Themes, Ideas and Characters

Janny Wurts Chat Area: Author's Corner: Themes, Ideas and Characters
   By George on Wednesday, June 16, 2004 - 12:04 am: Edit Post


Do you plan your novels in relation to the end point you are trying to make? What I mean is, are your novels so structured such that every major scene and plot twist is already planned and you write the "filler" around those scenes or do you start the story at a point and let it grow organically in accordance with your imagination?

I have a couple of ideas for novels but when i consider my own paltry ideas to yours i feel almost overwhelmed! (And words are my business! *laugh*)

It seems to me that you really are the Storyteller in as much that you KNOW where the story is going and that all things are more or less "foreordained". In my own mind i have some very vivid scenes that I want to write about and I already have some characters in mind, but I have not fleshed out the 'full' story in my own mind so as to put pen to paper effectively.

Is it advisable to just sit down and let it flow and write what comes or to take a more structured approach?

Kind Regards

   By Cheryl on Wednesday, June 16, 2004 - 07:01 am: Edit Post

I'm not Janny but I was at that point a few months ago. I just started writing it down before I lost the story. I had learned nothing at that time then I started studying things and learning how it's done and still writing the story. I just got a way to conclude it the other day and now I think I can see the full story. I think the characters will force their way through the more heavily you write. If I stop for a few days I've lost it again and have to get it back. Just thought I'd help with my beginning experience so far. I hope I don't get stuck that's my main worry now.

   By Janny Wurts on Wednesday, June 16, 2004 - 08:51 am: Edit Post

George - you asked.

Cheryl's way is a pretty good start.

I'd begin here: write where the passion is. If you have that scene, dying to get out, let it out of the box! Just create those fragments, put them in the box and see.

They will eventually go in the right directions, and fill in material will happen.

I have found this: if you DON'T write what's in that mental in box - the muse in you assumes you don't care....and doesn't replace the material with subsequent material. Also: the scene you get in a blinding burst of inspiration NEVER comes back! (for me, anyway) it's a one way ride. Do it, or lose it. I choose to do it - the few I've lost, I've always mourned. They don't regenerate with the same bang.

In any story - you always start with a seed. Who says it's rigid and MUST be the beginning. Sometimes it may be - sometimes it may be the end. Sometimes it's the middlebit. Does it Matter? Creativity is NOT ANAL - it begins in the head, not the fundament, and, contrary to legend, it is not organized. Creativity is INSPIRATIONAL - which means, it is NOT LINEAR.

It starts at this point and JUMPS or LEAPS the intuitive gap - and lands - elsewhere.

This is not a linear, if you expect to control the leap, go do accounting, where the math has to add up.

Creativity - the math may add up, but it will Always be hindsight are venturing INTO the unknown and bringing something out. It is not KNOWN beforehand - after, yes, it is.

Treating a story idea as a concrete thought FIRST is not creativity.

Storywriting is inherently intuitive and creative - so - you have to LEAP from somewhere. You start with whatever you have on your plate that intrigues you and you just - go with it.

Security people, or control freaks, who insist on knowing each step are never going to get anywhere. You don't KNOW with intuition. Creativity is not by its nature the same as LOGIC. If you are uncomfortable with the Unknown - you can't create. Because bringing in something NEW is the epitome of voyaging into the unknown. Or its not new. Books survive by suspense - bingo - drawing a reader INTO the unknown to find out what happens.

You are the first pioneer on the trail. Some people are not, inherently, pioneers - and hence, not story writers.

They can do ad copy - not story.

A very large idea - a very complex tale such as mine do not happen on one is millions of leaps, millions of creative intuitive "jumps" and then seeing the order of them AFTERWARD.

I began with a seed idea: two characters, two gifts, a conflict of Light and Shadow, wherein, the usual approach was not going to follow stereotype.

It grew - more characters, more ideas, more layers. As I wrote the scenes on Dascen Elur, I kept finding more bits and more breadth - Athera happened, by fragmentary moments of vision. I wrote down EVERYTHING I got in mind, no matter HOW little it seemed to "follow" the simple first seed of the idea.

I had jillions of notes of future scenes. Fourth and Fifth arc, by this date, about 80 pages EACH of written scenes, set into chronological order in files with, now, an outline setting the interrim actions in place....those future scenes are there, just waiting for when I get to them, Little stepping stones, or big ones, each one a jewel, intact.

