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I couldn't agree more, Jason. Personally, I think NaNoWriMo is a joke and a waste of time. Its exclusive focus on word count obscures a large element of the writing process to focus on one -- leaving many participants with 50,000 (maybe) words and the belief that they are now a "proper writer". Honestly, I write slowly. As a short story writer like yourself, the only time I've ever written a whole story in one sitting is with flash fiction pieces only a few hundred words long. Most times, a story of 2,000-4,000 words will take a couple of days to a week to write, over a week of more in rereading/tweaking/editing/getting others to beta read. It can be a month from first word to having something ready to submit. I think the word count obsession is also linked to the rise in popularity of gargantuan books. Longer is considered better (possibly a value-for-money thing?). Take George RR Martin's "A Song of Fire and Ice". I enjoy the stories, but some of those books are big enough to beat small animals to death with -- and the extra thousands of words don't add anything, but leave an unpleasant and dense quagmire for the reader to wade through. When I started becoming "serious" in my writing I quickly realised something which became my writing mantra; brevity is king.
Never mind the subtitles, look at the by-line on the first one! "Thomas T. Thomas"? I like to think the T stands for "Thomas".
Wow. Just wow. Firstly, the fact that Newt Gingrich is an SF fan moves him up a notch in my estimation. That puts him at about notch one. Secondly, how did Romney's advisors let him say that? Surely, after all the "controversy" over his Mormonism, surely the last thing he or his campaign would want is to be linked to Hubbard's mad money-grabbing cult. Thirdly, Twilight? Battlefield Earth AND Twilight? Jesus, the man's a walking literary disaster.
I really don't understand the rationale for seriously calling for the reinstatement of the death penalty. Who does it actually serve? The victims/families and friends of the victims? Taking away the life of a guilty person won't undo their actions, and from my perspective it seems a fairly lax punishment. Compare with life in prison, with which a guilty person has to live with their actions, and the consequences of their actions, for the rest of their lives. And there is no evidence (certainly none that I've seen, and I have researched the matter with some rigour) to show that it provides a particularly effective deterrent. Look at the USA. Does it seem that the US has less crime for having the death penalty? It doesn't look that way to me. Beyond that, however, there is the problem of miscarriages of justice. Whilst a false guilty verdict can be corrected (to a certain degree) when the penalty is custodial, you can't undo an execution. And you just need to look at the number of people who are wrongly convicted at the moment to realise how big a problem this would be with capital punishment.
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This is great news! Flash fiction is a unique art form within fiction, and deserves to be recognised.
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Jul 27, 2010