Archive for the ‘onTalent’ Category

Broadway Discounts Are a Millennial Student’s Best Friend Series Part 1: Theatre Development Fund

Friday, January 19th, 2018

broadway lights-2

Broadway doesn’t come cheap. If I were a millionaire, my first impulse would be to snag every full-price Broadway ticket.

In the Broadway musical adaptation of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, the showstopper “Great Big Stuff” hurls out this laughter-inducing quip: “I can finally afford to see a Broadway show!”

When I was living in Houston, Texas, I dreamed of faraway land of fantasies and wonder of Hamilton and the Comet of 1812. But they’re too pricey to fly from city just to catch a show. Because current productions aren’t available on DVD or Netflix, they aren’t easy to access.

Now having moved to New York City, I confronted plenty of tricks and trades of bargains. It’s not perfect: There are shows too far out of the reach (Curse you, sold out and overpriced Hamilton tickets!) but a student status and familiarity of deals can assuage your thrifty habits.

In 2014, LA Weekly cited that an average Broadway ticket costs a daunting $100, but truth is, ticket prices are often in flux. That does not account for high-demand productions like Hamilton, Hello Dolly, or Once Upon an Island. As a graduate student, I don’t have my wallet full enough to buy $100 tickets on a whim.

First, ask yourself how much you are willing to spend per month on tickets.

My personal goal: 2-3 shows a month. I aim for about $50 or below for each ticket. I’ll have money left for groceries.

Theatre Development Fund Membership

If you’re a student or recent graduate, you are eligible for membership with the Theatre Development Fund (the TDF).

Prices for Broadway productions are often fixed. As of my 2017-2018 membership, I encountered these prices:

For musicals: $51

For plays: $45-46

Yearly membership fee is $35, which is a fair trade off to access $51 tickets, about 50% of the average ticket price.

(Psssss, I Googled the promo code MetroNY on Retail Me Not, which knocked my first-year membership fee down to $29. If this code had expired by the time you read this, Google around to hunt for an additional code.)

I give fair warning: TDF seat selection is a wild card. Before a purchase, it will warn you whether seating is in mezzanine or balcony, but you will not be informed of the exact seating arrangement once you order your ticket. I can credit it for not shoving me at the far rear or the balcony. Once in a while, I got sweet deal of center orchestra seating for School of Rock or center mezzanine for the Cats revival for a grander scope.

Cats

My scope of the mezzanine view of the Cats revival, courtesy of TDF.

Every so often, I was planted at the far side of mezzanine, but a decently close to the front. At one point for Anastasia, TDF put me on the front-row orchestra. Sounds wonderful but there was this catch: It was the orchestra-left side farthest from the center, an angled neck-straining viewing experience.

I find that TDF discount has more variety of Broadway productions than other sites that offers discounts for $51. Average traditional student discounts of $51 often regulates you to the third-floor balcony seating, which I find to be far enough to deem “riiiiiiip-off.” But TDF’s $51 musical tickets have situated me in orchestra or the second-floor mezzanine and never placed me on the 3rd floor balcony. If you are chancing on a balcony seat, the purchase will warn you beforehand. Long-running and high-demand shows like Phantom of the Opera or Hello Dolly will appear, but don’t expect Wicked, The Lion King, or Hamilton to magically pop up one day (I’m keeping my eyes peeled for those).

Ordering through TDF online is ideal for a shut-in introvert like me. I don’t have to rush to a physical location or wait in line for the suspense of obtaining bargains. I never expect the TDF price to radically hike up. Few times, they have sales for tomorrow’s performances. It’s also great for long-term planning. Depending on the available line-up of show dates, TDF allows me to plan ahead with show-dates. I got my Spongebob Squarepants ticket a few weeks before I saw that nautical delight.

Be prepare to email a photo of your student ID or enrollment form as proof of eligibility at POE@tdf.org within 10 days of starting membership.

Up next: TKTS Booths and other discount methods

Sources:

– https://www.tdf.org/

By Caroline Cao


Carol is a queer Vietnamese-Houstonian Earthling surviving under the fickle weather of New York. When she’s not seeing a Broadway production, she’s buried in her nonfiction MFA homework like Hermione Granger and her Hogwarts studies. When not angsting over her first poetry manuscript or a pilot screenplay about space samurais, Carol is cooking her own Chinese food instead of buying take-outs and dreaming of winning Hamilton lotto tickets. She chronicles the quirks of New York living and writing, runs writing and scripting services, and lends her voice to Birth Movies Death, The Mary SueFilm School Rejectsand The Script Lab. She’s also lurking in the shadows waiting for you to follow her on Twitter, Tumblr, or Instagram.

