Patriotism

The controversy over currently-former-NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick has stimulated fresh ruminations on my part about the true nature of patriotism. In short, if your concept of “patriotism” is tied up in superficial symbols of your country, and not in the well-being of its people, then you’re doing patriotism wrong.

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Plot and Plan? Or Plunge in Where Angels Fear to Tread?

James Scott Bell is a published author with a diverse portfolio of fiction, from period short stories about boxing to zombie lawyer novels (don’t ask). Anyway, in the promotional material for his writer’s coaching service, Mr. Bell divides writers into two groups:

  1. Plotters map out their stories in advance, making sure they know how it’s going to end before they even start writing.
  2. Bell calls the other type “Pantsers,” but that’s an unfortunate choice of words. Puts me in mind of bullies yanking down a freshman’s shorts in gym class. Whatever you call them, they just start writing, with implicit faith that their stories will find their way to the end. They plunge ahead. So maybe “plungers?” That’s got an unsavory connotation, too. We’ll have to work on it.

Of course, most writers will find them in both camps to varying degrees at different times of their lives. For the first two published novels of my career, I have definitely been a hybrid of the two.

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