I think, as an artist, exploring different mediums has been the most beneficial to me. I tend to stick within the normal and traditional writing narratives, but being pushed out of my comfort zone was something I appreciated. I think I would’ve benefitted from not being stuck inside my house away from the creative people I tend to thrive with, but that’s not anyone’s fault but Corona. Luckily, Tristan, Jessica, and I had started a group chat before break so we were able to still communicate and create together, which was nice since circumstances were not ideal. I think my biggest struggle was getting out of my own head and admitting when my own technical skills did not live up to what I wanted to achieve on other creative projects. I had wanted to create a more professional podcast, but was limited by lack of knowledge and time. I wanted to do more cool things with my original broadside, but alas, I don’t have the artistic skills to pull it off, yet. But I have enjoyed working with new mediums and being acquainted with them, so that I can learn and move forward with them in the future. Without this class, I might not have looked further into InDesign, Audacity, Twine, etc.
For my final project I would like to return to my twine project from earlier. The concept is a bar that shifts depending on which name you choose. It was a fun story to work on and I managed to get two of the routes done, but I wanted to expand and finish the third one.
The first two routes you could go down are a bit more melancholy, softer, more about sitting down and talking to the patrons (who are ancient gods who are no longer worshipped in the ways they were before). But in the third one, The Solar Eclipse Bar, I want to experiment with the format and the choices. I kind of want it to be more about self-destruction, as opposed to finding your place within the bar.
I also wanted to expand the narrative of the other two bars, since I feel in some respects it was rushed in order to fit into the deadline of the project. The themes of the Serpent & Ram I want to be more defined as dealing with grief and loss and the Blue Feather is more about the trauma that comes from abuse.
I also think adding an ending where the narrator finds out that they are a god and they’re essentially coming home to their family would be a nice way to have an additional ending.
So, more endings, more planning, and definitely more graphics and backgrounds and colors!
My podcast is the second installment of The Lit Bean Podcast, a virtual coffee shop for writers by writers! Jessica, Tristan, and I kicked around the idea of opening a cafe together called the Lit Bean when we were still able to go outside, and since our concepts for the podcast project were similar, we decided to make them part of a series! They are mostly the reading of poetry and relaxing from the stressful world outside, which is something we all need in times like this. We added talking about our coffee of choice to add to the cafe vibes and encourage others to sit down with a hot beverage and take a moment for themselves.
As a writer and a poet, I find that listening to poetry is such a soothing experience. So for my podcast, I wanted to share our tradition of going to Lit Night at the Artist’s Hand. The last Friday of every month, my two best friends and I go and read and listen to other poets, so I wanted to feature them and their voices as well as mine. My aim was to make it like the listener was sat in a cafe, listening to the ambient noises and relaxing with a coffee cup. And Audacity, as an audio/podcast program, made it easy to add that underneath the talking. I think if I was to expand on the idea, I would talk more about the pieces that were read and the connection to the pieces. One of the important parts of Lit Night is an introduction to why you were reading a piece, maybe about the emotional state of the week you’ve had, or how you’ve been dealing with writer’s block, but this poem spoke to you on an emotional level.
I hadn’t expected the talking and recording to be so difficult. Everytime I messed up, I felt like I should be doing better. I couldn’t figure out how to cut out one part of the audio where I had flubbed up a word, so I just deleted it and recorded the entire two minute poem again. Some parts I think felt too scripted and others, when I went off script, to feel more natural, were a little nervous and had some stuttering to it, which bothers me. So I think striking that balance was a difficulty, but ultimately at the end of the day, this is my first experience doing a podcast or even trying to read from a script for a recording, so it makes sense that it was hard.
Next time, I think I need to relax and not be afraid to breathe. I think if I were to continue podcasting, the rhythm and flow of the show would become more natural and I wouldn’t sound like I was thinking about what I was going to say before I said it.
So Tristan, Jessica, and I decided to all have our podcasts connect together as a virtual cafe called the Lit Bean. Obviously, I think we’ve taken out creative liberties with how our episodes are structured, but they are intended to come together as a series.
Here is a kind of final draft of mine – –
So I guess the feedback I would want is if the coffee shop background noise is distracting or if it makes it feel more ambient? Is the fact that my audio quality is different than my friend Taylor’s jarring? Is it enjoyable?
I have decided that I would like to do a podcast. I think it fits the forms of writing that I prefer to do, while also forcing me to think outside the box of typical narrative fiction.
My first idea is to transmute a short story I’ve recently written into a type of criminal podcast. Obviously, the story is fictional, but it is kind of the folktale of what happened at an Island. So, the podcast would involve investigation and the reading of diary pages from the characters and their life goes to hell. It would be more involved and I’d probably have to be condensed into one episode and I’d probably if all goes well, make that my final project and do like three or four episodes? I think it might have a similar vibe to Night Vale, like a broadcast of events like the news, but probably less self-aware than Night Vale is.
