Monthly Archives: June 2013

Topic for the 6/30/13 #storyappchat: Critique Groups

#storyappchat topic badgeI studied industrial design in college, and one of the most memorable components of the course material was the critique. Led by the instructor, we’d engage in a whole-class discussion of every piece created by the students for the latest assignment, and I remember going into most of these with a certain amount of dread. I’d heard stories about professors who’d pull work off the wall and silently (and dismissively) let it fall to the floor.

Luckily, I had mostly caring instructors who doled out constructive criticism, but the fear surrounding those critique sessions remains planted in my memory.

Today’s critique groups don’t work like that, thankfully. A critique group is a carefully chosen group of supportive artists and/or writers who are working on projects in the same genre you are. The idea is that everyone in the group both shares current projects with the other members, and provides constructive criticism on everyone else’s work. There should be lots of give and take, and members are expected to stay current on the state of the publishing world so realistic options can be kept in mind and discussed. After all, we all want to reach our target audiences with our work, right?

Critique groups can meet in person on a set schedule, or online in a forum or other web venue. There is no right way to create or maintain a critique group, but certain best practices can help keep members focused on helping everyone in the group achieve success.

Let’s discuss the topic of critique groups during the next #storyappchat, set for this Sunday (June 30) at 9:00 p.m. Eastern/6:00 p.m. Pacific time. Just begin tweeting using the #storyappchat hashtag to take part!

Transcript for the 6/23/13 #storyappchat: Screen Time vs. Screen Quality

[#storyappchat Transcript for 062313]

The transcript follies continue, since SearchHash, the free transcript-generator I’ve been using for the past several months is now down. I put this transcript together using Storify, and hopefully this service will a) serve our purposes and b) not disappear in a few months, just as I’m getting used to it. Also, please bear with me–there may be some bumps in the road as I try to capture all our tweets from the chat, in chronological order. Storify requires me to drag each tweet to a different window, which opens up the real possibility of human error in the process. UGH!

Transcript frustrations aside, this was a solid chat with good links and opinions flying back and forth. If you missed it, go ahead now and make plans to join us for the next one on June 30 at 9:00 p.m. Eastern/6:00 p.m. Pacific, OK?

Topic for the 6/23/13 #storyappchat: Screen Time vs. Screen Quality

#storyappchat topic badgeNo doubt about it, our kids are spending more time in front of screens–and there is some concern about whether or not this is a good thing. But isn’t it time we make a distinction between passive screen time (i.e., television) and active screen time, like engaging with book apps and other educational material on a tablet device?

Carisa wrote about this very topic a few weeks ago on her blog, and it’s worth a look. She reminds us that not all television is bad, and perhaps we should be focusing on the quality of the media we’re consuming (and who we consume it with), instead of the amount of time spent in front of the screen(s).

Let’s discuss the latest research and opinions and what these might mean for content creators, developers and others involved in creating stories for children during the next #storyappchat. We’ll kick things off this Sunday evening, June 23, at 9:00 p.m. Eastern/6:00 p.m. Pacific. Join us! Simply start tweeting using the #storyappchat hashtag–we’ll leave the light on for you.

Transcript for the 6/9/13 #storyappchat: Sound Resources

Last night we had an unofficial guest host: Jory from studio.jory.org, an award-winning sound studio, was on hand to answer questions about audio for interactive media. And the chat was fantastic–see for yourself in the transcript above.

Please note: we’re taking next Sunday off for Father’s Day, but will be back on June 23 at the regular time (9:00 p.m. Eastern/6:00 p.m. Pacific), so make plans to be on hand then, OK?

Topic for the 6/9/13 #storyappchat: Sound Resources

Music In BooksOne of the big advantages of creating stories in app or ebook format is the ability to include sound effects and music. When implemented thoughtfully, these can really help move a story along and add to a reader’s understanding of what they’re reading. But where can a content creator on a budget (and all of us are on a budget, right?) find high-quality but inexpensive sound files and resources?

Because I’m an eMusic member, I sometimes get sounds and music files from their royalty-free music and sound effect libraries, although their interface is designed for songs and it can sometimes be time-consuming searching their offerings for an obscure sound effect. I notice that iStockphoto, one of the best-known sites for very inexpensive photos and illustrations, also offers audio files now, although I have not yet used this service.

Are there resources for music and sound effects that you’ve found useful in your projects? Or are you looking for places to go to locate audio files without breaking the bank? Let’s share our favorite sound resources during the next #storyappchat, set for this Sunday (June 9) at 9:00 p.m. Eastern/6:00 p.m. Pacific. Just start including the #storyappchat hashtag on Twitter at that time to join us!

Transcript for the 6/2/13 #storyappchat: Skeuomorphic Design

The pros and cons of visual realism, skeuomorphic design, and other aspects of the app user experience were debated last night in the latest #storyappchat. Great discussion all around! Get the details in the transcript above, and be sure to take part in the next #storyappchat, set for this Sunday at 9:00 p.m. Eastern/6:00 p.m. Pacific, OK?