What an extraordinary honor and tremendous sign of respect. Congratulations!

Bio as promised:
NAME: Bob Hanford
LOCALE: Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
FAMILY: Son, Sean, 27; daughter Maria Elena, 17; two cats, Lancelot and Trix.
JOB: Carpenter
PUBLISHED: Articles, stories, poetry in regional mags. Piece in Christian Science Monitor, Good Housekeeping. Columnist for past five years.
CURRENT FOCUS: Rage and punishment
WORKS IN PROGRESS: Non-fiction book on rage, novel on the siege of Leningrad.

Philip Wed Dec 18 14:26:29 PST 1996

HELLO EVERYONE: I've received more good news in the past week than I've had for the whole of '96... it must be the good Karma coming my way, Yin-yang strikes again. Yesterday I was asked to write a major non fiction work, a CD-ROM Encyclopaedia on Australian Aboriginal Art and Culture. Can you believe it? It's an Australian government project - quite an honour. If I do accept, I'd be the sole writer - I am told there will be numerous researchers assisting me as one might expect. If I take it on I'll be flying out to Perth to meet with the Western Australia University multi-media team, producers of the project, early next month. I saw the preliminary illustrated storyboards; there are lots of clever people in this world. I'll let you know more about it when I have more details. Mind blowing.

Last night I went to partake in Christmas drinks at my agent's offices, she has an Australian client list that reads like a who's who of Aussie literature. It was the most exhilarating evening I've had for years - and I only had two glasses of Chardonnay. Unfortunately I had to leave early to see my boy in his school Christmas concert (his grade did a number from Sweet Charity - Hippies. Why did I get a flash of Bob looking up from planing some oak just then?), this was his last concert at this school. After seven years, he goes to high school next year in another district - sad. Mine weren't the only moist eyes there last night. (Our school year starts in mid February and finishes in mid December, the kids get six weeks off in our summer, fits the calendar year well). I really didn't mind leaving the party early, we all have our priorities, mine are well set.

Back soon - Philip.

Philip Wed Dec 18 12:38:41 PST 1996

HARRISON: I'm sorry, I can't explain why everyone else from the group are able to get email through to you. (Gee your so popular and such a good joiner). This is the result I got twice:

Date: Wed, 18 Dec 1996 16:47:17 +1100
From: Mail Delivery Subsystem
Subject: Returned mail: User unknown
MIME-Version: 1.0

The original message was received at Wed, 18 Dec 1996 16:47:01 +1100
from []

----- The following addresses had delivery problems -----
(unrecoverable error)

----- Transcript of session follows -----
... while talking to
>>> RCPT To:
<<< 550 ... User unknown
550 ... User unknown

Twice over it was the same USER UNKNOWN.... much like your books and pen names.

Jonnie Wed Dec 18 09:43:18 PST 1996

What an interesting bunch we have here. Hopefully clo daggers are being saved for the fiction you all will write.
Jack, thanks for the note you e-mailed me. I kept getting the old page before your archived it. I finally trashed Netscape 3.0 gold, redid my software, and haven't had any problems since. Just been too busy to talk with you. I'm on call today, my hubby's having surgery (minor) in the a.m. Hopefully I'll get back to you all soon.
Kitty: thanks for book title. J

Lisa Nickles Wed Dec 18 09:41:54 PST 1996

Hi all. (As she sits, merrily munching a marshmellow Santa Claus)

DEB: I wouldn't feel uncomfortable getting ideas from other peoples stories. Most writers, I would think, (correct me if I'm wrong) do that on some level or another. Taking something that we read or hear and going off on a tangent to spawn a thousand new ideas. Unless you are directly copying the main idea in the story, I doubt if it's a big problem. I spin tangents sometimes myself. Several months ago I saw the movie "Independence Day," in which humanity had to fight aliens for their lives; after the movie, I couldn't help but think 'fine, they won the day, but how do you rebuild after such mass destruction?' It ended up spawning a skeletal outline (soon to be story) about the resulting wars caused by the loss of so many governments. Seeing and reading makes us think. That's why we get ideas from so many sources.

