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maynard




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"The House isn't technically refusing to pass a budget, they have passed a budget, and the Senate disagreed. And of course the legislature has the power to modify previously-passed law. How else does one make new law without a discontinuous government?"

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/01/us/politics/congress-shutd...

As Senate Majority Leader Read said, “We will not go to conference with a gun to our heads,” demanding that the House accept the Senate’s six-week stopgap spending bill, which has no policy prescriptions, before negotiations begin.

You're right that in normal legislative maneuvering, it's entirely appropriate for each chamber to pass different bills and resolve the conflict in conference. But in this case the House is clearly using the risk of default as leverage to force the Senate and the Executive into accepting unrelated legislative matters. Given that the alternative could be economic chaos, and that debt ceiling resolutions are a regular occurrence, what the House is essentially demanding is new authority to overrule Senate prerogative in legislative negotiation.

That's the crux of this. The issue is not merely this event. Should it become the norm, the House will essentially have crafted out of whole cloth a new veto authority over all current and prior legislation based on Article I Section VII.

EDIT: Here is Jonathan Chait on the matter:

http://nymag.com/news/politics/nationalinterest/government-s...

"The standoff embroiling Washington represents far more than the specifics of the demands on the table, or even the prospect of economic calamity. It is an incipient constitutional crisis. Obama foolishly set the precedent in 2011 that he would let Congress jack him up for a debt-ceiling hike. He now has to crush the practice completely, lest it become ritualized. Obama not only must refuse to trade concessions for a debt-ceiling hike; he has to make it clear that he will endure default before he submits to ransom. To pay a ransom now, even a tiny one, would ensure an endless succession of debt-ceiling ransoms until, eventually, the two sides fail to agree on the correct size of the ransom and default follows."

maynard  ·  link  ·  parent  ·  post: Story Club pt IV

Na. Keep me on the list. I'll read. Might comment. But I have several pieces in edit stage and have to finish them off before I can contribute.

maynard  ·  link  ·  parent  ·  post: Story Club pt IV

My plate is full at the moment. Sorry!

I'm by no means an established writer. So take this opinion with a grain of salt. But I think the time of fast turn-around blogging with the use of a single news source as primary to support an obvious opinion is coming to an end. The reason for this is because too many people do it and the process doesn't offer much additional content to entice readers. This is a somewhat obvious opinion, yet there are piles of people who want to start blogs doing just this.

If you want to pull in readers, go get sources that aren't easily available on the Internet. Go to books. Interview someone on your own. Take your own photographs. Pull it all together in a crafted piece and take the time necessary to get it right. That also means revise the work before publication. Sure, pass a rough around among friends or in a small community to get critique. But don't publish initial rough drafts. They always suck.

You know what drives hits? Recipes. Self-help advice. Pop trivia. Extreme opinions that piss people off. And completely original content. Put together something that goes beyond topics on the 24 hour news cycle and write for the Google search market. Create something that has staying power. Prepare to write longer pieces beyond just a thousand or two thousand words. And screw all those people who say you have to post a short piece every day. Even if that's true, it doesn't teach you how to write long form for newspapers and magazines professionally; much less books.

Finally, if you want to write fiction and are new to the craft, consider going to Literotica under a pen name and posting pr0n. There are a pile of readers there. You'll get thousands of hits off the bat, and the rating system will quickly show you piece by piece what works and what doesn't. Use the place as a means to test technique and craftsmanship, then walk away and move on to more traditional venues.

Hope this helped. Again, JMO. And I'm sure there are other folks better able to give a pro opinion on the site. I'll poke my head in here again and to see what others have to say.

This piece just got front paged at Long Form, a site sponsored by Pitts Writers of the University of Pittsburgh Creative Writing Department. Whoa.

http://longform.org/

maynard  ·  link  ·  parent  ·  post: Reverse Engineering Writing

It's unclear whether you're discussing fiction or nonfiction, and the two are very different beasts. But I'd argue that there are two problems to resolve when putting together a piece meant to be read by an audience.

The first is structure. That is, how do you want to organize the information presented? In fiction that's typically done with scenes, in nonfiction organization can be temporal for a series of events or by commonality. Regardless, you face the problem that readers take the message in as a stream; word by word, sentence by sentence, paragraph by paragraph and so on. But complex ideas are typically nonlinear. So you must associate these disparate ideas through the sieve of a linear filter; a brain.

With fiction, you might use repetition to built motif and theme. Or structure scenes in a nonlinear timeline in order to form cross associations that might be missed with a linear time flow. Occasionally you'll even see cyclic structure, such as O'Brien used in _The Things They Carried._ But usually the structure is that of a linear time flow with a ladder of success / failure / success / failure as your protagonist works to achieve his/her goal.

Nonfiction can be temporal, often used with historical texts. Or structured around a theme that's broken down by subsections; often used in academic writing where citations are a framework for an argument. Journalistic writing tends to focus on the most important facts first and build like a pyramid, so editors can cull the least relevant material to fit into a page slot.

For fiction, a serious issue to resolve is characterization. What are your character's motivations? What do they want to get or accomplish? What are they sensing within a scene during story time? How do events in the story make them feel emotionally? And there's the issue of voicing. How do they speak? What mannerisms make them distinct and different from other characters, so they stand out as an individual?

The second problem, for both fiction and nonfiction, is the issue of presentation. That's typically the last problem to resolve, and is handled at final draft stage through a series of copyedits with your best friend Mr. Thesaurus. You'll dig around, sentence by sentence, looking for just the right word that either removes ambiguity or - sometimes - introduces intentional ambiguity for artistic purposes. This is the point where your main focus is to make prose flow as readable as possible. It's the last step, because you don't want to worry about this stuff while you're shifting scenes, moving paragraphs, adding quotes and introducing new citations.

As for analyses, yeah. Do it. Tear apart your favorite author's work and try to copy it stylistically. It helps.

That was fantastic. Never saw it before. Thank you so much for the link.

maynard  ·  link  ·  parent  ·  post: Book Publishing's Big Gamble - NYT

Bullshit. It might be shit - I haven't seen it. But if it doesn't sell it could be any number of other reasons too. Poor cover art; marketing failure; subject matter; etc. It might take several books anyway. I've committed to writing until my work catches on. Period. Just don't give up.

maynard  ·  link  ·  parent  ·  post: Book Publishing's Big Gamble - NYT

Is the book fiction or nonfiction?

lol. Thanks! It's coming. Perhaps 15K words or so. Different topic though. A novel is coming soon too. Though that won't be free. BTW thanks for posting. I found hubski through the referrer links. Never heard of the site but the S/N here is quite good. Reminds me of the early days at reddit back when spez had the site server in his Davis Square apartment.

maynard  ·  link  ·  parent  ·  post: Book Publishing's Big Gamble - NYT

Yeah.

Like record labels, publishers lend advances and charge interest. Their crazy accounting tricks diminish royalties until it becomes next to impossible for an author selling tens of thousands of copy to earn a living. They do next to no marketing, unless the book is a sure fire win. And they've even stopped offering real editing.

Cut your price in half and sell an ebook. Build audience share. Ten to twenty thousand copies for $5 @70% royalties through Amazon and you're earning enough to live on. Sure, you've got to hire a freelance editor. You'll need to hire a freelance graphic designer for a decent cover photo. But the way things are going with the publishing monopoly, you'd have to do all that anyway.

Just fuck them all.