The allure of my headline is the fact that it declares there are things every blog post needs and the fact that you don’t know them motivates you to read further. To survive and thrive in the blogosphere, bloggers must hone their skills and commit to their craft. Their voice needs to be persuasive, their language seductive. Blog posts need to provide something for the reader – a laugh, a tip, a piece of anecdotal advice. If they’re not beneficial, they won’t be read.
Every post needs to leave their readers wanting more, obsessively checking for the next entry. And don’t underestimate the power in the simplicity of a bulleted list. The easier it is for readers to digest, the more likely it will be consumed. Check out the incredibly cool infographic in its entirety by Copyblogger here.
We are proud to announce that Professional Writing senior, Maude Campbell, has been accepted to the prestigious New York University Summer Publishing Institute. While in a conference about her future for WRA 493 with Jon Ritz, he encouraged her to apply for the program. Associate Professor Stuart Blythe, who has known Campbell since she started in PW, expressed his excitement for her: “I’m happy that she’s representing MSU at NYU. She’ll be a terrific ambassador for our program.”
Over the course of the six-week program, Campbell will learn the ins and outs of book, magazine, and digital publishing. Along the way, faculty members of the Institute and guest speakers will discuss various aspects of the publishing industry including the marketing, business, and creative sides of projects. “I hope to learn more about magazine publishing and the industry from professionals working in publications that are world renowned,” Campbell said. Lucky for her, she will be working closely with prominent publishing companies that will act as industry advisors throughout the program.
During the first three weeks, she will be expected to produce launch plans for new magazine brands and for the last three weeks, she will be focusing on creating imprints for book publishing houses. Throughout the entire program, emphasis will also be placed on publishing in digital formats including web, tablet, and mobile platforms. Final projects will be judged by a panel of senior publishing executives from publications such as Condé Nast and publishers such as HarperCollins.
At the very end of the program, a Career Fair will take place where students will interview with leading publishing companies in the book, magazine, and digital publishing industries. Campbell conveyed her worries about this, “I’m nervous about meeting with professionals I have admired for years through reading their publications. It will be intimidating but through them I can gain further insight into my growing passion.” Since Campbell is in the Editing and Publishing track of PW, this program will provide a perfect opportunity to learn, grow, and network within the industry. “I am hoping we can invite Maude back and she’ll share the fruits of what will be an amazing experience,” Professor Dànielle DeVoss said.
For more information on this program, check out their brochure here.
Source: Jess Wilson, The Guardian
NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) doesn’t have to come only once every year. November isn’t the magic month where creativity peaks and words flow from your fingertips like liquid gold. Most of the time, depending on how you work, the writing process is complete and utter chaos. Plots start at the height of the action and then never come to a resolution, spend too much time on the setting and not enough time on character development, or the characters become too complex that you can’t see past them to the plot. These are common writing practices, and sometimes they work, but sometimes you can get lost in your own work. Creating a rigorous outline of your story will help you train yourself to become a productive writer.
There are six stages to this 30-day challenge. In the first week, you create your tentative outline including character, plot, and setting sketches as well as research strategies, the summary outline and any extra notes you may have. The second week consists of in-depth research. Delving into your characters backgrounds, the necessary details of the plot, and the facts needed for the proper setting. Once you have sufficient amount of information, the third week is spent introducing the formatted outline you created in the first week. In the final days of the challenge, you’ll be evaluating the strength of you formatted outline and finally revising your first draft. It’s important to have structure when writing, especially a schedule that pushes you to stay on target. It’s not impossible to write a novel in a month, but it’s definitely not easy. Challenge yourself. Check out The Guardian’s “How to write a book in 30 days” series.
Source: The Oatmeal
Irony (n): the expression of one’s meaning by using language that normally signifies the opposite, typically for humorous or emphatic effect.
This is a blanket definition of irony when in fact; there are many different forms of irony. Too many people use irony as a catchall term to refer to anything out of the ordinary, amusing, or dramatic. The ignorance stops here. By understanding the various forms it comes in, you will (hopefully) use irony correctly.
If one of your friends or classmates comes to you and says, “I wish my professor would call on me more, I love the feeling of absolute terror you get when everyone in the class is staring at you.” Unless they’re some kind of masochist, they obviously don’t enjoy being spontaneously called on and suffering the scrutiny of their classmates. This is known as verbal irony though it is usually referred to as sarcasm.
