Tag Archives: Dilemma

The day Megan proved four of you wrong.

On Friday, I explained Megan’s Surprise Dilemma, a gambit wherein Megan had the option to unravel various surprises.

As a bonus, I included a poll to predict both Megan’s reaction and Jason’s plans. Only five people voted (despite >30 reading the article) but there were still interesting “trends.” (Can you say “trend” of a tiny sample size?)

  • Nobody voted either “surprise” was a lie. Everyone expected both surprises to exist.
  • Four readers predicted that Megan would not want to know and would abstain from checking the laptop bag.
  • One reader predicted that Megan would check, deliberating spoiling both surprises.

Neither Megan nor I voted.

Read More →

The day of Megan’s Surprise Dilemma.

Megan claims she doesn’t like surprises. She prefers to be involved. She bought her own engagement ring — I didn’t even get to see it first. (That’s another tale and shall be told another time.) However, when you ask her detailed questions, she vacillates. Some surprises are good. Some are bad. What’s the pattern? Where’s the line?

It’s impossible for a loving husband to guess. Read More →

When should you give God credit? Should Faith be in advertising?

I’m excited to announce some tough topics in coming editions of Ethics.

The Chilean miner rescue has prompted numerous “Thank God”s to be proffered. Does crediting God minimize human effort? Do we credit God for results we dislike? More importantly, does God want the credit?

These questions will be addressed in Monday’s issue of Entertaining Ethics.

A cleaning-service van with a Christian banner prompted a disturbed reader to ask:

Should faith be used in advertising?

That’s a tough question. An active faith should be part of anything you undertake. But does it cheapen the message itself? Does it exploit faith in pursuit of the almighty dollar?

These questions will be answered in the October 25th edition of Entertaining Ethics.

Tomorrow’s edition of Research Required will explore how to get into the mind of a soldier, as well as building a world in which the murder of an infant would not immediately be viewed as a war crime (which it is in the real world).

Ethical dilemma is a superb way to explore tension in fiction. But these are important questions to answer in reality too.

ASK JASON ANYTHING: The Bad Writer/Good Friend dilemma

It’s a writer’s job to know a little bit about everything, and to thoroughly research anything he doesn’t know. ASK JASON ANYTHING is your opportunity to challenge Jason with a question of any kind, whether it’s scientific or religious, financial or social, political, historical. It can be something you already know, or something you’re genuinely curious to learn. You can ask trivia or knowledge or advice, and every Thursday, Jason will do his best to answer. (Read more at www.jasonrpeters.com.)

TODAY’S QUESTION:

My relative wants to be a writer, and she keeps giving me her work to read. It’s AWFUL. What should I do?

It’s never easy to criticize someone you like. Or at least, someone whose feelings you don’t want to hurt, whether you like them or not. Family connections are the most intricate, but even an acquaintance can trap you with those dreaded five words:

Tell me what you think.

This can become the cerebral version of “Does this make me look fat?”

For the individual who is both kind and honest, there is, unfortunately, no right answer.

But there are a few charitable approaches that tap-dance with the “wrong” answer:

You suck. Read More →

Which 400 words would you delete?

deleteWriter’s Digest is holding their annual competition, and a friend forwarded me the info for it.

I always have mixed feelings about contests; they’re hailed as a great way for new talent to break into a market, but that’s only true if you win. And I cannot imagine that contests with cash prizes get fewer submissions than the magazines I submit to. Then there’s the entry fee to consider; submitting work for publication to a magazine only costs me postage. The WD contest charges $20 for the first entry and $15 for each additional entry. That’s quite a chunk of change just to have someone look at your story, and then (in all likelihood) discard it.

I haven’t yet decided to enter, but the contest rules create an interesting dilemma. The word limit for genre short stories (like science fiction) is 4,000. According to the rules, stories that are 4,001 words will be disqualified.

Perfect Justice in its most recent draft is over 4,400 words. And already I have feared that it didn’t provide quite enough character development, that the plot wasn’t intricate enough, etc. But leaving aside the question of possible improvements, which 400 words are non-essential to the story? Do I go find 400 adjectives and conjuctions I can cut? Or whole scentences? Or a whole scene?

What would you do?