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In Celebration of Foreign Literature This issue: A Focus on France
Misused, Misspelled & Misplaced - Part IV
PLOT: Make it or Break it
Our members choose their favorite forum read
Poetry selections from the Writer's Beat Forum
Feauring the best of Member Fiction, Non-Fiction and Poetry for July and August, 2007
Just For Fun
Special Photo Puzzle Feature!
WB Poll: Are You Plot Driven or Character Driven?
DarthWader strikes again
Writer's Beat Comic
Overheard on the forum...
The Beat Goes On
Be a part of our growing community of writers. Join Writer's Beat today!
Writer's Club CONTENTS
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Feature: New Horizons................................. WB POLL: Plot Driven or Character Driven? ................... Misused, Misspelled & Misplaced Part IV: Plot - Make it or Break it ..................... Member's Choice: Story ............................... Editor's Choice: Poetry .................................. Contest Winners............................................. Comic by Darthwader .................................. Just for Fun .................................................... Picture Prompt ...............................................
Fall is here and it's time once again for our latest issue of Writer's Club. We hope you enjoy this month's edition, which includes the latest Contest Winners as well as polls results and other feedback from our forum. Our editorial staff has worked hard to bring you more of what you'd like to see in this publication, and if there's anything else you'd like to have added in, please contact our magazine's lead editor at email@example.com or post a comment for us using the "comments" link on the Writer's Beat main page at www.writersbeat.com.
- Writer's Club Editorial Staff
New Horizons: France
In Which We Become Francophiles
A celebration of foreign literature
was certainly well-known and would have been carried from court to court by jongleurs. We do not even know precisely when this epic poem was first written. Several different manuscripts exist today, the earliest of which is dated around 1140, and it is estimated that the poem in its oral form was composed about a century earlier. Dating is especially complicated due to the fact that additions and alterations were most certainly made to every manuscript version, regardless of the original date. The story behind Roland has its basis in an historical battle that took place in 778. No battle for the history books, the incident that created a legend and a literary form was a minor moment in the much chronicled life of Charlemagne, or Charles the Great, King of the Franks. Retreating from an earlier battle against invading Basques, Charlemagne’s rearguard was ambushed in the Pyrenees and, according to early historians, killed to the last man. The long span of time between the Battle of Roncevaux Pass and the writing of The Song of Roland explains how Hruodland, Prefect of Brittany, became Roland, nephew of Charlemagne; how the Basques, indigenous people of Spain, became dreaded Saracens; and how Charlemagne, who originally ignored the battle and continued north to deal with troublesome Saxons, became the avenging king who deals out swift and deadly retribution. So are legends born. The poem features the great Roland, true Christian and valiant knight, along with a gaggle of other Frankish noblemen whose names run together with those of their horses and swords. In a nutshell the story goes like this: a treacherous Frank who also happens to be Roland’s resentful stepfather, Ganelon, makes a deal with the Muslim leader and guarantees that the twelve great champions of France, Roland included, will be in the vulnerable rearguard during the trek through the mountains. A battle ensues in which Roland and his fellows spend a good deal of time hacking the enemy to bits despite insurmountable odds against them. (Note to readers: if you would rather not repeatedly read about men being cloven in two, this story is not for you.) Naturally, Roland and the other champions perform great feats of valor and when Roland severely wounds the Muslim leader, the remaining foes flee, leaving Roland and one other champion to bleed to death. Ironically, Roland has suffered no blow from an enemy sword or spear; rather he will die due to the bursting of his temple, which occurred when he blew his great horn to alert Charlemagne to their plight. Charlemagne returns at the head of his army and successfully routs the revitalized Muslim force in a lengthy battle featuring his own triumph against another Muslim leader in single combat. The Song of Roland set the pattern for future chansons de geste. As a genre, they tell the stories of the 8th and 9th centuries of French history, embellishing them with fabulous creatures and
New Horizons continued on page 4
Hakeem D., Mridula C. and Taya L. verybody is unique. While we all differ individually, we are vastly estranged when it comes to cultures. Each society, each country has its own personal flavor. Like it or not, most of us don’t know much about people beyond our own circle, whether it is their lifestyle, or even something as universal as literature and the arts. It is nothing short of common knowledge that the literary culture we embrace is a reflection of the recognized artistic value that has been passed from generation to generation. In this issue, Writer's Club takes you to witness how foreign literature shaped the culture we know today, even in our own circle. Our first focus will be on French literature. French writers have influenced the world in such a way that French has now become known as the language of romance, elicited from Vulgar Latin, Celtic and Frankish. Literary genres over the last few centuries have had an effect on modern creative genres extending over foreign countries, and helping to expand and refine the English language. French literature has developed ways of making it possible to relate to other societies through their literary developments. The French linguistic process was punctuated into studying and retaining different poetry as well as novels and theater works. Through the ages, French literature has influenced the world – whether it was through the birth of the novel or by being the epitome of a particular style or simply by causing a revolution. So, as someone famous said, ‘Let’s start at the very beginning….’
The Beat Goes On...
What's on and about on Writer's Beat A question from the Inkster Incorporated forum: "What Authors have influenced you the most?"
" Fante Fitzgerald Bukowski Kerouac Steinbeck Dickinson Ginsberg (Check out his poem America) Joseph Campbell" -Pen "My influences, I think, come more from a literary period than a single author - The Beat Generation. Of course, I have also been told that my poems and short stories remind others of Emily Dickinson's work as well as Sylvia Plath. Dickinson I can see because she is one of my favorite authors, so it would not surprise me in the least if some of her style came out in my own writing. However, I have never read anything of Sylvia Plath's." - beatgen_nerd
La Chanson de Roland
Imagine being the creator of a new literary form that would hold a place in the forefront of literature for centuries. The author of La Chanson de Roland, or The Song of Roland, did exactly that, and from Roland sprang innumerable variations on the epic story. These wildly popular poems, or chansons de geste (“songs of heroic deeds” in Old French), captured and held the imaginations of Europeans from the 11th to 15th centuries and are today recognized as the earliest hallmark of French literature. Such an author, you might think, ought to have a pedestal in the pantheon of literary giants, alongside the likes of Shakespeare and Homer. Yet the man, or perhaps woman, who first put Roland in written form remains anonymous to us. We should not, of course, give the mystery writer too much credit; he or she was likely merely one in a long line of poets who followed the oral tradition and simply had the bright idea of writing instead of reciting. The story of Roland, Charlemagne’s great warrior,
"I shall live badly if I do not write, and I shall write badly if I do not live." - Francoise Sagan
Continued from pg 3.
third with medieval Europe’s interpret-ations of both Greek and Roman mythology as well as historical figures like Alexander and Caesar. Authors like Chr étien both influenced and were influenced by a developing chivalric code that was in truth preached more than practiced. Through the rosy world view of the romances, we can see the ideal society that the upper class imagined existed, despite the persistent violence and cruelness of reality. The Lake Woebegon effect: all the women are strong, all the men are good looking, and all the children are above average. Lancelot and other works by Chr étien also have the distinction of being, arguably, the first novels ever written. The theory behind this is that Chrétien’s stories follow a pattern that is now so well known: they have a beginning, a middle, and an end, apparently a novel (forgive the pun) idea in his time. It will be up to you, dear reader, to decide for yourself if Chrétien de Troyes is the father of the novel. With a basis in respected writings such as Lancelot, perhaps the modern romances found on gas-station shelves are not so deserving of the trashy status their covers, complete with shiny pectorals and flimsy clothing, so successfully attract. Then again, maybe they are. Redemption is difficult, they say. Candide, ou l'Optimisme With the waning of the French monarchy and public unrest growing, the views of the people began to be reflected in the literature of the time. In the latter half of the 18th century, a novella written by a famous writer made waves in the general public for its casual satire of several accepted philosophies and institutions. The name? Candide ou l’Optimisme, by Voltaire, better known as Candide, or Optimism in English. Published in 1759, Candide narrates the story of Candide, who through a series of misadventures, comes to realise that the Leibnizian optimism he has been taught to believe in was nothing more than a farce. Through this book, Voltaire mocks everything from religion to war to philosophy and while he is at it, rips at nobility. One of his most famous works, it is playful, witty and above all, sarcastic. It is most renowned for methodically listing the world’s faults – a tongue-in-cheek attack on the ‘perfect world ’ philosophy of Gottfried Leibniz, a German philosopher of the previous century. Candide is said to be one of the most noteworthy pieces of Western literature mainly due to its sharp wit and in-depth depiction of human nature. Often noted in lists of the world’s most influential books, it continues to be a popular favourite across the world. Madame Bovary At the turn of the next century, if Gustave Flaubert had not been dared to write a serious novel, this ardent Romantic might never have had to face trial for indecency. That was precisely what he did soon after Madame Bovary was reNew Horizons continued on page 5
magic. They reflect their own time better than the age of their subjects, seen by the transformation of all historical enemies into Muslims and the perpetual plastering of good Christian values over the characters and events. Characters are cardboard cutouts: the brave warrior, the traitor, the beautiful infidel princess who must be converted, and so on. In the grand scheme of French literature, the popular chansons gave birth to both lyric poetry and romances, but they are indicative of the birth of something even more important: a sense of common French identity. To understand all the intricacies of the Franks of the 8th and 9th centuries requires far more space and time (not to mention energy!) than this humble writer can give. Suffice to say that what we today know as France was then a land divided into many small kingdoms, frequently at war with each other. That the chansons hearkened back to this age in which Charlemagne, Charles Martel and Louis the Pious created a Frankish empire, the first of its kind, shows that the French from the 11th century onward saw that age as the origin of their identity as a single people with a single destiny. No more Bretons, no more Saxons, no more Burgundians, only the French. And they celebrated that by way of their chansons. Forget a new literary form. The writer of The Song of Roland created a country. Imagine that. Lancelot, le Chevalier de la Charrette Romances deserve consideration separate from their epic siblings the chansons de geste due to some unique characteristics and their resulting influence on literature through the ages. In the 12th century, the chansons seem to have been the department of professional poets and performers, while romances were relegated to amateurs and private readings; the embarrassing uncle or bastard brother, you might say. Even this distinction is difficult to make, however, as poets like Chrétien de Troyes, by all accounts professionals replete with patrons, produced plenty of romances. One such romance was Chrétien’s Lancelot, the Knight of the Cart, written from 1177 to 1181. The story behind Lancelot was hardly new to the intended audience. However, Chrétien introduced some new aspects to the legend; his Lancelot is the first version (that still exists today) to include Arthur ’s magnificent city of Camelot, and most importantly, the love affair between Guinevere and Lancelot that is so well known today. In Chr étien’s story, Lancelot rescues Guinevere from Meleagant, a traitorous ex-knight of the Round Table. In order to reach Guinevere quickly, he accepts transportation in a beggar ’s cart, the shame of which is outweighed by his love for Guinevere. Chr étien’s Lancelot is entirely typical of romances as a genre. Aside from the plot and character clichés, romances were categorized in the 12th century as being either “Matter of France,” “Matter of Britain,” or “Matter of Rome.” The first dealt with stories from the Carolingian era, the second with Arthurian legends, and the
Photo by Jillian C. - Lake at Dawn
The Beat Goes On...
