The Benefits of Writing Crap (A Reminder)

A first draft gives you something to go on in the future. Because you will rewrite this draft. And you’ll rewrite it again after the first time. So, don’t rush the process. (And I’m talking to myself as much as to you.) At the same time, I think its important to acknowledge that writing “masterful literary debuts” does not have to take years. (For instance, the above-mentioned Isabel Allende started…


English teaching: Johnson: Talking past each other

When I got to college, I had already learned complex grammar fairly well thanks to 3 years of High School Latin. At the University of Toronto during grad school, I took a history of the English language course, which helped tremendously when I later took a medieval drama course. It was very clear during that language course that a good portion of my classmates were hearing much of the grammar…

Digital Storytelling

Digital Storytelling: an Efficient and Engaging Learning Activity

A digital story is essentially any combination of a spoken narrative and a number of visuals, perhaps with a soundtrack – along with new technologies to edit and share the story. Although the concept of digital storytelling is closely linked to the use of new technology, we shouldn’t forget that it is always the story and not the technology that teachers should focus on. We should merge the digital skills…


Versu’s Epilogue: How an Interactive Fiction Pioneer’s 15 Year Project Ended Up in Limbo at Linden Lab

However there’s a particularly sad tale tied up in Versu’s fate (literally) and it’s why you won’t find me applauding this clean up any time soon. Versu was co-developed by acclaimed interactive fiction writer Emily Short, and for over a year most of the stories she’s made have been strictly for Versu. The unfortunate result of this is that Linden Lab now owns these stories as well as the platform…

Emily Short

ifMUD IF discussion | Emily Short’s Interactive Storytelling

Emily Short on the limitations of parser-based IF. And I’ve finally, about fifteen years on, accepted that there is nothing I know how to do that will make a parser-based game a sufficiently inviting prospect for the majority of players. Tutorial text, external help materials, more synonyms, better error messages, attempts to highlight key nouns and list key verbs for the player — you can spend hundreds of hours on…

Dennis G. Jerz | Associate Professor of English -- New Media Journalism, Seton Hill University | jerz.setonhill.edu

My Anti-Linkbait Pledge: Cynical Overhyping vs. Simply Being Online

When I find something interesting that an online friend has shared via a linkbait site, I hereby pledge that I will link to the origin of the story, rather than a third-party site that republishes it without commentary. The people who share and like and respond to Upworthy and similar linkbait websites are just responding to content that they like, and they’re sharing it online because, well, that’s what people…


You’re not going to read this

I ask my students to contextualize links with informative text, rather than hype. Puppies! Schadenfreude! Thinly veiled primal urges! If you aren’t weeping angry tears by the 3rd paragraph, a gargoyle has your soul! Prove your cleverness and sensitivity by sharing this link! Also so you can find this article again! Link traffic! Earlier this month, there was yet another lengthy public debate about Upworthy, the two-year-old publisher that has become one…


Melissa Terras’ Blog: Male, Mad and Muddleheaded: Academics in Children’s Picture Books

Labcoats, suits (but not if you are female!) or safari suits (but not if you are female!) are the academic uniform du jour. The names given to the academics are telling, with the majority being less than complimentary: Professor Dinglebat, Professor P. Brain, Professor Blabbermouth, Professor Bumblebrain, Professor Muddlehead, Professor Hogwash, Professor Bumble, Professor Dumkopf, Professor Nutter, and two different Professor Potts. There is the odd professor with a name…


The Real Reason Why You Can’t Write

Have you ever stopped to think about what you believe about yourself as a writer? Have you ever considered what you believe about the work you produce? Your beliefs run the show, usually subconsciously. And if they’re limiting or negative beliefs, they’ll stop that show dead in its tracks. You believe certain theories about why you suffer from wanting desperately to write but are unable to. Each writer has their…