Chat log for February 7, 2005

[anneliese] Hey CM!
[camidon] Evening, Anneliese
[camidon] Now why do you suppose tonight the text is appearing below the last entry, and last chat it appeared above the last entry?
[camidon] <color test>
[anneliese] I tweaked the chatroom software... like?
[anneliese] I reversed the way the text shows, darkened the colors and added one more smiley.
[anneliese] Hi Juanita!
[camidon] Ahh
[Juanita] Hi
[camidon] You're too quick for me, Anneliese; Hi Juanita
[Juanita] Long time no talk
[anneliese] Yea, it's great to see you here!
[camidon] Yes, long time! How are things in the land above?
[camidon] Ah, I've found the new smiley!
[anneliese] LOL
[anneliese] I was going to add more, but it's a bit tedious and I really wanted to do something about the color choices.
[camidon] That describes me, oh so well.
[anneliese] Absolutely!
[anneliese] Hi Ross!
[Juanita] Hi ross
[camidon] Hi Ross.
[Juanita] The land above is doing great. We're back up above minus 20
[camidon] Yes, I can imagine that might be tedious. The text color choices do seem to be better
[anneliese] A heat wave!
[anneliese] Hi Mike!
[camidon] Oh that sounds positively balmy!
[emptykube] hello everyone
[Juanita] Hi MIke
[camidon] Evening, Mike
[anneliese] (remember, if you want to see more lines, use the show command)
[rcs] Hello
[Elizabeth] hello everybody!
[anneliese] Hi Elizabeth!
[anneliese] Wow! The room is getting crowded!
[Elizabeth] lol Juanita! Sounds just balmy by you.
[Juanita] I haven't been to a chat in months. It looks like we're getting a good turnout
[rcs] Hi
[camidon] Wow, we're really racking up the virtual bodies tonight!
[emptykube] lots of people here tonight
[Elizabeth] hello, Ross
[camidon] Evening, Elizabeth.
[Elizabeth] CM! You're back!
[emptykube] hello elizabeth
[Elizabeth] so how was the Mexican caving experience?
[Elizabeth] hi Mike!
[Juanita] HI Elizabeth. Yes, we're enjoying a fine Feb
[Juanita] who went caving?
[camidon] Yep, I'm back. All fresh and revitalized after 7 weeks underground
[Elizabeth] lol CM...I think 7 weeks underground would have the opposite effect on me. Eye-wink
[camidon] Fantastic, Elizabeth. Positively hundreds of stories, above, on, and below ground.
[Juanita] It's after 8 Shall we begin?
[Elizabeth] good to see everybody again
[anneliese] Is everyone ready?
[emptykube] its after 10
[camidon] (me Juanita, with some friends in Mexico)
[Juanita] I can't imagine that long underground. didn't you ever come out????
[anneliese] Elizabeth, would you like to do the honors?
[Juanita] As you can tell, I've never been spelunking
[Elizabeth] Sure...tonight we're discussing Ross' story, "The Normal People".
[camidon] ad my caffeinated tea. good to go! (I wasn't underground all that time but on average, 8 hours a day.)
[Elizabeth] If you like, we can dispense with protocol...
[Elizabeth] Ross, before we start, are there any questions you'd like to ask, or comments you'd like to make?
[rcs] Not really. If I think of any, I'll be sure to mention them.
[Elizabeth] Okay...any questions, comments, etc. for Ross?
[Elizabeth] No protocol, so just speak up. Smiling
[Elizabeth] Or are you all going to make me jump on my soapbox?
[anneliese] I'll start by saying that there are A LOT of interesting ideas presented in this story.
[Juanita] "I'm intregued by the concept. If this expands into a novel length work, you could have the prologue of 'normal' people standing out
[rcs] The thought of it turning to a novel hadn't occured to me.
[Juanita] A couple pages to show that idea
[Juanita] Unfortunately, I seem to see most stories as novels
[camidon] I agree with Anneliese. You've got a plethora of ideas. You and Bob make me jealous So many ideas presented in such a short span.
[Juanita] or parts of novels. It's one of the reasons I have such a terrible time trying to write short stories
[emptykube] I think you have an interesting idea, but need to decide where the story should start, and what to focus on.
[Elizabeth] As it is, it's more the outline of a story. Lots of telling, but not much action.
