Becoming a Member
Contact Us
Member's Page
Writers and Reviews
Calendar of Events
Writing Tips

7/6/98 6:53:40 PM   Opening "Chat Log 7/6/98"

Sushiwritr: Tonight we eWorlders will be hosting F&SF writer Ann Crispin,

SISTEROF7:  Hi Sushi

DRLIVES:    Hi Peg

Sushiwritr: In case anyone wishes to stick around.  (Protocol session.)

PEGINSC:    Hi everybody I'm early

DarylR4596: A favorite of mine, Paul.

DarylR4596: Met her online a few times.

Valatin:    Take it away Paul.

Sushiwritr: Ann is on line but not in the Den yet, so we'll bide our time.

DRLIVES:    Paul, have you heard from Roger or Ben...seems like it has been

PEGINSC:    I'll rat on her, she is in the conference room

DRLIVES:    aha!

Sushiwritr: Roger has a big project going--many evening meetings.

Sushiwritr: Ben was in Texas, plus he has projects at work.

DRLIVES:    Oh, too bad...but sounds like a hope of return for both of them

Sushiwritr: Hi Katrina. Just waiting for Ann and we'll get going right away.

DRLIVES:    Here is our moderator...

Trina Pink: Hi.  :-)

Sushiwritr: I'll be the Greeter.

Trina Pink: I'll be the Moderator.

DRLIVES:    hi Trina

Trina Pink: Hi, DR!

Sushiwritr: Donna, if you could be the "backup" greeter it would help.

DRLIVES:    okay...

Sushiwritr: In case I get bumped.

DRLIVES:    let me set up my chat pref

DarylR4596: No, Paul, that never happens on AOL. >:)

DRLIVES:    of course, Paul...after last week...I'm surprised you asked me of
all people

DRLIVES:    bumped three times...in an hour

Trina Pink: Welcome, Ann!

Anncrispin: Hi, I'm here.  :-)

Anncrispin: brb.  Going to get a soda.

Sushiwritr: Hi Ann. Katrina will be moderating for us this evening.

DRLIVES:    make mine a pepsi

DRLIVES:    Hi Matt

Sushiwritr: Ann is taking a quick break between sessions.

Sushiwritr: Not many eWorlders here yet.

Sushiwritr: Probably coming in as the sun lowers a bit.

DRLIVES:    we're always a tardy group

Trina Pink: They'll probably pop in, Paul.

Sushiwritr: Usually do!   :-)

PEGINSC:    I'm here that's all that counts lol

DRLIVES:    my thoughts exactly..

Trina Pink: hee hee

Trina Pink: Hi, Matt!

Anncrispin: K

Mstrebe:    Hi All!

Trina Pink: Ann's back. Ready to begin?

Sushiwritr: Tracey will put up a promo for Ann on the Writer's entry screen,
at the half hour.

Trina Pink: Excellent.

Trina Pink: Ann, we're delighted to have you visit.

Anncrispin: Thanks, Trina.

Trina Pink: I first found you via the Gryphon novel, but others have probably
found you through other routes.

Trina Pink: I hadn't seen a bibliography before, and it was quite impressive.

Anncrispin: Well, Trina, I've been doing it for a while.

Trina Pink: Do you have a formal introduction ready, or shall we leap into Q
& A?

Anncrispin: So...the focus of this group is...fantasy writing, right?

Sushiwritr: Actaully, "any fiction, prose genre" is our charter.

Sushiwritr: We have many F&SF mavens in the group.

Trina Pink: MANY of the writers tend toward sci fi however, wouldn't you say?

DRLIVES:    but we have a contingency of scifi and fantasy

Anncrispin: Okay, that broadens things considerably...

Sushiwritr: Especially ME!   :-)

Trina Pink: LOL.  I see we're in agreement here.

Anncrispin: How long has this group been meeting?

Sushiwritr: About 3 years.

Trina Pink: Two or three years total, but it was more literary at the
beginning and has evolved toward sci fi.

Anncrispin: Wow!  Long time for online.

Trina Pink: Yes.  :-)

Sushiwritr: We began on eWorld, and fled to AOL when that planet exploded.

