RobotWriter App: A Story of Updates

RobotWriter image

I worked on this story idea over at Yap.Net, where I unfolded it one box at a time from June through September. My aim was to try to use the idea of App Updates to tell a story, and to weave some funny ideas into the mix. I had noticed that some App Updates have personality, like you can notice the writer behind them having some fun. (I wonder if anyone else ever reads the text of the updates?).

There’s a small space to write, and it has to be informational. Adding a storyline and humor was tricky but fun to do. I guess I like to amuse myself with writing. Go figure.

You can read the story, here, too, if the embed doesn’t quite work for you.

Peace (updated regularly),

A Story West of Here: The Elk of the Stars

The Elk of the Stars

I’ve been thinking of Tall Tales with the #Western106 open course, and have even pitched the idea to everyone to collaboratively write and record a Tall Tale radio program. We’ll see how that goes. (Hey, of course YOU are invited, too. Invent a persona. Add to the script. Venture out West with us. It is loosely labeled Smoke Signals.)

I went into Storybird, a picture book story-making site with an interesting art/writing twist, thinking I was going to start writing an original Tall Tale. Instead, I came away with this story that is definitely not a Tall Tale. I went with the Muse. This one is informed by my reading, listening and watching of Western narratives — of the incursion of White Settlers on traditional American Indian lands, and the great and devastating Changes that would happen. That did happen. That are still happening.

What came out was this story entitled  The Elk of the Stars.

I suspect my story has stereotypes and pillars of the Western genre, but I hope it comes across as a heartfelt ode to remembering the power of Stories to heal and to help the Earth. I know Stories are not enough. But they are something.

Storybird is a site that allows you to write stories, by using professional illustrators’ work. It’s an interesting process because you call up art based on keywords or artists, and then build a story around the images you have available (not the other way around … traditionally, you would write a story and then make images to go with the narrative). So, I took time to absorb the artwork before beginning the story after searching “West” as my keyword. I like how it came out, so much so that I paid a few bucks to get a download of the picture book to save (and share).

I later moved the PDF over to a Flipbook creator for better sharing but you really have to use full-screen mode to get the flavor. Or you can read it over at Storybird.

Peace (in this tale),

Slice of Life: Wicked Short Stories

(This is a Slice of Life post, in which we share out the events of the day. It runs through March and then every Tuesday throughout the year, and is facilitated by the folks atTwo Writing Teachers. You write, too.)

I’m not sure why, but I got into a real groove yesterday morning with short form fiction, as part of the #25wordstory hashtag on Twitter. It’s an activity I do every now and then, and I am often inspired when others write their own #25wordstory. So, when I saw a bunch of stories by my National Writing Project friend, Brian Fay, I found myself writing a few of my own.

I used Storify to collect them, and now, to share them out for Slice of Life. If the act of writing isn’t a slice of life, then what is, right? I can’t believe we are almost at the end of March. How’d that happen?

Peace (in the small story),

DeConstructing #25wordstory Writing

DeConstructing 25WordStories

This may not do justice to the writing activity, but a few tweets by my friend, Brian Fay, had me thinking about the #25wordstory concept and why I like it so much. I am not sure if it is helpful or just another comic.


Peace (in the story),


Word Clouding Out a Story

Short Story wordcloud
One of my summer goals is to work on, and maybe finish, a short story that I have been diving into as part a Teachers Write network. I’m hoping I don’t lose focus with the story, which involves a young character named Manny, the discovery of a mysterious slip of paper in a comic book, and something with a neighbor. This morning, a prompt asked he to put some of what we have written into a word cloud, just to see what words and phrases and maybe themes rise to the surface.

Now, I am getting back to my story …

Peace (in the writing),