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robertogreco : collaborativewriting   14

The Transformative Experience of Writing for “Sense8” | The New Yorker
"A large number of the American writers I know, and I know a few, are involved in writing or developing long-form narrative television. One reason for this was recently provided by John Landgraf, the C.E.O. of FX Network, who said that four hundred and fifty-four scripted original series had aired in the U.S. in 2016; he thought that the number could rise to five hundred this year. Apparently, the industry needs writers and, black-hole-like, is sucking in galaxies of them. Until I was asked to work on “Sense8,” I’d never been interested in that particular black hole, even though I had come to believe that American television had overtaken narrative literature in its ability to deal with contemporary realities. No novel has addressed the Bush years’ crypto-fascist notion of “leadership” with the same clarity of thought as “The Sopranos.” If you wanted to understand the waste laid by the so-called War on Drugs, you wouldn’t read a novel—you’d watch “The Wire.” Television, in other words, offers opportunities to confront and report from the world as it changes.

Before “Sense8,” my screenwriting experience consisted of co-authoring a script with the Bosnian director Jasmila Žbanić for her comedy “Love Island,” in 2014. The rest of my writerly life had taken place in the self-imposed isolation of my head. I don’t take part in workshops or writing groups; I don’t share ideas or drafts with my fellow-writers for feedback; I make all the decisions and am responsible for every word in the book that I am writing, acknowledgments included. My solipsistic authorial habits would seem to feed into a common misconception about writing, which is that it is merely a conduit for the writer’s interiority, and that a good writer—or even just a capable one—possesses the skills to transfer the contents of that interiority onto the page with as little loss as possible. Much of the creative-writing industry depends upon that misconception and the promise, implicit or explicit, that the acquisition of those skills is unconditionally achievable. I’ve grown to be suspicious of that notion, as I have learned that writing generates the content and therefore transforms—or even creates—the interiority. Writing is a means of interaction with the world, and therefore it changes the writer. If it doesn’t, it contains no discovery and merely reproduces the already known and familiar. Writing, I believe, should be a matter not of execution but of transformation.

My screenwriting experience confirmed my belief. While Lana, Lilly, and Joe were responsible for the foundations of the show—for all the characters and their narrative trajectories—my role was to make proposals that would be taken up by the other people in the room and spun around a few times. The version of the proposal that emerged would have little to do with the original, yet belonged to me as much as to everyone else. In the course of one of those spins, I realized that, whenever I spoke or listened to someone, I was looking at the center of a circle that was delimited by the participants. Somehow, we started calling this space, and the collaboration that it housed, the Pit. A whole Pit-related phraseology soon emerged: “I’m going to throw this into the Pit.” “Let’s spin it in the Pit.” “The Pit concurs.” “The Pit needs a pendulum.” I enjoyed losing myself in the process, which felt all the more fascinating for the fact that the distinguishing characteristic of the heroes of “Sense8” is an ability to inhabit someone else’s mind. All this may be yesterday’s news to the film, television, and theatre people out there, but I’d never experienced the pleasure of temporarily losing my intellectual sovereignty—of watching my bright idea be destroyed, only to be transformed into something entirely different.

After that week in 2015, David and I went back home. (My home is about five blocks away from Kinowerks; David’s is in Ireland.) For the rest of the year, we were regularly assigned scenes to write on short deadlines. Cognizant of their place and role in the larger narrative, we were tasked with working out the dialogue and the details, tossing in our suggestions for a remote Pit spin. “The Wolfgang and Lila dinner, 2-3 pages, tomorrow,” Lana would write in an e-mail. The following day I’d submit the requested two to three pages. Lana and Joe would perform the bulk of the Pit work, developing, amending, or just rejecting the pages we sent in. Over the course of three months or so, I sent in some hundred and twenty pages, happy in the knowledge that not a single one of them would make it to the final seven-hundred-page script in the form in which I had written it."



"In my literary projects, the plotless structures I gravitate toward allow me to seek connections and meanings that emerge primarily not from characters and events but from language and the potentialities of thought within it. I think inside endless semantic, syntactic, rhythmic variations. Both David and I were continuously tempted to apply our respective colored pencils to the pages of the script (David’s grammatically persnickety alter ego is named Lawrence and likes to use a green pen), but there was little time and even less need to attend to the language in the way we were accustomed to. We did, however, often discuss the structure of individual events and their positioning in the larger plot. For instance, the second season of “Sense8” ended with a cliffhanger, the resolution of which would necessarily prohibit certain future plotlines. There was, nevertheless, an infinite number of possibilities for the plot that would follow; not unlike language, our plot was a discrete combinatory system, in which from a finite number of elements any number of combinations could be made. From our respective couches (which Lana, David, and I named, for reasons that I cannot explain here, “Illumination,” “Ireland,” and “Doom,” respectively), before making any notes, we spent hours reshuffling the abstract, as yet nonexistent structure of the story.