Trina Pink: LOL.  Several of us watched the mushroom.  Sigh.

Sushiwritr: ?

Anncrispin: Well, I know we'll be in protocol, so let's have at it..

Trina Pink: GA Sushi


Trina Pink: :::leaping right in::::

Sushiwritr: How would you characterize working in "pre-set" worlds like Trek,
vs. your own worlds?

ExeterNH:   ?

Sushiwritr: (Can't kill characters, etc.)

Anncrispin: Well, there are a number of different ways of looking at that.

Anncrispin: In one way it's much easier, because you don't have to create
backgrounds, universes, characters, etc.  In another way it's much harder because
in order to have the characters grow and change and have real stories, you
have to be very subtle and quite clever.  

Sushiwritr: (I wonder if many people appreciate that!)  g/a

Anncrispin: Insofar as selling media tie-in stuff, for me it's quite easy,
but I have a track record.

Anncrispin: But for those who don't, it's next to impossible.  So it's not a
way to break in.

Anncrispin: It limits your creativity in many ways, but forces you to be
creative in ways you never thought of before.  If I had to choose, I'd say I
actually prefer writing original material.    

Anncrispin: GA.

Trina Pink: ga DRLIVES

DRLIVES:    In a book like "Sarek," character building is important...what
practical tips can you give on doing this

Trina Pink: (Thanks, Ann! The "GA" helps me a lot!)

Anncrispin: DR...for media tie-in books or original?

Anncrispin: It's different.

DRLIVES:    I'm not sure what you  mean by media tie-in...Star Trek?

Anncrispin: Yes, universes other than your own.

Anncrispin: Work for hire.

DRLIVES:    Okay, then how about original...since that is more what I'd do...

Anncrispin: I hope it is, DR, for the reasons I cited above.  Okay...the most
important thing to give a character you want readers to care about are

Anncrispin: People without problems are unrealistic and boring.  Problems can
be either of two different kinds -- internal or external.  Internal problems
are the ones the characters enters the story with.  External problems are the
ones caused by the exigencies of the plot acting upon    the character.

DRLIVES:    thanks...good tips
Anncrispin: GA.

Trina Pink: GA Exeter

ExeterNH:   Are the" rules" in Fantasy rigid? I'm noticing in mainstream,
anything seems to go, now./ GA

Anncrispin: Exeter...rules?  Can you be more specific?  I haven't noticed
many rules.

ExeterNH:   Well, the conventions of writing required by agents and
publishers, like in mystery writing.

Anncrispin: Can you give an example?

Anncrispin: I am having trouble grasping the question.

ExeterNH:   Okay   romance stories must have a happy ending.

Anncrispin: True.  What have you noticed fantasy stories must have?

ExeterNH:   I don't know, that's what I'm asking?

Anncrispin: I think there are lots of overdone things in fantasy, but nothing
seems to be utterly mandated.

Anncrispin: The way having a murder occur must happen in a murder mystery.


Anncrispin: Fantasy is all over the map...from vampire stories to dragons and
elves and Tolkein ripoffs...to Gene Wolfe's literary fantasy.  Just about
anything goes.

Anncrispin: If that answered the question, then GA.

ExeterNH:   Thx

Trina Pink: "Nothing mandated" makes for better writing, IMHO. GA SISTER

SISTEROF7:  When you published your first novel, did you have an agent, or
did you go directly to a publisher?    

Anncrispin: I submitted directly to the publisher.  A writer I knew had read
the book and recommended it but I didn't have an agent.  

Anncrispin: GA.

SISTEROF7:  Had you published anything previously?

Anncrispin: No.

Anncrispin: I wrote the book, submitted it, three years later they bought it.


Trina Pink: GA DR

Anncrispin: GA.

Trina Pink: Wow. Long wait.

DRLIVES:    Do you start with a character or with a plot in mind

Anncrispin: Characters come first, generally, though once in a while plot

Anncrispin: GA.


Trina Pink: GA Peg

PEGINSC:    Did one company hold it for three years?

