Author Archives: hmmallette

About hmmallette

I'm a reader, writer, and editor who loves words and other creative media. I have a Bachelor of Writing Arts from Rowan University. Currently working to live, always trying to write more but never quite succeeding.

A Writer’s Journey Through Time and Writing Spaces

In my prezi, I examined changes in the writing process through time as well as different spaces available to the modern writer and the rules that accompany them. I wanted to give a full view of the present, which I felt could only be done by looking at the past and future as well. By looking at the spaces and rules that exist now, I was able to make a few hypotheses about the future of writing as well.

I may have added too much information, as I couldn’t fit it all into the five minute voiceover. I’m sorry about that; please click through the full prezi to see all of the details.

The prezi with voiceover can be watched here >

The full prezi can be found here >


A Writer’s Journey

The prezi I’ve created is called A Writer’s Journey Through Time and Writing Spaces. This project focuses on how the process of writing is changing through the use of technology and the new writing spaces that the technologies create. This project is influenced by the readings and videos that we reviewed in the module, as well as my own views on the evolution of writing.

This prezi is still in the drafting stage, and I haven’t added in most of the present day concerns and new skills that have been brought about in this age of new writing technologies.

Twitter analysis: Neil Gaiman (@neilhimself)

In case anyone reading this doesn’t know, Neil Gaiman is a short story and novel writer who focuses mostly on science fiction and fantasy stories. Two of his more well-known books are Coraline and American Gods. I love the feeling he brings to his prose; he’s able to create vastly different worlds but let the main character keep human quirks and qualities. He is among my favorite authors.

Mr. Gaiman is following a diverse group of people on Twitter. Many of them are other writers, but he also follows musicians, comedians, and a handful of newsfeeds about Doctor Who (should have known he was a fan). His follower list hints that he is interested in keeping up with a large community of writers, but he’s also a guy who likes to laugh and have a good time. He also follows some novelty accounts, like DRUNK HULK.

I’ve been following Mr. Gaiman for a while now (which sounds so creepy if taken out of context), and he is constantly interacting with his fans. Usually when someone gets to a certain level of fame they become untouchable, but Mr. Gaiman is still able to hold conversations and seems genuinely interested in what his fans have to say. I think this is an excellent example of social networking done right. He isn’t the type to only answer questions about himself or his writing; he holds real conversations about real topics. I think many other celebrities on Twitter could follow his lead (so to speak) and learn something about effective communication.

Mr. Gaiman also was the original proposer of All Hallows Read, and he is a strong advocate for the movement. If anyone is looking for something to give out this Halloween that’s healthier than candy, how about a copy of Coraline?

Cheers, and happy tweeting!

A week without Facebook draws to a close.

When I was perusing the class website last Thursday night and read that we were going to have to give up Facebook for a week, I felt strange. I’ve already explained my interesting relationship with social networking in a previous post, and if you read that you know that I spend time on Facebook but I don’t consider my use of the site to be productive in any way.

Not being on Facebook has been liberating, but still annoying at times. Instead of checking Facebook in the morning when I woke up, I read articles or looked at news sites. Instead of constantly opening the Facebook app on my phone to see friends complaining about silly things, I checked my Twitter and saw useful links that I might have missed later in the day (I follow a bunch of writers and writing tip tweeps). I don’t understand how I spent so much time on Facebook, seeing as I was able to stay off of it so easily. I realised I mostly keep an eye on my family and close friends to see what they’re up to. Without using Facebook I have to call/text them, and my school and work schedule lead to me doing so at odd hours. I also realised that I find a lot of things online that I would like to share with my friends, and without being able to post on their wall or tag them I had to find more creative ways to share the information that I found. The most annoying thing was when I was with my tech-savvy friends and they’d start a conversation with, “Hey, did you see so-and-so on Facebook?” and proceed to talk about it. I felt excluded, but got over it quickly.

