1. John Rebell
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    John Rebell Member

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    And then there were...

    Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by John Rebell, Jan 1, 2015.

    Writers. Lot of them. Some who knew something, many who didn't. One's who had something to say, and many who repeated what others had said before them. The bond which held them together was the Word. Some came to the Word for pleasure, some as a burden, some as therapy, others as atonement. Some wrote as an addiction, others as a penance. Some, like me, because they simply couldn't do otherwise. All lived in solitude as that is the process and profession of writing. Many escaped by writing on a forum of like minded souls...

    My (Pen Name) is John Rebell. I write thrillers. I've written three 100K word novels so far. Some have been more successful than others. All are in the 4-5 star range on Amazon. None has made any bestseller lists nor won any awards. Maybe it was because I didn't bother with either one.

    I'm here because as a writer I wish the camaraderie of other writers. I hope to make friends, find collaborators, seek advice and give it, critique others as well as have my own work torn to shreds. (Oh, the thrill...not!) Be a smart-ass and nonconformist. Maybe piss a few people off, or have them piss me off with off-the-wall observations.

    I'm also a teacher, eLearning specialist, designer and consultant, and run my own day spa with my wife. All of which supports my writing. I'm 56 years old, look 45, and act like I'm 25. I have lots of vices, live in the Mid-West USA, lived all over the world, have a nine year old son, a Vietnamese wife, speak multiple languages, and an overly affectionate Lab/Chow/Wolf mix canine monster.

    That's who I am, and that's all I've got.

    Happy New Year and successful and productive 2015.
     
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  2. Hwaigon
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    Hwaigon Contributing Member Reviewer

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    Hello John, welcome.
    The first half of your post is better than the second :) It starts off like a fairy tale.
     
  3. John Rebell
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    John Rebell Member

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    :)
     
  4. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    That's funny, I responded better to the second half than the first. The first half seemed pretty dismissive (after all, many of us know nothing, and may or may not be just parroting what someone else has said before us).
     
  5. Hwaigon
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    Hwaigon Contributing Member Reviewer

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    I guess there's a lot in it of personal predispositions toward certain wording and what that wording entails in us...
    But yes, you're right on that one anyway.
     
  6. John Rebell
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    John Rebell Member

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    The first part wasn't meant to be that controversial, or dismissive, or anything else. It was an introduction. Which by definition means introducing who you are (see second part) and why you are here. (See first part) I wrote what first came into my mind. There wasn't a whole lot more thought to it than that, that went into it. Interesting to see all the different meanings and shades of meaning people are drawing from it though. ;) I'm liking this conversation already!

    But perhaps as an introduction (To my introduction!) the thoughts written in the first part came from my being a moderator/mentor on another forum which recently shut down. I was drawing on my experiences there, perhaps unfairly.

    "It starts off like a fairy tale."

    That's kinda cool. I'll take it as a compliment. Thanks.:)

    Also, thank you both for the welcome.
     
  7. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I also preferred the second half. The first half sounded a little pretentious - in that way I know a lot of teenagers do to make a joke and be friendly lol.

    The second half for me is interesting - a Vietnamese wife and you speak multiple languages? That's my kinda folk :D I'm British Chinese married to a Czech, but unfortunately I can't say I speak "multiple" languages. I wish. I'm only bilingual, as is my husband. What languages do you speak?
     
  8. John Rebell
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    John Rebell Member

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    "The second half for me is interesting - a Vietnamese wife and you speak multiple languages? That's my kinda folk :D I'm British Chinese married to a Czech, but unfortunately I can't say I speak "multiple" languages. I wish. I'm only bilingual, as is my husband. What languages do you speak?"

    Thai and Vietnamese, + a smattering of other languages I picked up along the way anyplace I spent an extended period. I lived in Thailand for several years as well as Vietnam for a couple years. Also lots of other places in between that caught my fancy or I met someone I felt like staying with. :) When I say "speak" I don't mean fluently. (Fluency entails reading and writing as well as speaking) but I mean I can get around in the language well enough to live among locals for extended periods of time. Not necessarily discuss religion or politics, but go to the market, give directions in a cab, carry on basic conversation, and keep myself out of trouble. I tend to pick up the patterns in language easily, I don't know why. I can usually extrapolate meaning from context or situation even if I don't understand the words themselves. I think most ex-pats can relate to that. I spent most of my life overseas, first in the Merchant Marines, then later returned to Asia after a business of mine collapsed in 1995 and ended up staying there. I came back to the US in 2008. I've been to Hong Kong and China (Multiple times) but never stayed in either place long enough to count. I'm still not comfortable living in the US and prefer overseas. I came back to a completely different country, not the one I grew up in, (Late 1960's-1970's) and still feel like a 'stranger in a strange land' here. In fact, I'm not sure if I understand the language here anymore. :) I'm thinking seriously about selling my house and businesses and semi-retiring to Mexico.
     