During one of those sessions, I had a near-Proustian involuntary memory of a time, some thirty years ago, when I was a freshman at an engineering college. My friend and I were studying together for an advanced-differential-calculus exam, solving tough integral problems, until we ran into one that we could not break. For two days, for at least twelve hours a day, we sought a solution; the process required reducing the integral to some identifiable type and then applying a preëxisting algorithmic protocol. (We finally called in a math-genius friend, who looked at the unbreakable integral and solved it in just a couple of steps.) The memory made me realize that plotting a narrative is a logical, algorithmic operation, albeit one that has an infinite number of possible outcomes, rather than one correct resolution. Building a plot is like creating an algorithm from scratch, starting before the problem is even defined and then backtracking after the desired solution has been selected.

The memory also suggested that my subconscious was following a logical algorithm. My dreams are usually amorphous, featuring a field of confusingly connected events—a description that also applies to most of my work, as well as to my waking mind. The subconscious authority governing my dream life, however, had lately begun to insist that the events and the characters in my dreams be logically connected, that they follow one another causally. In recent dreams, I’ve struggled to connect discrete events, so much so that I’ve woken in despair. Once, I dreamed that I was a screenwriter trying to untangle a plot knot. Some dreams have featured “Sense8” characters, others those from the New Project, who sometimes act like real people in my dreams and are sometimes just structural problems that I have to solve.

Back in my early years in the U.S., at the time when my English was in transition from tourist to survival mode, I’d catch myself dreaming in English, and noticing, in my dream, that the people who shouldn’t be talking in English were doing so. Even more bizarrely, I would recollect English conversations with my family or friends, which would certainly have taken place in our native language. I interpreted those dreams and memories as my subconscious mind welcoming this non-native language. If I hadn’t absorbed the new language in that way, I wouldn’t have been able to write any of the books I’ve written in English, or to have lived a full life in this language. I am writing this on the last day of the Pit’s screenwriting session, overwhelmed by the feeling that the sandbox is about to be dismantled, that my friends will go back to their separate lives and careers, and that, very soon, I’ll be returning to my former, stark, monastic literary practices. What the experience of exultant plotting at Kinowerks may have done to my mind, I cannot begin to know, at least not yet."
aleksandarhemon  2017  writing  sense8  collaboration  collaborativewriting  english  languageacquisition  dreams  dreaming  memory  kinowerks  television  screenwriting  howwewrite 
october 2017 by robertogreco
Canvas
"Write, with your team. In realtime, using Markdown, instantly shareable.



Collaborate instantly with anyone
Canvas makes it easy to collaborate with anyone in the blink of an eye. Just share the link to a canvas with your co-workers and see them show up. Then it’s just a matter of typing.

WYSIWYG Markdown
No one likes preview panes. Canvas lets you write Markdown and elegantly folds away the markup when it’s superfluous.

Write from anywhere
Take Canvas with you wherever you go. Download our iOS app for your iPhone or iPad.

Find what you're looking for
Use blazing fast search to find what you’re looking for without digging through folders."
onlinetoolkit  collaborativewriting  markdown  writing 
september 2016 by robertogreco
Poetica: Make words easy
"Whether you’re writing a blog post, email, or job application, an extra pair of eyes can really help get your message across. Poetica makes it easy to ask friends and colleagues for instant feedback on your text. It’s for anything you’re struggling to write, anywhere on the web."
writing  onlinetoolkit  collaboration  collaborativewriting  tools  editing 
february 2014 by robertogreco
Draft. Write Better.
"You don't need writing software; you need someone's feedback on your writing.
You don't need version control software; you need to find all the things you've written without fear.
You don't need distraction free text editors; you need to find ways to write more concisely, more clearly.
You don't need real time collaboration software; you need a bigger audience for your writing.
I'm working on Draft to provide what you need. What I need.
We need to be better writers."
collaboration  markdown  onlinetoolkit  writing  collaborativewriting 
february 2014 by robertogreco
Penflip - collaborative writing and version control
"Write: Focus on writing with our minimalist markdown editor, or work offline with your favorite text editor.

Collaborate: Send a link to gather feedback - no downloads. Easy version control and revision history built right in.