PEGINSC:    ga

Anncrispin: Yes.  Pocket Books.  I was dumb enough to write a Star Trek novel
and submit it.

Anncrispin: I couldn't submit it anywhere else.

Anncrispin: GA.

Trina Pink: LOL.  But it worked eventually.

Anncrispin: Yes, but during those three years I learned a lot and realized
how dumb I'd been...


Trina Pink: GA Sister

Anncrispin: Putting all my eggs in one basket, so to speak.

Anncrispin: GA.

Sushiwritr: ?

SISTEROF7:  Was that your first novel?

Anncrispin: Yes.  Well...the first book I wrote as an adult, anyhow.

Anncrispin: GA.

Trina Pink: GA Sushi

Sushiwritr: You mentioned "Tolkein ripoffs." We was a master, or even founder
of the genre.


Sushiwritr: What, in your opinion, sets him apart?

Anncrispin: Sushi...you're asking the wrong person.  I don't care much for
The Master, to tell the truth.  <G>    

Sushiwritr: Thanks for the honesty!

Trina Pink: LOL.  Courageous woman!  ;-)

Sushiwritr: Anyone done him justice?

Anncrispin: I always had a hard time with his books because there are almost
no female characters in them.  Nobody for me to identify with.  

Sushiwritr: (I'm thinking of Elizabeth Moon's "Paksennarion" books.) Female
lead character.

Trina Pink: Yes, Elbereth was a little out of reach!

Anncrispin: I would say what Tolkein started was the tradition of a fully
realized world with lots of background inherent.    

Anncrispin: GA.

Trina Pink: GA DR

DRLIVES:    What do you consider is your strong point as a writer, and what
is an area you still struggle with even now?

DRLIVES:    ga

Anncrispin: DR...strong point...characters.  I can create characters people
care about.

Anncrispin: And when I write media characters, fans can recognize them.

DRLIVES:    I've read your books...and that is true!

Anncrispin: I have a good ear for how they "sound."

Anncrispin: Weak point...well, I still struggle with discipline.  I have a
very hard time getting into books.  I sometimes tend to rush over things at the
end.  I sometimes have to go back and "fill in" gaps I leave.

Anncrispin: GA.

Mstrebe:    ?

Trina Pink: Oh geez! I don't want to hear that. That's my weak point now.  ;-(

Trina Pink: while you all raise your hands.  ;-)

Trina Pink: Oops...sorry.  I meant to say...

Sushiwritr: <-- hand going up.   ;-)

Trina Pink: Queue's empty.  I'm going to jump in with a question

DRLIVES:    <------me,too

Mstrebe:    ?

Trina Pink: while you all raise your hands.  ;-)

Sushiwritr: Matt?

Mstrebe:    I'm interested in your writing methodology:

Trina Pink: Matt, do you want to elaborate?

Anncrispin: I'd appreciate that.

Mstrebe:    Do you outline your plots, write dialog first, or anything along
that line? Or do you simply start at the beginning and write?

Anncrispin: In order to sell books on proposal, I have to write an outline of
the novel.

Anncrispin: So I have learned to outline books before writing.  I think I
would probably have to do that anyhow, but selling on proposal forces that.


Mstrebe:    Any tools other than an outline?

Anncrispin: I always know ABC and XYZ of a plot before I begin writing.  
LMNOP can be a bit fuzzy...

Anncrispin: But they fall into place (usually) as I write.

Anncrispin: Ms...I do extensive research...Keep my research books right there
so I can look stuff up.

Anncrispin: GA.

Trina Pink: LOL.  GA Sister

SISTEROF7:  Is your outline like I.A.1.a, or more like a synopsis?

Anncrispin: Oh, you never do an outline the way they taught you in high

Anncrispin: It's always like a summary of the story, in present tense.

Anncrispin: Like you'd tell the story around a campfire.

Anncrispin: GA.

Trina Pink: Full sentences?

SISTEROF7:  Thanks. That really helps.

Mstrebe:    ?

Anncrispin: Yes indeed, full sentences.  Editors should be able to catch the
flow of the story and they can't do that with fragments.

