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Digital Subscriptions > Writing Magazine > March 2018 > The prediction business

The prediction business

Patrick Forsyth takes a lesson from a hurricane

I say, I say, I say, what’s the essence of the best comedy?

I don’t know what is the… Timing! Perhaps, despite its age, this sounds better when you hear it. Never mind, it allows me to start to say something about timing. Columns such as this must be written ahead of publication, but it is probably true to say that we will all remember the recent coincidence of three hurricanes in a row hitting the Caribbean (and parts of the USA) in September. Great damage was done and I have encountered more than one person putting thoughts of a holiday there on hold. I write this having just received a travel brochure in the post, the main feature of which was the Caribbean. Bad timing, but I expect it was all printed and set up and too late to stop. It reminds me of what may be the most ill-fated advertising campaign of all time. The Hong Kong tourist body had to pull a campaign just as the SARS outbreak broke out (at the time it was feared this respiratory virus would be much more widespread than it proved to be), so we never saw the campaign. The strap line was to have been Hong Kong: takes your breath away.

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About Writing Magazine

Bumper issue! Your guide to 2018's writing events and festivals Inside the new issue, discover what you can learn about writing by studying Sherlock Holmes author Arthur Conan Doyle, and get up to speed on what's happening in the grip lit genre. Learn how to conquer rejection and move your writing on, and see how our star interviewee, Katherine Arden, took inspiration from folklore and history for her magic realist historical fantasies. • Keep up to date with the latest writing competitions and opportunities in Writers' News.