Topics: Francesca Turauskis

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Writer's Work: The Side Jobs of Famous Writers

Tennessee Williams worked as a caretaker, Robert Frost delivered newspapers and J.K.Rowling was a secretary. The idea of a penniless writer trying to make ends meet is well established, and many aspiring writers find themselves working multiple side jobs whilst sending off manuscripts to potential publishers. Look at the jobs that famous writers found themselves doing whilst they penned thier famous work, as an inspiration to budding writers.

  • I like this topic a lot, as an aspiring author myself. I believe that whosoever will grab this topic will need to make sure that they expand a decent amount, mentioning more than just the authors listed here. Perhaps, the jobs that authors of a variety of genres were performing, before they became famous. – Dominic Sceski 6 years ago
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  • I like this topic, but please fix "Tennesse" to "Tennessee". – Laura Jones 6 years ago
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  • Frost was also a farmer. T.S. Eliot worked at a bank. Wallace Stevens sold insurance. Walt Whitman worked as a nurse during the Civil War. – JLaurenceCohen 6 years ago
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  • Really interesting topic. I, for one, didn't know J.K Rowling was a secretary. There are also so many possible authors to focus on. Try to narrow it to three or four, and make them fairly well known, don't delve to deep into the realm of authors and pick one that only English Majors would know. – Natalie Gardner 6 years ago
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  • Hm, fun! Reminds me of reading Steven King's "On Writing" and learning of his success. – Candice Evenson 6 years ago
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  • I would maybe try to link reasons for why these jobs were chosen. Are they easier jobs that have less stress or time constraints allowing oneself more resources to write? Are they all jobs and not careers since the writer knows they are just to make ends meet and have nothing to do with a future? – Tatijana 6 years ago
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  • What would be the argument of an article in this case? Does this topic aim to do several descriptive case studies or would it focus on the side job of a writer and how her/his experiences influenced her or his writing. – Arazoo Ferozan 6 years ago
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  • An interesting point to make out or "twist" could be identifying what writer's had writing as a side job. Sir Thomas More, who wrote Utopia was an English lawyer. JRR Tolkien and C.S Lewis were both professors. – AbeRamirez 5 years ago
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The Theme of Transformation in Japanese Popular Culture

Whilst transformations can be seen in many cultures, but i’ve noticed that it seems most prevalant in Japanese work. From popular cartoons such as Dragonball, Pokemon, Yu-Gi-Oh, through Studio Ghibli to video games like Super Mario, the idea of ‘leveling-up’ and improving as a physical transfomation, rather than just a skillful one, is very strong. Why is this the case? I would be intrigued to see if there is a link to Japanese theatre and mythology, and whether the use of such transformations in Western culture has been more common since such programs have become popular here.

  • Hmm, because many of them originate as video games? – Justin Wu 6 years ago
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  • I think this could also have an interesting cross cultural-psychological spin. – DClarke 6 years ago
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  • "Natsume Yuujinchou" has Madara, who can transform between a visible-to-the-human-eye maneki neko and an Inugami (dog-spirit) visible only to the spiritually aware. The anime/manga goes into a lot of Japanese mythology, though I'm not sure how accurate it is. – lnr1772 6 years ago
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  • I would imagine that the whole idea of "leveling-up" or "transforming" reflects some of our human desire to become better. – AbeRamirez 5 years ago
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literature
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Russian Literature for the Novice

I would like to see a guide to the common style and structure of Russian literature. It would also be good to see some suggestions for a Russian literature novice to try reading.

  • That's a pretty complex topic since Russian Literature is an umbrella term: there are Russian literature classic writers such as Chekhov, Tolstoy, Pushkin. There is also Soviet Literature that includes masterminds such as Bulgakov, Nabokov, Pasternak... And lastly there is modern Russian lit that is not much different from other modern lit from around the world (Akunin, Pelevin). It all depends on what particular period interest the reader. – crispychips 6 years ago
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  • I JUST took a course on 19th Century Russian Literature. Man, oh man, is it interesting! However, each generation of writers has changed since then, so you would need to be more specific as to what you're looking for. Also, it would be most beneficial for someone who knows Russian to write this (as I can already think of at least 3 significant factors lost in translation that I learned about from a Russian scholar). – Nicole 6 years ago
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literature
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Suggested Holiday Reading

With the summer holidays on the way, a run-down of recommended holiday reads would be interesting. It could be a list of particular titles that are set in holiday destinations, or information about travel writers that will give you itchy feet.

Good titles might be ‘A Moveable Feast’ by Hemingway, ‘Tracks’ by Robyn Davidson or ‘Travels with Herodotus’ Ryszard Kapuscinski

  • For Gamers I strongly recommend "Masters of Doom," "Ready Player One," and "Jacked." For heavy reading "Cryptonomicon" is always a great read. For Science Fiction fans i strongly recommend "Air" by Geoff Ryman, and the "Xenogenesis" series (also called Lillith's Brood) by Octavia Butler. Good topic. – G Anderson Lake 6 years ago
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Product placement: The good and the bad

Product placement is perhaps a necessary evil for films. It is not a new concept – it actually began in novels, including those by Arthur Conan Doyle and Jules Verne – but there are some films that do it well, some that don’t and some that do it tongue-in-cheek (Nescafe in Night Watch (2004) for example.) A look at some movies from each catergory would be interesting.