Trina Pink: Ah yes. I forgot you were writing for editors!

Trina Pink: GA Matt

Anncrispin: Fragments annoy the hell out of editors.

Anncrispin: GA

Mstrebe:    Were there any books on writing that you feel helped you quite a

Anncrispin: Yes, a couple.  One was Scott Meredith's "Writing to Sell."

Anncrispin: Another was "The Awful Truth about Publishing" by Boswell.

Trina Pink: Are they general writing books or specific for the genre?


Anncrispin: And "Structuring Your Novel" by Meredith & Fitzgerald.

Anncrispin: General.  Specific for Genre include:  "How to Write Science
Fiction and Fantasy" by Orson Scott Card.

Anncrispin: GA.

Trina Pink: GA DR

DRLIVES:    what do  you expect from an editor? what would be their role in
your writing life?

Anncrispin: I expect him or her to be professional, courteous, and
businesslike. I expect him/her to look for boo-boos in my books and point them out so I
can fix 'em before they're published.  Unfortunately, as you get a track r
ecord, editors tend to do less and less editing.

Anncrispin: GA.

Trina Pink: Questions, folks?

WildFoal:   ?

Trina Pink: GA WildFoal

Sushiwritr: ?

WildFoal:   is there any way how someone can publish their own book?

Anncrispin: Sure, Wild Foal.  It will cost you a lot of money, though. It's
called self-publishing.

WildFoal:   oh..

Anncrispin: And you have to do all the work yourself.

Anncrispin: GA.

Trina Pink: GA Sushi

WildFoal:   ?

Anncrispin: Maybe now would be a good time for me to make a little lecture.

Sushiwritr: Sorry--system bogging down


Sushiwritr: Lecture away!   :-)

Trina Pink: GA Ann (Hold that thought Sushi)

Anncrispin: I'd like to warn all new writers that fake agents and publishers
are proliferating on the internet and advertising in writers magazines.  
Basically, any outfit that has to advertise for manuscripts is NOT a real literary
agent or publisher.  

WildFoal:   :(  really?

Anncrispin: Also, do NOT pay to have your work published -- at least don't
pay a vanity press. And don't pay upfront fees to agents.  Real legit agents
make their money off commissions when they sell your work.

Anncrispin: GA.

Trina Pink: Thanks!  Good advice.  GA Sushi

Sushiwritr: So we're opposites on Tolkien.  :-/

Sushiwritr: Please name some Fantasy writers you DO enjoy, and why.

Anncrispin: Sushi...I can appreciate him, but I don't like him.

Anncrispin: Andre Norton, obviously.  She had women characters.  <G>


Sushiwritr: Beyond that?

Anncrispin: Barbara Hambly.  Ursula K. LeGuin.  George R.R. Martin.

Anncrispin: Megan Lindhollm/Robin Hobb.  Michael Bishop.  Michael Swanwick.
Gene Wolfe. C.L. Moore.

Sushiwritr: (Any reasons beyond gender of protagonist?)

Anncrispin: Hmmmm...

Anncrispin: I think that's the top of the list.

Sushiwritr: (I just recently failed to buy a "Chicks in Chainmail" novel.)

Anncrispin: I enjoyed their creativity and their use of character.

Anncrispin: GA.

Trina Pink: GA WildFoal

WildFoal:   Is it okay to have a character w/ the same name as someone else's

Anncrispin: You mean name your character "Han Solo?"  Well, there's no
copyright on names, but I doubt any publisher would agree to that name.  Nobody
wants trouble with Lucasfilm.    

Anncrispin: GA.

WildFoal:   like if your character was named after the other character though

Anncrispin: You mean a regular human kid was named "Han Solo" because his
parents were Star Wars fans.  Hmmmmm...as long as there was no other resemblance,
I guess you could do that.

WildFoal:   eh?

WildFoal:   what if the character was the same breed?

Anncrispin: But I wouldn't have him come from the planet Corellia or have a
big furry sidekick.

Anncrispin: Why do you need to do that anyhow?  Make up your own stuff.

Anncrispin: GA.

