Subject: On Flagler, Harlan Ellison, & All That (Write Stuff 0906)
Date: Fri, 1 Sep 2006 15:56:10 -0400

The Electronic Write Stuff

Writing News for the
Sunshine State & the Solar System

North Florida Writers * September 2006 * Editor:  Howard Denson

In this issue:

Flagler to Welcome Two Canadian and U.S. Novelists

Close Encounters with Harlan Ellison at the 2006 Nebula Awards in Tempe, AZ -- Patricia Rogers

Writers' Festival Contests Seek Entries for Novels, Plays, Stories, and Poems

POW! Contest Deadlines Near

Critiques at September Meeting

Quote from a Writer's Quill – New Testament

Writers Born in September – Richard Wright, D. H. Lawrence, Michael Ondaatje, Faulkner and Fitzgerald, William Carlos Williams, Jane Smiley, and many others

Calendar of Events

OCTOBER ISSUE:  Articles by Joy V. Smith, Amelia Book Island Festival


Flagler College will welcome two renowned authors to campus this fall as part of the College’s Writers in Residence Program. Married writers Joseph and Amanda Boyden will visit Flagler on Wednesday and Thursday, Sept. 6-7. They will appear at two public events and will also visit writing classes to work with emerging writers on the art of fiction.

Joseph Boyden is the author of the Canadian best-selling novel Three Day Road (Viking, 2005), chronicles the return from war of an Oji-Cree Indian in 1918 and his struggle for survival, sanity and renewal. The book was honored with the Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers Award in 2005 and was a nominee for the 2005 Governor General’s Literary Award, a Canadian accolade on par with the American National Book Award. Louise Erdrich has described the debut novel as a “devastatingly truthful work of fiction, and a masterful account of hell and healing...a grave, grand, and passionate book.”

Boyden’s wife, American writer Amanda Boyden, also saw the release of her first book this year, the gutsy and complex novel Pretty Little Dirty (Vintage Books). Notable for its candor, its energy, its truthfulness and—ultimately—its warmth, the novel tells the story of teenage friendship in the 1980s Midwest. “Shocking in its casual erotic frankness…this novel gets the complexity of childhood relationships dead right, as well as their importance in shaping who one becomes,” wrote Publishers Weekly.

Todd Lidh, the English Department chair at Flagler, said “Over the past sixteen years, the Writers in Residence program has hosted such luminaries as Tim O’Brien, W.D. Snodgrass, Robert Olen Butler and others.”

On Wednesday, the Boydens will appear on the Flagler College campus at 5 p.m. to deliver a lecture, “The Craft of Writing.” On Thursday, they will also host a public reading of their works at 6:30 p.m. Both events are free and will be held in the Flagler Room.


Close Encounters with Harlan Ellison at the 2006 Nebula Awards in Tempe, AZ


By Patricia Rogers


When the subject of Harlan Ellison is brought up, there is very little middle ground.  When I told friends I wanted to go to the Nebula Awards this year in Tempe to see Harlan Ellison receive the Grand Master Award, I received a plethora of opinions.

Very few were something simple like “That sounds like a nice trip, have fun.”  

Most replies were strong emotional responses with a story attached concerning something Harlan had said or done.  Whether the story was one of being on the receiving end of Harlan’s wrath or being done a kindness by him, it was obviously a memorable experience for the speaker. 

It made me wonder if anyone who has ever met Harlan has come away without a story.  Harlan, like Jupiter’s Great Red Spot, is always there, always fascinating, always intense -- an ever-changing storm.   

I have been reading Harlan’s writing since I was a teenager.  Like many of Harlan’s readers, I discovered the first of his stories you read grabs your mind and sends you out looking for more.  I read every book of his I could get my hands on. 

I was reading Poe, Ambrose Bierce, H.P. Lovecraft and Harlan all at the same time.  It is amazing I just did not just sink into the dark tarn of Usher but I found it all strangely invigorating. Over the years I have been lucky enough to meet Harlan at many conventions and have never been disappointed listening to him speak.  He exudes a passion that takes the audience along with him in both his writing and speaking.   In just a few minutes during a talk I have seen him go from an intelligent rant about something that is bothering him to joking, cajoling, insulting and yelling at one or more members of the audience. 

