Micro Fiction

Can you write a piece of fiction in (or in less than) 140 characters?

He drives his itching fists home late late one night, burying them in her swollen stomach.

There is an alternative version too but I felt it didn’t need to be made anymore obvious.

What do you think? Is it clear what is happening or have I been too vague? Comment with your examples of micro fiction, if you’d like. Or you can critique my attempt. I’d love to hear from you!

Multi and New Media

This class involved a great selection of academic essays and entertaining activities. Revolving around new media, it was a good class to flex my feminist writing muscles which I did in both my podcast, The Fourth Wave: Cyberfeminism, and the essay on Vlogs Vs Podcasts: A comparative essay from a consumer perspective:

For example, in the ‘Wonder Woman’ podcast (Mirk 2014) the author/speaker discusses how wonder woman’s back story has been changed and manipulated to, essentially, change her from having been born of female solidarity to being born from female rivalry. In the ‘Background Characters vlog’ (Sarkeesian 2014) the author/speaker discusses how, as video games are more interactive and players are not mere viewers but participants through their ability to manipulate the character’s world and actions, players are engaging in the sexual objectification of NPCs (Non-Player Characters). The vlog then cuts to numerous clips of players, through their character, paying NPCs for sex, paying for lap dances, picking up prostitutes and other such scenes. The author/speaker then points out that these actions have the same effect as the character getting a drink- using the women as sex objects increased health and status within the game. Again, the vlog cuts between those same scenes and a scene in which the character buys a drink from a vending machine. The audience themselves can now clearly see what the author/speaker is discussing with sickening clarity. Within the game, the sexual objectification of women is much the same as buying a drink. The author/speaker then announces that having NPCs displayed as sex objects only allows for them then to be dismissed as disposable. Toward the end of the vlog the same characters are then shown with the same NPCs in identical situations (paying for sex/lap dances) however afterward the character, at the command of the player, then physically assaulted and, in most cases, brutally murdered the NPC. Seeing this has a greater influence on the audience than merely hearing it can.

To begin with the ‘Background Character’s’ vlog (Sarkeesian 2014) issues a content warning, comes with a list of links and resources for further reading and a detailed summary of the series, unlike the ‘Wonder Woman’ podcast (Mirk 2014.) The ‘Wonder Woman’ podcast (Mirk 2014), whilst intelligently discussed and well put together, has received a mere 400 views compared to ‘Background Characters’ vlog (Sarkeesian 2014) which has 177 Twitter shares, 334,000 YouTube views, over 1,000 Facebook likes and has generated 11 cash donations for the Tropes Vs Women series. These viewer numbers support the findings of Helft (2013, p.1) who writes that “Viewers consume 6 billion hours of YouTube videos monthly — that’s almost one hour for every person on the planet”. If one compares Helft’s (2013) findings with that of Markman and Sawyer (2014), which state that podcast listeners didn’t listen to more than 30 minutes a week, it is clear which form is the more effective.

The revenue the ‘Background Character’ vlog (Sarkeesian 2014) alone has generated for the Tropes Vs Women series contrasts strongly with the reports by Markman & Sawyer (2014) that 39% of podcasters create no revenue and over 75% spend significantly on the creation of their product. The ‘Wonder Woman’ (Mirk 2014) podcast would, if it contained the some visual element, would undoubtedly do equally as well. In the discussion of podcast versus vlog topic and content are not of the utmost importance (Markman & Sawyer 2014). To engage an audience the delivery is of greater concern. Guest speakers and interviews help engage interest, though the addition of graphs, images and video cannot be valued highly enough. Had the ‘Wonder Woman’ podcast (Mirk 2014), on topic due to the upcoming movie, included the images being discussed, such as wonder woman wielding a sword, views would have surpassed the current count of 400, a belief backed by Markman and Sawyer’s (2014, p.4) observation that most “podcasters drew a small audiences.”

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Writing for Illustration: Graphic Project and Book Cover Designs.

