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French Revolution-era Paris in Assassin's Creed: Unity

Anyone who has played this game knows that the developers did a fantastic job. Anyone who has both walked the streets of Paris and played this game has most likely had their mind blown. I am the latter, and also a student of French language and History. The accuracy with which a Revolution-era Paris is depicted not only thematically but geographically accurate to an incredibly detailed degree. If anyone out there is a Revolution buff and enjoyed this game, aidez-moi!

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    Can Passive Characters Still Be Engaging?

    Kurt Vonnegut once said that "every character should want something, even if it is only a glass of water." But can some characters, like some people, be partially passive elements in a story? The orphan who doesn’t care who their parents are, the divorcee who makes no attempt to salvage their marriage, the hero that saves the world because..they do. Is it possible to have a compelling story with such characters playing a central role?

    • Interesting topic, but to me the title and description are asking different things. The dichotomy between active/passive is not synonymous with wanting/not wanting. Someone can want something without taking action to achieve it; likewise, a "reluctant hero" can take action toward a goal that s/he doesn't really care all that much about. To use Vonnegut as an example, Billy Pilgrim is a great example of a protagonist who doesn't really appear to want anything in particular. He's just floating through time and space (or rather his own PTSD-inflicted psychosis), but never seems to have a goal in need of pursuit. The logic of that is, if you know everything that'll ever happen to you, and understand the inevitability of it all, then there's no point in exerting effort into anything to the contrary (aka Dr. Manhattan Syndrome). I suppose that still counts as being passive; perhaps a better example would be Lyubov Ranevskaya from The Cherry Orchard, or Vladimir and Estragon from Waiting for Godot. All of them have a specific goal (to save her estate from being sold, to meet Godot), but spend the entire duration of their respective plays doing nothing to achieve them. To answer your title question, all we need to do is ask whether or not we find such characters engaging, and then maybe follow that up with "why." – ProtoCanon 1 month ago
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    • I'd be interested to see you explore characters whose situations force them into passivity. Often, we as readers or viewers criticize characters for not doing anything or wanting anything, but we forget they can't. Cinderella is probably the easiest example. She's criticized for not changing her situation, but has few or no options other than to stay with her abusers. Miss Honey from Matilda is another example, as is Solomon Northrup from 12 Years a Slave. But a character doesn't need to be enslaved to fit this description, or even abused. Sometimes an oppressive culture can do the job, or just reluctance to leave a situation because someone you love is in a more vulnerable position, leaving you feeling they must be protected. – Stephanie M. 1 month ago
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    • ProtoCanon: I understand what you're saying, but I think I'll leave the title and description different so that the author of this article can choose which they prefer. Thanks for the great comment! – m-cubed 1 month ago
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    • I really like what Stephanie said. If an author writes a character who is passive, he/she likely had some specific reason for doing so. What in the character's background caused them to be as such? Is this just part of the character's personality? How does this trait function within the storyline? If there isn't a specific purpose, then the character will fall flat. – itsverity 1 month ago
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    • I actually like characters with more passive or introverted personalities because to me, they are easy to root for. You want to see them break out of their shells, experience the world, and not feel so "buttoned up." At the same time, you want them to come to a place where they are at peace with *natural* passivity, as opposed to what has been forced on them. – Stephanie M. 1 month ago
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    Is Fanfiction for Real Writers Too?

    Fifty Shades of Grey originated as a fanfiction online of the Twilight series in an alternate universe. It’s escalated into its own franchise. Other online writers have the same hopes for their fanfictions. But is this kind of writing appropriate and is it right that authors get to literally take other characters and rename them to make it into an entire new series, sometimes not as well-written?