Trina Pink: GA Sister

SISTEROF7:  Do you always stick with the story as you have outlined it, or if
it starts to go in a direction of its own, do you let it?

Anncrispin: Sister, if I think of a better way to do it, I change the story.  
EXCEPT in the case of media tie-ins where the story is under very strict
guidelines for approval. Then I have to okay any significant change before I do it.

Anncrispin: GA.

Trina Pink: GA Peg


PEGINSC:    How can you tell fake agents from the real thing?

PEGINSC:    ga

Anncrispin: Peg...fake agents charge YOU money.

WildFoal:   thanks for the info... bye


Anncrispin: I don't care what they call it...publicity fees, reading fees,
contract fees...whatever.  If they ask for money, especially if it's more than
50 bucks, they're most likely fakes who are scamming people. Also...if they
refer you to Edit Ink, they're fakes.
Anncrispin: GA.

Cher113717: ?

Trina Pink: GA DR

DRLIVES:    How do you keep your focus on a book, half-way through it...do
you get the doldrums? If so, what do you do to counteract it. ga/

PEGINSC:    thank you

Anncrispin: Yes, I get the doldrums.  I just have to bull my way through and
keep writing.  I don't know any other way to do it.  

Anncrispin: GA

DRLIVES:    I needed to hear that...thanks!

Trina Pink: Do you notice a decrease in writing quality when you bull your
way through?

Anncrispin: Trina...it's funny, but I don't, usually.  Sections that felt
incredibly laborious to me while I was writing them, in the finished book read
just as smoothly (usually) as those I whizzed through.

Anncrispin: GA.

Trina Pink: That's good news too!  Thanks.  :-)   GA Cher

Cher113717: Back to the agents topic...Where is the best place to find legit
ones? GA

Anncrispin: Legit agents usually are in New York City.  Fake ones can't
afford it there.

Trina Pink: LOL!

Anncrispin: Any agent from some Podunk town in Nebraska is suspect. They CAN
be legit...but often aren't.


Anncrispin: Hang on a sec, and get ready to write down an url, gang.

Trina Pink: :::poising my pencil:::

BDors51:    hi ann

BDors51:    sorry im late

BDors51:    <G>


Anncrispin: That's the Write Connection.  They keep a website that names the
questionable agents and publishers. It's a very useful web site.

Anncrispin: Hi, Becky!

BDors51:    hi thanks

Trina Pink: It's time to stop, but we do have a couple more questions.  Do
you need to run, Ann?

Anncrispin: No, I can stay for a moment more.

Sushiwritr: I'll send the Log out later.

BDors51:    oh good

BDors51:    thanks sushi

Sushiwritr: You can read the URLs etc, there.

BDors51:    !

Trina Pink: Thanks.  :-)  GA Sister

Cher113717: <thanks>

Anncrispin: Also there's the SFWA web site.  

SISTEROF7:  If you were just starting out now, would you go through an agent?

Anncrispin: Sushi knows how to get there.

Anncrispin: I don't know, Sister.  It was my experience that if you wrote a
dynamic and professional query letter, you got an invite from a publisher to
submit work. I don't know if that's still true...I suspect it mostly is.
Publishers are still looking for good writers.

MayU2:  ?

Anncrispin: GA.

Trina Pink: GA Bdors



BDors51:    Ann:  You are a font of help and a great lady and I just wanted
to say that here for public consumption.  

BDors51:    now i have to go to sleep  YAWN

BDors51:    gnite all

BDors51:    GA

Anncrispin: Thanks, Becky.  I'll slip you your twenty later.  <G>

BDors51:    ROFL  bye hon

Trina Pink: LOL.  GA May

MayU2:  Is it the norm for everyone in this room anyway, that a college
education in English or Journalism is the best entry into the writing field...or
are people here writers w/o a degree?

Anncrispin: I don't know.  I have a degree in English.

Trina Pink: May, can you hold that thought for a moment, please?