(merrily munching chocolate kisses)

JACK: Keep with it and good luck. I know someone keeps moving the end of the tunnel, but you will get there.

(cheerfully chomping a Christmas cookie)

BOB: I think the closest one could come to naming Zeus' youngest daughter would have to be Hebe- goddess of youth, and cupbarer of the Gods. Zeus, according to greek mythology, had a nasty habit of fooling around and creating little half-gods. Who's to say who his last daughter was?

(you know, I should eat some real food at some point...)

Well, I'm setting to the editing now. I've given myself a few days to reconstruct my brain after so much work on one project. I will try not to spend half of christmas buried in my novel, but it will be one of the few days off that I see before the end of the year. I will pop on and read the notebook, but I won't be writing much here until I have more time.

Happy holidays all.

Bob Hanford Tue Dec 17 19:04:21 PST 1996

Wonder is the huntsman's bow and compassion the poison-tipped arrow when we encounter injured or orphaned wildlife. We instinctively want to cuddle them and take them home....
My personal favorite lead from an article I did years back called, Mommie Can We Keep It? I too spend weeks on opening lines/leads.I think they are the icing on the cake, the joy of writing.
The cabinets await your inspection. The final one, called a cash-wrap had to weigh 600 lbs.
Sherrie, Charles, Philip...congrats on all your successes. Britomart...going to miss you like crazy. Hurry back.'re breathing exciting air guy. Haven't had time to print out your story but did receive it ok. Thanks. Will get back to you. idea who Zeus's youngest daughter is.
Philip...finally going to get the chance to read your book. (Although have another customer who saw my cabinets and wants a kitchen-full of custom cabinets...we'll see.)
Not trying to catch up with everyone all at once. Yes, I do feel guilty about that.
Will post new bio tomorrow.

Kitty Tue Dec 17 17:36:32 PST 1996

Hey y'all! Ben, I'm here. I check the Notebook almost everyday, but don't always post. Last couple of days, however, I haven't had access to the Net because Ted, the beloved, somehow disconnected the modem while loading his new flight simulator into the computer. He spent a good portion of the weekend trying to land a Cessna 182 RG without crashing--but failed consistently. Besides me, his great passion is flying. He's working on a his commercial license and keeps pointing out the advantages of having ones own plane. Now what could he be thinking?! Anyway, he restored the modem tonight, if there was something you wanted to direct my way, wing it over here. Or were you simply missing my pithy commentary?
Deb, is the Year of the Horses available at the bookstores? An ISBN # would be helpful. And why does that title sound so familiar? Was it reviewed in the NY Times Book Review? If your alternate universe isn't sci-fi, is it fantasy? Regarding your question, sounds to me like you were playing "what if....." Taking a snippet and extending the story further can't possibly be plagarism.
Jonnie, the book is How To Find Almost Anyone, Anywhere by Norma Mott Tillman, P.I., published by Rutledge Hill Press,. 1994. The ISBN#: 1-55853-377-X. Wish you an interesting journey finding those you seek. Keep us posted.
Catch y'all later. There's a batch of old fashioned molasses cookies waiting to be frosted.

Philip Tue Dec 17 16:45:03 PST 1996

HELLO EVERYONE: jingle bells, jingles sell, jingle all the way... to the bank that is. How more expensive can it get. Every year I promise I will make all our Christmas presents but always it's on me before I can get myself into gear. I absolutely cherish gifts made for me by my friends. Their imperfections makes them so precious, folkloric. Maybe next year I'll do it.

SHERRIE: over the stutters yet? Come back and share.

DEB: I'm impressed. You're really working hard at it. First lines: I feel comfortable about the concept as a spring board but I would jettison them afterwards and write my own. Walter Mosley said he always begins his books by working hard on his first lines, he agonises over them. He also said when he wrote The yellow Dog he loved his opening lines so much but was forced to change them because the plot moved away so far from them that he had to. When I've taken my MS to about the tenth draft I go back and write my first lines. I believe people do judge a book by (all of ) its cover... and its first lines.

