Saturday, April 10, 2010

Conference on World Affairs

Every April the University of Colorado sponsors a Conference on World Affairs and this last week I had an opportunity to take in two sessions. One session was titled SuperGeeks Changing the World. One of the speakers talked about crazy billionaires who change the world. The formula was arrogance plus money equals innovation. Some of the super rich are turning their attention to new endeavors or philanthropy. Another point was made that we’re all becoming participants in the media with the Internet providing more democratization of news dissemination. An example is WikiLeaks which publishes information that has been leaked from classified sources such as the recent video of collateral death in Iraq including two Reuters News people. I also attended a session on Writing—The Process. One of the panelists made the statement that less than five percent of authors earn a living from their writing. Another described the writing process as four steps: 1. The madman—write everything down, 2. The architect—take material and put it together, 3. The carpenter—use the architect’s plans to build, and 4. The judge—do the editing. A web site recommended to writers: It stands for Arts and Letters Daily and is an eclectic set of information. I checked it out and found that it is fascinating—a web site I could spend hours on if I allowed myself to read all the interesting tidbits. One of the presenters mentioned a list of writing rules attributed to Elmore Leonard and others which, paraphrased, included: 1. Never start a book with weather, 2. Never use an adverb, 3. Leave out the parts readers tend to skip, 4. If it sounds like writing, rewrite, and 5. Never put a picture of a famous author on your desk, particularly one who committed suicide.

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