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Archive for August, 2013

Two podcasters enter.  One podcaster leaves.

In this eleventh episode, we discuss Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games trilogy, and ponder over the oddity of the Capitol’s urban planning.

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Marie’s Blog

Source of our Theme Song

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Hanging on to Every Word

I have never considered myself a fast reader. My reading rate has increased since I finished my Master’s degree—probably because I was doing so much of it—but I still rarely polish off a book in an afternoon unless it’s as short as Stardust. I’m not a very fast writer either. My secret in grad school to finishing my essays early was that I started them very early. Once I deemed my research complete (that is, when all my secondary sources started referring to each other) I would draft an outline and start as soon as I could. Fiction has rarely come easy to me. A story is a long and twisty process entailing multiple drafts, rewrites, starts and stops. A good short story requires months of work, but not continuous; I think of the process as interrupted islands of devotion in-between the rest of life.

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An exciting new offering from One Last Sketch!

Tired of boring audiobook readings lacking the requisite enthusiasm for the work in question? Then look no further, for we now are now offering audiobooks read in ways guaranteed to continually capture your attention. Below is a small sampling of what is sure to be a highly successful enterprise: the first chapter of Black Beauty, as you’ve never heard it before.

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Black Beauty on Project Gutenberg

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Unfinished

Now that I’ve completed by Master’s degree, my one big unfinished project has started creeping up on me, preventing me from wallowing in contentment. At the beginning of 2012, I made a resolution to finish my novel-in-progress before heading to McGill and then utterly failed to reach that goal. I already had a major setback before that point, dumping over a hundred pages because it just wasn’t working, and getting up to the 250-page mark again happened in fits and starts, including a long break where I wrote an unrelated short story—fortuitous, because I sold that story. Not fortuitous, because it drained away time and creative energy from my major work. Once in Montreal I had little time for anything beyond academics and drinking. I started work on another chapter during the winter break because I was in Whitehorse with neither television nor internet nor a means of reliable transportation. I haven’t gotten back to it until now, and I’ve had to discard a good chunk of that few weeks’ work to get the story flowing again. Only it’s not easy, restarting from where I left off. The worst part is knowing there’s too many good bits left behind for me to just abandon the book altogether—I like these characters, I like this world, and most of all, I’m invested in finding out how this story ends.

That’s right.  I don’t, currently, have any clue about the finale.

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Back when The Hunger Games movie hit theatres, there was a great deal of grumbling on the internet labelling Suzanne Collins’ story as Battle Royale for kiddies. The author said she’d never read or seen Battle Royale, but the film adaptation of Battle Royale holds such cachet among geeks that the litany of complaints continued. Of course, the problem with this connection is that Battle Royale itself isn’t a very original book either. The setup of a group of unwilling participants stuck in an arena in a fight to the death for the entertainment of onlookers is not just a common occurrence in human history (the Coliseum is just one example), but it’s also the plot of just about every low budget 80s action film ever made. For whatever the reason, it was the default plot device for hack screenwriters.

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