This experiment allowed me to spend more time with Twitter and get to know the site a little more intimately. I’m shocked at the amount of information I get from my feed every day. I know it depends on who you follow, but it’s still overwhelming. I’ve been trying to use that site strictly as a writing student to build my persona as someone who shares articles that I believe could be helpful to others. I still goof around a bit on there, but that also says something about my personality.

I’ve also been playing around with my own personal WordPress blog, which I hope to launch before November. Stay tuned for more info on that, and I’d truly appreciate feedback when I get it up and running.

As an off-topic side note, is anyone planning on participating in NaNoWriMo this year? I’d like to, and it’s always easier when you know other people who are doing it, too.

Cheers and happy Facebooking!

Time to talk about video games (and much more)

(I wanted to practice creating a saturated blog post full of outside media, and this is a topic I am passionate about. Enjoy!)

Michael Highland’s video “As Real As Your Life” struck a chord with me. In the video, he discusses his gaming addiction and the appeal of video games to the younger generations. I consider myself a gamer, though I’m not an addict. I appreciate video games as both an escape for me and a creative platform for the creators, and believe they are much more than a sum of their parts. I have friends who’ve studied game creation, my friend Brad is currently a level designer working for Gearbox Software, and through them I have seen bits and pieces of the sheer amount of work that goes into creating a game. Game design goes far beyond writing and programming.

In the video, Michael says, “Unlike any pop culture phenomenon before it, video games actually allow us to become part of the machine… we are interacting with our entertainment.” This is the quintessence of the appeal video games have. You no longer have to watch your entertainment as an outsider; instead, you become a pivotal part of the storyline. Without you, there is no story. Personally, my favorite games are open world games, like the Elder Scrolls series, and survival horror games, namely the Silent Hill series, which have solid storylines surrounding the main character and his/her actions.

If I may go off on a tangent for a moment, Michael was a bit mistaken by saying no pop-culture phenomenon has allowed us to become a part of it. Remember those choose-your-own-adventure storybooks? I was addicted to my Give Yourself Goosebumps set when I was younger. While this isn’t total immersion, you were still able to have a say in what happened during the story. There are also choose-your-own-adventure videos popping up now and again on the web. An excellent survival horror video on YouTube is Survive the House. (WARNING: this is addictive, please don’t use it to procrastinate.) I’m assuming this interactive video concept was modeled on the idea of video games, but I still wanted to include it as an example of other media that you interact with.

But, I digress, let’s get back to video games. Continue reading

Social networks! Social networks everywhere!

I had to read a few articles on social networking this week for my special topics class, Professions in Writing Arts (everyone who wants to pursue a career in writing should take this class if you can, it’s incredibly informative). I thought they added nicely to our discussion of social networks. While we’re mostly focusing on Twitter and blogging for this class, there are so many other options out there that you can use to build a bigger, better online persona.

The first article, Social Networking for Writers – How to Network like a Pro, and Why Every Writer Should, is fairly self-explanatory. Robin Parrish discusses using the sites to create your brand and get the notice that you deserve.

The second site isn’t an article, but a list of the Best Social Networking Sites and Message Boards for Writers. This list is extensive and I only knew of two of these sites before reading it. There are many message boards and communities out there where writers can post their work to get feedback and constructive criticism, which can be hard to find outside of a workshop-centered course or a writing club.

I hope this is helpful! I sincerely think everyone who is thinking of a career as a writer or considering going to graduate school for writing should take the Professions class. It’s a special topic 1 credit class that runs for only 5 weeks, and so far I feel like I’ve learned more than I have in some of my full 15 week classes. Our class website is here if you’d like to see what we’ve been covering.

Cheers and happy networking!

Social networks for creative people

While exploring the Twittersphere for my Writing, Research and Tech class, I came across a link to article called The Top 10 Social Networks for Creative People by Mark McGuinness. Writing is considered creative, so I thought I’d read it over. The article started out with a section outlining why you need to be involved with social networking to survive in a creative profession. The author’s points are strong and encouraging. It was a strong start.