I started with an idea, and two characters. In six months, I had a skeletion outline of the whole series. For about bout 7 years, I had scenes pour in, like rushes of "oh Wow look at This, and see how That connects to That - not in order! - that did or didn't precisely relate. When I wrote them down, I knew where many fitted. Some I didn't. I still have some "one line" fragments that I don't know, yet, where they'll fall. They land at the right point, and fit. Sometimes somebody would ask a question, or a test read would ask a question, or argue a plot point - and "bam" as I 'looked' there, to explore the point, like a map, unfolding, there was the missing structure, already in place to be 'discovered.'

You get those intuitive jumps by getting INTO the material. The bridges ARE being built, but you don't see them. You step off, and they are just - *there* - which truly DOES scare some people.

You don't have a herd, *there* welcoming you - you are off on your own, and that is not 'social' behavior. In fact, in strict survival terms, its 'dangerous ground' - so you have a LOT of inhibitions of just letting fly into nowhere. It got the species killed, as a hunter/gatherer, damn well, so you have some pretty strong survival instincts to NOT GO THERE. Not to mention, 'daydreaming' was not rewarded as a lucrative passtime in your school days! So you got taught, don't, too...


Go anyway....

By about 8 years, I knew I had too much to do as a "first novel" - so I wrote Sorcerer's Legacy, Master of Whitestorm as short stories, Cycle of Fire, Empire, revamped Master of Whitestorm as a novel - all the while working on WoLaS in the background.

I had entire drafts of material well into Grand Conspiracy and Peril's Gate well before I sold Curse of the Mistwraith, which was sold in the US as a finished book.

I still get "scenes" that will occur volumes away. I write them down, put them in a box according to which Story Arc they belong - and now and again, go through and insert them chronologically. By now I KNOW my story. The structure of it is evident, it now just "deepens and heightens" or gains force and sharpness.

But it didn't happen overnight! I began the seed idea for WoLaS in 1972. (Yeah, I was pretty young).

When I saw what the ending would be, I absolutely KNEW I didn't have the 'wisdom, depth and perspective" to write it. No Way!! BUT - I trusted myself enough to know I would when I got there. And stepped into the unknown.

Somewhere in this, something INSIDE you knows the whole doesn't work in linear space, but you do. It doesnt react linearly, though you do.

The only way to catch the leap is to net what you've got. Then it's like dragging a yarn in knit - the rest pulls through in due time. You will have the whole spool, linear, to weave the whole cloth, but you couldn't see it, looking for the sweater!

   By Cheryl on Wednesday, June 16, 2004 - 11:15 am: Edit Post

You should see the amount of notepads I have now where I jotted things down that came to me suddenly. I do forget them if not written down right away Janny's right on that. One night I was comfortable in bed and got a character in my head and didn't write him down I thought I'd remember in the morning and it was all gone then.I sort of mourn him since he's all gone now. I won't do that again. He looked interesting and wished I'd have written him down. Thanks for the advice Janny I will listen to it and write it down when it first comes. I'm doing filling in things now too. It's way cool to see the story get more and more detailed. I love the experience whether I ever get published or not it's our own story we've created. Nothing like it in the world. I love muses they are wonderful.

   By George on Wednesday, June 16, 2004 - 05:50 pm: Edit Post

Janny! I asked and you CERTAINLY did deliver. Thanks for taking the time and verbalising what I intuitively knew but was seeking validation for!

Now all i have to do is find the time to sit down and "let it all out"! I tell you, its been swirling around in here for a little while (*says George pointing to his head*) sounds good in my head, but lets just see if it is ok on paper! *laugh*

Thanks for giving my Muse a helping hand! She's revitalised and ready to go!


PS. the words about linear thought...VERY true. School, University and Work seem to whittle your creativity away so that you are taught to only consider what is functional and useful in everyday life. I often find myself seeking to reach the quickest end point and to NOT take the curving and winding road. It is a hard bridle to break away from, but one that I am persistently chaffing at. When i was younger I always thought that I'd GROW OUT of my imagination, yet, my imagination is still there are refuses to go away!No matter how neglected or ignored it may be.

Cheryl, thank you for sharing your thoughts too! :-)

   By Cheryl on Wednesday, June 16, 2004 - 06:31 pm: Edit Post

You're welcome hope you do good on paper. It's much harder then anyone realizes I think anyway. I've learned a lot and hope to keep improving. I find I worry now when my muse is quiet I think come on come on more inspiration please then it comes. I think the more you write the more your muse will open up too. I even thought I was going crazy for awhile there LOL

   By Janny Wurts on Wednesday, June 16, 2004 - 06:57 pm: Edit Post

Astonishing folly, this concensus 'idea' that your imagination is "childish" and to be "grown out of"

It is among the most valuable tool you have - nothing of innovation can happen without it - and no problem can get solved. Every advance in evolution made has happened through creativity - imagination.

