I stumbled across what is described as “an experiment in brevity” and found a creative test that would challenge many a writer. One Sentence is a website where people can send in a story from their life (funny, sad, inspirational, etc.) but it must only be ONE sentence. It can’t be a run-on, it can’t be strung together by semicolons, it must be a legitimate sentence. The results are surprising. There are a fair amount of stories that make you think for much longer than the single sentence. They can be about any topic, serious or hilarious. The ones that make you pause seem to contain so much within so few words; the mind is inspired to create a story, real or otherwise, surrounding these “true” stories so that one sentence expands into many more.
Writers can construct impeccable paragraphs and tell a story within a four-hundred page novel, but can they tell a story within one sentence?
This sort of exercise could be taken and used in all manner of writing styles. It is a way of saying that a writer (college student, academic, professional writer, etc.) does not have to use 500 words to get their point across. It would be interesting to apply this concept to writing students, for example, by instructing them to consolidate their paper or story down to one sentence. It is a way of looking at writing in an unusual way. Take a look at the site to see what people have submitted, or challenge yourself to submit a story and see if it makes the cut.
It’s no secret that technology is popular. Its uses in the classroom can be extremely valuable and a new study by Educause says that students enjoy and learn in a technologically enhanced environment. Have a look at the article and see what this could mean for writing teachers. Incorporating more online resources in addition to books may be the way to go if this study holds true.
National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is almost here! Galleycat recently wrote about NaNoWriMo’s website being relaunched, as well as giving a little background on the NaNoWriMo concept and what it has done for writing. Most interesting is that over 90 published novels have come out of this experiment in writing!
In the era of the smartphone, and the near-instantaneous alerts and messages, it is important to become, and teach students to be, social media savvy and know the way around the blogosphere/online network communities. Part of this is knowing how to create a professional brand for yourself online. Ed2010 posted an article recently with several key tips on how to do just that because, “It’s being able to know and articulate, authentically, what serves to differentiate you from every other candidate.”
Interviews are an essential part of finding your way onto the job market. They help you land that career you’ve always dreamed of having or even that part-time summer job your parents told you to get so you’re not sitting around all summer doing nothing. Regardless of what you’re interviewing for, there are ways to better prepare yourself. Writer’s Market recently posted an article that can help future employees and even future employers prepare for and conduct a stellar interview.
From the blog “Terrible Minds,” a comical approach to the twenty-five thing writers need to STOP doing. RIGHT NOW. Ranging anywhere from “Stop Worrying” to “Stop Blaming Everyone Else,” to even “Stop Caring About What Other Writers Are Doing.” Well worth the read if you’re a writer having a hard time trying to banish that nagging self-doubt.
In a world where social media is quickly becoming the norm for many celebrities and politicians to connect with their fan base, one question is being asked: “Is this brevity, which has long been practiced, now being imposed upon writers by Twitter?” In an article written by the New York Daily News, there is an interesting argument by critics for and against the use of Twitter for writers, that explores whether this brevity hinders or helps creativity.
Our new website continues our experimentation with regard to the communication practices of an academic department. When we started this experiment a number of years ago, we focused on social media and on listening as much as talking.
We will continue much of what has worked in the past. We still have our undergraduate interns (@brooklynrose217, @dakinmsu, @jennshelden) and their fearless leader (@soulsmiles). Their job is to help us leverage a platform such as a departmental website to do some good in the world.
But what is new about this website? It looks different, yes, and there are some enhancements in functionality. However, the big shifts are rhetorical. With this new website, we are trying to pivot to meet the needs of an external audience. To be sure, we will provide basic departmental content that will help students, faculty, and others at Michigan State to work with us as an academic unit. In fact, we hope that content is more useful than what we provided previously.
The big change is the content feed on the main page. Here we hope to provide content that is useful, interesting, fun, and engaging for those interested in “writing.” Our interns will listen and share what they learn, and I will do the same. But we have also invited faculty to share ideas that they think matter. We have invited alumni to write with us. We have also invited friends from other universities and organizations to write as well. We want to become a resource on rhetoric and writing and to be useful to our audience.
As we continue this experiment, we don’t know what will happen. Nearly everyone I have consulted about this strategy thinks it will fail. It might. But maybe not. Maybe we can facilitate something special. The beauty of a university is that it concentrates talent in time and space. Such concentration facilitates magic. We are some 50 faculty and over 200 students, all bouncing into one another, and I am counting on a little of that magic to help this experiment succeed.