I have an MFA, an M.Phil in ELT, am working on my PhD, was a Managing Editor for Zelda Dungeon, and enjoy theorizing about story structure in anime, games, and manga.

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Latest Articles

Latest Topics


Writing and Health Benefits

I would like to see what writing does to people on a psychological, emotional, and mental level. I know of a study that suggests writing about an issue we are facing in life helps us heal, but I’m wondering about writing in the realm of fiction and creative nonfiction, rather than just journaling about the issues in life. I’m also wondering if other studies exist on this subject and encourage any takers to go deeper than the surface for this topic.

  • When I write, I frequently go into my character's mind, to the point I feel like I'm in another mindset completely. This helps to understand multiple points of views and how may different types of characters might think. – SpectreWriter 5 years ago
  • Therapeutic writing as non fiction vs fiction would be a fascinating study! I find journaling helps one work through pent up emotions but fiction can help express abstract feelings. Maybe a little section could address the difference in benefits between therapeutic writing and therapeutic art, it would be very interesting to see how effective those two modes of expression are at helping someone cope. – Slaidey 5 years ago
  • One of the reasons I describe myself as a writer is that I've found that if I'm not writing regularly, I'm not as mentally healthy; I seem to need the outlet. The effect is very specifically fiction-centric -- academic and non-fiction writing doesn't provide the same release. I would love to read some psychologically-based research on why that's true. – Monique 5 years ago
  • Writing can really help people deal with trauma because it allows one to communicate inner thoughts and self-reflections free of judgement. I think this would be a really cool idea and that you should pursue it. I love the idea of writing in the realm of creative nonfiction and, in a way, conducting your own case study about the psychological, emotional, and mental affects writing has on people. – Morgan Muller 5 years ago
  • There are studies that I've seen that expressive writing helps with depression, anxiety, mood stimulation. If you look things up online you can see the studies created for that. Just taking 15 to 30 minutes out of each day is even enough to change a person's mood. I think it's important to get into your character's mindset and I think it can really change a person's mood good or bad as the situation is written out but you feel satisfaction in the end and the outcome. I believe if a person is feeling a specific way or dealing with something, writing it out and fictionalizing it can give them a way to cope and look over it and see one of the many possible outcomes written before them to put their mind to ease just a little bit.But as Slaidey said, it would be fantastic to see just how the difference is between non-fiction and fiction writing and the mood changes of the writers afterwards! – shelbysf 5 years ago
  • I looked into this a bit during my degree and some studies I can suggest are...Mcardle, S. and Byrt, R. (2001) ‘Fiction, poetry and mental health: expressive and therapeutic uses of literature’, Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing 8: 517–524.Sexton, J.D. and Pennebaker, J.W. (2009) ‘The healing powers of expressive writing’, in S.B. Kaufman and J.C. Kaufman (eds.) The psychology of creative writing, pp. 264-274. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.If you look up therapeutic writing / therapeutic reading / narrative therapy some more relevant studies may come up (especially if the ones listed above are difficult to access, apologies if they are!)For more general stuff about narrative and therapy/psychology:Riessman, C. and Quinney, L. (2005) ‘Narrative in social work: a critical review’, Qualitative Social Work, 4 (4): 391-412.Kleinman, A. (1998) The illness narratives: suffering, healing, and the human condition. United States: Basic Books.Harre, R. (1997) ‘An outline of the main methods for social psychology’, in N. Hayes (ed.) Doing qualitative analysis in psychology, pp. 17-37. Hove: Psychology Press.Hayes, N. (1997) ‘Introduction to Part I’, in N. Hayes (ed.) Doing qualitative analysis in psychology, pp. 11-16. Hove: Psychology Press.Emerson, P. and Frosh, S. (2004) Critical Narrative Analysis in Psychology: A Guide to Practice, revised edition. Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan.Hope this helps! :) – Camille Brouard 5 years ago
  • When I write, even if it's not about my life, I find it very therapeutic. – kendalld 5 years ago
  • As Kendal said, writing for me is also very therapeutic and also a creative release. – Munjeera 5 years ago
  • What interests me above all of this, is what writing does to memory and ultimately who we are / become. (i.e. how important is writing in the formation of self?), which also plays into our mental--and maybe even physical--health. – AKulik 5 years ago
  • I think it would also be interesting if the article explores why so many great writers struggled with mental health issues. Not that there is necessarily a connection, but the contrast has always been a bit for me: writing being therapeutic and writers struggling with life. This article from The Guardian might shed some light on the subject: – faezew 5 years ago
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Are web-based cartoons/shows successful?

