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As a matter of principle, I believe that a writer should be free to pick his or her subject matter from the entire range of human experience — even when the premise in question is such that, if it were an objective in one of the tabletop Squad Leader games I used to play, it would be one that a smart player wouldn’t even think of attempting without at least six to one odds in favor, not to mention a +8 leader counter and a couple of Sherman tanks. And possibly off-board artillery and some close air support.

As a matter of practicality, on the other hand . . . at some point in the process, there needs to be somebody who’s clear-eyed enough to look at the project and say, “Sweetie, it would take the second coming of Truman Capote to pull this one off, with William Faulkner riding shotgun and Quentin Tarantino bringing up the rear with a video camera — and frankly, my dear, you’re nowhere in that league.”

And everybody concerned is going to be happier if the verdict is delivered before the project goes to press, rather than after.