JMS on CompuServe (May 15, 1996) *POSSIBLE SPOILERS* 2/2

Brent Barrett bbarrett at
Wed May 15 15:27:35 EDT 1996

 [ Continued from previous section -- BB ]

 !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WARNING !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 The following posts may contain SPOILERS for
 upcoming Babylon 5 episodes.

 Continue at your own risk.





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 [ Summary of subjects in this section: ]
    Sb: #505853-The Creative Process
    Sb: #506065-<Interludes>
    Sb: #506052-<<War Without End>>
    Sb: #505756-<Vacant encounter suit?>
    Sb: #506116-Cheers for Mira
    Sb: #506135-Joe an atheist?
    Sb: #506133-<Interludes>

 #: 505853 S5/Babylon 5: General
    14-May-96  16:48:01
Sb: #The Creative Process

Hi Joe,

Here's a different kind of question for you: When you sit down to work, I know
you're not entirely in charge - the characters are - but how do you
participate? When I write fiction (admittedly not often), it either flows out
onto the page as though someone else were using my hands on the keyboard, or
nothing happens at all, no matter how long I sit there. You don't seem to have
any "nothing" time. Did you *develop* a sustainable creative process, or were
you just always this way?

In short, can you train - or at least successfully invite - the Muse, and how
do you do it?

(By the way, I have your older scriptwriting book, but I hear rumors of
another. Details?)

 #: 506123 S5/Babylon 5: General
    14-May-96  23:13:21
Sb: #505853-The Creative Process

"Here's a different kind of question for you: When you sit down to work, I know
you're not entirely in charge - the characters are - but how do you
participate? When I write fiction (admittedly not often), it either flows out
onto the page as though someone else were using my hands on the keyboard, or
nothing happens at all, no matter how long I sit there. You don't seem to have
any "nothing" time. Did you *develop* a sustainable creative process, or were
you just always this way?  In short, can you train - or at least successfully
invite - the Muse, and how do you do it?"

Hard to's like any muscle, the more you use it, the easier it gets to
use.  I think a part of it stems from the fact that I have very little in the
way of barriers between me and the writing.  Too many people who want to be
writers feel that when they sit behind the keyboard, they have to do something
different or other...that somehow WRITING has an overlay of some sort, that
it's different than talking.  But in many ways, it ain't any different.

The best writing (IMO) is natural writing, where the words on the page flow
very naturally, very smoothly.  Every once in a while, you pull out all the
stylistic tricks, you thunder and lightning all over the page, when needed for
effect...but it's the writing free of artifice that seems, for me, to work
well.  If you hang out with writers long enough, the really *good* ones, you
learn soon enough that most of them talk exactly the way they write.

Lemme give you a forinstance...when Asimov was first struggling as a writer, he
had lunch with his agent one day.  He was having a hard time describing things,
using language to paint pictures.  The agent said, "You know how Hemingway
would describe the sun rising in the morning?"  No, Asimov said, leaning  "The sun rose in the morning."

There's virtually nothing between my brain and the keyboard; I'm hardwired that
way, which is why I can't dictate scripts...I write through my fingers. I write
pretty much the way I talk.  A lot of folks hereabouts have seen me at
conventions, and they've noted that the me you see here is pretty much the me
they see there, and the me that's just *there* all the time.

If you stop thinking about *trying to write*, and just write...the way you have
to stop thinking about the next step you make, and just *dance*...the way you
have to forget about technique and just make all comes together.  You
don't Try To Write.  You just write.

As for story's just nothing I've ever had a problem with.  As long
as your characters are all distinct personalities, the stories you write will
be as distinct and different as they are.  Find out who the character is, what
he wants, how far he'll go to achieve it, and how far somebody else will go to
stop him...and the rest takes care of itself.


 #: 506065 S6/Babylon 5: Upcoming
    14-May-96  21:06:37
Sb: #503545-#<Interludes>

What do the terms hero-cycyle and myth cycle refer to if not in specifics at
least in general. I was a chem premed major. Lit almost did me in!

 #: 506124 S6/Babylon 5: Upcoming
    14-May-96  23:13:24
Sb: #506065-<Interludes>

      That's a question that I think I could try and answer here for the next
seven hours, and not quite get out the way I want's one of those things
you just sorta understand and do intuitively, and leave for the critics later
to dissect.


 #: 506052 S6/Babylon 5: Upcoming
    14-May-96  20:41:07
Sb: #505099-#<<War Without End>>

>>    Thanks.  I like Zathras...he's just nuts<<

It was good indeed to see him again, sir.

The major WHAM! moment of WWE1 for me was when it clicked for me just how Valen
managed to be "A Minbari not born of Minbari," tho'. Certainly explains how he
was able to make all those prophesies...

Two questions:

Will we see Kosh in th epast?
And will we see Valerian? (And is Valerian who I think he is?)

Commander Grady W. Smithey III,
First Officer, EAS Europa
Earthforce Rebellion

 #: 506125 S6/Babylon 5: Upcoming
    14-May-96  23:13:27
Sb: #506052-<<War Without End>>

      Not exactly, not as you might think, but in a sense....


 [ Summary: A silly poster acts as if he's a Na'Ka'Leen Feeder and asks
   the "Great One" if he can Kosh's encounter suit, as his was taken by
   station security. ]

 #: 506126 S6/Babylon 5: Upcoming
    14-May-96  23:13:30
Sb: #505756-<Vacant encounter suit?>

      Someone find me a very large stick....