[Juanita] I like the idea of starting with John's walk down the street where he sees the two other people go into the light
[camidon] As a short story, Ross, I don't think you'd have any trouble giving the story more time as the ideas are very good.
[Elizabeth] There are lots of different aspects of this you could focus on, if you decide to make this a short story instead of a longer work.
[emptykube] this is particular story seems to want to be about John discovering the truth, but you skip that and summerize the basic idea.
[rcs] I did think I kind of rushed through a few things.
[Elizabeth] The scene in which John learns the truth did feel a little rushed. He shouldn't have the whole thing handed to him on a plate--make him puzzle out bits and pieces. Put them together himself.
[Elizabeth] As he (and the reader) discover the whole story of the "normal people", it will have a stronger impact,
[Elizabeth] and make John's final decision--and his conflict with the other "normal people"-- more plausible
[camidon] That's good that you can see that, Ross, that you feel you rushed a few things. Now you can step back and say, what should I spend more time on? (and many of us have given/ will give ideas where to do that)
[Juanita] A good way to organize athe elements you have written and what you want to add or expand on is to jot down an outline
[emptykube] This line: <You may wonder why we do this. The truth is that we don_t know. > is where it gets confused, in my opinion.
[Juanita] It also works well in positioning your plot twists and stuff
[emptykube] because not long after that, John ends up telling Turner the truth, but we never see how John learned any of what he tells Turner.
[camidon] Ah, the outline, my personal favorite. I'm a big fan, and probably one of the biggest outliners out there.
[Juanita] I agree MT I want to see someone discover the how and why
[camidon] <==== Agrees 100% with Mike
[Juanita] Me too some people scoff at outlines but they are sooooo valuable
[emptykube] CM...i'm horrible at actually outlining, but have been experimenting with limited success with "mind mapping."
[Elizabeth] We need to see John figure out parts, and maybe squeeze other parts out of Turner.
[Juanita] And samve an enormous amount of time
[Elizabeth] He can't just have the explanation handed to him.
[camidon] Mike, Mind Mapping? Is that outlining in the mind?
[emptykube] its use a graphic diagram instead of a written layout. Like drawing a picture of the story.
[rcs] Good question.
[rcs] I've never really thought of trying that.
[camidon] Oh, that's cool. Never thought of that, Mike.
[Elizabeth] One thing that helps me is breaking a story down into scenes, and figuring out what happens in each scene.
[emptykube] Ross, however you do it, its importnat to organize you're thoughts and try to keep the story focused. Sometimes the hardest part of writing is figuring out what story you need to tell instead of what you WANT to tell.
[rcs] Just out of curiosity, did every dislike the Point of View shift?
[Juanita] "I've read that's also a good way to describe sights, smells, etc by scene
[camidon] That's also how I do it, Elizabeth.
[anneliese] I didn't dislike it, but I'm not sure it was necessary. (POV shift)
[Juanita] I did. I find few stories work well as first person POV -- for me anyway
[Elizabeth] It was a distraction. Not a major distraction, but a distraction.
[Juanita] Also, the story is rather short for more than one POV
[emptykube] the POV shift as such was okay, but the change really didn't advance the story. It just told things from a different POV. In a short story, every scene, every word, every "trick" should move the plot forward and provide one more bit of information to help the reader understand what's happening.
[camidon] As to POV: No, it didn't bother me. However (oh those nasty buts), a POV shift needs to have a good reason and be used with definite intention, and I didn't get that feeling.
[Elizabeth] The other thing about the POV shift...
[Juanita] One thing I've found in doing rewrites after I've decided something is in the wrong POV is that meeting the challenges of redoing it another POV can create a more solid, better story
[camidon] Well put, MIke. Sums up my feelings nicely.
[emptykube] yes what CM said (more susinctly then I )
[Elizabeth] what character is changed by the end of the story?
[Elizabeth] It seems to me that the only character who does any growing, any changing, is John.
[Elizabeth] So it makes sense, for me, to keep John's POV.
[camidon] Lol, Mike
[emptykube] exactly, Elizabeth, but we don't see John's growth. The real story here happens behind the scenes.
[Elizabeth] The other "normal people' will keep being, well, normal.
[Elizabeth] It's that change, that growth, in John that I'd like to see as the story, and his knowledge, progress.