For over 20 years, the Campus Clipper has been offering awesome student discounts in NYC,  from the East Side to Greenwich Village. Along with inspiration, the company offers students a special coupon booklet and the Official Student Guide, which encourage them to discover new places in the city and save money on food, clothing and services.  

At the Campus Clipper, not only do we help our interns learn new skills, make money, and create wonderful e-books, we give them a platform to teach others. Check our website for more student savings and watch our YouTube video showing off some of New York City’s finest students during the Welcome Week of 2015.

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Self-Love and Your Job

Friday, May 26th, 2017

“Never continue in a job you don’t enjoy.

If you’re happy in what you’re doing, you’ll like yourself, you’ll have inner peace.

And if you have that, along with physical health,

you will have had more success than you could possibly have imagined.”

-Johnny Carson

Johnny Carson-talk show host and comedian. Image Credit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johnny_Carson

Image Credit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johnny_Carson

Self-love and your career. What an intriguing thought. How does what you do for a living impact the way you love yourself?

There are tons and tons of inspirational quotes on self-love and the career you lead! Take some time to check out a few of them! Definitely worth it! Image Credit: https://www.linkedin.com/topic/self-esteem

Image Credit: https://www.linkedin.com/topic/self-esteem

Well, are you doing what you’re doing because you love it, or because it is easy, convenient, or pays the bills? I think many of us, myself included, get caught in the ease and convenience of complacency in life. It is too easy to get comfortable wherever we are and not want to leave, to remain complacent because your job provides you with (maybe even just barely) financial stability. Personally though, I’ve always said that if I start to feel too comfortable, it is time to move on to something else-there’s no opportunity for growth where we are overly comfortable. We are simply stagnant here. This space is useless when it comes to personal growth.

An interesting thought is also that loving your job can actually impact your health. As is goes, if you love what you are doing, they say you’ll live longer! Inc. explains that happy equals healthy, good jobs fuel community, good work allows for fulfillment, enjoying your job means less stress and anxiety, and being challenged means less boredom.

No one wants to feel like this guy! Find what you love and do it the best you can! Relax and take a deep breath. Stop rushing and let go of any unnecessary stress, depression, or anxiety! Image Credit: https://www.inc.com/laura-garnett/5-reasons-loving-your-job-helps-you-live-longer.html

Image Credit: https://www.inc.com/laura-garnett/5-reasons-loving-your-job-helps-you-live-longer.html

Further explained…one study found that older people who are overall happier and in better moods are 35% less likely to die within five years, people who are more social live an average of 3.7 years longer than their less-social counterparts, psychologists say living with a purpose is the most important key to living a long and healthy life, stress is the top proxy killer disease today, and mental alertness keeps your brain sharp as you age.

To wrap that all up, a fruitful and fulfilling career will lead you straight to a place of greater self-love!! A job where you are enjoying your work, surrounding yourself with kindness and support, and being appreciated and respected will give you greater confidence and appreciation for yourself and what you are doing.

I believe that each of us, whether we want to admit it or not, truly desires to be successful and to do so by finding something that we love to do and thriving at it. How many people still say that there is no such thing as loving your job so much it feels like you never have to work a day in your life, though? Too many! Do you believe this? Share your comments on this with us! I truly believe that the idea of loving your career so that it is a fruitful and satisfying part of your life is an idea that is entirely possible to turn into a reality. Perhaps I am naive, but I really don’t think so.

You try it! If you hate your job, maybe it is time to move on to bigger and better places. If you love your job, think about how that relates to the way you feel about yourself. Are you happy? Would you be less happy with a less satisfying career? Probably. Love yourself and find a career that feeds your soul! You’ll only thank yourself.


By Chanelle Surphlis

Chanelle Surphlis is a Campus Clipper publishing intern, who is graduating from FIT this May. Passionate about giving back and pursuing volunteer opportunities, Chanelle aspires to work for a fashion or beauty company that includes philanthropy in its core values. If you like Chanelle’s writing, check out her blogs here and here. We have the most talented interns ever and we’re so proud of them! For over 20 years, the Campus Clipper has been offering awesome student discounts in NYC,  from the East Side to Greenwich Village. Along with inspiration, the company offers students a special coupon booklet and the Official Student Guide, which encourage them to discover new places in the city and save money on food, clothing and services.  

At the Campus Clipper, not only do we help our interns learn new skills, make money, and create wonderful e-books, we give them a platform to teach others. Check our website for more student savings and watch our YouTube video showing off some of New York City’s finest students during the Welcome Week of 2015. 

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Having Your Novel Published

Saturday, January 7th, 2017
Image Credit: http://nerdist.com/inkshares-nerdist-novel-contest-published-sci-fi-fantasy-enter/

Image Credit: http://nerdist.com/inkshares-nerdist-novel-contest-published-sci-fi-fantasy-enter/

This blog post is for people who want to get published in some way. If you’re looking to get in print, be warned: it will be hard, it will be more commercial-based than your average undergrad creative writing course, and you will probably have to spend some money.