What's on and about in Writer's Beat
An interesting conversation seen in the Writer's Beat forum Inkster Incorporated, "Writers Are Different Than Normal People" "...Nietzsche went so far as to describe creative people as "decadents" (including himself.) To him, artistic creation was compensation for a fundamental lack of vigor. It revealed the life force in a state of descension -- the slumber of healthy instincts -- even if it did result in beautiful works of art." - Starrwriter "...I am in no such danger. I am so introverted, strange and socially incompetent I would be stunned by an invitation to join normally people.." - Aspire2B1 "...I always felt pulled away from the crowd. My friends wanted to hang out 24/7 and most of the time I wanted to be home, away from their annoying attitudes and gossip and just curled up with a good book (my only source of intellectual dialogue). I know now that I will never truly be a "normal" person but that's okay. Sadly as it sounds, the only place I feel normal is in the arms of literature. - Writebunny
Continued from pg 4.
1913 and 1927, they were all received with praise. Several authors following Proust adopted his style very effectively – most notably, Virginia Woolf. In subsequent years, it has been adapted into several versions on print, screen and stage. L'Étranger In 1942, the world was introduced to L'Étranger. No matter how the title was translated, Albert Camus wrote a simple novel that shortly became the world's chef-d'oeuvre in existential, absurdest novels. The Stranger confronts the distracted political situation in Europe after the Second World War as well as social conditions that greatly exceeded bounds of reason and moderation. Through the standpoint of Meursault, The Stranger's protagonist, Camus demonstrated a lifestyle innocent of religious concepts and beliefs, and that any attempt to find truths beyond the physical realm will only go in vain. Even though the novel mainly revolves around Absurdism, it includes numerous hints of varying topics such as colonialism and racial tension in Algeria. It also points to the freedom of the press in France under Nazi occupation—a topic that reflects Camus's own struggles in the world of journalism, especially after the creation of Combat: A newspaper devoted to the French resistance at the time. The language of the novel is a firm indication of Camus's literary accuracy, and also an element that rendered the translated versions short in the passionate associations that exist in the original, French version. It also leaves no room for much description—a style Camus adopted to keep the reader focused on the characters' reactions throughout the narrative sequence. The language, the structure, and the narrative added a psychological depth to the story, confirming Albert Camus as a master of French literature. From knightly escapades to stories ablaze with passion and lust, French writers covered the world with a drape of literary splendor. Tales from this brilliant literature left a remarkable influence on the course of history; they were a legacy in themselves, and they remain so today. Facets of French civilization are evident in every page of literature; they reflect years of grandeur and tyrannous dominance, and witness astonishing social changes that people still remember. The French literary canon is arguably the most well-known on a universal scale; it resides in every corner of this world telling people tales of magnificence. We are running out of words and now it's your turn to read and tell. From all of us at Writer's Beat, ayez un bon lu. How can one not dream while writing? It is the pen which dreams. The blank page gives the right to dream. - Gaston Bachelard
-leased. It is perhaps ironic that an author who wrote books that were idealistic and had optimistic tones also penned the work that would go down into history as the best example of Realist literature – stark, unforgiving and truthful. Madame Bovary, the story of the protagonist by the same name follows her adulterous escapades in the search of ‘love’. Unhappily married, she seeks comfort in various lovers before finally meeting her fate. With a meticulous choice of words, Flaubert delicately portrays his character ’s dreams and disappointments. Vastly criticized at the time for offending public morals and encouraging indecent affairs, it survived the test of time. This book not only signaled the birth of feminism, but also heralded the dawn of modern criticism. Paul de Man’s declaration that "contemporary criticism of fiction owes more to this novel than to any other nineteenth-century work" rings true even today, as since its publication, Madame Bovary has been one of the most frequently discussed books of world literature. Les Misérables In 1862, Victor Hugo published his masterpiece, Les Misérables. The melodramatic novel pleaded for social change and contemplated the political degeneracy and the criminal injustice that was rather prevalent in France at the time. Les Misérables, which was attacked by critics when it was initially published, follows the story of Jean Valjean as he struggles through an aristocratic, class-based society, accompanied by many characters that affect the events of the novel. While the story is generally fictional, it largely mirrors Hugo's life experiences and the reality of nineteenth-century France. Les Mis érables was one of the many literary works that drove a fundamental change in the French society, which veered from long-standing customs and traditions toward rational beliefs and social moderation. It suggests balanced philosophical doctrines, that all individuals have a certain responsibility toward their society, which in turn will not be disturbed by strife or turmoil or war when this responsibility is recognized. Hugo presented a symbol of change, a symbol of deep compassion, and most importantly, a symbol of freedom that the world still embraces to this very day. A la Recherche du Temps Perdu Considered the definitive modern novel by several critics, A la Recherche du Temps Perdu (In Search of Lost Time) by Marcel Proust is certainly one of the most famous of its kind. A seven-part semi-autobiographical novel, it follows the story of M., the narrator. It is written in a popular literary style called Stream of Consciousness – a literary technique where the author depicts a character ’s point of view by giving their thought processes in words. The role of memory is pivotal through the series. Proust’s theories about involuntary memories have been compared to Freud’s own speculations. Other major themes include homosexuality, music and art. When the books were released between 1913
MICHELLE BACIOCCO WRITES
Madeleine L'Engle, 88, passed away during the first week of September, 2007. The author of over 50 written works that included nonfiction titles as well as fiction for both adults and children is best known for her novel, A Wrinkle in Time, which was published in 1962. Most of us may remember this book from our own childhood. The story featured three children who used ESP and the bending of space/time to travel to another planet in search of their missing father. Unpublished writers might be interested to know that L'Engle tried to sell "Wrinkle" many times before she finally found a publisher willing to take a risk on the manuscript. Like Rowling's Harry Potter, the risk paid off. "Wrinkle" went on to become an instant best-seller and won the Newberry Medal for Best Children's Fiction. It can still be found in print and has been translated into over a dozen different languages all over the world. L'Engle showed us that it always pays to persevere if one truly desires publication.
Are you plot driven or character driven?
That is the question. In a recent poll at Writers Beat, thirty voters chose between four choices; A. Plot Driven B. Character driven C. Both D. Neither So which do you do? Member JC Paloma says “My stories are always tailored for a character I created.” Not just everyone chose character though. The results vary. “I think it depends entirely on the type of story you are writing. Some are plot-driven (mysteries, twist endings, etc.) while others lend themselves to portraits of fascinating characters. I have written both kinds and I have no favorite,” says member Starrwriter. Other members such as StarPanda said, “Nine times out of ten it is the plot, or the potential for a plot that drives me to put pen to paper.”
RonoxQ on the other hand says that his stories are neither. “I do neither. My best pieces (AM, which was on here before) were ones that I just wrote one day, without any forethought. The characters drive the plot, the plot makes the characters, but my stories really aren't about either one: they're about themselves.” A few members, however came up with some very interesting points on the question. Cuchulian said, “What's one without the other?” That is a very good point. What is one without the other? Can you even have a story without a plot or characters? Characters and plot work with each other to make each story great. Stephen Wegmann agrees. “You cannot have a good plot without characters. You cannot have a good character if he has no plot. So there.” So there you have it folks. What are you? Next time you sit down to write your next big novel or even if itís just your newest short story, remember this question: Are you plot driven or character driven? Maybe that question will make you think of a better or more interesting story line. You never know.
Writer's Club Misused, Misspelled & Misplaced
Taya L., Hakeem D., Jillian C.
7. Writer's Beat Tip: Do away with those tired old Cliches
Have you ever looked back on something you've written and it just didn't feel fresh? More than likely the problem may lie in descriptive narrative that contains way too many cliches. Editors and publishers hate them and in a lot of cases, having even a few of these little buggers appearing in your story can cause your manuscript to be rejected. Sometimes they can be hard to find. Euphemisms in everyday language are often so overused that we simply don't notice them. A few classics are: - Her eyes flashed with anger - He had a backup plan, a secret ace in the hole - She gave him a piece of her mind - His advertising proposal sank like the Titanic Other cliches can appear in 'situational' form. For instance, showing a character waking in the morning at the beginning of a chapter, or having a character look into a mirror for purposes of description are extremely overused. If you have one of these, eliminate them. For something different, why not try inventing your own new & unique phrases, take an old cliche & twist it, and place your characters in odd or unusual settings. Above all, try to avoid sports & computer metaphors.