JACK: good luck! Sending bolts of white light your way.

Speaking of white light, does anyone know about Ingo Swann and/or his books? The Net... he must be there, I 'll check. Some of you might be as interested in his psychic feats as I am. He was featured on TV in Australia last week, amazing, worked for the CIA, they poured untold millions into his department after hearing the Russians were spending $400 million on a similar program. The CIA streamed the best candidates from millions of enlisted men and women that they tested and trained them up - the criteria: they had to be writers or artists. The program was billed here as THE REAL X-FILES - fade up the spine tingling music...

JONNIE: the Flying Doctor Service is still in operation but in dire need of cash. They also now have a wonderful devoted ground staff in four wheel drives, almost all female, who work very long hours every day, month after month. I read the burn out rate of medicos is horrendously high. There is no way I could do that, not even when I was young and fit: all the suffering they routinely deal with on a daily basis as well as the physical demands of the rugged outback - stress to the extreme. Although Australia is seen by some as challenging, one of the last frontiers (and it is that), there is little romance in this work. I believe their's is a calling, like to the church.

CHARLES: you have to crack it big-time with five NY agents at the off. How does that work in with your US publishing plans? Will the new agent cop it: no entitlement on your first important launch into the US market? What about the new MS, is it writing itself? When does the university year begin and stop? How are you at juggling? And can you whistle, hum etc...and lecture with one hand tied behind your back? My wife can, but she is woman.

BEN: good on you mate, you're the refreshing breeze from Canada, our Chinook. I will certainly make a point of meeting you and your family when I'm in Vancouver, thanks for the invitation. Likewise JACK, I hope to come to Seattle on the same trip. As well as visiting your hot tub, a couple of writers I want to see live there. At the moment it looks like that'll be in May while on my way to NY to meet up with LISA and attend the writers' conference there. These are the plans... but we all know about the winds of change.

BRITOMART: I know you peek in when no one is watching. (She emailed me and told me she surreptitiously uses someone else's PC- there you're dobbed in. Hang in there, NETS ANONYMOUS is forming in Brisbane next week). I've been dying to ask you if you've read Linda Jaivin's first novel? If so, where do you think it's placed in contemporary women's literature? Is it high art or faddish sensationalism?

Linda Jaivin is an Australian author everyone, and watch out America, she's coming your way. She's just signed a six figure contract with a US publisher for rights to her first book 'EAT ME!'. It was an amazing runaway best seller in Australia. It leads the wave of recent (all hugely popular) 'grunge' novels published here, mostly by female authors in their twenties. 'Grunge' is the literature phenomena of the nineties in Australia. Employing shock values, the new genre is claimed by young females as their domain. I've seen it written that if men wrote this stuff it would gross too many people out, but apparently it's okay for young women to write it. You may imagine the thrust of the genre... well sink further but don't wallow long.

Back soon - Philip.

Philip Mon Dec 16 23:05:53 PST 1996

HARRISON: I sent you an email using your the number you've posted here... it was returned. Can you verify your email number for me?

Philip Mon Dec 16 22:53:57 PST 1996


My personal experience in mainstream filmmaking matches the text book I quoted, but it makes no matter to me. I don't know how to even approximate the Tab settings so to do a script layout is difficult for me to achieve on the Net.

You will all be pleased to hear, some of you already know...'I found out earlier, not later' with my scripts, the money is already in. I've been paid well for my feature film script writing - development money and international interest in the rights came in quickly based on my treatment and the production money was raised on my screenplay of my first novel, all about a year ago. It's developed into a TV mini-series. You can watch it in the US when it is broadcast - half the money was raised there. Exactly the same happened with my treatment and screenplay (that I posted excerpts from) based on my second book, except it is being developed as a feature film.

Back soon - Philip.

