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  1. Writing.com

    While searching the internet, I came across a site (http://www.writing.com) where writers can post material for review. The site has many features/resources, which I have not yet had the time to check out. If their content is anything like their presentation, then the site is a superb resource for writers, especially for those still learning (read that as unpublished...we'll probably never stop learning). There are several levels of membership, with the first one being free. Just wanted to pass this along. Ed
  2. Arguments against McCain?

    Update to my last comment: here are some senators who are supporting McCain: Sen. Sam Brownback (Kan.) Sen. Richard Burr (N.C.) Sen. Tom Coburn (Okla.) Sen. Susan Collins (Maine) Sen. Pete Domenici (N.M.) Sen. Lindsey Graham (S.C.) Sen. Jon Kyl (Ariz.) Sen. Mel Martinez (Fla.) Sen. Joe Lieberman (ID-Conn.) Sen. Gordon Smith (Ore.) Sen. Olympia Snowe (Maine) Sen. John Thune (S.D.) Sen. John Warner (Va.) 12 republican senators with 30+ more not committing. At least these 12 must believe that McCain can do the job. Strangely, Pete Domenici was one of the sentators who had a blowup with McCain.
  3. Arguments against McCain?

    I personally have the suspicion that McCain sometimes becomes psychologically unhinged when he is confronted or opposed. I would feel a little better about him if I knew that some of the senatorial Republicans were endorsing him. I'm not aware of any who are. The people who are endorsing him are outsiders themselves, basically, who don't have the year in and year out experiencing of working with him. He is reputed to have very little organization, and I wonder about this as well. Here was an ad posted by Rommney this past Monday: Rommney's anti-McCain ad I don't think Rommney is desparate or dishonest enough to lie about these incidents. I admit I have not fact checked them. I find them alarming, and for some reason they make me think of that weird crack that he made in a previous debate, about how he had more scars than Frankenstein. I thought then that that was a strange remark to make in a national debate, because it seemed to come out of nowhere, and is perhaps another indication of his lack of control and questionable thinking processes. Considering his years in the Hanoi prison, I wonder if he is psycholigically fit to be in as stressful a postion as POTUS. The thought of him being in charge of the military actually scares the dickens out of me. That really surprises me, because I'm pro-military. I hear time and time again about people who are voting for him simply because they think only he can beat Hillary. This is sad, because we might in fact be letting a full-fledged Godzilla into the house just to keep a measley little werewolf from getting in. In the runup to the Florida primary he began to accuse Rommney of being soft on the war on terror, claiming that Rommney wanted a timetable like Hillary. This was a flat out lie. He was called on it by the press, and he kept lying about it. When I look back at what I've written here, I see that it is all about McCain's character, personality, and judgment. I would feel better my concern was only about the issues.
  4. Hi, Jose. That sounds like an interesting story to me. Also, since I liked your "The Dog Rule and Japanese Beauty" story, I'm inclined to think that I'd like this one too. Have you ever checked out Nitro PDF Professional? It's only $99.00, and is very simple to use. It creates PDF files from word processor documents (like Microsoft Word), so instead of posting the story in the forum you can instead post a link to it. Most ISP providers give personal storage space to their customers, for posting pictures, web pages, etc. For example, notice this story that I posted. It has some profanity in it, but because of the warning, people who prefer not to read writing that contains profanity are automatically insulated from the story by the warning. To be exposed to the profanity, they would have to volitionally link to the story to read it, which they would not rationally do. I think that that should satisfy both those who don't want to read intense, sensitive material, and also those who want the site to maintain a reputation that is free of any claims of impropriety.
  5. Bad, bad, bad writing

    These sorts of phrases and sentences are rampant in his books. I don't read Burroughs primarily for nostalgia reasons or for the humor of his sentences. It's part of my study. Reading his books helps me to avoid the abstractive style in my own writing. The nostalgia and humor are pleasant accessories. I personally think that it was his great imagination which overcame the weakness of his writing.