1. plot Pronunciation: That’s what the pronunciation looks like? Weird. Function: noun Etymology: Middle English, from Old English So far so good. 1 a : a small area of planted ground <a vegetable plot> b : a small piece of land in a cemetery c : a measured piece of land : LOT Not quite what I was looking for. 2: GROUND PLAN, PLAT Unhelpful. 3: [perhaps back-formation from complot] : a secret plan for accomplishing a usually evil or unlawful end : INTRIGUE Hmm. 4: a graphic representation (as a chart) I hate charts. 5: the plan or main story (as of a movie or literary work) That’s it?! That’s all they’re going to give me? What a piece of junk. How am I ever supposed to write my five-book series without having a proper definition of plot? Well, for starters, don’t begin that way. Knowing you’re going to write five books or a trilogy before you have a plot is usually not a good idea. But that’s getting ahead of ourselves. If you’re struggling with plot, you’re not alone. Plot is that ever-present thorn in our sides, cramp in our hands, knot in our brains. Plot is hard. Can Dear Abby save your foundering, halfbaked plot? No. Can we? Possibly. No guarantees. But we’d like to help. Read on for advice and guidance. We even list a hotline number at the conclusion should you need further aid.
Plot problems can arise from the first page you write, so beware: You must not wait for the final product to go back and remedy your horrifying plot deficiencies. One of the mistakes that many writers, even the experienced one, make at the introduction of their stories is the dreaded Info Dump. You start off by throwing whatever happened before the story opening in the first few pages whether it is relevant or not. Even if what you are telling the reader is very important, you must not put it all at once. Info Dumps ruin the structural framework of your narration. They leave no room for mystery or anticipation, and often cause the reader to lose interest in the story. What is more, placing too much information at the beginning of an action-filled chapter will steal the thunder, resulting in the focus of your reader gradually shifting from what is happening now to what happened before, specifically to the memories swirling inside the character's head. Dealing with Info Dumps is rather easy. Y need to mention what is only ou relevant to the scene you are writing. If, for instance, Mary Jane is investigating the crime that took place in her kitchen, you do not have to make her remember how the color of her stuffed bear affected her past relationships. And if you feel the need to insert a little backstory at some point, make it as simple as possible. Remember, the backstory does not always take place in the character's mind; it can also be portrayed through actions and dialog. Whether it is a certain goal to achieve, a problem to solve, or a quest to finish, you always need something to drive your plot, and this something should always be the starter of your story. Readers do not like to fight through needless prose and you do not need to write one.
Misused - PLOT continued on page 8
Writer's Club Misused, Misspelled & Misplaced
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You should always start your story with the primary, evident conflict. If Mary Jane just entered her house, let her enter the kitchen and see the corpse lying on the ground, not take a tour of the whole household, rearrange her closet and make a grocery list. Starting with the primary conflict of your story lets the readers ask their questions from the beginning. And like we mentioned earlier, keeps them attentive and also protects your book from being tossed away. No w we reach the 'rising action' section. This is the section that stands in the middle, connects both ends of your novel, and sets the major and the minor themes of the story. You should aim to develop plenty of elements in this section—taking in consideration it is the longest one—and put down all the ideas you have in your head. This covers obstacles, inner and outer conflicts, sub-plots, character relationships, and anything else that falls in the middle. You should also note that this section shows your protagonist's qualities, which permits or facilitates his/her achievements or accomplishments throughout the storyline. You do not want Mary Jane to battle a murderer with her make-up kit, do you? Everything that takes place in the middle is responsible for making your plot an emotionally effective, thoroughly developed, and a well paced one; therefore, you should focus really well on this section. No, really well. After the middle section, or the rising action, comes the climax of your story. If you create a climax that is easily solved, you will fail as a writer. If you create a climax that even we cannot solve, you will fail as a writer. If you let Mary Jane simply shoot the murderer and then resume her shower, then you will surely fail as a writer. The climax contributes highly to the probability and credibility of your plot; therefore, it should be handled with extreme importance. If your climax can be predicted by a sticky-fingered toddler, any success you may have had in your middle section will come crashing down. Easy climaxes, which are usually rushed climaxes, will make the reader feel greatly disappointed and you will therefore
be stamped as a bad writer. Bad writer! There is a specific characteristic that is common among easy climaxes: the coincidence factor. Let us say that Mary Jane is cornered by her landlord, the murderer, and he is about to kill her. There is absolutely no way for poor Mary to escape this terrorizing situation. But suddenly, a gun magically appears on the top of the dresser. Now come on! Isn't that really annoying? If you want to avoid this, exploit past occurrences of your story and use plot devices that may aid you in sticky spots.
The climax contributes highly to the probability and credibility of your plot; therefore, it should be handled with extreme importance.
obviously, end all the storylines and the subplots of your story. Readers would be hugely frustrated if the book ended without knowing who washed the dishes on the night of the murder. The ending should demonstrate the change the world of your story underwent and the state of your characters after they went through the climax and the resolution. You should neither crawl towards the ending, which would lead to accusations of page count boosting (scandalous!), nor should you sprint towards it, which would suggest your own boredom with the story (a ringing endorsement, to be sure).You should gradually fall to the resolution, and write the ending with the same pace of any previous part. It would be quite stupid, actually, to end the book a couple of hundred pages after Mary Jane discovers the murderer and settles down in her own house. Unless you think a detailed description of Mary Jane's shoe collection and a thorough recounting of her cat's gastrointestinal tendencies will sell. Your choice. Now that you know what plot is and how it is structured, how do you begin forming one? As stated earlier, plot is hard. What plot requires first and foremost an idea - one large enough to expand upon into a short story or novel. But how do you know what ideas will work and which ones won't? How do you find the right 'fit' for your story? Let's take a look at how ideas can evolve into a story. A story idea can come from virtually anywhere: dreams, TV, artwork, the nightly news, an event from our own childhood or recent past, and even those ideas that seemingly "pop in" out of nowhere. An idea is the seed that germinates into Plot. But, once you have an idea you like, how do you get your plot to grow? You'll need fertilizer, otherwise known as Conflict. Conflict can be defined in several basic forms: Man Vs. Man, Man Vs. God, Man Vs. Nature, Man Vs. Society, Man Vs. Himself, and so on. All possible plots can be broken down into these few simple building blocks.
Misused - PLOT continued on page 9
Yet again, there are hard, complex climaxes. What are those exactly? Let us say that Mary Jane is trapped alone in her house with the telephone cables cut off, the windows sealed, and the family dead. Her hands are numb and her legs are broken. Her husband built sound-proof walls, making her screams useless. The murderer and his other friends are circulating the house making sure that no one gets in. All of her neighbors are coincidentally out of their houses... Now, it appears that Mary Jane should start praying. Complex climaxes are uncalled for and you will only notice their implausibility after you have written them through. However, a good writer is one who can logically solve such complex climaxes. Now, how can Mary Jane survive? We finally reach the last section —the resolution of the climax, and eventually, the ending of the book. Needless to say, the resolution should be conclusive, tying all loose ends and the ending must, quite
Writer's Club Misused, Misspelled & Misplaced
Continued from page 8
Remember this word, kiddies: Conflict. It is the heart of all possible plots and without it, your story is dead. There are probably hundreds of texts written on the subject of Plot Development, and we obviously don't have the space to get into the finer points here, but we can offer you a few basic tips to get started. For one, you will need to find an idea you like (that interests you) and one that will work for the kind of story you intend to write. If you want a plot that will work with a short story, you need to keep your focus narrow. In other words, choose a single event, or a very short chain of events that are interconnected and can be described in a relatively few amount of words. Most short stories usually center around a single character, showing a 'slice' of their life, so to speak. An idea that centers around one single event is most likely the best for a short story. If you're writing a novel, choose an idea that might be more general and larger in scope, which will be a longer series of events happening to several characters. These characters include a Protagonist (hero), the Antagonist (villain or anti-hero) and all the people that both of them will interract with during the course of the story (secondary and tertiary characters). Plot, simply put, is the 'journey' your MC takes in order to achieve his/her goals. For two, when sorting through your ideas, ask yourself this very important question: Is this plot idea something that readers will identify with and care about? Ruling out obscure topics that only a select few people might understand will help you find something that will appeal to your readers. Plus, choose somethng you can stick with for a while. Backgound research provides the important details it will need for a feeling of realism for the reader, this thing all the writer's manuals refer to as the 'Suspension of Disbelief." So be sure you pick a topic you actually like. For a novel, take your idea and work it out as follows: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 5. 6. 7. 8. Who is your Main Character? (MC) (Description) Who works against your MC? (Antagonist-description) What does your MC want? (Describe your hero's goal) Why does your Antagonist want to prevent the hero from attaining his/her goal? Choose a theme for your story: Your story is about ____ . (Forgiveness, Hatred, Jealousy, Unrequited Love, etc.). List a series of events that may prevent your MC from attaining his/her goals. List a series of events that thwarts your villain or negative . circumstance. (how your hero gets past his/her obstacles). How do the people in their lives (secondary characters) help them or hinder them? Write a quick description of how your MC will reach his/her goal and how the villain doesn't achieve his/hers. [This last one is your story's'climax.']
If you've answered all of these questions, you shoul d have what is called a rough outline of your story. An outline is literally the road map for your plot. Beginning writers, fear not the Outline, for it is there to help guide you through your story. Forget whatever you've heard about writing a novel without some kind of outline. Only wellexperienced writers are able to craft a story successfully without one. Most first-time novelists aren't able to do this. Why? Because an experienced writer has had years of practice and can envision entire scenes in their mind. In short, they know where the plot is going before they've even typed the first word. Until you're able to do this, it might be a good idea to start with an outline. Once you get your plot's road map down on paper, you can then use it take a good look at the series of events in your story and determine if your idea builds a plot that is strong enough to carry an entire novel. Short stories are more free-form, so you can shoot from the hip, if you like.