  • When a product for a company is in the background of a film, its product placement, because it is not essential to the plot. When a character practically stops the film to tell some about a product, it just becomes another ad trying to sell you something. For product placement, it is better to show, don't tell. – Aaron Hatch 6 years ago
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  • In television, product placement isn't necessarily bad, because it can make the characters more relatable to the audience. For example, if a character eats Cheerios for breakfast, someone in the audience might be like, "Oh, I eat Cheerios too!" and feel a connection. As long as the product has a purpose or adds to the character, then I think including the product can be good. – YsabelGo 6 years ago
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  • In Jurassic World, the product placement was overwhelming, but it fit with the idea that the park had become a tourist attraction that needs funding by corporate sponsors. If product placement is done correctly, it can be beneficial; otherwise, it has the potential to be a distraction. – S.A. Takacs 6 years ago
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  • Man of Steel was a movie that was particularly guilty of this. As the Honest Trailer for the film whimsically pointed out, there were was blatant product placement for Nikon, Budweiser, iHop, Nokia, U-Haul, 7/11 and Sears. I suppose an argument could be made that this helps portray Smallville as this "all-American" town. – BradShankar 6 years ago
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Why is it so hard to make musicals original?

There is a plethora of musicals that are adapated from another source, from older ones such as Les Miserables, through the 90’s and 00’s hits such as The Lion King, Wicked and Billy Elliot to the recent Matilda and Charlie and the Chocolate factory. Whilst this is not unique to musicals, what is notable is that there is so very few original scripts to balance it. You could count the original musicals in the last 10 years on one hand (Book of Mormon and Avenue Q, which have the same makers.) It would be nice to see this from the pont for view of someone who is well versed in musicals, and to see if there is a reason for it beyond unoriginality.

  • This seems to be a general trend in entertainment. So many new movies and tv shows are also based on books, earlier movies, etc. I don't know if it's because of a lack of originality, or because it's less of a risk for creators to base their productions on works that have already proven successful. – Marcie Waters 6 years ago
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  • Writing an original musical is, like any large creative project, incredibly daunting. You need a story, music, choreography, lighting, rigging, etc. Part of it is, I imagine, just that it's easier and cheaper to write a musical version of a story that's already been written and put it out there for the masses to enjoy, while you reap the profit. The other part of it is it would be incredibly difficult to create an original musical that would garner enough attention to make a profit. For example, Oklahoma is a musical about a two couples finally reconciling their differences to come together as the state of Oklahoma officially becomes a state. Oklahoma was written in the 50's and was good for it's time. Nowaday's, to reference the two musicals you mentioned, there are Avenue Q and Book of Mormon. Both are incredibly offensive to the wrong audience member. They're crude, crass, and the lines/songs are not necessarily something you would sing/say in every day life. It's gotten harder to draw people in to musicals these days, and the profit just isn't there anymore. – LittleLottie 6 years ago
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  • What about Brecht? – mcdover 6 years ago
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The Portrayal of The Bride in Cinema

So often in cinema woman are portrayed by their relationship to men. I thought it might be interesting to look at this through the use of women as brides, especially as quite a few female-led films have women in this role. Good films to look at might be any Dracula, The Corpse Bride (2005) Kill Bill Vol. 2 (2004)

  • Interesting to note is Mad Max: Fury Road (2015) and its significant departure from a traditional marriage/ romance plot ending. It is a sort of dystopian world, so perhaps it is a statement on how the typical marriage plot is no longer viable in the present, nor will it be in the future. – Nicola 6 years ago
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  • To the author who writes this topic: be sure to differentiate between "wife" and "bride." – Jeffrey MacCormack 6 years ago
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literature
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Living in the Future: Classic sci-fi stories where their future is our present

An analysis of films or literature that was set in the future when it was written, but is now our past/present. You could look at how accurate it is, or speculate if anything is a self-fulfilling prophecy (such as the Big Brother shows named after Orwell’s book.)

