Saturday, November 26, 2011

Presidential aptitude test

I'm thinking there should be a PAT (Presidential Aptitude Test) for anyone who wants to be president. Not a legal thing, of course, and it would have nothing to do with one's views on issues. It would just be a minimum bar for the wannabes to clear. It would be open book, multiple choice, and cover factual knowledge of broad topics: world religions, demographics, culture, military, technology, economics, U.S. history, and the Constitution. There would be no trivial questions about capital cities or leaders' names, just a test of what might reasonably be considered as core knowledge for a potential leader. I would make it, say, 100 questions with a passing grade of 70. No grades, just pass/fail. And no loaded questions, just strictly factual. And to be entirely fair, no trick questions.

Sample questions:

Which of the following is true about the Middle East?
a. All Muslim women must wear burkas.
b. Iran is an Arab country.
c. Turkey has secular leadership.
d. Saudi Arabia's Muslims are primarily Shia.
e. All of the above.

Which of the following is NOT guaranteed by the First Amendment?
a. Freedom of assembly
b. The right to vote
c. The right to petition for redress of grievances
d. Freedom of religion
e. Freedom of speech

What other questions should we ask of our potential leaders? (By the way, the answers are c and b.)

Sunday, November 06, 2011

A NaNo Lite update

This is a practice I should have started a long time ago, setting aside a specific time to write. Now I roll out of bed, watch Morning Joe over two cups of joe, eat breakfast, shower and change, and then sit down to write a thousand words--that's all, just one thousand. So far, so good from last Tuesday through today. My little log records a modest 6,426 words, steady as she goes. And it's not that hard. The words flow without agony, because my Inner Editor has taken the month of November off. My writing time lasts approximately from 10 a.m. until noon, when it's on to other things. This NaNo Lite is at my own pace, but perhaps it's one that can extend beyond November. Too much to hope for? I hope not. We'll see.

One of those other things yesterday was writing a guest post for Make Mine Mystery, a fine blog run by Morgan Mandel.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Back to Confession

Now how hard was that, going back to writing Confession? I'd set myself a modest daily goal of 500 words and broke 1,000 today. It felt good, almost like free writing. I tried to give my internal editor a rest, not worrying for a change about exactly how anything fit. Most likely, though, it fits pretty well with the overall plan of the story. A little girl has been kidnapped and will be in serious danger, though I promise she will be fine. A general rule of thumb, for me anyway, is that the writer can put children in danger but not hurt them. In fact, her captor will be much the worse for wear.