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Interview with Jessica Warman (Author)

My interview with local author, Jessica Warman.  She has studied at Seton HIll and IUP. 

Paige mastrippolito's insight:

1. How do you think novel writing has changed over the years?
There have been so many changes that it's difficult to really hone in on a few, but I'll give it a shot.  In the past - say, more than 50 years ago - options for readers were far more limited in terms of what kind of books were available to mainstream audiences.  A bookstore can only hold so many books, so publishers were far more selective about what they were willing to print.  This isn't necessarily a bad thing, although it's not all good, either.  Now that the internet allows us to access pretty much unlimited information, it's much easier for writers to get their work out there in more nontraditional ways.  This is great because, obviously, there are tons of great writers whose voices weren't finding an audience when the market was more selective.  I think this also pushes the envelope in terms of what publishers are willing to print because it's not like there's an old boys' club anymore that can exclude anyone whose work is deemed a poor fit. On the flip side, there is a lot of poor quality work getting published because the standards have gotten a bit lower.  There's more responsibility on the readers' shoulders now to figure out what kind of writing they're going to enjoy, and thus seek out.  But I think authors are aware of this, and it challenges us to write better books.  There's so much more competition; if an author doesn't do a good job, there's no shortage of new writers who are willing to step up to the task.
> 2. Does fiction or nonfiction influence our society more? How does fiction influence us versus nonfiction? 
I'd say that nonfiction documents society, while fiction serves as more of a reflection of society.  Fiction attempts to answer the questions that arise from an examination of what's happening in our world, and I think that by stepping outside of a factual observation of the world (by interpreting facts via fiction), it allows for a much more interesting, and often more enlightening, critique.  But they're both crucial tools.  For example, a nonfiction book about the Vietnam war is important because it documents and examines an important piece of history.  A novel about the Vietnam war (For example, "The Things They Carried" by Tim O'Brien) does the same thing, but on a level that's both more intimate and more universal all at once.  As far as what influences society more, I'd have to say fiction - not just the books we read, but the stories we tell ourselves from day to day as we try to make sense of our world.  Fiction makes sense of life in a way that nonfiction simply can't.  
> 3. Why do you think readers become emotionally attached to characters? The best characters are the ones that we can relate to in some way, so it comes down to empathy.  And the best writers understand that a character's outward appearance (not just their looks, but things like their job, their house, etc) has very little to do with who that character truly is.  Readers respond to that understanding; they appreciate it, because it's true.  For example, I recently read a book called "Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe," which was written by Benjamen Aliere Saenz.  It's about Dante, a gay Mexican teenage boy.  Superficially, this isn't something I'd be able to relate to at all:  I'm not gay, Mexican, a teenager, or a boy.  But I loved the book, and I was attached to the characters beccause Saenz is a good enough writer that he understands those characteristics are a very small part of what makes up Dante as a whole human being.  That's what good fiction does - it allows us to realize that, no matter how different we seem on the outside, we're all people with a great deal in common.  Once that common thread becomes evident, it's easy to get attached to a character.
> 4. Do you think there is a loss of literacy and interest to read in this current generation? 
I hope not!  And I really don't think so.  There's just no subsitute for a good book.  It's a very different experience from reading a magazine or watching a movie.  It's a whole different sensory experience.  I can't imagine that our society will abandon it anytime soon.> 
> 5. Do you think writing is a therapeutic method to help people relieve stress (such as journaling?) >Yes, definitely!  I think that's actually been pretty well proven.  And I do think that is somewhat of a dying art, in the sense that people don't seem to be nearly as concerned with having a refuge for their private thoughts as they used to be.  Now instead of journals, people have blogs, which is so strange to me.  It has created this environment where we're all expected to air our deepest thoughts, but then we're vilified for them if people disagree.  Well, that's the whole idea of having a journal: you get to write down all those horrible thoughts - which we ALL have - without judgement.  And that's important - sometimes you just need to get things out before you can let them go. 
> 6. Are novels now and days pushing the envelope compared to novels back in earlier decades?I actually don't think they're pushing it any more than they have in the past; it's just that, depending on what society is like at any given time, what constitutes "pushing the envelope" tends to vary.  Regardless, mainstream publishers are always going to be cautious about what they're willing to print.  Every publisher has different guidleines depending on the genre they specialize in.  So while something like "Fifty Shades of Gray" might seem pretty riske now that it's mainstream, it's more of an indication of what our culture is willing to embrace, rather than an indication of boundary pushing.  There have always been books like that; it's just that, right now, people are more open about reading them, so they're more willing to seek them out. 