  6. Hi, Ray. I completely agree that that aspect of the story can bring back good memories. When I retired from the navy, I stayed in Silverdale, which has the Bangor Submarine Base to the north and the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard to the south. Bangor has a contingent of marines stationed there, many of whom use the base gym. The marines are easy to identify, but not only because of the shorter haircut and the green tee shirts (another sign of solidarity). It's in their faces, unsmiling, challenging, as if they have to stay tight and ready because any minute they might get called to go into the s**t. It's infectious, and it makes me feel like strutting and putting on my game face (Yeah, dammit, when are they going to call me into the s**t? LOL!) I can relate to the comaraderie, because submariners also share a closeness that, except for the physical element, is probably more intimate than spousal relationships in many respects. I wasn't focused on that element in the story, and didn't consider what a marine would think about it. It was one of those unintended consequences that turned out to be fortunate. Perhaps that's what Jose was referring to also (comaraderie) when he commented that he had a good memory over the puking incident.
  7. Hi, Jose. Thanks, though I have to admit that I didn't expect this story to bring any happy memories to mind I'm looking forward to hearing about it.
  8. The language warning is because the f-word is used several times (not in a sexual situation). I'm not sure what redeeming value, if any, this story will have for anyone reading it. Perhaps it can serve as a contrast. It is a story about a situation that does occur in relationships. It did give me some practice in improving my writing. It did, along with the other short stories I've written, help me realize that writing stories about little snippets of reality, presented without the background of a larger, fuller context, is unsatisfying to me, and serves only the limited (yet important) goal of honing the craft. I wrote it about 6 months ago, and going over it again gave me a chance to get my hands dirty, so to speak, editing and rearranging. If you prefer to read uplifting stories, this one will probably not gratify your taste. How many twisted wrong turns does it take to get into a situation as this story depicts, and how does one find the way back to the straight and narrow? That's the open-ended, crucial part that this story does not address. It's in PDF format for easy reading. http://home.wavecable.com/~spiritualfields/TheKiss.pdf
  9. Hi, bborg. Thanks. Another way to look at their relationship (though it amounts to the same thing) is as an ongoing process of confict avoidance through Daniel's total appeasement, using the justification that all facts are only opinions. Thus there are no facts, only opinions, to use as necessary, depending on the situation. Diabolical!
  10. Hi, Betsy. I think this is a good idea. Since I'm a far cry from actually starting the writing, I've got some time to figure out how best to implement a "target reader" who will serve as my first audience. I can see some advantages in making the reader be me. If I have it as my goal to write a story that I would like to read, then the problem of secondhandedness would be eliminated. Ideally, through introspection, I could abstract out the essential characteristics of what I enjoy in reading. These essentials could be factored out and conceptualized into an objective set of standards. The standards would be written up as guidelines, based ultimately on my own reading preferences. This would verbalize the process concretely, and also help externalize it. Better, it personalizes it.
  11. Terry Goodkind

    Hi, Thoyd Loki. I think I understood what you meant, but since Ayn Rand didn't write a series, I used her increasingly developing philosophy, portrayed in her "series" of books, to make the point of how she realized when it was time to stop writing fiction. No that was not a guess on my part, on Ayn Rand thinking that she had nothing more to add to what she had already said in Atlas Shrugged. In one of her essays or books, I can't remember which, she stated that she quit fiction after Atlas Shrugged because there was nothing more for her to say, that she had said all she could. I'll probably come across the exact remark again, eventually, as I'm re-reading her essays and books related to art. The only part that I had guessed at is that I think she might have entertained the idea of showing Galt's world in action, but that she probably decided against it because it would have been difficult to think up suspenseful conflicts. Suspense and conflict were paramount to her, in fiction, and Atlas Shrugged ended with the heros in utopia. She had reached perfection, and then turned her sights on the real world. I'm certainly grateful for the books that she wrote after Atlas Shrugged. I think they are just as important, especially The Art of Fiction and Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology, and The Romantic Manifesto, and...all of them I can't really speak knowledgeably about The Sword of Truth series because I stopped reading the series partway in book 4. For me, the series got too predictable and tiresome. The reason I started reading it in the first place was because of a review in The New Individualist. I'm not a fan of books that have magic as an essential element in the story, and, not seeing anything philosophically attractive in the series (the hope of which was what caused me to start reading it), my normal inclinations took hold, helped by an increasing predictability, and I put it down. Getting back to sequels. I see Atlas Shrugged as a type of sequel to The Fountainhead. In The Fountainhead, there are areas where I could see the plot-theme for Atlas Shrugged taking place. Dominique turned into Galt. Dominique tried to destroy Roark, to save Roark from the world. In Atlas Shrugged, Galt is Dominique, retooled. Galt is out to destroy not only the person he loves but all the people that he respects, but this time not to save them from misery but to bring them into his glorious world. That's why I see Atlas Shrugged as a philosophical sequel, and an advance in Ayn Rand's relentless march toward the perfection of her philosophy. That was an important element in her fiction. The characters kept changing, but that was only because Ayn Rand's philosophy was becoming more and more complete, as a system. When I answered you, this was what I had in mind. I should have explicitly said this, as my meaning was not obvious. But no, I do not disagree that change can become a problem in a book series. To what degree depends a lot on the reader, and his expectations.
