So What's New?

Jim Mills, Associate Editor, 
Forward Motion Community

2001, Jim Mills

Issue # 3: 04/01/01

A Note from Holly Lisle
What Matters
A Note for Lazette Gifford
Gauging Success

Deeper People
Feature Articles
Otherwhens: A Theory of Alternate History
By J. S. Burke
Blunting the Knife
By Alison Sinclair
Reporting for Fiction
By Katherine Derbyshire
Making Dreams into Reality
By Jennifer St. Clair Bush
Fear and Crisis
By Michael E. Norman
A Triad of Religious Articles
By Sarah Jane Elliott 
     Peggy Kurilla 
     Bryn Neuenschwander
Classic Structure in the Horror Novel
By Ron Brown
Poetry Revival
By Lazette Gifford
E-Books and the Romance Field
By Anne M. Marble
Science Fiction: 
By Bob Billing
Suspense & Mystery:
Preparing for Your First Mystery
By Lazette Gifford
Young Adult & Children:
Turn Personal Struggles into Books for Children
Laura Backes
Young Writer's Scene:
Write What You Know -- Or What You Want?
By Beth Adele Long
Book Reviews
Screenplay: The Foundations
of Screen Writing

Reviewed by Shane P. Carr
Web Site Reviews
AImovie.Com, Tangent Online
By Beth Adele Long
So What's New?
By Jim Mills
From the Writers' Board
News from Forward Motion


Plotting and Character Help Circle (The Stew Pot)  

Community members Cailin & Deedlit have started The Stew Pot, a Plotting and Character Help Circle, which can be found on the General Fiction Board  

The circle has four simple rules:  

1 - We're operating on an open membership basis.  

This means anyone and everyone is welcome to join in, post your plot and/or character problems or questions, offer suggestions to problems or questions others have posted, etc.  You don't have to sign up to join in. 

2 - Posts must relate to the current subject - no going randomly off the point.  

If you want to rant, go to the rant board.  This circle is for plot and character development and helping solve related problems - period. 

3 - No personal attacks.  

This is a general policy on all of Holly's boards.  Feel free to comment on a character's or plot's shortcomings, but please don't flame the writer.  If you feel criticism is merited, please be as positive as possible and suggest ways to fix the problem.  We're here to help each other, after all.  Maybe someone will return the favor when you're stuck between (cliche warning!) a rock and a hard place. 

4 - No copyediting.  

This circle isn't about grammar, revising or other aspects of writing.  There are other circles for those topics, or, if you can't find one to suit you, start a circle of your own for any writing-related purpose.  This is a circle for us to help each other hammer out plot and character ideas. 

Have fun!    

A new Section for Game Development!

Holly set up the gaming section on April 7th, so it hasn't been around long. There are both public and a private boards. The public board is for general questions about writing RPG material, such as world adventure plotting, some rules discussion, and world building.  RPG Developers Forum

The private board is reserved for copyrightable works that are already in progress. For instance, Jennifer Brinn is working on a FUDGE Deryni game for Grey Ghost Games. And Christina Stiles is working on a solicited D20 adventure for a company called Atlas Games, plus she'll be posting products her own company, Bizzaro Games, will be producing.

Organizational Boot Camp

Assuming we could all use a bit of help in the organizing department, and that we would be more productive if we were more organized, we now have a forum to both discuss matters organizational, and to participate in a week-by-week update in our progress.   Organizational Boot Camp 

The Second Dare of the Year!

We have started a second dare, which will run from April 1 -- May 31st.  About 50 people are participating, and many are doing very well!  Come to the Games and Contest Board to see who has joined in, and be sure to check out the special page where weekly results are posted!

Death and Taxes by Holly Lisle 

The Ides of April were upon us, so it seems appropriate to mention Holly's short story "Death and Taxes."  If you haven't read it, it gives a whole new slant on the idea of paying your taxes.  You can find it on the SF & Fantasy Board and it's well worth the read.  I'm sure she'll get it published somewhere (Let us know when and where, Holly!).  Check it out 

Holly's Writer's Exercises are going strong!

Do you check out the Workshops and Exercises board  on a regular basis?  I highly recommend it.  There is a new exercise posted every day, and they are always interesting. 

It's especially interesting when a number of people comment on a post, such as when I listed a first line exercise and got a number of responses.  I had written 'I opened the door to see a man dressed in a somewhat shabby suit, he said, "Have I got a book for you!" and held up a book titled, The Complete Idiot's Guide to Necromancy.'  That posting netted ten comments, although four of those were my replies.  Still, it gave me a very warm feeling as a writer to receive such recognition. 

Here's one of Holly's: The gorilla leaned up against the bars of his cage, grinned at me, and whispered, "There's a sawbuck in it for you if you help me get the hell out of here." 

Here's one of Bob Billing's: I woke up cold, hungry, frightened and not entirely sure which planet I was on.   

This one got a comment from Holly: "Damn. I hate it when that happens."  

What are your favorites?  Feel free to write to  and send me your favorite first lines to be printed in this column.  All first lines printed here are with author permission. 

BTW, here's what it all means... 

Ever wonder what all those "buzz word" abbreviations mean?  If you've been online a while, you probably learned by asking and felt a little foolish admitting your ignorance to those who seemed to take what they typed for granted.  For those who are new or too shy to ask, here is Jim's guide to the shortcut jargon commonly used online (some are used more often than others, and there may be some I missed):   

afk  = away from keyboard 

brb  = be right back or bath room break   

afk and brb are often used together, separated by a space, with the same  meanings, although somewhat redundant, and probably brought to you by the  Department of Redundancy Department.  

btw  = by the way 

cul or cul8r = see you later 

fcol = for cryin' out loud 

fwiw = for what it's worth 

ggp  = gotta go pee

iirc = if I recall correctly (no relation to Internet relay chat) 

imho = in my humble opinion 

imo  = in my opinion 

irc  = Internet relay chat, a program for using chat rooms via a chat server 

irl  = in real life (as opposed to the online or writing life) 

np   = no problem or, if you're a bit more dramatic, no problemo 

otoh = on the other hand   

There is a whole series on laughing, presumably because the humans online like to laugh (more than the aliens, animals, interstellar felons, lawyers, politicians or businessmen).  

lol  = laugh out loud or lots of laughs (you're laughing louder if it's all caps) 

lmao = laughing my ass off (funny) 

rofl = rolling on floor laughing (really funny) 

roflmao = rolling on floor laughing my ass off (very, very funny) 

roflmaopimp = rolling on floor laughing my ass off peeing in my pants (I'm  asphixiating) 

ssdd = same stuff different day (alternately: same stuff different dimension) 

ssdd actually originated in the old days of personal computers (in the late 70's, before IBM PCs _or_ Macs) when ssdd stood for "single side double density" in relation to the old 8" floppy disks that were *truly* floppy.   

Someone later gave it the more common usage.  There are vulgar variants that mean more or less the same thing.  We won't print them here.  Use your  imagination; they're pretty childish anyway.

ttfn = ta ta for now   

Did I miss any abbreviations?  Please write to and we'll  put them in a future issue of Vision.  ttfn!


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