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Dave White and Tim Wohlforth

Sunday, June 26, 2005


: Graham Powell
bquertermous: Bryon Quertermous
doghousemarlowe: Rob Kramer
dpwhite237: Dave White
g_so: Gerald So
timwohlforth2002: Tim Wohlforth

doghousemarlowe: Heya, Dave.

dpwhite237: Testing one, two, three.

g_so: Rob, questions for Dave?

dpwhite237: This is going to be a rollicking good time today.

doghousemarlowe: Well, was it, writing about Donne from the third person perspective? And do you plan on returning to that method again?

dpwhite237: Donne from the third person. Hmm. I learned what a terrible name he has. It seemed silly to me to write "Jackson Donne sat in a chair watching..." But I really liked writing from Bill Martin's perspective. It might happen again, it might not. I do like writing in 3rd person. (I had to re-read the story this morning to remember it was written from Martin's perspective.)

David White

g_so: Why do you say terrible name, Dave?

doghousemarlowe: I think it turned out well, without a doubt. And honestly, Jackson Donne ain't that bad a name at all.

dpwhite237: It seems funny to read "Jackson Donne." Maybe it's not terrible, but it's not terribly realistic or simple, either. I don't know, I guess writing it from 1st person for so long, seeing it jump out on the page like that seemed odd.

g_so: right, makes sense.

doghousemarlowe: I can understand. Speaking of bad names, though, Ray Banks pointed out Gerald Conlon was also the name of an Irishman who was charged with a bombing but later acquited. Kinda funny.

dpwhite237: Really? I think that makes it a great name.

g_so: The "I" seems similarly repetitive in first person.

dpwhite237: Yeah, it's kind of the same thing, Gerald. "I" keeps coming up and coming up in first person and that grates. So I think having a third person story with a character with a good name is ideal.

doghousemarlowe: Absolutely.

dpwhite237: Oh okay. Maybe [Ray will] show up today.

doghousemarlowe: Let's hope so, it'd be good to talk to him again.

g_so: There are ways to avoid too many I's.

dpwhite237: Yeah. Takes a lot of editing, to get it down, I think.

g_so: If you write from really closely you can work it like a camera view, with no intrusion.

dpwhite237: Yeah. I'm working on that as I revise PROMISES TO KEEP or as I go into revising the book anyway.

doghousemarlowe: That's something I'd like to try and mess around with. Also, could I ask one more question? Just kinda popped up.

dpwhite237: Sure, no one else is around yet.

doghousemarlowe: One more question: it's obvious "Reptile Smile" opened up a whole load of doors, like whether or not Jackson's fiance's death was an accident. Was any of that intentional, and do you plan on exploring those new avenues? Or have they already been addressed in "Promises to Keep?"

dpwhite237: They haven't been addressed yet. I liked opening up that door, making it a question, but I haven't really thought about where I'm going with it. The problem with the novel is it has to be honest with the short stories for it to work for me, but I think it has to read like a 1st novel because let's be honest, the majority of readers haven't read the short stories.

g_so: I see.

doghousemarlowe: Good point. Now what, exactly, is "Promises" about, or can you not go into that yet?

dpwhite237: Promises is about the death of one of Donne's friends (someone from a short story) and Donne trying to solve the murder (of course) while at the same time not really wanting to, and drugs.

doghousemarlowe: Sounds like a winner to me :-D

dpwhite237: I hope so. Got a long way to go still.

doghousemarlowe: Without a doubt. Good luck.

dpwhite237: Thanks.

dpwhite237: These things, always a late-rriving crowd.

g_so: Steady, Dave :)

dpwhite237: hahahaha. I just had to say it before the crowd shows up :-)

doghousemarlowe: lol, youse guys

g_so: what are you guys reading now?

dpwhite237: Gone for Good by Harlan Coben. Slowly.

bleekerbooks: Hello all.

doghousemarlowe: "Devil in a Blue Dress" by Walter Mosley. Heya, how goes it?

g_so: Hi, Graham.

dpwhite237: Powell, how ya doing?

bleekerbooks: This is Graham, who's that (doghouse)?

g_so: Rob Kramer, USAF.

doghousemarlowe: Pleasure to meet you.

bleekerbooks: Ah.

doghousemarlowe: lol, yup, USAF 48th Security Forces Squadron

bleekerbooks: So... what's up?

