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Ficly is a new collaborative writing community based on the idea that writing doesn’t have to be something you do alone. As a member, you have the option to build on others’ story stubs, compose sequels and prequels to existing stories, or work on story challenges—and all in less than 1,024 characters. To put this number in perspective: that’s just over 7 Tweets. If Ficly sounds familiar to AOL’s short-lived writing community Ficlets, that’s because it is. Ficly was built by alums of the Ficlets developer team, who have dedicated a “memorial” section to their alma mater.
Normally I’d be a little hesitant about distributing my writing freely on the web. But Ficly is less about the writer than it is really about the story. And thanks to the 1,024 character limit, more than one writer is needed to put together a well-developed story. In a profession so focused on the individual, where some of the best work is done when no one is around, it’s refreshing to see a community that does just that: build community.
You may have heard about an innovative little company called “Twitter.” It’s no secret that the overnight(ish) sensation essentially has no business plan for generating revenue. There have been rumors going around for some time about Twitter introducing advertisements, or charging businesses for premium accounts…but a Twitter reality TV show? I think it’s safe to say this is something none of us ever expected. And let me emphasize that last part: ever. READ MORE »
British filmmaker Peter Johnston is sick of “bladder-straining, buttock-aching movies which often last up to two, sometimes two and a half hours.” So he has developed an antidote: The 15 Second Film Festival. And it’s not an exaggeration. Each film that Johnston commissions or makes himself for the online festival is indeed 15 seconds long, with about 10 seconds for opening and closing credits.
Good storytelling is timeless and transformative. For me, nothing beats just sitting down and hearing a damn good story. True, sometimes it’s cool to see random stuff blown up while mutants battle it out on a big movie screen. And sometimes it’s cool to play with fancy electronic gadgets that simulate reality while I avoid my own reality. And sometimes it’s cool to use those fancy electronic gadgets to blow up virtual mutants of my very own. But if you tell me an engaging story with fascinating characters, if you pull me into lives that help me forget (and better understand) my own, and if you get me emotionally invested in the outcome…I am putty in your hands. But is the art of old-fashioned, sitting-around-a-campfire storytelling dead? Can individuals with interesting stories sit on a stage and engage an entire bitter, jaded, New York City audience? Oh hells yeah. I witnessed such a feat when I attended Visible Theatre’s True Story Project: Faith last weekend. So afterwards I did a little digging to try to find out how they managed to keep me entertained without blowing up a single mutant. READ MORE »
I stopped by Brooklyn’s 3rd Ward last week for the opening of Selena Kimball’s “The New World,” a stunningly untraditional retelling of American history. Kimball, probably better known for her work on The dreaming Life of Leonora de la Cruz, is a visual artist fascinated with history and the wild, aiming to reveal thematic narratives which progress through the ages and continue still today. She produces series of collages, drawings, and reinterpretations of archival documents that both honor and poke fun at the undercurrents of history. For example, in the photo above, if you look closely on the right you can see several businessmen having a meeting atop a lynching tree. Delicious!
Though her work is made, literally, from historical documents, it isn’t fact. Then again, it isn’t quite fiction either: looking through “The New World,” you will find objects reshaped into something else, characters reimagined, events reordered. It is through this seeming din that Kimball’s narrative emerges. Time is restructured to align with theme, and theme progresses to spin a tale that, by its end, becomes all to familiar to us in the modern day. Pictures and more after the jump. READ MORE »
A tinge of The Crazy may aid creativity, according to Roger Dobson’s recent article in The Independent. Well…um, no shit. I coulda told you that, Roger. Some of the most brilliant and creative people I have encountered in my life have had at least one screw loose, sometimes more. Hell, most days I feel like I am merely hovering over the Crazy/Sane divide myself, precariously vacillating between the two. I try to coincide my Crazy with moments of artistic creation and my Sane with moments of bill-paying-related activities and interactions with other human beings…but wouldn’t you know it that those damn bitches don’t listen to a word I say and just show up whenever they feel like it? But I actually cherish this internal instability, even though it sometimes causes me pain and isolation and depression. And it appears as if I’m not the only one (The Icarus Project seeks to navigate “the space between brilliance and madness”). And apparently, “there is no clear dividing line between the healthy and the mentally ill.” READ MORE »
Write a Better Novel‘s Bill Henderson recently wrote about the dilemma of teaching to supplement your writing income. He received a slew of comments about struggling to write a novel during the off-hours of your day job, which he summarized in a new post that you should definitely take a look at. Real novelists sound off on the issue, and it really struck a chord with me. Writing in itself is hard enough, but having to do it when you get home from a long day of work (when you could be, say, watching TV and spending time with friends) can sometimes make writing insufferable. Some of my favorite quotes after the jump: READ MORE »
If drinking is wrong, I don’t want to be right. Yet I do want to write. And I don’t want to end up like so many famous writers throughout history who drank…clutching to their vice like a crutch, bitter and depressed and disillusioned with the world, firmly believing that they needed that glass full of liquid beside them in order to access their talent.
But what if they did? What if alcohol and creativity were linked? O frabjous day! Philip Hunter gives me new hope in his recent Prospect Magazine article, “I drink, therefore I can.” Apparently the benevolent gods of modern science are entertaining the possibility that there is such a thing as a “creative cocktail gene”….a gene variant (known as the G-variant) found in approximately 15% of Caucasians. And if they’re right, I may have a brand new impetus to write. READ MORE »
I still remember sitting on my little brother’s bed when we were kids and playing the old Nintendo version of “Rampage.” The game gave two players the chance to work together to destroy a city….or the temptation to destroy each other. Each time we sat down to play, we would vow to each other that THIS time would be the time when we would work together to destroy the city. And each time we would descend into a pit of base human rage, ultimately culminating in a physical altercation that could only be ended by adult intervention.
Commercial video games have only been around for about 30 years, but their impact on our society is indisputable. And they don’t just tell a story…they put you IN the story. And like novels and films and theatre and television shows, video games offer the opportunity to escape from the tedium and occasional agony of daily life. But does that make them art? In a recent article in the New Statesman, Tom Chatfield argues that video games are indeed a form of artistic expression, and a unique one at that. But there is one major, inherent limitation that prevents video games from joining the ranks of other storytelling mediums: their lack of inevitability.
It’s coming. We thought it couldn’t happen. We said, “But Twitter doesn’t have sound!” But somehow, we were wrong. Starting today, the Broadway musical Next To Normal leaps from the stage to the Internet for its Twitter debut.