You never know what topic he will touch upon or how far he will go to make his point, but the one thing I can promise you when seeing Harlan in person:  it is never dull.  A friend of mine said, “Harlan writes at the top of his voice.”  How true that statement feels to me; I think that Harlan does everything “at the top of his voice."  If he had decided to become a teacher, you would never forget even one of his lectures.

I was torn about going to Tempe for the Nebulas.  I wanted to attend another event that weekend, a girlfriend’s 40th birthday party in Las Vegas. It promised to be an extraordinary event with everything from limos to pick up all the attendees at the airport, to being such an exclusive party you had to have an engraved invitation to get though security into the lavish suite at the Aladdin Hotel. Considering the people involved, I knew it would be a bacchanal to remember.  

What to do?

I polled my friends for their opinions.  Many wanted me to attend the party in Vegas, knowing the kinds of stories I would have to tell on my return.  But one friend looked at me quite seriously and said, “Well, Harlan only becomes Grand Master once, right?”   His point was precise and accurate:  There would be other birthday parties, but Harlan would only be made a Grand Master once and by an organization that he had dramatically broken from almost 30 years ago.  I had to go to Arizona.

After many negotiations, my boss allowed me Friday afternoon off, and I flew into Phoenix arriving around 3 p.m.  By the time I got my bag, rental car and found my way to the hotel it was just after 4 p.m., the time of Harlan’s first panel.   I raced in, picked up my badge and free bag of books, and quietly sneaked into the standing-room-only ballroom where Harlan was speaking.  He was discussing some of the types of mentalities you come up against in Hollywood, like the first director of the movie adaptation of Bradbury’s “A Sound of Thunder” -- who wanted to know if they could lose the butterfly.  (They got rid of him instead.  Good call.)  Harlan liked the movie.

Then in a whirlwind of ideas, Harlan touched upon Bill Clinton’s poor choice of with whom to have a liaison, Bush politics, the mindlessness he sees on college campuses, and his feelings on becoming a Grand Master.  He energized the room as only Harlan can. It was pure Harlan stream of consciousness: funny, smart, rapier-like wit and all over the place.  As I stood there laughing at his jokes with the rest of the appreciative audience, I thought, “Yeah, this is why I came.”


Impassioned Speech or Diatribe?


In an interview for the Arizona Republic, Harlan said: "I have not had one night's dream-free sleep in which I was not at that moment of accepting the Grand Master. In some of them I just say, 'Thank you very much,' and I sit down, leaving them bewildered. In others I give a long, impassioned speech in which I detail every good thing and bad thing that has happened to me in the last 50 years.  In others, I just sort of leap off the stage and pound a few of the people that are there until they're insensible."

     After the panel was over, Harlan started on the first of three marathon signing sessions.   Even though there were not a huge number of people attending, the line for Harlan never seemed to diminish in size as everyone had stacks of books to get signed.  He was gracious and tried to accommodate every request, reminding us often that his lovely wife Susan was there with books of his to sell and that we needed to buy some.  Being a good child, I did as I was told and bought a copy of “The City on the Edge of Forever” with the Star Trek script and his observations on working with Gene Rodenberry.

He did ask if people could limit the number of books they were getting signed to three and if they had more to please get back in line.  He took a break for dinner and was back at signing as soon as he returned.  


The group of other authors signing in the room was truly a sight to behold.  I do believe there were more authors there than fans.  I did take the time to visit with many of them.  William F. Nolan (script writer for The Twilight Zone and twice winner of the Edgar Allan Poe Award) was another reason I had wanted to come and I had taken several of his books with me, including his 1975 bio of Ray Bradbury.  There was a book dealer set up just outside the room so I bought Nolan's most recent book that he not only signed for me but also took the time to draw in it a fabulous illustration.  It was truly a pleasure to meet him.  

