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From Writers Digest: Surprising Lessons About Publishing

by | Posted March 23rd, 2013

For people unfamiliar with the publishing industry, there are assumptions made when it comes to how it works. Writer’s Digest recently released an article explaining 3 “Random Lessons” about assumptions of publishing today. One deals with people’s assumptions about celebrities who publish a book; the article interviews Jaime Lee Curtis who explains that she’s been writing for 22 years and has published 10 books. Another examines self-publishing at a professional level, and the “one reason” some novels succeed and others don’t.

Social Media Etiquette and Manners

by | Posted March 22nd, 2013

In this modern age of Facebook, Twitter, blogging, and smart phones where you have access to virtually anything at your fingertips, it is important to be mindful about what you are posting to the internet. Friending and unfriending, posting comments on someone’s wall/picture/status, and retweeting or mentioning someone in a tweet is common practice for well versed social media users. Sometimes, though, we break the rules for social media etiquette without realizing what we’re doing.

A recent article from Real Simple examined the Dos and Don’ts of Social Media etiquette. It highlights the rules of friending and unfriending on Facebook (“remember that it’s okay to prune your friend list”), status updates (“do a quick gut check and ask yourself if you really need to share that thought with the world before you post it”), photos and tagging, and privacy and settings. The article also goes into the etiquette of following and unfollowing on Twitter (“if someone starts following you on Twitter you are not obligated to return the gesture.”), retweets, replies, and mentions, and even a section on dealing with hurtful comments.

If you’re just starting to figure out the world of social media, it would be a good idea to review this article; even a social media expert would do well to brush up on their etiquette rules and make sure they’re not making any mistakes. Social media is another way for people to allow their voice to be heard; although, if you end up abusing it, there isn’t a way to erase what you said. Once you post something on the internet, it’s there forever. The bottom line, the article states, is if you wouldn’t want your boss or grandmother to see it, don’t post it.

From Brain Pickings: The Ideas that Helped Change Graphic Design

by | Posted March 21st, 2013

Interested in how the ideas and concepts of graphic design has changed over time? There are many books on this, several that “tend to be organized by chronology and focused on concrete-isms,” but one in particular focuses on “abstract concepts” and is illustrated with “exemplary images and historical context.

Brain Pickings examined the new book 100 Ideas that Changed Graphic Design, created by design writer Steven Heller and design critic Veronique Vienne. This book highlights the authors’ favorite creators (such as Saul Bass and Paula Scher) as well as focuses on not only “what design is and does, but also on what it should be and do.”

Example of a public service campaign highlighted in 100 Ides That Changed Graphic Design. Source: brainpickings.org

From Open Culture: F. Scott Fitzgerald Advice on How to Write Fiction

by | Posted March 21st, 2013

It is always great to receive advice from someone who is an expert at their craft. F. Scott Fitzgerald, for example. Ernest Hemingway once described his talent “as natural as the pattern that was made by the dust on butterfly’s wings.” Open Culture recently released Seven Tips from F. Scott Fitzgerald on How to Write Fiction, pulled from quotations from the book F. Scott Fitzgerald on Writing, edited by Larry W. Phillips. Some of them include:

  • Start by taking notes
  • Don’t describe your work-in-progress to anyone
  • Be ruthless.

Check out the rest as well as its companion article from Fitzgerald’s friend and rival, Seven Tips From Ernest Hemingway on How to Write Fiction.

Rules of Good Storytelling From the Masters Themselves

by | Posted March 20th, 2013

With 7 out of 9 Oscar wins for Best Animated Feature film over the past 12 years, it’s safe to say that Pixar Studios has the story ideas and storytelling formula down pretty well. When you manage to make grown men cry (Up, Toy Story 3) from watching an animated movie, you know your story has heart and emotion and genuine feeling.

Open Culture recently wrote an article examining Pixar’s storytelling formula after reading former Pixar story artist, Emma Coates’s 22 Rules of Good Storytelling. The formula acts as a kind of “retroactive Mad Lib” that looks like this:

Once upon a time there was ___. Every day, ___. One day ___. Because of that, ___. Because of that, ___. Until finally ___.

Try it for yourself the next time you’re stuck or need a story idea. Plug in a character, what he or she or they do, a few conflicts, and a conclusion. It works with almost any story (as they give examples by plugging in characters and conflicts from well-known classics such as The Great Gatsby and The Grapes of Wrath). Be sure to check out the rest of Coates’s storytelling tips and see which ones work for you.

From Neatorama: “The Wonderful World of Interlibrary Loan”

by | Posted March 20th, 2013

Here at MSU, we have the fortunate advantage of having a library that has a plethora of research material and books available for student use. If the library does not have the book you might need, they can acquire it from a local library or another university library without any additional charge to the student. This is known as the interlibrary loan, and many public libraries across the US are starting to utilize this feature.

A recent article on Neatorama highlighted this growing service. “Practically speaking, if you want almost any book and are willing to wait a few weeks, you can get it. And that’s totally neatorama.” I highly suggest utilizing this tool as it makes research and studying much easier.

From Time News Feed: How Tweets Are Ranking America’s Happiest Cities

by | Posted March 19th, 2013

Can social media determine how happy people are living in certain cities across the U.S.? In a recent article on Time’s News Feed, a new study by researchers at the University of Vermont studied over 10 million tweets since 2011 to determine the happiest U.S. cities and states. These findings were based on the use of positive or negative words in tweets.

“Words like “wine, gift, cheers, beach” and food-related words appeared more in happier cities and states while sad words like “boo, ugh, hate” and profanity were more prevalent in unhappy locales.” Researchers admitted, though, that a deliberate decision of the study was to ignore the context of the tweets as well as determining the difference between residents and tourists. The team hopes to continue this project and delve more into this issue in the future.

From Brain Pickings: Sage Advice From Today’s Top Graphic Designers

by | Posted March 18th, 2013

If there is anyone we should take advantage of the advice we are given, it is people in our dream profession who have already graduated from college and experienced what it is like to be in the “real world.” Take, for example, the new book, I Used to Be a Design Student: 50 Graphic Designers Then and Now. Compiled by Billy Kiosoglou and Frank Philippin, the two authors “set out to reverse-engineer the power of personal history by tracing the creative evolution of influential designers, who reflect on their education, profession, and how their preferences in everything from reading to food to modes of transportation have changed since their university days.”

The book features several “comparative grids,” short and sweet sage advice, and some of the designers’ most precious valuables and how these have shifted from “technical tools” to “existential anchors.”

Example of the “comparative grids” of the graphic designers from Then and Now.

Source: brainpickings.org