Posts Tagged ‘advice’

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-cw1-2x-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.

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How Not to Do Anything: An Expert Guide – How Not to Get a Job

Saturday, September 24th, 2016
Image Credit: http://www.gajizmo.com/5-reasons-you-are-still-unemployed/

Image Credit: http://www.gajizmo.com/5-reasons-you-are-still-unemployed/

If you play your cards right, you can avoid employment while enrolled in school, but as soon as you’re no longer a student, the pressure to get a job becomes increasingly difficult to withstand. After all, even doing nothing costs a little bit of money. And whether you live with friends or relatives, for some reason people generally don’t like to have lodgers with no income. So here are three methods of stirring up some cash while steering clear of the undue strain of gainful employment.

  • Find a corner of the social safety net and make yourself a nice little nest. Social programs may be unpopular today, but we have them in place to take care of those who are unfortunately, temporarily, or temperamentally unable to find work. Unemployment assistance and food stamps can go a long way towards staving off that existential disaster spelled J-O-B.
  • Sell your time in tiny slices. Did you know that at any research university, there are hundreds of grad students who could never get their degrees without paying people just like you to participate in their studies? Or that no new cereal box design goes into circulation without undergoing the vigorous examination of a paid focus group? You can often make several times minimum wage for a few hours of what can only loosely be called work, and you might even contribute to our understanding of the brain, or an improved Fruity Pebbles box!
  • Find a sugarmomma/-daddy. This is really your best shot at preempting the need to work. Since ancient times, boys and girls have dreamt of falling in love with the prince or princess so that they will never have to work again. It’s the ultimate fairy tale, and in a country as economically stratified as America, there could always be a dot-com wizard or hedge fund ace just around the corner, waiting to whisk you away to a life of endless leisure and decades-long naps.

By Aaron Brown


Aaron Brown was one of the Campus Clipper’s publishing interns, who wrote an e-book   “How Not To Do Anything: An Expert Guide.” If you like Aaron’s writing, follow our blog for more chapters from his 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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Professors 2.0

Tuesday, August 14th, 2012

It’s about that time: school is right around the corner and so are professors! Not only do you have to worry about making sure your bank account is on point and getting your student savings, but you have to make sure you make a good first impression with your professors.

 

Meeting a professor for the first time  

Particularly if you’re a first year student en route to your first real college class, you might be a little nervous when classes start. Depending on how big your College or University is, a typical 100-level class can range from 60 to 200 students! The professor can try his or her best to get to know everyone, but seeing as professors’ schedules are so busy, it’s up to you to make them notice you. You also have to keep in mind that in the future you may need a recommendation from a professor for a job. With that being said, not only do you want to do well in the class and build an academic relationship, but you also want to build a personal one. One tip is to simply go up to the professor after class and introduce yourself. You can choose to introduce yourself with your name and year in school or perhaps just your name—it’s up to you. Then, simply tell him or her that you are excited to be in the class this semester. These simple lines are going to introduce you to the professor but will also tell them that you are serious about the class and care about forming a relationship.

 

Taking a class with a professor you had before

If you have had the same professor for a new class, you are already at an advantage in terms of building a quality professor-student relationship. However, whether a great deal of time has passed or not, you still want to be able to maintain that relationship. After the first class with a well-acquainted professor, go and say hello. Tell him or her that you are excited to be taking the class and look forward to having a great experience like that of the last class you had with him or her.  This move and can make your relationship stronger and will let the professor know that you are a serious student.

 

Note: the above advice is intended if you did well in the previous class with that same professor.  If you failed or didn’t do as well in the class as you hoped, and you end up taking the class over, I would advise something different.  Instead of going up to the professor after class, you should visit the professor during his or her office hours. Meeting a professor during office hours can set a more intimate and professional meeting atmosphere and gives you more time to communicate. Tell your professor that you are thankful to be allowed to take the class over and that you look forward to doing better this time around. Your professor will know that you mean business, and he or she will have a clean impression of you instead of the one you last made.

 

I have only touched upon a few of many ways to make good first impressions on professors. If you would like more tips or advice, leave a comment and I will get back to you!

 

Joanne, Simmons College ’15. Read my personal blog!

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Mentors

Thursday, May 13th, 2010

The best advice I can possibly give to an undergraduate is to find a professor, advisor, or dean that you trust and can talk to. Being in such a big city and being part of a huge sea of classmates can be intimidating and there are many times that having help is essential.

Last year I found my mentor, a professor I had had the previous semester for a Philosophy lecture. I liked him so much I took a smaller class in order to get to know him better. His class was intellectually stimulating and interesting and I found myself actually excited to go to his class every day. He did not teach any undergraduate classes this past semester; so unfortunately, I had to sign up for some courses that I was not so passionate about. A few weeks into the semester I found myself having serious problems with one of my professors. He practically ignored me in class, gave me bad grades on essays, and seemed to scoff at everything I said. When the problem got to be too much to handle, I went to my mentor to ask for advice. He told me how to approach the dean of Philosophy to explain the situation and offered to do an independent study with me so I could get the credits that I needed to graduate. He helped me figure out how to deal with my current professor in the meantime. He also helped my psychologically, by explaining that I had done nothing wrong in my dealings with this professor and that situations such as mine sometimes just happen.

Not only did he take me on as a student and build a course around my needs, but he also helped me with the other classes I was taking. I told him about my struggle with Logic, a course that was way too much like math for me to understand. He supplied me with links to online textbooks so I could practice, and, even though Logic was not his strong suite, he spend his time re-explaining the material that I did not understand in class.

While I suppose I could have dealt with my professor and found tutors on my own, the simple fact that I had a central person to talk to and who knew the ins and outs of my college was indispensable to me. When you go to college in a city like New York, it is so easy to get lost amongst the masses and get swallowed up whole. And college is such a confusing time of self-discovery and red tape. The best thing to do for yourself is find someone who can help guide you to the finish line.

-Emily S

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