Ben Woestenburg Mon Dec 16 21:44:56 PST 1996

PHILLIP&HARRISON: Well, you two have certainly been busy at each other, heven't you? I'm sitting here surrounded by Christmas lights, listening to carols all day long -- and I love Christmas carols -- just giggling over the two of you fighting and bickering with each other...politely. I think it's funny, honestly. I don't want to say anything else and accidently insult one or the other of you, but you sure have provided some good entertainment along the way. It's all right to want to flex your muscles at each other -- or piss on each other as Harrison so aptly put it (and that reminds me of the story I was going to tell you guys...)-- just as long as niether one of you gets too mad and leaves. That would not sit well with me I can tell you, and I'm sure the others might even agree. So, by all means, carry on, but don't get carried away (smile).

JONNIE: I was looking through the archives to see if I might have missed anything before Jack iced it, when I noticed the comment about not believing a guy can sit in a bar and not watch the strippers. I found it rather amusing, but I think it might also be misconstrued as sexist. Do all women believe that ALL men have to watch strippers just because they're there? If you saw the shuttle blasting off for every mission, wouldn't it become old hat after a while? Like living near an airport? Oh gee, another plane's coming in, (yawn). I've hung out in a lot of bars, and seen a lot of strippers. I hung out with guys who dated strippers; one of the guys I work with has a brother who used to be a stripper. I used to go up into the changing room when the girls were getting ready for their next show; I've seen them doing things most guys have no ideas they would do. Strippers are poeple first, and strippers second. We took one of the girls out to an amateur strip contest in a dance club once, and she was nervously afraid that she wouldn't even become a finalist. Strippers are nice,hell,they're great when they know how to dance, but that doesn't mean you have to pay attention to them when they're on stage.

CHARLES: Congrats on the agents!5 of them! I guess I know whose door I'll be knocking on when I want some advice on how to wrtie the perfect query letter. I had been looking through a link that LISA had on her page, and it was interesting enough for me to bookmark it, but I think you might be a little more helpful as far as the personal touch goes.

SHERRIE: You're going to have a marvelous Christmas I can see. Mine may be delayed some. I already had sent the story out that Phillip had been kind enough to look at for me, so now I have to wait until it comes back before I can try and send it where he suggested I try. It's funny, isn't it? I wrote the story as a piece of fluff for myself, entertaining myself with it, and never even considered sending it to juvenile mags. I'm quite sure when it comes back it won't take me long to find soemone to buy it. Looks like I might be getting a haircut sooner than I thought. Now does anyone know where I can dump off a story of 14,600 words? By the way, I plan on sending you all a copy of it as soon as I figure everything out. (You see, Harrison, I'm really stupid when it comes to this sort of thing, but then, I'm really good at drawing Snoopy, so it all evens out in the end -- giggle.) I'm glad you guys liked what you could get out of it, and I have to apologize for the condition it came in.

KITTY: Where are you? You pop in, and pop out even quicker. I hope you've put your time towards a good effort. Christmas can be hectic, can't it?

Now I've got to go and look after my own yard. I've been looking through my book and changing words and sentences here and there. I don't know if it's a good idea, but I can't stop myself. Do you suppose anyone's ever happy with what they come up with? I was planning on simply reading the damn thing, and I'm sure I will. But I thought, if I can fix up the first three chapters, write a good query and send it off somewhere, maybe I'll get a nibble or two, or maybe even a bite. It's worth a try, isn't it?


p.s. In the immortal words of my friend, Stevie-V...felishe
noddy-nod. That's supposed to be Felice Navidad, but he's one of those characters that can never say things the way they're written. Sort of like saying, "He kicked him in the GENTILES." That's one of my faves...anyway, have a great holiday season, and don't let it end too soon. (That means save a bit of yourself for New Years Eve -- which is just another night by the way.)

Deb Borys Mon Dec 16 21:34:54 PST 1996

Watch that Netscape Gold 3.0. That's what gave me all those problems trying to post. I still can't use it when I want to check in with you guys.