1. A plot is the plan or main story of a movie or literary work. It is the course of events your characters experience while pursuing their goals, and it is how they resolve Conflict. 2. Plot is broken down into four parts: Introduction of Conflict, Rising Action, Climax and Denouement (falling action). *Note that when starting out with your description of the Introduction of Conflict, be sure to avoid the dreaded Infodump! Introduce your reader to your Main Character (e.g., the aforementioned Mary Jane), give her something to 'want,' as well as a set of problems to contend with, show us how she gets there and how she did it. Then, show us how it all works out for her in the end. 3. A plot for a short story centers around one or two characters and a single life-changing event. It is always very narrow in scope. 4. A plot for a novel centers around more than 1 or 2 characters and a longer series of events that eventually end with one huge, lifechanging event. Novels are always broad in scope and can follow the lives of several characters. 5. Before writing that novel, try an Outline first. It helps you get to know your characters, what the Conflict is that keeps your story moving and how it is all resolved by the end. We've given you a place to start. Now it's all up to you.
I hear and I forget; I see and I remember; I write and I understand. - Chinese Proverb
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there was a correlation between dream time and health problems associated with aging. What if an adult could spend 8 hours each night in REM sleep like an infant? Would this slow the effects of aging and improve overall health? He had read studies that showed the immune system repairs itself and grows stronger during sleep and that people deprived of REM sleep were more prone to infections. Extended dreaming might prove to be a panacea for all sorts of ills. AT-11 turned out to be Dunmey er's breakthrough drug. It was the eleventh derivative of an androsamine-tryptophan compound that he had synthesized. The first volunteer patient he gave it to was Jack Randolph, a 44-year-old truck driver who suffered from insomnia, high blood pressure and kidney dysfunction. Randolph was cooperative and Dunmeyer liked him at first in spite of their different personalities. Randolph was boisterous and extroverted, a large man who liked to be the center of attention. He was divorced and had a slight southern drawl originating from his childhood in Florida. Dunmeyer soon had him sleeping 8 hours at night, something Randolph had been unable to do for years. By increasing the dosage of AT-11 Dunmeyer gradually boosted the amount of REM sleep from 2 hours to 8 hours per night. The results were remarkable. Within a few months Randolph's blood pressure returned to normal levels. He lost much of the excess weight he had been carrying since he was a teenager. His kidney function improved. He looked younger and felt more energetic. "Your medicine beats the hell out of bennies," he tol d Dunmeyer one day. "You mean amphetamines?" "I used to eat them like candy when I was a cross-cou ntry trucker. After awhile, coffee won't keep you awake on the long hauls. You gotta take something to keep from nodding off at the wheel." "You didn't mention this on your application form." "I guess I lied," Randolph grinned. "I didn't want yo u to think I was a drug addict." "Were you addicted?" "Nah!" "You know that amphetamine abuse causes insomnia." "You're telling me! Sometimes I couldn't sleep for da ys." "I don't want you taking amphetamines while you're pa rt of this research," Dunmeyer said sternly. "Anything you say, doc. " "It would disrupt your sleep patterns." Randolph saluted. "Mess age received." Dunmeyer often question ed him about his dreams, but Randolph claimed he couldn't remember them. While this response was common among a small percentage of dreamers, Dunmeyer suspected that Randolph was not telling the truth and perhaps even hiding something. This disturbed Dunmeyer because he couldn't imagine any reasonable motive for lying. Dream content was relatively unimportant to his research and he assured all of his patients that he wasn't interested in dreams that were embarrassing. A few weeks later Randolph confirmed his suspicions. "I'm a lot smarter tha n I used to be, doc." "What do you mean?" "I can do some strange things since I started taking your medicine." "Like what?" "I can make something happen by dreaming about it." Dunmeyer had been prepared for AT-11 to have minor side effects like most drugs, but he was alarmed that it evidently caused delusional thinking. "You have learned to control what you dream?" "A bit," Randolph hedged. "Sometimes I realize I'm dr eaming and after that I can sort of direct the dream like it was a movie." "What have you made happen by dreaming?" "Just little things so far. A few nights ago I f orced myself to dream I had a freezer full of porterhouse steaks. When I woke up, I'll be damned if they weren't there. It scared me until I ate one of them. I love porterhouse steak, but I can't afford to buy it very often. Now I got about thirty pounds of it in my freezer." "I see." "I knew you wouldn't believe me. Even if I showed you the steaks, you'd just think I bought them." "I suppose I would have to, wouldn't I?." "I'm not crazy, doc. It really happened like I told you. I think your medicine is
Member's Choice continued on page 11
Our members have voted and we're please to announce the first-ever quarterly Member's Choice winner
Early this month, the Members' Choice competition concluded and a piece written by the highly talented Starrwriter gathered the highest number of votes. But first, what is the Members' Choice competition? During the course of twenty days, members of the Write r's Beat community get to nominate any piece they think is exceptional and worth publishing in the e-zine. After the nomination period is over, a staff member will post the top five most nominated pieces, whether prose of poetry, and then members get to vote on only one piece. The piece with the highest number of votes will be declared the Members' Choice. If you're a member of the Writer's Beat community, we will send you a notification when we announce the next Member's Choice competition. Make sure you read and nominate, and most importantly, vote. Keep your eyes open and expect an announcement soon.
The Wizard of Dreams
t was such a small leap of faith to foresee the ultimate consequences. Dr. Walter Dunmeyer couldn't understand why he had failed to grasp the conn-ection between dreaming and the character of the dreamer until it was too late. Character was fate in dreams as well as in life. Dunmeyer placed the .32 caliber revolver on his desk and walked slowly to the reclining chair where Jack Randolph lay. Randolph's eyes were frozen in an unblinking stare and his mouth was twisted into a crooked smile. A trickle of blood ran down his cheek from a small hole in his forehead. The office door swung open and Dunmeyer's assistant ushed in and then stopped in his tracks. "My God, what happened?" "Call the police, Mel." "Is he dead?" "I hope so." Dunmeyer went down the hall and entered the lab. He sat down at the first computer and began deleting files. While he was doing this, his mind wandered back to the first days of his dream research. The other staff members nicknamed Dr. Dunmeyer the wizard of dreams. A specialist in neuro-physiology, he had done extensive research into the chemical changes that occurred in the brain during sleep and dreaming. The key substances were androsamine and tryptophan and Dunmeyer began synthesizing variations of the two chemical compounds to alter sleep patterns in volunteer subjects. His initial goal was to find a cure for insomnia. Sleeping pills were addictive and often didn't provide vital dream sleep characterized by rapid eye movement (REM). People who didn't get enough REM sleep were irritable, tired and unable to function at maximum efficiency. Totally deprived of REM sleep for a long period, they often hallucinated and exhibited other psychotic symptoms. Dunmeyer came to the startling conclusion that the bizarre fantasies involved in dreaming were necessary to remain in touch with reality. His first mistake was ontological: confusing cause f or effect. Dunmey er then turned to studies of sleep patterns among different age groups. Young infants slept an average of 16 hours per day and half of that is REM sleep. That meant infants spent one-third of their total time dreaming. By middle age the adult spends only 6-7% of his total time in dream sleep. Elderly people dream a mere 2% of their total time.Dunmeyer wondered if
Artwork by Jillian C.
