Nanowrimo misses the mark on Venn diagrams

One of the big things in the new 2012 Nanowrimo merchandise is a Venn diagram theme. There are Venn Diagram stickers available and two different t-shirts.

Now, this may be my math nerdiness shining brightly through, but I’ve noticed a bit of a stealth trend of Venn diagrams in pop culture and merchandising, if only in the arena that’s already nerd-culture-friendly. And one thing I think that you have to do, to properly deliver on a Venn diagram motif in your merchandising, is to pay attention to those three double-overlap areas flanking the center of the diagram. What does it mean if you have two pieces of the puzzle, but not the third?

Alastair from Storywonk gets it. He didn’t unfortunately label his overlap areas in the show notes from Storywonk Sunday 21: Furious Robot Sex, but he did reference them in the podcast audio. The overlap between Character and Plot might be labeled ‘Soap opera/Sitcom’, (with an asterisk noting that there’s nothing preventing a really good soap opera or sitcom from discussing great themes and moving into the center,) the overlap between Character and Idea would be ‘Room with a view’, and the overlap between Idea and Plot would be ‘Golden Age Sci-Fi.’ And the Michael Bay Transformers movies, from which we get the tongue-in-cheek title of the episode, are consigned to the outer edges of the bubble marked ‘Plot.’

The best example of being really clever with a Venn diagram, to me, is the Doctor Who Venn Diagram t-shirt. Here, they take three timeless and fun aspects of the Doctor Who franchise, and show how rival franchises can only claim two out of three, thus illustrating why Doctor Who is vastly superior. 🙂

So, I’m calling on fellow Wrimos to help me out. Take one of the Venn diagram designs from the merchandising I linked to above and tell me what should be in the double-overlap spaces. Or come up with a brand-new Nano Venn diagram of your own – but label all three of the double-overlap zones. (Or at least one?)

3 Responses to Nanowrimo misses the mark on Venn diagrams

  1. The Golden Eagle says:

    Ha, I was noticing that about the Venn diagram, too. I’d have to think about it for a while to come up with anything clever for the overlap spaces, though.


  2. Mark says:

    Is the Venn Diagram for NaNoWriMo incorrect? I thought that the three sets had to have some commonality?

    i.e. set 1: people who smoke, set 2: people who drink, set 3: people with black hair. The three way intersection in the middle would be people who smoke and drink and have black hair. The filtered list contains people.

    With the NaNoWriMo diagram, it’s words, writers and days. At the intersection where they all meet, what does the list contain?

    Or is the NaNoWriMo picture just three circles showing the participant in the middle, hence it’s not supposed to be a venn diagram at all?

    Confused. 🙂


    • Well, it depends on how you think of it. With the T-shirts, you could say that it’s about the set domain of ‘events’ – there might be events that are 30 days and have 500,000 participants, but no words. You can play similar semantic games with the stickers.

      What most of these fit best, though, is the notion of a recipe. Maybe we could come up with a bunch of ‘recipe for Wrimo’ designs that the OLL can make into merchandise for next year!


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