Posts Tagged: Vlogbrothers


Dear all, today’s post comes to you in several parts. Let’s see how many as we go.

Part One: Another welcome!

We’ve been gradually picking up followers over the past few weeks, and we’re now up to 600! So welcome one and all! We’re really glad to have you and I’m very much looking forward to seeing the stories and ideas you guys are going to come up with! Welcome!

Part Two: An extension

Activity has been kind of slower this year than last. And that’s in part my fault since for the last few weeks, I haven’t really been updating. And I realise that lots of people have lots of things on, so its difficult to get things done. So to make things just that little bit easier, I’m making a slight extension to the deadline. Although the deadline to buy tickets will still be the same, the end of August, you’ll have another week on top of that to submit. So the final deadline for stories will be the 7th September. Which means…

Part Three: Countdown

This is how long you have got to submit your stories. To be clear, this isn’t how long you have to buy a ticket. All ticket sales will stop on 31st August. If you buy one on that day, you have an extra 7 days to send us your story. If you’re not exactly clear on how to buy a ticket and submit your story to us, see here for instructions.

Part Four: Inspiration

I know that lots of people are having problems with the prompt. I agree, it’s not an easy one, but I think that challenge breeds better writing. That said, I’m the admin of this contest and I would be neglecting my duties if I didn’t try to ease the burden on your end. So, starting today, and every day up until the contest ends, I will be publishing posts entitled “Inspiration Waystation” where I highlight to you pieces of research, innovation, development, etc from the last 13 years that it’d be a great idea for you to have a look at and see what you can do to base a story off of. That isn’t to say these are the only things you can use to get ideas, but every little helps, right! I’ll do my best to cover a broad range of subject matter, to give as many people as possible the kinds of story writing prompts they might want.

I hope this all helps, and I’m really looking forward to seeing what you guys come up with!

God Bless, Best Wishes, and DFTBA!


Greetings one and all,

I see that we have lots of new followers joining us recently! Welcome one and all. This post comes to you in two parts. Or perhaps, one and a half parts. I say that because the first part is something of an introduction to the second part and… okay lets get to it.

Part One: The Email

Recently, I sent a round-robin email to all our judges that asked them two questions.

1. What are your top three favourite creative non-fiction books that have been published in 2000 or after?
2. What kind of stories could you imagine using those books as a jumping off point?

And so here, in part two, is Aaron Simon’s response to these questions. To see more of Aaron’s work, click here.

Part Two: Aaron Simon

"Creative nonfiction’s not usually my thing.

Scratch that.

Nonfiction’s not usually not my thing.

We’re so inundated with the goings-on of real life - you might say we even live in it - that, man, at the end of the day, you just want to curl into the fetal position, grab a bottle of scotch, and either bawl yourself to sleep or read a book that’s not set on this planet.[1]

That said, I do occasionally venture out of the fiction bubble. I’ll pick up a book on Zen philosophy, or a human interest piece, or, if I’m feeling particularly daring, an incredibly dense - but enjoyable - book on the universe. Reb Trimmer asked for my top three of the 2000s so far, so here they are:

1. Sit Down and Shut Up: Punk Rock Commentaries on Buddha, God, Truth, Sex, Death, & Dogen’s Treasury of the Right Dharma Eye. Long title, right? Well, around the time I was in my sophomore year of undergrad, I was really coming to the point where I knew that my religion up until then wasn’t for me. I knew that Islam and Christianity weren’t for me, either, so I did some poking around and found Soto Zen, then Zen in general. Now, I ain’t saying I’m a good practitioner of it, but I am saying that it makes a good amount of sense, and Brad Warner does a great job of chopping away at the ritual and ornamentation and showing what it is, based on Dogen’s work.

2. The Lost City of Z. It’s like an adventure novel, something you’d see by Arthur Conan Doyle - when he wasn’t writing about spiritualism or detectives - or H Rider Haggard. The catch is that it was written by a New York Times journalist, and tracks a Victorian explorer’s quest to find a long-mythologized lost city in the heart of the Amazon.

3. What Are You Doing Here?: A Black Woman’s Life and Liberation in Heavy Metal. Laina Dawes writes about her experiences growing up as an adopted black woman in the heavy metal scene. The book talks to women like her from the metal and punk scenes, and discusses the genres’ pasts, present, and futures, and what those women have gone through. Obviously, it’s a human interest piece, and you have to be at least somewhat interested in the histories and scenes and cultures of the two genres to get anything out of it.

Second on Reb Trimmer’s to-do list was to to talk about what sorts of stories could be created from these.

Ultimately, I’m a believer in letting a writer stare at something long enough and - hopefully - she’ll come up with a story. However, I tell that to people, and follow up with “It works for me - most of the time,” and, judging from the amount of obscenities and rude gestures I get in return, that doesn’t quite work for other people.