My second idea involves my friends. We love to go to Lit Night at the Artist’s Hand. It’s a monthly poetry slam and we love to go and read our poetry. Of course, now that COVID-19 has destroyed all of our social engagements and my friends live four hours away, this might be the perfect opportunity to do something like Lit Night for a podcast. I was thinking of maybe calling it the Artist’s Showcase? I would have my friends send a recording of them reading their poems, I would do mine of course, and then I would cut them together as almost like the narrated feeling of being in the coffee shop and hearing our poems.
First, I would like to say that listening to Night Vale felt quite nostalgic. When I was in high school, I had a friend who listened to Welcome to Night Vale. I barely knew her, but we were in Book Club together. Biweekly we would gather, a group of possibly three or four of us, in a sunny chemistry classroom to discuss the book we’d chosen. The other weeks, we would use the fifty minutes to read. And one afternoon, this friend suggested we all listen to an episode of Welcome to Night Vale. I don’t remember which one we listened to, it’s been several years, but I found the voice soothing and the story wild. Fast forward to today where I actually fully listened to episode 13, A Story About You, I closed my eyes and imagined I was back in that classroom, listening as if we were in the 1900s and enjoying the evening radio program.
As for the podcast itself, I find that I have a similar problem with audiobooks. While I would love to listen to novels while driving, running, cleaning, baking, or doing any other physical activity, I find that my brain sometimes zones out and I miss key details. I believe this might be because I have trained my brain to work with music on and I don’t particularly notice the music playing through my headphones whenever I’m writing. I am now, simply because I am thinking about the fact that I don’t think about the music I play (somehow my Spotify has started playing Hamilton? Now I’m distracted in rapping to the Election of 1800, hold please).
Okay, and we’re back and now I’m listening to Post Malone so I can focus.
On to Night Vale. I found the writing to be clever and engaging. I could see vividly everything, the titan planet in the sunless void is a personal favorite image of mine. I think what makes Night Vale unique, besides the fact that it’s one of the older podcasts (I see it has been going since 2012!) and its format seems to be free-flowing enough that it can accommodate for multiple storylines and moments of strangeness. A Story About You, in particular, had the feeling of a spoken Twine. There could’ve been other paths to chose and maybe you would’ve gotten a different ending. Maybe you could’ve followed the trader man in the dinner. Maybe you could’ve opened the crate you stole. What would happen if you would’ve tipped the waitress who bopped her head to a melody only she could hear. What if you did order an invisible slice of pie?
I think I agree with what the reading said about bringing the criticisms and framework from radio broadcasting. There is not really a place for it. I would say with a podcast like Night Vale that I could have to analyze it not from a journalistic view (which I struggle with anyway because I am not trained as a journalist) but from a creative writing point of view. In the end, episode 13 has hit all the marks of a well thought out and woven short story. But what makes it pop is the music, is the meta-ness of the story. It is the story of you, and the listener becomes the you listening to a podcast meant to be like a radio broadcast and the you in the podcast is listening to the story of you on the radio. It’s a layered story that reaches beyond the confines of a typical read story and yanks the listener into the story. You are the story, even if you are not in the story. You are listening to a story while listening to a story. It’s meta as fuck. And it is not something that could be easily (if at all) by a physical book.
So I applaud this podcast and I think I’ll try to listen to more as I do laundry or cook food or take a walk. And I think one day I might like to move to Night Vale and try the invisible pie. Sounds tasty.
Vision & Mission
By making a Writblr on Tumblr, the mission would be to gain an audience and a following for my writing and series. As someone who likes to share her work anonymously and draws inspiration from other hardworking individuals, making a Wrtiblr would be a place to interact with the community, while also building my own branding.
The reason for using Tumblr is the ability to interface with other writers and creators. Tumblr is exactly the type place that it would perfect for having snippets, excerpts, pieces of trivia, interaction with people interested in the project, aesthetics, moodboards, character introductions, participate in ask games and memes, etc. On the negative side, Tumblr is a less popular form of social media. It can be difficult to be fished out in the sea of thousands of users and make your content noticed. However, I have been diligently following several Writblrs and their WIPs for about a year and I find the community is very welcoming, inviting, and fun. Tumblr is also a very easy platform to use and to format the posts in an aesthetically pleasing way.
My first course of action would be to make a Tumblr account dedicated to writing. Then I would work on making the writer’s introduction post, the WIP introduction post, perhaps even a few staples of the community (shitty comic sans Powerpoints introducing the wip and its world, doing an ask game about writing, playlist making, etc). Then I would probably add character profiles and aesthetics with little snippets of dialog or description from the scenes I have written with them. Then I would follow several writing blogs, reblog some of their creative work, their writing tips, strategies, writing prompts, and the like. Essentially, I would begin to build the basis of a resource blog that I can come back to and a place to build my brand as a fantasy writer.