I got lucky and Lorrie Moore taught my creative writing class last semester, so I shall pass along some of her advice.

Don’t just send your manuscript to random publishing houses. It’s the same principle as sending your own mixtape to a record label—there are people specifically hired to go out and find new writers (or new music), and they are not sifting through pounds of unsolicited novels. If you’re determined to get this specific novel published, start small. Pick a little publisher who is not daily inundated with other peoples’ manuscripts. Send your writing to literary agents, who will in turn talk to publishers.

Send an excerpt to a magazine. Publishing houses don’t solicit books; magazines do solicit short stories. Some have short story contests alongside their regular content, some are devoted to short stories, and some love brilliant excerpts from larger pieces. The New Yorker, The Atlantic, Harper’s, and The Paris Review are mainstays. Esquire and GQ occasionally run contests. Explore magazines that are more specific to your subject and style: McSweeney’s is known for its humor, Seventeen caters to the “young adult women” genre (and they run a yearly short story contest), Asimov’s Science Fiction is devoted, naturally, to science fiction. If these all feel a little too mainstream, hit up any number of college reviews. Kenyon Review and Five Points are the most acclaimed.

Better yet, write a new short story and submit it. It’s hard to justify an excerpt of a larger work over a completed, within word count restraints, short story. Stretch those writing muscles. Word limits vary from magazine to magazine. Try to keep your story under 3,000. As a warning, submitting for contests and sometimes for general content often involves a submission fee. Don’t back out of an opportunity just because it will cost you, but know that it will cost you.

Publish online. If you’re not into the whole printing press, you do have an entire internet at your disposal: wordpress, tumblr, livejournal, AO3, etc: not just for social media. You can also set up your own page quick and simple using Google Page Creator. But if you’re serious about your writing—serious enough to put it on the internet, which is just a giant audience of Anon—it’s worth putting money on a domain name and a professional design.

Part of the getting published game is just waiting for the right moment, or trusting yourself over the publishers. A nice anecdote about this: a poetry professor once submitted his poem to an anthology; the editors sent it back with an encouraging note and a pageful of edits. He waited a few months, then resubmitted the same poem with a thank you note about the edits. The editors then published it. Trust your instincts. And suck up a little.

Sidebar: But part of the getting published game is about your writing as well.   You’re going to become disillusioned with your own accomplishment. You’re young and inexperienced and these things take time. Have some encouragement from Ira Glass:

“What nobody tells people who are beginners — and I really wish someone had told this to me…is that all of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, and it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase. They quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know it’s normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.”

By Robin Yang


Robin Yang was one of the Campus Clipper’s publishing interns, who wrote an e-book on how to write a novel. If you like Robin’s writing, follow our blog for more chapters from this e-book. We have the most talented interns ever and we’re so proud of them! For over 20 years, the Campus Clipper has been offering awesome student discounts in NYC,  from the East Side to Greenwich Village. Along with inspiration, the company offers students a special coupon booklet and the Official Student Guide, which encourage them to discover new places in the city and save money on food, clothing and services.  

At the Campus Clipper, not only do we help our interns learn new skills, make money, and create wonderful e-books, we give them a platform to teach others. Check our website for more student savings and watch our YouTube video showing off some of New York City’s finest students during the Welcome Week of 2015.

Become a fan on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and Instagram

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Time for Revision

Saturday, December 31st, 2016
Image Credit: https://www.helpingwritersbecomeauthors.com/category/editing-your-novel/page/2/

Image Credit: https://www.helpingwritersbecomeauthors.com/category/editing-your-novel/page/2/

Yay! You’re finished! Congratulations. Pour yourself a nice flute of champagne and relax. You’ve earned it. You just wrote a novel.

If you just wanted to write a novel to write a novel and maybe brag about it to some people, then by all means, get on with it. If you want to share it with some of your closest literary friends or maybe send an excerpt to the New Yorker or Atlantic Monthly—still take your time enjoying the champagne. Put the whole thing out of your mind for at least a few days. When you’re still in the mindset of cranking out the words, it’s easy to get attached to passages or characters that actually drag down your writing. After a nice rest, prepare yourself for the revision cave.

 The Writing

Now’s the time to look carefully at your writing, its mechanics and logical constructions. Style has nothing to do with it; it’s strictly a close, word-by-word reading. Check your diction. Do you really need to use “twirl” twice in one short paragraph when you envision two different motions (other words: “swirl,” “spin,” “turn,” “stir”)? Do you really need to use different speech tags (said, shouted, murmured, whispered, accused, countered, replied, yelled, etc) when the characters are having a superficially low-key conversation and everything is actually just “said”? Jeffrey Eugenides raises a similar complaint about Oscar Wilde’s diction in The Picture of Dorian Gray; Wilde doesn’t abuse his thesaurus, he merely dramatizes everything. No one ever just sits, everyone “flings himself down” on something. If Dorian is uncomfortable, he always does things nervously, and when he’s nervous, he always twitches. Pick the right word for the right image.