I don't get why it's considered a throw away.

We die, we dry up and we rot without's a fundamental human gift, as vital and necessary as compassion...and the source of a whole lot of unhappiness, when repressed.

My take, anyway.

And you're welcome.

   By Ika on Thursday, June 17, 2004 - 08:32 am: Edit Post

Hi janny, and everyone!

I can relate to what Janny said about how inspirational and not linear creativity is. started working on my book two years ago with the raw plots and stages and managed to write them down into one piece, and after blazing through to finish book 2, realized that the ideas in book 2 were fitting for book 1...And vice-versa. It's a never ending process of putting a puzzle together with the pieces coming and coming and the ending not yet in sight. But when I start to write it down, somewhow they'll fit, somewhere. This is how I'm going through it anyway.

It's a crazy process, but I guess feeling right about the story surpasses every other concern.
I got heaps of notes everywhere too, Cheryl!

A close friend of mine told me to stop writing for now and concentrate on studying, which is something i couldn't even conceive of doing....If I ever stop, I'm afraid the story would just die and I'd lose to the flow I've worked on for years. What do you guys think? Any advice on this, anyone?

Thanks, and cheers to all!

Ps: I almost finished reading Peril's Gate (1 subchapter left), but was called back to continue my 2nd term in the university, and I accidentally left the book behind!! It's so frustrating not knowing what happened to arithon after he passed through the first test in the kewar tunnel!!! Home is 8 hours away! *wails*

   By Sandtiger on Thursday, June 17, 2004 - 05:47 pm: Edit Post


Good to see you,

I know the feeling about people telling you to concentrate on school, and not worrying about writing. I had that a lot when I did my MBA.

I kept trying to tell them that *writing* wasn't work to me - I enjoyed doing it, and often, I did it because I needed to let off pent up creative juices. I find when I am in a learning environment, I have more ideas - and when I was working on my Masters Thesis, I had a lot of creative thoughts meandering around - not just academic ones!

Now that I am working full time in an interesting job, I find I am having lots of ideas and flickers of story coming at odd moments. I have a special file at work for ones that come there :-). Granted, I don't have as much time to write, but what I am writing, I think is much better than what I was writing when I wasn't being mentally challenged in other ways - ie. while I was looking for work!

That's just me though - I enjoy being busy and tend to feed off the increased energy.

As for ending Peril's there a bookstore you can nip into and just read it there? The waiting to get to it must be painful!!!


   By Cheryl on Thursday, June 17, 2004 - 07:20 pm: Edit Post

Hi Ika missed you here. Are you reading any Dragonlance books lately? I know lots of notepad writing. I can't find half my notes I spend more time trying to find where I wrote something. Hi Sandtiger, can't wait for your short story in August I for one am anticipating it and the other stories. I haven't got Julie's newest book yet is it really great? I like the hardcover artwork. Don't quit writing Sandtiger I know you'll be a great writer.

   By Ika on Friday, June 18, 2004 - 01:35 am: Edit Post

Hi Janny and everyone!

Sandtiger glad to see you too. Thanks for your thought on writing. The thought of stifling ideas when they come are just...yeesh. And yes, I agree, when writing is a passion, it doesn't feel so much as work but a conduit we use to express ourselves and our innermost uh...can't find the word...perception of the world? Anyway, being in a learning environment, well...if it's bound to trigger something somwhere eh?

And no, I can't find any bookstore where I am right now! The nearest bookstore is approximately four hours drive away. I'm in the middle of nowhere surrounded by paddy fields and cows. Nice and beautiful place to be if you want to get out of town for a couple of weeks...but one can only stare at paddy fields so long before she starts missing the skyscrapers *laughs* aaah, the ending!!

Hi cheryl! I haven't been read any dragonlance books for a while. I'm starting on George R.R Martin's work though.

   By Cheryl on Friday, June 18, 2004 - 02:48 am: Edit Post

I would prefer your paddy fields to my airport's new runway. The planes go over my house all the time. We are moving to our new house soon. We're looking and I can't wait to move to our next bigger home. I would love the paddy fields and middle of nowhere. Never move anywhere near an airport. Their's too much expansion going on and they don't mind flying low over people's homes anymore.

   By Sandtiger on Monday, June 21, 2004 - 06:19 am: Edit Post


Survival is Julie's best book yet. It takes all the best of her other books, then jumps up about two notches.

