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About zenali

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  1. zenali

    How educated are you?

    I think you're out in front, dude! I just have one bachelors degree in journalism, which directly helped me get my current job. I've been thinking about doing some sub-bachelor level studies by correspondence, just for personal extension and to buff up the CV a bit. I'm open to the idea of doing another full uni degree in the future, but it would have to be squeezed around work and I'm not sure what I'd actually study. Nice to be in front at something I guess. Try spending a third of your life at Uni (scary thought!) and see how your savings and superannuation look. I'd put the bachelor of surgery ahead to be honest. Oh, sure, I did surgery - neurosurgery even - but none of my patients were expected to survive for very long. And they were invertebrates. Dr Scruffy1 wins as far as I can see. OK. Maybe Mr Friendly wins after all. :)
  2. zenali

    How educated are you?

    B.Sc. (Hons) and Ph.D. in one field. Grad. Dip. and Masters in another. Did 10 years in the first field, on my 7th year in the other.
  3. zenali

    Everybody Draw Mohammed Day

    I rather think that depends on where you are when you insult the Jews. I'm pretty sure that some of the hard-line Zionists would put a bullet in me if I started spouting the wrong kind of ideology in one of their settlements. On the whole, though, I think you have an interesting point. It isn't the way I think about things, but as usual you've made me consider a different viewpoint. I tend to think that the reason Christians won't stone you to death for blasphemy is not that there are no hard-line Christians, it is that they now form such a tiny minority that the majority are able to control them. In the past I've argued that we should be supporting the Muslim moderates in their attempts to reclaim their religion from the Wahabbis. I worry that things like World Draw Mohommed Day alienate the moderate Muslims along with the lunatic fringe. Some of the Muslims I know would think it was funny (and indeed they introduced me to Jesus and Mo' - a great web comic about Jesus and Mohammed), but their parents would still be offended. I think that we might be a generation away from that kind of shift in mentality, but it is a shift we should be encouraging with positive interaction rather than bullying. How many young men in their vulnerable angsty years will be drawn into the Islamist net because of the way the evil West are mocking their religion? Why would we want to add fuel to the fire? I kind of get your point that you need to make them see how foolish they are being. But that presupposes they are rational, and I feel this is a questionable presupposition.
  4. zenali

    Everybody Draw Mohammed Day

    I actually think you're right about this. We choose what to be offended by, to a large degree. But deliberately provoking people because you disagree with what they choose to be offended by seems counterproductive. And given that everybody has draws the line somewhere, also somewhat hypocritical. It would have to be cartoon kiddie pr0n to be properly satirical, and I'd find that damned funny. Fair point. Though to be fair, it is not the fact that the cartoons are satirical that they are protesting. And the guy who was done for kiddie pr0n because of cartoons he had of Bart and Lisa Simpson might have something to say on the matter. Surely you meant to append the word 'positive' to the end of that sentence? Because it's achieved a lot of negative stuff so far. Even fairer point. I did indeed mean that it wasn't going to move us forward in any meaningful way, and would in fact be detrimental to the general progress I'd like to see.
  5. zenali