 The Arc

Go through and, at the end of each chapter or section or what have you, record the characters’ progressions in that section, how it fits into their overall transformations, and major plot developments. If a character regresses at some point, does it make sense? People regress all the time. There’s usually an impetus. You can’t crowd everything under the umbrella of “it’s the character” just because that’s how they were at the start. Even if you’d prefer to keep a character static, make sure the justification comes through. Laying out developments in this outline can also help you pinpoint trouble spots in pacing.

 Excise, Excise, Excise

Just because it’s a novel and you can make it as long as you want doesn’t mean you need to devote lines to everyone’s hair color and outfit or the entire layout of a room. Of course, there will be parts that need more clarification, but for the most part, you can afford to cut out entire paragraphs without confusing anyone. Whatever you leave in has to have a purpose. You don’t necessarily have to follow Chekov’s Rule, but if you’re going to spend the time to note what your characters order from Starbucks, then their orders have to mean something. Hot chocolate? Iced coffee during a Russian winter? Drip coffee instead of a latte? Americano instead of drip coffee? In real life, that doesn’t indicate anything significant, but in a novel, it matters (unless your point is that it doesn’t actually matter, in which case you have more thematic issues to sort anyway). Oh, and that huge existential monologue/soliloquy with some beautifully flowery phrases you wrote in a feverish haze of inspiration can stand to lose half its length. Hemingway says of his writing process, “I write one page of masterpiece to ninety-one pages of shit. I try to put the shit in the wastebasket.” We’re not all minimalists like Hemingway, though. Hold onto some of your pretty, introspective bits. The good bits.

 Sidebar:

If you need a break or want to procrastinate even more, spend some time on www.reasoningwithvampires.tumblr.com, a snarky passage-by-passage critique of Twilight. It’s an equal opportunity hater with regards to all the things people find wrong with Twilight, so be forewarned…but definitely pay attention to perhaps the most indisputable problem with the series: it’s just not well written. There are periods of rampant thesaurus abuse; there are periods of predictable diction; there are moments when the limited first person is suddenly omniscient; there are illogical sequences of action, in which someone walks away and suddenly reappears to respond to something; there are sloppy (rather than stylistic) comma misuse. (What’s the difference between a sloppy and a stylistic one? In Twilight: “He lay, smiling hugely, across my bed, his hands behind his head, his feet dangling off the end, the picture of ease.” In Joan Didion’s “Goodbye to All That”: “It is easy to see the beginnings of things, and harder to see the ends.” Didion said in an interview, “every word and every comma and every absence of a word or comma can change the meaning, make the rhythm, make the difference.” Sometimes you have to earn the right to flaunt grammar. Life’s not all fair.) Forget Bella and Edward’s questionable status as “heroine” and “the best dark brooding boyfriend ever.” When your words and their order distract a reader from the throwaway details they describe, something is wrong.

By Robin Yang


Robin Yang was one of the Campus Clipper’s publishing interns, who wrote an e-book on how to write a novel. If you like Robin’s writing, follow our blog for more chapters from this e-book. We have the most talented interns ever and we’re so proud of them! For over 20 years, the Campus Clipper has been offering awesome student discounts in NYC,  from the East Side to Greenwich Village. Along with inspiration, the company offers students a special coupon booklet and the Official Student Guide, which encourage them to discover new places in the city and save money on food, clothing and services.  

At the Campus Clipper, not only do we help our interns learn new skills, make money, and create wonderful e-books, we give them a platform to teach others. Check our website for more student savings and watch our YouTube video showing off some of New York City’s finest students during last year’s Welcome Week.

Become a fan on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and Instagram

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Writing a Good Ending

Saturday, December 24th, 2016
Image Credit: http://jasonfischer.com.au/i-finished-my-damn-novel/

Image Credit: http://jasonfischer.com.au/i-finished-my-damn-novel/

So you’re finally at the end. All ready to wrap up these 50,000 words. Feels great, right? You just need to write the ending…which can be tricky. My ghostwriting friend once said, “I actually hate the ending to most books. A lot of them have great last lines, but I’m always underwhelmed.”

When it comes to endings, novels and short stories again can have completely different natures. It’s all right to write your ending first—some of the better stories I’ve written started with the last line. It’s just another matter of getting the characters from the climactic fallout to the last line. It’s also important to know exactly where to start or stop the resolutions. A short story can be an interlude; it can lead right up to a huge battle or a nervous confession, and then end. The momentary crisis has been resolved. Leave the character to confront bigger issues by himself. There will always be people who wish that a story would extend longer than it did—that’s fine. But in a novel, which is all about life changes, there needs to be some indication that life has changed. Resolution is key.

