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Michael Jasper
Posted on Friday, January 16, 2004 - 06:20 am:   

Okay, so I chose the smiling, talking icon for this new discussion about writing, because I'd like this to be a place for fiction writers to come to share their writing success for the day.

I'm a firm believer in doing some writing (or writing-related work) every day, to keep your project fresh, even if it's just rereading what you've already written or copy-editing it or heck, even opening the file with your story or novel on it. Every little bit counts.

And for me, I get inspired and encouraged when I'm reminded that I'm not the only person out there mad enough to put a bunch of words together in an attempt to create something new.

So... Today I got up early and expanded an unfinished scene in my SF novel about aliens. It's one of the final scenes, so it's crucial, and I enjoyed writing it -- right now it's mostly dialog between one of the aliens and my injured junkie main character, but I'll probably add more later. I've got a lot of plot threads to tie up, so it's a bit daunting.

Overall, the novel's coming together quite nicely, and I'll be mailing the whole manuscript off next week to an interested agent. Woo-hoo!

Now, tell me about YOUR writing for today, if you please.
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Simon Owens
Posted on Friday, January 16, 2004 - 12:56 pm:   

Today I woke up to find I sold another story (my 5th sale this month) and then later received three rejections. It's lovely how editors have a way of putting you back in your place so you don't let your ego run away :-)
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Xanne
Posted on Friday, January 16, 2004 - 04:08 pm:   

DOING NOW: I am currently implementing the editing corrections I made in pen to my most recent chapter, Chapter 8.

NEED TO DO: The chapter is half cemented; I've got more work for it before moving on to the FINAL chapter of this book, where all the conclusions will be made. Then all I have left is tacking on an Epilogue that needs only a slight polish, and I'm DONE DONE DONE.

Just gotta keep my eye on the finish line!

Cool idea, Mike!

Xanne
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Jon Hansen
Posted on Friday, January 16, 2004 - 07:29 pm:   

Wrote today, around three or four hundred words, on the eternal Zeppelin tale. If you're curious, it's a kind of Vancian fantasy. Gives me about 2,000 words or so from various points in the story. It's all in my head, and I'm sure I can wrangle it all on to the paper, but in time to meet the deadline? The eternal question.

Ah, who cares. I'm having fun anyway.
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Jamie
Posted on Saturday, January 17, 2004 - 10:15 am:   

Got up, spent an hour trying to fix the internet at my fiancee's place or use my verrry old laptop to get online (neither worked.) Gave up, walked into town (15 minutes, -18 degrees Celsius) to mail a sub to FSF. Got to post office, realized I had left said submission at my fiancee's. Walked back (15 minutes, -18 degrees Celsius.) Reinstalled the internet, called tech support, got everything sorted out.

That's my writing-related activities so far today. :-)
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Mike Jasper
Posted on Saturday, January 17, 2004 - 04:48 pm:   

Jamie -- that's dedication to your story!

Did a lot of "clean-up" work on the novel today, getting all the holes filled in plot-wise so tomorrow I can go from where I left off copy-editing (chapter 10) to the end of the novel, chopping and fixing awkward sentences as I go. About 5 hours' worth of work, I'm guessing.

This part, I'm finding, is suprisingly fun. And it's nice to read my novel again. Some of it's kinda GOOD.
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Jamie
Posted on Saturday, January 17, 2004 - 06:10 pm:   

To top it all off, I wound up sending a different story, and to a different market. I figure, maybe the great Editor in the Sky is trying to tell me to look over this one one more time.
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SarahP
Posted on Saturday, January 17, 2004 - 07:28 pm:   

Hey, I wrote today! About 1500 new words to the very beginning of my novel. Got some more to add--probably next weekend, 'cos I've got classes starting in just a couple of days--but then I'm going to send it your way, Mike!
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Tim Pratt
Posted on Sunday, January 18, 2004 - 02:56 am:   

I read my weird urban fantasy novel about frogs (which I finished writing on Monday) and did a first-pass revision to clean up the obvious problems. Then I sent it off to first readers, so they can tell me all the others things that are wrong with it...
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SarahP
Posted on Sunday, January 18, 2004 - 06:51 pm:   

And to tell you all the things that are right with it, Tim.

About 1500 more words today. The heck with my syllabus, I'm getting this novel done first!
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Mike Jasper
Posted on Sunday, January 18, 2004 - 06:56 pm:   

All right, Sarah and Tim! Looking forward to reading BOTH your books, as soon as I get this darn SF novel out the door.

Lots of copy-editing and tightening today, about 4-5 hours worth. I want to keep going, but I'm getting REALLY tired. It's addicting, tweaking the book. I feel like it's really taking the shape I'd wanted it to take while I was drafting it.

Still have about 150 pages to go, including some of my favorite stuff, written around the time of last year's World Fantasy con. Ah, memories...
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Mike Jasper
Posted on Monday, January 19, 2004 - 07:59 pm:   

Got a bunch more editing and revising done tonight, right up until the point where my laptop lost its mind and stopped recognizing the operating system.

Luckily I didn't lose the brand-new mini-scene I wrote just as my main characters were entering the mother ship, but pretty much everything after that is gone. Stupid laptop.

