brilliant ideas

Local Arts News Radio Snippets – Make This Happen, NPR

Every day I hear a few seconds of sports news on the radio via NPR. I propose a few seconds of local arts news daily.

But what? Other than an events calendar (“and in arts, last night such-and-such show opened”) of what would this consist?

Sports is easy: “The Sabres lost 3-0”. So what does an arts news snippet sound like? News is when things change, so how does that apply here?

A few ideas:

  • Casting announcements / changes.
    • “And the cast for Equus has been announced….”
  • Contest openings/results.
  • Review announcements.
    • “Today’s Buffalo News features a review of Equus. It says….”
    • “the NY Times has a review of author Brian Castner‘s book….”
  • Any of the many author visits, signings, lectures.
  • Interesting productions of local authors’ works:
  • Tour notes:
    • The Albrights played in Brooklyn last night as part of their current tour. According to their Instagram account it was a great show, though the band is of mixed opinions on cronuts.”
  • Sold-out shows, unusual shows.
  • Business:
    • “And such-and-such theater company has a new artistic director….”
  • Other interesting oddities:
    • “A tumblr post featuring the paper-cutting sculpture of local artist Maude White has over 200,000 notes and shares.”
    • Michele Marie Benzin interviewed by Yahoo for her rendition of….”

I mean, seriously. Like I care how the Bandits did last night. This would take all of fifteen minutes to compile every morning, especially if you set up a news submissions line. There are so many artists with so many amazing accomplishments in Buffalo. This is at least as newsworthy as a sports team practicing.

BUT… is being “in the know” part of the mystique of the arts scene? Even if it is, the good of giving people actual interesting news outweighs it.

One last note — does this actually happen already and I just don’t realize it?

brilliant ideas

Kindle Worlds

I’ve been waiting for this, or something very similar.

Get ready for Kindle Worlds, a place for you to publish fan fiction inspired by popular books, shows, movies, comics, music, and games. With Kindle Worlds, you can write new stories based on featured Worlds, engage an audience of readers, and earn royalties. Amazon Publishing has secured licenses from Warner Bros. Television Group’s Alloy Entertainment for Gossip GirlPretty Little Liars, and The Vampire Diaries, with licenses for more Worlds on the way.

I’ve spoken on this subject before (here, and here), and as long as we can find a way to do this which works well for the originating author and the fan authors, I’m all for it.


brilliant ideas

Reader / Writer Collaboration — The Word is Getting Out

This is what I’m talking about, people!

Very glad to see The Literary Platform’s piece entitled ‘The rise of writer/fan collaboration’.

While as recently as 15 years ago the writer was simply handing words down from the mountain top, now, through blogging and twitter, writers are in constant conversation with their readers and each other. The next twist in the tale may be writers actually collaborating with their audience.

I’ve been banging this particular drum for a while now, and Farnell has hit the high points of what has taken place since then. Gaiman’s recent Calendar of Tales makes an appearance, as does Adam Christopher’s World Builder project, which I posted about a while back.

There must be more going on out there, but to see the two biggies on a big site like the Lit Platform is good news, especially as I continue work on my own project. Now if I could just get an agent to read my book….

But perhaps I’m approaching this the wrong way. I’m sending around a query letter for the novel with a note about the interactive fiction portion. Maybe I should hit ’em with the big idea first.

brilliant ideas

My Nefarious Plan to Get Movie-loving Teenagers to Read Endymion

I am not a teacher. But if I were…

Twilight, right? Vampires. You ever read Dracula? You know, the book about the good girl and the dangerous new bad-boy in town? She’s all set to get married to this boring clerk dude who’s always away on business and then this guy shows up in town and starts bothering her rich best friend and then they like… well, no spoilers.

Another book like that? Frankenstein. Totally. Like, the monster. Remember Anakin at the end of Episode 3? Stolen from an old movie version of this. It’s about this lonely guy who nobody likes ’cause he looks weird, but actually he’s really strong and smart and just has some parent problems. You should read it. Or, you know what? Download the app. You can choose what happens!

