120114 wordcamp victoria


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Dynamic Creative Writing presentation to WordCamp Victoria on January 14, 2012.

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  • Speculative Fiction Visit site and read a paragraph or two. Note that you can do a reading anywhere with your story posted online and a cell phone in hand.
  • Nowhere in my brief resume does it say I am an expert at web site development or the use of WordPress. I am one of the millions of people who use wordpress without being a web master. That’s the beauty of this platform. You can learn it on your own, which means it can find thousands of applications tailored to individual needs and preferences.
  • 120114 wordcamp victoria

    1. 1. Dynamic Creative Writing WordPress as a platform for a literary Work in Progress Craig Spence WriterJanuary 14, 2012 WordCamp Victoria 1
    2. 2. What am I talking about?In September, 2011 I posted the first episode to The Cosmic Chicken website, launching what has become for me an experiment in DynamicCreative Writing.This presentation will talk about:• What the term Dynamic Creative Writing means.• Why WordPress makes a superb Dynamic Creative Writingenvironment.• Who might want to engage in Dynamic Creative Writing.The Cosmic Chicken is located at www.cosmicchicken.ca. Although I waspleased to acquire the domain name, I wasn’t really surprised to discoverno-one else had claimed it!January 14, 2012 WordCamp Victoria 2
    3. 3. First, a little bit about me…Published Author My last board• Josh & the Magic Vial (2006, Thistledown Press) meeting ever!• Einstein Dog (2009, Thistledown Press) YEEHAW!• Three novels in progressSupporter of Arts & Letters• Langley Arts Council Board Member• Community Arts Council of Greater Victoria member• Federation of BC Writers PresidentRetired Journalist & Communications Manager• Community Newspaper Journalist (1981- 1996)• School District Communications Manager (1996 – 2012)• Full time writer from January 2012 on…January 14, 2012 WordCamp Victoria 3
    4. 4. More telling images…The first inkling of the writer inme stirred in a Grade 5 classroomin Parkdale Elementary School.Call it a blessing or a curse, avocation is unavoidable. You liveand breath it and build your lifearound it. Hmm? This is a bit of a game changer! Daddy, yo u ain’t got a clue!January 14, 2012 WordCamp Victoria 4
    5. 5. Fast forward to real time… WHAT IS DYNAMIC CREATIVE WRITING What Craig Imagine yourself in a department store display means to say is: window on a busy downtown street. You are sitting “Involving at your desk clattering away feverishly on the next audience while a work is still in episode of your work in progress. Your computer progress.” console is wired to a second screen that shows passers-by your every keystroke. A big sign welcomes them to text, email or phone if they want to comment or make suggestions. Someone taps on the window. You look up… That’s Dynamic Creative Writing. Original art by Diana DurrandJanuary 14, 2012 WordCamp Victoria 5
    6. 6. Why get Dynamic? Perhaps what Craig really means is he justCREATIVE WRITING AS EVENT didn’t knowWe live in a networked, collaborative world. where to begin.Dynamic Creative Writing derives authenticity byopening itself to the chatter of the network. Thenovel evolves in its audience’s mind as a work-in-progress, allowing readers to influenceoutcomes. The act of writing-as-event challengesthe author to become a guide through real timestory-telling toward an uncertain conclusionalong undefined pathways. Flickr, MJM Photographie, Melissa MJanuary 14, 2012 WordCamp Victoria 6
    7. 7. OK, let’s get practical… OK. Maybe he did know where to begin, butWHY WRITE DYNAMICALLY? does he know• Build audience as a novel is written. how to finish.• Make the outcomes of your story relevant.• Extend context by including ‘outtakes’.• Build a process of self-evolution and growth.• Develop momentum.• Incorporate graphic and media elements.• Provide links to supplementary resources.• Position WIP for alternative modes of publication.• Achieve global reach.• Build creative relationships. Flickr, MJM Photographie, Melissa MJanuary 14, 2012 WordCamp Victoria 7
    8. 8. WordPress as Dynamic space…SOME FEATURES OF WORDPRESSTHAT MAKE IT A RICH Well, wouldn’t anyDYNAMIC WRITING ENVIRONMENT? web authoring program allow you to do that stuff?• Browser accessed web authoring• The Blog• Comments• Categories Don’t know, but I do• Social media plug ins know WordPress• Media imports works for me.• Drafts/Published lists• Menus• Full Screen ModeJanuary 14, 2012 WordCamp Victoria 8
