The Hurricanes Go Greek

As I write this, Hurricane Beta looks set to lash the east coast of Nicaragua and then dump rain on a part of Central America that needs it like it needs a hole in the head.

I knew for some time (this year) that when the Atlantic Hurricane season ran out of names, the meteorologists would use Greek letters (remember how Cameron joked about submitting response forms about your Hurricane Beta experience?). But Beta looks like it’s going to be a significant storm, and it looks like it’s going to kill people. Which brings up a whole new question, one which the meteorologists have not, to date, considered:

What happens if we have to retire Beta’s “name”?

If Beta were a standard named storm, there’d be no debate. The name would be retired and replaced. But you can’t retire and replace a letter of the Greek alphabet. So if, next year, the hurricanes go Greek again, what do we do with 2006’s Hurricane Beta? Do we skip that letter and go straight to Gamma? Or do we name the current storm Beta-2005, to distinguish it from the other Betas to follow?

What a year, eh? What a year.

Literary Conventions that Should go on Vacation

It’s not the Turkey City Lexicon, but this article from the The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books is a worthwhile read for anybody interested in writing in the genre — or even writing at all.

It’s a good list of what not to do in order to be fresh and original. My personal favourite:

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall

Physical descriptions that take place when a character looks into a mirror and reports on the face she or he sees looking back. This device has all the freshness of “And then I woke up and found it was all a dream,” yet it won’t stop coming.

Trust me, I know the temptation. But, if you can, resist the urge to describe your point-of-view character. Your diction and their reactions should help build a picture and, frankly, the picture that readers build in their minds is often far more fleshed-out than any picture you could shove there in its place.

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