Month: February 2014

“One-of-a-kind, unique Stories While You Wait. Sliding Scale – Donate What You Can!”

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“I moved to New York City, and I needed to make money. I wasn’t having luck getting a job. It’s a common tale,” writes C.D. Hermelin, a 26-year-old writer living in Brooklyn in the US.

Hermelin’s solution to keeping the wolf from the door was kinda unusual. He grabbed the typewriter he bought at a yard sale for 10 dollars, took it to a park, and started to write for cash.

“I’d write stories for people, on the spot—I wouldn’t set a price. People could pay me whatever they wanted. I knew that I had the gift of writing creatively, very quickly, and my anachronistic typewriter (and explanatory sign) would be enough to catch the eye of passersby. Someone might want something specific; they might just want a story straight from my imagination. I was prepared for either situation.” Needless to say as writers, we think Hermelin’s a rock star.

Read the story about an inventive writer who became a hated hipster meme, and survived to tell the tale.

On Twitter Hermelin is @cdhermelin.

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Hollywood’s White Dude Problem

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It’s 2014, and Mother Jones wants to know why women and “people of color” are still are vastly underrepresented in the US media landscape. A report published Wednesday by the Women’s Media Center found that, while some progress toward equality has been made, journalism and entertainment still lack a diversity of voices and a variety in representation. If the US media were a person, he’d be an old white guy.

Take a look at the numbers:

Read the story in Mother Jones.

Download the report from the Women’s Media Center.

Do you know why Ukraine is in Crisis?

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Thanks to the Washington Post here’s the answers to 9 questions about Ukraine you were too embarrassed to ask. Along with the primer there’s a two minute video that explains why Ukrainians have been protesting in Kiev since November; and what the bigger picture is all about.

More from The Washington Post – These maps show the chaotic history of Kiev’s protests.

Read more: Mother Jones explains Why Kiev is Burning.

All work, all play: the art of videogame writing

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“At the heart of game storytelling is the concept of “player agency”. Here, “agency” refers to the ability of a player to make changes within the game environment, or even more importantly, the illusion of being able to do this.

If the game presents a convincing enough illusion of freedom then the player suspends his or her disbelief in the artificiality of the game’s world and the limitations in their choice of pathway.

As a medium of interaction, videogames present the player with different possibilities and ask them to enact stories based on designed structures.

This may take a linear form, as in the clearly defined pathways of the action-adventure The Last of Us (2011), to the relatively non-linear in the sense of freedom experienced playing game Skyrim (2011).”

Read the full story at New Statesman.

Always wanted to write like Hemingway? Here’s how.

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ImageHere’s an app for everyone who dreams of writing clearly and boldly like Ernest Miller Hemingway. Called the HemingwayApp, the algorithm created by brothers Adam and Ben Long hunts through writing to find ‘unHemingway-like’ writing and highlights it for a rewrite. Sentences that are too long are accented, while words that could be simplified are earmarked for substitution. Hemingway hated adverbs – his writing was sparse yet authoritative – so words that modify verbs, like wonderful and quickly, are also highlighted for the chop.

“After spending our days writing, we realized a common mistake: sentences easily grow to the point that they became difficult to understand,” the Longs told Ian Crouch of The New Yorker. “The worst part is we didn’t realize we were doing it. Our text was more clear and persuasive when we kept it simple.”

Read The New Yorker’s interview with the Long Bros, in Ian Crouch’s story: Hemingway Takes The Hemingway Test.

Try out the HemingwayApp.

The Gap by Ira Glass

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Ira_Glass_CMU_2006For the writers and story tellers and photographers and illustrators and producers and film makers and artists who struggle and doubt themselves. As we all do:

“Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.”  – Ira Glass. 

Watch The Gap by Ira Glass re-imagined visually by Daniel Sax.

The Evolution of The New York Times Homepage, in 1 GIF

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Gif courtesy The Atlantic

Say hello to a new-look New York Times, which the news brand promises will be a sleeker, faster, more intuitive and enhanced experience for readers. “A more immersive reading experience? We’re glad you asked. We’ve streamlined our article pages and created a more responsive interface with faster load times. So navigating between stories is easier and finding more content that appeals to you is just a click, swipe or tap away,” NYT says in a slick sales pitch.

Read Jim Romenesko’s blog about the redesign.