At the same time, “resolution” and “open-ended” aren’t necessarily mutually exclusive. Open endings are great, and often more realistic. It’s rare to find people who’ve completely closed off parts of their lives. (For example, people always complain that the “real” world is just like high school, and it’s true: people tend to get stuck on high school resentments, and, no matter what, they’ll always keep tabs on a few classmates and laugh when someone ends up getting fat.) Bret Easton Ellis never indicates whether any of the events in American Psycho or Rules of Attraction actually happened; the truth is left ambiguous, the mad characters’ fates hanging uncertainly after the fallout. Of course, that’s the entire point that Ellis is trying to make in his novels, so it works.

Whether you choose to end ambiguously or more resolutely, consider your novel’s themes again. How does your ending cap off the larger questions in your conflicts? Is total, unabated personal freedom worth the societal breakdowns that might happen? Is it right in theory, only just for certain people (and more on the nose, maybe it’s not right for the character you killed off fifty pages earlier)? Does the vapid, soul-sucking glamour of the famous and rich inevitably destroy morality and meaning in life?

On the opposite side of the spectrum, there’s also the danger of overwriting your ending. To draw on a movie, The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King essentially has three endings: Frodo waking up in Rivendell and reuniting with the Fellowship, Aragorn’s coronation and wedding in Gondor, and the elves’ (and Frodo’s and Gimli’s) final departure from Middle Earth. This isn’t to say that these resolutions aren’t necessary. It’s just that the end of Frodo’s mission, Aragorn’s reinstatement as an honorable king of Men, and the conclusion to the elves’ saga in Middle Earth are all treated separately (and all three end on those long fade-to-white shots that clearly should fade into credits). Consolidate your resolutions, but do it thoroughly.

Sidebar: The greatest advice I’ve ever gotten is from Susanna Moore, who once said of my short story ending, “It’s a little too squishy. Too much.” She uses “squishy” in her criticism, which can stand for triteness, overly sentimental passages, sentences that sound nice but don’t indicate anything…and endings are especially vulnerable to squishiness. Novel endings are not huge dramatic banners. Don’t overshadow your climax.

By Robin Yang


Robin Yang was one of the Campus Clipper’s publishing interns, who wrote an e-book on how to write a novel. If you like Robin’s writing, follow our blog for more chapters from this e-book. We have the most talented interns ever and we’re so proud of them! For over 20 years, the Campus Clipper has been offering awesome student discounts in NYC,  from the East Side to Greenwich Village. Along with inspiration, the company offers students a special coupon booklet and the Official Student Guide, which encourage them to discover new places in the city and save money on food, clothing and services.  

At the Campus Clipper, not only do we help our interns learn new skills, make money, and create wonderful e-books, we give them a platform to teach others. Check our website for more student savings and watch our YouTube video showing off some of New York City’s finest students during last year’s Welcome Week.

Become a fan on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and Instagram

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Spice Up Your Plot

Sunday, December 18th, 2016
Image Credit: http://www.australiangeographic.com.au/outdoor/guides/2010/05/guide-to-insurance-for-adventure-travel

Image Credit: http://www.australiangeographic.com.au/outdoor/guides/2010/05/guide-to-insurance-for-adventure-travel

Sometimes life goes according to plan and everything is awesome and your vague (or incredibly detailed) plot outline pulls together perfectly after months or years of staring at a screen muttering, “I know where they need to go, I just need to get them there.”

Sometimes you finally hit the climax of your novel and it feels very anticlimactic. You’ve written the final reveal — a shootout, a betrayal, a Dave Caruso-esque realization — but it doesn’t feel big. The stakes just aren’t high enough.

Well, before you jump that shark, let the novel sit. You’ve been thinking about it for a while, off-and-on since you started writing. Of course, you know what’s going to happen — you’ve probably also considered several other ways it could go, which can lessen the importance of whatever line you picked. Walk away for a little while. Don’t think about it at all for a bit — a day, a week, until finals are over… Then reread it from the start. This is a novel, not a TV show or movie. The place for small, understated stories is much larger in print than it is on a screen. Don’t amp it up just because a main character always gets shot in the third season of any crime show ever and what could top potentially fatal gunshot wounds? (The answer is a lot. Funerals and weddings, for example.)