I visited with Connie Willis (winner of a half dozen Hugo and Nebula awards each)and Jack McDevitt and collected a few other autographs that friends had asked me to get for them.   The bonus for the afternoon was meeting Michael Cassutt (script writer for the new Outer Limits, Stargate-1, etc.).  I am chagrined to say I did not look up every author’s bibliography before I left home.  If I had I would have realized that I already owned two of Michael Cassutt’s books, his biography of Tom Stafford (which I purchased from Stafford himself at an astronaut autograph show) and a trade paper of Michael’s bio on astronaut Deke Slayton.

   When I saw the same book on Slayton there on the book dealer's table, it hit me who Michael Cassutt was.  Fortunately they were selling a first edition hard cover -- so I was trading up.  What a gracious, kind and charming person Michael Cassutt is and in the words of Connie Willis  “in the top 5 of cute guys in SFWA”.  It was wonderful to talk with someone who shares my great love of the space program and the people involved with it. Michael was so kind as to answer numerous questions that I had long wondered about concerning various astronauts and spoke with me on several occasions over the next two days. He was also a writer on two of my favorite TV shows, Max Headroom and Eerie Indiana.   Having the opportunity to chat with him was one of the high points of my weekend. Now I need to pick up some of his fiction books and read them too. 

I took a dinner break about the same time Harlan did and headed off to eat with two old friends from Albuquerque who are now living in Phoenix.   The Nebulas were being held at the Tempe Mission Palms Hotel in the heart on the University area. All around it are cool shops and restaurants. We picked the first restaurant we came across, which was reminiscent of an Irish Pub.  The food was good and we had fun catching up with each other. 

Then I headed back to get once again in Harlan’s line (having brought my own ton of Harlan’s books to get signed). Before he could get done with the line he was called into the reception/party that was being sponsored by Dark Horse Comics and Tor Books.


Telling the Man to Be Quiet


Once he got there it turned into a kind of a roast for him.  Let me say here that Connie Willis was the perfect choice for Toastmaster for the weekend.  She was funny, charming, well prepared and at least gave the illusion of being in charge.  She could smilingly say to Harlan, “Sit down and be quiet” – and he would.  A number of folks including Michael Cassutt, Ellen Datlow, and Peter David came up to the podium to share memories and stories about Harlan and to tell him how much he meant to them.  I had to smile when Michael Cassutt said how Harlan had “written innumerable stories, been part of almost every anthology that has ever been published and part of a few that had not.”   

Harlan said, “I know where you live, Cassutt!”

Michael replied, “No, you don’t. I’ve moved!”

When the party broke up, Harlan was a real trouper and went back out to the table to sign more books.  I was about third from the last in line and it was approaching midnight when I got up to Harlan again.  He looked at me and said, “You have been very patient.” 

I said to him, ‘Well, seeing you is the reason I came.”  We did chat about mutual New Mexico friends.  He loves Harry O. Morris’s art and has several pieces up on his wall at home.  (Maybe it is just as well Harlan does not attend Albuquerque's science fiction convention, Bubonicon – it would just be one more person fighting with us over Harry’s art the minute he hangs it up – and I think Harlan would win.)  We also talked about how fond he is of Melinda Snodgrass and Fred and Joan Saberhagen.  One of the reasons Harlan’s line took so long was that he spent quality time with every single person that came up, telling them stories and listening to theirs.  Is it any wonder that everyone who meets him comes away with a memory?

Saturday started out with me making a wrong turn on my way to Tempe, which meant I missed the first panel I wanted to see on "The State of SF Television”, but I was there in time for William F. Nolan’s reading.  He was a pleasure to listen to and the stories he read were great fun.   In both of the stories he presented, the wife is killed, but he assured us with a big smile he is fond of his wife and she was in no danger.


Auction of Posters, Reissues


The next thing up was the auction and there were quite a few interesting items to be had.   Many signed first editions, signed Serenity posters, signed scripts from the new Babylon 5, and art.   I was impressed how much everything went for – they did well for the benefiting charities. The auction raised around $6000 and another $1500 that evening in the silent bids for the “Harlan Zorro Rat” table centerpieces (one of which I brought home and just by luck I got number 1 of 20).  The signed 8 x 11 Serenity promos went for $180 each and an ARC of a reissue of Harlan’s "Spider Kiss" went for $500.   Harlan was auctioneer for some of the items and he can sell like nobody else.  He even sold his half-eaten cheeseburger for $35.  I suggested to the person who bought it that he should put it in Lucite with some pickled eggs and onion slices – cover them all with a little glitter and have his own special Nebula.