It's excellent. Well worth the hardcover price, because it's one of those books you want to keep :-)

As for me and writing - I'll never be stopping, so have no worries there!

And Ika, eep. I did that once...I lived for a year on a farm in Australia when I did a Rotary student exchange there - An amazing experience, but not many books to be found. So I had my parents mail me the important ones :-). If I remember correctly, one was Fugitive Prince.

Sandtiger. (Who only realised how ridiculously expensive this was afterwards)

   By George on Monday, June 21, 2004 - 07:19 am: Edit Post


On a farm in Australia!? Where? Which state?

Some of the places in Australia are VERY remote...kinda scary.


PS. Wouldn't it have been easier to order it from a Aussie bookshop? *laugh*

   By Cheryl on Monday, June 21, 2004 - 07:41 am: Edit Post

I'll buy Julies book then this week. I thought I mentioned I ordered Janny's recommendation for Techniques of a Selling Writer. I'm excited to get it now. I think it will be interesting read if nothing else. Does Julie have some heroes to read about Sandtiger I know I'm bad.

   By Sandtiger on Monday, June 21, 2004 - 07:44 pm: Edit Post

I never said I was smart, George :-). That was my first time living overseas, and I really had no idea I could ORDER books by mail - it was before the Internet - or before I found my way to the internet, I should say.

Not as remote as some areas, either - but remote for me! A little town called Barraba, population 1500 or so. Near Tamworth (Country Music Capital of Australia for those who don't know) in New South Wales.

I was living on a sheep and cattle ranch, where the mail was only delivered three times a week, rather than every day. (Funny the things I remember).


   By George on Monday, June 21, 2004 - 09:52 pm: Edit Post

And don't tell had to travel for an hour in order to get in to town! And making a trip to Tamworth was a big deal!

Your closest neighbour was 45 minutes away? :-)

Nobody ever realises how far away things are in Australia!


   By Leonie on Tuesday, June 22, 2004 - 01:53 am: Edit Post

Well said George!! I now live in the Upper Hunter in NSW (only 150km from Tamworth where we have good friends!), but prior to that I lived in a small town in the Pilbara region of WA. People in NSW think we're mad - we went to Bendigo for Easter (about 2000km round trip) but when you've lived in the Pilbara, and had to drive for four and a half hours just to get shoes, ten hours to see friends is not really too bad at all!!!!

And when you start trying to describe the distances to people from other countries, it's very hard to get the scale across. :-) But it's fun trying.....


   By Ika on Wednesday, June 23, 2004 - 10:01 pm: Edit Post

Hi janny, and everyone!

Yay, finally managed to get back in paravia!

Cheryl, the paddy fields are's green all around and easy on the eyes, but the only problem is the bugs and the heat. I'm getting wound infections from their bites and some of the bugs cling to my laundry after I wash. What's more, the weather's crazy. The locals say, when it's hot, it's blistering hot...but when the rain season come, it's really, really cold. I would like to experience a little snow for once in my life though *laughs*. Too bad there's no such weather here where I live.

Sandtiger? You frequent Julie's ng right? Could you perhaps please let me know what's the restrictions and the expectations or requirements on posting at the site? (if you don't mind) I was thinking of posting my snippets there.

Janny, I heard sometime back that an english lecturer here in this university recommended your book for reading assignments! My friend was tutored under her for a while, and she said the lecturer encourages her students to read your book to improve their english. And i can't get Julie's book for a while....The nearest bookstore is uh...8 hours away!! *cries*

Cheers everyone!

   By Cheryl on Thursday, June 24, 2004 - 07:01 am: Edit Post

Sandtiger since Ika asked you that question about Julie's group, I wondered how to sign on to her newsgroup. It seems to be difficult for me to sign on to newsgroups of anyone's site. I'm sure glad Janny's site is easy to get to. I don't know what I'd do if this was a newsgroup. I just wonder why newsgroups give me trouble getting into. I can register in most all sites but not the newsgroups. I have SBC dSL now I don't know if that's a problem. Ika at least you don't have all this rain we've been having. It's constant rain here in Houston. It's been awful I'm starting to worry about floods. Husband couldn't get home till late last night from a feeder road flooded that normally doesn't flood. I just thought I wish we had a fellowship of the seven to control our weather right about now. Could you make one of them real Janny? Grin

   By Ika on Friday, June 25, 2004 - 03:28 am: Edit Post

Hi Cheryl..
And risk disturbing the balance of nature when its already affected by global warming (provoked by us humans)?? *gasp* I don't think the fellowship of seven would want to do that. *laughs*

   By Cheryl on Friday, June 25, 2004 - 07:24 am: Edit Post

grin well it has to stop raining sometime I think in WOLAS the fellowship would be concerned that some evil villain was causing this disturbance in the weather. LOL They'd say the humans brought it on themselves let them deal with it yikes!!!