KITTY: No, I don't think I have read any Lois McMaster Bujold. But then Sci-Fi really hasn't been my thing. I have read a few that really enjoyed. My creation of this "universe" actually came about by accident. Last January I attended the Green River Writers Novel in Progress Workshop in Kentuck (an excellent workshop, by the way, anyone near by should e-mail for the details to next year's event) -- anyway Michael Seidman, mystery editor at Walker, is a resource person from them every year (and a great guy on top of it all). He sent use two opening paragraphs and suggested we pick one and write a story from it. He also suggested we experiment by writing cross-genre from what we usually do. The paragraph I picked just naturally led me to the universe I discovered. Cropping off the opening lines to avoid plagarism left the story intact and I decided to explore it further. The first is titled The Year of the Horses and the working title of the second is Thunder. Not sure I like that, but it will do for now.

Actually, using the opening lines from someone else's story has proven to be a good jum start for writer's block for me. My mystery published in Pirate Writings resulted from the first line in a non-fiction interview with an author in a magazine I read. Now, I'm not talking plagarism here. In fact, this only works if I do not read the story that goes with the opening--at least not until after my own story is finished. The two times I've done this, I just skimmed through a book of assorted short stories and marked a few that had and intriguing or left me with an image or called out to me in some way.

I don't know, what do you think? Am I stepping over the bounds of protocol here? Or is this "excercise" actually a form of flattery to those writers whose opening sentence or two inspired me enough to create a whole short story of my own?

CHARLES: Can't remember if I ever posted a suggestion for writing off line so you can spell check, etc. and then post it to the Notebook. I think that might have been in the one post that I lost before I hit the send button. If you haven't figured out a way to do it, send me e-mail and I'll tell you the two or three ways I do it. (Obviously not tonight. I'm sure there are typos all over the place in here, but I'm supposed to be finishing a newsletter--two newsletters, actually--so that I can be free to fly to Atlanta for the holiday.)

Philip Mon Dec 16 19:12:47 PST 1996

HARRISON: regarding the bios posted in the Workbook, if you had read further into the archived material you will have learned we agreed to do that and were restricted to the length of our postings. All I did was collate them afterwards as they were posted at different times. Much like yourself, modesty prevented me from revealing many of my significant achievements, or of my own various companies, or of my many recent seven digit figure personal ventures - not to mention my grand failures. I too have hundreds of credits in film and TV internationally but All of mine are in the mainstream. So, you might say, I've seen a few scripts. We do have something in common in that I've also written, produced and directed a few Industrials, called corporate films elswhere. Some in our group know more about me than others, but all of which was exchanged in PRIVATE.

Please, if you want to further attack me personally you may do so by private email. Most intelligent Americans I know would consider blatant attempts at character assassination in public as absurdly rude. I do too. And I won't indulge you any further in that.

Here's a real challenge for you old mate, a contemporary starting point, post some of your recent Mackinac Island work in progress in the Workbook so we can applaud your talent. And I would really appreciate you sharing your screenplay finds on the Net as others here might also.

Films and TV have been good to me but that is the past, old ground, now my heart really lies in creating literature.

Back soon - Philip.

Jack Beslanwitch Mon Dec 16 18:24:45 PST 1996

   Still plugging away at finishing my final installment for my potential publisher. We'll see how that goes. What with putting together an outline on all the innovations in HTML, JAVA, JavaScript and ActiveX, I believe I might make a stab at some renovations around here as well. Not with the Notebook. That's sailing along just fine, thank you very much.

Trudy: It really is just coincidence :-) or you just happen to land and comment when the Notebook is creeping way beyond 100k. I actually think it a great sign that we have an active and knowledgable group of writers popping in.

Philip and Harrison: I don't know a thing about screenwriting, but I find the discussion interesting at the very least. And Harrison, I would be fascinated to hear about locationson the internet, email them to me and I will consider including them among the links for Writer Resources. The possibility exists that you could both be right in given circumstances, but I have no way to judge at this point.