My preferred method of presenting this would be to make a PowerPoint with screen captures from the Writblr, along with closeups of the aesthetic moodboards I’ve made (just to show them off because I love doing that sort of thing). I would probably, if this is what the project called for, talk about other authors who have been successful by gaining a following on the internet, whether for good or bad. And also how support from other authors is really important because writing is oftentimes such a solitary job.
- Instagram – using the platform I would like to make modern Instagram profiles for characters of my fictional series or of characters in one of my favorite series. Or even make social media pages for famous authors with pictures, ideas, posts, rants and such that in keeping with their philosophy, idealogy, or literature. I think this would be interesting because it could engage with the fan base of these characters.
- Tumblr – using this platform, I had an idea to make a Writblr, which is essentially a Tumblr blog about the different works in progress of currently unpublished authors in order to get followers and people who will care and follow their work. This is a good way to build a platform before you get published and might help build your revenue when you do get published.
- Twitter – this social media platform would be cool to make a story that is influenced by the people who follow. So you set up a scenario at the beginning of the twitter story with options for where it goes in a twitter poll. Then, whichever option wins the poll determines the next part of the story. In this way, people could interact and have a say in the story and what happens to the characters. And, anyone can jump in and vote in a different segment whenever they want.
- my first thought for a twine would take place in a fantasy world. The main character has just finished their schooling and must choose a god to worship in order to move into a job. Depending on which god they choose, they will have three separate paths that will equip them with different things in order to solve a mystery surrounding the death of the Emperor.
- my second thought, since the first one is a bit broad and might take a lot of time to develop and run through, would be to do something related to ancient god and goddess myths, but set within a bar. It’d be less like a game, and more like a story that weaves and unfolds as it tells the tales of gods who are dying because people don’t believe in them anymore.
- and my third idea, which I don’t even know if I could manage to pull off, but I could try, relates to a strange time loop. Essentially, it begins with you, the main character, watching the railroad tracks and there is a girl standing beside them. A train is coming and you either have to save her or turn away. If you turn away, you go through the story but end up being the character about to throw yourself onto the train tracks and no one saves you. If you do save her, she throws you onto the train tracks. There is no way to “win”, but it’s just a weird idea.
I couldn’t decide between these two spreads. When I looked at both of them, separately at first, I knew I wanted to pick them because of their interesting design paired with more words than most of the other pages have. The first image, the one with the tale of the Emperor’s New Clothes, is very limited in style. The pages are white with only the sketched outline of our nude Emperor and the bold black of the typeface. It works with McLuhan’s message that the environment is invisible. Only a few pages ago he had an entirely blank page with just the words at the top, “Environments are invisible. Their groundrules, pervasive structures, and overall pattern elude easy perception.” On the Emperor page, he elaborates on this concept. It is those on the fringes of society, the ones who rebel that can see the foundational structures of our environments. As he says, the brat is the one who comments on the Emperor wearing nothing. It is almost childlike, this word that he uses, brat. It’s what someone would call a rude or unruly child, and yet, for McLuhan, who is obsessed with the wide-eyed, nonconformist youths, this idea of being a brat is a good thing. And because it seems to McLuhan that youth and the virtues that come with youth, are things to strive for and to want. And then he pairs it with the Emperor, a childish drawing that is different than the other photographs and realistic, almost magazine-like pictures in most of the book. It is almost an emphasis on how children might see the very conforming adults to be exaggerations of themselves, just as the picture of the Emperor is.
The second spread I chose because of its explicit way of talking about the way that children think in this modern world. Children have senses we, as adults, have lost and can think outside of the boxes we’ve been put in during our upbringing, education, and life experiences. Children are idealized by McLuhan in this sense, saying that those who are mediocre will find ways to succeed that a traditional successful person can not, or will not. But, if for just a second I can go off on a tangent, McLuhan starts the paragraph by talking about humor. And his final statement, “It is usually a compressed overlay of stories” seems to be a pretty good definition of a modern-day meme. On the internet, where information spreads rapidly, memes often shift and change within minutes or hours of them going viral. And then, memes on top of memes, become funny only to those who saw both the original memes. The addition of new words into our vocabulary like “Yeet!” or the ability to quote entire Vines to express a so-called “vibe” is all of these different kinds of stories and ideas and messages woven together to create a communal feeling within those who understand it. And of course, the most famous, “okay boomer”, is a mocking meme in and of itself that mocks those who don’t understand memes (or are just mean to retail/customer service workers). It’s a piece of the generational gaps that exist in our society, and it is so odd that McLuhan describes this in a way that is relevant to our internet crazed society.