I'm getting impatient to be done with this so I can send it out without being TOO late...
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Mike Jasper
Posted on Tuesday, January 20, 2004 - 10:18 am:   

Well, managed to remember most of my edits from last night after I'd saved to my desktop but before my laptop died on me, and I put them back into the main file on my lunch break. Stupid laptop. I hate doing the same thing twice!

I also looked over the rest of the novel, and I think it's all quite close to being done. Just a couple hours tonight, and then it's going out tomorrow!

Then it's on to revising the urban fantasy novel...then rewriting the Blackbeard novel...then something NEW!!!
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Andrew Nicolle
Posted on Tuesday, January 20, 2004 - 10:19 am:   

So far I've spent the day reading various bits of info that have completely shot apart ideas for my Zeppelin story. It'll be a miracle if I get this thing done by the deadline! If only I hadn't been so lazy in December...
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Steven Francis Murphy
Posted on Tuesday, January 20, 2004 - 12:03 pm:   

This is a great thread idea, Mike.

I got up this morning and put in six handwritten pages worth on a scene. I don't think I'd call it a story yet. I'm not even sure it is science fiction (hell, it might be mainstream, God help me).

Though not done today, I did get 2,200 words transcribed from my handwritten sketches over the weekend. I've got a pad's worth of backlog.

Glad to see you're working on the Zeppelin story, AndrewN. Keep at it.

Great thing about writing pads. They never lose power, never need to be rebooted, and don't need a plug in.

Gotta have a pen though.

Respects,
S. F. Murphy
http://sfmurphy.journalspace.com
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Jamie
Posted on Tuesday, January 20, 2004 - 01:41 pm:   

Yesterday, I wrote up a short stream-of-consciousness piece of weirdness about an alien invasion during the Vietnam War.

Today, I finished up a story about a man playing tic tac toe for the fate of the world (or something of similar magnitude, he's never precise about just what the stakes are.) But I'm concerned that between the Malzbergian tone and the fact that I've been reading a lot of Kafka's short pieces (which often have little coherent resolution) the piece may be nigh-unsaleable.

But that decision is more properly an editor's job.
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Mike Jasper
Posted on Tuesday, January 20, 2004 - 06:54 pm:   

Welcome, Steven and Andrew! Glad to have ya.

I'm down to 55 pages left to copy-edit and tweak -- 7 chapters and an Epilogue. I was supposed to mail this sucker off today, but my better judgement (and my very smart wife) insist I not rush through just to be done. When I finish this novel, probably Thursday or early Friday, it will be DONE.

At least until an agent or editor asks for revisions, that is... :-)
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Xanne
Posted on Tuesday, January 20, 2004 - 10:00 pm:   

5 copies of my latest NIP (Novel In Progress) installment have been delivered. 2 more will be delivered Wednesday and then another on Thursday. Then it will be 2 weeks before the group convenes for the discussion session. All of this took some time to arrange, but it was fun doing it, even though CopyMax didn't get my order and I was forced to copy my marked up version. But hey .. the readers are fans anyway; they won't care. ;-)

I talked to one of my adoring fans yesterday over dinner, and he provided me with some interesting ideas: 1) fire vortex -- has me drooling already, and 2) writing the climactic scene the kick ass way I wrote the prologue. So I started to work on that today. I'm a genius! Definitely a genius. I'm currently in what I call my writing love haze!

21 days before I go to Dublin, Ireland for my graduation from Trinity College = 21 days to finish Book 1.

I'm so close, SO close! I'm determined to do this! Some quality time at the cabin this weekend will do the trick, I know it!

Xanne
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Simon Owens
Posted on Tuesday, January 20, 2004 - 10:16 pm:   

I've been really frustrated because I haven't gotten any writing done in like three or four days, and from the looks of my schedule I probably won't have time to get any done until next week. And this isn't the kind of I-don't-have-time that you hear from newbie writers making excuses for why they don't write, I seriously don't have an ounce of time (I'm involved with a musical that opens this Thursday).
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Steven Francis Murphy
Posted on Wednesday, January 21, 2004 - 09:04 am:   

Thanks, Mike. It is a good thread. Motivates one to get with it, as it were. I've been floundering since I finished the last one and sent it off.

BTW, I got another three and a half pages of handwritten draft done today.

I count by pages, since pads don't have word counters. The pages are 8.5 by 11 on a WalMart Dual Pad with the extra hard cardboard back.

This method seems to work better than simply sitting at the keyboard. But it is slower.

Thinking on Simon's trouble with time (something I fight with a lot) I find that if I carry a pad with me, I just might find fifteen to thirty minutes where I can dribble something down. I do a lot of writing during the down moments of my security job.

Hope the musical goes well, Simon.

Respects,
S. F. Murphy
http://sfmurphy.journalspace.com
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SarahP
Posted on Wednesday, January 21, 2004 - 05:24 pm:   

Wrote a bit last night, about 900 words. A kind-of connecting scene that I might axe tonight. Causes a loss of momentum in the narrative, I think. Bleh.
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Mike Jasper
Posted on Wednesday, January 21, 2004 - 06:09 pm:   

Oy -- getting tired now... About 30 pages left to tweak and proof and copy-edit, then I need to read the first 50 pages out loud for any final changes (I want those first 3 chapters to really SHINE).

But I'll do all that TOMORROW.