dpwhite237: Not much going on here. Answered a few questions for Mr. Kramer. How's the writing going?

bleekerbooks: Just sent off a story to Crime Scene last night.

dpwhite237: Cool.

bleekerbooks: Plus I'm still working on a novel.

g_so: Crime Scene Scotland?

dpwhite237: Ah yes. The dreaded novel.

bleekerbooks: Er, Crime Spree. Novel is tentatively "Crescent City Confidential".

doghousemarlowe: Awesome.

bleekerbooks: Going to make it to B'Con?

g_so: I'd like to, but probably not.

dpwhite237: I might. Gotta see how much cash I'm gonna have. I'd like to move out eventually.

bleekerbooks: Living with your parents is underrated.

dpwhite237: I know it is. And I have no problem with it, it's just... time, I guess.

g_so: Next year in Wisconsin I have a good shot.

bleekerbooks: Thanks to some good luck I think I will be able to go.

dpwhite237: Cool.

bleekerbooks: Wait, this year is Chicago, next year Wisconsin?

dpwhite237: This year is Chi-Town, next is the Cheese state.

g_so: yes. 2007 Alaska.

bleekerbooks: I wonder if AK will be well-attended.

g_so: someone must have thought so.

dpwhite237: I don't think I'll be in Alaska. Haaaaate to fly.

g_so: Are you driving to Chicago?

dpwhite237: No. I'll probably fly. It's a relatively short flight.

g_so: Graham, questions for Dave?

doghousemarlowe: Unfortunately, I don't know when I'll be able to attend a B-Con. Probably not till I'm out.

g_so: How long is your enlistment, Rob?

doghousemarlowe: Six years. I'll be done in November of 2010.

g_so: I see.

bleekerbooks: Dave, do you think "Reptile Smile" works better for readers who know Donne's history? Specifically, that his wife died?

dpwhite237: I think it works two ways. I was just talking about this with Rob actually. I wrote the story without really thinking about the implications of Jeanne's death at first. Just thought it would be cool if there was an attempt on her life. So, when people started to email me while knowing her history, I thought that's cool. I think people who don't know Donne that well can read the story as just a story. But I think it does add a different level for people who have read Donne and know what happened to Jeanne. Especially since it's really only mentioned in the first story.

bleekerbooks: How did she die, and is it mentioned in PROMISES TO KEEP.

g_so: car accident.

dpwhite237: I think it's mentioned in "God Bless the Child" and I know it's mentioned in PROMISES TO KEEP, but yeah. Drunk driver hit her.

g_so: What are you reading now, Graham?

bleekerbooks: I just finished Ray's THE BIG BLIND and I'm about to start Gischler's SUICIDE SQUEEZE, though I may cleanse my palate with some Nero Wolfe.

dpwhite237: The Big Blind, great book.

doghousemarlowe: Just ordered it, can't wait to get it.

g_so: I have a copy waiting for a free moment.

bleekerbooks: This summer I'm ordering Neil Smith's book, plus Rickards', and Jack Bludis' SHADOW OF THE DAHLIA.

dpwhite237: Neil Smith's is out?

doghousemarlowe: Shadow of the Dahlia is one I want to pick up. I'm like Ellroy when it comes to the Black Dahlia.

bleekerbooks: Not yet, I'm waiting impatiently.

dpwhite237: Graham, now that you asked that question, what did you think when reading Reptile Smile? Did it work for you?

bleekerbooks: Yes, I thought it was good, though I had a little trouble picturing Donne-as-I-knew-him as a corrupt cop. And I thought it read a bit like a middle chapter in something longer, but I think someone who'd never read one of your stories before could enjoy it.

dpwhite237: Cool. I think it is a middle chapter. I wanted to write about an younger Donne again, though I'm not sure when I will do that.

bleekerbooks: What was the other Donne the policeman story? In that one, I really liked how his partner, after all the action was over, hunted up their snitch and beat the hell out of him.

dpwhite237: A Darkness on the Edge of Town. I like Bill Martin a lot. bleekerbooks: That was a good character point.

g_so: Is he named after Billy Martin?

dpwhite237: Yeah. And his partner in Promises to Keep is Bob Richardson

bleekerbooks: So he's a cop in PROMISES?