So, personally speaking, I’d probably get the most traction out of The Lost City of Z. Something like a modern-day explorer going through the jungle to track down ruins spotted via thermal imaging, but runs into some really spooky shit. The exploration turns into a fight for survival as his party is hunted down by - something.

At the heart of the trouble, though, isn’t finding creative nonfiction, or journalism, or anything else. It’s making a story into a story. I mean, come on! There’s already a narrative - what else do you need?

Well, let me tell you what I think about real life: It’s boring. Dull. Yeah, even the exciting bits are pretty boring. Life can’t hold a candle to fiction when it comes to excitement. And why? Because there’s always another side. There’s always some logical reason for things to happen why they do, and, when there’s a logical reason, there’s consequences.

You don’t have to think about all of the stormtroopers who died in the first Death Star in the Yavin system, nor do you have to think about their families waiting for them after their tours of duty ended.

You don’t have to think about how severely screwed up the fact that a giant great white shark prowling the waters off a beach in Jaws is. (There’s no way there’s only going to be big sharks. There are going to be big everything. That shit don’t happen without other weird shit happening.)

And you know why? Because it’s fiction. It’s not real. We are free to place ourselves in a universe far, far away, where those dudes are supremely evil, and it, frankly, doesn’t matter what the consequences are. Or, we’re free to go “Yay! The big, mean shark is dead and the two guys lived!”

So, perhaps you should take a look at a piece of nonfiction that you really like and say, “How can I turn this into a rollicking good time? How can I turn this not into a narrative, but a rollercoaster ride?”

Will you run the risk of not being Literary because you’re not writing in a Realist mode? Will you not attain a position in the hallowed halls of academic literature because you’re not another Jonathan Franzen?

Probably. But, man, I hate to break it to you, but even the most melodramatic parts of your day-to-day life don’t always have some existential meaning. Sometimes stuff just happens.

Hell, some days go by when you’re not faced with an existential breakdown brought on by… I don’t know. What’s the buzz in the Times best-seller list these days?

Sometimes, you just have to have fun.”

[1] That’s not particularly true. Most of the time, it’s a high-gravity beer.




Congratulations Hank and John!

There were a lot of these to choose from to reblog, but I’m picking this one because the only other tab open is Fishing Boat Proceeds. 

This is obviously a really huge feeling, something that doesn’t really make sense, but also feels perfectly natural…and of course totally impossible. John and I owe a lot to a lot of people. To each person who ever cared enough to subscribe, to share a video on facebook, to email one to a friend, to donate to the P4A, to make a video response, to comment, to rate our videos with five (now non-existant) stars. To try something new, to care about creators as well as creations. To want to be a part of something unusual and weird.

To every person who was a little too excited about Accio Deathly Hallows or who dragged their friend over to their computer to show them the cool, thing they found….even if their friend didn’t think it was, in fact, all that cool. To the teachers who show our videos in class. To everyone with a DFTBA tattoo, or a hanklerfish in your notebook. To the people who have been watching since ‘07, and the ones who found us last week. To the citizens of Nerdcrafteria, the team at EffYeahNerdfighters, the sub-reddit creators, and the mods in Our Pants. To the Lizzie Bennet lovers, the SciShow Fans, the Crash Course Students, the Swoodilypoopers supporters, and of course, in every way, to the Nerdfighters. 


Thank you all.

Your welcome!

But seriously, we thank you. Thank you very much indeed!

Source: singingtowers

It’s here! It’s finally upon us. The prompt has been announced and it is…

Well you didn’t think I’d make it that easy did you?

You may notice a distinct lack of new website, and that is because I have taken the advice of Mr Chris Dolman and several others on here, and have decided to keep the project Tumblr centric, since it’s where most of you are already, and it just makes it easier to run things from here. I hope you all arn’t too disapointed about that one, but you will be seeing the much voted for Llama on the front cover of the E-book when it is launched!

BUT rest assured, you won’t be needing a tumblr of your own to take part. Just go here and click on “Prompt”, “FAQ”, “Submissions" and "Rules" to find out more.

Thank you all for being a part of this! I’m really looking forward to seeing who makes it into the final anthology. I will be taking part myself also, but like all of the rest of you, the judges will look at my story blind and will pass their judgements and hand out the scores accordingly! Thank you all for your enthusiasm for this project, lets get out there, write, raise money and fight worldsuck!

God bless, Best wishes and of course…DFTBA!


Good morning fellow tumblrers, today’s tumblr post comes to you in three parts, lets get right to it.

Part 1: News

So, its been two days since we launched this campaign to organise a short story contest for/with the nerdfighter community, and already there has been significant progress.

