Skip to main content

Am I a real writer now?

As a writer of non-fiction I can't help but harbour a little chip on my shoulder. Real writers, it seems, do fiction. This must be true - look at how many more prizes there are for fiction writers than non-fiction. What's more, compare the amount of publicity the big fiction prizes get against the handful of non-fiction, not to mention the fawning coverage from presenters in the media.

Let's face it, non-fiction writers are second class citizes of the literary world.

So (even though the above is highly tongue in cheek - because I don't agree with the people who set up these prizes, and the literati in general) I'm rather pleased to say that my first piece of real paid-for fiction has been published. It's in the Communications of the ACM, and I'm rather proud of it.

Unfortunately as this is paid-for journal, unless you are a member, you can't look at it apart from the abstract (yes, it's a short story with an abstract. This is a journal, after all). But I know it's there, and that's a nice feeling.

Comments

  1. Why is this so? Is it because the idea of popular non-fiction is relatively new? That "prizes" for non-fiction are the plaudits of academia rather than tawdry trophies and filthy lucre? My guess is that in the next five to ten years this will change, if the sales are there.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I think, Liz, there's an element of the two cultures at work here: fiction is an Artform, with a capital A. Non-fiction is the craft of horny-handed sons and daughters of the typewriter, or some such. It's just a collection of facts, not creative. (I don't believe this, you understand, but I think it exists as a way the literati operate. And of all the areas of non-fiction, science probably being considered the least worthy of recognition.)

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Is 5x3 the same as 3x5?

The Internet has gone mildly bonkers over a child in America who was marked down in a test because when asked to work out 5x3 by repeated addition he/she used 5+5+5 instead of 3+3+3+3+3. Those who support the teacher say that 5x3 means 'five lots of 3' where the complainants say that 'times' is commutative (reversible) so the distinction is meaningless as 5x3 and 3x5 are indistinguishable. It's certainly true that not all mathematical operations are commutative. I think we are all comfortable that 5-3 is not the same as 3-5.  However. This not true of multiplication (of numbers). And so if there is to be any distinction, it has to be in the use of English to interpret the 'x' sign. Unfortunately, even here there is no logical way of coming up with a definitive answer. I suspect most primary school teachers would expands 'times' as 'lots of' as mentioned above. So we get 5 x 3 as '5 lots of 3'. Unfortunately that only wor

Why I hate opera

If I'm honest, the title of this post is an exaggeration to make a point. I don't really hate opera. There are a couple of operas - notably Monteverdi's Incoranazione di Poppea and Purcell's Dido & Aeneas - that I quite like. But what I do find truly sickening is the reverence with which opera is treated, as if it were some particularly great art form. Nowhere was this more obvious than in ITV's recent gut-wrenchingly awful series Pop Star to Opera Star , where the likes of Alan Tichmarsh treated the real opera singers as if they were fragile pieces on Antiques Roadshow, and the music as if it were a gift of the gods. In my opinion - and I know not everyone agrees - opera is: Mediocre music Melodramatic plots Amateurishly hammy acting A forced and unpleasant singing style Ridiculously over-supported by public funds I won't even bother to go into any detail on the plots and the acting - this is just self-evident. But the other aspects need some ex

Which idiot came up with percentage-based gradient signs

Rant warning: the contents of this post could sound like something produced by UKIP. I wish to make it clear that I do not in any way support or endorse that political party. In fact it gives me the creeps. Once upon a time, the signs for a steep hill on British roads displayed the gradient in a simple, easy-to-understand form. If the hill went up, say, one yard for every three yards forward it said '1 in 3'. Then some bureaucrat came along and decided that it would be a good idea to state the slope as a percentage. So now the sign for (say) a 1 in 10 slope says 10% (I think). That 'I think' is because the percentage-based slope is so unnatural. There are two ways we conventionally measure slopes. Either on X/Y coordiates (as in 1 in 4) or using degrees - say at a 15° angle. We don't measure them in percentages. It's easy to visualize a 1 in 3 slope, or a 30 degree angle. Much less obvious what a 33.333 recurring percent slope is. And what's a 100% slope