  9. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    If you can do basic conversation and get by amongst the locals, then I'd say you sure are good enough at the language for it to count! As long as you can communicate, that's all that matters anyway - it's the sole purpose of language. So I gather you can't write either Vietnamese or Thai then? Would you be interested? Esp Vietnamese, since they use the same roman alphabet these days anyway right?

    So what language do you speak in with your wife?

    I get you completely - somehow I think, the more places you've lived in, the less you are able to really "fit" or "belong" anywhere. I've not travelled as much as you have, but I was born in Hong Kong and then emigrated to the UK when I was 8, so England's home, basically. And for the past 4 years I've been living in Prague with my husband in the Czech Republic. You can't help comparing, remembering, sometimes preferring all the different ways, and other times you just want to share. But people who haven't been where you've been, they're rarely interested unfortunately.

    I know for myself, I could never live in a monocultural environment again. It'd be the end of me. The only place I've ever felt like I fitted in was in my international church, where basically our only common factors are religion and the fact that we all speak English, usually as a second language, or sometimes third language. It's awesome fun :D
     
  10. Amanda_Geisler
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    Amanda_Geisler Contributing Member Reviewer

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    I really loved this, it was a very colourful introduction and it made me laugh. The first bright point of my morning. With a colourful introduction like that I'm not surprised that you are 4-5 stars on amazon.

    I just read your pen name, and I recognised it... Then I remembered (Well, I looked it up) I read one of your books. Mia's Journey to be exact. That was slightly surprising, I read it early last year so I don't remember too much of it. So... Small world.
     
  11. John Rebell
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    John Rebell Member

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    "So I gather you can't write either Vietnamese or Thai then? Would you be interested? Esp Vietnamese, since they use the same roman alphabet these days anyway right?"
    Interesting comment. Yes, Vietnamese has a Roman alphabet with tonal transliterations. six different tones explained by what looks like punctuation marks above the letters. What's interesting (To me anyway) is that Vietnamese is easier to read and understand, than it is to speak or understand when spoken. I could read much better than I could understand the language when spoken to me. Thai is the exact opposite. Their writing is based on Sanskirt (I believe) and looks like Van Gogh having a bad day doodling. But they weren't so concerned with tone when speaking, so it was much easier to speak. Go figure.

    "So what language do you speak in with your wife?"
    We speak English at home. My son speaks all three languages as well as learning Spanish. He couldn't speak English at all when we moved back to the US in 2008. But he, of course, picked up English within months.

    "I get you completely - somehow I think, the more places you've lived in, the less you are able to really "fit" or "belong" anywhere."
    You have a point.

    "But people who haven't been where you've been, they're rarely interested unfortunately."
    True. But the experiences themselves make for some great fiction. :)

    "I know for myself, I could never live in a monocultural environment again. It'd be the end of me."
    Different cultures are interesting. I used to love going to different places, seeing different things, speaking different languages. I lived for it, and I was extreme risk taker. But I think I got old. It no longer had the appeal to me it once did. You start dreaming of your childhood foods and smells. (Seriously) For me, it was Tex-Mex food. I used to dream of eating tortillas. :) I missed Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream with something close to chronic pain. I knew it was time to go home.

    "Mia's Journey to be exact. That was slightly surprising, I read it early last year so I don't remember too much of it."
    Yeah, Mia's Journey, that's me. Talk about a book people either loved or hated, it was Mia's Journey. I wanted to try my hand at writing an erotic thriller. Mia's Journey was the result. I'm not sure if I pulled off erotic, but it was a thriller for sure. Most people "got it" surprisingly. It was a tough book to write and even now, I can't go back to some sections of it. I couldn't edit them either and outsourced it. I immersed myself in that world enough to write it, but even now it scares me. A couple of those characters came alive during the creation and seriously had actions and words completely of their own. It was a very intense writing experiment.
     
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  12. John Rebell
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    John Rebell Member

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    This is the one I like...

    "The Lost: 1st Draft, 30 Chapters, 78,300 Words- 2nd Draft, 0 Chapters, 0 Words"

    Talk about a good laugh. That pretty much sums up the truth of writing. :) I have a (More than) a few of those same manuscripts buried on my computer as well. As one of my collaborators said when we were discussing the same subject..."Good writing is never wasted even if you can't figure out how to make it work."
     
  13. Amanda_Geisler
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    Amanda_Geisler Contributing Member Reviewer

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    That is actually the second book. The three books in my signature are the series I am currently working on. I got about half way through book three and decided to make some revisions to book one The Stray (draft two) I have almost finished my revisions now, I am hoping to have them done in the next month or so, then I will move onto book two The Lost (draft two) that's the only reason I have listed it like that. After that I will probably need to ditch the first draft of book three, The Found, altogether.
     
  14. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Hi John. Always nice to see a new writer on the forum.
     
  15. 123456789
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    123456789 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Are you a linguist/psychologist/historian? That's quite a statement you got there.
     
  16. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Yes, let's have an academic debate. How dare I make casual statements on a forum of new members introductions without scholarly sources and footnotes!

