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I developed the habit when my boys were toddlers of taking a book to read into the bathroom. In my defense the boys seemed to recognise that bathroom time' was the one time they couldn't get Mum's undivided attention immediately so I admit to taking advantage of that.

That was before I started writing fiction.

I still have a book in the bathroom and I still read in that quiet time, but only when I'm not writing. I can't read a novel and write my words at the same time. I might read a research book, or scan a novel for a technique used.

Today I did something I haven't done before. I went to the bathroom and on the way was thinking about how I'll get to catch up with XXX and YYY and find out what happens next. I smiled in anticipation.

Then almost cried.

XXX and YYY are MY charcters. I can't find out what happens next becuase I haven't written it yet.

I was so looking forward to my 'reading time'.

*sigh* I suppose I'll just have to find writing time instead.
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I've got a bee in my bonnet and it won't buzz away.

My hobby is writing fiction. I belong to a wonderful, supportive, online writer's community. I have made many dear friends through this group. I have also forced my writing to be so much better because of the help, advice, and criticisms I have received from members of this group. Because of this group I actually believe that my hobby could become something that will provide some pocket money.

One part of the group's forums is a place we can safely post parts of our writings and other members read and give a critique on out words and on the story. As a writer you read other's words and write your comments for them. Both tasks help you to improve as a writer. Receiving critiques and giving critiques are two valuable ways a writer can become a better writer.

So to me, when I post a scene for comments, it is important that that scene is the best it can be. Sometimes I am asking for help with a storyline, sometimes the comments I need are 'this is believable or not'. Sometimes I am almost finished and need assistance in finding those typos and grammatical errors that creep in and cling to the words. Sometimes I'm just sharing.

But every piece I post has been run through the edit mill more than once. I try to make piece of writing I post in this forum as if it was ready for submission to the real publishing world.

So my buzzing bee is those few that don't have the same attitude. And admit that they don't care.

One writer, a young writer in age as well as experience, posts chapters from their work in progress. The first post was largely ignored for a few reasons. One was the recommended 'standard' posting format was ignored or not known and consequently the 5000 words came out as one long paragraph and almost impossible to read. The second reason many fellow writers made no comment was when you did struggle to read the words were wrong.

There were spelling mistakes, as well as spelling mistakes that had been corrected to the wrong word. Commas were placed where full stops should have been, full stops where comma's should be. Apostrophes missing or extra, question marks at the end of sentences, questions that didn't end with a question mark. Capital letters appearing in places they shouldn't. Basic errors.

So, I figured the author was young, that maybe English wasn't their first language, maybe they had the learning difficulties that I have had to deal with, that my son is still learning to handle, and offered advice.

The first advice was how to format the piece, the second advice was how to find out more about words, spelling mistakes and grammar; the forums have an extensive list of helpful places for all ages and all abilities.

The author was most appreciative and promised to look at the places, to correct the mistakes. The author also dropped hints at the age - very young - and that they were achieving very good marks in class for English.

Over the next few weeks I looked for their next post. It appeared, chapter 2, with the same formatting issues, the same spelling issues and the same grammar mistakes.

Since then chapters 3 and the prologue and chapters 1 and 2 of another story have appeared (those have appeared three times in total). With no improvements.

There have been comments; all stating that the story is good (I haven't managed to read way of it) but did you know there are spelling and grammar mistake. And each time the writer thanks the member for their praise and admits that the piece is full of errors but that they just haven't got around to fixing them.

So what happened to the pride in getting the details right? Is it old fashioned to want to display something in its best possible form? Is it the new way of the current world to say this is my work, rough and full of mistakes, but hey, apart from that is it good? What happened to doing the hard, fiddly work as well as the creative stuff?

And the worst part for me, if I state anything in the forums, if I point out the multitude of mistakes, the unwillingness to do the hard work and correct them, to not post before basic errors have been corrected. If I say anything remotely harsh, I could be destroying a child's desire to write, to express themselves.

Sigh.
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Some days my sons amaze me.