Down to 4 chapters and the Epilog... Woo-hoo!
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Liz
Posted on Thursday, January 22, 2004 - 12:25 am:   

This week, I've been doing the final revisions for the latest novel for Bantam. Not terribly happy with my plot, still, but I'm going to give it a final read-through today and see if I can assess whether it hangs together. Alas, a bad case of can't-see-wood-for-trees is in operation.

I've also been making a start on the new book: about 5K so far.

But a lot of the last 2 weeks has been taken up with a SF writing workshop that I'm running on 2 consecutive Saturdays in London. Been going very well so far.

Liz
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Mike Jasper
Posted on Thursday, January 22, 2004 - 06:33 am:   

Hey Liz -- thanks for stopping by! Have fun at the London workshop -- sounds like fun.

Got up at 4:45 this a.m. and finished the copy-edits to the last section of the novel. I just have to add a little bit here and there, go over the first 50 pages once again (found a place where I can cut a scene so that 3rd chapter ends on a stronger note), and then I plan on printing this mofo out TONIGHT. Whew.

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Steven Francis Murphy
Posted on Thursday, January 22, 2004 - 09:30 am:   

Geez, this discussion of novel revision makes me feel small. :-)

I skipped the gym last night and cranked out another twelve pages of handwritten. I'll probably sit down this weekend and transcribe all of it. I might have a new short story in the stuff.

Copy editing. Necessary, but not my favorite chore, as Mike well knows.

Respects,
S. F. Murphy
http://sfmurphy.journalspace.com
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Michael Jasper
Posted on Thursday, January 22, 2004 - 06:13 pm:   

DONE!!!

The old laser printer is churning its way through all 433 pages of THE WANNOSHAY CYCLE, and the novel is going off to the agent tomorrow. It's been a busy damn week and a half. I'm tired.

But it's done, and I think it's pretty good. 200 times better than what it was a week and a half ago.

Time for a beer.
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Steven Francis Murphy
Posted on Friday, January 23, 2004 - 09:21 am:   

Congrats Mike. You definitely should have a beer.

I hope it goes well for you. I liked the parts of it that I've seen.

Respects,
S. F. Murphy
http://sfmurphy.journalspace.com
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Michael Jasper
Posted on Saturday, January 24, 2004 - 02:46 pm:   

Well, I did open up the file to my fantasy novel today, so that was better than nothing! I have a little bit of time to write, but my brain's not quite up to it. Think I'll read my buddy Tim's novel instead...
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Andreas Black
Posted on Sunday, January 25, 2004 - 03:13 pm:   

went to sleep Friday night with a story idea in my head and woke up Saturday morning and went straight to the computer to write it down. I now have a rough outline and almost a thousand words on a new story.

Wish that type of thing happened more often.

A
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Steven Francis Murphy
Posted on Sunday, January 25, 2004 - 06:31 pm:   

Took my four pages of handwritten story and transcribed it today. By time I was done, I had 2,200 words of short story draft with a beginning, a middle and an end.

Now the tweaking, polishing and rewriting part begins. Mike J knows how much I LOVE that part.

Andreas, be careful what you wish for. I get screwball story ideas that attack me at four in the morning.

And I'm not an early riser. :-)

Respects,
S. F. Murphy
http://sfmurphy.journalspace.com
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Michael Jasper
Posted on Monday, January 26, 2004 - 07:17 am:   

Edited and "massaged" the text for four short chapters of my (maybe-YA) urban fantasy novel, THE LAST OF THE HAND. I'm hoping to have this sucker ready for prime time by the end of the month, so I'm hoping to get through 3-5 chapters a day between now and the start of February. It's going quite well, and this novel is a fun change of pace from the SF novel. Much more light-hearted and fun, with some great characters.
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Steven Francis Murphy
Posted on Tuesday, January 27, 2004 - 09:46 am:   

Hell, Mike. I may have killed your thread. Hope that is NOT the case.

At any rate, I did some editing and rewriting on my latest project. Hopefully I'll get it to a second draft stage later today or tomorrow. I've got a couple of scenes I want to add, so I anticipate that it will grow beyond the current 2,200 words.

I know other people out there are writing. Don't be scared, I'm not TCO and I don't bite.

Well, not often anyway.

Well, I used to bite. . .

I'll stop now. :-)

Respects,
S. F. Murphy
http://sfmurphy.journalspace.com
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Jamie
Posted on Tuesday, January 27, 2004 - 11:48 am:   

Haven't been writing as much because I've been preoccupied with work, sending my existing stories out, and reading submissions/hacking out details for Irregular Quarterly.

I hope to get something written today though.
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Simon Owens
Posted on Tuesday, January 27, 2004 - 02:19 pm:   

Finally have some good writing news to report:

Wrote 500 new words.

Revised four stories and sent them back into circulation.
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Michael Jasper
Posted on Tuesday, January 27, 2004 - 04:44 pm:   

Nah, this thread ain't dead. Just recovering from lots of ice and snow. Only got in a chapter of edits today before my wife dragged me away to shovel the drive and watch movies. But it's still something!

Also finished reading and commenting on a very good novel-in-manuscript by a friend, which was fun.
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Michael Jasper
Posted on Wednesday, January 28, 2004 - 05:13 pm:   

Cool deal -- got some more chapters edited today, on my lunch break at work and then a bit more when I got back home, keeping me on pace to finish up this sucker by the end of the month!

