A Plea for More Prediction

Dart-Throwing Chimp

The second Annual Bank Conference on Africa happened in Berkeley, CA, earlier this week, and the World Bank’s Development Impact blog has an outstanding summary of the 50-odd papers presented there. If you have to pick between reading this post and that one, go there.

One paper on that roster that caught my eye revisits the choice of statistical models for the study of civil wars. As authors John Paul Dunne and Nan Tian describe, the default choice is logistic regression, although probit gets a little playing time, too. They argue, however, that a zero-inflated Poisson (ZIP) model matches the data-generating process better than either of these traditional picks, and they show that this choice affects what we learn about the causes of civil conflict.

Having worked on statistical models of civil conflict for nearly 20 years, I have some opinions on that model-choice issue, but those aren’t what I want to discuss right now…

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Sandra Benedetto: The Vigil

Drinkers with Writing Problems

She sat next to his bed

and held his hand

and listened to his breathing.

She thought of something he’d once said,

“Beauty is in the almost.”

The best this world has to offer

is a yearning for the next unknowable thing.

Beauty is in the takeoff,

the lean in,

the wind-up,

the loosening of the cork,

the turning of the key,

the blueprints,

the hickory smoke,

the expanding womb,

the knock,

the ring,

the wakeful night.

It’s fleeting

because attainment is the death knell of a dream.

You must wallow in the wanting.

She’d understood then.

Now she sat here,

holding his hand,

listening to his breathing,

and thinking about how

his next unknowable thing

would be the last.

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Deep P.O.V. Part Two—Crawling Inside Your Characters

Kristen Lamb's Blog

This GORGEOUS image via Flickr Creative Commons, courtesy of Aimannesse Photography This GORGEOUS image via Flickr Creative Commons, courtesy of Aimannesse Photography

Last time we talked about the history and evolution of POV (Point of View) and why certain types of POV might not be the best choice for a modern reader. We also talked about what is often called “deep POV” which, until I looked it up one day? I thought was just tight writing. Who knew it had a name?

Today we’re going to dive deeper into deep POV.

Wow, deep.

Yes, there are style changes we can make, like removing as many tags as we can and ditching extraneous sensing and thinking words. But deep POV is strongly tethered to characterization. Good characterization. Before we get to that, let’s talk about what we often do when we’re new.

The Fishy Flashback

When we’re new writers, we often don’t understand plotting. We don’t yet have the skill set…

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