This past week I have been helping with thier homework, in particular maths. No surprises there. Parabolic equations. Stuff I had forgotten the details of, the terms used for each step and part of the equation but picked up easy once I read thier notes.

For the first time ever, the boys are in the same class, and it happens to be for maths. One boy has perfect notes, neatly written, all exercises done in calss done perfectly and correctly. The other, his notes are readable and followable, if you understand how his brain works. Exercises are done but most are wrong, usually simple mistakes; negatives and positives not remembered, addition instead of multiplication.

Tonight I find out that they have a test tomorrow, or rather a sheet that needs to be completed in class. So I asked if they have revised. Of course not. And the one who's notes leaves something to be desired has left his maths book at school.

Great.

So I get the other's maths book go through the stuff with him and guess what, he knows it. He's worked out the mistakes he's been making, has not only done the exercises and the sheet they had been given previously, but has started on the sheet they have to finish in tomorrow lesson.

*blink*

So why was I worried?

The other son? Well his turn to amaze me came in thier swimming carnival. my boys do sport, lots of sport, but swimming isn't thie favourite. Too slow :P So when they have to try out for the carnival the one swam so slowly so he didn't get picked. And got picked to do the 200m freestyle.

I think because he proved he could last the distance by being so slow, plus he's a long distance runner so the school knows he'd have the stamina. So he raced, tried his hardest and finished. 8th (out of 8) but the school was pleased because they get points for his finishing. Other kids picked for the same race in different age goups didn't finish.

I'm not really amazed at his ability nor his committement to finish, its a race and his competitiveness kicked in and wouldn't let him give up, but I as still proud of him.

Proud of them both.
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To all my friends who live near the fires, who have family and friends who live there, who knows anyone affected, my thoughts and hugs and hopes.

To all those fighting the fires, sifting through the devistation, helping those in need, my praise, and hopes for you too.

Hugs

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At what stage of 'the story' do you start writing?

I've taken to starting the day, sometimes the moment, the world changes for the MC, or the narrator. So far it seems to wrok well. Except for one story where I can't decide who is the MC, or what is the day the world changes. I have 5 first chapters for that novel.

If I was writing my story which day would be the day the world changes? Would I go back to my meeting my husband, to my marriage to him? To the death of one of his sisters, which in turn triggered our quest to have our own family and the long hassles with that. Or do I go to the birht of our children; thier very early birth, the death of our daughter, to my son's coming home?

Or to the illness of mother which triggered my writing fiction and opened a whole new world to me; both fictional and real. To my discovery of friends online, who have the same intense interest in writing as I found I had. Or is it the acceptance of one story (just a short) for publication and that world of writing for fun and enjoyment suddenly becoming real and something I could actually do and maybe even make money?

Maybe it was that success that made me do something even more daring and scary than submit a piece of prose? Maybe that tiny bit of success made me think that I could do something I hadn't thought of doing in over 25 years? Maybe it was my writer friends that gave me the confidence that I was capable?

I applied to a University to go back to get a post-grad degree in highschool teaching (maths and computing). I got the idea, found out what I needed to do, applied, all within a three week period.

I got accepted.

Next year I go back to school. Full time. The year after that I become a teacher.

And I'm petrified, excited, confident, uncertain, and everything in between.

But I'm doing this. I will succeed.

*grins manically*
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I'm old and decrepit. I remember the days before internet, before personal computers even. I remember doing my school work on a slate board in chalk.

Hehe, not really, but I do remember having to hand write everything, and if you made a mistake on the last line having to rewrite the page.

And the kids of today think they have it hard.

But this isn't about the ease students today can study and present their works.

This is however about choice of words.

For my last two years of high school I went to a private all-girls school. Prim and proper teachers, certainly our head mistress, a spinster, held her appearance and decorum to very high standards and we girls were expected to do the same. Our winter school uniform was the same school uniform worn by the first girls attending the school over a hundred years prior to my attending. There were few concessions to the modern age; no gloves nor stockings, the length of the skirt had risen, but not by much, and only the seniors had to wear a blazer.