The story's moving along quite nicely, and I've got 12 chapters (short ones, luckily) and about 135 pages to go! Suh-weet!
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Xanne
Posted on Wednesday, January 28, 2004 - 10:29 pm:   

After being marooned at my family's log cabin in the mountains of VA for 5 days, you would think I got a lot done on the book -- nope, I didn't. Well, not until yesterday, when I did nothing BUT work on the novel. It was a bloody marathon! I managed to pull off writing some 30 pages that look pretty solid at second glance.

Wow, this 2 weeks to go is really kicking me in the rear. I wish I graduated more often; maybe I'd be done with Book 2 by now!

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Michael Jasper
Posted on Thursday, January 29, 2004 - 01:19 pm:   

Got a couple more chapters edited, and wanted to get more done over my lunch break, but instead had to run into town and get my first paycheck (they didn't have direct deposit set up yet) and immediately slapped that sucker into the bank -- yeah, we're THAT broke! So that took up way too much time.

But I got through a couple chapters this morning as well as a bunch last night, and I'm now under 100 pages left to go!!!
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Xanne
Posted on Thursday, January 29, 2004 - 01:29 pm:   

98099 words and all is well!

Another day of writing. Slow going, but I'm nearing the final scenes!
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Michael Jasper
Posted on Friday, January 30, 2004 - 01:52 pm:   

Managed to keep up with my self-imposed final-draft/copy-edit of the fantasy novel, with only FOUR CHAPTERS LEFT TO GO!!! And less than 50 pages. I'm tempted to keep on pushing, but I want to enjoy the last chapters -- lots of fun stuff goes on, including a dragon vs. sorcerer battle high above the city of Chicago and a battle royale between a group of dark sorcerers and newly made mages. Lots of mayhem. And a nifty epilogue, which you can get a glimpse of at http://www.michaeljasper.net, thanks to the fine art of Janet Chui.

Woo-hoo, weekend!!!
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Michael Jasper
Posted on Saturday, January 31, 2004 - 08:28 am:   

All right -- done editing and tweaking the text of my urban fantasy novel, THE LAST OF THE HAND (whose title may change to THE TASTE OF PENNIES, just because). Ended up getting up early this morning, around 4:30 a.m., to get it done. I found and fixed one big continuity problems and fixed some bad scene blocking in one of the many battle scenes at the end. Everything makes sense, now, I hope!

So that novel goes into the files until I hear back from the agent I've queried about that one. If that agent's not interested, I'm sending it out to a bunch of editors, I think, just to see what happens...

And tomorrow I pick up the Blackbeard novel and begin revising the hell out of that, including making it a one protagonist romance as opposed to alternating viewpoints (girl to guy to girl, and so on). I'm sorta excited about this one -- I think it has lots of potential. I just need to find time to sit and read all of the old version to re-familiarize myself with the story and characters.

And the Editing and Revising Machinery continues to clank on and on... Though I have been having some yearnings to write a couple short stories, now and then. I only have half a dozen subs out there right now! Later...
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SarahP
Posted on Saturday, January 31, 2004 - 09:39 am:   

I like the title The Last of the Hand better, Mike, fwiw. Good luck with the Blackbeard novel and yay you for having so many projects going at once.

As for me, nuthin much this week 'cos work is crazy, but we're expecting a huge snowstorm this weekend during which I plan to crawl into my cocoon and write. Got to go grocery shopping first, though.
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Xanne
Posted on Saturday, January 31, 2004 - 09:24 pm:   

6 days to go, if I want to present the finale of the novel at the next NIP (Novel-In-Progress) feedback session. Handed out the last copy to one of my faithful readers today! Woohoo!

I realize that I need to produce more material if I'm to meet my goal, even if it is not the most polished of stuff. I just finished the main sort of 'romantic' moment; I hope it's anti-sappy. Now on to the big fight & fire sequence. YES!
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SarahP
Posted on Sunday, February 01, 2004 - 07:25 am:   

Yesterday, revised three chapters, primed a couple of first readers (hi, Mike!), and...eeks...wrote a query letter.
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Michael Jasper
Posted on Sunday, February 01, 2004 - 10:39 am:   

SarahP, send that novel on, please! :-) And thanks for the input on the novel title -- I'm on the fence on that one, so any advice is welcome!

I just read the opening 3 chapters to a Nora Roberts novel, JEWELS OF THE SUN, to see what she does and how she does it. She's good -- she never lets up on the pacing, and she's smart enough to set it in a beautiful village in Ireland. And the third chapter takes place in a pub. Can't go wrong by me... ;)

If I have time before the kickoff to the first round of commercials (oh, and the football game that always interrupts 'em), I'm hoping to re-read most of my Blackbeard novel and take some notes on how to best revise it.
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Michael Jasper
Posted on Monday, February 02, 2004 - 11:16 am:   

Didn't get a chance to re-read the Blackbeard novel, so I'm putting it on hold 'til next weekend, when I can read it straight through without (too much) interruption.

In the meantime, I'd like to write a quick story. So I'm casting about for ideas and even went so far as to pull out the old Story Ideas folder. I may have something soon, I hope.