At the same time, if you do feel that your stakes need a boost, here are a few things you can add:

  • Kill Off a Character – it doesn’t have to be a drawn-out emotionally fraught death. It can even happen off-page. The aftermath is what’s important. Just keep in mind that deaths have a ripple effect, and every remaining character is going to be affected beyond the climax. Pick a character whose personality logically fits dying in whatever manner you choose. Go back and scatter foreshadowing through the rising action.
  • Throw in a Pregnancy – nothing upends a tense wedding scene/tentative reunion like a nice illicit pregnancy. Pregnant news affects people differently, and, of course, there’s an entire undercurrent of whatever character histories are at play, which can add a layer to the events, such as resentment, concern, anger, angst, etc.
  • Make It A Family Betrayal – if your protagonist is on the verge of solving a mystery (spy, murder, theft, drug cartels, etc), and someone tips off the opposition, add a little family drama. It can be completely blindsiding (and devastating) or somewhat expected (bad family relationships are mines for exposing character flaws). This also makes everything more personal, which is great for adding personal desire vs common desire conflicts.
  • Put a Bomb Under the Table – Alfred Hitchcock used this example to champion suspense over surprise. Say two people are having breakfast, and suddenly, a bomb explodes under the table. The reader is surprised for about fifteen seconds. Now say that a saboteur has planted the bomb under the table, and these two people unwittingly sit down to breakfast. The bomb will go off — oh, it will — but now the reader knows it’s there, and the breakfasters do not. There’s an extra investment of when will it go off and will important things get resolved before it goes off. Clue your readers in before you do the same for your characters. Introduce the danger and risks covertly. The issue with this suspense trick is that it only raises stakes for the reader. The unsuspecting people involved don’t know any better (this is why many pre-World War II stories are both amusing and dully formulaic).

Sidebar:

Of course, these apply to broad, more commercial plots. Your particular novel might not be able to incorporate any of these. In that case, there’s always the option to end the world and then take some characters through the ensuing zombie apocalypse. If you’re feeling particularly uninspired, read some more books and take a crisis from one of them. Or several. Good writers borrow, great writers steal, and so on.

By Robin Yang


Robin Yang was one of the Campus Clipper’s publishing interns, who wrote an e-book on how to write a novel. If you like Robin’s writing, follow our blog for more chapters from this e-book. We have the most talented interns ever and we’re so proud of them! For over 20 years, the Campus Clipper has been offering awesome student discounts in NYC,  from the East Side to Greenwich Village. Along with inspiration, the company offers students a special coupon booklet and the Official Student Guide, which encourage them to discover new places in the city and save money on food, clothing and services.  

At the Campus Clipper, not only do we help our interns learn new skills, make money, and create wonderful e-books, we give them a platform to teach others. Check our website for more student savings and watch our YouTube video showing off some of New York City’s finest students during last year’s Welcome Week.

Become a fan on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and Instagram!

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It’s Time To Start Writing

Saturday, December 3rd, 2016
Image Credit: http://www.professorbeej.com/2010/07/writing-my-novel-keep-on-writing.html

Image Credit: http://www.professorbeej.com/2010/07/writing-my-novel-keep-on-writing.html

So you’ve amassed enough raw ideas and information to start actually writing your novel (or maybe not. You might work better just free-writing and then fact-check-editing all at once. I don’t know your life). The task of sitting down to commit your ideas to paper can be a tough one, I know. It’s like writing a final term paper; you chose your final topic based on your greatest interest (maybe strategically planning to hold off on this topic until the final paper) and it’s actually a fun time doing the prep work—but you still have to write the paper.

At this stage, you should experiment with your writing environment and figure out what works best for what mood. A café might be great for regrouping your thoughts. A silent library might be best for sitting down and grinding out a chapter or two in a few hours. Or perhaps you’ll find that like Virginia Woolf, you work best in your own room. Make a working playlist. Try writing out your initial draft by hand. Maybe borrow a typewriter. Your novel doesn’t have a concrete deadline. Spend a few days just optimizing your productivity.

Places for Writers in New York

Café’s: ‘Snice (45 8th Street), Hungarian Pastry Shop (1030 Amsterdam Avenue), B Cup Café (212 Avenue B), The Tea Lounge (837 Union Street, Brooklyn), Outpost Lounge (where I write, 1014 Fulton Street, Brooklyn)

Workspaces: The Writer’s Studio at the Mercantile Library Center for Fiction (17 E 47th Street, by application and with membership fee), Paragraph (35 W 14th Street, by application and with membership fee), Brooklyn Creative Lounge (540 President Street, Brooklyn, by application ad with membership fee), New York Public Libraries…your…campus libraries?

If you are not terribly distractible when working with other people, it could help to join a writers’ salon so that you can discuss your writing or perhaps motivate yourself to write with other people.

Sidebar: Writing habits or haunts of various authors

Joyce Carol Oates writes in longhand for six to eight hours every day.

Truman Capote wrote while lying down, drinking and smoking cigarettes.

Vladimir Nabokov wrote his novels all on index cards.

