A new Web app called Hi is being touted as “Instagram for writers.”
Conceived by Craig Mod, a writer, designer, and digital publishing entrepreneur based out of San Francisco, the “networked storytelling tool” is designed to share stories attached to specific geographic locations (referred to as “narrative mapping”).
A post starts out as a “Sketch,” which includes a photo, a geo-tag, and up to 20 words describing the moment or place. Each Sketch can then be further developed into an “Extended Moment,” allowing writers to write multiple drafts and longer stories, without the pressures of time or character limits.
Cambridge, Mass.,start-up BoomWriter Media, a content creation, delivery, and collaboration platform used in 5,000 schools in 80 countries, seems aptly named for a growing concern. In June, it added 400 schools to its roster and now has a presence in all 50 states. Next week its Online Storytellers Camp, presented in partnership with WGBH Boston, goes live with a tale begun by Jeff Kinney, which campers get to finish. In addition, BoomWriter is working with WGBH on a pilot for a television series featuring the avatars BoomWriter created to protect the identities of children using the platform. The company is also partnering with Barnes & Noble to develop apps for the Nook. And it’s about to seek new funding after raising $940,000 over the past year.
Founded in 2010, BoomWriter grew out of a conversation between current CEO Chris Twyman, who also started the HR technology company Zapoint, and Ken Haynes, v-p of product development, who taught Twyman’s daughter at the Pierce School in Brookline, Mass. Twyman wanted to break down the writing process into smaller, more easily digestible pieces and allow people to work collaboratively. Haynes was looking for a way to bring more technology into the classroom. Together they developed, tested, and launched the platform with cofounder and CTO Ian Garland, who lives in England.
The concept behind BoomWriter is relatively straightforward. Teachers assign one of the company’s projects, like Suki’s Alligator, which was recently completed by students at Milton High School in Milton, Mass. The first chapter, or “story start,” will have already been written, sometimes by a celebrity like Jordan Knight, lead singer of New Kids on the Block, or by an author like Kinney, or, in the case of Suki’s Alligator, by a local Boston freelance writer. The remaining chapters are written collaboratively, one by one. Groups of students each submit their second chapters to their teacher, who then edits and posts them. The students vote anonymously on which entry they like the best, using BoomWriter software, and the winning chapter becomes chapter 2. The process is repeated until the book is finished.
From a Guardian Children’s Books site interview – full piece recommended
Where’s your favourite place to write?
I always like to work outside and our house has two outdoor decks: a lower one, which I don’t use, but the upper one is open to the sky and I’ve got my hammock out there and my rocking chair. It looks out over San Francisco Bay and its up on a hill so I can see San Francisco and I can see Alcatraz and I see the ships going by and the sail boats and all that kind of stuff. So that’s my number one place to work. But when its too cold, I drive my car over to what’s called the Marin Headlands and I’ll stop in the pull out where all the tourists come to take pictures and I’ll type in my car. I also work in coffee shops sometimes and I work in bars sometimes and restaurants.
Very highly recommended, long magazine-style profile of the author Gary Paulsen, by Elizabeth Royte, who recently spent three days with him.
Paulsen was dressed, as he would be for the next three days, in black Carhartt overalls and a black long-sleeved T-shirt—half hipster, half biker. “Are you hungry?” he asked. My thoughts immediately turned to the exalted morsels of Dogsong (1985), in which Eskimo children tuck into meat that’s “red and had coarse texture and rich yellow fat. All over the children’s faces and in their hair the grease shone and they were happy with it.” Instead we headed toward a seaside restaurant, where the author had a standing order of white rice, veggies, and tofu, hold the veggies. He ordered one of the roughly eight Diet Pepsis he consumes daily.
Gill Lewis, interviewed by Lottie Longshanks:
Gill Lewis, vet and author of Sky Hawk, White Dolphin and Moon Bear, talks to site member Lottie Longshanks about writing books about life-and-death topics, protecting wildlife, and having a tree house as an office
Sara Sheridan writing in Huffington Post:
how much does a writer have to sell to make it?
Average earnings in the UK were around £26,500 in 2012. To make this amount on a book contract for a paperback edition selling at £7.99 that pays 10% a writer would need to sell 33,166 copies a year. And that’s if the book isn’t discounted as part of a 3 for 2 promotion, for example. That is a lot of books! To put it in perspective to get to number one in the UK paperback chart last month you’d have needed to sell almost 20,000 copies a week. This means that going to number 1 doesn’t even earn you the national average wage (and that book may have taken the writer months or even years to produce). The odds of making a mint are very long – writing is a risky profession.
Red House seeks talented young writers for 2013 Yearbook!
Do you know a budding writer, poet, or journalist? If so, the Red House Young Writer’s Yearbook needs YOU…
They want aspiring young writers from around the country to enter the 2013 Red House Young Writers’ Yearbook competition and win the chance to see their stories or poems published in a stunningly produced and designed book.
To enter the competition, children should be aged between 7 and 17. They can submit a story, poem or article and it’s up to the individual what subject they choose to write about. This year the competition entries will be divided into four age categories: 7+, 9+, 11+ and 13+. The deadline is 31st July 2013.
As well as becoming a published author, the winners will also earn the opportunity to attend a Red House Young Writers’ Workshop, with a high-profile children’s author, held – for the first time ever- as part of the celebrated Imagine Children’s Festival at London’s Southbank Centre. The workshop will provide participants with a unique, fun and stimulating opportunity to help them hone their skills and provide lots of feedback to encourage and inspire!
Matt Whyman, author of Gold Strike and The Savages says:
The Red House Young Writer’s Yearbook aims to showcase young talent in the raw. It provides a platform for new writers as they get to grips with their craft, and offers a huge boost to their confidence in seeing their work in print for the very first time. Now with a series of workshops for the contributors, to be held at the Imagine Children’s Festival, it’s time to put your stories and poems into words and just see where it takes you.