The goal is a short-short by Friday -- 3,000 words at the max.
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Liz
Posted on Monday, February 02, 2004 - 04:02 pm:   

Wrote 1600 words of a short story today, based on Conan Doyle's mad dad. O/wise still embedded in revisions on novel...round 2.
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Mike Jasper
Posted on Tuesday, February 03, 2004 - 01:49 pm:   

Trying to find time to work on a three-way collab with two of my quite-talented fellow writers, Tim Pratt and Greg van Eekhout. Seeing as how stories I've co-written with both these guys have gone on to sell at some of the top magazines out there, we've got some high standards to meet.

It's gonna be fun -- Tim sent 4 story openings, and I'm in the process of choosing one to expand and distort in my own unique way before I pass it on to Greg.
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Andreas Black
Posted on Tuesday, February 03, 2004 - 02:49 pm:   

Damn. A Jasper/Pratt/van Eekhout story. That'll be an interesting read.
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Mike Jasper
Posted on Thursday, February 05, 2004 - 12:39 pm:   

Hrm. No writing today, and it's making me a bit edgy -- all week I've been a bit out of sorts, trying to figure out what to work on. I did come up with a couple novel ideas, so I guess that counts as writing work, right?

I need to stop obsessing, I know...
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Michael Jasper
Posted on Monday, February 09, 2004 - 06:57 am:   

A non-writing weekend, which was a bit frustrating, but probably necessary. The novel can wait another week. Right now I'm recharging and brainstorming ideas for my wacked-out fantasy/mystery/war novel. Tentative title is "Fog of War."

I'm also hoping to get caught up on my various reading this week, including finishing the de Lint novel, reading the Ian McDowell pirate story in the latest ASIMOV's, and finishing up the (cough, cough) Nora Roberts novel I started a week ago.

Oh, and the collab with Greg and Tim is really shaping up nicely! It's always fun working with those guys.
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SarahP
Posted on Monday, February 09, 2004 - 06:20 pm:   

That is frustrating, Mike. Regarding the title "Fog of War." Erm...didn't a documentary about Robert McNamara come out recently with that title? Or am I crazy?

I did manage to write this weekend but nothing good. I thought I'd broken open this story that was giving me difficulties, but no, it's still not working. Yargh.
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Mike Jasper
Posted on Tuesday, February 10, 2004 - 02:19 am:   

Hey Sarah -- you're totally right about the title of the McNamara title. That's why MY title is tentative! :-)

Good luck with the story -- if I wasn't doing the collab, I'd be out of luck on short stories. It's hard to focus on a story after focusing on a novel. Hard to shift gears like that.
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Mike Jasper
Posted on Thursday, February 12, 2004 - 05:24 am:   

Finally found the time to add some more goodies to the three-way collab I'm doing with Tim and Greg. Sort of did a flashback thingie, and I hope it works. Can't wait to see where it goes from here.

It's always good to get some writing done again, on something new. I was starting to wonder if I still had it in me, I've been revising and rewriting so much...
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Mike Jasper
Posted on Monday, February 16, 2004 - 09:18 am:   

This morning I started the process of revamping my Blackbeard romance novel by rewriting the opening paragraphs of the novel. I'm actually getting pretty excited about this one. I think once things start rolling, I'll have this baby ready to send out by the end of the month, or mid-March at the latest.

Then, it's on to the New Novel!!!
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Liz
Posted on Monday, February 16, 2004 - 10:58 am:   

The past few weeks have seen me kick into gear for some reason - 4 short stories and 50 pp into the new novel. Today saw 2K so far and about halfway through the 4th short piece. I am pleased, needless to say (however, the fact that I'm more or less trapped in the study because of new bathroom being fitted might also be something to do with it...)
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Steven Francis Murphy
Posted on Monday, February 16, 2004 - 11:37 am:   

Spent the weekend on ten hours of sleep total trying to polish up my latest short story effort, pairing it down and filling in the gaps.

Hopefully I'll send it back out to market by the end of the month.

Respects,
S. F. Murphy
http://sfmurphy.journalspace.com
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Simon Owens
Posted on Monday, February 16, 2004 - 03:18 pm:   

Has anyone else noticed that when you get an acceptance or two, you get flooded with rejections soon after, as if editors want to say "Now, don't get too cocky." In the last two days I've sold a reprint to Chaos Theory: Tales Askew and an original to Flesh and Blood, but then they were followed by six rejections, one right after the other.

Wrote about 200 words today. This hasn't been a very productive week.
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Liz
Posted on Monday, February 16, 2004 - 03:46 pm:   

>Has anyone else noticed that when you get an acceptance or two, you get flooded with rejections soon after

Yes.

I'd say some more about this, but I have some urgent wall-kicking and pouting tasks to carry out.
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Mike Jasper
Posted on Monday, February 16, 2004 - 04:37 pm:   

Nice work Liz, Steven, Simon! Thanks for posting your output and successes. I had a nice day today -- found out 2 more reprints were up at Fictionwise, and saw my prize-winning story "Remainders" online at SFreader.com. That was nice.

For me, acceptances usually come when I'm feeling gloomy about ever getting anything accepted again.

I'd say 1 acceptance versus 6 rejections is a quite nice ratio, Simon!

My problem is that I've been focusing on novels lately, so I don't have more than half a dozen stories out making the rounds. And those stories have already bounced back from the top tier markets...