Everyone who is having great news, I congratulate you and hope to be able report similar positive news myself soon. Take care.

Harrison Rose Mon Dec 16 17:58:50 PST 1996

For seventy-five years or more? Really, Philip? I didn't realize talkies had been around that long. (grinning from ear to ear) Now later when your hard work comes to naught, don't say I didn't try to warn you.

Truth to tell, I had to debate with myself whether to tell you you were wrong. A part of me said ignore it, let him learn the hard way.

But the better part of me said give the guy the benefit of the doubt and tell him.

How wonderful that you are so ... well, what's the word I'm looking for?

Anyway, now both halves of my nature can win. Who could ask for a better resolution!

By the way, there are several excellent sources of screenwriting information on the net -- I could tell you their URLs, .... but you wouldn't believe me anyway.

Philip Mon Dec 16 16:58:53 PST 1996

HELLO EVERYONE: none of what I posted on screenplays is incorrect nor was it my own creation. Almost every writer in mainstream filmmaking for seventy five years or more, USA and internationally, uses the examples you will find in Edward Dmytryk's easily accessible book on the subject, as do I.

Check it out - www.

Title: On Screen Writing

by Edward Dmytryk

Paperback, 180 pages
List: $22.95 -- Price: $22.95
Published by Focal Press
Publication date: April 1, 1985
Dimensions (in inches): 8.19 x 5.39 x .57
ISBN: 0240517539

Availability: This item usually shipped within 2-3 days.

Back soon- Philip.

trudy Mon Dec 16 16:55:35 PST 1996

Jack I'mstarting to get a little paranoid that everytime I post you archive...just kidding I'm not taking it personally. Hello all; just stopped to see what was up. Trudy

Harrison Rose Mon Dec 16 06:40:55 PST 1996

Hooray! It has finally stopped raining. For awhile there I was beginning to feel like Noah. Quite self-righteous about it, too, half-hoping for the destruction of the damned which naturally included all of my real and imagined enemies. Although there is no rainbow in our overcast sky, I am sure God has forgiven the miscreants and so, reluctantly, shall I. (grin)

Well, first things first. I am not going to be able to complete the coding of FicTech in time to place it on the Web today. But since it is only a hobby and not a commercial venture, I think there is no harm done in a delay of a few days. I do not delude myself into thinking that the world is breathlessly awaiting another magazine to read.

The difficulty arose when I decided that I wanted to use a background with a border on the edge. (I think the width of a computer screen a bit too wide for easy reading.) Imagine my surprise when I learned that there was no simple way of setting a margin. Instead you have to write everything into tables. A real chore. But one that I have encountered before.

Back in the dark ages of personal computers, circa early 80s, it was not possible to write a video script using the word processors of the day. (Video requires a two-column format where the video content is synchronized to match the audio, quite different from a film script.)

It's a chore to do on a typewriter and was impossible on the computer. You had to write your script much in the manner of HTML with codes stuck in the script, and then use another program to compile the script into two columns.

Naturally you spent as much time debugging the script as you did writing it. And for every script change you had to go through the same process again.

Finally I hit upon the idea of using my copy of the Lotus 1-2-3 spreadsheet with each cell representing a video scene. It was clunky, but it worked! In fact, I sold the idea to PC Magazine which ran an article on the method.

HTML reminds me of those early days.

I think I should have the first issue up by mid-or-end of week.

Speaking of scripts, I skimmed some of the entries in the Workbook, which I hadn't really done before, and encountered the information Philip posted. Well, not to be rude, but really much of it is incorrect. There are many "levels" or stages of scripting. What Philip appears to have attempted to post was something like a production or shooting script. This is not something the writer does. This is done by the producer or director and is almost always a collaborative effort.

For example, the writer never numbers the scenes, rarely puts in camera directions, and keeps stage direction to the bare minimum. Of course, the formating was all wrong too and those rules are strictly adhered to.

