Steve McEllistrem

The Devereaux Dilemma

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character names

Posted on by steve-mcellistrem

Some readers dislike character names that are complex or hard to understand. These kinds of names are especially prevalent in science fiction and fantasy. Should you forgo such names and stick with characters whose names we can pronounce relatively easily?

My take is that unless you have a very good reason for choosing a bizarre name (other than just wanting to make something different), you should strive to find a moniker that won’t slow the reader down and won’t dissuade readers from choosing to engage the story in the first place.

Choose shorter over longer, easier to pronounce over difficult, and where a character needs to have a name that is hard to pronounce, give the reader some sort of guide to make it easier.

The Fine Print

Posted on by steve-mcellistrem

Subtitled, How Big Companies Use “Plain English” to Rob You Blind, this latest effort from David Cay Johnston left me infuriated and wishing more people would understand just how much government and big businesses work together to maintain wealth in the hands of the few at the expense of the rest of us.

When we would actually save money by not taxing certain big companies because of the loopholes that allow them to declare a negative tax liability (getting paid to file their taxes), then something is extraordinarily wrong with the system.

I highly recommend this book, and I think we all ought to consider how we can act to put a stop to these insane practices.

The Orchardist

Posted on by steve-mcellistrem

This wonderful new book by Amanda Coplin is a detailed character study of an orchardist and the people who inhabit his world. At times funny, at times horrifying, it allows us a glimpse into a turn-of-the-century way of life that no longer exists. The language is poetic, the ending powerful. I highly recommend it.

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