Like a series of sharp kicks to the teeth, this writing gig is...
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Steven Francis Murphy
Posted on Tuesday, February 17, 2004 - 08:51 am:   

Compared to what life has doled out to me, a rejection letter is like a cool breeze in the wind.

Here is one take on rejections.

Look at it like this. At least you are not being shot at.

Or starving.

Or living in a dirt hut.

Or running from the tribe next door wielding machettes.

Or living in Haiti.

Not to start a political discussion (Jesus, don't want to do that, especially here) but when you take things into perspective, rejection letters are merely frustrating.

As opposed to life threatening.

Oddly, a reject from an editor hurts less than a rejection from a member of your preferred sexual partner group (in my case, women). It doesn't make much sense, considering that you bleed for your writing, but you barely know the person who rejected you.

Unless you got dumped or divorced, which I suppose is a lot worse.

Rambling over. I don't sweat the rejects. They are just a part of the game. :-)

Did some more editing today.

Respects,
S. F. Murphy
http://sfmurphy.journalspace.com
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Mike
Posted on Tuesday, February 17, 2004 - 12:18 pm:   

The problem is when you get your hopes up about a project -- that's usually when you get smacked around the hardest.

Best thing to do is send stuff out and get back to work on something new. Sent it out and fuhgeddaboudit.
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Mike Jasper
Posted on Thursday, February 19, 2004 - 12:09 pm:   

Okay, finally finished hacking and tweaking the opening scene of the Blackbeard novel. And now we have ol' Teach himself making an appearance, or at least one by his headless ghost, dancing on the roof of a flooded house. Much fun!

I'm hoping to really roll now that this first crucial scene is locked down.
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Steven Francis Murphy
Posted on Sunday, February 22, 2004 - 01:20 pm:   

DONE! The rewrite of my latest is done. I'll get it out the door tomorrow.

Then it will be time to start something else.

I love the first draft process, it is just the rewrites that get me down.

Rant over.

Respects,
S. F. Murphy
http://sfmurphy.journalspace.com
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Mike Jasper
Posted on Sunday, February 22, 2004 - 04:17 pm:   

Congrats on finishing the rewrites, Steven! I quite liked that story, and hope to read it again, in print. :-)

I FINALLY got chapter 1 of the Blackbeard novel done. Out of some fluke, probably me overwriting my work, I lost what I'd written on Thursday, the good stuff, and had to rewrite that today. Not fun. But in the long run, this latest version is better.

I also started doing some research on the baseball novel I've been mulling over for the past 5 years, and it's all starting to take shape. Very cool. Just have a novel to revise and another one to draft first...

Must learn patience...
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Steven Francis Murphy
Posted on Sunday, February 22, 2004 - 06:18 pm:   

Well I appreciate the help you've provided Mike. As always, I'm prepared to return the favor.

Not much of a baseball historian or fan, else I'd offer some suggestions. You'd probably like my undergrad professor. No matter the course of study, he'd talk about baseball. If he was internet savvy, I'd give you his e-mail.

I'll probably take a few days to let the writing engine cool down before getting started on the other projects.

Hope the Blackbeard novel works out for you. I'm a long way from starting novels myself.

Oh, Kansas City does have the Negro Baseball League Museum. Surely they are on the net, you could probably Google them up. If they have something in particular you need, I could probably be talked into going down there to retrieve it. I need an excuse to finally go see the restored 18th and Vine district anyway.

Respects,
S. F. Murphy
http://sfmurphy.journalspace.com
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Mike Jasper
Posted on Monday, February 23, 2004 - 09:37 am:   

Hey Steven -- the baseball novel will probably take place IN Kansas City, as that's where the All-Nations team played. They became the KC Monarchs as part of the Negro Leagues. So I may be picking your brain for setting details, once (if) I get around to drafting that novel.

Just about done with revising chapter 2 of the Blackbeard novel. It's coming together quite nicely.
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Andreas Black
Posted on Monday, February 23, 2004 - 11:44 am:   

Hey Mike,

KC is also on the list of places I may be sent to. let me know if i can help.

A
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Mike Jasper
Posted on Tuesday, February 24, 2004 - 02:32 pm:   

Cool deal, Andreas! I've only been to KC once, and that was just the outskirts.

This a.m. I was able to slap an ending onto chapter 2, which got a small facelift and a point-of-view switch. It's much, much better. On to chapter 3, and then I plan on submitting those opening chapters to some editors this weekend. Woo-hoo!
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Mike Jasper
Posted on Saturday, February 28, 2004 - 10:36 am:   

Five chapters down, fourteen more to go! The revising is going quickly now, as I've finally gotten back into the flow of the story, and everything is really coming together nicely -- the ghosts (there are three of 'em), the romance angle (superstitious guy, serious and just-the-facts gal), the diving details (what sort of gear they use, when to come up to the surface to avoid the bends), and the setting itself (a small, isolated island on North Carolina's Outer Banks).

But what I'm enjoying the most is getting to know my protagonist, Dr. Ella Simon. This is the FIRST novel (out of the three I've written and the one I co-wrote) where I stick with just one character all the way through. I should've thought of this sooner -- it's quite rewarding, developing this persona.

My next 2 novels after this will definitely be one-person point-of-view stories. I'm really enjoying it.

