5 Stunning Examples of Flat Design

1. We begin our tour of gorgeous flat design with this surprising, eye-catching Darth Vader image by Portuguese designer Filipe Carvalho, who created a whole series of images based on the iconic characters.

Star Wars icons by Portuguese designer Filipe Carvalho

 

2. Next up is The Hipster Alphabet, by Michael Mahaffey. On his website, Mahaffey describes this comprehensive series of alphabetical illustrations as an act of self-education. I only wish we’d had these pasted to the walls of my Kindergarten classroom!

Just one letter in Michael Mahaffey’s playful, beautiful Hipster Alphabet.

 

3. Impression Digital created seven images for Harvey Waters Softeners to walk viewers through British design by decade. Browse the decades from the 50s to the 2010s here.

From the Interior Design by Decades project, by UK company Impression Digital

 

4. Here’s a really cool example of flat game design out of France, by TBWA Dan for SNFC.

SNCF – Défi Ingénieurs 2 View site By TBWA DAN Paris X TBWA Paris X \Else (FRANCE)

5. And finally, that brings us to a bright, colorful use of flat design by a company called Wistia, that allows users to easily add video to their websites.

Flat design for the company Wistia, via http://www.hotdesignworld.com/flat-website-design/

 

You can read up on the history of flat design here.

What is flat design?

the term given to the style of design in which elements lose any type of stylistic characters that make them appear as though they lift off the page. via Amber Leigh Turner for TNW

Find 50 great-looking examples of flat design at Hotdesignworld.com.

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How to End a Story

Stories are like relationships: the beginning is always so much fun, and the ending is fraught with turmoil.

When I sit down to start a story, the first sentence just sort of comes to me. The second sentence too. If I’m lucky, the third swiftly follows. The inimitable short story writer Kate Braverman once visited a class I was teaching and told the graduate students that she channels her characters. They speak through her and onto the page, she said, as if she isn’t even there.

I, unfortunately, channel nothing. It is all rough work after sentence three. By the time I’m in the middle of the story, I’m feeling more than a little uncomfortable. Where am I going? Where have I been? Have I gotten lost in the labyrinth? Probably, yes.

Somehow, I find my way through. The characters do things. They meet with hardship and grief, or maybe they just meet someone challenging in a Laundromat. They get into trouble, maybe out of it. Probably not. I find myself feeling that they have done all they can do. Not much more can be said. The action has fallen. We have all had our dénouement (which, by the way, is a French term meaning untying, from Middle French desnouement, from desnouer - to untie - from Old French desnoer, from des- de- + noer meaning to tie, from Latin nodare, from nodus knot.) And here we are in the labyrinth again, attempting to untie the knot, unwind the rope, escape the not-so-fun funhouse.

It’s time to write our way out.

One wants to resolve things, after all.One feels a deeply human need to conclude. After the falling action, there is often something more. Something unexpected. And here we come to what I have been meaning to say all along: a good ending is layered. The reader thinks she has discovered everything she can possibly discover about a story, but then: another image appears, another paragraph hums along, another question begs to be answered. One is left with the feeling of having walked out of the dark theater into the light, only to realize there was something else playing after the credits, some secret part of the film, some final moment. You can hear it through the door, vaguely, but you can’t get back in. You’re not sure what you’ve missed, but you’re certain that you’ve missed something, that the reel kept on playing, the story kept on going, after your departure. You were only an observer, a brief malingerer, there but not there. The lives within the story carry on.

Online Writing Classes with The Book Doctor

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How to Write & Pitch the Cross-Genre Novel – Part 1

by Michelle Richmond

(This article originally appeared in the July/August 2013 issue of Writer’s Digest Magazine.)

The term “genre fiction” traditionally refers to any novel that fits neatly into a prescribed category: science fiction, romance, mystery, Western. But the line between genre fiction and mainstream fiction becomes blurrier by the year, in part because readers have become more sophisticated, and in part because the publishing industry is expanding, finding new and ever more creative ways to reach audiences.

Just because a novel contains a murder doesn’t mean it will check the old boxes one used to expect from a mystery. Likewise, a man on a horse doesn’t automatically mean we’re in for a traditional Western. Kate Atkinson’s Case Histories and Cormac McCarthy’s celebrated apocalypse novel, The Road, come to mind. A thriller may be intensely character-driven, like Stewart O’Nan’s Songs for the Missing; and a novel that inhabits a richly imagined science fiction world may also be marketed as mainstream fiction, like Karen Thompson Walker’s The Age of Miracles.


M.J. Rose, internationally bestselling author of twelve novels and two nonfiction titles and founder of AuthorBuzz.com, knows what it means to face off against genre conventions. Her novels combine such diverse genres as romance, paranormal, and mystery, and are often also classified as historical fiction. Last year, Rose’s The Book of Lost Fragrances simultaneously made two best-of lists in very different genres: Amazon’s “Best Fantasy Novels” and Publishers Weekly’s “Best Mystery/Suspense.” But the success of Rose’s recent books belies a dilemma that she faced from the beginning of her writing career, and which she still confronts today. While reviewers and readers often praise the diversity of Rose’s books, that very diversity has been a headache in terms of publishing. “For years,” Rose says, “publishers told my agent that they loved my work but didn’t know how to market such cross-genre fiction.” If anything, she says, the cross-genre nature of her work made it harder to sell.