Tom Wolfe writes ten pages every day, regardless of how long it takes for him to finish.

Edgar Allan Poe as well as Jonathan Franzen spent some time at The Writer’s Studio at the Mercantile Library Center for Fiction

Joan Didion consistently rewrites her novels from the beginning (or almost beginning) every day.

Bob Dylan and Jack Kerouac both wrote in the Village bar, Kettle of Fish

By Robin Yang


Robin Yang was one of the Campus Clipper’s publishing interns, who wrote an e-book on how to write a novel. If you like Robin’s writing, follow our blog for more chapters from this e-book. We have the most talented interns ever and we’re so proud of them! For over 20 years, the Campus Clipper has been offering awesome student discounts in NYC,  from the East Side to Greenwich Village. Along with inspiration, the company offers students a special coupon booklet and the Official Student Guide, which encourage them to discover new places in the city and save money on food, clothing and services.  

At the Campus Clipper, not only do we help our interns learn new skills, make money, and create wonderful e-books, we give them a platform to teach others. Check our website for more student savings and watch our YouTube video showing off some of New York City’s finest students during last year’s Welcome Week.

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In the Beginning Was An Idea

Saturday, November 12th, 2016
Image Credit: https://www.edx.org/course/how-write-novel-writing-draft-ubcx-cw1-2x-0

Image Credit: https://www.edx.org/course/how-write-novel-writing-draft-ubcx-cw1-2×-0

So you want to write a novel. Awesome. I’m writing a novel, too. Novels are hard to write in college; being in college tends to get in the way. But if you’re determined to finish your masterpiece, this is a general guide to help you along.

So you have a starting point for your novel, whether it’s a character you wish was real, or a conflict you want to explore on paper, or even just a fun bit of dialogue that’s stuck in your head. Excellent. Your novel will grow and sprawl from that seedling idea into a minimum 50,000 word work (about 175 pages, according to the official definition of a novel by the people at National Novel Writing Month).

Well. Wait. Maybe not 50,000 words. That’s an entire year’s worth of papers. That’s two senior theses. The question I’m asking is, are you sure your idea isn’t better off in a short story?

The difference between a short story and a novel isn’t in word count. A novel isn’t just a super-long short story, nor is it just a series of short stories with connected beginnings and endings. There’s an entire shift in mood and mindset. Short story conflicts are immediate; they’re not necessarily enormous, life-altering moments. They close and resolve their themes within a momentary peek into a character’s life. Novel conflicts are built up. There is just enough necessary room for a long exposition and rising action to create central conflict that logically arises from the characters you’ve established. Novel conflicts send ripples through almost all the aspects of a character’s life. Every line leads logically from not just previous lines, but previous chapters, and each line draws comparison between the individual character and our general expectations of average people. You can’t define a person in the moment of a short story. You can define a person in the chronicle of a novel.

Maybe your idea is large enough to sustain a novel. It could be political, or romantic, or fantastic. But in case you’re having trouble fleshing out your idea, it might help to think of your skeleton novel in terms of its larger themes (yes, I am suggesting that you close-read your own novel before you’ve written it). From there, you can imagine specific scenes or monologues that will further shape your novel. A theme is not a moral. You don’t have to have a moral. You do need to have a purpose.

A note about style: It’s your novel. Write it however you want. Read. Read a lot, and steal any stylistic devices you like.

Sidebar: For example, the seedling to my novel actually started as a short story; in short, it was about a woman who falls in love during World War II and the bittersweet knowledge that when the war ends, her relationship must end. It was a single (somewhat substantial but still rather isolated) period of her life. Now that I’m fleshing it out, I want to raise it from a static personal investment to something broader: a young person’s confrontation with life’s disappointment and mortality on the largest human scale, and, politically, whether her love for her country is worth her own selfish emotions.

By Robin Yang


Robin Yang was one of the Campus Clipper’s publishing interns, who wrote an e-book on how to write a novel. If you like Robin’s writing, follow our blog for more chapters from this e-book. We have the most talented interns ever and we’re so proud of them! For over 20 years, the Campus Clipper has been offering awesome student discounts in NYC,  from the East Side to Greenwich Village. Along with inspiration, the company offers students a special coupon booklet and the Official Student Guide, which encourage them to discover new places in the city and save money on food, clothing and services.  

At the Campus Clipper, not only do we help our interns learn new skills, make money, and create wonderful e-books, we give them a platform to teach others. Check our website for more student savings and watch our YouTube video showing off some of New York City’s finest students during last year’s Welcome Week.

Become a fan on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and Instagram!

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How to be a Comedian: Week 6: Meet the Right People – And Check Out the Right College Student Discounts Below!

