Amtrak Hosts its First Resident Writer

train tracksWhen Alexander Chee, author of “The Queen of the Night,” mentioned that he wished Amtrak had a residency program for writers, he may not have expected the company would listen. However, after Chee shared his longing in an interview with PEN Ten, Amtrak offered an opportunity for a writer to ride across the country for free.

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The Shape of Things

booksNo, I’m not referring to the play by Neil LaBute. Today I’m talking about Kurt Vonnegut’s theory of the universal shape of story types. According i09, Vonnegut believed “stories have shapes which can be drawn on graph paper.” This was his thesis for his anthropology degree at the University of Chicago. However, his teachers told him the idea was too simple, and according to Vonnegut, too much fun. Not long after, he left the university without completing his degree.

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5 Ways to Prepare for Ragnarok

RagnarokWell, we once again came away from a predicted apocalypse, and this time it was from the Vikings. Their mythology set the end of the world for Saturday, Feb. 22, and fortunately, it didn’t happen. At least, I don’t see rivers of blood or warring gods. However, I thought it might be fun to go ahead and play around with Viking lore. So next time we face imminent destruction, take a look at these tips for surviving Ragnarok:

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Inspiration From Other Mediums

Playing on my Mac

Playing on my Mac

As mentioned in prior posts, I’ve been struggling to muster the motivation to begin a new work of fiction. Fortunately, I have found a muse (I was going to say “my muse,” but I don’t know that it’s THAT powerful)!

Gaming is productive
My boyfriend and I began playing through the game Banner Saga, and I was captured from the start screen.  The art, for one, is striking. It’s at once simple and complex, saturated and muted, fluid and rigid. As a whole, I’d called it stylized. In a way, the game’s art nods to Norse culture, which is appropriate for a game heavily influenced by Vikings. I picked up my neglected sketchbook in the same weekend we began the game.

The game play becomes increasingly frustrating, as you must make complex and challenging decisions. Right now, we must either spend points to increase our characters’ abilities, thus saving the caravan from attacks, or feed our followers – and that’s just one example! I want some of that merciless storytelling in my work.

Dreaming up stories
The piece I’ve started working on will be the second story inspired by my dreams. I rather like this method, as my dreams tend to be awesome. They’re filled with fantasy and ripe with metaconflict. I typically make a few tweaks to my dreams in order to create a more complex and coherent plot. That’s the stage I’m at now.

I’ve drawn the two main characters and written blurbs from their points of view. Everything is in the planning and learning stage, and I’m having a blast!

After “Monuments Men”

monuments men ticketI just saw “Monuments Men” with my friend Ali, and I left feeling wistful. The movie itself moved sort of slow, but it got it’s point across – a point I agree with. Basically, the film sought to tell a story pushed aside by history while reminding us why art, in all its forms, is vital to society.

It begs the question, what gives meaning to life? What is immortal? And what’s worth protecting? I guess in some aspects, those questions are the same. While I don’t believe that value only comes from production, I do feel that the arts are indispensable. I am happy to be a part of the creative community and I walked away from “Monuments Men” with a renewed sense of purpose.

The only thing left is to figure out what it is I’m meant to say with my work. It’s all part of being a 20-something-year-old, really. I’ll hit the mark at some point, and for now, I’ll keep writing.

 

Flappy Bird, Candy Sagas and Copyright

Artists are always trying to generate new material to output something “original.” But living in the 21st century certainly presents some obstacles when it comes to producing unique work. I guess you could say we’re standing on the shoulders of giants – it’s not just scientists. For that reason, artists either struggle to create an original work, accidentally mimic someone else’s, or purposefully recreate and existing success in order to make a statement. February 2014 seems to be a great time in which to examine these trends.

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How to get noticed

I’m having a hard time thinking of a creative post to write, so I figured I can share some of the things I’ve learned from my job (maybe it’ll help me get my writing back on track).  I work at a content marketing company that focuses on search engine optimization (SEO). Basically, we use specific strategies when writing articles for our clients that will get their webpage noticed. All the techniques I use when writing for my clients can also help get your blog page some attention. Here’s how:

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