The most common irony is situational irony, which refers the actions of someone based on an expectation that lead directly to the outcome they wish to avoid. For example, in the movie Shrek, it was expected that “love’s true form” for Fiona would be human when in reality it was an ogre because Shrek loved her ogre form.
In the works of drama or fiction, dramatic irony is when the reader or audience is let in on a fact that is unknown to most of the characters. The most famous example is in Romeo & Juliet when the audience knows that Juliet has taken a potion to merely appear dead, while Romeo only sees her dead body and proceeds to kill himself.
Cosmic irony would only be used for dramatic effect in real life, but it basically blames the gods or fate for having a hand in our struggles. For a fictional example, in J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series, Lord Voldemort’s motivation throughout all the books is to kill Harry and in the end, that’s what destroys him.
The juxtaposition between a historical event and what has happened since to contradict it is historical irony. Leading up to its departure in 1912, the Titanic was declared unsinkable – and then it sunk on its maiden voyage.
Based on the Socratic teaching method, Socratic irony is feigning ignorance in order to get a certain reaction or answer out of someone. So when your professor asks you to read the material and then you come in the next day and they say “I don’t know the answer” as they sit back and ask you question after question and you end up teaching yourself – you’ve just become the victim of Socratic irony.
Check out more examples of irony at Huffington Post.
Social media buttons are an appealing concept when sharing your work is crucial to success. But do they actually work? According to Sam Solomon, web developer and entrepreneur: no, not really.
Anecdotal evidence shows that share buttons don’t actually garner very many shares. Scrolling to the end of an article only to find a string of logos with zeros (zero shares on twitter, zero shares on facebook, zero shares on Google+) is just going to reinforce that the article isn’t worth sharing. Even worse, the share buttons often bring up annoying pop-ups, which is a quick way to drive any user away… even if they DID like the content.
The solution is simple, but as usual, easier said than done. If you write something especially interesting to your audience, they will put in the effort to write a tweet, status, or blog post about it. Rely on the strength of your content.
The meaning and value of physical spaces becomes easier to overlook with each passing day bringing us further into the digital fold. To bring the focus back around, there is Where They Create, a project by photographer Paul Barbera. Where They Create brings the workspace back to the forefront, showing us the spaces where creative professionals and artists bring their work to life. Cluttered, clean, minimalist, eclectic – every space has a distinct personality that speaks to the process and thought-space of each individual artist.
For a quick peek into the lives of other creators, and perhaps a shot of inspiration, check out wheretheycreate.com.
It’s gotta POP. It’s gotta HOOK people. It’s gotta JUMP off the page.
There are about a zillion weird cliché phrases to express one simple idea: you’ve gotta start strong. An opening line sets the reader’s expectations in any genre or format, and these 1950s novels all offer opening lines worth aspiring towards: 13 Greatest Opening Lines from 1950s Novels
My personal favorites?
“There was a boy called Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it.” – The Voyage of The Dawn Treader
I read the Chronicles of Narnia back when I was in elementary school, and back in the days where a name was to be judged by how badly you could get bullied for it… deserving a name like Eustace Clarence Scrubb meant a lot.
And, of course, from one of my favorite novels:
“It was a pleasure to burn.” – Fahrenheit 451
It’s hard to even explain what is so perfect about this line, but if I must – it’s short, visceral, and full of promise. A perfect formula to fuel reader curiosity.
So whether you’re writing “The Next Great American Novel” or a short blog post for work, remember at least one variation of this cliché, because you only get one chance at a first impression.
Michigan State University offers many opportunities for cultural exploration and growth, but students sometimes overlook or miss these opportunities. Luckily, WRAC professor Cheryl Caesar and her teaching partner, professor Janice Stryz worked to change that. Together they led a collaborative course that paired students from WRA 1004 and WRA 150, and as Caesar explains, their goal was “to bring students of different national backgrounds together as ‘culture partners’, [giving them the opportunity] to interview each other about their cultures of origin.”
This is easier said than done at times, and there were distinct challenges along the way. One of the biggest challenges was putting together the groups. “A student who tends to participate minimally, or to arrive late, must be counterbalanced with a more outgoing and punctual student, or you end up with two partners from the other class cooling their heels and wasting their time,” said Caesar.
Despite the challenges, Caesar still recommends the experience overall. “Anyone who’s thinking of a collaborative venture should give it a try. It does involve some additional planning and setup, but the new energy and ideas it brings to your classroom are worth it.”
For more information on this project, check out the PCW workshop by Caesar and Stryz in 107 Linton on February 28, 2014 at 3 PM.