More questions. More help. Introducing Mastering Table Topics Second Edition.

Slaying the dragon

By Paolo Uccello - The Yorck Project: 10.000 Meisterwerke der Malerei. DVD-ROM, 2002. ISBN 3936122202. Distributed by DIRECTMEDIA Publishing GmbH., Public Domain,

Spoilers ahead.

Fiction involves some sort of conflict. Usually, the source of the conflict is visible: another person, the environment, or some other physical threat. Even conflicts within ourselves are made visible through our actions.

What if the source can’t be seen? What if it is something powerful and overwhelming, but abstract? What if the adversary is something like greed, racism, political repression, social stratification, or ignorance? How do you slay the dragon, especially when it can’t be seen?

Here are some tips on creating and slaying the dragon in our stories.

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How to tell the truth

Motto at Northwest Missouri State UniversityLying is easy. We’ve been lying since childhood when we were first caught doing something we know we shouldn’t do. In time, we got so good at it that we believe the lies we tell ourselves.

Telling the truth is hard. It requires that you make yourself vulnerable, own up to your flaws and mistakes, and face the consequences of your actions. Even harder is to convince others that we are telling the truth. People are so used to lies that they distrust true sincerity. How do we tell the truth?

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Back to our regularly scheduled programming?

Please Stand By on TVAre you sick of politics? I’m sure tired of writing about it. So, when do I go back to writing about public speaking? Writing? My books? Reseda? When do things go back to normal?

Like it or not, this is the new normal. And we have to live with it from this point forward.

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What self-censorship feels like

Example of censorshipI started writing a post about how our love for dystopian and apocalyptic fiction may have contributed to the election of President Trump. I deleted the draft. Then, I began a well-researched post critiquing President Trump’s management style. I deleted that draft as well.

Yes, I was censoring myself — and Trump had only been president for a week!

Self-censorship is the worst kind, not only because it stifles our creativity and truth-telling. Self-censorship makes us question ourselves, our sanity, and our self-confidence. It tears at our souls. It’s gaslighting, the Ministry of Truth, and worse.

Here is what self-censorship feels like.

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If you change your mind

Before you write this off as more liberal whining, I’ll tell you a secret. In 1980, I voted for Ronald Reagan.

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