"Do you believe you went to the University of Ohio?" "No, of course not. I remember Harvard very clearly." "You've been working too hard, Walt. And not getting enough sleep. Let's spend a week at the cabin." Dunmeyer smiled at her. "Since when do you like roughing it?" She kissed him quickly on the cheek. "I don't mind cooking the fish if you clean them. The fresh air will be good for both of us." "Maybe you're right. I have to take care of a few things tomorrow at the lab." "Then we'll leave first thing Thursday morning." His wife beamed. "It's a date," Dunmeyer said, gripping her hand tightly. Randolph was waiting in the parking lot when Dunmeyer arrived at the clinic the next morning. "How do you like it?" he asked, po inting to a dark blue Mercedes Benz. "Nice car," the doctor admitted. Randolph shook his head. "You really don't remember, do you?" "Remember what?" "I drove a Chevy yesterday." Dunmeyer looked confused. "Not that I recall. You've had this Mercedes ever since you started treatment at the clinic." "Wrong, doc. I had an old Chevy until I dreamed the Mercedes last night." "We need to talk about this delusion of yours." Randolph laughed. "It's no delusion any more than the paper you found in your wallet." "That was some sort of trick." "You think I hypnotized you into writing it? Your medicine made me smarter, but I ain't that smart." "Listen to me, Jack. No one can change reality by dreaming. It's simply not possible." Randolph clucked his tongue. "If you're so sure, then tell me something. Why would a man who can afford a new Mercedes come to a free clinic as a guinea pig? If I had that kind of money a few months ago, I'd have gone to the most expensive doctor in town." "I think it would be best to discontinue your AT11 treatments," Dunmeyer said. "You need to have some tests done." "I'm afraid I can't allow that." "Are you threatening me?" "I'm just telling you how it's gonna be. I have a lot bigger plans in mind." "I won't give you any more AT-11." "We'll see." Randolph got into the Mercedes and started the engine, lowering the power window on the driver's side. "Have a nice time in the country." "How did you know I'm going to the country?" "You didn't have a cabin until I dreamed it. You see, doc, I'm not being totally selfish with this power you gave me. I'm helping you, too. You stick with me and we'll both wind up on easy street." Before Dunmeyer could reply, he backed out of the parking space and drove away. The doctor went to his office and told his secretary not to put through any telephone calls. He wanted time alone to think about what Randolph had said. It was all too absurd to take seriously, and yet . . . Why would a well-to-do man go to a free clinic? And how did he know about the cabin? And where had that ridiculous piece of paper in his wallet come from? Against his better judgment, Dunmeyer decided to write everything down in a notebook and lock it in his office safe. He felt foolish doing it, as if he were participating in a psychotic delusion, but the shadow of a doubt had been raised in his mind and he wanted a permanent written record as a reference. Instead of tying up loose ends in the lab, Dunmeyer went to the public library to borrow a book he had been meaning to read for some time. It was titled "The Many-Worlds Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics." Dunmeyer and his wife sat on the steps of the cabin porch, looking out over a small lake ringed with lily pads. "Do you remember when we bought this cabin?" he asked. "I tried to talk you out of it, but now I'm glad you didn't listen to me. It's so peaceful here." "How long have we owned this place?" "A little over two years. Don't you remember?" "Yes, I remember. That's the problem." Helen frowned. "What in the world is bothering you? You haven't even tried to fish since we arrived. All you've done is read that damned book and mope around looking lost. I thought we came here to relax and enjoy ourselves." "If you want to know the truth, I don't think we had this cabin until a few days ago." "What?" "I think Jack Randolph gave it to us by dreaming." "My God, Walt. Do you realize you're talking like a crazy person?" "The book explains what has happened." Helen stood up. "I read some of the book last night when you were asleep. It doesn't explain anything. It's just a wild theory that borders on fantasy." "A theory that some respectable physicists are convinced is true." "And most others think is total nonsense! I can't believe you would let a ridiculous piece of conjecture affect your thinking. You're supposed to be an objective scientist." "Randolph thinks he changes reality by dreaming, but that is not exactly the case." "I'm not going to listen," his wife said and started to walk away. Dunmeyer grabbed her leg. "Please, Helen. I need to tell someone so I can fill in the blank spots in my mind." "I don't want to encourage --" "Please." She looked at him as if he were a frightened child, then sat down and stared at the lake morosely. "Every time a person makes a choice," her husband began, "reality branches into two parallel universes. In one universe Choice A leads down a certain path. In the other universe Choice B creates a different path. The person who made the choice exists in both universes without being aware of it, but the reality he encounters is slightly different in each universe." "I understand the theory, Walt. I just don't believe it." "Randolph is wrong to think he dreams things into existence in a single universe. His dreams actually thrust him and those he dreams about into a parallel universe where his choice is a reality." "You really think we are in a different universe now than we were a few days ago -- but have no Continued on pg. 12
Wizard of Dreams
Continued from pg. 10 a lot stronger than you know." "That may be so, but dreams can't change reality." "Tell you what," Randolph smiled. "Tonight I'll make myself dream something you pick and tomorrow we'll see if it happened. Think of it as an experiment." Dunmeyer decided it would be the best way to show Randolph he was delusional. "All right, let's see. I wanted to go to Harvard medical school, but I couldn't afford the tuition, so I settled for the University of Ohio. Try to dream that I'm a Harvard graduate." "Write it down," Randolph said. "Why?" "I'll remember where you really went to college, but I'm not sure you will." "I don't understand. Exactly what do you want me to write down?" "Get a pen and piece of paper," Randolph said and began dictating: "I went to the University of Ohio. Jack Randolph dreamed that I went to Harvard." He watched Dunmeyer write and then said: "Now sign it and put it in your wallet." "Why in my wallet?" "For safe keeping." After Randolph left, Dunmeyer took the paper out of his wallet and stared at it for a long time. It struck him as malpractice for a doctor to cooperate with a patient in a psychotic delusion. He resisted a temptation to toss the paper into the trash can and forget about the so-called experiment. Driving home in the afternoon, he decided he would immediately stop Randolph's daily doses of AT-11 and refer him to a psychiatrist for treatment. It would cast a cloud over the drug he had worked so hard to develop, perhaps even end his research project, but it was the right thing to do. "Where did I go to college, Helen?" It was the following night and Dunmeyer was in the living room with his wife, nervously sipping a Scotch and soda. "What a silly question," his wife said. "Harvard." "The strangest thing happened today. One of my patients insisted I went to the University of Ohio. He told me to look in my wallet and I found this." Helen read the writing on the piece of paper. "I don't understand. What does it mean?" "That's my signature, but I don't remember writing it. The patient said we had some sort of experiment or bet going. He claims he changed where I actually went to college by dreaming that I was a Harvard graduate." must be mentally ill." "But you are a Harvard graduate." "You're missing the point." "You can't possibly believe him. " "I realize it sounds insane, but there was something --" "It is insane," she interrupted. "Your patient must be mentally ill." "Then how do you explain this paper? It's my handwriting and signature."
had to be stopped before he created a universe that would be hellish for everyone except him. Once a universe became manifest, there was no going back to undo the time-line. Not even the bizarre many-worlds theory allowed for that. Dunmeyer opened his desk drawer and took out the revolver. He opened the cylinder to make sure it was loaded and glanced at his wristwatch. When Randolph arrived, he would give him an injection of barbiturate and tell him it was AT-11. Before Randolph could start dreaming, he would play God like his patient had been doing and put an end to what might be the worst of all possible universes. After deleting the computer files, Dunmeyer flushed down the sink all but one large dose of AT-11. He put the vial in his pocket and returned to his office. "I'm leaving," he said to Mel. "I don't think it's a good idea," his assistant said. "The police will want to talk to you." "I'll be at home." "What's going on, Walt?" "I don't hav e time to explain. Just tell the police they can find me at home." As Dunmeyer drove out of the parking lot, he spotted a police car at the end of the block and made a quick left turn. He headed to the freeway and cruised for an hour until he found an isolated motel. He got a room under a false name in case the police had broadcast an allpoints bulletin. In the motel room Dunmeyer closed the drapes, locked the door and stripped down to his underwear. He turned down the lights and sat on the bed looking at the syringe and vial of AT11. He had never taken the drug himself and he had no idea how his body might react to such a large dose. It was an experiment that he prayed would work. If it didn't, his career would end in disgrace and prison. He found a vein and injected himself, then stretched out on the bed and closed his eyes. In a low murmur he repeated a few sentences again and again as if he were trying to memorize them. It was an old trick he had used when he taught classes in coherent dreaming. If you fell asleep with selective dream content fixed in your mind, the chances were good that you could control the direction of the dream. Many people who suffered from recurring nightmares emp-loyed this technique with great success. It in-volved becoming aware that you were dreaming while you were in the dream. This allowed the dreamer to either transform the nightmare into a pleasant dream or at least wake himself if things became too frightening. As Dunmeyer repeated the sentences consciously, he realized on another level that the last few days had been a sort of waking nightmare. With any luck he would awake from the nightmare of one reality find a more sane reality in place. Randolph." Dunmeyer leaned forward in his desk chair. "What did you say his name was?" "Jack Randolph." "I can't see him today. I'm going home early." "Are you all right? You look funny." Dunmeyer stood up and lifted a notebook from his desk. "I'm feeling a little tired. I didn't get enough sleep last night." "You want me to schedule Randolph for tomorrow morning?" "Make it in the afternoon. I'll be in late tomorrow." When Dunmeyer arrived home , Helen had the fireplace going. He poured drinks for both of them and emptied his glass in one gulp. "Slow down, mister," his wife said. "You're supposed to savor the taste of good whisky." He poured himself another drink and said: "I need to warm up. It feels like the North Pole outside." "Come sit by the fire." Dunmeyer sat down took the notebook out of his pocket. He thumbed through the pages and shook his head in dismay. "It doesn't make sense," he mumbled. "What is it?" "I found this in my office safe this morning. It's in my handwriting, but I don't remember writing it or putting it in the safe." "You're getting old, Walt." "It's about a man I never heard of until after I found the notebook." "You lost me there." "The notebook has some crazy information about a man named Jack Randolph. A few hours later Mel tells me I have a new patient named Jack Randolph." "Sounds spooky," his wife admitted. "What sort of crazy information?" "He takes AT-11 and it makes his dreams come true." "Someone at the clinic is playing a joke on you." "They would have to be a master forger to get my handwriting down so perfectly." "If you didn't write it, then why worry about it?" "I don't know. I have a strange feeling I can't explain. Did we ever have a cabin on a lake?" "You wish!" Helen noticed the look on his face. "You're really upset about this, aren't you?" "Not exactly." "Then why the long puss?" "This damned notebook --" "I have the solution," his wife said. "Throw it in th e fire and forget about it." "You think I should?" She grabbed the notebook from his hand and tossed it into the flames. "Problem solved." He watched it burn. "I suppose you're right. It's just a bunch of nonsense." Helen sipped her drink and smiled at him. "Was this your way of telling me you want to buy a cabin in the mountains?" "No," he said. "Good. We can't afford it." "But now that I think of it --" "Walt!" "Wouldn't it be nice to have a place to escape to in January when the weather is so hot and humid?" WB
Wizard of Dreams
Continued from pg. 11 memory of the other universe?" "I think it's entirely plausible. And if it's true, J ack Randolph is a very dangerous man." "Why?" "Don't you understand? If Randolph can dream himself and other people into a parallel universe and remember the transformation, he is in a god-like position to shape the reality of that universe any way he chooses. The rest of us can't remember and that puts us at his mercy." "I never met the man," Helen remarked. "You wouldn't like him. He's the pushy type." "You believe AT-11 gave him this magical power by letting him sleep 8 hours a night in REM sleep?" "I suppose it did somehow." "Then why don't infants dream themselves and their mothers into a parallel universe? They have 8 hours of REM sleep every day." "I don't know all the answers yet," Dunmeyer said. "Infants have very undeveloped brains. Their neuron circuits are primitive compared to adults. But who knows? Maybe they do drift between universes until they get older." Helen touched his cheek. "Darling, you must be aware of how far-fetched all of this sounds. You're an intelligent, level-headed man. It's why I married you." Dunmeyer realized there was no point in trying to convince his wife. He would have to take care of the situation himself in any event. "I thought you married me for my body," he joked to put her at ease. "That, too." She smiled. "All right, I'll shut up." "I really wish you would go fishing. I'm tired of eating canned food." "Two trout coming up," he promised.
