Jean LorrahCybling is the moderator
Anne Phyllis Pinzow
at Chicon (Worldcon 2000)
August 31, 2000
<Cybling> The chat is currently MODERATED. If you have a question for our guest, please send it to me in a private message and I'll present it for you. Thanks!
<Cybling> Okay folks...we have Jean Lorrah, Professor of English, Murray State University
<Cybling> Jacqueline Lichtenberg, SF Author and author of "Star Trek Lives!"
<Cybling> And Anne Phyllis Pinzow, Screenwriter, columnist and author....
<Cybling> all of whom are associated with Sime~Gen
<Cybling> I see that we have a few questions already...but if you ladies would like to say hello to the chatters please do so at this time!
<JL> Hi - I'd like to know who you folks are and where you heard about this Chat.
<Jean> Hi--You probably know me more for my books than my professoring.
<JL> We are trying to log this chat to post on our website -- does anyone object to that? Anyone here who can log it to backup our logger? That is K. MacLeod.
<Ryan> Not at all. I log everything, so I'll have backups.
<Cybling> and we will have the log on the Chicon site later tonight.
<Jean> Thank you, Ryan.
<Cybling> Okay we have a question from MacLeod...
<Cybling> Ask JL and Jean what their plans are for their domain. They have lots going on that might interest people.
<JL> That was a question from K. MacLeod
<JL> Jean is answering.
<Jean> We already have a great deal on simegen.com.
<Jean> There is free fiction.
<Jean> A writing workshop.
<Jean> Book reviews in many genres.
<JL> The book review section is growing -- we are open to new columnists and have a call out for reviewers for a mystery column.
<Jean> Romance, sf, vampire, horror, mystery.
<Jean> We have sf greeting cards.
<JL> That section is getting a whole facelift with new art.
<Jean> And everything is free.
<JL> We have begun to build out our Marketplace.
<JL> It's got a new book store, and we're looking for other merchants to move in.
<Jean> And everything is free."Read a Good Story, Do a Good Deed."
<Jean> You can find out about that at http://www.simegen.com/simecenter/
<JL> We have an active section that's doing interviews with writers in various genres -- online chats you can join, and one-to-one interviews called Spotlights.
<JL> Meanwhile Jean is working with Lois Wickstrom on a new writing project. Tell us about it, Jean!
<Jean> Lois and I have a children's book coming out soon.
<Jean> "Nessie and the Living Stone."
<Jean> You can find out about that at http://www.nessiebook.com
<JL> The Read a Good Story, Do a Good Deed project will soon be open to allowing other professional writers to post stories to let people help those who have encountered a major misfortune in life by raising a little money for them. It's a neat website -- and we've named it -- Sime Center!
<JL> From the Sime~Gen universe.
<Jean> In the Sime~Gen universe, the Sime Center is where you donate.
<JL> Are there any Sime~Gen readers here?
<Cybling> Okay...we have a question here for Jacqueline from Kanus --.What in your opinion is the best part about writing a book on such a huge and popular programme like Star Trek, and can I get your autograph?
<JL> Yes, you can get my autograph -- you'll find a place in our marketplace where we sell our own books - what few copies we have left.
<JL> And if you buy a book from me, you can get it autographed.
<Jean> We also autograph at cons.
<JL> Otherwise you'll have to mail me what you want signed and I'll mail it back -- only if you include the return package and postage.
<JL> The best part about writing STAR TREK LIVES! was meeting all the fans -- believe it or not, the fans not the pros, though I've met most of them too.
<Jean> Some people send bookplates to be autographed, with a regular SASE.
<JL> "Star Trek Lives!" occupied a solid 5 years of my life and changed everything for me.
<JL> I learned a great deal about screen writing from Leonard Nimoy and Gene Roddenberry --
<JL> One time at a convention, I was leaving the building with Gene and he handed me his briefcase which contained work from his new series -- which eventually got rewritten to become EARTH THE FINAL CONFLICT
<Cybling> I have a question here for Anne...from Ryan, -- How did the three of you meet and what convinced you three to work together?