    • Who is a "real writer?" In this day and age, isn't it anyone who writes and publishes something, whether traditionally, through self-publishing, or online? – Stephanie M. 2 months ago
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    • You can tie this into how English majors or people who go to college for this craft are for or against it as well. I am a fellow English Major and I think all writing is good writing, across all mediums. But, I am sure people out there things the opposite of that. Such as people who write Fanfiction don't and have no gone to school for the craft and etc., not sure if that would work but something to think about on the con side of things. – S C 2 months ago
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    • George RR Martin touched on this topic too, on his LiveJournal (he links to Diana Gabaldon's thoughts on the matter as well: http://grrm.livejournal.com/151914.html) There are many sides to this issue -- most professional writers (like GRRM) seem to be less supportive of fanfiction as a concept, whereas others are more sympathetic (like Cassandra Clare). I suppose one's relationship to fanfiction boils down to one's intent: is it better to spend your precious writing hours on someone's pre-established work, or breaking something original? – bloom 2 months ago
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    • I would say that fan fiction is just as much real writing as anything. Why? Because there are several ways for one to write, to be inspired, and to create a world. Sometimes it takes one's own version of the story to birth and even greater tale, however until we try, nothing is for certain.Articles: https://www.bustle.com/articles/71438-13-things-fan-fiction-writers-are-very-tired-of-explaininghttps://psmag.com/fan-fiction-the-next-great-literature-15c99a34d49c#.bq4yb2jb9 – Autumn Edwards 2 months ago
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    • I definitely agree with Autumn Edwards on this topic. I would say fan fic is for real writers because in its most basic form, it is a story. Who says that one can't take some aspects from a different story and create something new, or even add on to a story? Writing is writing (as long as it is not infringing on copyright/publishing/plagiarism issues) but fan fic is for real writers and I think that if it IS good enough that it could have some literary merit. – AlbusBloodworthe 2 months ago
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    • I agree with Stephanie's comment: it's about quality, not genre. Regarding bloom's comment, professional writers have a conflict of interest, so their weigh-in begs a grain of salt. I would disagree with S C that all writing is good, but, again, wholeheartedly agree that form/genre does not determine quality. – Tigey 2 months ago
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    • The issue isn't whether fanfiction is 'real' or not; the issue is that it's wrong to profit off of someone else's work. That's worse than bad writing; that's plagiarism, that's theft. – Sarai 2 months ago
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    • As a former fanfic lover, I say that writing is writing. Yes, most fanfics are empty writing fueled by obsessions and fantasies, but fanfiction has the same potential to be good writing. It just depends on who's writing it and with what purpose because think about it, a good story started out as an idea from the writer's imagination... Fanfiction starts out the same way but with already existing background information. A perfect example is the One Direction fanfiction "After" that started out as a wattpad favorite, and is now published and successful. – ValentinaRueda 2 months ago
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    Taken by Sadie Britton (PM) 1 month ago.
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    Music Curation as Narrative Writing

    Films and TV shows have soundtracks. Authors often write to specific songs or associate music with their works. The "writing playlist" is sought after by many fans, and famixes (playlists often created for public listening attempting to capture the mood or heart of a character or story) in and of themselves are becoming a new genre of playlist. Some songs even today tell stories, and may rise out of the tradition of epic poetry. To what degree can music tell a story on its own? How often does the line intersect? Should it? Is some form of narrative inherent in any medium using words? And how does this relate to scores or instrumental themes?

    • Fantasia? – Tigey 2 months ago
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    • This is a bit of a broad topic with many topics within it. It would be better to focus on an aspect of this (i.e. fanmixes, writing playlists, songs as epic poems). There has been an academic debate going on for a long time regarding whether wordless music means something. There are countless musicological articles about a piece of music and its possible meanings, particular within its historical context (I would recommend reading some Susan McClary), which I think makes it quite clear that all music has meaning. In short, that aspect of the topic strikes me as far too broad; it would be better to focus in on the meaning of a particular piece if you go that route, in my opinion (I'm actually writing an article right now that does that!), or else find a way to narrow down that aspect of the topic in a different way. – Laura Jones 2 months ago
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    Is Objective Journalism Dead?

    Discuss modern journalism and answer the question of whether objectivity in journalism has been forsaken. On the left we have Huffington Post, and on the right we have Breitbart (of course there are other examples to use on both ends of the spectrum); question and answer why there has been an uprising in biased reporting in the Western world. Explore the causes of this and compare modern journalism to past journalism such as the 1920’s (or any time period the author chooses).

    • This is a great topic...Something you can add may be the role television, the internet and other mass media portals played in this. – MikeySheff 4 months ago
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    • Interesting topic, though I'm not convinced that journalism has ever been truly objective. While objectivity sounds like a lovely ideal, it's worth questioning how possible (or even useful) it actually is. Some of the most iconic journalists from history (Murrow comes to mind) achieved that status by being opinionated, and bringing about real-world change with their opinions. Perhaps the onus need not be on the journalists to not take a stand on divisive issues, but rather on media consumers to read what's been written by both Left and Right-wing journalists to form their own opinions. – ProtoCanon 4 months ago
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    • It's also helpful to think about why news organizations have changed over time due to corporate control.Many owners now emphasize profit margins over quality news. – seouljustice 4 months ago
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    • Objective journalism never existed. The first papers in America were colonial papers which were not allowed to publish anything bad about the government without facing jail-time. Post colonial papers were entirely sponsored by political parties who used newspapers to attack opposing candidates from different parties. Then came the penny press which sensationalized stories, focused on celebrity news, and sometimes fabricated entire stories. It wasn't until the 1800's the a facts-driven model was introduced and there was more of an emphasis on being objective, though even then they never entirely were. Now a day, Opinion Journalism plays a huge part in media as a whole. Opinion Journalism should not be confused with Counterfeit Opinion Journalism, which consists of those crazy, outlandish claims and accusations based on personal belief and emotions. In contrast, real Opinion pieces consist of facts, actual news, in which the writer takes into account and then draws and educated conclusion. Whether the reader agrees with the writer or not is irrelevant, if the facts are correct and provided in context, its still valuable news. A lot of the Counterfeit you see is spread because we no longer have men sitting in chairs deciding what we hear and see. Now, we are the gatekeepers of media, and if we continue to spread false news, it will continue to be printed. – HDumars 4 months ago
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    • Protocannon's correct: all journalism is "yellow" (see William Randolph Hearst). A positive about ubiquitous Internet news sources is that silencing them would be like playing Whack-a-Mole for our central scrutinizers; one bad part is that many internet news sources, too, play Whack-a-Mole with the truth. – Tigey 2 months ago
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    Streaming Good Writers: The Evolution of Television Writing

