Writing and Creative Quotes from Babylon 5

I’ve recently become a fan of the science fiction show, Babylon 5.   As I head into the middle of the third season,  I strongly recommend this show to anyone who loves complex, three-dimensional characters, deep storylines, with dashes of quirky humor thrown in.

This wonderful site:  http://www.midwinter.com/lurk/lurker.html has interviews with the show’s creator and main writer, Michael Straczynski, after each episode.

Here are some quotes from Mr. Straczynski:

1 Would it be fair to compare Cagney and Lacey with NYPD Blue? After all, they’re both cop shows. But in fact, they’re not the same kind of cop show; they share the same genre, but there ends the overlap. The two shows are distinct, separate entities, just as Harlan Ellison’s work is distinct from Bill Gibson’s work, even though both incorporate elements of SF.

The ST pilot existed in its own universe, and was primarily an action show. The B5 pilot exists in its own universe, and primarily sets the stage for a political mystery/intrigue series. It wasn’t meant to serve the same functions as the ST pilot.

It seems to me that many SF fans continue to compare everything to ST because that’s their primary frame of reference, and they continue to apply it whether it’s relevant or not. My suggestion…get another frame of reference.

2. What the soul was, who’s right, and even whether this is SF or Science Fantasy, was it explained enough to merit one over the other … how can I put this…? I don’t want to spoon-feed stuff to people. What I want is not to hit someone with a MORAL, or a message, or “This is what a soul is,” or “This is what makes it an SF series,” I want to start discussions. Arguments. Preferably a bar fight or two.

We present an issue. Here are the sides. Now…what do YOU think about it? I want this show to ask, “Who are you? Where are you going?”

3.  I confess I don’t see the problem. In real life, some women are scientists, and doctors, and atheletes…and some women dance in bars, some women hook part- or full-time. Some men are scholars and diplomats and teachers…and some men are gigolos and thieves and *also* dance in bars. Where exactly is the problem in portraying both sides of this? Have we become so concerned with being politically correct that we can not show a legitimate part of human existence?

4.  Correct; the title of “The War Prayer” is a nod to Twain’s piece of the same name, which should be read by *everyone*. Given the growing problems with illiteracy, I try to refer not to pop society so much, as to literature…Tennyson, Twain, even writers whose last names don’t begin with T.

5.  Re: B5’s roster of strong women characters…this is something of a bugaboo/obsession with me. I *love* writing strong women. (For that matter, I love strong-willed, independent, smart women in real life as well; I love being outsmarted, love it when someone can go toe-to- toe with me on something.) Generally, and this isn’t entirely intentional, women on shows I work on tend to get some of the best lines, as is often the case with Ivanova. It’s not a case of being “one of the boys,” but being one of the *people*. There’s a subtle difference.

6. You don’t think that “Believers” was SF. Tough.

No, it didn’t have warp gates, or tachyon emitters, or lots of technobabble…it was about people. And the dilemmas they face.

Part of what has screwed up so much of SF-TV is this sense that you must utterly divorce yourself from current issues, from current problems, from taking on issues of today and extrapolating them into the future, by way of aliens or SF constructs. And that is *precisely* why so much of contemporary SF-TV is barren and lifeless and irrelevant…and *precisely* why such series as the original Star Trek, and Outer Limits, and Twilight Zone are with us today.

Like Rod Serling and Gene Roddenberry and Joe Stefano and Reginald Rose and Arch Oboler and Norman Corwin and a bunch of other writers whose typewriters I’m not fit to touch, my goal in part is to simply tell good stories within an SF setting. And by SF I mean speculative fiction, which sometimes touches on hard-SF aspects, and sometimes doesn’t. Speculative fiction means you look at how society changes, how cultures interact with one another, how belief systems come into conflict. And as someone else here noted recently, anthropology and sociology are also sciences; soft sciences, to be sure, but sciences nonetheless.

