Short Stories: Developing Ideas for Short Fiction

I just supervised a teaching demonstration in the Writing Popular Fiction program here at Seton HIll, and the experience inspired me to touch up an old handout on developing ideas for short stories. A short story is tight — there is no room for long exposition, there are no subplots to explore, and by the end of the story there should be no loose ends to tie up.  End right…

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Star Trek The Exhibition at The Franklin Institute

Set phasers to “meh”!  My wife arranged a visit to The Franklin Institute a couple of weeks ago. We didn’t actually know that this Star Trek exhibit was there.  I was ready to pass, in favor of the more educational exhibits, but my wife made it a Father’s Day treat and shelled out enough gold-pressed latinum for the four of us. No photography was allowed in the exhibit, which was…

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Chris Anderson's Free Contains Apparent Plagiarism

Chris Anderson is best-known for championing the long tail (marketing to the niche customers who fill out the trailing end of a demographics chart, rather than trying to create products to please the mass market) and has been promoting a book on the topic.  One of the early reviewers for his book identified great swaths that were taken, without citation, from Wikipedia.    All those are my screwups after we…

AP Issues Strict Facebook, Twitter Guidelines to Staff

Woah! Trying to charge bloggers who quote more than 5 words was bad enough (I no longer quote from or link to AP stories). But the most contentious element in the new policy, which the union also decried as “vague,” gives this instruction to employees using Facebook: “Monitor your profile page to make sure material posted by others doesn’t violate AP standards: any such material should be deleted.” “That’s the…

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Twittering The Machine

I’ve never been a phone guy.  My voicemail recording advises people to e-mail me rather than wait for me to remember to check my messages.  Around 2004, I told a class of students that I didn’t use instant messager because I would have nobody to talk to.  I got a generous “awww!” of pity from the class.  I didn’t mean to imply that I had no friends; rather, for years…

Twitter on the Barricades – Six Lessons Learned

But does the label Twitter Revolution, which has been slapped on the two most recent events, oversell the technology? Skeptics note that only a small number of people used Twitter to organize protests in Iran and that other means — individual text messaging, old-fashioned word of mouth and Farsi-language Web sites — were more influential. But Twitter did prove to be a crucial tool in the cat-and-mouse game between the…