<Pinzow> Wow, does that one bring back memories.
<Pinzow> I met Jacqueline outside a local library when she came to talk about the possibility of the making of the first Star Trek movie.
<Pinzow> We were both trying to get in because the library doors were still locked
<Pinzow> I walked up to this woman I didn't know from Adam and asked her if her name was Jacqueline Lichtenstein.
<Pinzow> She looked icicles at me and said. "Berg."
<Pinzow> Would you believe it was instant friendship?
<Pinzow> Actually, she just needeed someone to write her unauthorized biography.
<Pinzow> I asked to interview her and she said yes.
<Pinzow> However it turned out that she did most of the interviewing.
<Pinzow> Later on I "edited" one of her stories and she told me "By G-d, you can write." And I haven't stopped.
<Pinzow> It was on the basis of writing, editing and publishing the first Sime~Gen fanzine "Ambrov Zeor" that I based my entire career and got my first job in journalism based on the work I did on that fanzine.
<Pinzow> As far as meeting Jean, she had written Jacqueline for permission to write a book in her universe.
<Pinzow> When I first heard about that I thought Jean was this little high school kid.
<Cybling> :::laughter in the green room:::
<Pinzow> Then I found out she was a Ph.D and professor of English.
<Pinzow> So, that's how we met.
<Jean> Actually, I wrote a book review tearing "House of Zeor" apart.
<Jean> Jacqueline then invited me to read and critique her next novel--
<Jean> And then she invited me to write "First Channel" with her.
<JL> Well, the idea for the novel FIRST CHANNEL was entirely Jean's.
<Jean> I kept asking Jacqueline how Simes ever figured out about channeling. She didn't know, and I did.
<JL> One of my offstage characters, Rimon Farris, confessed to JEAN -- wouldn't say a word to me.
<JL> Actually, Jean first heard of me in "Spockanalia" one of the first Star Trek zines.
<JL> Then Jean went away for a while and then found STL! and realized ST was still alive -- and next she knew she was writing ST fanfic again -- which eventually led to PUBLISHING real Pocket Book ST novels! Wheee!
<Cybling> Excellent. Thanks ladies!
<Cybling> Kanus: To JL: Could you please offer me some advice on the best way to write a Star Trek story? I write SCI-Fi, but i have attempted Star Trek, I just need some help
<Jean> Actually, you just write a damn good story in the Star Trek universe.
<Jean> I'm answering because I wrote 4 of them.
<Jean> It's catch as catch can whether Pocket/Paramount will accept your idea, but the first thing is that it has to be a good book.
<Pinzow> I'm continuing this answer because I've worked closely with an agent who is known for representing Star Trek books.
<Pinzow> Pocket is only publishing 12 books a year from each one of the "universes" and while they will look at unpublished work they are much more likely to publish, and actively seek books by known authors who have made their name in science fiction.
<Pinzow> My agent has often advised new authors to write in their own universes, to make a name for themselves as a science fiction writer and then, if they want, to offer to write a Star Trek story.
<Jean> The halcyon days when neos got ST pro novels as their first novels are over.
<JL> But other TV shows are still open.
<JL> We also have another story to tell here.
<JL> A. C. Crispin wrote her first ST novel YESTERDAY'S SON
<JL> And brought the manuscript to me at a Star Trek con.
<JL> She was about where you are now with writing --
<JL> But she was GOOD --
<JL> However, she didn't have a clue about this kind of publishing.
<JL> They have rules.
<JL> Lots of rules -- and they amount to a formula.
<JL> You must know the preferred formula this year -- for this year's editor -- you must be UP on exactly what they will NOT permit.
<JL> At that time Anne Crispin didn't know that she couldn't introduce a son for Spock. Against the rules.
<JL> So I gave her a whole lot of rewrite input -- and then told her she had to change the ending.
<JL> Devastated she went away and came back with it all polished and changed -- to fit the rules.
<JL> I acted as her agent and took the book to Pocket in person and pitched it hard.
