Introduction to Research Paper/Narrative Essay

For my third and final experiment I will attempt to do sort of a hybrid combination of a narrative essay and a research paper. My origin piece along with my first two experiments were much more focused in a creative style of writing, so I decided something a bit more research based for this experiment. According to Purdue Online Writing Lab, narrative essays “are often anecdotal, experiential, and personal”. I intend for this experiment to be written about the effects a breakup has on someone, and I believe including some of my personal experience will be essential. The combination of a narrative essay and a research paper will allow my experiment to be informative relating to a relevant topic among college students, yet still true to the personal nature of my origin piece. Since my origin piece is an original song I wrote about my experience with heartbreak/a breakup, I want the essay to maintain the emotion of the song without having to include much creative expression. I’m leaning towards using my second experiment as my final project, and I hope that exploring the emotional effects of a breakup in a research based context will contribute to the success of a creative piece. 

Writing for Literacy Education Online, Judith Kilburn states that narrative essays are typically written in the first person, utilize sensory details that create a unified impression, and are sometimes formatted with the progression of a story. Combining these conventions with academic research will definitely change the way both of my “genres” are typically written. I want it to be a piece that uses research to get a point across with a personal voice. The personal voice will come from anecdotes from my own breakup, and the research will come from academic sources cited in MLA format. 

Though the personal aspects of this experiment are what will make it original, the genre conventions of a personal narrative will not be used for the formatting/organization of the piece. Based on some samples of narrative essays that I’ve read, they are usually always organized as a story with a plot. I intend to format and organize this experiment like a research paper, just with a more free and personal style. Purdue Online Writing Lab discusses research papers being either argumentative or analytical, and I will definitely draw more from the analytical conventions. Instead of centering the writing around an argument one is trying to prove, an analytical approach to research papers focuses more on drawing some sort of conclusion based on research. My intent is not to convince my audience of anything, but to give them insight into the feelings associated with a breakup. Primary and secondary sources will be referenced and analyzed, all with the intention of the reader obtaining more knowledge of the topic informatively and emotionally.

Creating suspense and drama in a film

I’ve always been interested in the film industry, and have actually done some work composing for short films before. When I was younger, I used to conjure up crazy ideas for movies that could happen, but I was never aware of the screenwriting process. That was until I was in high school, and I learned about the basics of screenwriting in one of my classes. One aspect of creating a script that is very important is that there are many different ways of keeping the audience’s attention or investing them in a story. However, most screenplays have a common used system of creating drama and suspense. An overarching feeling of suspense throughout the film is ultimately what will keep an audience invested. Let me take you through how this is achieved by a screenwriter.

  1. Often, suspense is generated by the plot. In order for the plot the generate suspense, you need a character with a goal. The suspense is created by narrowing the story down to two outcomes: the character either achieves the goal or they do not.
  2. In order for suspense to be created around this goal, there is usually an Opposition, or the “villain” of the script. This “villain” stands in the main character’s way, seeking to prevent them from achieving their ultimate goal. This opposition can be personified by a single character, or could be something larger such as a government, company, or society in general. 
  3. But it is not enough to just have a character with a goal and a villain that stands in their way, some stakes must be created for your main character as well. Throughout a screenplay, it must be defined what a character stands to ultimately lose or gain from what they are working towards. What will the consequences be if the character is to be unsuccessful? In the movie Avengers: Infinity War, if the avengers are unsuccessful in stopping Thanos from acquiring all of the infinity stones, half of the universe’s lives are at stake.
  4. Suspense can also be created locally within a character. This is called inner conflict, when a character is torn between two decisions, or two things that they want. For example, in the Hunger Games series, Katniss is torn between romance with Peeta and Gale, and the audience is drawn in by who she will decide to be with.

Introduction to Short Stories

For my first genre experiment, I’m choosing to reincarnate a few original songs that I play with my band as short stories. I’m particularly interested in short stories in relation to my origin piece (or pieces) since short stories can be very expressive despite their limitations.  Short stories rely on being less detailed and descriptive to increase the curiosity and interest of the reader. I think songwriting is similar in a way, since there is a select amount of personal information presented to the listener, and there are some limitations in time, rhythm, and harmony. Because of this, I thought these genres would make for a great writing experiment, as they are both expressive, limited, and generate curiosity within the audience.  Short stories, however, are individual in many conventions. Unlike most songs or poems, short stories usually will contain a story arc with characters, a setting, and a plot. The uniqueness of short stories is that each of these conventions tend to be kept relatively simple. Usually, it’s up to the reader to form an opinion about the character or characters in a short story based on the limited information given. For the setting, it’s important to establish and create some sort of mood, but the descriptions are usually less detailed. Lastly, the plot is usually structured in a linear style. In many novels and movies, there tends to be subplots, complex twists, and gradual developments. But in short stories, there is almost always just one plot that is meant to be relatively simple. 

One short story that really stuck with me since I read it in 8th grade English many years ago is The Landlady by Roald Dahl. Here’s a PDF of the story so you can check it out for yourself: I think it’s fascinating that an acclaimed children’s writer like Dahl has a lesser known dark writing style that is showcased in this piece. Not only is it an incredibly well written story in the horror/mystery genre, it also is a great example of short story; The Landlady clearly displays all of the conventions that I discussed. For characters, there are only two characters that are introduced in the story: Billy Weaver and the Landlady.  There is not much description given about them, aside from the actions that take place throughout the story. The setting is slightly descriptive, but doesn’t get into too much detail. It tends to focus the most on the developing conversation between Billy and the Landlady. The plot is also kept pretty simple throughout its short 5 pages. Billy needs a place to stay, he finds the old bed and breakfast, and is introduced to the Landlady. The rest of the story focuses on their conversation and what seems to be “off” about the situation from Billy’s perspective. The Landlady is a great example of a piece that is brief, but memorable. I still remember reading it in 8th grade, which just goes to show that the piece uses only what it needs to be compelling.

Hey There!

I’m Nick Froelich, a junior studying Performing Arts Technology in SMTD. The title of my major is kind of confusing, which is why I usually just end up telling people I study music. The truth is my major is extremely broad, focusing on recording technology, music composition, songwriting, sound engineering, studio production, and many other disciplines inside and outside the music school. It’s just funny that after telling someone my major it almost always follows with a response such as- “Cool! Uhhhhhhh….. what’s that?”.  I used to love those Choose Your Own Adventure books as a kid, mainly because I was always the type of person who would want to intervene in the middle of a story.  I often equate this concept to my major. I use my major as a platform to continue to explore and gain new practical skills that interest me and allow me to become a better musician, creative, and academic. I chose to apply for the Minor in Writing because writing is an extremely important skill in the real world, and also is essential to my personal objectives as a creator. But enough about my major and academic pursuits, let me tell you a little bit about myself. Though a great deal of my major focuses on technical aspects of music, a huge part of my identity is being a musician.  I play piano and sing, and am a frequent writer of songs. Writing my own music is extremely important to me, existing as my go-to outlet of self expression. Currently, I play in an alt-rock band in which I’m the lead singer/songwriter, and sing/direct in an all male a cappella group. Just this past Friday we got to sing the national anthem at a Detroit Tigers game! (see picture below). And believe it or not, I also enjoy doing things that have nothing to with music! I am a frequent basketball player/NBA enthusiast, a religious coffee drinker, a lover of books, nature, and obscure Spongebob references.