dpwhite237: No. He's a PI, but Bill Martin is still around and is assigned to the same case that Donne is "hired" to solve.

doghousemarlowe: Ah, so they're gonna butt heads. That'll be interesting to see.

dpwhite237: Yeah, they kind of butt heads, but like I said Donne's not really sure he wants to solve the case, so he kind of stays away from Martin.

doghousemarlowe: Oh, okay, I see what you mean.

dpwhite237: I actually need to get busy re-reading the draft of the book. Not at the moment, that is, but this week.

g_so: I see.

bleekerbooks: Re-reading sucks. I cringe at every paragraph.

dpwhite237: That's what I'm afraid of. doghousemarlowe: Likewise. Which is why I was so disconcerted with "Colors". It's like...what were you thinking?

g_so: I try to distance myself enough so fixing it up doesn't bother me.

dpwhite237: I think the plot for the most part works, but the wording is off.

g_so: Reed Coleman said the other night that if you know which word is coming next, the story isn't fresh to you.

bleekerbooks: I disagree. I frequently work out a few passages in advance, then stick them in when I can.

g_so: It has to be new to you in order to sincerely revise.

bleekerbooks: Oh, I see. Well, he may have something there.

dpwhite237: I like that. It's kind of like Hemingway saying if he knew the ending ahead of time how could he expect the readers not to.

doghousemarlowe: Gives ya something to think about, that's for sure.

g_so: He was just talking about revising, not writing as first creation.

bleekerbooks: Gotcha.

dpwhite237: Reed is a cool guy with that stuff. Real helpful.

g_so: Hello, Tim.

dpwhite237: There he is. How are you Tim?

doghousemarlowe: Hey, Mr. Wohlforth, good to meet you.

bleekerbooks: Hi, Tim.

timwohlforth2002: Glad to be here. This is my first use of a chat room so hopefully it will go okay.

Tim Wohlforth

dpwhite237: Gerald is here to guide you along.

g_so: Questions for Tim, anyone?

dpwhite237: I got one.

bleekerbooks: Actually it's "Hello, I must be going," as I hear the baby crying. Catch you another time, Tim.

timwohlforth2002: Go ahead

dpwhite237: Tim, I just read "Blood Ties," and it's a good story, but I'd like to know more about Jim's real mother. Seemed like something for more a novel length story that just explored in a short story. And thoughts on expanding it?

timwohlforth2002: Yes. When I created Jim Wolf I modeled him in some ways after myself. I was also adopted. However, until this story I had not said that much about her. I concentrated on the effects of being adopted on shaping Wolf as an outsider. So this is my first attmept to bring the mother into the story. I have roughed out a third novel in my novel series and will incorporate and expand a bit on this story.

dpwhite237: Cool. I loved the set up and the dialogue. I was just surprised that you used a short story to delve into a big subject like that. Especially after seeing you have a novel out.

g_so: Interesting that the two most recent of Tim's stories I've read are "Port of Missing Men" about Wolf's father, and "Blood Ties," about Wolf's birth mother.

dpwhite237: I've read parts of Port, but not the whole thing. I need to re-read it.

doghousemarlowe: Likewise.

timwohlforth2002: One of the advantages of the short story form is that it allows you to explore almost any topic and then later perhaps either expand it into a novel or use it as a subplot. Yesterday afternoon I attened a "tea" (they only served coffee) with Laura Lippman. I mentioned this group by the way. She explained that her current stand alone novel "To the Power of Three" was a expansion of the short sotry she worte a while back for PWG.

dpwhite237: Oh the babysitter one.

dpwhite237: Gerald and I are going to meet up with Laura on Tuesday

g_so: I like the experimentation aspect of stories as well.

timwohlforth2002: Good. She is a very nice and interesting person. We also share in the MWA latest anthology and in a PWG anthology Dennis McMillan is putting out hopefully in time for B'con.

dpwhite237: She is a great person. I've met her before. Which story of yours is making the PWG antho?

timwohlforth2002: My first "Crip and Henrietta" story.

g_so: Jason Starr and Reed Coleman were signing the PWG anthology author page in proof the other night at Dead End Books on Long Island. Is that "Jesus Christ is Dead", Tim?

dpwhite237: Great title.