7.  A lot of our episodes are constructed to work as mirrors; you see what you put into it. “Believers” has been interpreted as pro- religion, anti-religion, and religion-neutral…”Quality” has been interpreted, as you note, as pro-capital punishment, and anti-capital punishment. We do, as you say, much prefer to leave the decision on what things mean to the viewer to hash out.

  • A good story should provoke discussion, debate, argument…and the occasional bar fight. The thing about “Believers” is that, really, nobody’s right, and in their own way, from their point of view, everybody’s right.
  • 8.  Sometimes, there are no-win scenarios. And what matters then is how your characters react, what they do and say, and how it affects them.

    9.  The choice *had* to be either/or. That was the point; to put the characters in a situation of conflict and see how they handle it. Sometimes in life there are ONLY two choices, neither of them good. Your message comes from a position of trying to avoid the hard choices. But the episode is ABOUT hard choices. It *has* to be either/or.

    10.  You have an introduction, a rising action, a climax, and then a denouement. Aside from experimental theater kinds of things, that is the basic underlying structure to all movies, plays and television series.

    “Twin Peaks,” which you cite, really isn’t a very good example because, in my view, TP *never* resolved ANYthing. Thus it became an exercise in viewer frustration that eventually was a major reason why the show was canceled.

    11.  I like humor. I like that characters can show another side of themselves. If there is any real test of sentience, one of them must surely be the possession of a sense of humor, since it requires self reflection. And there is always unintentional (on the part of the character, at least) humor.

    SF-TV has generally taken itself either too seriously, with rods up butts, the humor forced…or it’s not taken itself seriously at ALL, and gone campy. This show takes itself seriously, but not in quite a way that lets it fit in either category.

    For me, as a viewer, I enjoy the shows that are roller-coasters, that take you from something very funny…and slam you headfirst into a very dramatic scene. Hill Street was like that, Picket Fences is like that now…why not SF? I’ve also found that humor can help you reveal things about the characters. The Londo/G’Kar scene at the elevator in “Signs and Portents,” for instance. It says something about both of them without coming out and *saying* it.

    12. Ivanova is jewish. Ivanova is russian. Of the two, she tends to see herself as a russian first. There’s no value statement there, that’s just the way she is. Her parents were both russian, going back many generations on both sides. Some in her family tree were jewish, and some were not; there was some intermarrying. That may be part of why she sees herself as more russian than jewish, but it may be just a quirk.

    (And to the protest of, “Well, you created her,” yes, I did. But there comes a time, if you’ve done your job right as a writer, when the character more or less takes over, and starts telling YOU who and what he or she is. There are times I mentally turn to Ivanova and say, “Okay, what do *you* think?” And she talks to me in my head, as do all of my characters. It’s part of making your characters real.) 

    ….The problem with this discussion is that it has very little to do with who Susan Ivanova *is*, and more to do with the politics of what a russian or a jew or a russian jew *should be*. She is what she is, like it or not.

    13.    Someone complains about the characters not staying the same

    Losing the characters she’s come to enjoy? No. But the characters are changing. That’s the point, and that’s been the intent from day one. But what’s the alternative? I’ve heard ST fans complain loudly and bitterly that after 7 years of TNG being on the air, nobody’s really changed, nobody’s been promoted into different ships or major changes in responsibilities…they’ve had Riker as XO for seven years, which in the real military would mean his career is *over*.

    Change is the only other option.

    The goal, from the start, was to create an overall story, but which would also require arcs for every single major character. They’re all going somewhere. In many cases, that “somewhere” plays into the larger arc; in some cases, not. If a woman is single, then gets married, then gives birth, and she’s your friend, have you “lost her” just because she’s gone through these changes? Of course not. She has changed, in good or bad ways, but she’s still the same person.

     14.  Re: being fooled into thinking the crystal construct in Delenn’s quarters was nothing more than a meditation thing…in general, it helps to remember that I subscribe to Anton Chekov’s First Rule of Playwriting: “If there’s a gun on the wall in act one, scene one, you must fire the gun by act three, scene two. If you fire a gun in act three, scene two, you must see the gun on the wall in act one, scene one.”Waste nothing.