[Juanita] I also want to feel his fear and desires
[chris] hola
[Elizabeth] hello Chris!
[emptykube] hello
[Elizabeth] We're discussing Ross' story, "The Normal People."
[rcs] Hi
[anneliese] Hi Chris!
[Juanita] Hi Chris
[camidon] I also agree. We must see John develop as a character from his initial thoughts and feelings at the beginning, to his eventual reversal at the end,
[rcs] Join in the fun
[chris] oh poop
[Elizabeth] I wanted to know what drove John to drop his previous life and join the Normal People, and then what made him back out of it.
[chris] my battery is giving out
[chris] I just sent a crit...
[camidon] Howdy!
[Elizabeth] It sounds like the pink light is a very effective drug...you'd have to have a heck of a reason to go cold turkey...
[Juanita] Hmmmm I didn't think drug. More like sanctuary
[Juanita] Whick I suppose isn't all that different
[emptykube] The interesting thing about this, Ros is that you can be a lot mroe eerie, and descriptive by invoking the image of creatures that live at night and have to "disappear" by sunrise. You can take your time explaining whats going on and at the same time send the reader done the wrong path by invoking
[Elizabeth] That feeling of euphoria and belonging...however you get it, it would be pretty addictive.
[Elizabeth] Especially for a guy who, from the sound of it, is unhappy with his life and very much alone.
[Juanita] Put that way, Mike, it sounds vampireish. some of us really don't care for vampire stories
[emptykube] this classic horror imagry
[Elizabeth] I wanted more of John's initial situation, BTW. Does he leave behind a family, girlfriend, pets?
[emptykube] exactly, juanita
[Elizabeth] Or did he start out completely alone and sick of his high-pressure job?
[camidon] refresh/ 20
[Juanita] Good Questions Elizabeth.. that's something we should know to generate empathy for the charaacter
[anneliese] camidon> What are you tryint go refresh?
[emptykube] in one sense Juanita is right. Novel length would give time to tell about his life before, to show him drawn to what he notices as "normal people", to show us his new life, and to show us his need to return to that old life.
[camidon] I got it, Anneliese. Just a mistyp
[emptykube] That's four distinct elements that could be expanded on and fleshed out.
[camidon] (page was refreshing so often, I couldn't read the text)
[emptykube] btw, Ross...is this overwhelming yet?
[anneliese] camidon> ahhh.
[Elizabeth] There's also kind of a cult mentality to it, as well. These people get together in secret,
[rcs] Not really.
[Elizabeth] have a ritual which brings them euphoria, but they can't talk about any of it.
[Elizabeth] Or have anything to do with the outside world.
[Elizabeth] Just another way of looking at it...Eye-wink
[camidon] We've all been there/here before, Ross Some of us still are.
[emptykube] elizabeth-----> good point, and that might breed a kind of loyalty to each other that would make what John does at the end a truly tough choice.
[rcs] Yeah, I think that John should be more conflicted too.
[camidon] The hard thing, Ross, if you keep this a short story, is picking and choosing the most important information in John's past, and then in his present, that must be related to create the story.
[Elizabeth] He's going to lose out on all of the euphoria and sense of belonging if he leaves.
[Juanita] You've got the set-up for that in place already. It's just a matter of writing it out
[Elizabeth] Kind of like leaving a religious cult...and he'll have to start all over in the big cruel world out there.
[rcs] I don't think this is going to be a short story. There's just too much going on for that.
[anneliese] You could still do a short story... you'll just have to save some of those wonderful ideas for other stories
[camidon] That's your job as author, and by golly it sure isn't easy.
[Juanita] But it's fun!
[rcs] Like a Serial type thing?
[camidon] I like your analogy, Elizabeth. Well put.
[anneliese] You could create a series of stories built on the same world.
[camidon] Ideally, Juanita, or we wouldn't all be here!
[Elizabeth] It is very cultish. And, like in many cults, the truth is never fully revealed to most members.
[Elizabeth] You have to piece it together (not that the cult leaders want you to do that),
[emptykube] aside from euphoria, there's the sense of guilt that should come once he knows he's helping to kill humans. that would make a good motivator for leaving the cult mentality behind, but you will need to show his internal conflict as well as his conflict with the "family" of other "normal people"
[Elizabeth] and the truth may very well drive you to leave the cult altogether.