Then, I encountered something that I don’t usually see: in each section of the article the author focused on a certain social network, and each section includes snippets from creative people in different fields talking about their experience with the social network in question. Real people! There aren’t any full interviews, but there are short bursts from people who seem comfortable in the networks they choose to use. I thought it was really neat to see people in different fields discussing what social networking has actually done for them. It’s easy to think of popular Twitter handles or LinkedIn profiles as an entity on their own, but it’s important to remember that each profile is run by a real person, and through their social media we are getting to know a small part of that person.

Since this article is aimed at all forms of creativity, not only writing, so some sections and snippets aren’t explicitly related to us as writers. I still think we can learn from this article and see a small sample of information from the people who use the sites effectively, no matter their specific creative field. Definitely worth a read.

You can follow the author of the article on Twitter @markmcguinness. His other contact information is scattered throughout the article.

The link that I saw was tweeted by Joanna Penn (@thecreativepenn) who runs a blog about writing, self-publishing and marketing. Check out her blog out if you haven’t. She also offers a great information package on self-publishing called The Author 2.0 Blueprint. It’s free!

Facebook vs Twitter: Friends vs Followers

(note: This is rambling and slightly off-base.)

When I was younger, my freshman year of college specifically, I joined Facebook. This was back when the layout was unfriendly and people still thought Pokes were a cool way to communicate. For the first few months I avidly played around with the status updates, some games, and sending people whatever Facebook suggested I send them (like a virtual pie, pet, flaming bag of poo… the works). I even played Farmville for about a week. After the novelty wore off, I moved to just status updates, pictures, and the occasional posted link.

As for Twitter, my relationship with that is odd. The first time I made a Twitter account on my own I started so I could follow people that I admired. Eventually, I started following some friends and tweeting here and there, mostly things I deemed unworthy for Facebook. This was before I used this medium for class, mind you.

About two years ago, I decided I hated both Facebook and Twitter. It was like a switch went off in my head and I noticed how absolutely narcissistic these things were. Who cares what you ate for breakfast? Does anyone really want to know which sitcom you are? Who wants to see 10 pictures of your cat a day? (Okay, I still kind of enjoyed that last one.) I deleted my Facebook and Twitter accounts, but two weeks later was bullied by “friends” who I never saw in real life to bring them back online just to talk to people. I tried to pretend everything was okay, but it was a struggle for me to post anything on either because a little voice in the back of my mind just kept saying, “You sound so narcissistic. Who cares? Would you get annoyed reading this?” Continue reading

New Writing Spaces

Bolter’s point that our culture is redefining the components of writing is something to consider. The internet is certainly changing the way we write, for better and for worse. The spaces created online (like blogging and microblogging platforms, forums, comment threads, website creators) each offer a different set of norms and writing rules, much like different print media. The difference between a newspaper article and a novella is noticeable; the difference between Twitter and Flickr is as well. Using these new media to enhance writing is something that all authors should experiment with, even if they end up never using that medium again. There may be a story or an article that can be best told through one of the new media created by the online community.

I think of myself as an avid internet user. I make use of various writing spaces online, but probably not to their fullest extent. I also carry a notebook and read books printed on paper. Call me old-school, but the feeling of finishing a good novel is so much better than clicking to the last page of an ebook. As an avid reader of non-digital books (it’s silly that I feel like I have to make that distinction), I have vacillating ideas when it comes to the internet. On one hand, the writing spaces brought on by the internet are a fascinating way to communicate ideas with the world quickly and easily. Your friends are only a tweet away, even if they are located across the globe. On the other hand, this fast-paced world of instant publication is recreating the writing process by destroying bits and pieces of it. I don’t want to see the end of print publication. I think print and online publications can exist side by side since they offer homes for different types of writing that can both be respected in their own way.