timwohlforth2002: It is a weird process but eventually some 200 of those sheets will come my way to sign. Laura said when she signed hers she signed way out in the margins and had to do it all over.

g_so: They mentioned that.

dpwhite237: Is it like the table of contents page you're signing?

timwohlforth2002: No, it is not "Jesus Christ Is Dead". It is my very first story in the series simply entitled "Crip and Henrietta." I wrote four stories aroud these character and Neil Smith published all of them.

g_so: I see.

timwohlforth2002: Laura said it is a blank page they later bind in the book. However, the sheet they give you is 8 1/2 by 11 and is then trimmed to fit the final book size. She was the very first to sign.

dpwhite237: oh okay cool. Charlie Stella's in the book too, right?

timwohlforth2002: In the PWG book, I believe so.

dpwhite237: Charlie, great guy.

g_so: yup.

timwohlforth2002: I have his how to set up a bookmaking guide. Could come in handy someday!

dpwhite237: So Tim, what's your favorite of your short stories?

timwohlforth2002: That's a hard one as my subjects vary so much. I happen to love the Crip stories, especially "The Farmer." And I must mention another Jim Wolf story in addition to the one we are discussing: "Port of Missing Men." which Thrilling published. And I have gotten a lot of mileage out of a very classic story "Killer Fog" purposely constructed as a kind of updated pastiche on the woman in raincoat emerging out of the fog syndrome.

dpwhite237: Cool. I've been seeing you've gotten some very good reactions to Port of Missing Men.

timwohlforth2002: I might mention that I see that story as a kind of companion to the "Blood Ties" one. It is going into the same book. I also is based a bit on my own background. the town is the town I grew up in. The father somewhat liked by adopted father. The old bar ci based on a childhood memory of an actual burned down speakeasy isolated way in on a hill.

g_so: I see, it's neat to be able to spin life experience into stories.

doghousemarlowe: Definitely.

dpwhite237: Yeah. That's something I've been able to do in my stories as well. Take a few things that I've seen or experienced, throw them in there. Though not too much in "Reptile Smile."

timwohlforth2002: You don't work for the police department in some not to be mentioend city somewhere, I hope!

dpwhite237: No, I'm a schoolteacher.

timwohlforth2002: Good choice of careers. Keep you straight and norrow. Great story by the way!

dpwhite237: Thanks, I'm glad you liked it. I enjoyed yours too. Good pacing.

doghousemarlowe: Absolutely, I enjoyed both.

g_so: Tim, a question from Aldo Calcagno: Will you be touring L.A. with your next novel?

timwohlforth2002: Yes, I plan to. I shouod have done it with the current one. But now I have a few more contacts there.

dpwhite237: cool

g_so: Hi, Bryon.

bquertermous: Let's get it on, boys.

dpwhite237: Oh boy, Bryon's here.

doghousemarlowe: Hey, Mr. Quertermous.

bquertermous: and who would you be, Mr. Marlowe?

dpwhite237: It's Kramer, man. Kramer!

g_so: Rob Kramer, USAF.

doghousemarlowe: Yup, that'd be me.

dpwhite237: Ya know, for someone who was going to make this the "Bryon" chat, you sure showed up rather late.

bquertermous: oh man, you're bringing your own groupies now, Dave?

dpwhite237: hahahaha.

g_so: Tim, questions for Dave?

bquertermous: well obviously this isn't the Bryon chat, there'd be a ton more people

doghousemarlowe: You guys are a riot, lol.

bquertermous: you should see us when we really get rolling

dpwhite237: Yeah, we're just warming up.

doghousemarlowe: Hoo boy...this'll be good.

bquertermous: so what are we talking about?

g_so: Tim's and Dave's stories.

timwohlforth2002: I liked the way you plotted it. Did you start out with the Reptile guy as your set up and wing it.? Or did you plot it out first?

dpwhite237: I started basically with Bill Martin. He'd appeared in another story I had written and I wanted to know more about him, so basically the story grew out of writing from his POV and from the name Lyle Brockington, which is the opening line of the story. After that I kind of winged it. (Martin's the reptile guy)

timwohlforth2002: Martin is a great character.

dpwhite237: Thanks. I like him. He'll be back in some shape or another.

bquertermous: ?

doghousemarlowe: I agree. Looking forward to seeing him again.