Lifting the telephone in his office, Dunmeyer punched in a number and listened until he heard the secretary's voice. A moment later Randolph was on the line. "I've changed my mind, Jack. I've decided to continue your treatments with AT-11." "Glad to hear it, doc." "Can you come to the clinic right away?" "No can do," Randolph said. "I have a board meeting in half an hour. I'm sure you won't be surprised to hear that I'm CEO of a big trucking company now." "Why should I be?" "It tickles the hell out of me how you can't remember anything. Yesterday I only had one truck." "I don't recall it, but I believe you." "How come?" "I understand this phenomenon more than you do." "Good. You can help me change the whole world." Megalomania, Dunmeyer thought. He shuddered "Too bad the new drug didn't work," Mel said. to think of what Randolph might be planning. "Can Dunmeyer seemed distracted when he you make it here by four?" looked up at his assistant. "Yes, it is." "I'll try my best. Stick around if I'm a little late." "You can always synthesize another one and Dunmeyer hung up. He wondered if AT-11 had contributed to Randolph's state of mind. Perhaps any give it a try. That would be number 12, wouldn't person would become power mad if he could make it?" "Correct," the doctor said. "AT-12." things happen by dreaming. Dunmeyer recalled "You want me to get rid of the AT-11?" some lines of poetry: Dunmeyer hesitated, lost in thought. "What's the use of keeping it if it doesn't If we could with fate conspire work?" Mel wondered. To change this sorry scheme of things entire "I suppose you're right. Go ahead and Would we not mold it nearer to the heart's desire? dump it." "By the way, you have a new patient." But which desire? -- that was the crucial question. "What is his problem? Insomnia or Since absolute power corrupted absolutely, no one nightmares?" could be trusted with such an ability. In the end it "Insomnia. Middle-aged guy named Jack didn't matter who or what was to blame. Randolph
I like to think of the world I created as being a kind of keystone in the universe; that, small as the keystone is, if it were ever taken away the universe itself would collapse. - William Faulkner
by Baron A kiss would make it better when I was a child; Every hurt forgot in loving arms. Bruised and muddy, open wounds of running wild; love, the potion made, the magic charm. A kiss, sealed promise; two, agreeing one, going on together through the storms. Knowing times of rapture, like children in the sun, scattering new dreams into the dawn. A kiss; stolen, betrayal; liquid hopes overrun, those scattered dreams now tossed into the night. A price, a moment taken, so when I look again, I know the loss; love slaughtered, turned to spite. Opening out the letter, to look, to read the words that burn upon the pages, dimming light; A kiss would make it better, a touch, warmth now denied; if I was but a child...
by Azmacna Where can I find the bricks and mortar To free my son and forgive my daughter? How can I summon the courage still To climb this unforgiving hill? What can I do to hold here fast Not slip again into my past? Why is it so hard to see The beautiful son that I could be? Who held me close, whispered sweet Told me tales, tucked in my sheets? Loved me dearly like no other? Father dear, it was my mother When I was a young boy they called me a liar. Now that I'm all grown up, they call me a writer. - Isaac Bashevis Singer
The Beat Goes On...
Bits and bobs from the Writer's Beat forum
Selected Quotes from the eminent, ever-quotable Starrwriter:
"I hate the word spork. Is it a spoon? Is it a fork? Yes and no. But don't tell me it's both."
"Your story. Your world. Your rules." "The first step [to writing] is to start putting words on paper. The second step is to continue putting words on paper." "Don't hesitate, write it now." "Oh, one should never shake hands with a lurker unless one is fully innoculated against cyber viruses. Fortunately, there hasn't been a major outbreak of malignant clandestinusia in many years." "I'm one very happy pirate right now."
C O N T E S T
F I C T I O N
What a fantastic round of entries we had for this topic. You all really impressed us with the quick pacing and riveting story lines. Excellent job everyone.
The winner in the July 2007 Fiction contest is Gary_Wagner and his intergalactic tale.
W I N N E R S
"... we were going to have to use the hyperdrive for the entire trip back home – all forty-one years of it. By the time I got back home to Smith City, it would have been fifty-eight years since I left. That’s a third of a lifetime."
me when I got there. It’s not like I could do anything about it now. The first view from the observation level put all of those thoughts behind me in an instant. Three of the tourists died during crypto-sleep but every one of the remaining twenty were standing there on the deck in excited anticipation when they opened up the anti-omega shields and we got our first glimpse of the Allutia solar system. It was more spectacular than I had ever imagined. No matter how real they make the virtual reality neuro-links, nothing can substitute the feeling that comes from knowing that this is not simply an extremely realistic image – you are actually there and this is reality. Allutia Alpha filled half of the view through the observation window. Even through the digital polarizer filters, it was painful to look directly at the core for more than a few seconds. It was hard to fathom a sun that could swallow up Earth’s sun as if it were a pebble in the ocean until seeing it live and real while standing silently on that observation deck. It made Allutia Beta appear as a dim glowing disk off in the distance even though it in itself is a huge sun by Earth standards. Allutia Gamma could be seen for a few hours but disappeared behind Allutia Alpha as we approached Allutia Prima. Allutia Prima sparkled like a diamond. The ice packs, three kilometer thick caps of crystallized ice covering the tops of mountains stretching up an amazing forty kilometers in places caught the suns light and sent prismatic rainbow beams out like an invitation to paradise. That’s where the planet picked up the nickname of “The Diamond Planet”.
Continued on page 15
Featuring the winning Writer's Beat contest entries From July & August 2007
mare from the beginning. Our departure date was delayed six weeks when they decided at the last minute to replace the main reverse vortex synchronization drive with the latest and greatest of twenty-third century technology – the virtual anomaly vertical rotation nano reticulator; or affectionately known as the worm hole winder. A geek like me with a major in off-world studies and a minor in rocket propulsion engineering understands the subtle differences in the engine technology but for the common tourist, they just know that the new drive is supposed to be forty percent faster than the old one. “Supposed to be” is the key phrase here. At the time I left Earth, no one had ever heard of, or even conceived of a worm-hole divergence particulate storm. Our ship, the S.S. Hiram Page, pride of the Mormon Empire’s fleet, was the first to ever experience this interstellar phenomenon. It completely knocked out the worm hole winder drive. We ended up limping on to our target destination on a hyperdrive. Can you believe that? All they had as a backup was a hundred and fifty year old hyperdrive? For Brigham’s sake, we had to crawl the rest of the way at warp 4. When was that heap originally built, in the stone age? Of course, they didn’t bother to tell any of us that while we were in cryo-sleep. They simply told us when they thawed us out that, “Oh by the way, you were asleep for twenty-six years, not the four weeks you were expecting.” I may be exaggerating their callousness about it, but it’s what it seemed like. You know how those Mormons are. Nothing bothers them. Then they dropped the other bombshell on us; that we were going to have to use the hyperdrive for the entire trip back home – all fortyone years of it. By the time I got back home to Smith City, it would have been fifty-eight years since I left. That’s a third of a lifetime. Some of my friends will probably be married and might even have applications for children submitted by then. How crazy is that? Always the optimist, I tried to take the news in stride and still enjoy my adventure. I was one of a group of twenty-three adventu-tourists that were the first ever allowed in to explore Allutia Prima. That is still the most exciting thing I have ever been involved in and I decided I would deal with almost sixty years passing by back home without
Allutia Alpha, the bigger and brighter of the two
visible suns set behind the towering mountain range much quicker than I was expecting. I should have expected it since I had spent a year studying every detail of Allutia Prima before going into deep space hibernation for the long journey here. Still, the faster rotation of this planet wasn’t first and foremost on my mind while I spent the past two hours running from the monkelopes. Monkelopes is the name I gave the pursuing creatures. They weren’t in any of the neuro-vids I downloaded and they weren’t in the info-cubes. Every single thing I cerebrodownloaded said that there were no carnivores on this stupid planet, which is one of the reasons I planned it for my post-graduation trip, but when a monkey-tailed furry thing with an antelope-like rack of antlers comes charging after you, being eaten doesn’t matter as much as being gored to death. I don’t care if they eat me or not after I’m dead. I care quite a bit about being dead. This whole trip has been a living night-
Allutia Prima, Continued from pg. 14
When this planet was originally discovered they thought the sparkling came from a thick coating of diamonds. Little did they know at the time that instead of being coated with worthless minerals, it was covered in the most precious substance known to man – fresh pure water. That’s what made this planet so mind-boggling. As expensive as an ice-crystal engagement ring is back on Earth, imagine some of these caps the size of Australia. We weren ’t there as part of the ice-mining crew, though. We were simply tourists on a four week vacation. Allutia Prima had been promoted as the ultimate adventu-tourist destination. The atmosphere matched Earth in its pre-pollution days. There were no known toxins in any plant, animal, or other creature. There were no carnivores, no predators, no insects. A layer of arcanicol gas covering the planet provided protection from the damaging radiation of the suns so there wasn’t even any sunburn on Allutia Prima. Maybe I shouldn ’t use the all inclusive term, “we” when referring to the group of twenty who survived cryo-sleep. Turns out that the three who died and me had something in common. Also turns out that nineteen of the survivors had something in common that I didn’t share. They were all Neo-Baptists. I was raised as an Apathist and had never met any of the radical NeoBaptists prior to this trip. They were every bit as unpleasant and obnoxious as I had read they were. They weren ’t tourists after all – they were colonists. Colonization wasn’t legal on Allutia Prima yet but they aren’t much for laws and such. When they opened up their crates of supplies, they pulled out guns. I don’t mean gamma-stream projectile weapons – I’m talking about ancient history, wild-west, gunpowder and metal bullet guns. I’ve seen these in virtuomuseums but never in my wildest dreams thought that people would actually still use them. Neither did the ship’s officers until one of them had his left arm blown off from the elbow down when one of the Neo-Baptists shot him for refusing to obey their command. I mean, that guy could have died if the medical technician hadn’t slapped a proton-tourniquet on there quickly. I’ll bet that really hurt, too, and will be pretty annoying for him until they can grow the arm back in the cloning tank. I guess it could have been worse. I could have never woken from cryo-sleep like the other three the Neo-Baptist took care of. They don’t even see what they did as killing anyone. They believe that someone in cryo-sleep isn’t actually alive so they were simply “preventing resurrection”. Since I survived in spite of their attempt to get rid of me, they gave me a little bit of respect and gave me a choice – convert or leave. I chose to leave because I guess I still had the foolish notion that I would get my four week vacation and I would return to the ship when it left. I left on a skitter-craft with my supplies and equipment at the same time they left with theirs to set up their new Neo-Baptist colony. I was
C O N T E S T
shocked when only minutes after leaving the landing sight, I saw the Hiram Page lift off and leave Allutia Prima for good. I didn’t think the Mormons would give up so easily. My skitter-craft died two days ago. I ’ve been running from monkelopes and trying to find the Neo-Baptist camp somewhere in this great big empty world. I think I found their trail and it looks like I’ll be a Neo-Baptist soon. I can’t beat them so I guess I’ll join them.
