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Mental Health is Vital

This week is Mental Health Awareness Week. We all need to look after our own mental health, and recognise when those around us are affected by mental health problems. Most of us will suffer from some sort of mental illness, for some it will be the mental health equivalent of a cold and pass rapidly, but for many others it will be more serious. Recent research (A poll of over 4,000 people) has shown that in the last year 74% of UK adults felt stressed to the point that they couldn't cope with something. It's worth knowing what the signs of depression are, as well as for other mental health issues. Protecting Your Mental Health Seven Ways to Look After Your Mental Health (used with permission from Scriberian) I saw this sketchnote by @scriberian that was shared by @GC_Rail on…
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Telepaths in Hard Science Fiction?

Science fiction television (Photo credit: Wikipedia) My NaNoWriMo 2017 novel, Lit By Another Star, features a telepath as the main point of view character. It also claims to be hard science fiction. How can this be? Aren't Telepaths magic rather than science, shouldn't it be a fantasy story? That's a good question, and I'm glad that you asked. Here's my take on it. Let's remember Clarke's Third Law, any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. Defining Hardness in Science Fiction Hard science fiction requires that there's a sound explanation in our current understanding of the universe for the story. We don't have to have exploited that science yet, and there can be an element of handwavium provided the results are consistent with science as we currently understand it. The hardness of science fiction is a scalar thing rather than…
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B204 Leadership, Influencing and Change – Tutorial Two Tips

Three models of change in scientific theories, depicted graphically to reflect roughly the different views associated with Karl Popper, Thomas Kuhn, and Paul Feyerabend. (Photo credit: Wikipedia) I went to the B204 Leadership, Influencing and Change tutorial in the LSE a week or so ago, and I learnt quite a bit about TMAs and engaging with B204's course material. In summary there's a lot of material on this course, and you can't read it all. So don't try. A key part of the critical thinking required is choosing what to read, and knowing when you've got enough theory to answer the questions. B204 doesn't have an exam, so you don't need to cram everything in your head. Useful B204 Leadership Theories The tutor suggested that a good strategy for B204 Leadership, Influencing and Change was to focus on a small…
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Editors – Part 2: How to find a good editor

Last week I wrote about the various stages of editing, this week it is about how to find a good editor. There's nothing to say that you must use someone else to edit your work, but most people will probably find it helpful if approached well. Even people that mostly edit other people's work find the fresh eyes bring something to the process. 'Get an Editor' is Bad advice Lots of people bang on about getting an editor. This is good advice, but not when people just say "get an editor". Unless you know what editing is all about how can you pick a good editor? You certainly don't want to just pay the cheapest person. That might be good value, but more likely it'll just waste money. The same is true of picking the most expensive option. The key…
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Scripting Living History Events for Re-enactors – in Five Steps

It has been quite a while since I was last involved in scripting living history for an event. It has also been a while since I attended one, but I spent this weekend at the ECWS living history site at Newport Pagnell. The ECWS living history has come on a long way over the last few years. There is an excellent small town feel to it with a load of talented people showing a wide range of skills and aspects of 17th century life. This is how it should be. The next stage in the evolution is scripting living history cameos so that there is a hook for the public to learn more. About a decade ago the Fairfax Battalia, now sadly gone, saw this and ran a series of living history events. I was lucky enough to be able to script some…
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