Exploring shifting perspectives through writing (read: plz help!)

For my capstone, I’ll be exploring the idea of shifting perspectives through creative non-fiction writing. It sounds so simple when I put it that way, but as I’m sure many of you know, this capstone project is far from simple. The project needs to solve some sort of problem or question, and though mine will certainly explore multiple perspectives, I feel like I need to narrow down my problem even further.

For some background information, I plan on going to places around Ann Arbor where I can sit and observe someone for around 20-30 minutes. As I sit there, I will write notes for a small creative nonfiction story, likely around 600-800 words. My story about the stranger will undoubtedly be different from other people’s stories, however. That is why I will be enlisting a few friends to come with me on these journeys. They will take field notes as well, and afterwards, we’ll discuss what we thought we saw. After discussing and looking over their notes, I will write a second creative nonfiction story about what my friend saw. There will likely be a large juxtaposition between the two stories, and that explains how a perspective can influence a story. At the end of it all, I will publish my story, their notes, and then the written story of my friend’s notes.

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One of the issues that I have is that I need more ideas for places to visit where we’ll be able to observe a variety of people. I don’t want to observe just college kids, for example.

My second issue is that I feel as if I can incorporate a second topic into my project. For example, I could work out some of the problems that technology and social media pose on interactions between strangers and people watching in general. I would be willing to bet that most people my age wouldn’t know how to observe a scene or a person for a full half hour without looking at their phone.

I would appreciate any suggestions or comments you may have!

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Kelly Hall

I'm a junior at the University of Michigan studying Psychology with minors in Writing and Entrepreneurship. I love writing about community events, especially those involving sports. On campus, I spend most of my time at the Michigan Daily, where I'm a sports editor and writer.

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