  • At time of writing this, we have twenty five followers on the tumblr here.
  • We’ve been featured on the Ning, both on the front page of the blogs section, and the in the discussion and debate section, where we’re talking about the best ways to sort out some of the details of the contest.
  • We have TWO interested judges. Marcy Collier (a blog she regularly contributes to can be found here and her twitter is here) who is a professional critic for the Western Pennsylvania branch of the Society of Children’s Books Writers and Illustrators and is the editor of the Golden Penn newsletter, and Katie Biela, an English Literature teacher in one of America’s top ten preparatory schools.
  • We have initiated contact with two other groups of potential judges. I can’t say any more about that at this time, but both are very interesting and I’m very excited about their potential involvement.

This is all very good news, and although there is very much still to do, this is all very encouraging. Please do keep following the news on this tumblr, an please do let any other creative writer friends know about what’s happening here!

Part 2: Charity!

I’ve decided how we are very definitely going to get the nerdfighter community directly linked with this event, in the form of the charity we shall be raising for. I’ve said before that many of the parts of this contest will be submitted to a vote, and what better way to submit this part of it to a vote than to link our proceeds raised directly to this year’s Project For Awesome!

We’ll be donating the proceeds from both the sale of the anthology and the entrance fees to the Foundation to Decrease Worldsuck. This money will then be part of the collective funds that will be voted on by the nerdfighter community as a whole to decide which charities will be supported that year.

This is, in my view, the best way to make sure that this is a project that all of Nerdfighteria can be involved with in some way. Even if you don’t take part directly, you can still be involved in the decision of where the money goes, by taking part in the Project for Awesome 2012.

Part 3: Possible dates

In terms of dates of the contest, I have some ideas for dates, but these are still very very fluid. Right now, I’m thinking that the contest should begin on October 2nd 2012. AKA DFTBA day. To explain, October 2nd is the first time that we heard the initialism DFTBA on Brotherhood 2.0 (the original incarnation of the Vlogbrothers project). You can see it mentioned towards the end of this video. So on October 2nd, the prompt will be announced and those who have paid their entrance fees will be able to begin writing their stories. The actual opening of the website for people to pay their entrance fees will happen a good deal sooner, hopefully around May-July time, but I digress. Then everyone will have one month, until November 2nd, to write their stories. This will then give the judges just over one month to make their decisions, and would give me and any other organisers, what little time there is left to put together the Kindle anthology, and publish it before the Project for Awesome begins.

Now it should be stressed at this point that everything I’ve just said about dates is NOTHING but a list of guesses. We don’t yet know all of who the judges will be, we don’t know how available they will be, and most importantly, we don’t know how many people will be entering. If say fifty people enter, that will mean that everything I’ve said will probably be quite possible, but if one thousand and fifty people enter, that’s a very different matter. Either way, we’re still very much at the beginning of all of this, so please keep following, keep reading and watching, and more information will be coming to you forthwith!

Best wishes & DFTBA



So after some expression of significant interest from both the Nerdfighters ning, and the Your Pants forums, I thought that I should set up a Tumblr dedicated to chronicling how we are getting on with the organisation of the first Nerdfighter short story contest. Thus far we’ve got several things discussed and agreed upon, though some of these may possibly change: -

  • This project is definitely for charity.
  • The revenue will be generated in two ways. Firstly by an entrance fee for the contest, and secondly by sales of the anthology containing the winning entrants. All of the money from both of these will be going to the charity that we choose.
  • There will be a first, second and third prize, and then a larger number of stories that reach the accolade of being published in the anthology.
  • The anthology at the end will most likely be an E-book for Kindle and other platforms. Although we would like there to be a physical book published, there is a good chance that doing so would cut far too deeply into the charity revenue.
  • The story length would be somewhere between 1000 and 3500 words.

There are however lots of things still to be decided, namely…

  • Which charities are we giving to?
  • What will the entrance fee be? (off hand, my guess would be between $4-$8 US)
  • Who/How will we be publishing said anthology? Shall we self publish it, or shall we go through Amazon or other means?
  • How will the contest work? Will there be rounds with different prompts, or will there be one prompt and everyone works around that.
  • Will there be any feedback from the judges? Or will we arrange it so that participants can go to a special forum and receive/give constructive criticism and general feedback

There are advantages and disadvantages to various different ways of organising this, and I’ll post about them over the next few days. However, the one thing we definitely need at this stage can be summed up in one word


Until we have people who would be willing to act as judges in this contest, we can’t really start planning anything else. We certainly have plenty of willing participants, but as for people actually who want to read lots and lots of our stories and pass judgement on them as to who is best etc, that’s going to be much much harder. As I myself actually want to take part and write a story myself, it’s really not going to be me, so we need to find some people who would be willing to do that for us. Preferably, people with significant reading/writing credentials. Of course there are John and Hank Green to approach, but they are rather busy with lots of other things right now. So if you know anyone who you think would be apt, or if you are someone who is apt, please get in touch with us! Send me a message here, and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible to arrange more! In the meantime, wait for more news here.