 #: 506116 S6/Babylon 5: Upcoming
    14-May-96  23:06:32
Sb: #504725-#Cheers for Mira

Re: Bruce Boxleitner/John Sheridan

I realized about 3/4 of the way through Season 2 that Sheridan was a BEAUTIFUL
setup for those of us who grew up during the Viet Nam war.  Sheridan  was THE
war hero in what we had spent Season 1 learning was the B5 equivalent of Viet
Nam -- a senseless, stupid war built on a mistake.  (And for me, personally,
his obsession with his wife was another major negative for the charactor.
Grasping, possessive, all-consuming passion -- is very hard to live around.)  .
. . So, with two MAJOR strikes against him, naturally it took a long time to
warm ot the character.

Bruce Boxleitner's portrayal was sneaky and subtle, as he kept showing little
hints of the cracks in the "hero" armor -- until the cumulative total made it
clear that this character is messed up as all the others and in as many
different ways (just like real life).  I'm not sure at what point I decided I
REALLY liked the character, although it took awhile for that fact to dawn on

Actually, all the cast on B5 do absolutely marvelous things.  Which is why the
truly knock-out scenes (and everyone has had at least one or two) really stand
out -- they are already supported by an infrastructure that lifts them well
above the "standard" for most television shows.

 #: 506149 S6/Babylon 5: Upcoming
    15-May-96  00:59:40
Sb: #506116-Cheers for Mira

      Couldn't agree with you more.


 #: 506135 S5/Babylon 5: General
    14-May-96  23:38:15
Sb: #503015-#Joe an atheist?

<<  I leave my personal beliefs *out* of what I write for TV. >>

        With all due respect, Joe; that's not entirely true. Your beliefs in
the sanctity life and of being allowed to make your own choices on how you live
said life are shown in each episode of the show. The only thing is that you
don't portray there being only one true path to those beliefs, and show that
there are, in fact, several paths. Further, you show that some people choose
paths that lead directly to the opposite conclusions; and the consequences of
any of these paths. (specificly in that Londo has a chance at redemption, that
Morden has no chance of redemption, and that our heroes by virtue of protecting
life and its choices are the most redeemable of the lot despite their
        I must admit that I was suprised when I first read that you are an
atheist and grew up Catholic, but then again I'm the one who is surprised when
he learns what anyone's beliefs are. (it's kinda like the "I didn't know you
were left handed" surprised everyone else is when they see me writing, you know
the stupid kind of suprised <G>)
        A few weeks ago when you posted your beliefs in a little more detail; I
found it most intersting that, as an atheist, you understand the underlying
message that is in most religions, that all life is the most precious thing
there is and that each life should be allowed to choose its own path. The
reason that interests me is is that a lot of (if not most) theists can't get a
hold on that idea, the very idea that they claim exclusive rights to. It is
rather ironic that an atheist get's that which those under threat of a deity's
wrath do not.
        FWIW, every time I show that post to anyone who hasn't seen the show, I
get the response, "What show is this?  When is it on? I'll have to see if I can
catch it sometime". That one post may be responsible for increasing the Kwph
reading here as more and more TVs and VCRs are turned on simultaneously. If we
ever have a black or brown out Sunday at six, it will be because of that. I
hope you can live with that on your hands... I know I could, if I still get to
see that night's ep. <EG>

May the Light shine forever,

 #: 506151 S5/Babylon 5: General
    15-May-96  01:18:59
Sb: #506135-Joe an atheist?

      Thanks.  I will confess I go back and forth about getting into this kind
of conversation on the nets; either way, it will have an effect on how people
perceive the show.  And, basically, I'm here to talk about the show, and be
responsive to questions, not necessarily to put my beliefs, attitudes or
prejudices out there in other people's faces.  I'm not what matters here, I'm
not terribly's the show, and those two can't ever be allowed
to get confused.  I was kicking myself for days for allowing myself to get
dragged into this (and it's nobody's fault but my own that it happened).  It's
not really my place to go around lecturing anyone or spouting off to anyone
about what they believe, and a few times, when the debate got really warmed up,
I did that.

      What I do or don't believe is fundamentally irrelevant to the discussion,
as long as I can keep it out of the show.  (The one area where it does get
through that you note -- the importance of life and the right to choose one's
own road through that -- is there, granted, but there aren't a whole lot of
reasonable counter-arguments to that one.)

      Because I make this show, I have -- for lack of a better phrase -- a
platform from which to spout off.  People tend to at least note what I say,
even though most of it is rather silly, though I don't for a second buy into
the notion that people are overmuch influenced by anything I say here.
Particularly those on-line, who tend to be a fairly hardy bunch, intellectually
speaking.  But there's still an obligation not to misuse or abuse that
platform, or take advantage of it to spout notions that don't really touch the
show per se at any two contiguous points.

      In short...sometimes I say more than I should, and should learn to just
Shut Up once in a while.  If this time out the discussion has done some good,
then that's great.  But I still think some days I shouldn't have allowed it to
happen.  If somebody wants to take a pot shot at my beliefs, let 'em. It's only


 #: 506133 S6/Babylon 5: Upcoming
    14-May-96  23:38:11
Sb: #<Interludes>

        I have a question concerning what happened when Kosh died. Is there a
parallel (intended or not) in the "effects" of Kosh's death and his calling
John, son; and the winged legend known as a Phoenix? I mean Kosh did sort of
await his passing and in his passing told John that "Our time is past, it is
your turn now." And the whatever it was that engulfed the station. If so, will
Kosh be re-born in one form or another? Or has he already?
        Also, what was different about Kosh's confrontation with Morden's
associates this time as opposed to the one in "Signs and Portents"? Was it just
that there were more of them this time, or was there some kind of agreement
reached in the earlier one?

May the Light shine forever,
And from the ashes, the offspring rises.

 #: 506152 S6/Babylon 5: Upcoming
    15-May-96  01:19:00
Sb: #506133-<Interludes>

      The earlier confrontation was a jurisdictional one; this one was about


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