For NMIT’s writing for illustration I chose to create a comic through Bitstrips based on the short story Too Much To Lose, one of the stories I self-published in the Behind Closed Doors collection that can be found on Smashwords here. Too Much To Lose takes readers into the reality of life with anorexia; the obsession, the isolation, the silence…

With any luck it might just burst into flames and I could leave, or the building might burn down and I could die. It is hard to feel anything about that thought. Wanting to die isn’t something I really do- it’s just a vague thought, almost a joke. I hear the creak of a chair and spy Carroll’s legs under the desk as she sits back in her seat. Her thighs spread out before her looking ready to burst from her stretched skirt. I’d bet anything that her thighs touch even if she stands with her feet apart. I glance down at my own thighs, poking at the hard bones that define them. I look up and meet Carroll’s eyes, my mouth twisted to the side in a smug smile – Too Much to Lose.

To see Too Much To Lose follow the links below:

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

The intention behind using this short story as a comic series published online is to counteract the massive online presence of pro-ana (pro-anorexic) websites, particularly those appearing on sites such as Tumblr. I wanted to illustrate the control an eating disorder can have over your life and the isolation. It was difficult making the comic appear as dark as I wanted it as I was really limited by the graphics provided on Bitstrips. I was only able to manipulate and edit so much. For example, I had very limited backgrounds on offer and to create a dark background I had to use the same gradient frame. If I could draw, I’d have made Ana (Ana being a personification of the protagonist’s ED) look like a hollow eyed, ghostly figure at times and as your stereotypical beautiful model at others. This would highlight the opposing sides of the image of an anorexic. In reality, you end up being skin and bones and look sickly. Your hair falls out, you’re constantly dizzy and pale. However, in the pro-ana forums there is this desire to see it as a lifestyle and beautiful. Many anorexics end up with a certain attachment towards starvation. Basically, the opposing images of Ana would illustrate all this. With more time, I would have fine tuned the dialogue too.

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Magazine 11 Reflections

Take a kick-ass subject and add to it a brilliant lecturer and what do you have?

(Translation: Please give me a HD.)

I’ve learnt so freaking much in this class (am I allowed to say ‘freaking’ if this is for an assignment?) When I nodded along when we were all asked if we knew what a media kit was, I was lying. I had no idea. I was surprised everyone else knew. Were they lying too? Or do I really need to get with it? Either way, I know now.

I also designed a magazine insert for this class which is something I would never have even though of before. It’s so simple but, still, it wouldn’t have occurred to me.

I am really happy with how my InDesign skills improved this semester compared to last. I haven’t actually had any of the classes were we’re taught InDesign so I’ve been learning by watching tutorials and playing around with it. I think I still have a long way to go though.

At so many points I wanted to smash my face through the keyboard because, dammit, designing a magazine is so…fiddly. Every time I’d sit back and think ‘there now, it’s perfe- oh, fuck!‘ Literally every time I think I’m done with it, I discover some tiny new error that irritates me.

The cover to begin with was atrocious until I purchased some stock images for it. The TOC (table of contents) was atrocious until I’d scanned some tutorials. As you’d expect, it’s still  little (a lot) on the basic side. Really, as far as the design goes, I have little to say. You can clearly see a colour scheme and I used the same two fonts throughout (why? They just have the right look). I just experimented in InDesign and messed around with colours and layouts until I had something nearing how I could picture it. There is still so much potential with designs that hasn’t even occurred to me though. The magazine presentation day illustrated for me the variety of layouts it’s possible to have. It’s something I’d want to experiment with a lot more.

That said; Lo and Behold! Here is an example of some of the magazine:

Magazine116 Magazine11 Magazine1113 Magazine1112 Magazine1111 Magazine118

I had the idea for the magazine in semester one when I was put on the spot and asked what I might possibly want to do a magazine on. I came up with a parenting magazine out of nowhere. I’m not actually a huge fan of children and prefer writing about women/feminist topics. The thing about this magazine though is that it’s about parenting and being a young mother in general- it’s not for children so it shouldn’t be an issue that I’m not crazy about them (apart from my own, obviously.) I did some research on parenting/lifestyle magazines and realised there is definite gap in the market where younger parents (and even single parents) are concerned. There seems to be plenty of parenting magazines for older, married mothers that are still trying to sell the image of the perfect, nuclear family.  I knew I had found a good angle for my magazine.