Frankenstein was written by a girl, BTW. When she was like 18. She was on European vacation with her boyfriend (who her older sister was totally in love with), this handsome Italian dude (who also wrote a story about a vampire), and this way hot lord who was always getting into trouble for his sexy lifestyle when he wasn’t fighting in revolutions. But the weather sucked, so it was just her and the boys stuck in a big old house with nothing to do.

You know who else she and her boyfriend were friends with? That John Keats guy. Wait, you don’t know about Keats? Didn’t you see Bright Star? It’s, like, the saddest story ever. Q from Skyfall is in it, and Sweet Pea from Sucker Punch. He’s buried in Rome, right by that pyramid in Assassin’s Creed where you get into those catacombs.

You should check out Endymion. It’s about this country boy who dreams about this girl and then goes on this adventure to find her and then it turns out she’s… well, no spoilers.

Yes, I know teenagers aren’t idiots. Yes, I know there are many very clever, highly-literate, and remarkably well-read kids in school as we speak. But still. Sucker Punch.


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My WIP’s Protagonist is on Tumblr

What a time to be a creator of things. Much of the purpose of creative endeavor is to share something with others, to engage with the audience. More and more this is becoming less of a one-way street than it used to be. So why not share more of the process?

To this end, at lunch today I started a tumblr account for my current work-in-progess piece’s protagonist. She’d be about 45 now, and would definitely be running around the nets posting stuff that interests her.

My goals for this little experiment are bifold.

  • Have place to log the various drips and drabs of research I’m doing.
  • Play with the character’s voice. Let me get into her headspace more often, and see how she would feel about various things.

Sure, budding writers are always told that you need to get all social media-y to get your name out. This is not one of those deals. It’s not advertising. I mean, the book isn’t even half-way done yet.

I want to play around with my own creative process a bit, to see if getting away from the keyboard, outside of the plot, and into Robin’s personality will help me figure out who she is. Like if I were to start an in-character diary for her. A writing prompt process.

Now, if I were a published and awesome writer, there would be concerns of spoilers or maybe even copyright, I’m sure. Certainly not a problem here. If, once this book is finished, published, and flying off the shelves from the widepsread popular and critical acclaim it is just sure to receive, people want see what was on my mind when I wrote it, they’re more than welcome to tumble down that particular rabbit hole. If you’re reading this post and are curious, you can go to and start the descent now.

assassin's creed brilliant ideas

Ubisoft’s Transmedia Coup

The Assassin’s Creed world has the potential to be the broadest and most lasting since X-Men. We’ve got all of history to play with, and we’ve only seen a few times and places since the series started in 2007. Games for handheld, mobile, and social have fleshed out the world, as have comics, novels, and short films. It’s big.

Ubisoft gets the transmedia concept better than most. Their FB game Project Legacy is proof of that, giving the player the ability to earn some florins and level up outside of the main game.  Yes, that’s right – do some FB click-gaming to give your console character better stuff.  Bit characters from the main game received storylines of their own, complete with excellent illustrations. Most importantly, AC became an all-day affair, not just something you played on your TV.

Their most exciting transmedia moment to date is the Discover Your Legacy promo app for Facebook. This little number grabs information from your FB account – friends, birthplace, workplace, religious views – and uses them to tie your life into the AC world with a short video. Even if you’re not into the game, I recommend giving it a try to see a fine use of social data. The potential here is vast.

So, what’s next? Mining social data to create in-game content? Customized missions based on your life?

This is the direction in which our world is headed. Get ready.

brilliant ideas

Worldbuilder, or Great Minds Think Alike

Dunno if you remember a post from a while back in which I proposed a process by which fan content could be legitimized to the benefit of all.  Looks like the clever folks at Angry Robot books are spearheading the movement.

WorldBuilder takes that idea and moves it forward a billion or so steps (note: might not be a billion).

In January, when we publish Adam Christopher’s uber-cool prohibition-superhero-noir novel, Empire State, we’ll be inviting fan creators everywhere to visit the world of Empire State and create their own works of art based in the Empire State universe. These creations can then be uploaded to a dedicated website, and distributed under a Creative Commons license.

I find this to be excellent, and hope it catches on.