  12. "Judgment Call"

    Hi, Jim A. Here's how I would break down the theme and plot-theme: Theme: A man takes actions to avoid a potential nuclear conflagration. Plot-theme: Lt. Cdr. Scott, newly out of subschool, is assigned to a nuclear ballistic submarine, and soon has misgivings about the captain's ability to make rational decisions. The captain, Cdr. Spinnaker, is preocuppied with biblical prophecy, especially scripture dealing with "end times", to a degree that seems obsessional. Scott envisions that, under the right set of circumstances, Spinnaker could precipitate a worldwide nuclear war. Scott decides to have the captain put under arrest. Now the actual plot would simply be the scenes that act out the plot-theme. The plot-theme should be supported with action events. So, were I to be writing this story from scratch, I would, using the theme and plot-theme just devised, think up of some events that would act out the plot-theme, which would also demonstrate the theme, since the plot-theme was derived from the theme. I think that this theme and plot-theme is more conducive to a longer story, possibly a novel. There are about 120 people on a ballistic missile submarine, and only several characters are portrayed here. A person, even if it's the X.O., can't just go up to the Chief of the Boat, tell him to arrest the captain, and expect to be obeyed. I think you have to have a lot more scenes interspersed between the boat's sailing into the pacific and the captain's arrest, to establish credibility. In the story, a major effort is made to establish credibility by way of a philosophical methodology. It would be better to show the captain's irrationality and instability through concrete actions (many concrete actions). And other crewmembers, especially the other officers (of which there will be about 18) should be involved. Perhaps a novella of around 30,000 words, if not a full-blown novel. As the story stands now, Scott has put himself out on a limb based on a lot of inner thinking about statements made by the captain in conversations. In the real world, Scott would probably be the one that actually ended up looking into the business end of the .45. Unless more concretes are shown to support Scott's fears. In one section of the dialogue, Scott voiced fear that Spinnaker would not fire off the missiles when and if ordered to, and cause the nuclear war that way. That's the reverse scenario to the movie Crimson Tide. That's a unique and relevant aspect of a situation that could potentially develop on a SSBN on patrol. Some statements by Spinnaker during Battle Stations Missile drills could be what really gets Scott questioning Spinnaker's reliability. There would be much room and opportunity for intense conficts on the part of the crewmembers, in choosing sides.
