Benjamin Johncock

novelist, writer

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"It will be a year long remembered.." (with apologies to Grand Moff Tarkin).

"It will be a year long remembered.." (with apologies to Grand Moff Tarkin).

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"Can we bring back the third-person narrator?"

Mark Richards, Editorial director at John Murray speaking to Andrew Lownie Literary Agency about what fiction editors want:

1) I really think novels should be in the third person, unless there’s a very good reason for them not to be. Too many debut novelists, it seems to me, think that the first person is easier than the third. It’s not: it’s significantly more difficult to tell a story when the narrator is within that story, and doesn’t have the advantage of omniscience.

2) Relatedly: can we bring back the third-person narrator? I read a lot of novels where there’s a lot of statement – about what’s happening or what a character’s thinking – and not a lot of texture to that statement; no sense of the novel itself having an opinion on the events it relates. Perhaps it’s the long reach of Hemingway, but whatever it is, the effect is often deadly – it’s forgoing one of the great generators of irony and comedy in novels.

Yup.

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Here’s Jim Irwin, Apollo 15, eighth man on the moon, giving my ten year old self some good advice.

Here’s Jim Irwin, Apollo 15, eighth man on the moon, giving my ten year old self some good advice.

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This just made my day.

This just made my day.

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The evolution of email

I think email - or people’s use of it - needs to involve from the formal hangovers of the letter from where it evolved. Simply put, no Dear/Hello/Hi, no preamble “Hope you are well”, no best wishes, or regards of any kind. Just “Can you send me the image” or “Are you interested in etc”. Productivity up 500%; British economy sorted.

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