Imitating Star Trek


The last panel of the day was “Genre of the Living Dead: Science Fiction Today” with Harlan and Gordon Van Gelder (editor of F&SF).  The biggest issue addressed here was the slide of literacy in America.  Fewer and fewer people are reading, reasons:  TV, Internet, and disrespect for the written word.  Many of the TV writers today grew up watching only Star Trek so every idea they have is a 3rd generation copy.  So much of the media keeps lowering the bar in what they do produce that everything is getting dumber – although Harlan did say he loves the TV show  “Lost”, finding its writing “brilliant.”  He said it is not about the final outcome of the story but about how well-crafted and intelligent the episodes are. (Harlan: “Art at its finest is not about the destination but the journey”.)   I had to smile when Harlan was asking us how much we know about world events. He is right, of course; many are unaware of the world around them.


Importance of Knowing What Goes on in the World


Harlan said,  “Why are you reading Science Fiction if you don’t know what is going on?”  Then he smiled and said to himself, “Shut up, you are only alienating them.”   When this panel ended I stayed to help some girls take photos of Harlan signing their ARC of "Spider Kiss".  After a bit a gorgeous guy came in looking for all the world like one of the Ramones.  I really did not know who he was at first but soon became aware that he was Neil Gaiman.  He was very sweet and posed for photos with us. 

After the panel was over it was time to go and change for the banquet.   I was not about to drive back to my hotel and risk getting myself lost again so I just changed clothes in the bathroom and then hung out chatting with folks until it was dinnertime.  Ron and Nina Else (owners of Who Else! Books in Denver) were so kind as to let me sit with them at dinner.  On the other side of me sat Karen Anderson (Poul Anderson's widow).  We had a great time talking about travel and places we have been to or would like to go.  Also, about everything from early California fandom to art and antiques.  I had a lovely time.  The food was OK, hardly worth the $80 extra it cost but the dinner companionship made up for it.  On the table were centerpieces that included a small figure of "The Harlan Zorro Rat" standing on a copy of "Death Bird Stories" which you could make a silent bid on -- I was so engrossed in talking to Karen Anderson that I missed handing in my bid sheet but Ron and Nina allowed me to buy the one they won. I own them a BIG thank you!  Once dinner was done the real show started.  


A Dozen Ways to Survive the Nebulas


Connie walked up to the podium and started to speak then stopped, excused herself and started digging though her bag saying, "I have to get out my notes."  With a mischievous grin she proceeded to pull out duct tape, rope and a hammer and placed them carefully on the podium. This being done she told us her rules for "Surviving the Nebulas."

1. Sit close to the door.

2. Don't eat or drink with Gardner Dozois

3. Don't wear the "Peter Pan collar" (something she did years ago)

4. No hitting others with chairs, your Nebula, other author's Nebulas, or anything else.

5. No shoving, tantrums, tirades, or making authors cry.

6. Don't sit next to anyone who will hit, throw chairs, Nebulas or anything else.

7. Read the ballot.

8. Read the nametags of the people at your table so you don't say to the author of a story unknowingly, "How did this piece of junk get on the ballot?"

9. If you lose -- again, look around your table before you say, "What do you mean he won? My story is better!"

10. Never bring up politics.

11. Be nice if you win. Don't make me get out the rope, duct tape, or hammer.

12. Realize just how lucky you are.


Next we took the time to remember those who had passed, then moved on to the awards. I won't repeat those here because that has been published everywhere.  I did love it when Joe Haldeman said upon getting his award, "It is nice to get an award that does not have the word 'Forever' on it."   William F. Nolan spoke about the new movie version in the works of "Logan's Run."  The folks producing it told him that he was "too close to the material to be able to write the screen play for it."   A fine example of Hollywood thinking; it is amazing a good movie ever manages to sneak through.