W I N N E R S
Congratulations to thehungryghost for winning July's Non-Fiction contest. All entries were a pleasure to read, so keep writing and submitting!
WHY DO I WRITE? By TheHungryGhost
I wonder why I write, what drives me to continually try to express my thoughts, ideas and feelings in words, endlessly attempting to fill this empty screen or page with squiggles, reaching out to an unknown audience. I know how I tremble with excitement when the words flow together, sliding effortlessly onto the page. There is a sense of relief, even achievement at the thought that a connection has been made; a moment has been captured. At this moment I feelempty. My interest in the things around me has waned. I corner myself and question my worth, knowing only too well how this line of inquiry destroys the validity of first thought, strangling the quiet voices; like fragile wings beneath a heavy hoof. Welcome to writers block I tell myself, or is it really a block? I suppose it’s a block in the sense that something has come between the writer and the written word. However there isn’t anything extra that needs to be removed. There is no archenemy "When you start looking for something beyond the process of writing itself then you are giving others the power to censor your words before they arrive on the page. This is not the way of truth and honesty. It is the way of compromise and slavery."
that you must confront. Even the inner critic should be embraced and explored. What is it then that lies beneath this apparently solid and fixed end point? Is it perchance a need to be loved, a need to feel special, some form of acknowledgement from another and another and another? Our egos can hold an infinite amount of adulation and still crave more. It is from this dark place of desperation that the question, ‘Why write?’ begins. Who is asking the question, the Ego or the Everyman? The answer to this question will become more apparent when you ask yourself what you want from the process. Is it immediate and perfect results, a publishing deal followed by wide acclaim in the outside world. There are plenty of people who are willing to help you on your path to success and who will show you how to hone your skill to fill a hole in the market. If this is where it’s at for you, then that’s fine, good luck to you. It does not rock my boat. It would soil the process for me; stop me dead in the water. These material wants are definitely within the Ego's grasp and they overlook for me the most important element in the creative process; the ability to be real, to be honest and to continually return to the blank page over and over again without looking for anything in return. As soon as you start looking for payback you fall into the Egos domain, a place of comparison, where too much concern is placed on what others think, and too much worry on whether or not you will get your required adoration. When you start looking for something beyond the process of writing itself then you are giving others the power to censor your words before they arrive on the page. This is not the way of truth and honesty. It is the way of compromise and slavery. For me there is no better way than to begin a new each day and to be ever grateful for the ability and freedom to express my inner world, the outer world as I see it and the intimate connection between the two. I write because it helps me to make contact with my centre ground. It brings me back to where I am. Sometimes that place may be uncomfortable and painful and yet my continued attempts to be there and express this through the written word helps me to make sense of it and not fight it, distort it or worse deny it. I begin to see that it is the juice of my life and in it; in the very nuts and bolts of these meanderings, I connect in some sense with the universal, that which we all share.
"A wonderfully written, thoughtprovoking commentary."
"You can't become a writer by reading Elements of Style," he said. "You've got to experience life." – Love Me, Garrison Keillor
Contest Winners continued on page 16
Continued from pg. 15
C O N T E S T
Ode to Sunlight
Winterstorm Sun peeks through our shades lighting parts of our bed nestling up under our sheets as we lay. I roll around over its rays while it plays peek-a-boo in my hair. My husband wakes, turns to see me in my trance of movement. And underneath the covers he touches the light that shines on our crisp white sheets. I kiss the sunlight on his lips and follow the path that it creates. Touching each others light we fall into the sunlights trance- once again.
W I N N E R S
P O E T R Y
We would like to give a BIG thank you to Kal for agreeing to be a guest judge this month. This month's contest theme was "Ode." We have a tie for first place! Congratulations to both Winterstorm and Gary_Wagner, and thanks to everyone for entering and either inspiring us or making us hungry.
"If you have five seconds to spare, then I'll tell you the story of my life." – Morrissey
Ode to a Hot Dog
Gary Wagner Oh steaming joy of pig intestined pleasure Encapsulated grindings of squealing swine Your spices entices, invites, delights, Your tube of joy enthralls Plump and tender you lie in perfect pinkness Upon a wheaten bed of purest white Your juices sluices, endures, allures Your bun invites the bite In the brightest shade of buttercup yellow The condiment graces your sides Upon the still calm mustard river Lies the pickled relish of life Oh hot dog thou art a gift from gods Perfection of bread bound meat A joy to behold in wonder A greater joy to eat. Contest Winners continued on page 17
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This Month's Quote of Note: Gary_Wagner "Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and he will sit in a boat all day and drink beer." - The Prophet of Zen Sarcasm
Writer's Club August, 2007
Continued from pg. 16
C O N T E S T W I N N E R S
Looking down and seeing that he was barefoot, she exclaimed, “Harry, just what are you doing without your shoes and socks on?” Still hopping, but slower now, Harry said, “I took them off. Those are my best shoes.” Margaret put her hands on her hips and with the stern look of a mother who has brought tears to her children with her eyes alone said, “Oh, for heaven’s sake, Harry, what are you doing running around on a cliff barefoot? What were you thinking?” Sheepishly, and unable to look into Margaret’s steel blue eyes, “I was thinking that I paid a lot of money for those shoes and there’s no need to ruin them.” Reaching down to hold her cotton dress down from a strong updraft, Margaret said, “Oh, forget about the shoes and forget about the hearing aid. Let’s just do this, Harry and be done “I told you, woman, that I left the note. Left it laying on the kitchen table just like you pestered me to.” Margaret pursed her lips, and wagged her finger at Harry, which he couldn’t see without his glasses, “I saw you write that note and put it in your shirt pocket, Harry. I told you three times to make sure you left it on the table and now I just saw it blow away in the wind. That’s it. I’m not going to do this with you today. Let’s just go home.” “You mean we’re not going to jump? I took my shoes off and everything.” “No, not today, Harry. Now pick up your glasses, they’re by your left foot.” Harry felt around on the ground and found his glasses. As soon as he put them on he said, “Well, by jove, there’s your hearing aid right beside your foot.” He picked up the hearing aid and handed it to her when he stood up. He put his shoes on and put his shoulder against her stomach and picked her up. The motion knocked her artificial pelvis loose and her legs flopped forward, but they locked in place again when he stood up. Margaret had her arms wrapped around his neck and it looked like she was kneeling on his butt. “I can’t get you in the passenger seat like that, honey. I’ll prop you up in the truck bed. I have bungee cords, I’ll strap you in good.” “All right, dear. You want pork chops for supper?” “Pork chops sounds great, sweetie.”
F I C T I O N
Many of you showed us what a dark sense of humor you have. And we loved it! This was another extremely close one--half a point separated first and second. Congratulations to gary_wagner for a hilarious portrayal of an elderly couple on a cliff.
CliffWagner Notes by Gary
They stood on the edge, ready to meet their fate hundreds of feet below. A strong salty wind hit them with occasional gusts. They wobbled like bowling pins that refuse to fall. “Harry?” “Yes, Margaret?” “Harry?” “What is it, dear?” “Harry?” Shouting, Harry said, “Oh for God’s sake, Margaret. What is it?” With a furrowed brow, Margaret replied, “Well you don’t have to use that tone of voice with me, Harry Mitzler. I wanted to tell you I lost one of my hearing aids in the wind.” “You lost your hearing aid?” In a useless action, Margaret cupped her hand around the ear closest to Harry, “What?” Shouting again, “Margaret, for crying out loud. Come around to the other side so you can hear me with your good ear.” “Can’t move.” “Oh, don’t be scared, honey. We’re going to jump anyway. If you fall, I’ll be right behind you.” Grimacing, Margaret said, “No, sweetie. I can’t move because my prosthetic pelvis locked up again. Would you look for my hearing aid? I’m pretty sure it’s close behind me.” “You need it now?” “Need a cow, Harry? Of course I don’t need a cow. I need my hearing aid.” “I didn’t say anything about a cow, Margaret.” “Well, I should hope not. Standing here in this wind with only one hearing aid and my legs locked in place is not the time to be talking about cows.” Shaking his head knowing it was useless to argue with her, Harry turned to look behind them for her wayward hearing aid. When he turned, a strong gust of wind knocked his glasses off. “Oh jeez, my glasses are blown off. “ “Well, yes, we are freezing our asses off but you don’t have to be vulgar, Harry.” Harry threw his hands up in the air and stomped in a circle, as he did at times of extreme frustration. He stopped, began jumping on one foot and cried out, “Ow, oh ouch, I cut my foot on a piece of broken glass.” Since Harry jumped his way to the other side of Margaret, she heard him through her remaining hearing aid. “Cut your foot? How on earth did you do that, Harry?”