[Elizabeth] Which will sever all ties between you and the people who still believe...
[Elizabeth] while your previous life will cause the outside world to regard you with suspicion.
[camidon] <=== Agrees with Mike. This falls into the "development" category, developing John so we seem him grow and change as the world of the "normal people" is revealed to him.
[camidon] The end will depend on how John grows and changes throughout the entire story.
[emptykube] see ross...sometimes what appears to be a simple idea becomes so much more complicated when you invite other minds to comment
[rcs] Half this stuff never occurred to me while I was writing it.
[Elizabeth] lol! often seems to happen when you get us all together.
[Juanita] Now you just have to choose what works for you and hit the keyboard
[emptykube] CM...a nice eerie character driven yarn
[camidon] Lol, Mike
[Elizabeth] One of the many reasons for rewriting, Ross. After looking over the finished story, and having other writers do the same, you can see where the story lies, or at least choose which thread of the story to follow.
[Juanita] It seems some of the best stuff stays hidden in our minds until someone prods it with one of their ideas
[emptykube] that's what we're here for ross...to send you out into left field where you never expected to be when you sat down to write.
[camidon] That's why no two writers will ever really write the same story. Everyone's take is just ever so different.
[Elizabeth] It's not something most people can figure out until they've finished the first draft, looked it over, and reviewed it carefully.
[Elizabeth] It sometimes takes more than one rewrite to figure out where a story should go.
[Elizabeth] And some short stories have a bad habit of growing into novels. Smiling
[camidon] Or a second draft... or the third draft, or the fourth...
[emptykube] (while many novels should have stayed short stories)
[Elizabeth] lol Mike!
[camidon] Lol
[Juanita] LOL .... but true
[emptykube]
[Juanita] So, is there any aspect of Normal People we should talk over that we missed?
[Juanita] Maybe it needs more than the two characters we met
[camidon] As the hour comes to a close, do have any other questions of concerns, Ross?
[Juanita] There should be someone striving to keep John in the group of pink stuff
[emptykube] should we give Ross a chance to throw in a couple of comments?
[Juanita] an antagonis
[Juanita] t
[camidon] Maybe the first two "normal people" John meets should have bigger roles in the middle, development sections?
[camidon] They provide a perfect "in" into the world of the "normal people"
[Elizabeth] True. Maybe Turner is one of the first two "normal people" John meets.
[emptykube] bigger in the middle section? you mean they should have larger bellies? be fatter?
[rcs] clever
[anneliese] LOL Mike!
[Elizabeth] and, as John expresses his misgivings, Turner first tries to calm him down,
[Elizabeth] then, as John gets closer to the truth, Turner turns on him.
[Elizabeth] (yeah, I know, bad pun.)
[camidon] Mike D)
[rcs] I don't think this chat will ever end.
[camidon] just kidding, of course.
[rcs] Of course.
[emptykube] oh it will ross...it just seems like eternity when its your story.
[anneliese] Well, it's been a good chat, with lots of good ideas.
[Elizabeth] Five minutes left...any final comments/ideas for Ross?
[camidon] No, no, Ross, the incidence of bad puns and jokes means this chat is very SOON to be over!
[Juanita] Take what suggestions work for you and run with them, ross. You've got some good ideas
[emptykube]
[rcs] I think this was a great experience. The suggestions seem never ending.
[Elizabeth] There are a lot of good ideas in this story, Ross, now you need to figure out where the focus of the story is.
[rcs] Well, I gotta go.
[rcs] Good night.
[Elizabeth] Or if this story is crying out to be expanded.
[anneliese] We'd all feel awful, if you felt this was a bad experience.
[camidon] High noon it is MIke, across from the saloon with the swining doors.
[emptykube] just remember this when its time for one of our stories and we seem at a loss for ideas
[anneliese] Good night.
[Elizabeth] Good night, and good luck with the rewrite! Eye-wink
[Juanita] What I really like about these is they give me ideas for stuff I'm working on. discussions make you look at things a little differently
[Elizabeth] CM, Mike, where do you get those smileys?
[anneliese] Click on the question mark next to the typing box.
[camidon] good night, Ross. Good luck, and keep writing! We'd love to see a second draft.