     15.  Obviously, clearly, and irrefutably, an actor brings a *lot* to any role. No question. But it tends to begin with what is created. I’ve seen it said here, repeatedly, that none of the characters are uninteresting; they all have lives, and agendas, that make them fascinating to watch: Londo, Morden, G’Kar, Delenn, Garibaldi, Ivanova…what those characters are came out of my head, in terms of who tey are, what they say, what they believe, where they came from and where they’re going. Why would I invent a new character that was any less involving, or interesting, or multifaceted? Particularly knowing that he’s going to be a central character?

  • 16.  Tom: the quibble you raise is one of the points I’m trying to make. You say someone from 1890 would go crazy. I vehemently don’t agree. Go back and read letters from the 1890s. Heck, go read letters from 1776; the language, the emotions, they’re all very much the same. The chrome of technology has changed, some social styles and attitudes have changed, but people still go through school (usually), get married, raise kids, hold jobs, and look to a better future one day.

  • 17.  The only way to make a viewer feel a character’s pain is if you feel it in the writing, and a lot of that came through. I live with these characters running around in my head 24 hours a day…and when I’d finally finished “Shadows,” it was as if they all sorta stopped and looked at each other, and at me, and said, “Gee, thank you EVER so fucking much, jeezus, why don’t you just go pluck somebody’s eye out while you’re at it?”To which the only reply is, “Now that you mention it….”

  • 18.  Things you don’t expect to happen…that’s kind of one aspect I was after here. By way of comparison….
  • There’s one great thing about The Shining, despite some other flaws in the film: they set up Scatman Cruthers (sp?) as the one guy who understands what’s going on…he gets the Shining, he’s a potentially heroic character, and when all hell breaks loose, he’s the one to get into the snow plow, cross terrible weather, we’re all sure he’s going to get there and fight the menace… he overcomes weather and nonsense to get there… he blows through the front door, ready for action… and gets an axe in the middle of his chest and dies.I *loved* that, and always kinda wanted to something of that nature, where you set someone up to be that kind of character, the future, whatever, then you yank it back and let the audience say, Oh, hell, NOW what?
  • Because stuff happens. Because rocketry was the hope of the German Luftwaffe to win the war. Didn’t work out that way. Just because a character says it, doesn’t mean that it’s guaranteed to happen at all times. A parent can look at a child and say, “He’s our hope for the future,” and the next day the kid gets turfed by a semi-truck. Stuff happens. Nothing is guaranteed in the B5 universe; any character — ANY character — is vulnerable. That, for me, is part of what’s exciting.
  • There’s no rule that every person who is hoped to help solve the problem in real life is gonna make it to the end or BE that solution. So if you delete that person, now it’s “Oh, hell, NOW what’re they gonna do?” which is more intrinsically interesting to me than the other option.Generally speaking, about once a year, toward the end of the year, I kinda look around at the characters with a loaded gun in my hand, and say, “Hmmm…if I take out *that* person, what happens? Is there anyone here I can afford to lose? Would it be more dramatically interesting to have this person alive, or dead? What is the absolute bare minimum of characters I need to get to the end of the story and achieve what I have to achieve?”

  • 19.    RE: alternate lifestyles…I said when stuff happened, we wouldn’t make a big deal out of it, it’d just be there…and I said we’d address it in our own way, in our own time. We’ve done a bit here, we’ll do a bit more down the road. I won’t give you or anyone a timetable; I’ll do stuff as the integrity of the story permits, not sooner, not later. I will not allow this to become a political football. If you do nothing, folks yell at you for ignoring it; if you do a little, they yell for not doing more; if you do more, they yell for not doing it sooner. Screw it. I do what the story calls for, as the story calls for it.
  • Susan and Talia had been dancing around one another for months; that night, though, would’ve been the first time they got physically intimate. 
  • See, here’s where I start to have a problem. For starters, I don’t do any thing to be politically correct, or politically incorrect, I do what I do in any story because that’s what the story points me toward. Anybody who says “It’s not necessary” isn’t entitled to that judgement, frankly; you don’t know what’s necessary to the story. And by framing it in the “is this NECESSARY?” way is designed to make you defend your position when such defense isn’t the point; is it NECESSARY to have humor? to have a romance? to have correct science? No, *nothing* is NECESSARY. It’s what the writer feels is right for that scene, that story, that character.
  •  20.  one of the most consistent comments I get, in email and regular mail, is the spirituality conveyed in the show, that we have shown, and will continue to show, tolerance toward religion, even created sympathetic religious characters. “Thank you for your tolerance,” they say…until we show somebody or some action THEY don’t like…and at that point suddenly it’s a lot of tsk-tsking and chest thumping and disapproval; so okay, how about I just stop all positive religious aspects of the show?