   By Sandtiger on Tuesday, June 29, 2004 - 09:41 pm: Edit Post

Hi Ika, Cheryl -

Sorry, I've been incommunicado for a week or so, mainly because of the federal election - and I almost missed the question aimed at me. (If there are others - let me know - June's been crazy).

In terms of posting on Julie's site. In my own opinion, it's important to remember it's NOT a writing site per se. It's a group of Julie's fans - many who are interested in writing. Innundating there with snippets will turn people off rather quickly. (Though they won't say so - too nice) However, a snippet when you are saying hello is certainly not out of place. (It's lovely to get some AWWWROOOs) I'd say about 300-500 words is best. Not more. My suggestion is to say hello, post a snippet, and if you've read Julie's books, say so - and let everyone say hi. It's a friendly bunch.

Feel free to ask questions about writing, submitting, editing, etc. - There are a lot of smart people on there, many who can answer your questions. Of course, There are also some important people on there (As in publishers, editors, numerous published authors, etc.) so I'd say be on your best behaviour and polite. (Not that you wouldn't be!)

If you want test readers for your work, post a snippet and ASK for people to email you if they are interested. This is a pretty accepted method on the NG, and it doesn't make anyone feel pressured. I've done it several times in the past, and it usually nets a few readers.

Whatever you do, don't just send people your work (It's happened) unless they ask. You'll find a lot of email addresses on there, and basically - don't consider them free to use unless you've asked first. (Unless of course you can get that person's email elsewhere.)

I must say, these are just my thoughts - don't consider them the rules or anything. I tend to be a little more reserved then some - and my suggestions probably show it.

Here's a link to some Frequently asked questions, I'd say definately read those before you post :-) It might clear a few details up.

And if you have questions, just ask me - I will be gone from Friday - Wednesday, (A Convention, then three days up North) but I'll be around otherwise.


Unfortunately, I don't have the vaguest idea why you can't get onto Julie's newsgroup. I am not technically inclined at all, unfortunately. Maybe someone else here could help you out? I don't know anyone else who has had trouble. She has a link to the group on her website - my only suggestion is to try clicking on it.


   By Cheryl on Wednesday, June 30, 2004 - 07:52 am: Edit Post

Thanks Sandtiger that will help to have the link right here I think or on her site. I guess I didn't know which one it was but whenever I tried to go there it would get all goofy and mess up my connection online. But now I have better ISP but I remember my husband saying don't go to a newsgroup again. So I'm not sure whether to try it again or not. Would love to be there I'll think about it and see if I can get up the nerve to try it again. I don't think I'm near to showing anyone anything I've written yet so everyone's safe from that horror LOL maybe later. Once my dad goes over it maybe then I'll be more confident. I'll have him be my editor he's very smart and can quote shakespeare. grin My dad read some of what I'd written and he was openmouthed and shocked I'd written what I had. He said it was excellent that was promising.

   By Janny Wurts on Wednesday, June 30, 2004 - 10:20 am: Edit Post

I have posted the link, in the next thread in this topic, for an ONLINE writer's critique group that Susan posted in this chat (In the writing topic, under the rejection thread) - - read what she says in that post.

Look at what this group does - you could probably learn just by reading what's there, and seeing what critiques it drew, and looking at your own work, and drawing parallels....or you could pump up your courage and post.

If you want to be read, you have to take that chance sometime. Getting feedback - good and bad, means learning - both learning to write better, and to learn the discernment NEEDED to know when to break the "rules" -

People just wanting to get critique - this area is set up for that.

Julie's group, as Jana said, is Julie's fans - they are a grand nice bunch. Julie writes a superbly fine book. (I just finished her latest, Survivor, and it's a sweet read. The main character is tremendously well drawn, and hauntingly endearing. She'll make you laugh AND cry at her temper.) If you just lurk there, you can learn a great deal - about etiquette, kindness, courtesy, enthusiasm, good writing, good business, and just life.

Thank you Jana, for your neatly sketched rules of the road - they are wisely drawn, and good sense, for anyone visiting any site. Few are as kind as Julie - she's an exemplary hostess!