Publish: Download your beautifully formatted ebook with just one click. Compile to PDF, ePub, HTML and more."
collaboration  writing  online.toolkit  markdown  git  epub  pdf  html  collaborativewriting  epubs 
february 2014 by robertogreco
Review: Composition Tools Fargo, Medium, Editorially, Marquee, and More | MIT Technology Review
"A new crop of startups is gearing up to change the way we write, taking on traditional authoring tools such as Microsoft Word, Google Docs, and WordPress. The newcomers don’t just promise to make it easy to create documents or write blog posts—they promise to make you smarter."



"Things reviewed
Fargo
Editorially
Medium
Svbtle
Marquee
Scroll Kit
Quip
Ghost"

[Not mentioned:
http://docs.withdraft.com/
https://poetica.com/ ]
writing  software  cms  design  paulford  quip  ghost  scrollkit  marquee  svbtle  medium  editorially  fargo  2013  onlinetoolkit  collaborativewriting 
october 2013 by robertogreco
A list of writing tools is a displacement activity - rodcorp
"Writing, focussing, assembling, editing, collaborating, feeding back, researching, structuring, outputting and publishing.

Focus through constraint:

• iaWriter - "Keep your hands on the keyboard and your mind in the text". Has good reviews.
• Byword - "Simple and efficient text editing". Also has good reviews.
• Writeroom - appears a generation older than iaWriter and Byword.
• Textmate - does text , html and a zillion other developer's things.

Research speed and convenience:

• nvALT - Speeds up that did-I-already-write-about-this? moment, auto-saves, does text files, Markdown. Nice. I'm writing this post in it.
• Pinboard - elegantly executed webpage bookmarking.

Collaborating and community feedback:

• Draft - its drafts are neat version control, has premium "ask a pro".
• Poetica - "Get feedback about your writing from people you trust, wherever they are" - not released yet.
• Google Docs - good at collaboration and export, auto-saves. Has automated versioning but without actual version *control*.

Assembling, structuring, editing and eBook workflow:

• Ulysses 3 - "All your texts. In one place. Always." Not tried, but this review says "the app reimagines the text editor in a way that visually resembles Mail and conceptually sits somewhere between iA Writer and the project-based Scrivener". Which sounds like quite a thing.
• Scrivener - looks a bit of a mess to be honest. They also have Scapple, a mind map/words-on-sticks app.
• LeanPub - "Publish Early, Publish Often - Authors and publishers use Leanpub to publish amazing in-progress and completed books". Costs $0.50 plus 10%.
• Lacuna books - "the best way to write and publish a book". Big on structuring, rendering chapters and ebooks easily.

Formats and outputs:

• Marked, Mou - because between text and html, Markdown is the popular "intermediary" format, and these (and nvALT) are good at simultaneous preview.
• And a simple Google Apps script to convert a Google Drive Document to markdown

Online publishing and attention:

• Medium - "A better place to read and write things that matter" - becoming a centre of gravity for serious writing, per-para commenting interesting
• Wattpad - an ebook platform/store/agora that isn't Kindleland.

Back to it now."
writing  tools  onlinetoolkit  rodmclaren  2013  jawriter  byword  writeroom  textmate  nvalt  pinboard  draft  poetica  googledocs  ulysses3  scrivener  leanpub  lacunabooks  marked  mou  markdown  googleapps  googledrive  medium  wattpad  howwework  howwewrite  webapps  publishing  formatting  ebooks  epub  collaboration  editing  focusing  focus  feedback  researching  epublishing  collaborativewriting  digitalpublishing  epubs 
august 2013 by robertogreco
The importance of the way stories are being told : dpr-barcelona
"we have published a digital-pamphlet [kindle + ePub] exploring the thought and ideas of thinkers and doers; articulated by simple detonating questions posed through emails, tweets and conversations intending to comunicate effectively the very essence of the debate: “the importance of telling stories”

This “fast generated” publication includes contributions by some of the attending guest to the debate [Tiago Mota Saravia, Klaus, Paco González], the so-called “Line 0” [Ana María León, Pedro Hernández and Clara Nubiola] and with the aim to expand the conversation beyond Eme3 walls, we also have invited a few friends who are involved in similar activities to share their thoughts about this topic with us. They are Iker Gil, Mario Ballesteros, Cristina Goberna and Urtzi Grau from Fake Industries Architectural Agonism; and Mimi Zeiger."