“Standing here in this wind with only one hearing aid and my legs locked in place is not the time to be talking about cows.”
with it. You left the note for the kids, right?” “Oh of course I left the note, Margaret. I might be 86 but I haven’t lost my mind yet.” Harry then did several deep-knee thrusts which he did when trying to make the point that he was still physically fit – in spite of his age and the loud clicking sound his knees made each time he stood erect again. On the fourth thrust, Harry lost his balance and fell over onto his back. A piece of paper slipped out of the shirt pocket of his plaid flannel shirt. “What was that, Harry?” “Oh, I just fell over, it doesn’t mean I’m feeble yet.” “No, Harry, I know how fit you are. You tell me every day how you’re fit as a fiddle. Fit as a fiddle. Fit as a fiddle. Sounds like a parrot, sometimes.” “Now, don’t be calling me a parrot again, Margaret. In a few minutes, you won’t have to hear me say it again and I don’t have to hear that snoring of yours. You sound like you swallowed a chainsaw and a couple of hyenas are fighting over it.” “Well, Harry Mitzler, at least I would have remembered to leave the note.”
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Congrats to Cuchulain with the essay on Bipolar Disorder.
Bipolar Disorder: A Cautionary Essay
By Kevin L. [Cuchulain]
I read a book called Fight Club once. And Harry Potter. It was really good. Like magic. Totally, indescribably articulate. And not funny at all. I read it over the course of two days. It made for good bedtime reading. What young, auspicious, angst-ridden teenage writer wouldn’t take up reading a book about guys beating the crap out of each other for fun as bedtime reading? I slept pretty well during that time.
Continued on pg. 18
Writer's Club August, 2007
Continued from pg. 17 After I read the book I went back to my normal life, which isn’t really saying much. I ’d already seen the movie. You know. The one with Brad Pitt and Edward Norton? Ever heard of them? I guess that ’s the problem. Not the solution. We all know who Tyler Durden is. He makes soap. He also uses soap to blow things up. That’s the solution, not the problem. If you know what I mean. Let ’s go back to the past. I can’t sleep. I’m an insomniac. I’m a writer and I’m writing constantly. I’m obsessive. I write every little tidbit down in my big 3 subject notebook and I scribble down every little thing that pops into my mind. I’m afraid of my thoughts. I’m afraid of losing them. I read, I write, I don ’t sleep, and I write again. That is my life. Was my life. Probably will be my life again at some point if I can’t find away out of this mess. Several days later, I ’m in a hospital and I think that I’m gonna be famous. I’m Harry Potter, the boy who lived. I’m Naruto-kun, the writer. Hear me roar. Strike a pose. Give me the thinker. Give me unreasonable hope Give me the Harry Potter look Give me the Irishman. But before that, things get a little messy. I remember Sarah and how her sister got hit by a car and lost her leg. I re-member how Sarah used to cut herself because of it. I remember how I was in love with Sarah. Give me unconditional love. Give me an achy breaky heart. She never loved me and never will. Good ol’ Sarah. Whatever happened to her? What happened to everybody. What happened to my best friend Chuck, who used to smoke weed with me all the time and now wallows in his own misery over the loss of his underaged girlfriend? What happened to Joe? What happened to Matt, who shot himself because he got caught selling pot brownies? His name is Matthew Bechara. What happened to Matt, who got hit by a car on New Years eve because he ran away from cops? His name is Matthew Valenza. I met a lot of people in the hospital. People that I liked. I stopped thinking about Sarah, even though I saw Sarah everywhere. Not just Sarah, but Joe. They both disappeared and I never saw them again. I also saw Matt. Both of them. The one ’s that died. Sarah was in my head, just like Tyler Durden was in everybody who became infatuated with that movies head. That’s when I remember the rules. You ’re not supposed to talk about Fight Club. You ’re not supposed to ask questions.
C O N T E S T W I N N E R S
Only I broke that rule. I asked everyone if they ever read the book called Fight Club. Mostly nobody did but occasionally someone would say that they saw one of the movies. Flash back to my insomnia. It’s the fourth of July and my Dad got his face all fucked up from a biking accident and he had to go to the hospital. Meanwhile I think I’m going bonkers because my mind doesn’t stop thinking about stuff. Don’t worry, it’s just the bipolar talking. That’s what I told my friends afterwards. My uncle Richie recognizes this and he gives me some tea and it makes me calm down and I think I’m lucid dreaming. But before that I’m stoned out of my mind at my friends house and we’re listening to Pink Floyd and we’re playing Stairway to Heaven backwards. I ’m kicking the shit out of someone in my favorite Japanese fighting game. I love Japanese imports. I bring Fight Club to Richie and he looks at it and he says that he is glad he showed me this book but he doesn’t explain. We have a bit of a therapy session. Richie does something in the psychiatry field, though I’m not sure what it is exactly. I notice how beautiful the flowers are. Richie tells me to hold on to that. I do. He also tells me that sometimes to understand Finnegans wake you have to read it from back to front. So I do. Holy shit. Am I a madman? Or a genius? I guess I was both. Either way, I pass on Fight Club to a friend (who still hasn’t read it) and a 200 dollar recording system that I was given as a birthday present., with the promise that one day he will return them if I ask for it. If you ’re reading this now, you are not wasting your life. Wasting your life is in fact a good way to not waste your life. So go ahead. Read Finnegans wake backwards. Try and learn something you don’t yet know. Think you know it all? Drop out of high school and see if you do. Think you can stop smoking pot? Do it, and show the world that you can. Think you’ve got a really good idea for a book? Try and market it and see if it sells. But most likely, if you’re reading this still you probably don’t think it is marketable. But I’m here to tell you that if you have read this from back to front and decided you like it, it’s probably worth selling. Sometimes, tedious prose gets in the way of good writing. But whose fault is that? The writers? It’s your obligation to read this all the way through and consider what you read. If you skip over parts or skim the pages of life’s stories, you will miss important details. That is a lesson that not even a blockbuster movie can tell you. But anyways, to get back on target what I ’m trying to say is that you should read Fight Club. It’s a very important book, and will remain so for generations to come. Fuck the movies. Read a book. Tell everyone about it. Read this again. That ’s the solution.
P O E T R Y
To have literally chosen words at random, you all did a good job creating lovely poems out of them. Great job, everyone! Our guest judges this month were Triquediqual and Tau Worlock. Thank you both for your time and input. Congratulations once again to Gary_Wagner for winning August's poetry contest.
The Eyes Have It
by Gary Wagner Eyes of pistachio green belie the black heart of the man who would rule the world. Words resembling wisdom roll from this man ’s mouth, bring crowds to their feet in maniacal fervor that would make the third Reich proud. Hang the criminals, kill our enemies, imprison those who don ’t agree. Ban the books, then burn them, arrest the journalists, control the media, promote propaganda, silence dissent. Liberty is destroyed, freedom absconded. Military might defeats diplomacy as nations fall under the combat boots of the green-eyed menace. Tanks rumble from sea to sea, bombs fall like explosive hail, missiles fly in evil arcs, cities and citizens are incinerated, nuclear winter puts an end to global warming. The man who would steal the world sat back through years of turmoil, watched consolidation of power, assumed global control with a single shot from an assassin’s gun between the pistachio eyes. The man with the chocolate eyes will rule the world until another assassin finds him or until the people take it back.
19. Don't Know What to Write?
Try One of These:
1. Write about a dream you would like to fulfill before you die. 2. Write a story about a weird event in your town's history. 3. What's the funniest thing you every heard or saw? Describe it in story form. 4. Write about your first love - or a poem. 5. Write a letter to the president/prime minister of your country. What do you want him/her to change? 6. Write a country or blues song about your life. 7. Your house is on fire and three people are sleeping in other rooms. You only have time to save two of them. Who do you choose to save, OR, how can you possibly save all three? 8. Who would be one person you would take with you to a desert island? How soon would you begin to drive each other nuts? 9. You are a mental patient. Write a story or poem about your view of the world. 10. What about your one pet peeve and why it bothers you. 11. Write about a resolution you failed to keep. 12. Write about a confrontation with a person or family member you don't get along with.
From the Forum:
by Mridula C.
Can you guess these book titles? Take a look at the following clues: 1. 2. 3.
Stumped? Here are a few hints : 1. Where is the lower bird sitting? What species of bird is it? Now you've figured that out, what is the higher bird doing? 2. Who is this person? 3. Everybody is so sad! 4. What are the people doing? Now, where does the arrow poi nt? 5. It's a field of...? And whose field is it? 6. There is a field of some grain. There is someone in the field. What is that person doing? 7. How many soccer balls are there? Answers are on page 21
Writer's Club Picture Prompt
In the spirit of this issue's New Horizons feature, we encourage you to browse photos from other nations. Learning about other cultures invariably leads to expansion of both the mind and the heart. Here's a few to get you started.
ANSWERS TO PHOTO PUZZLE FROM PAGE 19:
1. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest 2. The Stranger [ L'Étranger ] 3. Les Miserables 4. Middlemarch 5. Flowers of Evil 6. Catcher in the Rye 7. Catch-22
Writer's Club Staff
COLUMNISTS AND CONTRIBUTORS: Hakeem D. Jillian C. EDITING Hakeem D. Taya L. Jillian C. PUBLISHER Daniel Fischer, Writer's Beat Site Owner Mridula C. Jillan C. Taya L. Michelle B. Mridula C.
If you’d like to see your artwork or photo on the cover of the next issue of Writer’s Club, submit it to us by either using the “Contact Us” form located on the bottom of the Writer’s Beat Forum main page, or contact: firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com for more details.
COVER DESIGN & PAGE LAYOUT
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