    9. 9. Browser accessed web authoring…Most users appreciate browser accessedweb authoring because they can work ontheir pages anywhere without having to buyweb authoring programs. I really appreciatethat my WordPress workspace is just anotherweb page on my open pages bar. The walls tothe writer’s room have becometransparent. InformationFlows in and out.January 14, 2012 WordCamp Victoria 9
    10. 10. WHAT’SThe Blog… NEXT!Blog tends to an episodic, sequential style of Flickr imagewriting. They also tend to a plot oriented NightFall404structure. Not every novelist can work within Richard Hopkinsthose constraints.However, the blog’s timeline makes it effectivefor dynamic creative writing. Readers canfollow characters and events, with the currentepisode always at the top of the stack.The blog has evolved as a medium for theexchange as much as the presentation ofideas, which will encourage audienceparticipation in the emerging story.January 14, 2012 WordCamp Victoria 10
    11. 11. Comments… The comment function of the blog works two Comment? I’ll give ways for the dynamic creative writer. Readers you a comment: Just interacting with the work in progress can post write the damned their ideas for the writer and others to see. book and forget about The author can also respond to readers ideas. all this palaver. Cosmic Chicken indeed! As important is the potential for the author to post his own ideas by initiating comment threads. This makes the process of revision overlap with the process of creation. It also makes the author’s revision notes public and open to comment. Original art by Diana DurrandJanuary 14, 2012 WordCamp Victoria 11
    12. 12. Categories…As a work of fiction progresses the author has moreand more information to keep track of. Maintainingconsistency with regard to character, setting, plot andmetaphor can become a challenge.More importantly, maintaining tension and pushingemotional and intellectual boundaries meansrevisiting ideas repeatedly, and not leaving anythreads dangling.The ability to call up categories and tags instantly andreview storylines and trends quickly is one of the mostuseful tools WordPress provides me as novelist.January 14, 2012 WordCamp Victoria 12
    13. 13. Original art by Diana Durrand Lovely, I’mMedia imports… sure, but is it art, dear?A great novel doesn’t need photographs orillustrations, just as great paintings don’trequire a whole lot of words.That said, the judicious use of graphics cancue readers, giving them visual elements tobuild a scene around. WordPress’s Mediafunctions make it easy to place images andvideo clips into a story.The Cosmic Chicken was inspired by the art ofmy partner Diana Durrand, and the maincharacter in the story echoes my ownfascination with portraits of Gallus Domesticus– the domestic chicken.January 14, 2012 WordCamp Victoria 13
    14. 14. Drafts/Published lists…As an organizational tool WordPress ‘Drafts’ and ‘Published’ lists provide anintuitive context for story development. The writer can review his list ofepisodes (posts) at a glance. He can switch out of the episode he’s workingon to create a new one, then switch back in an instant. He can storybuildunpublished episodes over time, based on his growing familiarity with thenovel in progress. He has a breakdown of drafts and published episodes andan organically growing roadmap of his entire novel all laid out.January 14, 2012 WordCamp Victoria 14
    15. 15. Menus…A thoughtfully developed menu to a web-based work of dynamic creative fiction invitesreaders to explore beyond the storyline of thenovel. It can even become a standingreference for readers who want to gainperspectives into a published work that wouldotherwise remain part of the back story.The Cosmic Chicken has navigation links to a‘Glossary’; a page that describes ‘The Cast’;and a page about ‘Places’ in the novel.Readers can also learn about the author. Theinterested reader can access layers ofinformation that are outside the book proper. Flickr image by Mary Margret, Double-MJanuary 14, 2012 WordCamp Victoria 15
    16. 16. That’s Dynamic Creative WritingIs Dynamic Creative Writing a method thatmight be used by others? Or is it a one-offexperiment that will result in a single work ofspeculative fiction?If Dynamic Creative Writing does become auseful mode, is WordPress the bestenvironment for engaging in it, or is there abetter context? Wikis for example?I don’t know at this point. But my experience sofar makes me think I will be writing more novelsusing WordPress as my creative medium. Flickr image by o5comJanuary 14, 2012 WordCamp Victoria 16