> 7. Do you think writing influences society? Can writing influence some individuals negatively compared to a positive manner? 
Writing absolutey influences society, without a doubt.  And it can influence people positively or negatively.  It all depends on the individual and how they choose to interpret what they're reading.  There's an expression that goes, "No two people ever read the same book."  This is true; we all bring our own unique set of beliefs and experiences to whatever we're reading, and those beliefs and experiences determine how we choose to respond.  So something that has a positive effect on one person might have a negative effect on another.> 
> 8. In your opinion should books be banned? Why do you think books get banned? Are people too touchy when it comes to some plots and themes with in books? > No, I don't think books should ever be banned.  And yes, I do feel that some people are too touchy when it comes to the content in books.  Just because a word or subject is unpleasant, crass, or even ugly doesn't mean it shouldn't be explored.  But some people are very uncomfortable acknowledging that such things even exist.  I think this is mostly out of fear, and the desire to maintain an illusion of control.  For example, "Catcher in the Rye" has been banned in many places in the past, mostly because JD Salinger uses the word "fuck" a lot, and because Holden Caulfield does inappropriate things like drinking underage and visiting a prostitute.  What people fail to understand is that these elements were included in the book for a good reason - not just because Salinger wanted to offend people.  Just because a word is used (fuck) doesn't mean it's being glorified - and in the case of CITR, it's exactly the opposite.  But people can be quite fearful when it comes to dealing with things that make them feel uneasy.  
> 9. Do you think writers are scared to push the envelope? If not, what makes writers push the envelope? > Not so much nowadays - as they say, there's nothing new under the sun, and pretty much everything that pushes the envelope has been done at this point.  The challenge is in finding a new way to do it, and to have a good reason for doing it, aside from shock value.  Writers who aren't very good will use edgy content to shock; a good writer will use it with a sense of purpose, and to challenge him/herself. 

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Paige mastrippolito's comment, March 5, 2013 11:05 PM
Pretty much using this whole article and Jessica Warman's opinion and answers from my questions. She gave a lot of good feedback.
Walt Bechtell's comment, March 11, 2013 1:30 PM
Excellent
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The Psychology of Entertainment: Our Connection with TV

The Psychology of Entertainment: Our Connection with TV | W.R.I.T.I.N.G. | Scoop.it
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Paige mastrippolito's comment, March 5, 2013 10:37 PM
I'm using this article for how the storylines of television shows have changed. Back in the days, families use to sit around the TV to watch Happy Days or I Love Lucy. Now, some families watch only reality shows together. I will also use this article on how the viewer connects to the characters and the show in a whole. Also, how we connect to storylines, happy endings, and the narration.
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Can Harry Potter make children better pupils? Identifying with characters in a book can change people's behaviour

Can Harry Potter make children better pupils? Identifying with characters in a book can change people's behaviour | W.R.I.T.I.N.G. | Scoop.it
People who 'lose themselves' in a book can actually change their behaviour to match the characters they like best, say Ohio State researchers.
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Paige mastrippolito's comment, March 5, 2013 11:09 PM
This article talks about how people change their behavior if they relate to a character. It also talks about how first person point of view may be more understandable.
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Books Trim the Brain - ScienceNOW

Books Trim the Brain - ScienceNOW | W.R.I.T.I.N.G. | Scoop.it
Books Trim the Brain - ScienceNOW
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Paige mastrippolito's comment, March 5, 2013 11:03 PM
Using this article on how reading can stimulate the development of the brain in young toddlers. Also states how nurture affects the brain. Credible and research done at UPenn.
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The Answer Sheet - How 'Twilight,' other dark fiction affect teen brains

