workshop episode 1.5: Eureka - Jessica Abel
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workshop episode 1.5: Eureka

In our first workshop episode, we take a crack at some of the great ideas popping up on the Out on the Wire Working Group. Join Jessica, Ben, and Matt as we dig into how to make your story ideas stronger.

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Here are the story ideas we talked about on today’s show:

From Leah Yael Levy:

I found this old notebook at a yard sale, i liked it so much it was given to me for free. I believe its an old autograph book of a young lady named Emma in 1890-1 New York.

It is very fragile and falling apart. Only a few of the pages have little(very hard to read) notes on them, otherwise it is mostly blank. Theres a little sketch too (see images) and stickers.

I think the format lends itself nicely to a strip. I’d like to fill some of the empty pages with an exploration of who Emma may be, and could she actually have been Lilian? Or somebody else?  was she gay? potentially to be made into a little zine later.

I am an illustrator, recently enrolled in MFA in comics program at CCA. I have never really written fiction and I just recently moved from New York to SF, where I found this little object. I think it can make a nice little side project while I work on my thesis and other things.

IMG_6364 (1)


From Roxanne Palmer

A woman who runs a horse sanctuary seems like the last person you’d expect to want to bring back horse slaughterhouses to the U.S. But the current regime—where horses bought across the U.S. are crammed into trains with little food or water for a long journey to the abbatoirs of Canada or Mexico (which are often facilities designed for cattle, and not horses), may be perpetuating more cruelty than animal advocates intended when pushing to ban the practice*. Meanwhile, wild horses in the U.S. are overpopulated way past the point of sustainability, while horse sanctuaries cannot keep up with housing unwanted animals, domestic or wild. “Horseflesh” is a medium length (i’m thinking 25-40 pages) nonfiction comic exploring a knot of curious ethical, scientific, historical, and culinary issues surrounding horse meat. Can we give horses a good death?

*the ban was lifted a few years ago, but is still basically in place because the fed gov’t will not fund inspections of horse slaughterhouses, without which they cannot operate.


From Kara Westerman:

AmagansettLand is a podcast from the local library. Besides offering live recordings of authors and interviews with authors, it is also about place. We are in the Hamptons, but we are also a small town.

I want to develop local stories that highlight the diversity out here. We have farmers and surfers and fisherman and Rolls Royces and homeless…

This week a friend and I were on the phone and I heard the train go by, but the distortion made it sound like an ominous giant dog or monster. He was standing in his yard which is only a stones throw south of the tracks. He told me that he’s noticed that the different conductors play with the horn and make different combinations.

In keeping with the idea of paying attention – this has stuck with me.

I want to play with this germ to see if I can make something that is not the usual cliche about the other side of the tracks, etc.

The Long Island Railroad runs the length of the island and divides the communities along class lines – those south of the highway and closer to the ocean are the wealthier. We have such extremes of wealth and poverty out here.


From Patrick Wheatley:

I’m constantly looking for interesting science narratives for audio  stories.

One of my current ideas  begins with Jean-Baptiste Lamark.

He did some incredible and fundamental science in the early 1800s. But most people (if they have heard of him at all) only know him for one reason; he got evolution wrong. Lamark thought that the characteristics you aquired during your lifetime could be passed on to your children (think giraffes evolving because they constantly stretched their necks to reach high leaves). Darwin comes along and sets us straight with natural selection.

Fast forward 200 years and it turns out maybe Lamark wasn’t so wrong after all. The field of epigenetics is showing that some aquired traits can be passed on to offspring (e.g., grandchildren of people that experienced PTSD have chemical/hormonal signs of being stressed despite living normal lives). Your experiences (and not just the genes you inherited) could affect your great great grandchildren in ways we never dreamed possible. Some predilections or phobias you have in your own life could be the result of things your relatives experienced 100 years ago or more.

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Stephanie Foo (This American Life)

Jonathan Mitchell (The Truth podcast)

Larissa MacFarquahar (The New Yorker)

Kazu Kibuishi (Amulet)

Our edit with Robert Smith and Jess Jiang (Planet Money)

Rob Rosenthal (the Transom Workshop, How Sound)

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Answer these 10 quick questions
to uncover the real reasons why you’re not able
to take control of your creative work.

Start Here