    It seems to me, that if I do *all that* with religion, and with thje (the) simple act of showing maybe ONE PERSON in all the long history of TV science fiction across 40 years has a different view of life, that the show is somehow degraded, or downgraded, or dropped in opinion…this simply reinforces the notion, held by many, that a lot of folks in the religious right wish to make sure no other perspective or lifestyle is ever shown on television, at any time, unless in a negative fashion.

    The thing of it is, while on the one hand I’m getting praise from religious folks for addressing spirituality in my series (speaking here as an atheist), I’ve gotten flack from others who think it has no place in a SCIENCE fiction series, and why the hell am I putting something in that goes right against my own beliefs? *“Because,” I tell them, “this show is not about reflecting my beliefs, or yours, or somebody else’s, it’s about telling this story, about these people, with as much honesty and integrity as I can summon up. That means conceding the fact that religious people are going to be around 260 years from now.” Well, fact is, all kinds of people are going to be around 260 years from now. And what did the anti-religion folks say specifically about including spirituality in my series? “It’s not *necessary*,” they said.

    Translation: they didn’t like it. Well, tough. It was right for this story, and this show. And it seems to me rather hypocritical for some folks, who applaud the show for tolerance, for my standing up to those who want to exclude religion from TV, to then turn around and say the show is diminished because it showed that same tolerance…to another group or perspective. I guess tolerance is only okay as long as it’s pointed one way.

    My job is not to reinforce your personal political, social or religious beliefs. My job is not to reinforce MY personal political, social or religious beliefs. Then it isn’t art or storytelling anymore, it’s simply propaganda. My job is to tell this story, about these people, AS people, as mixed and varied as they are today. And there is no outside objective criteria as to what is, or isn’t *necessary* in a story; that is the sole province of the author. You may or may not like it. You may or may not choose to watch it.

    * bolding mine.   Since it goes along with my number one rule:  be true to the characters and their story


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    37 CommentsLeave a comment

    1. I don’t watch TV at all except for NBA games. (Okay, does following American Idol on websites count??) So I do not know this show, but I enjoyed learning about good storytelling from this highlights-post!

    2. Hey Jewel,

      Glad you enjoyed reading the quotes. Even though he’s a script writer, I thought they were great for any fiction writing medium.

    3. JMS is one of the best writers out there and B5 is by far one of the best sci-fi shows to date. He showed American audiences what a real sci-fi show should be like.

      “(And to the protest of, “Well, you created her,” yes, I did. But there comes a time, if you’ve done your job right as a writer, when the character more or less takes over, and starts telling YOU who and what he or she is. There are times I mentally turn to Ivanova and say, “Okay, what do *you* think?” And she talks to me in my head, as do all of my characters. It’s part of making your characters real.) ”

      Truer words were never written about writing.

    4. Hey Ralfast,

      Glad to hear from another fan. Half-way through the series, and I’m already filing it under all-time favorites. (along with my beloved Farscape)

      I’m surprised at myself for not having watched it when it originally aired- but it’s great to have something *new* to watch.

      oh, and hell yeah regarding the character quote!

    5. You may have problems with some of the later episodes. He borrows heavily from Tolkien, and it’s painfully obvious. It really irritated me. I’m not a JMS worshipper, I don’t think he’s particularly visionary. There were some good episodes, but I think he backed away from some concepts and topics that could have gone much deeper. I don’t know if he was under pressure to keep the show light and less dramatic, but I think it suffered for it.