   By Cheryl on Wednesday, June 30, 2004 - 02:12 pm: Edit Post

I will click on their and see what happens. You make Survivor sound great I might go buy it for sure now. If the heroine has a temper I like that.

   By Ika on Monday, July 05, 2004 - 12:39 am: Edit Post

Hi Janny and everyone!

Thanks for the tip, Sandtiger. They really help. No worries, I'll be getting her books when I get back for the term hols this august. The people in Julie's website ARE nice!

I've had this question in my head for a while. Apart from excellent/bad manuscripts, does one's race, age, origins and background affect getting published/not getting picked? Just had that thought for a while...Since I heard that JK Rowling's publishers suggested her put synonyms to her name instead of putting her full name.

Cheers everyone!

   By Cheryl on Monday, July 05, 2004 - 06:50 am: Edit Post

I certainly hope it's not like that Ika that would be stupid of them. I think they would appreciate a good new book no matter who wrote it. I'd heard in the 60's or 70's women authors use to put initials or change their name to a man's because their weren't many women author's I'm guessing men authors were more common back then. And men author's sold better. I'm glad things have changed since that time. That might explain CJ Cherryh I thought she was a he at first grin.

   By Janny Wurts on Monday, July 05, 2004 - 09:52 am: Edit Post

Many women opt to change their first names to initials so as not to make gender obvious.

Equally, some men, writing in markets deemed to be "women's fiction" take on a female pseudonym.

Sometimes these things are done at the publisher's request.

I prefer to follow in the footsteps of the Ballantines - first to publish westerns with female authors, under their own names.

I guess - I never bent to form, anyway - and if the work was mine, and held genuine, it was worth enough to sign my name to. If a reader's going to take their valuable time to share those words, it seemed (to me) dishonest to hide who I any way. So I sign my own name to what I do, end of alphabet and gender notwithstanding. If I couldn't stand or fall, on the merit of my work, and if either gender or surname as W made a difference, well - the hell with that - time someone made a stand, or we won't have a world that's any different.

The work, as sent IN, will be judged on the's on the marketplace where such things take on a "flinch factor" - and for each author/publisher pair to decide what's the right course for them.

   By Cheryl on Monday, July 05, 2004 - 01:44 pm: Edit Post

Thanks Janny. The one author that really through me was Mickey Zucher Reichert. I thought she was a he. Mickey sounded like a guys name. Then I found out he was a she and I was relieved. I thought she seemed too emotional in her writing to be a man. That puzzled me grin They said she did that to have a man's name to sell more books. I thought that interesting. I think you're right to be honest and up front. Robin Hobb also fooled me with her earlier books as Megan Lindholm. For some reason I like her better as Robin.

   By Blue on Monday, July 05, 2004 - 02:51 pm: Edit Post

My own case for the use of a pseudonym is to avoid ethnic confusion. My father's family is Czech, but the family name, Hauptman is of Germanic origin - the result of a barony granted by the Austrians. Since I am not a native German speaker, I do not pronounce my family name "properly" and there is nothing more irritating than being told you are not saying your own family name correctly!

I was a witness to a robbery, and a police officer who was taking my statement corrected my "improper" pronunciation. It does not help matters that the "proper" pronunciation of Hauptman sounds like a cat choking on a hairball.

I was rather rude to him when I informed him that I did not CARE how the "proper" pronunciation went, that I was not German. Of course, the inevitable "Well, how did you get a German last name if you are not German?" as if they have a patent, irritated me further. "If I must justify my ancestry to you, it is a barony granted to one of my ancestors by the Austrian Emperor for heroism!" That usually shuts them up.

My neighbor, who studied German for several years, informed me the pronunciation that is usually rasped at me is Low German, and is one possible pronunciation, considering the number of German dialects.

In any case, I have decided to use a pseudonym to avoid any more nonsense on the name front.One I have considered using for years has a rather nice ring to it, Andrea Denae Stuart, or A.D. Stuart.

   By Trys on Monday, July 05, 2004 - 03:48 pm: Edit Post


Two items on name pronounciation.

Firstly, I vaguely recall the case of a womman who married a man against the wishes of her family. The immediate parent had put a clause in the will (big bucks involved) that she could not marry anyone names Smith (her intended's last name) or she would be disinherited. She married the man after he changed his name to some outlandish spelling... but still pronounced it Smith. (THis could be Urban Myth).

Secondly, my last name is Waton. Most people pronounce it WHAT-son. I pronounce it with a broader A as in WATT-son. Many people don't get it.

Only a fool corrects someone saying their own name.