    The 1970s saw a big push in public consumption of television. With well written programs like The Mary Tyler Moore Show, M*A*S*H, and Good Times, society scheduled their evenings around television programming. This trend continued into the 00s until the rise of reality tv and the advent of DVR and streaming networks like Netflix. The public began moving away from tv for a more niche market suited for individual experience. Analyze the rise of binge-watching and how this reality changed the ways writers approach script.

    • Maybe looking at two or three shows on Netflix specifically might help maintain focus on the phenomenon of binge watching. And perhaps parallel that with solid shows like MASH, and how no show will likely ever receive that level of viewership, since nowadays, people consume TV in a very niche, individualistic approach. – mazzamura 2 months ago
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    • The relationship between binge-watch culture and television writers is an interesting topic to explore. Perhaps, as a way to focus the thesis of this piece, draw examples from shows that, without new digital outlets like Netflix and Amazon, would have died a quiet, unfortunate death (shows like STRANGER THINGS and SNEAKY PETE, for example), never to see the light of day.Another question this premise poses: Are writers really changing their approach to show creation in this post-Netflix world? And furthermore, are there new trends found in digital-exclusive shows that makes it more inherently bingeable (in season/episode structure, characters, etc)? – bloom 2 months ago
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    • These are great notes. I definitely think show creation has seen an evolution. Mini movies over compact 30 min to an hour plot lines. Thanks for the assistance. This would be a dope article. Of course, I'm biased. – DKWeber 2 months ago
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    • Another thing to discuss is the length of shows per season and how that might affect the writing of shows overall. It might also have an impact on binge watching if one show has a season that is 8 to 13 episodes long compared to say 20 or more. – CoolishMarrow90 2 months ago
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    What Can Prose Writers Learn From Poets?

    Poets and prose writers often receive different "instructions" on how to write well, and are encouraged to read widely in their own genre, but I would suggest that prose writers can vastly improve their craft by turning to poetry. Poets focus on imagery and concision – two tools that make immensely better prose writing too. Of course, these tools aren’t used in the same way, but reading and even writing poetry can strengthen a prose writer’s ability. Sylvia Plath’s novel The Bell Jar is a perfect example of this. Plath is best known as a poet, but her novel is unparalleled. While reading it, I was struck by the poetic use of language and economy of words (why use twenty when you could use five?). What other ways can prose writers improve from reading/writing poetry?

    • Good idea, especially about concision. I've written prose for years and still struggle with that. Poetry sometimes helps. – Stephanie M. 2 months ago
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    • Fusing prose and poetry together definitely has some merits and would make for a solid article. Determining/clarifying what type of prose writers would be helpful, as there are creative writers, fan fiction, bloggers, etc, that would likely claim their already employed vivid language that derives from poetry. Good topic though! – mazzamura 2 months ago
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    • Poetry often has a closer focus on form that can be useful for prose writers. Different poetic forms have particular histories, and are adapted or kept to for particular purposes, much more so (I find) than in most Western prose. That's something that prose writers can learn -- an appreciation or awareness of form. – belindahuang18 2 months ago
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    The Importance and Practicality of 'Reading like a Writer'

    The phrase has been used and essays have been written about HOW to read like a writer, but many of the people I’ve encountered think this theory about breaking down the word choices of an author is ‘looking for something that isn’t there’. An article explaining the use of rhetoric and manipulation of the reader through writing would be an interesting read and shows the practical application to people who would otherwise dismiss the theory.

    • This is an extremely interesting topic....I tell my students to attempt to 'model' their writing after a particular article/essay/short story, etc., that left an impression on them. This is really referred to as reader response theory, and it is a great topic. Sometimes, we as readers and writers, spend too much time analyzing every minute aspect of a writer's intentionality of diction, syntax, theme, symbolism, etc., that we miss the simple pleasure of leisurely reading! – danielle577 3 months ago
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    • As an English writing major, this is a concept I deal with various times every week. I think reading like a writer is a genuinely important practice, but I also understand that value in reading for pleasure. Therefore, I think it is imperative to initially read for the sake of reading, and then to reread through the lens of a writer. Especially if you aspire to one day write your own pieces, the importance of understanding your predecessors is astronomical. In order to create your own style of writing, you must first study those who have already branded themselves. Through doing this, you can work with various writing styles, adopt a few as your own, and then adapt them to how you want to tell a story. – Sarah Swanigan 2 months ago
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    • I recommend Book Love for your topic by Penny Kittle. Kittle elaborates on the importance of reading. A good reader creates a great writer. Outside of the STEM majors, writing is an essential skill needed to complete college. – authoressalicia 2 months ago
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