After all the awards except Grand Master were given out Connie stood up and said, "That's all folks, thanks for coming. Oh...the Grand Master Award..."

Neil Gaiman did the introduction, saying to Harlan that he thought you is brilliant and one of a kind.  He predicted that Harlan's stories will last and be read a long time from now.


The Princely Steve McQueen


Harlan finally came up and started with a story about working with Steve McQueen and an adventure they had out in the Mohave Desert.  The car they were in broke down, and, being miles from anywhere in 130 degree heat they were in pretty dire straits.  When Harlan passed out, Steve carried him two miles to safety,  thus demonstrating McQueen’s character.

Then he told of a writer acquaintance of his who planned a dinner party for 10 and ordered the food from a Chinese restaurant.  When picking up the food, he saw a rat scamper around a corner of the restaurant.  He looked at the proprietor and said as he picked up the food, "I'll just be taking these," and he proceeded to leave without paying, thus demonstrating Harlan’s character.

Harlan said: "If I had done 1/20th of what I have been said to have done, I would be in prison and gurneyed like Hannibal Lecter." He talked about realizing he could be a petty man and that with this award he did not want to be petty and was honored to be in the company of many who had received it before him.  

Halan spoke of talking to Jack Williamson about writing and how Jack told him to, "Keep writing."   Harlan promised us would do just that - keep writing.  And he stated that he has no plans to stop pissing us off now.  

After all was said and done, the room slowly cleared of the 200 people in attendance.  Ron and Nina had gone over to ask Neil Gaiman to sign some books, so I stayed at the table to keep an eye on their stuff.  Once the room was down to fewer than 15 people, I noticed Harlan heading towards me on his way to the door.

As he came close I looked up at him from my seat and said, "You know, Harlan - you really are a brilliant writer."

He stopped cold in his tracks about six feet from me, his face now twisted in pain like I had just sucker-punched him to the gut. He said, "I don't take compliments well." 

I said that all I meant by it was an honest appreciation of his talent and skill as a writer, that there was no subterfuge to my compliment.


Ellison, the Juvenile Book Thief


He said, "I have to tell you a story" and proceeded to sit down in front of me. When he was young, there was a department store that he would pilfer books from -- sneaking in through the employee's entrance before the store opened, making his way to the book department, filling his clothes with books, then exiting the store once it was open. 

On one of these foraging expeditions, he saw a sign up stating that John Steinbeck was going to be there for a signing. On the day of the signing, he crawled under the tables to get a closer view of Steinbeck and found himself looking up at the faces of the audience around him. He was struck by the adoration and awe he saw in their eyes as they gazed upon Steinbeck.  Years later, once Harlan was well established as a writer and was doing his own signings, he was taken aback to see that same look on the faces of the audience around him.  He thought, "I don't deserve this -- not like Steinbeck."

Soon after he was done with this story, one of the convention committee folks came over with some signs she had made up for fun that said  "Harlan Ellison - Grand Master - Worship Me."  These were great and Harlan thought so too, even being so kind as to pose for photos for me when I asked him, holding the sign up in front of himself.  I asked if I should call him "Grand Master Ellison" from now on.

With a smile he said, "No, just Your Eminence." 

He sat back down and starting telling more stories and continued to do so for well over two hours.  I won't repeat all the stories here but I had great fun listening to him. I was glad to find out that we share a favorite restaurant in LA, Roscoe's Chicken and Waffles. By about 1:15 am, I looked around and noted that about 10 to 15 people had gathered around to listen.  Harlan and Susan finally headed off to their room, never even making it up to the party in the con-suite given partly in his honor.  I felt like I had won the lottery. I know Harlan is not shy about leaving a place he does not want to be, and I kept thinking he would leave at any minute but he genuinely seemed like he was having a good time.


H.E. Measures Up


At this point I was too energized to go to sleep so I headed up to the party and talked to a few more folks. My favorite part of the con-suite:  several winners had left their Nebula Awards on the nacho table with the bubbling hot cheese sauce and chips.  It looked as if they were give-away prizes for the taking, that you could have after you finished your snack. Kelly Link said I could pour hot cheese sauce on hers for cooler photos, but I said I did not think the acrylic would hold up too well under that kind of treatment. 