   By Darren on Monday, July 05, 2004 - 06:17 pm: Edit Post

Please Everyone,

My last name has only three letters and you would think that people could get it right.

When I say my last name generally the only letter they get correct is the "M". I get everything from Ulm, Ohm, Ohmn, Olim, everything but Olm.

I pronounce it rolling the O and the L, Dad's way pronounces it like an Irish name O'lim. Gee we can't even decide on it. Sometime even small last names can be a handful ;-)

   By George on Monday, July 05, 2004 - 09:34 pm: Edit Post

This is my exact gripe with the English language! There are no definitive ways of pronunciation!Things can be spelt is so many different ways AND there are so many homonyms!

Although i can understand if people get some names wrong...especially Greek, German or Polish surnames names!

Come to think of it, i knew a Yugoslav once who had a eight letter surname with only one vowel in was a mouthful of consonants....

   By Blue on Tuesday, July 06, 2004 - 02:17 am: Edit Post

Another thought that has occurred to me for an alternative to my family name is to use the proper Slavic feminine form, Hauptmanova.

Oops! Trys, put me down on the list of dummies who have looked at your last name and thought, "Watson".

George, I worked at an answering service for quite a while, and one of the things that amazed me about it was that Bob Smith would spell his first and last names for me about a hundred times in a two minute conversation, while Stanislaus Wladczlewski would listen to one attempt on my part, and say, "Close enough."

   By Auna on Tuesday, July 06, 2004 - 02:35 am: Edit Post

hehe, I've got an easy last name, Gold, but you should see how many people try to spell it Gould or something exotic :p

   By Cheryl on Tuesday, July 06, 2004 - 07:05 am: Edit Post

Me too Blue I'm glad I know how to pronounce Watson now. grin. Nobody wants to know my maiden name here I married and got much better name. In school my name was so hard to pronounce they called me Cheryl Smith sometimes. grin

   By Janny Wurts on Tuesday, July 06, 2004 - 09:25 am: Edit Post

For the record: I knew Mickey Zucker Reichert Long and Long before she was published...nor had she appeared at a convention, or had a public front.

She was Mickey Zucker Richert, then, too.

Went (and still goes) by Mickey.

No concession to marketplace pressure, there.

   By Cheryl on Tuesday, July 06, 2004 - 10:27 am: Edit Post

I'm glad then guess that was just wrong information I got. I should never listen to that until I know it for truth.I love Mickey Zucker Reichert she reminds me of your work Janny. I'm very excited about her new sequel to Return of Nightfall. I've been wanting that for some years now. It will be a great fall for books. In the fall I'll have Traitor's Knot and Return of Nightfall. Book Heaven for sure grin

   By Frank T Davis on Wednesday, July 21, 2004 - 12:05 am: Edit Post

Thanks for the info re "THe Return of NIghtfall". MZR is alos one of my favorite authors and am glad to hear that she will have a new offering thi9s fall.

   By Cheryl on Thursday, July 22, 2004 - 07:52 pm: Edit Post

Hi Frank you're welcome. I've only wanted her to do this sequel for ten years lol I'm glad others wanted a sequel to Nightfall. I found him an entertaining character. I sympathized with him immediately like I did with Arithon. I enjoyed her Bi frost series too.

   By Frank T Davis on Friday, July 23, 2004 - 04:03 pm: Edit Post

What do the letters LOL stand for? I note that it is typically used on the site by those who are also authors?

MZR is one of my all time favorite authors. I believe that I have a copy of each of the fantasy novels that she has had published. I have 13 of her novels. Are there motre than 13?
Thanks, Frank

   By Blue on Saturday, July 24, 2004 - 12:55 am: Edit Post

LOL = Laugh Out Loud or Lots Of Laughs.

When I took bank teller training years ago, it meant Little Old Lady. It took me a while after getting online to figure out why, when something struck someone funny, they would respond Little Old Lady.

Nothing to be ashamed of, Frank.

   By Cheryl on Saturday, July 24, 2004 - 09:49 am: Edit Post

I prefer lots of laughs to little old lady thank you very much lol I got in the habit of doing LOL's from an email pal of mine I met on the wb board. She does them and got me doing them and I like to be sure people know I'm teasing and not being insulting in anyway things get misinterpreted online sometimes the lol's help. I don't know how many books Mickey has in all but 13 sounds right. I have all her books as well but haven't read all of the Renshai trilogies. I'm behind on those. Sandtiger will have a fit when she reads that LOL I've read all her others though and love them. She's starting a new Renshai trilogy next and I want to have them finished by that time. Their's 6 in the Renshai series, 5 in the Bi Frost 2 now in the nightfall books, and two in the duology she has can't remember the name of it but it's Return to Baraka I think. So that's 15 she has now with Nightfall included. You might not have that Baraka series but also one more I just remembered Spirt Fox it's great book that might be the one you're missing. that's 16 then she has. Hope that helped some. I think Amazon would have them there to order.

