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Paul's comments from the THE JAMES MASON COMMUNITY BOOK CLUB group.

Note: Paul is no longer a member of this group.

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Dec 23, 2010 03:09AM

25350 I'm reading His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman. JUst started the first volume, but so far so good.
Jul 28, 2010 01:22AM

25350 Marialyce, one of my functions here in Britain is teaching evening adult literacy classes. Your husband is right. Sometimes, we might wonder what they've been doing for eleven years in school. Or what the schools have been doing with them for eleven years.

Sorry, completely off-topic. I'll shut up now :)
Jul 26, 2010 02:47AM

25350 Re the Roald Dahl posts - it illustrates the reverse side of the coin.

Dahl was much nastier than his writing. People like Thomas Harris and Stephen King are much nicer than their writing. They aren't really serial killers. They just imagine them.

Writers don't necessarily write about themselves, or even themselves as they'd like to be. They use imagination. Harris doesn't write about Hannibal Lecter in an act of catharsis. Even if he didn't write Lecter, he wouldn't start killing and eating critics. Well, I don't think he would...
Jul 25, 2010 02:55AM

25350 I read Neverwhere recently. Good book. Kept me absorbed from start to finish.
Jun 16, 2010 05:15AM

25350 The Lost Symbol is dire, IMO. I quite like Brown's style of writing - easy, pacy, simple - but I think his plots are ridiculous and his characters are like cardboard cutouts. I don't mind suspending disbelief once in a book, but not on every page.
Apr 18, 2010 12:28AM

25350 Would that be Admiral Canaris?
25350 And let's not forget Sherlock Holmes, of course.
25350 Bill Sykes, Carver Doone, Njal (that's blind Njal) and of course Oddyseus.
Mar 27, 2010 01:22PM

25350 OK, I'll pick that up fairly soon.
Mar 27, 2010 12:54PM

25350 Some of the Bachman a.k.a. King stuff was quite good. The Running Man, Thinner and the Regulators, which was a companion volume to Desperation. I did think his layer stuff got overly long and tame, though I haven't read Under the Dome yet. Books like Rose Madder and Dolores Claiborne were just tedious IMO.
Mar 27, 2010 02:07AM

25350 Hi Brian: offhand, I can't think of any other book which was the result of a collaboration between so many authors. Plenty of anthologies, but they're usually controlled by an editor who selects stories from the aspiring entrants, or who does a 'Best of' type volume. The last story in M20 was actually done by all of us writing a segment. You have plenty of examples of dual authorship - King and Straub, Niven and Pournelle etc, but twenty? Is that a record?

I think I find short stories so easy because there really isn't that much need for character development. Perhaps it would be fairer to say that there is character development, but it's more limited and cruder. The king in short form fiction is the story idea. Good idea = good story. Weak idea = weak story, no matter how beautifully you craft the words or develop the characters or have sparkling dialogue.

Or perhaps that's just me...

Horror authors: Machen, Lovecraft, King, M R James.

Ideology: I inject my characters' ideology. Sometimes it coincides with mine...

Vampires: creatures of purest evil and bad breath. They kill us to survive. So we should regard them in the same way a gazelle regards a lion. The difference being that gazelles tend not to band together to stomp the life out of a lion.
Mar 26, 2010 03:26AM

25350 Well, thanks, Renee. You say the nicest things.

Seriously, I find that a good idea is all I need for a short story. Think about it for a few minutes, let it percolate and mature in the subconscious for a day or so, then write it.

Each story was written in one session. I gave them a quick proofread and edit and that was it, done.

OK, Gwen and Carlos spotted a few typos I'd missed, and Gwen made a couple of suggestions, but both my stories in the anthology are essentially the first draft.

If only it were that easy with full length stuff...
Mar 26, 2010 02:39AM

25350 Yellowfang came from an idea of a demon who possesses people with bad teeth - and a visit to the dentist.

Vacant Possession - what if, when people lose their sense of self (in cases of, for example, senile dementia), something else steps in to fill the vacuum?

Plus I like writing gory horror :)
Mar 25, 2010 08:31AM

25350 Yes, it would be nice. Of course, it could also get depressing if no-one ever mentioned our stories in their list of favourites.
Mar 25, 2010 08:10AM

25350 See how faulty memory can be? Well, my memory anyway.
Mar 25, 2010 07:05AM

25350 Hope you enjoy them, Jeanette!
Mar 25, 2010 07:04AM

25350 Well, Rick, I think the idea just arose among the more regular contributors to the On Fiction Writing group, although it may have been Carlos J Cortes (another member of this group) who actually proposed it. After that, every member of OFW, some 800 at the time, were invited to contribute a story, between 1000 and 5000 words.

Human nature being what it is, only some twenty responded to the request, so the stories were, in a sense, self-selecting.

It was a wonderful process to take part in. The editing, the proofreading, the re-editing, the artwork, and finally the publication, all done to the highest professional standards.

A great deal of work was done by Carlos, and by Gwen McIntyre, who did most of the donkey work that a publisher would normally assume. The other eighteen authors owe them a debt of gratitude.

Some of the stories needed considerable editing and revision. Some needed hardly any. All ended up improved in some way and deemed worthy of inclusion.

Although, come to think of it, there may have been stories that weren't selected. I wouldn't necessarily have come across them.
Mar 25, 2010 06:43AM

25350 Between us, the authors in M20, who are also members of this group, contributed twelve of the 30 stories.

And excellent stories they are (he said modestly.)

In fact all 30 stories are great.
Mar 25, 2010 06:19AM

25350 Mein Kampf (My Struggle). It amazes me that most Western powers seemed to be taken by surprise by Hitler's actions. He put the blueprint for the Third Reich, expansion in the East at the expense of the Slavs, and the obliteration of the Jews in the book. It's all there. Didn't they realize he was mad enough to do exactly what he said he was going to?
Mar 25, 2010 06:16AM

25350 Let's not forget Walter Scott when talking of Scots authors.
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