Writing 220: Repurposing Idea, Max Rysztak

One of my favorite papers I have written thus far in my college career was a research paper for my history class on the Arab-Israeli conflict. In that paper, I analyzed how The Haganah – Israel’s early militia force – was a key factor in leading to a structured IDF, in that it produced many of the organization’s figureheads. I looked at four members of The Haganah, their military development, and how their long-term careers were influenced by their shared development in the militia. It was a very interesting paper, but it was made bland by the high page number and a confusing structure.


In repurposing this paper I hope to achieve a few things. Firstly, I hope to broaden my audience beyond academia. While research in original nature, this paper could prove interesting to understanding Israeli-Palestinian relations. But who wants to read an almost 15-page paper on IDF history? I think by changing the tone of the paper, in hopes of making it more approachable and readable, could make it interesting/useful to a wider audience of people. I also hope to achieve a new tone. I think this paper translates well to what is happening today in the region. It shows a lot of militaristic mentalities, which can highlight tensions in the conflict. I think by focusing more on how it has modern impacts also makes it more appealing to the average reader.


I think these two goals can be achieved in two ways. Beyond by just shortening the paper, I should definitely change the style in which the paper is written. Even in just skimming it to remind myself of what I wrote, I’ve become a better, more concise and clear, writer, in my time since writing this essay. By removing the fluff, and making it more readable would go a long way. I also want to stay away from lofty diction and complex sentences, which in my mind seem to complicate my argument.


Overall, I’m really excited about working with this paper because I’m hopeful that I can take an already interesting topic and expand it to a wider audience and make it more readable.

4 thoughts to “Writing 220: Repurposing Idea, Max Rysztak”

  1. Hi Max! Military history is a super cool subject and I think your topic provides a much-needed insight on one of the world’s strongest militaries. I think you are on the right track with your repurposing your ideas, as shortening your paper will help you avoid redundancies and really touch on the most meaningful aspects of your topic. I also like your emphasis on taking a more modern approach, especially in such turbulent, contentious times. I am wondering though why you want to stay away from “lofty diction.” I understand that you don’t want to make your argument overly complex, but I think being able to eloquently iterate your points could serve you well. Good luck, your topic has a lot of potential! – Ethan

  2. Hey Max! I’m really interested in the subject of your paper. I think your goal of readability in such a dense subject matter is spot on, and I think it’ll play out well. There’s a lot of interesting things being done in the same vein of taking difficult topics and boiling them down so they are comprehendible by a larger audience, and I think your voice could fit into that well. As a reader, I think I would need a tone that is a little more engaging than just “approachable.” I think fleshing out exactly what you mean by approachable will help develop your idea immensely. Also, there’s a balance to be found between being on the same level as your reader, thus making your piece readable, and also appearing to be an expert on the subject, thus making your piece credible. I think you totally can and will do that. I especially liked your emphasis on the modern impact of this conflict will help bolster that idea of readable, as readers can see how this directly affects them. I think this piece is going to turn out really well, I can’t wait to see what you come up with!

  3. Max,

    15 pages?! Wow that’s gnarly! I bet you can’t wait to cut this town into bits and pieces and form a new paper with a little more story and your voice. Love that you’re ditching the structure and making this about a broad audience. Had a thought that you may want to consider, too: the University of Michigan is a very liberal school and community with a relatively massive Jewish population. Discussion about Israel/Palestine conflict is ubiquitous on campus, and I feel like there are some insightful current events that could strengthen your paper by providing a real example of such a debate on campus! One example that comes to mind is the recent anti-Israel BDS sentiment on campus around election/voting season, addressed by the Michigan CSG. You can do a little research online, but here are a couple articles I think you should check out:



    Hope this helps! Excited to see what you’re going to do with your repurposed paper!

    All the best,

  4. Hi Max,

    I can totally relate to being initially passionate about an essay topic and getting burnt out midway through by an exorbitant page length requirement. One way you may be able to repurpose this paper to make it appeal to a broader audience can be to write it through the lens of a civilian directly impacted by the conflict. The civilian can be either fictional or non-fictional, but my instincts when trying to make a history paper more understandable to a broader audience is to personalize it. If you are able to either find comments from someone actually involved in the conflict or construct a character that would have been directly impacted by the conflict, you will be able to create a more engaging piece

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