Archives for posts with tag: writing

If someone were to tell you to write a 100-page script in one month, you’d probably think he or she is joking. But for the tens of thousands of people participating in Script Frenzy, this task is no joke. Script Frenzy is a free, international online event in which anyone and everyone in the world is invited to write 100 pages of an original script in just the month of April. Participants create an account on the Script Frenzy website and starting April 1st, they can update their page count and work till it climbs to 100.

Why would anyone surrender themselves to such a daunting task as furiously scribbling as much material as what normally takes months or even years? For the million dollar prize of course! Not. Script Frenzy, just like its partner NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), does not award cash prizes for the many people who complete the challenge of writing the 100-page script. Instead, prizes include “happiness. Creative juices. Pride. Laughter. Bragging rights. A brand-new script.” In addition to these wonderful prizes, the Script Frenzy website comes equipped with a forum for participants to share their thoughts and build a community of old and new screenwriters, playwrights, authors— just people searching for an adventurous month full of creativity.

This is the place where one can hold another’s hand in the effort to give birth to that 100-page creation all in one month’s time. What better way is there to get your story out than alongside ten thousand other struggling writers in the international Script Frenzy!

To participate, create a Script Frenzy account and begin writing!



On Christmas, my brother handed me a pretty sizeable box. I unwrapped it to find more boxes and even more taped surfaces. “Oh no,” I said out loud, conscious of what I was in for. I tore the gift down anyway, layer by layer, one empty box after another, to finally get to a glass penguin no bigger than my thumb. I placed it upright on my palm and looked at it, and that’s when I discovered the secret to being cute:

You have to be tiny.

Everything seems more adorable miniaturized. Babies’ toes are just delightful. The adult version is, well, not so much. Ferocious creatures like lions, bears and dinosaurs are endearing when we imagine them to be just three inches high. Even the tiny robots in Transformers drew a couple of “aww”s from the audience (despite the fact that they were shooting at people).

Likewise, in writing, there seems to be a growing interest in shorter and shorter stories. We’ve always had novels, novellas, and short stories; we’re even able to compress our thoughts into pieces of flash fiction. But today, the expansion of the internet has allowed writers to have more control over their weblogs and web magazines, to make their pieces more widely read, reviving an interest in extremely short stories that would take web-surfers only a few hundred seconds to finish. Mostly known as micro-fiction (or tiny stories, tiny fiction, little stories, very short stories, and possibly even extremely-ultrally-superduperly-mega-short-stories) these pieces are usually just a couple hundred words, and they are definitely just delightful. Read the rest of this entry »

Judith Baca

Judith Baca, muralist: just one of the many award-winning faculty members at UCLA.

I work in the UCLA Office of Media Relations, and each morning I spend a couple of hours collecting links to all the media mentions of UCLA staff and faculty from major outlets around the world. Due to this, I think I tend to keep in mind something that many of us bruins lose track of the longer that we’re here – this university has some amazing faculty.

And not just in terms of teaching ability and research, either. They’re also making major contributions to artistic communities as well: we have published authors, artists who’ve shown in museums across the country, composers and directors who are renowned for their virtuosity.

For this post I wanted to highlight a few recent offerings from, and announcements about, some of our very own faculty. Maybe some readers of this esteemed blog have classes with these profs, and if not then maybe this will inspire some to check them out.

Joan Waugh is a professor of history who specializes in Ulysses S. Grant, this country’s 18th president.  In fact, her book U.S. Grant: American Hero, American Myth traces the rise and fall of the Civil War general’s reputation in the United States. Since being published late last year, the book has received many positive reviews, was named among the best books of 2009 by the Washington Post, and most recently has won Waugh the Jefferson Davis Award from the Museum of the Confederacy.

Next quarter Professor Waugh is teaching History 139A: U.S, Civil War and Reconstruction, and History 246B: Introduction to U.S. History, 1790-1900.

Greg Lynn, UCLA professor of architecture and urban design, has been with the university since 1996 and has received many accolades since. He’s known for his unique “blob architecture,” and has his own design firm in Venice called FORM. Lynn has been called one of the 10 most influential living architects by Time magazine, and on Tuesday United States Artists selected him as one of their 50 fellows for 2010 (see the Los Angeles Times announcement for other fellows).  In addition to being an awesome new addition to his resume, Lynn will also pick up a $50,000 prize. Not too shabby.

Next quarter Professor Lynn will be overseeing sections of Architecture and Urban Design 403B: Research Studio, and Architecture and Urban Design 496: Special Projects in Architecture.

Judith Baca is a professor with UCLA’s César E. Chávez Department of Chicana and Chicano Studies. In addition, Baca co-founded the Social and Public Art Resource Center. Baca is a muralist in the tradition of famous Mexican muralists like Diego Rivera and José Clemente Orozco. Most recently Baca has been honored by the American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education with the Outstanding Latino/a—Cultural Arts, Fine and Performing Arts Award.

Next quarter Professor Baca will be teaching Art M186B/Chicano Studies M186B/World Art M125B: Beyond Mexican Mural: Intermediate Muralism and Community Development, as well as that class’s associated lab.