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Paige mastrippolito's comment, March 5, 2013 11:07 PM
I might use the questions answered in this article because they give a lot of good information on how twilight affects the teenage girl brain.
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» “Some Thoughts on the Relationship Between Poetry and Psychology” by Richard Brostoff Rattle: Poetry for the 21st Century

» “Some Thoughts on the Relationship Between Poetry and Psychology” by Richard Brostoff Rattle: Poetry for the 21st Century | W.R.I.T.I.N.G. | Scoop.it
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Paige mastrippolito's comment, March 5, 2013 11:04 PM
Using this on how Poetry and psychology can be related to one another, and how poetry gets our minds thinking. Also talks about how poetry is changing.
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How do you tell when the news is biased? It depends on how you see yourself

How do you tell when the news is biased? It depends on how you see yourself | W.R.I.T.I.N.G. | Scoop.it
Does the quest for balance in news stories open journalists up to claims of bias? It's all about the framing.
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Paige mastrippolito's comment, February 24, 2013 8:56 PM
Using this article on the benefits of journalist hiding personal affiliations within articles, and how that works to an extent. Also using article on how readers need to connect with the writer, and see the writer as one of them.
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Victorian Novels Hold Surprisingly Modern Psychological Insights

Victorian Novels Hold Surprisingly Modern Psychological Insights | W.R.I.T.I.N.G. | Scoop.it
A new look at classic 19th-century novels reveals an understanding of behavior that largely mirrors the findings of current psychological research.
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Paige mastrippolito's comment, February 24, 2013 9:00 PM
using article on how we relate to characters based on actions and feelings.
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Changing our Minds

Changing our Minds | W.R.I.T.I.N.G. | Scoop.it
By imagining many possible worlds, argues novelist and psychologist Keith Oatley, fiction helps us understand ourselves and others.
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Paige mastrippolito's comment, February 24, 2013 9:05 PM
using on how fiction can helps us change ourselves, understand others, and can transform us.
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Reality Shows Changing TV's Reality?

Reality Shows Changing TV's Reality? | W.R.I.T.I.N.G. | Scoop.it
NYT: Their Huge Success Could Change How Networks Do Business
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Paige mastrippolito's comment, February 24, 2013 11:33 PM
how scripted series are being affected by reality shows. television writers are scared because of emerging reality shows taking away their jobs.
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In Treatment Is Great T.V. But Terrible Psychotherapy

In Treatment Is Great T.V. But Terrible Psychotherapy | W.R.I.T.I.N.G. | Scoop.it
"Boundary violations" on In Treatment make it entertaining but wrong
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Paige mastrippolito's comment, March 5, 2013 10:48 PM
Not really a useful article.
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Reading fosters brain development in young children | PostIndependent.com

Reading fosters brain development in young children | PostIndependent.com | W.R.I.T.I.N.G. | Scoop.it
Babies come into the world ready to learn. Their brains are thirsty for stimulation. Experiences that fill a baby's first days, months and years hav (read more)
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Paige mastrippolito's comment, March 5, 2013 10:50 PM
Using this article on information on how ready can effect the brain development in children. This could benefit a child when starting elementary school, because they may be smarter than children who didn't get read to as an infant or toddler
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PR Newswire UK: Waterstone's Booksellers Ltd: Harry Potter Improves Children's Reading -- LONDON, July 10 /PRNewswire/ --

LONDON, July 10 /PRNewswire/ -- ATTN: Regional News Desks - Survey Today Reveals the Positive Impact...
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Paige mastrippolito's comment, March 5, 2013 11:01 PM
Using this article on how reading Harry potter improves reading skills in children. Article also talks about how children want to be like certain characters in Harry Potter and they want their elementary school to be like Hogwarts. They also want teachers like Hagrid and Dumbledore.
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The Twilight Obsession and Its Effect on Marriages