My economics teacher was a male teacher. I can't remember another male teacher. Worse than that he had long blond hair always loose around his shoulders. (Mari, no not Luce-like, but always in need of a brushing). He wore jeans and trainers, although he did concede to wear a short sleaved buttoned shirt, a belt and a tie. Most days.

He didn't just teach economics, he discussed economics. He bought economics into the classroom and made us learn from real life happenings. Not just book smarts.

During my two years there was a drop in the economy, of the US and of course my country, and every other country. Suddenly we dropped the topic we were studying and turn to the real life problems. He pulled every source of information he could (mostly newspapers) and we discussed the happenings.

He pointed out the half truths, the forgotten facts, the misrepresentation of the fact presented. He showed us how the choice of words gave a different impression to accurately given information. He showed to us the 'spin-doctoring' the media put forward to us as readers.

For example;

The price of the shares dropped 4 points overnight.
The price of the shares crashed 4 points overnight.
The price of the shares plummeted 4 points overnight.
The price of the shares settled down 4 points overnight.
The price of the shares stabilised 4 points lower overnight.

Same information, different words, different impressions.

The light down the darkened corridor beckoned Jess.
The light down the shadow filled corridor welcomed Jess.
The light down the pale corridor tempted Jess.
The light down the silent corridor bid Jess return.
The light down the noise laden corridor pulled Jess.

Sme information, different words, different emotions.

I've written words all my life; at school, at university, within my job. All factual, business, essay or reporting words. Only in the past few years have I written as a hobby, for my pleasure, and made my first foray into fiction. By analysing my own writings, and then looking back to past writings and experiences I realise how much this economics teacher has influenced my writings.
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Dear Mac And Cheesey,

Your letter shocked me. Firstly I didn't realise that the two of you could write, let alone with such eloquence and clarity. Oh sorry, eloquence means smoothness; you know like taking a spoonful of Nutella and swallowing it. Clarity is being able to see really, really well. I mean, without a hang over.

The second reason your letter shocked me was because I always thought we had something less than a friendship; an acquaintance at most. So informing me that a romance that existed in your collective heads only, shouldn't have proved to be a problem.

I did however had to think hard about the mental hospital; dragging up old memories best left buried, even unearthing old journals. I did finally let a memory surface involving a mustard soufflé and I must inform you both that this particular memory should have been left alone. To die in the darkness, in silence and leaving little trace of its existence.

Instead it now lives and breathes. It festers, infects, taints, make a misery of all other memories, of life itself. For that I thank you. Muchly.

It is unfortunate that your letter has resulted in this situation. And I feel warranted in rectifying this position you have placed me in. I'm sure that you two do understand. After all the time we spent together, those memories you have kindly returned, should have taught you of my determination to right wrongs.

As for my suicide note. Please keep it. I am sure that you will find a use for it. After all my random scribblings, written at one of my lowest points, far out reach your own joint abilities. Please use my penning as a good example when writing your own.

With the sincerest best wishes.

P.S. My jailors and doctors, in their infinite wisdom, have seen fit to extend my leave. I hope to see you soon.

P.P.S. The purple underwear suits your skin tones and personality.
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Well, sort of. Not my dream/desire of a published novel, or even a short, but I have an article published in a writing ezine.

Vision, an ezine for writers but writers.

And I'm in it.

http://www.lazette.net/Vision/

Look for 'sparking a World' - that's me.

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I got inspired today, and did something about it.

I've set up a blog in which I'll post daily photographs and words to match. Daily. as in photographs taken that day, every day. Words written that day, every day.

My record for discipline is not good. I achieve things, many things, but not always at my leisure. More like in the last moments before a deadline. And if there is no real deadline there is no real work done, and definately no finishing.

Maybe taking a daily photograph and jotting a few words down will train me to be better.

Here's hoping on my part, and hopefully something for you to enjoy.

http://catsflix.blogspot.com/

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Ganked from Moosey
If there are one or more people on your friends list who make your world a better place just because they exist, and who you would not have met (in real life or not) without the Internet, then post this same sentence in your journal.
I luvs you too.
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