    Feel free to debate to your heart's content. Have fun by yourself :agreed:
     
  17. John Rebell
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    John Rebell Member

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    @Amanda-You're lucky then. I have a draft right now, it's not 78K words, closer to 48K but the second time around and letting a couple of my beta readers see it, it became obvious it simply wasn't going to work. So I actually have a "First draft, 48K words, 26 chapters, second draft, chapters 0, words 0." I have been cannibalizing it instead. Using scenes and characters for other works. It was also supposed to be the second book in a series.
     
  18. John Rebell
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    John Rebell Member

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    "Hi John. Always nice to see a new writer on the forum."

    Thank you, Ginger. Nice to meet you too.
     
  19. Amanda_Geisler
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    Amanda_Geisler Contributing Member Reviewer

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    I had that. I say second draft, but really it's the second draft of this version of this story. I lost count of the amount of versions I've had (I believe it may be around ten), but there are different elements of all of them mixed into this one, and more. I've been working on this story for about seven years now. I really hope my next series doesn't take this long.
     
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  20. John Rebell
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    John Rebell Member

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    I do detailed outlines now so I very rarely have major reworks. (I learned that lesson) I know ahead of time if the plot line works or not. But like you, one version might be 4-6 revisions, including different endings or beginnings. Now I'm try to completely outline (general) chapter details to make sure each chapter does what it is supposed to do in terms of moving the story along. Then I edit ruthlessly. It looks like you do too.
     
  21. Amanda_Geisler
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    Amanda_Geisler Contributing Member Reviewer

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    I don't really outline, I don't like it, I may have an idea of where the story is heading but I like to be able to add things into the story line if I want to.
    My poor characters won't know what hit them when I come through and edit them :twisted: right now I know that there are plenty of grammar issues in my story but I can't spend time worrying about them, not if I ever want to finish. I then have my own beta readers who will tell me what they think about the storyline. Then my books will get roasted again before they go to my editor.

    It also doesn't help when I have another couple of series waiting in the wings just begging to be written. (*coughs* procrastination)
     
  22. John Rebell
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    John Rebell Member

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    I hear you. Interesting. My outlines are general enough it allows me plenty of creativity, but structured enough I don't go completely off on a tangent and end up writing 2 or 3 books at the same time within the same story. (Which was what happened) Sometimes characters come alive and start walking right off the stage into some other universe. I had one character from Mia's Journey who went all alpha male on me, demanding a book of his own. Which ended up being "Bad Karma." I had other characters who wanted to, but I kept them in line with the edits. :)
     
  23. Amanda_Geisler
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    Amanda_Geisler Contributing Member Reviewer

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    I have none of that. Just books and their characters demanding my attention. Right now they are just ideas that I have fleshed out, maybe written a first chapter to solidify the idea. But I cherish the books I have written in this series, because I know that as of fight now it is the best thing I have ever written, it still needs work, but I cherish it more then my waiting ideas. I think those other books and characters just want me to cherish them too (or at least get names for its characters).
     
  24. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    It's not so much that I like the experience of different cultures and foods that I prefer a multi-cultural environment, even though I do enjoy those things too. It's the fact that in such a group, there's no norm. There's no one way of thinking, or doing, or speaking, or doing that's simply the "right" or "acceptable" or "normal" way. Everyone takes an interest in each other, everyone forgives little offenses because sometimes it happens when you're reaching across cultures, everyone is aware to some extent of cultural differences and thus they have similar stories to share, similar understanding of certain situations, interesting or insightful opinions on belonging, on culture, on what is acceptable, on racism. In a potluck mix of people, you're actually far more likely to find something in common, I've found, when you yourself are bicultural.

    When I'm in England, even though my friends do not emphasise our differences, even though most of them don't even notice that there're even any differences - I feel it. I sense it. And that makes me feel out of place, just slightly, and amongst the English I'm very sensitive to this because I have a massive desire to fit in, to be one of them, to be considered English simply because this is where I grew up. But I'll never quite fit 100%. But in a mix of people from all over the place, I don't feel the difference because our common factor is our differences. By virtue of being different, I'm just like them. Does that make sense?

    I wonder where I'll miss when the time comes, what I'll miss. I honestly don't know. I can't say there's anything I really miss from anywhere these days - I used to miss Chinese and Japanese snacks/food a lot. These days every time I visit England, I go for Chinese dim sum :)

    Your son is trilingual? How come he didn't speak any English before the US? Did you only speak to him in Vietnamese? My listening comprehension of languages is in general my weakest skill, so I can totally understand what you mean about finding it hard to understand something when it's spoken! Tones can be a nightmare. My husband learnt long ago "char" is tea in Cantonese, and so when my dad stood up and said he's bringing a "char" for my mum, my husband thought he was gonna bring tea. But I said, "No. He's bringing a fork." lol :D The word for fork has a higher tone, but the article that precedes the noun is also an indication for what the object is, so for me it's pretty intuitive. But in the rush of spoken language, I guess it must be pretty difficult.
     
  25. Gigi_GNR
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    Gigi_GNR Guys, come on. WAFFLE-O. Contributor

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    Welcome.
     

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