The Twilight Obsession and Its Effect on Marriages | W.R.I.T.I.N.G. | Scoop.it
The Twilight FervorThe Twilight fervor seems to be heating up again with the release of the next movie in the Twilight saga. What isn't being talked about though is ...
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Paige mastrippolito's comment, March 5, 2013 10:55 PM
This article deals with the 'dangers' of the unrealistic series of events in twilight and how they affect the readers. Books like twilight can really effect the reader's relationship, marriages, and could be beneficial.
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The Negative Effects of Twilight - Student Advisement and Academic Support - Missouri State University-West Plains

The Negative Effects of Twilight - Student Advisement and Academic Support - Missouri State University-West Plains | W.R.I.T.I.N.G. | Scoop.it
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Paige mastrippolito's comment, March 5, 2013 10:57 PM
In this article it states Twilight can have negative psychological effects, especially on teenagers who are in fantasy land. Obsessive teenagers want their relationships to be like the twilight characters.
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Journalists as Social Psychologists & Social Psychologists as Entertainers

Journalists as Social Psychologists & Social Psychologists as Entertainers | W.R.I.T.I.N.G. | Scoop.it
Daniel Weiss has a fantastic essay, titled "What Would You Do?: The Journalism that Tweaks Reality, then Reports What Happens," in a recent edition of the Columbia Journalism Review. His essay surv...
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Paige mastrippolito's comment, March 5, 2013 10:46 PM
Not very much relatable information, but I could possibly use this article on experiments done by journalists.
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The Bias of Objectivity in U.S. Journalism » Sociological Images

The Bias of Objectivity in U.S. Journalism » Sociological Images | W.R.I.T.I.N.G. | Scoop.it
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Walt Bechtell's comment, February 24, 2013 12:44 PM
Very very interesting! Great research. Don't forget commentation.
Paige mastrippolito's comment, February 25, 2013 1:15 PM
Using for how journalists try to be neutral when writing but it doesn't always work. Also using how journalist should use resources.
Walt Bechtell's comment, February 25, 2013 6:41 PM
30/30
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Reading fiction 'improves empathy', study finds

Reading fiction 'improves empathy', study finds | W.R.I.T.I.N.G. | Scoop.it
US researchers measure impact of reading JK Rowling and Stephenie Meyer
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Paige mastrippolito's comment, February 24, 2013 9:03 PM
using on how readers self identify themselves with fictional characters from authors such as JK Rowling and Stephanie Meyer
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» Is Biased Journalism Making Us Crazy? Newsweek’s Hit Piece on Technology - World of Psychology

» Is Biased Journalism Making Us Crazy? Newsweek’s Hit Piece on Technology - World of Psychology | W.R.I.T.I.N.G. | Scoop.it
I guess I need to stop believing the media can cover a topic such as humanity's interaction with technology without bias. Newsweek provides one of the most
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Paige mastrippolito's comment, February 25, 2013 1:22 PM
Using for Newsweek and them br
Paige mastrippolito's comment, February 25, 2013 1:22 PM
being biased on certain articles.
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As journalism changes, so must you - USATODAY.com

As journalism changes, so must you - USATODAY.com | W.R.I.T.I.N.G. | Scoop.it
Without news literacy, citizenry is often overwhelmed and underinformed.
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Paige mastrippolito's comment, February 24, 2013 11:31 PM
using as journalism is becoming more biased, and journalism within social media. how to be informed through journalism, the news literacy movement, and to increase news literacy.
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Why fiction is good for you How fiction changes your world - The Boston Globe

Why fiction is good for you How fiction changes your world - The Boston Globe | W.R.I.T.I.N.G. | Scoop.it
We spend huge chunks of our lives immersed in novels, films, TV shows, and other forms of fiction. Some see this as a positive thing, arguing that made-up stories cultivate our mental and moral development.
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Paige mastrippolito's comment, February 24, 2013 11:35 PM
Using for how fiction makes us feel empathy and we can relate to characters. Also using for how television shows affect our opinions on real life situations and people.