I would like to see an article on whether or not web-based cartoons or shows like "Bee and Puppycat" and "Video Game High School" are successful, and if they will mean anything in terms of competition for TV cartoons and shows in the future as a result of their success/fanbase, etc.

  • By web-based do you mean just you-tube or sites like Crackle, Netflix and Rooster Teeth all who provide original content in some form or another? – Tyler McPherson 6 years ago
  • I meant YouTube. Thank you for asking and allowing me to clarify. – BethanyS 6 years ago

LIfetime and Featured films

Lately, Lifetime has been trending films about women and kidnapping. What I want to know is why is this a trend, and why would the network choose to focus on this genre? What is the writer’s opinion of the choice to air these films? Do the films really empower women, or are they sending a degrading message to the viewers?

  • Another interesting factor to look at might be how these films tell us to think of men: that they should not be trusted, or that one should do anything in order to attain a husband. I found a couple articles that might be interesting to look at: – Nicole Wethington 6 years ago
  • You might also consider the financial reason lifetime chooses their topics. – LaurenCarr 6 years ago
  • Lifetime is a network targeted towards woman. Specific types of women. Do these lifetime dramas function as a sort of "women level" horror film? I know people of minority demographics who can't take many horror films seriously because as it is often said "No [minority] person would do that? Why are they doing that" in which cases these tropes become part of their story about the majority community. You can relate this so writings by feminist writer bell hooks who wrote an article "Representing Whiteness in the Black Imagination".You can consider the differences between traditional American horror movies and Japanese horror movies as an example. The tropes in Japanese horror movies are different the terrifying little girls for one. How different would horror movies be if they were targeted towards people who don't enjoy horror. People who were stereo typically housewives who took care of their families. I think you can make the argument that Lifetime's women and kidnapping films fill that role for these women. Or at least Lifetime would like them to. – wolfkin 5 years ago

Short Film as Stories

The idea kind of speaks for itself, but I think the thing I would like to know is: How does the short film allow for story to be told? What are the pros and cons of short films? Do they have limitations as a medium? A few examples of shorts to look into are Dark Tales of Japan, Escape (may be found under Princess in Another Castle), Luna, and, of course Pixar shorts.


    Destination Truth: Have we really explored everything on Earth?

    I wonder if we really have discovered everything there is to know about the past people, mysterious lifeforms and places on Earth, or if there is more out there. Destination Truth, a show on Syfy, goes out in search of the truth behind mythical creatures and other such things. Because of this show, I have been led to believe that we do not know all there is to know about the planet we inhabit. I recommend using the show Destination Truth while you compile an article that either explains what all there can be to explore on Earth. You may also argue that we have explored everything and use the show as a "debater" for the unknown in the world.

    • It might be important to refocus this topic. Scientists know that we haven't discovered everything on Earth. Much of the Earth's oceans and rain-forests remain unexplored. Every year many new species are cataloged, usually insects and plants, but sometimes small mammals, fish, or reptiles are also discovered. It may be of interest to explore the roles of culture and folk tales in the formation of cryptids. Often times Destination Truth is often focused on cryptozoology - the search for animals whose presence cannot be determined, due to a lack of physical evidence. Instead of asking are there more species out there, you may want to ask why are there so many shows that are focused on crytid species, such as, Destination Truth, Bigfoot Hunters, Monster Quest and Survivorman: Bigfoot. In recent years these shows seem to have sprung to life. Even, shows like River Monsters, is trying to capitalize off of the fascination that an unknown creature, such a large mysterious unknown fish species could be lurking in the murky depths of water. Overall, look at the fascination cryptids create and how that translates to marketable TV shows, such as the ones previously listed. – Schmerica11 6 years ago
    Write this topic

    Impact of Let's Players on YouTube

    It seems more and more people these days are turning to YouTube as a source of income, particularly in the let’s play department. People like GameGrumps, Markiplier, and Versus all entertain us with their videos on YouTube, and I wonder what kind of impact this is having on the world, since YouTube and gaming videos in general seem to be "in" right now. Feel free to also discuss the similarities and/or differences in how the aforementioned let’s players approach their medium and audience. I also suggest watching their videos (possibly draw my life, if there are any) to be familiar with their work before writing on this topic.

