Monday, September 8, 2014

*Urgent* Campus Closed

Due to flooding, Phoenix College has been closed for today. So class is cancelled. Please do the reading for the Apocalypse myths as scheduled for Wednesday. We will finish up the creation myths on Wednesday and get to (some) of the apocalypse myths on Wednesday, and hopefully cover the rest with the flood myths the following Monday.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Advice from Past Students

On the first day, I passed out some advice letters from past students. You can read all of the letters (and you should) here. But to make things a little quicker, I've gone through all the letters and assembled the advice in chart form, as seen below.


Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Returned Assignments

I've started returning assignments, and this video seems apropos. I hope all of you will react the same way as in the video. My feedback is designed to help you learn and improve. We all learn by picking ourselves up from crashing and trying again.

Crash & Learn - Aleksander Aurdal from ANTIMEDIA on Vimeo.

Monday, August 25, 2014

The First Day

The first day of class. Mostly it will consist of locating classrooms, finding seats next to students you believe share common interests, obtaining syllabi, and go through the "getting to know" activities.

No matter what your reaction to that first day, there's something else that should go on, and not just paying attention to syllabus policies. The classes you are in, the teachers in them, are all there for a purpose. The wildcard, though, is you.

Why are you, as a student, in the class? What are your goals? What do you hope to obtain from this class? What are you willing to do in this class? How important is one class related to another?

These are important questions. They deserve answers right away. The answers will shape your entire semester. Sit down. Give it some thought. Find your answers before the semester takes on a life of its own.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Word Processor Skills

Like it or not, we live in the electronic age. This brings with it certain advantages and disadvantages over what college writing was like in the past. Gone are the days when the only means to type an essay were on bulky electric typewriters in library basements because of the intense noise they produced. Typing on one of these machines was tedious. There were no font choices. The only extant font was courier. All formatting had to be done manually: Headers typed on every page, page numbers, and word wrap did not exist (though the better typewriters would beep to let you know you were near the edge of the page so you could move to the next line or quickly hyphenate your word). If a single mistake was made, you had to rip out the sheet and type it again.

Today's computers, internet, and printers come with their own challenges: Document file formats, too many font choices, document styles, images, graphics, watermarks, tables, charts, and endless numbers of features can overwhelm. And let's not even mention printer and email difficulties.

Unfortunately, there's a harsh truth in all of this. As students, it's your responsibility to learn your word processor. You are responsible for completing assignments as instructed, and difficulties with the technology are not a valid excuse. So in addition to learning how to write, argue, and analyze, you must also learn how to use your word processor. Many of these features actually make essay writing easier, taking the hassle out of such tasks as headers and page numbers. Below is a list of features you must know how to use.
  • Line spacing
  • Page spacing
  • Insert a page break
  • Disable widowing/orphaning
  • Margins
  • Font selection
  • Hanging indent
  • Headers
  • Insert footnote
  • Page numbers
  • Word count
  • Spell check
  • Save as different file format
Your best, first source of information on these features is within your word processor's own help. Searching for these terms should turn up useful information. You can also consult the internet and workers in campus computer labs for more help.

I strongly encourage everyone to experiment and search out how to do employ these features before you have need of them. Trying to figure out these features in the late hours of the night before an essay is due is not the time to learn about your word processor.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Dropbox

     Ever forgotten to print out an assignment the day it's due? Ever meant to print it on campus but forgot your flash drive or to email the file to yourself? Ever had your computer completely crash and be unable to access that research paper on the hard drive?
    Just like the dog eating your homework, these are not valid excuses as to why you cannot turn in your assignment. Technical problems are part of every day life, and if you fall victim to them, there's nothing any of your teachers can do about it.
     However, there's a way to plan for these eventualities, with a file-syncing service. I give you Dropbox. Dropbox automatically synchronizes files online so you always have an up-to-date copy accessible at any time. It can be accessed anywhere there's an internet connection, and you don't have to be super tech savvy to use it.
     Go to their website here to find out more information about dropbox. New users start with 2 gb of storage space, but if you use this link you will receive an extra 250 mb of space. It doesn't end there. Check out this article at Lifehacker for many other ways to gain free space at Dropbox.
     Dropbox isn't the only file-syncing service, but it is probably the easiest and friendliest to use. You are free to use whatever service you like, or none at all, but when one of the above situations happens to you, you must live with the consequences.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Crw 150: Conflicts

Here are the blog posts I would like you to read about conflicts. It's a great little series of posts all by the same author, who gives some very sound advice about conflict and fight scenes in particular.

Why Would You Kick the Sh!t out of Your Characters
Reason, Stakes & Cost
Combat Scene: Zero Draft
Revising that Fight part 1
Revising that Fight part 2

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Crw 150 Conference CDs

Thanks to PC's wonderful librarians, a selection of the Desert Dreams 2010 Writing conference workshops are now on Reserve at the PC Library. All you need to do is simply bring ID (school or driver's license) to the circulation desk and explain the item is on reserve for the class. Items can be checked out for 1 week. Since they are on reserve, there is a $.50 per hour late charge, so make sure you get it back on time.

The following CDs are part of the collection:
Walking on the Wild Side: Writing Erotica/Fantasy
Demystifying the Plot and Subplot
Editor/Agent Panel (I highly recommend this one)
Working With the Dead
Social Networking Media for Authors
I Feel Witty, Oh So Witty
Building Suspense
Sex and the Single Title
Watching the Detectives
The How-To of Voice
The Good, The Bad, The Unforgettable: Creating Characters

A little more information and ordering information (for those interested) can be found here: Desert Dreams 2010. There are other workshops that I did not order, as well as other conferences you can search through for workshops.

If there is enough interest in certain workshops, I can see about approaching the library to purchase those as well.

Crw Manuscript Format

Current Manuscript format can be found on Janet Reid's blog, here: Manuscript Format
My own interpretation of this format can be found here:  Manuscript Format
For any interested in screenplay format, there's Script Frenzy Screenplay Format
Lastly, for stage plays, there's Script Frenzy Stage Format
For any interested, here are a couple of resources for comic book scripts
Teachingcomics.org http://www.teachingcomics.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=74%3AGrendel%3A+Devil+Child+&Itemid=58#1,%20pp.%201-5&catid=37:Sample%20Scripts&Itemid=58
Brian Michael Bendis's Scripts:  http://www.jinxworld.com/scripts.html 

If there are requests for other format types, let me know in the comments.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Crw 150 Critique guidelines and forms

As discussed in class, here are the relevant links for the critique forms.

First is the word.doc which can be downloaded straight from GoogleDocs using this link: Downloadable Word Doc

Second is the rubric form, which contains all the guidelines for critiquing the class stories, found here: Critique Rubric

Lastly, for those who want it, is the print version of the critique form if you don't want to fill it out on the computer: Print Critique Form