My other motivation is being a passionate believer that having a child young doesn’t mean the end of your life or that you’re a hopeless, brainless idiot. Lets face it, there is no end to that attitude. When I found out I was pregnant I had to deal with the most ridiculous comments. For example, being snidely asked after mentioning my desire to go to university, “You’re going to study and have a baby. Do you, like, even know how to do that?” Guess what, knobcloud, I know now. At my year 12 graduation I was also told the parents in the audience were disgusted that I was allowed on stage. I always wondered why there was this attitude meant that I shouldn’t be allowed to continue on with my life. There was definitely this expectation within the town I lived that I should drop out of school and do nothing with the rest of my life. Luckily, my family and I did not share that expectation.

Young Parenting was created with the purpose of delivering an honest yet positive take on being a young mother. It’s purpose is to inform, encourage and unite young mothers throughout Australia between the ages of 16 and 23. It would stress the importance of continuing with your education and taking your aspirations seriously. It would not be condescending, demeaning or be written with the assumption it’s audience knew nothing.

If it were an actual glossy generating a profit, in line with the above values, the magazine would offer two successful applicants a 10 week paid internship each year. The magazine would also keep readers up to date with various study and skills building opportunities and scholarships.

The Fourth Wave: Cyberfeminism

Beautiful-Woman-With-Magnificent-Hair-Hd-Desktop-Wallpaper

The Fourth Wave, a podcast on Cyberfeminism in relation to digital publishing via online platforms such as social media and blogs like this one and YouTube, is available at PodOmatic: http://cyberfeminism.podomatic.com/entry/2014-10-03T02_06_01-07_00  

References and Further Reading:
Helft, M 2013, ‘How YouTube changes everything’, Fortune, vol. 168, no. 3, p. 1-10, viewed 05/08/2014.
Hess, A 2014, ‘Why Women Aren’t Welcome on the Internet’, Pacific Standard, 29/09/2014, http://www.psmag.com/navigation/health-and-behavior/women-arent-welcome-internet-72170/.
Hinsely, V, ‘On Our Terms: The Undergraduate Journal of the Athena Center for Leadership Studies at Barnard College’, Vol. 1, Iss. 1 (2013), Pp. 25 – 32.
Markman, KM & Sawyer, CE 2014, ‘Why pod? Further explorations of the motivations for independent podcasting’, Journal of Radio and Audio Media, vol. 21, no. 1, p. 1-17, viewed 29/07/2014.
Mirk, S 2014, Popaganda: The Evolution of Wonder Woman, Podcast, Bitch Magazine Media, 17/08/2014, http://www.feministfrequency.com/.
Munro, E, ‘Feminism: A fourth wave?’, Political Studies Association, UK, 1/10/2014, http://www.psa.ac.uk/insight-plus/feminism-fourth-wave.
Sarkeesian, A 2014, Tropes Vs Women: Women as background Decoration, Vlog, Feminist Frequency, 4/08/2014, http://bitchmagazine.org/blogs/feminist-podcast.
PEW’s 2014 social media fact sheet can be accessed at http://www.pewinternet.org/fact-sheets/social-networking-fact-sheet/.
FemFuture’s The Future of Online Feminism Infographic can be found at http://bcrw.barnard.edu/wp-content/nfs/reports/NFS8-The-Future-of-Online-Feminism-Infographic.pdf for more of their work you can also visit http://www.onlinefeminism.com.                                                                                                                                              Introduction music by Sahara Surfers accessed at http://www.last.fm/music/Sahara+Surfers/_/Intro.