    6. Hey Astro Sis,

      Well, to be fair, Tolkien borrowed heavily from other sources for LOTR. We all borrow and get inspired from other things.

      I am sorry to hear that (you think) he backed away from certain topics, because I love that, thus far, he hasn’t. I’m hoping that I end up disagreeing with you. (I’d hate to end up disappointed in the show!)

      I’d love to hear more of your opinion on what worked/didn’t work for you- but I don’t want to spoil others or myself. When I’m done with the series, I’ll drop you a line.

    7. He was forced to crunch down on some storyline (I won’t spoiled them for you Tasha)but that was because in the changing of stations Warner Brother’s almost canceled the last season. Still considering the time, the budget and bouncing between two television networks, it worked better than could have been hoped for.

    8. Thanks Ralfast for that info. I’m really looking forward to viewing the end of the series, (plus the movies) and getting my own opinion on the matter.

    9. Oh sure, Tolkien borrowed from Njal’s Saga, and other Norse mythology, which Wagner had done before him. I won’t get into it all now, but there is just SO MUCH Tolkien in later episodes. To me, at least, it started to feel like fan fiction.

    10. But aren’t the characters still written from what you know? Even if they are pure works of fiction they are still works of fiction in your world, defined by your awareness, your consciousness, your insights and intellect whether you realize it or not. That is why no two books are alike because no two people are exactly alike.

      I believe in writing authenticity but it is also important to realize that it is still your version of authenticity and always will be. Almost every blog I come across it seems someone, whether they are writers or food critics or personal bloggers, sooner or later talks about authenticity and I always wonder the same thing. What is truth to you? There are very few universal truths in the world and none that apply to human beings and our experiences as such.

      Sorry, I don’t mean to hijack the conversation away from discussion of the show and quotes. It sounds fascinating. I am not a huge sci-fi fan but you make it sound like much more.

    11. Interesting post! I think there can be a healthy balance between the “borrowed types” and making them your own.

    12. Hey D D AKA Astro Sis,

      You’ve gotten me very intrigued. You and I tend to have such similar tastes it will be interesting to see how our opinion matches or differs on this once I’m done watching it.

    13. Hey Venus,

      No worries. You’re not derailing the thread. Your question is interesting- and a good conversation is a good conversation. 🙂

      I’ve always believed in being truthful to the characters, which is why I included JMS’s quotes on the subject.

      I agree with you that there are few universal truths. When writers talk about being truthful, they mean being truthful to individual characters and individual stories.

      I do that by allowing my characters simply to be themselves. They may or may not do the same thing I would do in a situation. They may do things I would never do. They may not do things that I would do.

      Ex: Let’s pretend I never swear in real life. (I do, this is a fake example)But pretend that I find swearing to be very crass and vulgar. I am writing a story. Suddenly, my character starts swearing. Turns out she’s a piss and vinegar type gal. If I cut out her swearing because I’M against it, then I am not being truthful to the character, because SHE swears, and does not find it crass or vulgar.

      In that same vein, JMS was truthful to his characters. He, as he noted, is an atheist. Some of his characters on the show were deeply spiritual. He was truthful to who *they* were.

    14. Hey Colby,

      Very true. The “borrowed idea or theme” should be the starting point. Not the whole thing, otherwise it’s just a pale copy of the original.

    15. Thanks Gypsy, for that detailed reply. I don’t doubt that it is possible to write characters that are different from you. I believe it is and, frankly, I enjoy writing them more than a character who may be similar to me. But, that wasn’t so much my point as that even if you are making your characters different from who you are they are still going to be defined by your knowledge of the world. e.g. In your example if someone else was writing the same character the character may swear differently or use a word that doesn’t exist in your vocabulary because you never came across it or react in a way that’s different from any of the options you considered. That’s what I meant.