[via: http://archinect.com/firms/release/9215461/the-importance-of-the-way-stories-are-being-told-ebook-for-kindle-ipad-and-other-tablets/53443274 ]
klaus  cristinagoberna  urtzigrau  eme3  claranubiola  stories  collaborativewriting  architecture  storytelling  books  2012  ethelbaraona  tiagomotasaravia  pacogonález  pedrohernández  anamaríaleón  mimizeiger  marioballesteros  ikergil 
july 2012 by robertogreco
Booktype
"With Booktype you can create books. Real paper books that look good…You can also use Booktype to produce books in the form of epub (electronic books), PDF, OpenOffice files, web pages and more...

Booktype is a web based software which means you do not install it on your computer, rather you access it through a browser. Your organisation can install its own copy of Booktype on a server. Access is then made through a url provided by your organisation.

Once installed Booktype supports any individual or group that wishes to write a book. All you need is a browser. Some typical uses:
Writing books - e.g. a fiction, manuals, cookbooks etc.
Producing printed books
Producing ebooks
Writing any content as an individual
Collaboratively authoring content
Rapidly developing content in Book Sprints
Customising existing content to apply to a very specific context
Translating a book into another language"

[See also: http://www.booki.cc/ ]

[via: http://www.booki.cc/the-importance-of-the-way-stories-are-being-told/introduction/ ]
opensource  free  collaborativewriting  online  open  openoffice  pdf  epublishing  epub  booktype  tools  writing  collaboration  books  ebooks  digitalpublishing  epubs 
july 2012 by robertogreco
Start-ups and Slash Fiction | booktwo.org
"My talk from NEXT Berlin 2012, in which I talk about ways of making meaning and fiction online (Original video on the NEXT site).

The quote at the the end, that “the history of the Internet is a history of metaphors about the Internet”, which I mistakenly attribute to Sherry Turkle, is actually by Christine Smallwood, as quoted in Andrew Blum’s Tubes (below), and appears to originate in an article called “What does the Internet look like?” in The Baffler, no longer online but preserved by the Internet Archive."

[Video also here http://nextberlin.eu/2012/07/james-bridle-metaphors-considered-harmful/ and here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v1Y_g8jOQus ]

[Phrases of note:

* post-geographical position (William Gibson)
* notional space (William Gibson)
* Borges wrote fanfiction
* Gibson was always a Beat writer

]
libraryofbabel  mapping  maps  metaphors  metaphor  allaboard  slashfic  writing  collaborativewriting  omegle  forourtimes  tlönuqbarorbistertius  fiftyshadesofgray  twilight  pierremenard  andreafrancke  storytelling  stories  steampunk  allenginsberg  jackkerouac  charliestross  belatedness  hplovecraft  fanfiction  change  memory  startups  fiction  slashfiction  books  imagination  jamesbridle  videogames  notionalspace  context  walkman  postgeography  internet  christinesmallwood  scifi  sciencefiction  nextberlin  nextberlin2012  2012  williamgibson  borges  thelibraryofbabel 
july 2012 by robertogreco
russell davies: On mending, mice and seams
"I've been writing a lot in googledocs recently… I wrote a longish piece about something, shared it with a bunch of colleagues and they swarmed all over it with really smart suggestions and improvements. It was brilliant…

…They weren't meddling, they were mending. I think it's something to do with the openness of it and the way that people can agree with each other. If one person says a sentence doesn't work - it's just their opinion, if a few do then it goes beyond personal and becomes fact.

Which talk of mending led me to notice this video when it raced past my social windscreen:

This is also about mending. Mending that celebrates the seams…

In essence - "Broken pieces are bonded and the line of the repair is decorated with gold".

Wouldn't this be a great way to represent editing and collaboration? - to show the seams, to illustrate how much writing is a communal process. And maybe it could be an inspiration for networked writing - how would you decorate these seams on the web?"
cowriting  editing  discussion  conversation  online  web  netwrokedwriting  collaborative  collaboration  annegalloway  mattjones  openness  googledocs  writing  collaborativewriting  mending  seamlessness  seams  2012 
june 2012 by robertogreco
Draftastic
"Draftastic is a new kind of collaborative editor. We make it simple for any number of people to edit the same document at once without getting in each other’s way.

Co-authoring a paper? Copyediting the next big novel? Brainstorming that business plan? Sick of mailing Word files back and forth? Draftastic can help.

Draftastic lets everyone type in the same document at once, but will never let anyone type over you. Simple as that. You can learn more in our Q & A, but the best way to learn about it is to try it with a friend."
nickblanchard-wright  draftastic  co-authoring  etherpad  writing  collaborative  collaborativewriting  charlieloyd 
may 2012 by robertogreco

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