Monday, November 30th, 2015

Before I start, I’d like to give a quick shout out to the Campus Clipper. The Campus Clipper has been offering awesome student discounts in NYC, from the Upper East Side to Greenwich Village. The company helps support students in so many ways, from their coupon booklet to their Official Student Guide. Now, on to the blog!

Without a community of supporters, you won’t make it anywhere besides a counselor’s office and your parent’s basement.

Befriend fellow comedians at open mic nights and comedy classes. The few people who I’ve befriended at open mics have become supportive friends and offer me their much appreciated constructive criticisms. One of my open mic buddies even offered me a spot on one of the upcoming comedy shows he was producing.

A bond with fellow comedians creates an opportunity for you to keep each other accountable – to go to open mics – the expectation that you’ll both be there. Having someone to keep you accountable in going to shows will force you to not let any excuses hold you back, because you know there’s someone at the show expecting you to perform. You’re all in the same boat, so banding together to encourage one another and laugh at each other’s jokes will help push you towards your goals, and build confidence in your talents.

comedy 6

Don’t be afraid to approach big name comics after their set and shake their hand. Sometimes a big name comedian will watch someone perform, like their style, and ask them to open up for them at a few shows.

Go shake some hands so more and more people know who you are, and have a face with a name.

comedy 7

Meet club owners, talent managers, and comedy producers. Introduce yourself to these people and ask if they would have any time to talk with you about the industry, or ask if they need any help at their events. Offering free service is a great way to get people to love you, and you never know where that connection may lead you! The great connection that I’ve made was through my internship with a comedy producer at one of the clubs. He pays me in stage time and allows me to sit in on seminars and meet other comedians. It’s a very valuable connection because he has a strong network in the industry and is willing to help me grow as a comedian in return for helping him with social media and planning events.

comedy 8

A few words from the Campus Clipper –

The Campus Clipper not only help our interns learn new skills, make money, and create these amazing E-Books, but we give them a platform to teach others. Follow each new blog post to read a chapter of our various books and to learn how the Campus Clipper can help you follow your dreams!

Craving student savings while you catch up on your reading? Click on the link to download the Official Campus Clipper Coupon Booklet! And check out our newest YouTube video showing off some of New York City’s finest students during this year’s Welcome Week!

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How to be a Comedian: Week 5: Teach Me How to be Funny – And Learn About College Student Discounts Below!

Monday, November 23rd, 2015

Before I start, I’d like to give a quick shout out to the Campus Clipper. The Campus Clipper has been offering awesome student discounts in NYC, from the Upper East Side to Greenwich Village. The company helps support students in so many ways, from their coupon booklet to their Official Student Guide. Now, on to the blog!

If you’re funny, you’re funny; but trust me, it’s extremely helpful to have veteran comedians guide you and teach you how to harness your funny bone.

7th Annual "Stand Up For Heroes" Event - Inside

So, sign up for a few comedy classes. Don’t be afraid to break out of your comfort zone or comedic interests. Take some stand up classes, like at the Manhattan Comedy School; but also take some improv classes at a renowned place like the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre. It will only benefit you to learn different forms of comedy, and it also might help you find out what you enjoy more and for what your talents are best suited.

comedy 4

The only way you can become a master of comedy is to practice your material and watch others perform. If you really love stand up, then go to stand up shows every week to familiarize yourself with other comedians’ styles and how they interact with the crowd – you might learn something from them. If you’re interested in improv and sketch comedy, go to an improv show every week (go a few times a week if your budget and time permits).

Making comedy shows a weekly part of your schedule will help you stay focused on pushing yourself to the next level in your own career and will make you a lot more comfortable with the business. Watch shows, watch shows, and watch more shows.

comedy 5

I find that the funniest comedians are those who I trust. What I mean is that I trust their ability to make me laugh – they’re reputable. They have confidence, which makes me have confidence in them. I’m not constantly anticipating them to mess up or break into a nervous fit. You have to gain people’s trust for them to believe that you’re funny, so it’s important to show confidence when you’re on stage to let everyone know that you’re in control. When I don’t feel confident on stage, sometimes I have to convince myself that I am confident, or at the very least act like I’m confident.

Things to put on your comedic to-do list:

- Practice in front of the mirror

- Practice jokes in front of your friends

- Record yourself and analyze the video

- Write, rewrite, edit, practice, rewrite, practice, rewrite, practice

- Open mic

A few words from the Campus Clipper –

The Campus Clipper not only helps our interns learn new skills, make money, and create these amazing E-Book, but we give them a platform to teach others. Follow each new blog post to read a chapter of our various books and to learn how the Campus Clipper can help you follow your dreams!

Craving student savings while you catch up on your reading? Click on the link to download the Official Campus Clipper Coupon Booklet to enjoy some great student discounts! And check out our newest YouTube video showing off some of New York City’s finest students during this year’s Welcome Week!

Share