    Everybody Draw Mohammed Day

    Or a post-a-picture-of-naked-children day? In our culture it is now illegal to even draw pictures of people who look as if they might be under-aged in a sexual situation. But in other places you can get married at 12, and historically this was also the case in the West. So how would we react if some other part of the world decided to show us how stupid our morality and beliefs are by choosing one day to post up the most offensive kiddie pr0n they can find? Really. Whether you agree with the prohibition on religious iconography or not, trying to provoke a reaction from the devout is not going to achieve anything. Turn the clock back and you'd find the iconoclasts having exactly the same reaction to pictures of Jesus and Mary. Some of the oldest frescoes made by the early Christians during the period of Roman persecution were later defaced (literally) by fellow Christians who thought it was a sin to depict religious figures for exactly the same reason that Muslims use today. Leo is right when he says that Christianity and Judaism have had their share of barbarism, mainly because their sacred texts come from a barbaric period of history. Islam hasn't had the benefit of centuries of comfortable living to soften the edges yet. And stirring up hatred seems like exactly the wrong way to go about encouraging any kind of progress in Muslim countries.
  6. Thanks for the feedback! I'd always planned to hint at a more complex tapestry of interactions than I ever planned to explore, partly to add realism and partly to leave you guessing where things were going to go. I've actually cut out a lot of the sub-plots and descriptive passages because I was aiming at 100,000 words and finished at 140,000. I managed to cut it back to 116,000, but I'm hoping to trim it to 110,000. That meant that some of the little detours and obstacles had to go. The other reason for things running smoothly is because of the bad guy's plan. I don't want to say too much so I don't give it away for anybody who does want to read it, but things went the way they did because of the clever manipulation of the villain. I just got another comment about the ending being abrupt, so I'm thinking of either stretching it out a little (at the expense of something else?), or adding an epilogue back in London. I actually changed the ending a little while ago to kill off somebody who had previously survived. It gave a better sense of finality, but did make things a bit sudden. Thanks again for the comments. I'll fold them into the next version of the manuscript. :)
  7. I've been getting some good feedback about the first few chapters, which are definitely the weakest part of the story. I'm going to give them a complete re-work over the next few days and see if I can liven them up a bit, and also make the protagonist more appealing as we first get to know him. I have had a few requests for hardcopy versions, but I'll beg your indulgence for another week or so while I try the re-write. You can be the first to comment on the new beginning!
  8. I'm working on my 4th complete draft now. Basically I'm snipping away at exposition, or little details that paint the scene without benefiting the story. It means the text will be less descriptive and vivid, but it will also be shorter. (I've got all the preceding versions, so if I ever need to I can go back and flesh out those scenes again.) I'll get it down close to 110,000 - but it will be at the expense of the kind of detail that I enjoy when I'm reading. But I understand that is what the industry looks for. Did you ever get your novel published?
  9. Yeah, I'm the same when I write articles. Maximum information, maximum clarity, minimum words. It is trickier with fiction because you are trying to elicit feelings, not just understanding. Sometimes the only way to cut words is to cut entire scenes or plot elements, which is what I've been doing. It is painful! Authonomy is down. It crashed a little while ago, then came back up. Now it's crashed again. Bogus!
  10. I've cut pretty heavily to bring it down from 140,000. I made it to 116,000, but it has crept back up to 119,000. I'm still looking at places to cut, but when I do people complain that there isn't enough character development. Or detail in scenery. Or something. It's hard to know what to cut that isn't going to be detrimental.
  11. Sure thing. PM me your address and I'll send a copy over. I won't be near a printer for a couple of days though, so Thursday is the soonest I'll be able to print it out.
  12. I suppose I should be thankful it was a slow day for you! Thanks for reading, and well done for making it to the end. As for sequels, yes I have plans. I'd like to finish my other novel first though - one that I started before this one, and put on hold for almost a year while I finished this. But when I do go back to it, I thought I'd make Gratianne the main character rather than Tali. I just think that she's a more interesting character, and I'd like to explore her world a little more. Plus, I think it might be interesting to see Tali through somebody else's eyes. How did you find the whole realism side of things? I tried to make it seem that it could be happening here and now, without any supernatural influences. Did that come through?
  13. Thanks for the feedback. If you can remember the typos, please let me know. Once the manuscript gets over 100,000 words MS Word doesn't spell check it properly. (At least they warn you about it though.) As for copyright, as soon as it is written it has copyright. You don't even need to put a © symbol or anything. So putting it up on authonomy.com doesn't weaken my copyright in the slightest. If anybody did rip it off I would be able to sue them - and quite possibly make more than I ever would selling the book. :) But to be honest, I'm more interested in getting it read and published than I am worried about copyright theft. I have drafts going back to January 2009, so I have plenty of proof of ownership. Keep the red pen in hand, even if it is only imaginary. I'd like to make the story as interesting, compelling, and believable as I can. If anything stands out as being too out there, let me know and I'll think about ways to revise it. Thanks again!
  14. 1) Yep 2) Hmmm... kinda yep 3) Also yep, but doesn't play a major role in the plot I haven't played Mass Effect at all, actually. One of the members of The Lucksmiths is named Taliesin, and I always sympathised because my own name has freaky spelling that nobody ever gets right. He goes by Tali, and so does my protagonist.
  15. Okay.. this is sounding more awsome by the minute. Well, those were the questions I was trying to address. Whether I did so successfully is another question - one that I hope my fellow Atomicans will help answer. :)