I made the right decision to go to Tempe. I could not have had a nicer time. 

One last note - Harlan's speech was about "The Measure of a Man."  On many occasions I have been told of Harlan's thoughtfulness, kindness and about how he has been there for friends in times of need, often when no one else has offered help.  H.E. measures up as a pretty good human in my book.

Pat Rogers is a former resident of Jacksonville and an avid fan of SF.  She now resides in Bernadillo, N.M.



POW! (Promoting Outstanding Writers) is accepting entries for its second annual POW! Awards. Winners will be announced at the annual awards ceremony Nov. 11 at the Ramada Inn of Mandarin. The entry deadline is Oct. 1. Entry forms are available online at


The POW! Awards recognizes multi-genre works from authors, screenwriters, playwrights, musicians, visual artists and more, from around the country. There are more than 30 entry categories all listed on the POW! Web site,


Judges again for this year's competition are professors and teachers from Florida Community College of Jacksonville.


For additional information about POW! or the awards, contact Caryn Day-Suarez at (904) 343-4188 or


The POW! Writers Conference will host 12 workshops starting at 9 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 11, following a live remote broadcast of The POW! Radio Show, WJGR 1320 AM The Patriot at the Ramada Inn, Mandarin.  This event is also open to the public.  Ticket information is available at the website


Critiques at SEPTEMBER Meeting

The North Florida Writers will focus on critiques at the Sept. 9 meeting at 2 p.m. at the Webb Westconnett Library (corner of 103rd Street and Harlow Boulevard).



In the beginning was the Word.  -- New Testament

Writers Born in September

  1--Edgar Rice Burroughs (1875) and Blaise Cendrars (1887);
  2--Paul Bourget (1852) and Allen Drury (1918);
  3--Karl von Bonstetten (1745), Edwin Honig (1919), and Alison Luurie (1926);
  4--Phoebe Cary (1824), Antonin Artaud (1896), Mary Renault (1905), Richard Wright (1908), Paul Harvey (1918); 
  5--H. D. (Hilda Doolittle) (1886) and Frank Yerby (1916);
  6--Robert Pirsig (1928);
  7--Willem Bilderdijk (1756), Tristan Bernard (1866), Edith Sitwell (1887), and Taylor Caldwell (1900); 
  8--Ludovico Ariosto (1474), Siegfried Sassoon (1886), and Ann Beattie (1947);
  9--Clemens Brentano (1778), Leo Tolstoy (1828), and Mary Austin (1868); 
10--Giuseppe Gioacchino Belli (1791), Ian Fleming (1888), Georges Bataille (1897), Cyril Connolly (1903), and Brother Antonius (William Everson) (1912);
11--Joanna Baillie (1762), O. Henry (1862) and D. H. Lawrence (1885); 
12--Julien Auguste Pélage Brizeux (1803), H. L. Mencken (1880), Louis MacNeice (1907), and Michael Ondaatje (1943); 
13--Nicholaas Beets (1814), Otakar Brezina (Vaclav I. Jebavy) (1868), Sherwood Anderson (1876), John Malcolm Brinnin (1916), and Roald Dahl (1916);
14--Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa (1486) and Ivan Klima (1931); 
15--James Fenimore Cooper (1789), Petr Bezruc (Vladimir Vasek) (1867), Robert Benchley (1889), Agatha Christi (1890), and Claude McKay (1890); 
16--Thomas Barnes (1785), Orestes Augustus Brownson (1803), Gwen Bristow (1893), and Henry Louis Gates Jr. (1950); 
17--Émile Augier (1820), William Carlos Williams (1883), and Ken Kesey (1935);
19--William Golding (1911); 
20--Upton Sinclair (1878), Maxwell Perkins (1884), Stevie Smith (1902);
21--H. G. Wells (1866), Leonard Cohen (1934), Stephen King (1947); 
22--B. H. Brockes (1680), Irving Feldman (1928); 
23--William Archer (1856); 
24--William Evans Burton (1804), Ramón de Campoamor y Campoosorio (1817), and F. Scott Fitzgerald (1896); 
25--William Lisle Bowles (1762) and William Faulkner (1897); 
26--Irving Addison Bacheller (1859), T. S. Eliot (1888), and Jane Smiley (1949); 
27--Henri Frédéric Amiel (1821), William Empson (1906) and Jim Thompson (1906);

28--Rudolf Baumbach (1840) and Ellis Peters (1913);
30--Truman Capote (1924) and W.S. Merwin (1927).