      Whenever I read multiple works of fiction by the same author I notice the similarities as much as the different story lines. I don’t mean similarities in language but in the way characters behave in more than one book. Say, Of Human Bondage and The Razor’s Edge. The leads are both searching for transcendance, one in a very simple way in everyday life, other in a more obvious spiritual way, but the characters have that common strain. I have noticed the same thing in almost every author’s writing. Jane Austen for example. Emma may be different from Elizabeth Bennett who is again different from Anne Eliot. But, Emma and Elizabeth share a headstrong nature while Anne has Elizabeth’s keen intellect mixed with Jane’s reserve.

      While we can make the characters as real as possible can we ever write characters we do not know? We can’t simply because what we don’t know is what we don’t know. So there are going to be characters who are real and honest based on our knowledge and research but if they were to jump off the pages of the book they may do and say things we will never think of.

    16. Talking of borrowing, you should check the TVTropes Wiki. Breaks down a lot of tropes from TV, Movies and Books, with funny examples. Just because someone has done it before doesn’t mean you can’t do it again, hopefully better.

    17. Hey Venus,

      “In your example if someone else was writing the same character the character may swear differently or use a word that doesn’t exist in your vocabulary because you never came across it or react in a way that’s different from any of the options you considered. That’s what I meant.”

      – Very true. And that’s what makes reading different authors so interesting. Give writers the same basic plot and characters to work with, and you’ll end up reading several very different stories.

      “While we can make the characters as real as possible can we ever write characters we do not know?”

      -Very good question. My answer would be, “no”. I don’t want to speak for all writers, so I’ll just say for myself, that I need to know the character. *How* I know the characters may vary. Some I will know from having experienced similar things, seen similar things during real life. Other characters, I will know from my imagination, and from dreams. But always there must be an understanding of what makes them tick inside.

      I have to be able to feel my characters. If I can feel them, and thus understand them, I can get to “know” them, and hopefully tell their story.

      As for similarities- definitely. I think most of us have certain themes that intrigue us.

      Thanks for the good questions. You got me thinking! 🙂

    18. Heya Ralfast,

      I’ve heard of people getting addicted to that Tropes page. I’ve stayed away thus far! 🙂

    19. Addiction? I know not what you speak….oh Big Bad at 12 O’Clock!


    20. That’s what researchers say — that all writers have a common theme or handful of themes they plumb through their works.

      I totally agree with that. I see it in my own writing.

      As for characters, I make sure my characters aren’t me, and yet, they are *of* me, so, connected in that sense, and perhaps, sometimes, even limited in that sense.


    21. P.S.

      Just wanted to add that I think it’s so cool, the writers who can easily write main characters of the opposite sex from themselves.

      Just made me realize I’ve never written a male MC.


    22. Heya Em,

      I feel the same way about my characters. None of them are “me”. They’re separate entities. But they come from me, so all have bits of me in them.

      Maybe it’s like a parent and their children. Some are a lot alike in personality, but still they’re separate people. Other times, the kid’s personality may be somewhat different, to all-the-way- polar opposite, but they still have their parents’ genetics.

    23. Em,

      Regarding writing opposite sex- I’ve written a few short stories from the male POV, and I didn’t find it difficult. I just approached it by trying to create a three-dimensional *person*.

      That said, I’ve never considered writing a full-length novel from a guy’s POV. Never say never- but I like exploring female characters more.

      As an added note, I do find it interesting that some male writers have actively said they prefer writing female characters. Josh Whedon (Buffy) has said he finds writing women much more interesting, because he thinks women in general are more interesting!

      So I don’t think our sex matters any. What does matter is what interests us, what connects to us, and calls us to write about it/them…

    24. Interesting. My short stories have both male and female leads and I have never thought about which I enjoy more. Maybe it’s because I write mostly in a detached voice, in the third person, from the POV of an observer. And as an observer it’s more about recording what I see and hear rather than relating how I think and feel. Good discussion Em and Gypsy. You have me thinking about voices and POVs now.

      I wonder why we gravitate towards the styles we do.

    25. Venus,

      Another great question. I think I’ll write a post on that later this week.

    26. I was a fan of B5 although I did have problems with it. Especially it’s last season but all in all I did enjoy it and loved the characters.