A scriptwriter writes in what is known as "Master Scene Format." When your friend the teacher arrives, Charles, you can ask him to explain the difference.

CHARLES, your idea for an epic movie based on your Black and Decker blender sounds like a wonderful idea. You do realize that "The Brave Little Toaster" in both book and film form is a classic, don't you? And Hollywood loves nothing better than a remake with variations. I think it was Meyer who once said to his writers:"Give me the same story only different."
Who knows? with a little imagination you might be able to give us a kitchen version of the block buster "Toy Story."

I read, also, in the Workbook, all of the bios Philip gathered. Perhaps as you remarked, PHILIP, it is a cultural difference between us. Philadelphia is not Kansas. We are quite reticent here regarding personal information. I suspect it comes from our Quaker heritage. (I myself come from a Quaker family which arrived in Bucks Co in the late 1600s.)

It is not quite the same as the New Englander's attitude toward outsiders. There there is openness among the native residents and a closed attitude toward all others. Here in the Philadelphia region the attitude is the same toward native and non-native: we tend to keep things to ourselves.

JONNIE, nice to see you back again. Harry or Harrison, either is fine.

CONGRATULATIONS to all on your recent achievements. Sherrie, what a wonderful Christmas present you've received.

Well, I have bored you all long enough. See you later.

Jonnie Sun Dec 15 16:40:01 PST 1996

Just checking in to say I'm checking out. I can't find the new page. I'm probably on it at least five times so I'm signing off for now to continue writing on my powerbook. I'm off the week of Christmas and hope to be at least one hundred pages further than I am now. (I upgraded to Netscape 3.0 Gold and then all my problems started.) Have a blessed Christmas in the spirit of the One who made it all possible.

Jonnie Sun Dec 15 11:11:24 PST 1996

Hi all, I've been swimming through the workbook and enjoying every minute of it. I keep telling myself you all had to start at ground zero, so I'll just keep plugging along and hope I can catch up someday with all yur excellent writing. (by the yr. 2020) I want more of Aaron Shoemaker, PHILIP. I've been having a love affair with Australia for some yrs. now, ever since learning about the AFDS(Australian Flying Doctors Service) My mix of anesthesia and flying really get to swirling when I think about visiting your great land someday. (I assume this service is still going strong??)...Thanks a bunch for all your warm welcomes. I feel like a patient who's just waking up after a trauma surgery with versed on board, wondering what happened and what I'm doing here. You loss me in a number of places, but since I'm like a duck out of water, I'll do what they do: appear calm on the surface but paddling like crazy underneath....HARRISON, do you prefer Harry or Harrison? I like Harry, but it's probably because I'm really fond of the only Harry I've ever known. (Don't tell Sherrie I told you.)He's a neat guy and is a sweetheart to his wife. (So is mine, so I think I'll keep him for a few more yrs.)....I agree we need to keep the reader in mind. The problem hinges on the meeting of great minds. Who's right? Who's wrong? And why can't publishers, readers, and writers get together on this?....Looking forward to your page tomorrow.....Ditto BRIT, Re:your choice of morning breakfast food. Put something substantial in your stomach, and it will send okay messages to your brain, causing it to synapse with literary genus....CHARLES, your titles have my undevided attention. Will wait for their arrival in the states....BEN, Thanks!!! Enjoyed your story-what parts I received. The ends of paragraphs were cut off, but I got the general idea. Did I misunderstand that you aren"t published yet? You will be.....What's this about not watching the strippers? Come now, are you lying to us: you're really 106 and blind? You don't expect grown women to believe this, do you? Maybe you lost your contacts and could only see the end of you cue stick!!...PHILIP, apologies for getting my father's story completely messed up. It was Wellington, N.Z., not Australia. Dad was talking about his war days the night before my mother-in-love's funeral. I wasn't with it. The family name was Barby. They had a son and two daughters or the other way around, he's not sure. The kids were young in the early 40's....KITTY, I'd still like to have the title of your book on locating people. I've just lost contact with a college friend and want to find her....SHERRIE, still feeling goofy or just plain ol' elated?: ) Hurry, hurry send your mail to the gang!
Bye for now, Jonnie

Charles Samuel Sun Dec 15 08:19:47 PST 1996

PHILIP: Yahoo! I can't tell you how excited I am for you. You'll have to share with us how you decide which agent to go with. Did you get two simultaneous offers? BTW I have a friend who taught screenwriting at a college in Washington DC coming up to Jerusalem tomorrow to help me on the treatment. I'll keep you posted and thanks for the cudos. You've even convinced BRITOMART that I've written a full-blown screenplay!