    • I feel like this could be a very important conversation topic. Also, since Youtube pays depending on how many minutes are spent watching a video, the Let's Players can often get paid a lot more than independent and creative artists because their videos are naturally longer. – Jemarc Axinto 6 years ago
    • I think it also important to mention that many Lets Players provide other content on their channels too. For example Markiplier has some comedy sketches along side his lets play videos. – Cagney 6 years ago

    Themes in Stargate TV series

    The Stargate series is a military sci-fi TV series that debuted in 1997 as Stargate SG-1 and has two spin off series (Stargate Atlantis and Stargate Universe). While the series does a fairly good job of exploring the unknown and coming to understand what we on Earth are a part of among countless galaxies, I want to know what themes can be found underneath the general overall theme I mentioned.

    • Might be interesting to analyze the concepts of xenophobia and control as themes. The foundation premise of Stargate is that the entire universe was seeded with humans so that the Goa'uld would have host bodies. (Preferably, beautiful hosts.) When a Goa'uld takes a host body, the host is no longer in control of themselves and become an unwilling witness to the Goa'uld's acts. It's a powerful commentary on both the loss of control and fear of Other -- the thread could be expanded to look at the parallels of addiction or the more xenophobic idea that outside ideas will infect and destroy a person and turn them against loved ones. – Monique 6 years ago

    Why We Play Video Games

    I think it would be interesting to see why we play video games on an intellectual level. What do the mechanics of the gameplay influence in the player’s surroundings and what influence does the setting of the game have on the story that may teach the player through the immersion process games tend to have? Sure, video games are fun, but what more do they have to teach us?

    I recommend looking up Game Theory on Youtube to see what is out there on this topic, though I’m coming at this topic from a more philosophical nature versus a scientific one.

    • I think you could focus upon games where there is emotionally-invested storylines involved, such as The Last of Us or Red Dead Redemption, which make gamers think about their own morality. – Ryan Errington 6 years ago
    • It's been suggested that essentially, the consistent popularity of video games is due to the artificial sense of accomplishment they offer. That's more of a scientific idea, but it might be interesting to explore how video games invite that sense of accomplishment on a story level. – Mariana 6 years ago
    • To add to what Mariana said, I also think it ties in to the idea of faux freedom but covertly reliquishing control. Many people play to relax, and it is relaxing because even though you have this open map, you are not having to make the big decisions that real life asks you to - you get limited choices (3 answers to a question, 4 endings to the game, it's all been decided by someone else.) And there is no real consquence to your choices - you can reboot if you need to. It is like being a kid - it's all a game! I don't know if there is a real theory out there for this, but that is my theory. – Francesca Turauskis 6 years ago
    • Video games can also make the player feel more confident. I know that when I beat a challenging boss or complete a level, I feel good about myself, though I don't know if that confidence translates into the real world. – S.A. Takacs 6 years ago
    • On the point of morality and emotionally-invested storylines as mentioned above, their also all the Telltale games that not only let you choose your actions but the way in which you converse with the characters as well. Those games make people reconsider their actions on a second play through. – Tyler McPherson 6 years ago
    • You should read "Reality is Broken" by Jane McGonigal. She may be a good source to draw from as you research and write. – AnnieVos 6 years ago
    • I will only play for the most part RPG games that A) have a good gameplay system and don't require me having to avoid being seen, and B) RPG games that have a beginning, middle, and end, in essence, a good story. This is probably why I tend to only play Square Enix video games. – Travis Kane 6 years ago
    • In addition to well-paced risk/reward systems, another compelling issue is player involvement. Video games allow the "audience" to participate in the story (usually) as the main protagonist in a way that passively watching television or movies does not allow. In a world where fan involvement is increasingly an aspect of entertainment, this is a powerful but often overlooked motivator. – Monique 6 years ago
    • This would be a good topic, that have been many studies conducted asking this very question (usually game developers doing it to see how they can hook players). – bbazemo2 6 years ago
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    Latest Comments

    I appreciate your commentary. I would like to point out that I wrote this nearly six years ago, and, while you can definitely see the issues with those characters, you’re also disregarding the story arcs that *are* in the story. Regardless, a lot has changed in my own life from when I wrote this six years ago, so my opinion might be different from the person who wrote that initially. Still, thank you for your input.

