Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Fact Is As Strange As Fiction


It seems that more and more fiction authors are preferring to write and publish (mostly in online publications) extremely short factual articles called flash facts. For example, a brief article displaying several true facts about dinosaurs written in an interesting and easily understandable way, will usually find a home in a scientific journal or general interest online publication. Or maybe even in some of the well-known print-style magazines.

Such as:

"The Stegosaurus dinosaur was about 30 feet long and weighed four thousand pounds. But its brain was only about the size of a golf ball."

A few more added facts and illustrations will constitute a flash-fact article.

Like this:

Undoubtedly the most famous of all dinosaurs TYRANNOSAURUS was one of the largest predators that ever walked the earth. This immense carnosaur had a mouth full of sharp teeth, serrated on one edge like a saw blade. Its huge jaws could rend flesh and crush bones to satisfy a hunger needed to support its large size. Its forelimbs were small in comparison to the proportions of its body, about the size of a man's arms. At the end were two fingered hands bearing sharp claws. The function of these arms is unclear, but larger limbs seem to have been unnecessary, as evidenced by this creature's success. Tyrannosaurus evolved at the end of the age of dinosaurs, finally meeting oblivion in the last great mass extinction that claimed all of the dinosaurs.

That was from DINOSAURS for instance.

Of course, full length articles are also still in demand. Like the following:

Excerpt from Star Power in the Atlantic Monday, January 30, 2012.

Scientists are confident that the sun is in its "main sequence": it has burned at about the same heat for perhaps a billion years, and it's likely to stay at about the same rheostat setting for another billion years or so. The numbers involved are staggering. The sun consumes about 600 million tons of hydrogen per second. At that rate, the mass of the Earth would be gone in 70,000 years. Yet Sol so far has exhausted only a small percentage of its energy potential. Though 93 million miles away, the sun shines so fiercely that it dazzles the eyes and makes the skin sting in summertime. And that's after almost all of its output simply radiates off into the void: for every one unit of solar energy that impacts the Earth, 1.6 billion units do not. Life on Earth depends on the sun's table scraps.

Photo Of The Sun

My Goodness. The more I read and learn, the
more conscious I become of how little I know


I learned something new today, published as a flash-fact: The trickiest tongue twister in the English language is apparently "Sixth sick sheik’s sixth sheep’s sick". Try saying it fast, aloud, and see for yourself.

Where to Publish Flash Nonfiction & Micro-Essays by Erika Dreifus provides a helpful list of publishers for non-fiction writers (has a few flash-fiction publishers too) for those who prefer to write short-short, factual pieces and to submit them for publication.


A phrase frequently found in technical writings:
"Correct within order of magnitude . . ."
is defined as:


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