      As for POV I do find I gravitate more toward female POV characters but I do enjoy writing male POVs. I actually would like to write more from the male POV and that is, in face, one of those things I intend to work on more in my writing.

    27. I have never seen the show, but now I am intrigued. Great discussion here, as always, and too much for me to comment on this early on a Saturday morning. The only, totally non-profound thing that comes directly to mind, is about characters. David helps me with my characters who swear, as I’m not particularly fluent. He read the first draft and said, “no, wait, you’re using F*** wrong…” So, if you want to create a character outside of your experience, there is always research.

    28. Hey Jenna,

      My favorite characters on B5 are Delenn, Susan, G’Kar, and Girobaldi. Really, I like them all except for a certain character that came on Season Three. Thus far, he’s a one-dimensional cliche. I hope that changes next season.

      Have fun working with your male characters!

    29. Hey Uppington,

      I can see it now: (giggling)

      “What are your writing flaws?”
      “Well, uhm…I’m not fluent in swear language.”

      I didn’t know there *was* a correct way to use the F**k. It’s my favorite spice word. But I hate, hate s**t. I find it utterly gross and vulgar. Thankfully, thus far none of my characters have been inclined to use it either. If that day ever comes, I will just have to bear it.

    30. Oh dear, I suspect there is plenty of S**t in the work you are reading for me! It’s a good old anglo saxon word, and the first one I became fluent in. It all clicked one day, in my very prim and proper youth, when I was working as a nurse. An elderly client had been incontinent all over the floor of her room, and by the time I was done dealing with her, it was all over the soles of my spotless white nursing shoes. As I was standing at the sink trying to scrub a surprisingly tenacious substance off of my shoes, I had a moment of epiphany, when I realized there was really only one appropriate word for this whole experience. I’ve used the word quite freely ever since.

    31. OMG.


      I award you: “Most F**cking Hilarious Comment of Zee Month”.

      I really can’t explain my dislike for that word. Other than, “it’s a quirk”.

    32. I am pleased to let you know that I have linked your blog from an e-booklet I have published today under the title best new fiction blogs at blogcatalog.

      It can be found at;


      I have much enjoyed repeat lurking at you site and wish you the very best for the future.

      I’m having the British summer off from my exertions but will criuse by your blog every-so-often.

      Best to you and yours

      Dave Hambidge

    33. Dave,

      Thank you sooooo much!

      I’m really happy that you enjoy my blog. I’m having fun with it, and am glad others are too. I’ve connected with some great people through it. 🙂

      Best to you and yours, as well.

    34. *applauds*

      JMS rocks, and thanks for posting this! IMO, when bringing characters to life so that a story can unfold, it’s very difficult to impose one’s own beliefs or personal standards of decency and still have a full, rich spectrum of personalities and thoughts and habits laid out on the pages, three-dimensional and real.

      And it’s fun to step outside the comfort zone and write about people who would never in a million years feel the same way I do about a controversial topic like religion. I’m an atheist, but one of my heroines is a devout fundamentalist. And she made my story much more fun than if all the characters had been mental clones of me.

    35. Hey Marian,

      Glad you liked the post.

      “I’m an atheist, but one of my heroines is a devout fundamentalist. And she made my story much more fun than if all the characters had been mental clones of me.”

      – Here here! Major kudos to you for that.

      No matter if a character is like the author or vastly different, they must be three-dimensional. Not walking stereotypes.

    36. I have not yet dabbled into B5, but I didn’t watch or read any SF for a long time. I just recently got all of the original Star Trek on DVD (yet to watch it), and the first season of The Next Generation (gobbled them up) and ALL the Star Trek movies (no, haven’t watched them), so I’m coming around. I’m a horror junkie, what can I say. But I’m expanding. I have watched the first seven seasons of The X Files twice in the last three months. “I Want to Believe!” But you have given me a reason to check out B5.

    37. hey Steven,

      I think you’d like B5. I’d also suggest my favorite sci-fi show of all time, Farscape. Total awesomeness.

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