November 2010 Archives
Not much has changed since my last portfolio for Writing for the Internet. I'm still working with html, but with the help of a free program called Kompozer. It's one of those WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) programs that lets you see what it is your making before putting it online. It's really helpful for making my site for class. On Twitter, I've been putting some html and template links besides Creative Writing links.
Interaction-Classmates blogs I've commented on.
Sophisticated Website-Bethany provides a link to her website and asks for opinions. I commented that the colors on the site blend well together which makes the text easier to read.
The Return of the Bane of My Existence-Stephanie finds an old USB (which had all of her work) that she thought she lost. To prevent this from happening again, she asked for advice about a better way of saving her stuff. I advised her to get an external hard drive.
Correction!-Stephanie says her previous love of html has turned into a love/hate relationship since html won't work properly unles it's perfect. Thanks to another classmate named DJ, she discovered a program on her Mac called iWeb (which is similar to Kompozer). I commented saying how I still love html, but I still have a lot to learn.
Writing Rhymes the Fun Way-Kaitlin found a site that lets you look at words that rhyme. She wrote her own poem which made me laugh. My comment was that I usually don't write poetry, but I might have to start because the site she found is so fun to use.
Depth-Entries where I actually said something.
Delving Into Genres: Historical Fiction-I explain what Historical Fiction is and admit my love of history, especially the Revolutionary War.
Dear Motivation, Please Come Back-A post about the trouble with losing one's motivation to do work.
I Wanna Be Something-Post that features a link to an article called 50 Creative Ways to Make Your Blog Popular. I state my opinion about two of the tips.
Discussion-Classmates entries where I started/participated in conversation.
Outside Material-Entries that featured a link.
Something Different-This post has a link to my site where I posted one of my short stories.
Ethos-Entries where readers can get a glimpse of who exactly is writing these blogs.
Delving Into Genres: Historical Fiction-I pretty much admit that I'm a history nerd in this entry, something that I'm not ashamed of lol
Dear Motivation, Please Come Back-Like most people, I also suffer from
laziness lack of motivation from time to time.
Something Different-Readers get to see an example of what it's like when I try to be a serious writer. I also explain a bit about the process of writing the story.
Convention-My experience with the internet.
As I was poking around online, I discovered a site that gives you 50 tips to make your blog popular. Like with other entries where I include a link to another site, I'm not going to name them all. I'm just going to talk about a few of them.
Write about your personal life sometimes-I see when this can come in handy because obviously people want to know at least something about the author of the blog they're following. However, I've read some blogs where the author got a little too personal. I may be be curious about you, but not that curious.
Tell your visitors about your lastest fad or obsession-I don't really do that on here, but I do it all the time on Livejournal. I can see why this tip is on the list since it gives a person more of a reason to follow a certain blog. That, and the fact that it's just not really appealing to follow a blog that doesn't interest you whatsoever.
These are just two of the great tips, so go check them out!
Since my last blog portfolio is coming up and because this is a blog about Creative Writing, I've decided to give you a link to one of my stories. The link goes to the site I had to make for my Writing for the Internet class. The story was written as a very short story for my Fiction Writing class. I hope you enjoy it (don't mind the spacing issues, the site's still a work in progress).
I'm not really sure where I got the idea from, it just kind of wrote itself. I wouldn't consider it one of my best, but it's something. My goal was to make the ending kind of ambiguous (you'll see what I mean after you read it).
It's that time of year when the feeling of Christmas is in the air along with a hint of dread. Yep, it's the end of the semester. I'm not sure about all of you, but this time of year my motivation to do any work plummets. I eventually get it done, but it's a matter of forcing myself.
We've all had a deadline to fill. You know you have to do the assignment, but you don't want to. I find that a lack of motivation is more of a pain than writer's block. It gives you this nagging feeling. How I force myself to finish work is by two things: 1. The most obvious thing being that my grade will suffer. 2. The sooner I get it done, the sooner I get to stop worrying about it.
By the time my motivation comes back, I only have a few days to do the assignment. I keep telling myself that I won't do that to myself again, but that doesn't work most of the time. So my question is this: What tactics do you use to combat lack of motivation? It can be for anything.
I've already said before that I'm not sure what genre I want to write for yet. I thought I had gone over every genre, but I was wrong. While I was at Barnes and Noble the other day, I found a book called Valley Forge that takes place during the Revolutionary War. If my life was a cartoon, a lightbulb would have appeared over my head. I had forgotten about Historical Fiction.
For those who don't know, Historical Fiction works like regular fiction, except that it features real historical people as characters. In Valley Forge, George Washington and many of his aides are featured as characters. I only glanced at it though because I knew that if I started reading it I wouldn't get any work done (but then again, I read historical books faster than regular books).
Though you may find it hard to believe, I'm crazy about history, especially the Revolutionary War. I feel that it doesn't get enough focus in school. My love for history started when PBS was airing a show called Liberty's Kids which told the war through the eyes of three young people (they released the whole series as a boxset). If you have time, you should check it out on youtube.
Nerdiness aside, I definitely want to give Historical Fiction a try. It would be educational to those who read it and I know for a fact that I would enjoy writing it.
Since my last portfolio for Writing for the Internet, I did a project with April Minerd promoting SHU for the Griffin's Challenge. We had to make a 30-60 second video that captured the spirit of the university. We also did a piece of writing. You can find both here. Even though we both took pictures and video, April's the one responsible for making the final product look so awesome.