  13. Hi, Scott A. I had written about 7 short stories when I quit the group. Sometimes I think that my re-reading of The Fountainhead was the equivalent of my subconscious throwing me a lifeline, telling me it was time to get out. For a while I wondered: Now how am I going to know whether my writing is any good or not? After thinking about this, I turned consciously toward Objectivism, realizing that there is no reason why I can't determine the quality of my own work. I've got an objective viewpoint practically wired into my thought processes (I had first read Atlas Shrugged when I was 16, and at that time Objectivism became the foundation of my belief system). To help me judge the quality of my work, I decided to make Ayn Rand my mentor. She thought that she was the best fiction writer of her time, and I agree with her. The Art of Fiction is now my writing bible. I am also sweeping the cobwebs out my conceptual framework with "Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology". I will not write in Ayn Rand's style, but I will do everything that she teaches in The Art of Fiction. The actual writing, the words that I put together will be determined by the plot-theme and plot events that I created using her tenants. The idea is: If I start with a good foundation, and build solidly on it, then the result will be a good, solid structure. I'm guessing that the hardest part of the novel writing experience will be the actually plotting of it, as this is a first time experience for me, and way different from just slapping a little scene together. I've been working on the plot-theme for about a month. As I said earlier, I don't even feel as if I'm writing. One big worry, once the novel is done, is that some sections may allow for unintended reactions, especially since the psychological makeups of the readers are unknown to me. I won't be able to think of everything. There might even be logical errors. Plus, when words are involved there's no telling what to expect out of people's reactions. Jung, in the early 20th century, subjected many patients and normal people to word association tests, where the subject was shown a word and told to give a word in response. The reactions to the "stimulus words" were as wide and as spread out as the wind, and often pointed to subconscious complexes. Though in a novel there will be a delimiting context, which should keep the reactions reigned in. To cope with this problem, I'm going to ask my two sons to read it when it is finished, and ask them to look for things like mischaracterizations, logical errors, unresolved elements, and the like.
  14. Hi, Arnold. Currently I'm plotting a novel that will involve choices that the characters will make. Generally, the heros (the main one and supporting characters) will be "who they are", inside and out, with no deception involved between thought and action. The villains will be deceivers, with motivations that are not in sync with their actions or professed goals. There will also be middle-of-the-roaders. The situation that is the reason for the story is desperate enough that stark choices will have to be made, and the conflicts will be intense. However, in "Superficial" there are no explicit choices of any real consequence that the characters have to make...to go for a walk or not go for a walk, and what movie to see. All the short stories that I've written can probably be filed under the category "Practice Writing". Mentally flipping through them all, I'd say that this one probably has the least conflicts of any of them. In fact, I wouldn't argue against the sentiment that this one has no conflicts at all.
  15. Hi, Scott A. One important thing I learned as a member of that writer's group was that, with my style of writing as it existed then, I could never be sure that the members would "see" the same things I did. When I said that I expected the reader to be sad, I might be guilty of now saying that I expected the reaction that I did get, because that was the reaction that I got. I can't remember what exactly was in my mind when I wrote this. But I can strongly infer that deception was one intended element, because this was explicit in the male character. I know that I wanted to have an illogical belief system involved as the reason for the deception, because an illogical belief system was explicitly involved as an element. The dinner was the element that was supposed to portray the superficiality, and given the title, that also had to be a conscious element that I wanted in the story. The main goal probably (I think it must have been) was just to improve my writing ability, and I decided (for reasons I can't remember) to use deception and superficiality, symbolized by two people in a relationship, on a typical weekend day, to do it. I had no encompassing context in mind. Another interesting thing I discovered is that when one is in a writer's group, it is very easy to become subject to "creeping Peter Keatonism", in which one begins to allow the opinions of others to determine one's work. This is very insidious. I found myself wondering what A or B would think if I wrote such and such, would they "see" it correctly, that is would they have the same thoughts as me...and so on. I was taking on the habits of a secondhander. I quit the group immediately when I realized that. I stopped writing, wanting to give myself time to purge out the secondhandedness, and about a month ago began to work on plotting out a novel. Plotting out a novel is a new experience for me, because I was used to writing short stories, little snippets that didn't take much planning. Allowing me to concentrate on technique. I don't even feel like I'm writing now, which is why I think I posted this short story...it gave me the chance to do some editing, to get my hands a little dirty again. Since these short stories are done deals, secondhandedness is not a problem. Plotting is going slow for me, but I can see the future value. A year or so from now, maybe less, I should have a novel to start writing. In the meantiime, I'll post one of my short stories periodically.