g_so: go ahead, Bryon. bquertermous: Have any of you ever considered working in hypermedia or interactive fiction?

dpwhite237: Nah. Too many links to fill out. I guess the blogs are hypermedia.

timwohlforth2002: Not me. I have enough trouble with the printed page.

g_so: It seems an interesting field. Maybe to dabble in.

bquertermous: Ludite Losers

dpwhite237: Ludite?

g_so: You misspelled that, Bryon. :)

bquertermous: two ds?

dpwhite237: The editor smacketh downeth.

g_so: yes, two ds.

timwohlforth2002: You are no doubt right. An idea came up at one of othe short story panels I was on. That is how best to get short mysteries into iPods where the ears of the younger nation are? Any ideas?

bquertermous: you're an English teacher Dave and you don't know what a Luddite is?

dpwhite237: I'd have to look it up. Tim, one of my stories is up on Thrilling Detective as an mp3 file. It's a start. I don't know exactly how to get them out there, but you gotta make them first.

bquertermous: I think the best venue to get younger kids into mysteries is through video games.

dpwhite237: That's an interesting point, too.

g_so: I think once audiobooks are formatted in mp3, a new audience will open up. Here's a question for Dave and Tim: How did you become interested in writing originally?

dpwhite237: I've always been into telling stories. I wrote a Sherlock Holmes story when I was in fourth grade. I used to draw my own comic books. In college I was reading Chandler and Lew Archer novels and thinking I should try this. And once I got my first short story in Thrilling I was hooked

. timwohlforth2002: I had written non-ficton for many years off an on. But, my entire life I'm one of those people who entertained myself with storytelling in my head. You see them walking down the street and bump;ing into lanmp posts! So one I ventured into fiction about ten years ago I have loved every minute of it.

g_so: I know the feeling.

bquertermous: Every minute? Ha, that's BS.

dpwhite237: I bump into lamp posts often. But usually it's not because I'm telling stories in my head, I'm just clumsy.

g_so: Jaded much, Bryon?

dpwhite237: ha!

timwohlforth2002: Alright I don't love the rejection letters. But I do love rewrite as much as writing.

bquertermous: I'm with you on that Tim

doghousemarlowe: Likewise. bquertermous: rewriting is where I really like to get dirty with the writing if you will

g_so: I used to dislike rewriting because I wanted to get it right the first time. Once I realized that wasn't possible, I saw writing and rewriting as continuous. It's all part of one process.

timwohlforth2002: Sometimes my best writing comes when I find a word that's a cliche and try another work around or a scene that's not living, a setting lacking detail. And off I go.

dpwhite237: I like re-working a scene, going back and changing it up just a bit and watching the ripples. How it changes the rest of the story.

bquertermous: so true, so true...

g_so: I see.

bquertermous: ?

g_so: Go ahead, Bryon.

dpwhite237: ha! I love that he's following the rules.

bquertermous: shut up, Dave. Its only because John and Sarah aren't here riling me up, you ignorant bastard.

doghousemarlowe: we go.

g_so: Your question, Bryon?

bquertermous: oh right bquertermous: is there a project you'd like to work on in the future you don't think you're ready for yet?

g_so: This is for both Tim and Dave?

bquertermous: for everybody really

g_so: ok.

dpwhite237: I can answer that. I'm not ready for that big standalone crime novel. Not Mystic River or Every Secret Thing (I'm not sure I'll ever be ready for that) but just the novel that doesn't have a clear cut hero, lots of characters, lots of motivations. I'm not ready for that yet.

timwohlforth2002: I have been playing with the thought of building a novel out of my Crip stories. But these stories work so well as shorts I feeling is they would work better as a collection or shall wee say a bhidden collection with some connecting tissue like the Hit Man series. Whast do you all think?

g_so: Interesting, Tim. I can definitely see where you don't want to fiddle too much with what works.

timwohlforth2002: I would agree with David on the big stand alone. I am just not into writing really long books.

dpwhite237: I'm having enough trouble with one point of view.

timwohlforth2002: I have found muliple POV comes easy. Actually in many ways easier than single. Give it a try.

dpwhite237: I'm going to have to, maybe after I get a few Donne novels under my belt.

g_so: For me it's a novel in the first place. I see myself writing one or two eventually, but right now my mind is on short stories and poetry.