I've also been busy putting links on my Twitter to helpful writing sites.
My favorite bit is that we started learning html (the coding used to make web pages) using the book Creating a Web Page with HTML by Elizabeth Castro. It's a great book for beginners so you should buy it if you're interested in learning html.
Interaction-Classmates blogs that I've commented on.
Blogging as Goal Fulfillment-April talks about how the world of blogging is so competitive. She also includes a clip from the movie Julie and Julia to emphasis how blogging is a commitment. My comment was about how the number of bloggers is mind boggling.
Finished Multimedia Project-Just a comment thanking April for being a great partner.
The Story Begins...-Kaitlin creates her own interactive fiction story. I only did one story line and I died after eating a Cheez-It, thus only adding to my reasons for not liking them lol. After asking her how long it took her to make, she said that it took a few hours and that the hardest part was linking the entries together.
HTMLove-Stephanie talks about her love for html and asks for opinions on html. I said that I love html because of the freedom it gives you when creating pages/layouts.
Depth-Entries with some meat in them.
Critiquing Stories-Entry about the benefits of workshopping with others in order to improve your story.
Creative Writing Therapy-A little background on Creative Writing Therapy and how it's used for trauma victims and people with terminal illnesses.
Moving Up in the Computer World-My history with html and a link to a really good html tutorial site.
Discussion-Classmates entries where I started/participated in conversation.
Outside Material-Entries that focused on a link.
More Tips on Writing-5 Tips to Polish Your Fiction from writersdigest.com
Ethos-Entries where readers can get a good idea of my personality.
Convention-My understanding of how things work on the internet.
This is from an article on writersdigest.com called 5 Tips To Polish Your Fiction. Like in other entries where I use an article from Writer's Digest, I onlu list the rules or major points without the descriptions. I do this because I'm encouraging to take at look at their site because it has a lot of helpful and interesting articles. That, and the fact that most of the rules are self explanatory. So here are the 5 tips:
1. Use paragraph breaks.
2. Use only one name for a character.
3. Choose entirely distinct character names.
4. Don't use slang unless you clarify it.
5. Limit your use of possibly offensive language.
I had a reading experience related to #4 when I read A Clockwork Orange. Anthony Burgess created his own slang for the book and it was hard to understand what most of the words meant. For instance, the word Bog is slang for God. However, the use of slang didn't stop me from reading the book. In fact, over time I began to realize what the words meant without having to look online or ask anyone. I asked other people who had also read the book and they said the same thing happened to them as well. My friend (who is also a writer) put it best when she said, "It's kind of scary when you find yourself understanding all the slang. It's like you get a deeper connection with Alex even though he's such a violent character." For those who don't know, Alex is the narrator of the book. In the end, I really enjoyed the book and highly recommend it.
For class I have to create my own site using html. I have a little history with html from using it on Livejournal. On LJ, you can make your own layouts using html and css. I thought it would be fun to try and make one. After doing research, I found that it wasn't going to be an easy task so I started by making small changes (such as changing text color) to stylesheets that were already finished. However, I got bored with this after a while and so my best friend gave me a "do it yourself" kind of book. Unlike Creating a Web Page with Html (the book I'm using for class), which is a thin book, the book my friend gave me was huge as in bible thick (it was for html and css). Instead of short and simple explanations, this monster of a book went on for pages about how to use codes for colors (I'm not joking). Obviously the book wasn't for me so I gave it back to my friend.
Thankfully the Creating a Web Page with Html is easy to understand. It also helps that that the author shows images about what it is you're doing (the monster book was all basically all text). I can definitely say that I'm going to be keeping this book after the class is over.
Out of all the tutorials I found on the internet, this was the most helpful. This site covers everything.
This ties in with my Social Science Research Methods class. We have to do a literature review about a topic that deals with our major. I actually had no idea that Creative Writing (also known as Narrative Therapy) could be used as a type of therapy. It's relatively new, so there hasn't been a lot of testing done about it (that and the fact that no one is really sure how you would conduct a study about it). However, there are more than enough articles that explain what it is and how it can be helpful. This is one such article. It's kind of a lengthy article so I'll just give you a brief summary about this therapy.
Creative Writing therapy was first developed by Michael White and David Epston during the 70s and 80s. It was used in family therapy because it was an alternitive way for family members to explore their feelings. It was later used with trauma victims and people with terminal illnesses because it had the potential to help them come to terms with whatever it was that they had experienced.
Besides the testing criticism mentioned earlier, another criticism is that people aren't necessarily willing to write about whatever it is that's troubling them. They can write about what they had for breakfast but when it comes to deep and personal issues, some people actually shut down (freeze or refuse to participate) in a way.
So now you know a little bit about this fascinating type of therapy.
So what do you do after you finish the first draft of your story? If you answered "revise it!", you would be correct. However, this process doesn't just involve you, your story should also be read by others. Having your story read by others is a great way to not only detect the grammar mistakes you didn't see, but also another way to get ideas for your story.
Usually everyone reads their story out loud since the story sounds different when you hear it rather than read it. You can follow along and make any other changes you haven't already made. After the person is done, you state what you liked/disliked about the story. By dislike, I don't mean "That was a really crappy story," I mean "I didn't really understand why you put this there" or something like that.
How you pick your group all depends on what your needs as a writer are. Do you need a group where everyone isn't very experienced when it comes to writing stories? Do you need an experienced group? A group with a mixture of both? These are just some questions to consider.
Oh, and here's a site with some tips on getting started with your writing group.