But I can't get ahead of myself--one book at a time...
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Steven Francis Murphy
Posted on Saturday, February 28, 2004 - 01:17 pm:   

I'm rather proud of myself.

Today I hand wrote eleven pages of narrative for two different projects. Neither of them are science fiction, or really fantasy either. I suppose they might actually qualify as "gasp" literary projects.

I'll type them up tonight and do some polishing before running them through the Creative Writing Class I'm taking this semester (I've taken so many CW classes that I ought to have a second Bachelors by now).

Mike, I don't know how anyone manages to keep track of multiple points of view in a story. I'm a lot happier when I stick to first person or third person limited point of view myself.

If nothing else, one approach could be to write various third person limiteds, starting with your primary character, then going back and backfilling with support characters using similar third person limiteds. I'd think doing this would take next to forever though.

Or maybe one just needs a lot of skill, talent and practice.

Good luck with your project.

Respects,
S. F. Murphy
http://sfmurphy.journalspace.com
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Simon Owens
Posted on Saturday, February 28, 2004 - 09:06 pm:   

I haven't gotten a response from an editor in four days, which wouldn't seem like much unless you knew how many stories I have in circulation right now.

Four days is the longest I've gone without a response since November 2003.
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Mike Jasper
Posted on Friday, March 05, 2004 - 06:50 am:   

Finally -- got some writing done this morning, after a couple of blah days (I chose to SLEEP instead of write -- what was I thinking??).

Added another 1000 words to the collab I'm doing with Tim Pratt and Greg van Eekhout, and I'm thinking we've got about 1-2 more handoffs before we're through. So I may get around to writing the ending, but maybe not. We shall see. It's turned into quite a cool story. I feel like I'm just along for the ride, trying to keep up. Very cool stuff.

This weekend is novel-revising time. I need to fix the Blackbeard novel and be done with it, because I have New Novelitis, and I've got it bad.
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Simon Owens
Posted on Friday, March 05, 2004 - 09:41 am:   

Any plan on a novel dare coming up? How about in June?
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Mike Jasper
Posted on Monday, March 08, 2004 - 01:48 am:   

Whoops, sorry -- haven't had time to stop back in here and answer your question, Simon. A dare... I dunno. I sorta burned myself out on those last year. And I've been writing fairly regularly so far this year (knock on wood), so I haven't need to organize a Dare.

That said, I plan on starting a brand-new novel in April, so feel free to start one then too and share your progress here!

Oh, and yesterday I plowed through revisions of 51 pages of the Blackbeard novel, taking me to the halfway point. Very cool.
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Jason Erik Lundberg
Posted on Monday, March 08, 2004 - 10:16 am:   

Congrats on the writing mania, Mike. And I'm looking forward to reading your three-way collab; I liked both stories that you did individually with Tim and Greg, and I'm interested to see what the three of you cook up.

My writing has been limited to critical papers lately, thanks to grad school, but last week I started a satire about the Bush administration (hidden neatly in a secondary-world tale of conquest), and last night I finished it. It rounds out to 2200 words, 1200 of which I wrote last night alone, which is pretty good for me. Janet is taking a look at it to see how bad I goofed up, then once it's in good shape, I'll send it to the nice folks at Say...
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Mike Jasper
Posted on Tuesday, March 09, 2004 - 12:43 pm:   

Cool deal, Jason -- glad to see you're writing again. Too bad school's keeping you so busy. And you've got a big weekend coming up, eh? Looking forward to it!

Got 2 more chapters done in the past two days, and I've got 8 more to revise in the next week or 2. It's really coming along nicely. Here's hoping I don't run out of gas...
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Mike Jasper
Posted on Wednesday, March 10, 2004 - 11:59 am:   

Getting up at 4:30 was a bit painful at first, but I'm already adjusting to it -- didn't need the alarm this morning. I've been getting through a chapter a day on the revising, and may just get done with it this weekend, if I can get some stuff done tonight and tomorrow night as well.

I'm halfway through chapter 13, and have 7.5 chapters to go!
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Mike Jasper
Posted on Thursday, March 11, 2004 - 02:07 am:   

Ugh. Still halfway through chapter 13. And I'm tired. Very tired...
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Liz
Posted on Thursday, March 11, 2004 - 09:22 am:   

After nearly two weeks away from it for various reasons, I have now got back into the writing with about 5K on the new novel. A respectable day's work today and it's going reasonably well.

Liz
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Mike Jasper
Posted on Friday, March 12, 2004 - 09:56 am:   

I can't WAIT to be done revising and start writing some new stuff, Liz! Keep me posted on your progress.

I dug your story at Strange Horizons a few weeks back, by the way. So did the narrator cause the illness that killed most of the world? If so, that's twisted. Nice one.
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Mike Jasper
Posted on Monday, March 15, 2004 - 10:38 am:   

Did a pile of revising yesterday on the novel, and just finished up chapter 17 revisions, leaving me with 65 pages and 5 chapters to GO! I'm really feeling pleased with how the novel has turned out, and I just hit the 80,000-word mark, so it's got the proper heft to it. I'll probably another another 3-4,000 words before it's all said and done. I remember the ending as being pretty... rushed!