dpwhite237: How come, Gerald? If you dont' mind me asking.

g_so: how come what?

dpwhite237: How come you don't think you're ready for a novel yet?

g_so: Well, I don't know if I have the right idea, which is difficult to determine never having written a novel before.

bquertermous: seriously, if Dave can write one then anyone can write one.

dpwhite237: And Gerald, I think a lot of short stories have a lot of meat in them for a novel. Just need a few more characters usually. If I can do it--well Bryon already said it.

g_so: I'd like to get a better handle on how to expand a story. I need to read more novels of the type I'd like to write. That's another thing; I'm not sure the type of novel I want to write, either.

timwohlforth2002: I have just completed a novel based on a young TV crime reporter named Bivtorias Renard. I wrote three SSs. I took these, added a literary sotry I had written and came up with only 21m words. I was not sure it would make novel length. But it did. so my advice is give it a try and see where it leads.

dpwhite237: That makes sense. Short stories seem to hone the focus for a lot of writers.

g_so: Hmm. I did attempt a novel in college that was highly derivative but did seem to have enough story.

dpwhite237: I'd say just write it and then go back and revise.

timwohlforth2002: So you can do it

! bquertermous: go gerald, you can doo it

dpwhite237: damn Quertermous beat me to it.

bquertermous: boo ya

doghousemarlowe: Same here, that seems to be a big catch phrase here in the service.

dpwhite237: boo yah or you can doo it?

doghousemarlowe: You can doo it. The whole Starsky & Hutch thing. You should see us at the enlisted club.

g_so: It was about a pizza chef who goes back to his high school reunion, meets his old flame and her husband, his old rival, and later he is accused of poisoning the husband's food. (i.e. murdering him.).

dpwhite237: Ah nice.

doghousemarlowe: Good stuff.

dpwhite237: I think you can do something with that Gerald. Definitely.

timwohlforth2002: Use fresh cheese!

doghousemarlowe: Absolutely. Good idea.

g_so: I think it would be a standalone. Originally it was too much like Spenser. I have to redo all the characters.

dpwhite237: Get to it, good sir. What have you got to lose?

timwohlforth2002: As we said rewrite's fun

g_so: we'll see. It's definitely on my mind.

dpwhite237: And if all else fails you can get yourself into a cage match with Jim Winter.

bquertermous: every first novel these days is derrivative of Spenser, its a right of passage

g_so: years ago, I don't know many protags as well as I knew Spenser, so it bled through.

dpwhite237: you say Pizza chef, I think Under Siege.

g_so: "I'm just a cook."

dpwhite: And if you want to see a Spenser Derivative read the first chapter of Lunchbox Hero.

doghousemarlowe: I'm dyin' to read that book, by the way. First two chapters were killer. Almost like an idea I had for a while, still kinda fleshing it out.

bquertermous: Lunchbox is Elvis Cole derivative, Promises to Keep is Spenser derivative Keep it straight, boy.

dpwhite237: I'll take Spenser big time.

g_so: You're still working on rewrites of the novel, right, Bryon?

bquertermous: nope, it's off with an agent right now and to a judge for the SMP/PWA contest

g_so: oh, I see.

dpwhite237: wow. I never even got an entry form back from them...

bquertermous: they could smell the crap on you.

dpwhite237: Probably. They had seen you read a draft.

g_so: About to wrap up, any more questions, anyone?

doghousemarlowe: Nope, that about does it for me.

bquertermous: yeah, who invited Dave?

dpwhite237: how clever

g_so: whoever voted for his story, Bryon.

bquertermous: I'd like to see the results of that vote, Gerald

timwohlforth2002: Enjoyed it. My first chat.

dpwhite237: It was a good time. Thanks Gerald. Good to talk to you Tim.

g_so: Glad you had a good time, Tim. Good talking with you.

doghousemarlowe: Likewise, thanks a lot, everyone. Good to talk to you Mr. Wohlforth, and as always, a pleasure Dave. Good to finally meet you, Mr. Q.


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Describe your story in up to 20 words.

A man in love gives up smoking and discovers his best friend cannot be trusted.

What were the most difficult and most enjoyable parts of writing the story?

Difficult: telling a story in 750 words. Enjoyable: telling a story in 750 words. Flash fiction is fun and challenging, especially for someone who started writin…