  • I think this sort of writing is done fairly often, but what separates the forgettable from the memorable are the ones that identify why different works got the future right/wrong. Those that present this sort of analysis generally have a good understanding of the "present" era in which the story was written. Because, for most people, the future is an extension of how they things today. So for example, 2001. For all of Kubrick's attention to detail, the future looks like the 1960s in space. The modernist chairs, the short skirts on Pan-Am Stewardesses on space shuttles, and the non-collapse of the Soviet Union. People still use phone booths, but at least they have video. Using sci-fi stories as a way to get at the hopes of the era it was produced as well as hopes of the creators, would be one way to frame the issues. – rj2n 6 years ago
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  • This sub-genre of sci-fi has roots in early twentieth century Russian and Irish writing also. The best, shorter work, in the Irish side of the genre is Flann O’Brien's “Díoghaltais ar Ghallaibh ‘sa Bhliain 2032!” which Jack Fennell recently translated into English (“Revenge on the English in the Year 2032!”). It appeared in The Irish Press on January 18, 1932. You can find it in a recent collection though: “Revenge on the English in the year 2032!” in The Short Fiction of Flann O’Brien, eds. Neil Murphy and Keith Hopper, trans. Jack Fennell. 23–28. Champaign, IL: Dalkey Archive Press, 2013. It's a brilliant speculative piece of fiction set in an entirely Gaelic-speaking Ireland in the year 2032. The narrator arrives in this world by way of futuristic ship which is reminiscent of We (in Russian: Мы), the a dystopian novel by Yevgeny Zamyatin from 1921. – ChristopherMcCarthy 6 years ago
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  • Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep was originally set in 1992! It offered a bleak view of the world, would work great here. – Samantha Leersen 1 year ago
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The Twelve Monkeys: What was lost from screen to screen

It would be good to not just analyse what is different (and why it is inevitably wrong…) but also, what the show could improve upon if it is clever, new characters and what the difference between film and show says about our cultures then and now…

  • Talking about the gender swapped characters could be a key topic here. It shows a great deal about society's change to change the gender of a character. – Tyler McPherson 7 years ago
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The Warriors and Romeo Juliet: Two Films Alike?

The Warriors (1979) and Romeo Juliet (1996) have different genres, different settings and different decades. But there are several ways the two films can be said to be alike: The empahasis on gang warfare, for example, or the DJ in ‘The Warriors’ and Newsreporter/Priest in ‘Romeo Juliet’. Can there be a comparative analysis drawn between the two films?

  • These two films are some of my all-time favorites. When I saw this, my initial reaction was no, they are not alike. Then with your examples I could see where you were going with this, but I think your examples exhaust the comparisons. Unique idea but a challenging one. – Venus Echos 6 years ago
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Crossover TV: The Triumphs and the Pitfalls

There are rumours that Supergirl will be crossing into the Arrow/Flash DC Universe. This article could analyse some TV crossovers and how successful they are. Why do TV makers do them? When do they work best? Is it confusing to those viewers who only watch one of the shows? Some good shows to talk about would be:
Family Guy/American Dad
Simpsons/Futurama
Arrow/The Flash
Bob’s Burger’s/Archer

Plus looking at some of the 90s shows that started it.

  • also how about Xfiles / Fringe – wierdbuthatsok 6 years ago
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  • I think its interesting that all the shows you mentioned above, with the exception of X-Files/Fringe, are all comedies. Are comedy crossovers better accepted by viewers? – Cagney 6 years ago
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  • Arrow/Flash is not a comedy, I am offended to my soul! Haha, possibly good point though. – Francesca Turauskis 6 years ago
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  • I think a good idea to bring up would be one show being morning charge than the other,much as when Arrow crossed over into The Flash and the show treated Oliver like the boss in Flash's own show. – Hailtothechimp 6 years ago
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Crowd-sourced Entertainment: The Hows and Whys

The recently released Mockingjay Part One Blu-ray made history with the social media campaign that came with it: The audience could play along online via Facebook, Twitter and other apps to unlock content on the film itself, including deleted scenes, uisng hastags. A lok at how companies create such crowd sourced enteratinment, when does it work best, why are companies doing it and what does the future of crowd-sourced entertainment hold?

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    The Rise of Peter Dinklage

    A look at Peter Dinklage’s career, particularly compared to other actors of short stature. He made a point of not playing leprachauns etc. in hie early career, and made a great turn in The Station Agent (2003) Where could he go from here and will his success open the door for other short actors/actresses? (season 4 of GoT should provide a role for at least one…)

    • This is a really interesting topic. Though he's been around for years he's probably best known for GoT. I remember an early interview that he did about avoiding typecasting and you might want to consider looking at that as part of your topic. Good luck with the article, I'm excited to read it! – Kristin Ronzi 7 years ago
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    • Great Topic! I feel that he has been underrated for years! When I first saw him in Elf, I thought he had potential, but was disappointed that he was subjected to these types of roles. He has finally found the perfect role in Game of Thrones! – writingonpurpose 7 years ago
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    Does James Bond need to rediscover its humour?

    The recent film ‘Kingsman’ was marketed as a tongue-in-cheek James Bond movie, with the gadgets and quips that have been missing since the reboots staring Daniel Craig. Has Bond been too serious recently? And if so, what would be the best way of ‘de-booting’ it again? Would Craig be the actor to do it, or are there younger actors to take his place.

    • Interesting topic. The reboots with Daniel Craig have been much more serious compared to previous films. Skyfall deviated from the normal pattern of Bond films: the tone was much darker and the gadgets very minimal. There might be a shift back to Bond's origins, as M is a man again, Money Penny has returned, and I think the next Bond film will reintroduce SPECTRE. I think there is potential for Craig's Bond to bring back a bit of the humor and gadgets, but the tone of the reboots is already much different that the originals. – S.A. Takacs 7 years ago
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