Literary agent Elizabeth Pomoda agrees. “Fiction in different genres is packaged and marketed differently and shelved on different bookstore shelves,” she says. “There’s no shelf for cross-genre fiction, so cross-genre fiction wouldn’t be the easiest way to start a career.” That said, the literary landscape is changing, and the gates are opening in ways no one could have predicted ten years ago. She notes that we are now living “in a bottom-up culture in which readers, not publishing conglomerates, are the gatekeepers, and word of mouth is replacing reviews.”

Julianna Baggott, bestselling author of nineteen books running the gamut from YA to poetry, knows a few things about genre-bending. The header logo on Baggott’s labyrinthine website reads, “Baggott, Asher, Bode,” the three names under which she writes. Baggott’s extraordinary career serves as proof that the challenges of crossing genre can also net huge rewards. “Switching from one genre to another is like hitting a release valve,” she says. “When one genre starts to feel limiting, another begins to look liberating.”

Baggott’s most recent novels, Pure and Fuse, are part of a science-fiction trilogy featuring young adult heroines whose stories will also appeal to adults. The worlds Baggott creates are fantastical, and the writing is as lyrical as it is suspenseful. Baggott encourages writers to take what they know from one genre and use it to their advantage in anything they write.

“Each genre has its own demands,” Baggott says, “and the lessons learned in one are often transferable to another. The impact of image and brevity honed in poetry are useful in the novel. The truth of essay helps with insights and epiphany in fiction. I call screenplays ‘plot poems,’ because both the poem and the screenplay must be able to bear up under the weight of so much white on the page, like a house buried under snow.”

This is part 1 of a 4-part series. Subscribe to my weekly writing and publishing tips to never miss a post.

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publishing infographic

How to Publish a Book – Online Publishing Class

In this six-week course, you’ll learn the ins and outs of publishing in the digital age. What we’ll cover:

Traditional versus Independent Publishing: Learn the pros and cons of traditional and independent publishing, and decide which path is right for you.

Agents and Editors: What They Do and How to Find Them: Understand the role of the literary agent and the editor, as well as the relationship between the two. Discover how to find an agent, what terms to expect, and what red flags to watch out for.

The Path to Publication: Learn how you can improve your chances of getting your manuscript noticed by an agent or editor. Get my secret for building a publishing portfolio that will make your manuscript stand out.

Preparing Your Manuscript for Publication: Learn the 5 common mistakes that will keep your manuscript from getting a serious read. Understand the industry standards that are key to a professional manuscript presentation. Learn how to format your manuscript for independent ebook publishing.

The Money Trail: Learn the basics of advances and royalties. Understand what to look for in a traditional publishing contract, and how to get the best royalties for independently published work.

Understanding Copyright: Whether you choose to go the independent or traditional publishing route, copyright deeply affects your income stream. Learn how to protect your work from copyright infringement, and how to balance discoverability with copyright protection.

This course is intended for:

  • Writers who are new to publishing
  • Writers who have published independently but are interested in making the leap to traditional publishing
  • Writers who are interested in having a hybrid career that includes both traditional and independent publishing
  • Writers who have published in literary journals, magazines, or online but have not yet published a book

By the end of this course, you will have a clear idea of how to proceed with your manuscript. You will have created a personalized publishing plan to help you take your writing career to the next level.

Each week features a downloadable lecture, an assignment, and a discussion forum, where you can ask questions and post comments.

Go here to enroll in the publishing workshop.

publishing infographic

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Fiction Writing

Fundamentals of Fiction Writing Online Fiction Writing Course

My new online writing class, Fundamentals of Fiction Writing, is now open for enrollment. This is a self-paced, nine-week course. You may begin the class at any time.

In this course, you will learn how to write a story or novel using the fundamental building blocks of fiction. The course is divided into nine sections. Each craft section focuses on an essential element of narrative craft. Through video and written lectures, you will learn the tools you need to begin writing fiction:

  • Characterization
  • Point of View
  • Setting and Description
  • Dialogue
  • Plot
  • Structure

In the final week, we will focus on revision, a necessary step to getting your work out into the world.

Each section includes writing exercises to help you practice what you’ve learned and deepen your understanding of the material, as well as a discussion forum and suggestions for further reading.

Who should take this class:

If you’ve always wanted to write a story or novel but don’t know where to begin, or if you took a couple of writing classes in the past and want to brush up on your knowledge and reinvigorate your writing practice, this course is for you. Led by a New York Times bestselling author with more than a decade of experience teaching creative writing at the university level, Fundamentals of Fiction Writing provides a great foundation for anyone interested in writing short stories, novels, or novellas.

Although this is not a critique class, your enrollment entitles you to a free one-hour Google hangout, during which I will answer student questions. You can also subscribe to the workshop add-on to get one-on-one critiques from the instructor.

The regular tuition for Fundamentals of Fiction Writing  is $79, but readers of this blog can enroll in July for just $49.

Use coupon code serif to get 30% off in July, 2014. (expires June 31, 2014).

Or follow this link to get the discounted rate.

 

 

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