Meetings of NFW are held at 2 p.m. on the second Saturday of each month in the meeting room of the Webb Westconnett Library (corner of 103rd Street and Harlow Boulevard). Check the website at for other information.

Sat., Sept. 9, 2 p.m.

Sat., Oct. 14, 2 p.m.

You may receive feedback from specific individuals by mailing the manuscript and return postage to the above address.

Past speakers have included novelists Jack Hunter, David Poyer, Page Edwards, Ruth Coe Chambers, William Kerr, Tom Lashley, Vic DiGenti, and Nate Tolar; poets, William Slaughter, Mary Baron, Mary Sue Koeppel, Dorothy Fletcher, George Gilpatrick; columnists Vic Smith, Tom Ivines, and Robert Blade; editors Buford Brinlee and Nan Ramey; agent Debbie Fine; magazine editor Sara Summers; medical writers Elizabeth Tate and Michael Pranzatelli; oral historian Robert Gentry; plus many others.


The Write Staff

Richard Levine, President (

Carrol Wolverton, Vice President (

Kathy Marsh, Secretary (

Howard Denson, Treasurer and newsletter editor (

Joel Young, Public Relations (

Doris Cass, Hospitality (

Presidents Emeritus:  Frank Green, Dan Murphy, Howard Denson, Nate Tolar, Joyce Davidson (, Margaret Gloag (, Richard Levine, Bob Alexander, Jo Ann Harter, Carrol Wolverton

Newsletter address: The Write Stuff, FCCJ North,
Box 21, 4501 Capper Rd., Jacksonville, FL 32218

Homepage address:

Homepage editor: Richard Levine

Submissions to the newsletter should generally be about writing or publishing. We pay in copies to the contributors, with modest compensation for postage and copying.


If you are writing a story or poem, you will need some expert feedback -- the sort that you will receive at a meeting of the North Florida Writers.

You won't profit from automatic praise that a close friend or relative might give or jealous criticism from others who may feel threatened by your writing.

The NFW specializes in CONSTRUCTIVE feedback that will enable your manuscript to stand on its own two feet and demand that it be accepted by an editor or agent. Hence, you need the NFW.

The North Florida Writers is a writer's best friend because we help members to rid manuscripts of defects and to identify when a work is exciting and captivating.

Membership is $15 for students, $25 for individuals, and $40 for a family. (Make out checks to WRITERS.)

Won't you join today?

The following is an application. Mail your check to WRITERS,
Box 21, FCCJ North, 4501 Capper Rd., Jacksonville, FL 32218.


St. address____________________________________

Apt. No. ______________________________________

City ________________State _____ Zip __________

E-mail address(es) ___________________________________


When you attend a meeting of the North Florida Writers, you eventually discover that NO ONE has ever died while his or her manuscript was being read and critiqued. You may be ready to face the ordeal yourself. . .or, reading this, you may wonder what exactly takes place during a critiquing.

First, you pitch your manuscript into a stack with others' works-in-progress. Then one of the NFW members hands out each piece to volunteer readers, taking care NOT to give you back your own manuscript to read.

Second, as the reading begins, each author is instructed NOT to identify himself or herself and especially NOT to explain or defend the work. The writer may never have heard the piece read aloud by another's voice, so the writer needs to focus on the sound of his or her sentences.

Third, at the finish of each selection, the NFW members try to offer constructive advice about how to make the story better. If a section was confusing or boring, that information may be helpful to the author.

The NFW will listen to 10 pages (double-spaced) of prose (usually a short story or a chapter).


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