MayU2:  sure

Trina Pink: We're about to wrap up a conversation with author AnnCrispin, and
then we can all sit and chat about ourselves.  ;-)

Anncrispin: With a degree in English, you either had to write or teach.  
didn't want to teach.  <G>

Trina Pink: ROFL.  Me too!  ;-)

MayU2:  oh  thanks for the info

DRLIVES:    lol

Trina Pink: GA Bink (next to last question)

BINKR:  What would be the best advice you could give a new writer?

Anncrispin: Binkr...in the s.f. and fantasy genre, my best advice would be
"write in your own universe." Don't write Star Trek or Star Wars or Pern or
Hobbit or anyone else's stories. Write your own. You can sell original work.  
Can't sell that other stuff because it doesn't belong to you.

BINKR:  Thank you....good words/wisdom to follow

Anncrispin: As for general advice...I would advise new writers not to think
of "having an agent" as a magic wand that will lead to publication.  having a
bad agent is worse than none at all.  There's nothing a poor agent can do for
you that you can't do better for yourself. If you can get a real, honest-to-god
selling agent, fine.  Do it. But don't fall into the trap of being so
desperate that you get scammed. And lots of writers -- smart folks! -- get scammed
every darn day.    

Sushiwritr: (Like I almost just did . . . )

Anncrispin: Really, Sushi?  Name of bad person?

Anncrispin: I keep track of this stuff for SFWA and Write Connection.

Sushiwritr: Ann Lewis Agency. This baddie is in that list you sent me! (W C

BINKR:  Thank you, Ann.

Anncrispin: Okay...good thing I gave you that URL...

Anncrispin: <wipes brow>  Whew!

Trina Pink: Whew, indeed!

Anncrispin: You're all very welcome.

DRLIVES:    helpful tool

Trina Pink: Thanks much for coming, Ann. This has been wonderful, inspiring,
etc. etc.

Trina Pink: Ann, MStrebe (Matt) had to leave early, but he asked me to give
you his thanks...especially for the list of helpful books.

Trina Pink: He has already ordered all of them except one that is out of
print.  ;-)

Anncrispin: I have a couple of new names on the lists of stinkers. Global
2000 (Agent BFW), Sovereign, and Brannon and Baker. Run away!

DRLIVES:    You gave some down to earth advice and suggestions...much

Trina Pink: LOL..thanks for advice!   All of it.

DRLIVES:    ::::she moves quickly through the maze:::::

Trina Pink: Wanna give our guest a round of applause?

Anncrispin: Awwww....

DRLIVES:    ::::clap, whistles and cheers::::::

Trina Pink: (huzzah huzzah!)

Anncrispin: <bowing>

DRLIVES:    thanks lots for coming

Helen0997:  Thank you for being here.

Anncrispin: You're all welcome.  Take care and have a great night.

Cher113717: <claps enthusiastically>

SISTEROF7:  Thanks! It was wonderful meeting you!

DRLIVES:    drop by anytime

BINKR:  clap...clap...clap...clap

PEGINSC:    You too and thank you for the advice.

Sushiwritr: Thanks, Ann.   :-D

Trina Pink: Well...who's up for next week, Paul?

Sushiwritr: Next week we're back to regular critiques.

Sushiwritr: Anyone interested, please email me for info.

DRLIVES:    who is on board? Sarah?

Sushiwritr: Sarah/TatumVe is up for a rematch next week.

DRLIVES:    good...well, I'll see you all next Monday...good session tonight

Trina Pink: Well, thanks for the opportunity, Paul, eWorlders.  It was fun to
"talk" with Ann and see you all. Good night!

DRLIVES:    Thanks Trina...great job

Helen0997:  Night Trina and thank you.  Great job.

DRLIVES:    never an easy one

Trina Pink: Thanks.  I love doing this.  ;-)

PEGINSC:    good night all

Cher113717: Nite all!

DRLIVES:    bye all, too

Helen0997:  Night Peg, Cher, DR.

Sushiwritr: Thanks Katrina. Debbie/Rhyssa2 was here as well.

Sushiwritr: But she did not have a question. Says she learned as lot, though!  

Sushiwritr: Well, everyone, free chat may now commence.

7/6/98 8:23:21 PM   Closing "Chat Log 7/6/98"