Friday, May 19, 2006

Get your comma, er, coma right

A word of caution to all those scriptwriters out there – and you know who you are! Consider yourself warned! I read the following Associated Press article today in the newspaper:

“Note to screenwriters and filmgoers: People look bad when they are in comas, and they never, repeat never, get up, unplug themselves from their machines and walk out of the hospital.

A new study published in this month’s journal of the American Academy of Neurology reviewed 30 U.S. and foreign movies with characters in prolonged comas and found that only two of those – Dream Life of Angels and Reversal of Fortunes – contained reasonably accurate representations of coma.

The others often portrayed the comatose as tanned and muscular; as if they were simply in a deep sleep. In reality, their muscles would atrophy and they’d probably be incontinent.

Researchers identified scenes from 17 movies portraying a coma, wakening from a coma, recovery from coma, and physician, nurse and family conversations. They then asked 72 viewers to rate the realism.

The portrayals of comas in movies is important, said Dr. Eelcom Wijdicks [does THAT name strike you as fictional??? Just try to say it aloud without laughing], a lead author of the study and neurologist with the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., because people are subconsciously influenced by what they see on screen.

“The wrong representation could lead to the wrong expectations,” Wijdicks said. In the study, 39% of participants said the movie scenes would affect a real-life decision [now THERE'S a scary stat].”
~ Xena

Monday, May 15, 2006

Writers exercise too!

The Federal Government wants to stimulate activity in children by offering parents a tax credit to enroll their kids in physical activity. Of course, they only consider endeavours like chasing a ball around a field, to be activity. What about mental activity? Firing all those neurons to be creative, uses calories too. What about chasing a story? Those of us writing articles and essays have traveled out of our comfy chairs to chase down a great idea. Those of us writing fiction know how surrounding you with your subject matter and setting creates wonderful words. What about song-writing and play-writing? Such writers often combine other artistic processes in addition to the writing. Song-writers play piano or guitar in most instances. Playwrights may be involved in staging or directing as well. Let's create writing programs for kids and convince the Tory's that exercising their brain uses energy too.

Get active, be persuasive, write-on!

Sher, Executive Director
WCAC, 25 Regina St. S.
Waterloo, ON N2J 1R8
519-886 4577

Sunday, May 14, 2006


Well, the novel is printed and in my hot little hands. And I'm proud to say that I found my first typo, on page 47, the first time I opened the book. Hooray! Now that I've found it, I can be sure that there are no other typos in the book, anywhere.

But the Kitchener launch is set for June 4 at the Walper Hotel. Everyone is invited of course. Punch will be served.

Has everyone heard about the CAA Mini-conference on June 3? I don't know whether I told everyone about it or not, but basically we're taking four of the most successful elements from last year's conference and putting them together in one extravaganza of a day. These elements are:
  • A panel of editors talking about what they're looking for from writers
  • One-on-one interviews with editors
  • A workshop with Kelley Armstrong
  • Meals and coffee breaks provided
So if anyone's interested, get on over to the branch page and sign up. We figure we're charging about $10 more than Brian Henry does, we're giving people way more of everything, and food is included. What more could a person want?

Anyhow, I'll post details about the launch party when they're available. Till then, I'll be running madly around the room wondering how the heck I'm going to get everything I need to do, done.

Monday, May 08, 2006

On-line Book Publishing

Larry just read an interesting interview with Eileen Gittens, the Chief Exec of Blurb, an on-line publishing company. Click the link for the Washington Post article. (These articles go off-line after a period of time. If you miss it, send Larry an email. He'll send you a Werd file copy of the interview.)

Life is Short at the Washington Post

Find a way to give insight into your life in under 100 words. Authors of selected entries will be notified and paid $100. Send text (accompanied by a home phone number) via e-mail (, fax (202-334-5587) or mail (Style, Life Is Short, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071).

And here's a recent example:

I stood in my son's room where he was doing his high school homework. Looking down at his desk, I saw a paper on which he had gotten a B-plus. Though pleased, I asked him, "How come you didn't get an A on this?" He looked up at me and asked, "How come you're not making millions and millions of dollars?" I thought he had a point and let him be.

Tony Gittens, Washington