Transcript:

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This is you

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This is non-poem poem. I don’t know anything about poetry technically. I did in year eleven. I knew all about stanzas and beat and all of that crap. I don’t know about it anymore though. And I rarely write it.

For example, I don’t know if I’m allowed to use a comma. How dumb is that? I am unsure of the layout. I changed it around a lot. Not the words, but the layout and how they are spaced.

I absolutely love poetry though. I love reading it. Some of my favourites are Poe, Sylvia Plath, Charles Bukowski, Andrew Marvell, and Maya Angelou.

So, anyway, here is some poetry that I am deeply uncertain about sharing but, whatever, I’m sharing it anyway. It is the internet afterall. There is no end of awful poetry here. It’ll be one amongst many.

You hold my heart.

Hand down my throat, choking.

You pull it out, view that frantic beating.

You stuff me in the shredder.

I come out as confetti and dance in the air.

You stomp all over me, drive me into the ground.

You tear the eyes from my sockets, poke pinholes through the pupils so no light can get in.

I explode in the dark.

I explode, I explode and still your hands are all over me, in me, tearing me apart.

When giving up is a good thing

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Day 2
8:46 AM: Cigarette. Cigarette. Cigarette. Arrr, I am dying. Although it occurs to me I’m not as sick as yesterday (I have a cold). Maybe recovering faster thanks to Not Smoking?
10:02 AM: This. Is. Hard.
10:21 AM: I wish I could fast forward two weeks.
10:26 AM: I can do this. I can do this. I can do this.
This is so hard.
Jeepers. I just have to remind myself about cancer. I was feeling this awful loss a while ago thinking ‘I can never have another smoke AGAIN. Boo hoo.’ But the thing is, why do I even want one? What’s it do for me? The only reason I feel that way is because I’m addicted. That will go away. Also, then I am slightly less likely, y’know, to freaking DIE. Smoking KILLS. Gotta keep remembering that little fact. Denial is a powerful thing. Imagine if we had as much ability in willpower as we did denial?
10:40 AM: Does quitting actually INCREASE your appetite? It seems to.
6:38 PM: I am impatience personified.

Day 4
7 AM: Day 4! I am so proud. This is my third quit attempt this year. I have been wanting to quit so much, I set it as my new years resolution, but until now my head was not in the game. I had to not want to smoke anymore (wanting to quit and not wanting to smoke are different).
It’s a mix of things that bought me here; Because I’ve been focusing on improving health through exercise, I want to improve the other areas too.
7:15 AM: Here is a list of the side effects I have noticed;
1. Mood swings (especially wanting to cry.)
2. Irritability (very snappy).
3. Increased appetite. I’m not eating out of boredom or to smother a desire for a smoke. I am genuinely hungrier (smoking IS an appetite suppressant.)
4. Unable to sleep.
5. Jittery/twitchy (my hyper level, usually a docile 2 or 3, is now a 9.)
The actual cravings are the easiest part of quitting. The mood swings are the worst.
12:19 PM:I used to smoke, on average, 15 cigarettes a day. Say, it takes 6.5 minutes to smoke one (and that is not including rolling it time) that is 1 hour and 37 minutes smoking took up everyday. Christ. Now maybe I can use that saved time to go for a jog or write.
By the way, that is 682 minutes (11 hours and 36 minutes) a week. Which is 35,464 minutes (591 hours) a year.
Why didn’t I ever think of this before?
10:30 PM: I had four hours sleep last night. I hope I can sleep better tonight. You know, I am noticing all sorts of annoying withdrawal effects. I am so pleased that I am doing this though. It’s amazing how simply not doing something is an activity in itself.

Day 5:
8PM: Earlier today I was smug about how easy this is and now I could cry because I want a smoke so badly. This is ridiculous. I may have screamed at the person who suggested ‘why don’t you just have one.’ Ha. But at least I did not have one and the craving is easing now.

Day Six
11:09 AM: I dreamed of smoking last night.

Day Seven
11:17 AM: Woke up feeling happy with myself. This is the end of the first week!