[emptykube] in the help area...click on the question mark
[Elizabeth] yeah, Juanita, I know what you're saying...I get lots of ideas from these chats.
[emptykube] yeah ross...good writing. have fun...keep up the good work.
[Juanita]
[anneliese] Same here... the chats are great for the creative juices.
[Juanita] I found a smily
[Juanita] Ross has left. Does he get a copy of this?
[anneliese] lol, Juanita!
[emptykube] clapping for juanita
[anneliese] I'll post this on the message board.
[emptykube] not if he left early!
[anneliese] (The smileys don't travel to the message board )
[Elizabeth] thanks Anneliese!
[camidon] Anneliese, I must complain about the new way the chat refreshes, though maybe its me. Now everytime the page reloads, it loads all the previous stuff and I have to wait for the page to jump to the bottom, instead of the newest lines always being at the top. Does that make sense?
[Juanita] Thank you. I guess I should go, too
[anneliese] Yes, it does, CM. I think the speed of your connection makes a difference.
[Elizabeth] thanks for chatting, Juanita, it's good to talk to you!
[emptykube] me too...nighters everyone.
[Juanita] That's upside down, CM I get the new writing on the bottom
[Juanita] Nice to chat with you all again. I've missed it
[Elizabeth] found the smileys!
[anneliese] I can reset the order the way it used to be.
[emptykube] btw...anneliese thanks for sending around my email change...I'm finally cashing out of AOL once and for all... its been way too long.
[camidon] ah the smileys. Oh how much smoother our chats would run if we didn't have them, but how much fun would be lost in the trade off.
[Juanita] See you next week. Maybe-- isit an AOL day?
[anneliese] Next week is AOL chat.
[camidon] gnight. That's true, Anneliese, and I know I've got a slow connection, but it never seemed a problem before. Then again, we rarely have this many people.
[anneliese] Glad you could make it tonight, Juanita.
[Juanita] Okay, I won't be there. If you're messing with the pages, I like the writing on the bottom.
[Elizabeth] good night Juanita!
[emptykube] i may make it. we have AOL till the end of Feb.
[Juanita] Yes. Good night all.
[anneliese] I think that the speed of the connection/computer makes a difference on the referesh rate... as well as the number of lines from the show command.
[emptykube] nighters jaunita
[anneliese] I hope you all make it next week!
[camidon] nighters, Juanita.
[anneliese] If this is a problem for you, CM, I'll switch the order... I was actually liking it better the other way.
[Elizabeth] Well, it was good talking to everybody...
[anneliese] (Wish I could make the order command work)
[camidon] agreed, Anneliese. Doesn't matter to me if you reset it. Not that I'm use to it, it's no big deal.
[anneliese] Good talking to you also!
[emptykube] yes...it was nice to have a crowd for once
[anneliese] Fun chat! Been a long time with so many in the room.
[Elizabeth] That went really, really well, IMO.
[camidon] (now that I'm use to it, that is). I also tried the "order" command to no avail.
[emptykube] too many more and we'll be forced to use potocol.
[anneliese] What about the colors... better? more changes?
[anneliese] More smileys?
[camidon] agreed. Very good chat, all around. Colors seemed much improved.
[Elizabeth] I probably don't need too many smileys. I'm easily distracted. :0
[Elizabeth]
[emptykube] well...see you folks another time...and CM....how bout that email a day till you see a story of mine in the que? huh? Huh? could really use a good nagging
[Elizabeth] Colors are much better.
[Elizabeth] Good night, Mike, it was good talking to you!
[camidon] No, no more smileys. Save us before it's too late
[emptykube] of course everyone is invited to nag me, too...
[anneliese] I guess we'll save the smileys for the message board.
[emptykube] night elizabeth. night anneliese, night CM...night John boy......
[camidon] Consider it done, Mike! <writing post-it not to remember> Gnight, Mike
[Elizabeth] Nag me, too. I need to get off my rear and start writing again.
[anneliese] Do we need an automated nagging system?
[Elizabeth] I also need to log off and get some other stuff done :::sigh:::
[anneliese] Same here... it's late in this eastern time zone...
[anneliese] I'm just going to capture the log and post it.
[Elizabeth] CM, Anneliese, good night!
[camidon] Thank you as always, splendid hosts. good night
[anneliese] Nighters, everyone.