SHERRIE: Yahoo! I can't tell you how excited I am for you. Keep us posted with all the nitty gritty details of the negotiations etc.

BRITOMART: Yahoo! I can't tell you how excited I am for you. Let us know how your vacation goes.

This is getting a little monotonous...

BEN: I still want to see your story. If Philip liked it that much it must be great.

HARRISON: Thanks for sharing your background with us. It's important that we know, because we tend to help each other. When it came to getting some feedback on my film treatment it was good to know that Philip had experience in that area. Same goes for my need for help in research for historical fiction. Ben was the right address for that. Now I've finally got an address to get feedback on the screenplay I've been thinking about starring my Black and Decker Juicer. (JUST KIDDING!!!! :) Really, it's fabulous having someone with so much experience here with us. I nominate you as Sage and look forward to your advice as we begin the long trek into our literary futures.

Even before the ink has dried on my world record for fastest rejection, I think I have won the world record for fastest request to read my book... WITH THE VERY SAME QUERY LETTER!
I sent out the query at 6:00 pm EST and received the following reply later that night (that's 0 business days!)

Dear Charles Samuel,
Thanks for your message. Please send me a copy of the
book. I'll be glad to read it and get back to you
within a week of its receipt. Best wishes, M. G.

And hot on the heels of that one this came in the next day:

If we can have a fast exclusive look at the book,
I'd love to see it. We'll read it in a night or two.
Faster if we can't put it down. --- R.C.

Both are from major Manhattan agencies.

Now five agents have the book and we are awaiting responses.

My wife said I had to include this letter that came in today from a Film Production Company... it's really worth a chuckle...

...The blurbs, the jacket copy, and a quick skim promise
a very exciting read... to which I am very much looking
I promise that, as soon as I have turned the last
page, and after an appropriate interval to allow my
heartbeat to return to normal, I shall attenpt to
address the different points you raise and get back
to you as quickly as possible.

So what does all this mean? I've learned how to write a query letter, blurbs and jacket copy. Let's hope someone out there in agentland and publisherland actually likes the book.

JACK: Hang in there! Thanks for finding the time to archive we all appreciate it. By the way, 13 is a very lucky number in this part of the world.

Best to all,


Jack Beslanwitch Sat Dec 14 22:20:16 PST 1996


I should say editor and it's still at the potential publisher stage. Then, again, let's hope I'm good at prophecy.

Jack Beslanwitch Sat Dec 14 22:14:41 PST 1996

Wow!!!! 167 k. We really have been busy here. Sorry that I could give no warning, but in hopes that someone could actually download the Notebook to read and comment, I had to archive it. Feel free to check out the seventh edition of the archive

It's been a week truly out of hell, but I'm mostly the way through submitting to my publisher, after having power go out for most of a day, throwing my back out to the point of being unable to sit at my computer for another day and then having my gigabyte JAZZ drive swallow most of my work and 850 megs of programs and files late on Thursday, when I had set a deadline to have everything in on Friday the 13th....hmmmm.....that should have told me something. I still have a bit more to submit, but I do have to say that I wasn't superstitious before, but I'm thinking of revising my opinion.

I want to welcome all those new to this little space on the internet. Jonnie, please do not be intiminidated. Jump in. The waters fine. Take care everyone and have a merry Christmas, Happy Hannukah and Holidays in general. I wish you a wonderful and successfully writing new year..... :-)