   By Frank T Davis on Saturday, July 24, 2004 - 10:16 am: Edit Post

Thanks Blue for the info. LOL had always meant Lots of Love to me and that just didn't seem to fit.

   By Frank T Davis on Saturday, July 24, 2004 - 10:30 am: Edit Post

Thanks Cheryl, I have the BiFrost series in two volumes. MZR also co-wrote Spirit Fox with Jennifer Wingert. She also wrote Flightless Falcon. This makes a total of 13, 14 counting the Return of Nightfall.

You must read the two Renshai trilogies as they are her best writing in my opinion. I'm really excited to learn that MZR plans a third Renshai series.

   By Trys on Saturday, July 24, 2004 - 11:37 am: Edit Post


A couple of others you may encounter:

OTOH - On the the hand
IFRC - If I recall correctly
YMMV - Your mileage may vary
LOL - Laughing out loud
ROTFLMAO - Rolling on the floor laughing my ass off.

And my favorite - ROTFLSHIWMP - Rolling on the floor laughin so hard I wet my pants.


   By Cheryl on Sunday, July 25, 2004 - 07:43 am: Edit Post

LOL that's a new one for me and my favorite is ROTFLMAO lol Trys taught me that one too. Or was it Sandtiger it's very educational lol Flightless Falcon I remember that one good standalone book sorry I forgot that one earlier. I have them all just not all in one spot on my shelves. Thanks for reminding me of that one it is a good one. I know I wasn't sure I liked the girl renshai in the renshai series she seemed all tomboyish to me not sure I'd like her. She makes the men seem like they are insignificant and she's the fighter but that's the renshai in her. Again my trouble with heroines. I enjoy all the other characters in the series though. I read the last one Children of Wrath and it was great now I have to go back to read the others. Don't ask how I ended up reading the last one first I have no idea grin.

   By Frank T Davis on Tuesday, July 27, 2004 - 02:46 pm: Edit Post

Thank you very much Trys. You have definitely made my day. ROTFLMAO!!

   By joshua bruce law on Wednesday, May 27, 2009 - 02:36 am: Edit Post

In terms of surnames mine seems to add a lot of confusion. Whenever i speak to someone on the phone (for instance calling the bank) they always ask me to spell it, it's LAW for the love of crumb cake and yet everyone seems to think it'll have some outlandish spelling.

i'm tempted to have my name changed by deedpoll to "lore" just to justify having to spell it out, or revert it to the original name of one of my ancestors.
My last name is an assumed one after some of the great greats left the continent and went to the uk. One of the originals was approximately tsiershuke.

   By seljo on Wednesday, May 27, 2009 - 12:28 pm: Edit Post

Janny... you said you know Mickey Zucker Richert -- is she still working? I've checked her website and it is Woefully out of date (nothing newer than 2002) -- I also loved her Renshai series but can't find any way to find out anything about what she's doing these days.

   By Janny Wurts on Wednesday, May 27, 2009 - 06:22 pm: Edit Post

Hi Seljo - I presume she's still writing. If DAW books has an e mail, inquire - that's her publisher, or better, ask your local bookchain to do a search on her titles.

I will (should?) be seeing her at a convention we're doing next year. I haven't talked to her in ages. If I do, I'll be certain to ask.

You can ALWAYS write to an author, care of their publisher. The letter may take a bit of time to arrive, but it does get forwarded on.

   By plutoplex on Wednesday, May 27, 2009 - 06:44 pm: Edit Post

Amazon lists a new Renshei book coming out in (I think) September, with the title "Flight of the Renshei."

   By seljo on Tuesday, June 02, 2009 - 12:13 pm: Edit Post

Thanks, for that, Janny... I'll try something through DAW...

and thanks, Plutoplex for the Amazon reference... but as for Amazon and their dates/predictions... I'd rather trust my magic 8 ball :-)

   By plutoplex on Tuesday, June 02, 2009 - 07:19 pm: Edit Post

I agree, Amazon's release dates are problematic at best. But the book is available for pre-order, so their ballpark is probably partially quasi-semi-accurate. Maybe. Unless someone made a typo.

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