<JL> A long, long time later they bought it and launched her into an entire career where she's made a top name for herself writing TV Spinoffs in a large number of TV shows.
<JL> "V The Series" is one she did -- you'll find her name all over amazon.com.
<JL> In addition she's got a shared-universe of her own -- and we often do panels.
<JL> Now, why am I not offering to do that for you?
<JL> Because it is even more unlikely today to be able to pull off something like that.
<JL> Go look where "Yesterday's Son" was in the list of published ST books.
<JL> Look at what was happening at Paramount at that time.
<JL> Look at what was happening at Pocket at that time.
<JL> Study your entire market and all the forces that are running that market.
<JL> That's what it takes to become a professional in this field.
<Jean> That's why Jacqueline and I started the WorldCrafters Guild.
<Jean> It's no use trying to get published before you learn your craft, because even people who do know the craft inside out have a hard, hard time breaking in today.
<Pinzow> It can be especially hard in media tie ins which is what you're asking about.
<Pinzow> The reason is that when you write in your own universe, you just have the entire publishing structure to have to appease.
<Pinzow> If you write a media tie-in, you have the entire publishing structure and the entire production structure and you have to then write according to what the writers of the show have written and if you
have some how stepped on one of their ideas or their story arcs then it would not matter how good your story is, it would be rejected.
<Cybling> Kanus: To: ALL, I am only sixteen and live in the UK, I am just starting college, I have written short stories for a long time now, but at the moment I seem to write ones which last about 12 pages on Word, and several, so I kind of do a chapter at a time, do you think this is a good way to do it? Or should you find another way of doing it?
<JL> You are where I was at 16!
<Jean> We've all been there.
<Jean> Eventually, if you seriously want to write professionally, you have to learn to plan.
<JL> Learn your craft from the attitude of a professional.
<Jean> But in the meantime, just have fun writing!
<JL> Learn all about the business of publishing, the legalities of contracts -- and learn how to turn out a good story.
<JL> Gain an inventory of bits and pieces of trivia about everything -- never rein in your curiosity or your imagination.
<Jean> That last is the hardest.
<JL> Yes, but also master the LANGUAGE.
<JL> The signature of the professional writer is a LOVE of language -- words, meanings -- verbal communication.
<JL> We have on simegen.com a section for beginners we're just starting to get together.
<JL> But there are some hints and links there.
<JL> When you've worked through the beginner's section -- you are welcome to try your hand at the advanced writer's workshop exercises.
<JL> We have a number of essays on writing posted - with suggestions for how to practice the skills discussed.
<JL> Now we have a problem with your being just 16.
<Jean> You'll have to get parental consent to allow your material to be posted to the Internet.
<Jean> Because that is publishing, and you have to grant us the right to do it.
<Jean> You have to be 18 to grant such rights--otherwise we need parent or guardian's permission.
<Jean> Otherwise there is no problem.
<JL> So come join us - learn the craft from the ground up -- and we'll go from there. As Jean has said -- we charge NOTHING for all this.
<JL> But read our contracts carefully !!!!
<Jean> Go to http://www.simegen.com to see what we are doing.
<JL> When you join this school, and participate and post your work -- you become a professional writer. Your WORDS are your tuition -- you pay for your lessons with your words.
<Cybling> Okay folks...I'm going to take moderation off so we can all thank the ladies for joining us...and give them a hand of applause.
<JL> On simegen.com you'll discover the Star Trek connection underlying everything we do and most of the people there!
* Cybling applauds
<Cybling> Thank you ladies!
* Kanus thanks you all and will register with your writing school at the website
* Ryan smiles.
<Ryan> Thank you for joining us
* Nyx quirks a brow.
<Kanus> I am glad you had the time to spare in helping me
<Cybling> Okay...follks...the log of this chat will be online early tomorrow morning.
<KMacLeod> Enjoy the conference for all of us at Simegen.com JL, Jean and Anne. I have a complete log for us.
* Kanus is excited he got to talk to you all.
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