Writer's Connection, SM
a publication of The Virtual Writing
"The Creative Process of Writing
is a Liberating and Therapeutic Experience"
In This Issue:
2. Publisher's Note
3. Overton Window by Glenn Beck: No 1984
4. Helpful Hints
The Writer's Connection explores the creative process
of writing and the interplay between thoughts, feelings,
and actions. We are an interactive community of authors
and readers who share ideas to enhance our knowledge,
skills, and experiences in writing fiction in any genre,
but our emphasis remains mystery and suspense thrillers.
Published monthly, the Newsletter offers writing tips
for authors, coaching suggestions, editing, and marketing
Topics are presented from the perspective of Keith Barton
and represent only his ideas on producing your first manuscript,
and are provided to the general public. Because we are
an interactive community of writers, other viewpoints
are welcomed and may be printed in future monthly newsletters
with permission from Keith Barton.
2. Publisher's Note
Dear Writer's Connection Subscriber,
This month's newsletter features: Overton Window by Glenn Beck: No 1984
3. Overton Window by Glenn Beck: No 1984
A thriller it is not. Beck is a superb entertainer and newsman who knows the constitution
backwards and forwards. I've seen him perform in person in Houston and he dresses up like
Thomas Paine and supports the right-wing rhetoric that is familiar to the tea party folks.
While I agree with his political views for the most part, I would submit that his best
writing is non-fiction. He has many NY Times Bestsellers including: Arguing with
Idiots, Common Sense, An Inconvenient Book, and The Christmas
Sweater (his best).
The protagonists: Noah and Molly play a cat and mouse game. Noah personifies the establishment;
Molly, the proletariat. As Big Government sweeps down on the common man, which will make conspiracy
theorists salivate, but the book falls short of true "page turner" interest. The plot is predictable
and the characters are caricatures of many of Beck's non-fiction themes.
For the reader who is totally oblivious to what's going on in our country financially, politically,
and socially, I suppose the book has some redeeming value, but a thriller it is not. Noah is
portrayed as a 22-year old ideologue who couldn't make a decision without his father's (Arthur)
approval. The antagonist, Arthur Gardner personifies the military industrial complex who has inside
plants in every conceivable governmental agency, the least of which include the Joint Terrorism
Taskforce, Domestic Terror Working Group, and the Weapons of Mass Destruction Working Group. One would
need a codebook just to follow the acronyms. I won't give away the story but the climax is not up to
par for thrillers; it leaves the reader doubting what follows as the Overton Window moves
ever so slowly across a slippery slope from left to right on the constitutional freedom continuum.
For those of you who want to skip this read and focus on facts, Beck provides a factual accounting
on where our country has been and the cyclical tension between the federalists (progressives) and
the citizenry (republic) in his book, Common Sense. I've seen him use a chalk board and
draw a single horizontal line to show where we've been since Teddy Roosevelt (our first progressive
President), with the window left of center, to the Reagan years right of center, back to the left
a little with Bush One and Two, and now so far left, we're almost back to Teddy with Obama. The history
lesson is instructive and for a more definitive read one should review Thomas Sowell's Intellectuals
and Society, which was reviewed in a prior newsletter.
By contrast, George Orwell's 1984 is a masterful rendition (originally written in 1949) about
what Big Brother will do to our lives, a great deal of which we are now experiencing under the Bush and
Obama administrations. Noah Gardner is no Winston Smith and Noah's encampment in a dormitory pales in
comparison to Winston's imprisonment. Orwell's 1984 is an expression of mood and a warning
of hopelessness and despair. Our current mood is not as dire, but be warned that we could easily slip
into such a state if it were not for our "faith of our founding fathers" Messianic message of hope depends
on our Christian heritage with its roots in Roman and Greek culture. Orwell was not a prophet of disaster,
but rather a literary prophet of the loss of individualism and the price paid by each of us who are
drawn to the Overton Window ever so slowly and imperceptibly.
- Compare Orwell's 1984 with Beck's Overton Window. Which is more damaging: nuclear
proliferation and Groupthink or today's media and pundits?
- As a literary agent, why would you accept or not accept Beck's book if you did not know he was
the author? What are your main critique points?
- Orwell's book projected the future out 45 years (1939 to 1984); if you were to write
a book 2055, what would be the main themes? Would we even exist as the USA? What would the
world political posture and geography look like?
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About Keith Barton, Ph.D.
Dr. Barton received his Ph.D. in 1972 from the University
of Texas at Austin and has been a practicing therapist
for over thirty years. He is currently enrolled in MentorCoach
and is accepting new clients.
He has been an adjunct professor at the University of
South Carolina, consultant to Fortune 500 companies in
executive development, founded and managed Texas Community
Living Ventures, Inc., in 1986 for providing group home
services to persons with mental retardation. Keith founded
and has been running a clinical practice in Northwest
Houston since 1990.
He writes part-time with the goal of completing one novel
a year. His desire to coach others derives from his passionate
interest in helping others become attuned to their creative
powers of storytelling.
Dr. Barton has training in coaching, cognitive and family
therapy and health psychology. He has published articles,
made presentations and conducted workshops about:
Anxiety and achievement
The relationship between psychology and spirituality
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