Monday, August 12, 2013

Day 218 of the 365 Days of Blogging

 The author, Dane F. Baylis






Ventura Breeze Publisher Sheldon Brown to Explain

How and Why He Founded the Newspaper
When He Addresses VCWC on August 13

His story proves you are never too old to start something new

(Ventura, CA – July 18, 2013) Ventura Breeze publisher Sheldon Brown will be the guest speaker at the Ventura County Writers Club August 13 meeting at the Pleasant Valley Senior Center in Camarillo at 7 PM. The meeting is free and open to the public.

Brown attended the University of Southern California’s School of Architecture. He became an architect and a general building contractor, and in 1968 opened a private practice. He is now retired from his practice.

On October 24, 2007, he and his daughter Staci started a local newspaper, Ventura Breeze, to keep Ventura County residents informed regarding community events, happenings, and news. In its sixth year, the Breeze has a distribution of 11,000 papers delivered to about 600 locations.

Brown will share why, without any prior knowledge of writing or of the newspaper business, he decided to start the paper and how he accomplished it. He will discuss the good things that he has learned and a few of the hard lessons. He will also talk about his belief that a person is never too old to do anything he wants to do.

Brown has lived in Ventura for 16 years; with his dog, Professor Scamp, for 12 years; with Savana the cat for three years; and with his wife of 25 years, Diana.. He has been an instructor at West LA College and Ventura College extension. He has also taught for Lake Arrowhead Parks and Recreation. He is an avid tennis player.

The evening’s presentation promises to be inspiring to all attending; no matter your age, it is good to be reminded that it’s never too late to follow your dreams.

The evening’s opening act will be Shlomo Kritzer and Neal Shapiro reading selected stories they have written. At the beginning of the meeting, the club will elect new officers for it’s 80th year.


August Meeting of the Ventura County Writers Club
August 13, 2013
Pleasant Valley Senior Center,
1605 Burnley St., Camarillo, CA
Topic: How and Why I Started a Newspaper
Open to members and non-members. No fee.

For more information on the Ventura County Writers Club, visit:








Ever wonder how writer's like Tolkien, Herbert, Verne, or Hemingway came up with the settings they put their characters in? After all, there's no such place as Mirk Wood or Arakis, and, in Verne's day, submarines and lighter than air ships were the most rudimentary of inventions. Hemingway, at least, had the Michigan and Idaho woods, the battlefields of the First and Second World Wars, and the many other exotic locales he visited and lived in as models.
Perhaps that's the key word, models. Even though the places and peoples these authors developed to populate and manifest their stories didn't exist in reality, places similar to them did exist at one time or another. There was a time when Great Britain and most of Europe was covered by immense, near impenetrable, forests. There were places on earth in constant upheaval from volcanoes. Vast deserts existed in many locations and none of them had ever been totally devoid of man's and nature's presence. There were men who took to the seas, the jungles, and even the air.
Even for the most far flung and exotic setting, there is some reference. If not physically on this tiny blue globe, then in the minds of the scientists, and engineers, and historians who live among us. These people are only as unreachable as your unwillingness to sit down and draft a letter explaining your project and the information you need.
How do you explain relationships between dwarfs, men, and elves? You do what Tolkien did, you research the mythologies they appear in. Herbert's spice navigators have an ability to bend time and space, something akin to what would happen IF you could find and utilize a wormhole. Which you can ask someone knowledgeable in astro-physics about. Try your local community college or university. Heck, even the local star-gazing club could be a wealth of knowledge.
What about the more mundane aspects of a work? What if you set your story in a certain city in the here and now? Come on! As fluid as populations are today, how hard is it to find someone from the place you want to put your characters? (While the Internet is very useful, first hand accounts are still better in most cases.)
There is virtually nowhere you can set something that a little research into won't improve the reader's sense of the story. For example, right now, I'm developing a short story very much tied to the City of Boston and its surrounding suburbs and cities. Even though I grew up in the area, it has been a loooong time since I walked those streets daily. Sure, I've gone back for an occasional visit, but things change.
So, I've been scouring the Internet for maps and photos and names of places and establishments. Why couldn't I just wing it? I could, but at risk of having someone come back to tell me that I had my main character driving the wrong way up a one way street - a common enough occurence in a city where signs go up overnight and even cabby's and cops get confused. Or I could have him sit down to a meal and a conversation in a place I really liked that hasn't been where I liked it for a long time now.
Anything you can do to improve your understanding of the world your characters are meant to interact in will greatly improve the veracity and depth of your story. It's all too easy to lazy it out by simply saying, it's not about the place, it's about the people. True enough, but people are as much a part of the place as the place is something that shaped them. There are even some very memorable stories I've read where setting was as much a character as the humans who struggled through it.
Just another...Well, you know the drill.
Dane F. Baylis
Cute sayings annoy me
"He who dies with the most toys wins?"
Has any one given consideration to
"He who dies with the most toys is still dead?"
Is he
More comfortably dead?
Feeding a higher class of worms dead?
Bones bleached whiter dead?
Better dead than
A Skid Row wino
Lying beneath weeds
In a nameless potter's field dead?
Perhaps you're just survived by
Other "Most Toys" boys,
Sweating how long
They'll have
To enjoy the most toys
Left behind?
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------, love, write.

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Dane F. Baylis

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