    Love in Masashi Kishimoto’s Naruto

    Intriguing article. As a gamer/news writer for Zelda Informer, this makes me think more about why Naughty Dog did what they did with some of my other favorite games. It also makes me more grateful that franchises like Zelda are working to reinvent themselves without fading away. I feel like there is a bit of a line that can be followed and that some things about that line form more curves than straight paths.

    Naughty Dog Doin' it Right: How to Bring a Series to an End

    This was an interesting read! Thank you for this article.

    How has the Idea of "Family" Changed on Television since World War II?

    Interesting read, and well written!

    Superhero Live Action Shows: Conventions and Evolution

    This is a great article, and it makes me want to learn more about Harry Potter fans and their social-cultural structure. This was a well researched article, and it makes me sad that I missed out on something that sounds like it was wonderful at one point and time. I think I may have caught it at the tail end of it’s life, because I was sorted into Slytherin (and my SO is a Ravenclaw), and decided to try the aspects of Pottermore at a later date…except that date never came, because the changes took place.

    The Lost Civilization of Pottermore

    You have a good article here. Thank you for giving me a new perspective on the ending. I somewhat disagree with a few of your points, however, because my interpretation of the ending was one that goes somewhat like this:

    Neji wasn’t relying on fate when he put his life on the line for Narutp. He chose that path of his own free will. I believe also in that chapter, shortly after Neji dies, a bird flying free through the sky is depicted, which to me, despite the irony of his actions, symbolized that Neji had achieved his freedom. Hinata ending up with Naruto did change the Hyuga in a sense, because she was deemed a failure right along with Naruto, and, I may be mistaken here, but if memory serves, once she gave up her rite of passage to become the head of her clan to Hanabi, she should have received a curse mark to prevent the Byakugan from being “tainted”. Instead, she is allowed to remain unmarked and is even allowed to marry outside of her clan–something relatively unheard of for the Hyuga.

    As for the political problems brought up in Naruto, a lot of the separation between the five nations is settled when everyone decides to don the unified headband with the mark of “shinobi”. Is this a perfect system? Of course not, but everyone was able to look past their differences and unite, which is a huge accomplishment for the Naruto universe, because it does stop the fighting among the nations. Also, remember that Naruto came from a violent time that was still present when he grew up. He surely must have heard stories about the Uchiha clan from Sauske or Sakura or someone, and Jiraiya told him about the Third Great Ninja War, so the fact that Naruto decides to try to empathize and reason with the shinobi world’s threats shows another step in the right direction, because in theory, it should help prevent needless bloodshed and create a start toward peace.

    Finally, Naruto, as Hokage, was able to unify the five nations into one shinobi nation, which led to advances in technology and allowed some form of peace to start. It is a shaky peace, and we do see that evidence, if subtly, in Boruto: The Naruto Movie. I believe that Naruto recognizes that the peace he works so hard for is unstable when he realizes how angry Boruto gets because he’s away. I believe these issues might well be touched on in the Boruto manga that is coming, because the new generation will have to face challenges that their parents either couldn’t, or did not realize they needed to fix. I’m particularly interested to see how Sarada does in her quest to become Hokage, in part because she is an Uchiha, and I think some of the issues you brought up with that clan may be addressed with her story.

    Again, thank you for the new perspective on the ending, and I want to stress that the above is simply how I perceived the ending and what I hope/expect to be covered in the future.

    Naruto: The Unresolved Revolution

    I feel that you gave a good objective overview of Ocarina of Time and analyzed the game aspects well. I personally think that Ocarina of Time is worth being played.

    Does Ocarina of Time Still Hold Up By Today's Standards?

    An interesting read that makes me reconsider the way I view fairy tales and what they teach us.

    Clarifying Current Understandings of Fairytales: The Princess or the Goblin?