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October 23, 2008

Thousands of academics sign on to support Bill Ayers

This is a good and a bad thing. Good because it is a just and right thing to do, and solidarity in academia is a good thing. Bad because, when the next witch hunt hits, the FBI will have a neatly typed list of "subversives."
More than 3,000 academics have shown their support for embattled University of Illinois professor William Ayers. [C.V.,.doc format] "I think he's doing a lot of positive, progressive, constructive work right now" in the field of education, said Brown University English professor and inaugural signatory William Keach to the Brown Daily Herald.
The Weather Underground's protests of the Vietnam War were part of a "Declaration of a State of War" against the United States government, which included marches, riots and bombings of banks and government buildings. "It's easy to paint someone with a broad brush," added signatory and lecturer Constance Crawford, who emphasized appreciation for Ayers' more recent accomplishments rather than focusing on the Vietnam era. "It's easy to vilify, but it's harder to consider."

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October 20, 2008

What if fantasy novels had truthful titles?

Mightygodking.com -- MGK Versus His Adolescent Reading Habits

More great ones at the link.

October 10, 2008

The worst writing advice ever

Bad (and even worse) writing advice | Jacket Copy | Los Angeles Times

Have you received any particularly bad advice? Share it in the comments please.

Agent Nathan Bransford has asked his readers to share the worst writing advice they've gotten. There are some old classics, such as "write what you know," which seems reasonable enough, but is particularly annoying to people writing about dragons or wizards. And the advice to write carefully, without adverbs, which I think is actually terrific, caused much consternation.

Then there are the contradictions -- one person was told to use "said" in dialogue tags (as in "all the things she said," she said), because, apparently "everyone is only using 'said' now." Many others were advised to never use "said," and instead find active verbs, such as "whispered," "exclaimed" and, as one exasperated commenter notes, "the physically impossible 'grinned.' "

* Remove all your commas. Editors don't like commas and they pull the reader out of the story. * The first page of your novel MUST include the protagonist's sex, age, physical description and location. Preferably, this is all revealed in the first paragraph.
* Worst advice: Your character should experience only one emotion per scene.
* Narrative is what makes a good story. Get rid of all the dialogue.

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October 06, 2008

Millhauser--The Ambition of the Short Story

Essay - The Ambition of the Short Story - NYTimes.com

Millhauser is my favorites short story writer, bar none.

The short story — how modest in bearing! How unassuming in manner! It sits there quietly, eyes lowered, almost as if trying not to be noticed. And if it should somehow attract your attention, it says quickly, in a brave little self-deprecating voice alive to all the possibilities of disappointment: “I’m not a novel, you know. Not even a short one. If that’s what you’re looking for, you don’t want me.” Rarely has one form so dominated another. And we understand, we nod our heads knowingly: here in America, size is power. The novel is the Wal-Mart, the Incredible Hulk, the jumbo jet of literature. The novel is insatiable — it wants to devour the world. What’s left for the poor short story to do? It can cultivate its garden, practice meditation, water the geraniums in the window box. It can take a course in creative nonfiction. It can do whatever it likes, so long as it doesn’t forget its place — so long as it keeps quiet and stays out of the way. “Hoo ha!” cries the novel. “Here ah come!” The short story is always ducking for cover. The novel buys up the land, cuts down the trees, puts up the condos. The short story scampers across a lawn, squeezes under a fence.

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October 05, 2008

Rowling 'makes £5 every second'

rowling.jpg Edited: J.K sez: "Hello, all you authors out there in Fail-land. You're my bitch! Neener, neener!" via | Beeb | Rowling 'makes £5 every second'
JK Rowling is the world's highest-earning author, making more than £5 every second over the past year, US business magazine Forbes has announced.

October 03, 2008

Diagramming Sarah Palin's sentences

The sentences of Sarah Palin, diagrammed. - By Kitty Burns Florey - Slate Magazine

There are plenty of people out there—not only English teachers but also amateur language buffs like me—who believe that diagramming a sentence provides insight into the mind of its perpetrator. The more the diagram is forced to wander around the page, loop back on itself, and generally stretch its capabilities, the more it reveals that the mind that created the sentence is either a richly educated one—with a Proustian grasp of language that pushes the limits of expression—or such an impoverished one that it can produce only hot air, baloney, and twaddle.

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