Antonio Lysy is a professor of music with the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music who specializes in the cello. Lysy is very influenced by his Argentine heritage, and much of the folk music and tango of Argentina. On November 11 Lysy won a Latin Grammy award for the song “Pampas,” off of his album Antonio Lysy at the Broad: Music from Argentina. Lysy won in the category of best classical contemporary composition.

Next quarter Professor Lysy will be teaching Music 60CW: Cello, Music 160CW: Advanced Cello, Music C175: Chamber Ensembles, Music C177: Gluck Ensembles, Music 401: New Music Forum, Music 460C: Cello, and a section of Music 375: Teaching Apprentice Practicum.

Lastly, it might not have won any awards (yet), but check out this lovely bit of architecture from UCLA Dining.


Apparently, hooks don’t exist. This idea stunned me while I was sitting there and threw me into prepre-pre-preduring-during-prepost-post-and-postpost-emotional-trauma. What do you mean we shouldn’t include hooks in a college essay? How else am I supposed to start? What is going to capture the reader’s attention and hook them in if not the sentence whose name takes on its task? I felt like I had an obligation to my reader (the TA, a student, a guy who randomly stumbles upon my paper just graciously lying on the floor, or maybe even the Cookie Monster). They deserve a hook; they deserve to be hooked. Not including that catchy, profound beginning could very well destroy their lives.
I don’t want to destroy their lives now, do I? Read the rest of this entry »

by Jennifer Ta


It’s been a while since I’ve picked up a book and was really emotionally invested in a story. I remember when I was younger, I would always find a book that somehow made me think and feel long after I finished its story. There were times when I would pause to think about the book in the middle of doing something (either homework, shopping, or showering), wondering ‘What if? Why did this happen? Why couldn’t it be different? And always, I‘m left wanting more, just a few more pages after the ending, despite knowing that it had to end the way it did.

Maybe it’s because I’m older now that it takes more for a book to impress me. Maybe it’s school that’s making me so tired to read in general that when I do read, I want something that is quick to grab my attention. But still, there are times when I pick up a book from the past and reread it that I’m still struck by the storyline, the words, and feeling the same emotions I felt back then. I remember being completely obsessed with Sarah Dessen’s young adult novel The Truth about Forever. I just loved everything about it: the characters, the relationships, and how simple and touching everything was. I loved the emotional scenes the main character went through when it came to her father because it wasn’t anything that was melodramatic, it was just right. It ended up making me think about my dad and our relationship.

So is it really my age and new wisdom that is making me more critical of books? Could it be that maybe I only feel the same emotions when rereading a book is merely due to my soft spot for them? Or could it be that it isn’t really me that has a problem… Maybe the great books out there are slowly dwindling down and there just really isn’t that much left. Now isn’t that a scary thought?

When I’m thinking about what books are out there, I’m merely thinking of the really popular ones everyone seems to be talking about (Twilight anyone? And let’s not forget Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol). No offense to people out there who love these books, but for me, I’m just not that interested. Sure, they’ve got mass appeal and the storylines are engaging. The only problem is, once I’m done with one of those books, I’m done. I don’t want to know what happens next nor do I end up going, “Wow that was some fantastic writing!”

I’m really thinking something along the lines of Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen), Special Topics in Calamity Physics (Marisha Pessl), and Middlesex (Jeffrey Eugenides). And they don’t even have to be adult novels. I wish I could find another young adult book that rivals my all time favorite young adult book, The Only Alien on the Planet (Kristen D. Randle) or Stargirl (Jeffrey Spinelli). All of these books have original plot lines, and I always find myself so devoted to the story and characters and often thinking, “Why the hell can’t I write like that? Why the hell can’t I think of an idea like that?”

It’s just been so long since I’ve read anything like these books that I just don’t really want to read anymore. I’d just rather reread some of my old favorites and find satisfaction in them.

Of course, you kind of have to keep in mind that beauty (or in this case, a great book) is in the eye of the beholder. I remember recommending a favorite of mine to a friend and he couldn’t get past 40 pages. He believed it was too “plotty.”

Hm… Maybe it really is me after all.

by Carrie Jones

TexasPhoto by carriemjones.

Somewhere in the middle of Nebraska, I asked Zach (a fellow Westwind editor) to stop the car. As we drove off of the pavement and onto the dirt alongside the freeway, the tires sent clouds of dust up into the crisp, blue air. I jumped out, slammed the door shut, and ran a few feet away into a small ditch. I settled on a spot next to a piece of tumbleweed and the bloody remains of some animal’s lunch. Then I threw up everywhere. The wind sent my vomit flying back to the car, where it splattered on the tires and narrowly missed hitting my friend as she ran to hold my hair back from my face.
Read the rest of this entry »

by Carrie Jones


At our recent Westwind meetings, we editors have found ourselves discussing the same topic again and again. Besides noticing that writers spend too much time thinking up earth-shattering metaphors and not enough time developing the finer points of their plots, we have discovered that many female characters are disappearing from short stories right before our eyes. Well, they are present, to be sure. But our fellow student-writers spend less and less time developing their female characters outside of their functions as “The Protected One,” “The Loved One,” “The Domestic Goddess,” “The Nurturer,” or other variations on absurd female stereotypes. Read the rest of this entry »