Naming Your Evil Fictional Corporation

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If there’s anything that capitalism has taught us, it’s that all companies are evil. They don’t start out that way, they don’t intend to be evil but somewhere along the corporate path they take, they all seem to end up not very nice. They pollute, they steal (from their workers, from their customers, from their competitors, from taxpayers and many, many others), they manipulate, they plan obsolescence, they cover up management misconduct, they are just generally bad.

Regardless of all that, there comes a time in every writer’s career when one of these evil corporations is exactly what a story needs. You can use the Jennifer Government (brilliant, brilliant book) method in which Max Barry uses actual big name corporations to skewer the path of consumerism that we’re on but his publisher was required to include a long-winded disclaimer that the references to real companies were “used simply to illustrate the increasingly important role played by large corporations in the future and not to denigrate them in any way. However, some people (whom we shall call ‘lawyers’) get very uptight when you describe large corporations masterminding murders. So let’s be clear: this is a work of fiction set in the future.” So maybe the way forward is to come up with a fictional corporation of your own. Continue reading

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The Things Editors Look for That Writers Have Never Heard of

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I love to edit. I love knowing the parts of speech. Nouns, pronouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, clauses, phrases, conjunctions, prepositions, gerunds, subjunctives, infinitives, participles… Have I lost you yet? I wouldn’t be surprised. You have to be a particular kind of person to appreciate these things.

Editors are these particular kinds of people. While some of them are instinctive editors and know from experience how words should appear sequentially and the order that gives them their intended meaning, others are trained editors who also know the names of all the mistakes. Here are a few things editors look for that most writers will never have heard of before. Continue reading

The Completely Different Viewpoints of Men and Women on Domestic Violence

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At the end of October 2018, I went to the monthly meeting of my local branch of the political party I’m a member of. I’m not hugely political, mostly because talking about politics is a good way to lose all your friends when you realise they think in a fundamentally different way to you. If you think joining a political party and making friends with the other members resolves this problem, then you’re wrong. I’ve yet to meet a single person who thinks exactly the way I do. Continue reading