And after a few years of link collection, we get to the first major milestone:

Marches of Folly – Paul Krugman on how groupthink helped make the case for war in Iraq, and is doing the same for austerity.
How We Learned to Set Aside Our Moral Qualms and Love the Bomb – Some frankly frightening research from the US on how willing people are to use nuclear weapons.
7 Reasons Why You Should Stop Bitching About People On Benefits – Perfectly explained.
CHRONICLES OF MANSPLAINING: Professor Feminism and the Deleted Comments of Doom – It’s somewhat amusing to see how idiotic some men can get, but also depressingly sad to realise that we live in a society that encourages this. (And as a request, if I’m ever mansplaining something to you, please point it out to me)
Twenty-one tips to make your book better, for new writers – Advice from Sophia McDougall

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Nanowrimo 2012

November starts tomorrow, having settled into its new role as the month where you do something a bit different in order to give you something to talk about on the internet. As I already have facial hair, I can’t take part in Movember, so instead it’ll be another attempt at National Novel Writing Month. Amazingly, despite the fact it’s spread far and wide from its origin as something attempted by a group of friends in San Francisco to become a worldwide phenomenon, that stubborn ‘National’ clings alone to the front, with no concerted efforts to either delete it or add an ‘inter’ before it it. That’s probably because people don’t want to work out how to pronounce ‘NoWriMo’ or InNaNoWriMo’ after putting so much effort into learning to pronounce NaNoWriMo.

(Of course, if National Novel Writing Month didn’t exist, it’d be the sort of thing the National Office of Importance would have produced a poster about)

Yet again, I will be attempting to produce fifty thousand words of something during the next thirty days, and as this will be my fifth attempt after four previous successes, I thought I should share my wisdom with you all and collate the lessons I’ve learned over those previous 200,000 words. I may go on at length, so if you want to read more, you’ll find it beneath the cut.

Read the rest of this entry

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Transcript of all news programmes – Love and Garbage saves you from having to watch them. But they’ll no doubt have a special report to examine why you’re not watching them.
Bloody Nasty People by Daniel Trilling – review – David Edgar reviews what sounds like a fascinating book about the far-right in Britain, but the review itself makes some very good points.
Third draft struggles – Author Benjamin Rosenbaum talks about how swapping the gender of the characters in his novel gave him a whole new perspective. Given the interest this post has provoked, I think there’s a market there for a gender-swapping Scrivener plugin.

Warning: Both the next two links deal with rape and sexual abuse. They’re potentially triggering for people who’ve experienced that or other abuse, but I’ve included them because they’re definitely worth reading.
A fan letter to certain conservative politicians – I wish I could write something as good as this piece by John Scalzi. I wish the world was such that he didn’t have to write it. Again, a massive trigger warning for this piece, which is a piece of midnight-dark satire.
Beneath the law: When the system inherently favors the rapist – Reports from around the world of how those who are meant to be working for the victims of sexual crimes are failing in that responsibility.

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Including two from the Telegraph, in what’s probably a first:

Drug laws and evidence-based policy: it’s time to start doing experiments on the British people – One day, someone at the Telegraph is going to sack Tom Chivers for injecting sense into their website.
The secret US lobbyists behind Police and Crime Commissioner election – Interesting news from Lincolnshire. (Update: It turns out that this story was based on incorrect information – I suggest following the links in the next few Worth Reading lists for more)
Clegg has quietly resigned from the lightning conductor role – which is to his advantage, but another problem for Cameron – Alistair Campbell’s take. I don’t agree with all of it, but a perspective worth looking at.
An open reply to a self-published author – “So here’s your choice: you can decide that your book hasn’t sold because you haven’t plugged it enough, and as such you can use every channel of desperate huckterdom that the internet provides (and, by heaven, there are dozens more than you’ve yet discovered), you can do anything other than writing more and better in an attempt to shift that product, and you can send more emails like this one hoping for someone to tell you the magic answer to your problem, so long as that answer isn’t “well, you know, maybe your book just wasn’t actually very good?”, and you can spend the rest of your life blaming the unfair world for failing to recognise your genius, despite all the effort you put into telling people that you had it. Or you can decide that your book hasn’t sold because it’s just not as good as its competition in the market.”
Police the police – Liam Pennington makes some good points about the pointlessness of police commissioner elections. However, see also this piece by Chris Williams on the history of municipal policing in Britain for some interesting context.

And as a bonus, not something to read, but look at: how ‘skeptics’ and realists view climate data.

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There’s just a week until the 2011 version of National Novel Writing Month kicks off, and as with all my previous attempts at it, I haven’t decided whether or not I’ll have the time to do it this year.

However, one thing I can report is that there’ll be write-in events taking place here in Colchester to support it, so if you want to take part and give it a try why not come along? They’ll be at Fifteen Queen Street on Thursdays from 7.30, or if you want that information in the form of an image:
National Novel Writing Month will be here in November. Here i... on Twitpic
There’s also a Nanowrimo Essex group on Facebook with details of events all around the county.

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Warning: contains a double dose of tactical nuclear bastard.

The 24 types of Libertarian – Cut out and use as a game of bingo in certain comments threads. (via)
Liberal – but not so democratic in the Lords – James Graham looks at why Lib Dem peers seem so reluctant to abolish their cushy, well-rewarded sinecures and proposes a radical suggestion.
My ‘yes’ campaign hell – I’m thinking of compiling a book featuring all the post-referendum reports from Yes To Fairer Votes staffers, entitled How Not To Run A Campaign. This is James Graham’s chapter.
Illiberal conference: Blog post roundup and things you can do – Zoe O’Connell on the way the party has acquiesced in allowing police vetting of delegates to Conference, and how to protest about it.
Practical Tips on Writing a Book from 23 Brilliant Authors – Lots of useful tips in there, even if some of them are contradictory. (via)

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(Because I need an excuse for that, obviously)

Just to let you all know that I have decided to attempt NaNoWriMo again this year, so blog posts will be even sparser than usual until the end of the month, or until I abandon it, whichever comes first.

I may post some samples and updates on my LiveJournal, but I’m doing it slightly differently this year because I’m using Scrivener for the first time, which means I can jump about between different points in the story as and when inspiration strikes, rather than progressing entirely linearly in telling it. So, I won’t be posting the whole thing in sequence as I’ve done in previous years. However, I will try and post word count updates on Twitter as and when I’ve got something impressive to boast about, and may post the odd sample of the work in progress as proof.

For those of you really dedicated to keeping track of me, my profile on the main NaNoWriMo site is here.

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