Should be done by Saturday, if I can keep up with the chapter-a-day pace.
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Simon Owens
Posted on Monday, March 15, 2004 - 05:23 pm:   

Last night is worth mentioning because I finished 2,200 words in one day, which is a lot for me. I usually don't write more than 1,000 words in a day.
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Mike
Posted on Monday, March 15, 2004 - 05:27 pm:   

Nice work, Simon! Glad to hear someone else is chugging away at the ol' writing.
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Mike Jasper
Posted on Tuesday, March 16, 2004 - 11:27 am:   

I'm down to less than 50 pages left in the Blackbeard novel. Just finished chapter 18 over my lunch break -- only 4 chapters left! Woo-hoo!

Later.
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Tim Pratt
Posted on Tuesday, March 16, 2004 - 12:03 pm:   

Wrote two poems last night. I almost never write poems anymore, for some reason, but I occasionally get requests from editors, and then I spend two weeks mulling over possibilities, and write a lot of bad first lines, and finally manage to write something I like. Which I did last night. Probably about 600 words total.
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Mike Jasper
Posted on Tuesday, March 16, 2004 - 06:14 pm:   

Nice work, Tim! Must be nice, that getting requests for your writing. Yeah, I'm feelin' jealous. What else is new?

Now to get that Greg guy to work on our collab... I'm dying to see how it ends!
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Steven Francis Murphy
Posted on Wednesday, March 17, 2004 - 09:33 am:   

Since I write longhand, I can't hope to compete with everyone else around here. But I did get two pages written last night and three more written this morning before work.

On top of that, I still have a quarter inch of longhand covered paper that needs to be transcribed.

And I've finally narrowed my ideas down to one particular project. Hopefully I can meet my self imposed June 29th Submission goal.

Respects,
S. F. Murphy
http://sfmurphy.journalspace.com
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Steven Francis Murphy
Posted on Thursday, March 18, 2004 - 07:47 am:   

Got two pages longhand written this morning, again on the same project. Looks like I've definitely focused on one story. I added up the pages for this one story and I'm up to fifteen over the last two weeks. I expect I'll pick up the pace over the next few days.

Mike, how is the baseball project going? I drove down to 18th and Vine Sunday with a mind to go into the Negro League Baseball Museum, but I didn't know what you'd need or be interested in. Anything in particular you are looking for?

Respects,
S. F. Murphy
http://sfmurphy.journalspace.com
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Mike Jasper
Posted on Thursday, March 18, 2004 - 10:47 am:   

Hey Steven -- I'm impressed you're doing all this writing longhand. I can't remember the last time I did anything longhand (at least, not by CHOICE). Keep it up, man!

As for the baseball novel, if you do go to the Negro League Museum, could you keep an eye out for anything to do with the All Nations Team? This is the team I'm writing about (WILL be writing about) -- they became the Negro League KC Monarchs. Thanks for the offer!

Haven't gotten any writing done so far today, but I'm down to 3 chapters to go, and I may have some time to revise this afternoon, and definitely will get some work done tonight -- my wife's off to her last photography class, so I'm on my own for a coupla hours...
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Mike Jasper
Posted on Thursday, March 18, 2004 - 07:40 pm:   

And I'm down to 25 pages left in the rewrite! I keep making my chapters shorter and shorter, trying to end 'em on cliffhangers, but I keep ending up with more chapters left to revise as a result. It's a terrible catch-22, I know.

Right now I have 3 chapters to go, but that number is prone to change. My last couple of chapters will probably be one paragraph long...
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Steven Francis Murphy
Posted on Friday, March 19, 2004 - 07:52 am:   

The All Nations Team, got it. I'll see about heading down there this weekend or the next. I need to visit the place anyway. There is an interesting eating place called The Peach Tree, which is good, artery clogging, Southern Style cooking. Which should give me plenty to burn off at the gym later.

Writing longhand is damned slow, but the keyboard literally seems to get in the way when I try to write straight from grey matter to laptop. Everything ends up looking like a graduate school paper if I go straight to keyboard.

Just a quirk of mine. Sure slows down productivity.

Respects,
S. F. Murphy
http://sfmurphy.journalspace.com
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Mike Jasper
Posted on Friday, March 19, 2004 - 01:00 pm:   

Thanks, Steven! I owe you a beer or 2.

And I'm down to two chapters and 16 pages left in the revision! Woo-hoo! I've GOT to finish this up tomorrow -- I'm on a roll. Finally!
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Mike Jasper
Posted on Saturday, March 20, 2004 - 07:04 pm:   

Done revising!!! Done, done, done!

I need a drink. That's three novel revisions in as many months. My brain hurts.



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Simon Owens
Posted on Saturday, March 20, 2004 - 11:08 pm:   

1,750 words tonight.

Congrats on finishing, Mike. Now start somethin' else, I'm tired of hearing about Blackbeard ;-P

When do I get to read it?
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Mike Jasper
Posted on Monday, March 22, 2004 - 03:24 am:   

Hey Simon -- if you REALY want to read it, I can email it to ya. But don't feel obligated -- it's a different style from my usual writing. Or you can wait 'til it comes out in print (I'm sending off 7 more query packages today). ;)

I'm so ready to start something new, it's not funny.

Nice work on the wordage, Simon!
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Mike Jasper
Posted on Monday, March 22, 2004 - 07:32 am:   

Let's contunue this discussion over at Today's Writing, Continued... -- see you there!

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