Genres Delivered in 30 Minutes or Less (Or Your Writing for Free!)

Hello there.

Today, I’m going to take a look around my room in my apartment and see what examples of writing I can find in the next 30 minutes or so.


That milkshake was so good. On the cup, there are three main sections of text: the size (12 oz.), the logo (hat like? With the brand name, useful), and a promo about the glory that is Arby’s, declaring their brand purpose and values. All of these seem in line for the genre that is, I suppose, fast food cups. The material the cup is made of (a thin, waterproof cardboard) and its shape (cylindrical) also seem in line with other cups from fast food restaurants.


Or, rather, the Undergraduate Library, not some sort of spreading disease of unattractiveness. It follows a simple, readable format listing 10 Things to Know about the library. While this information might come in a brochure or a text heavy pamphlet, this sheet breaks some aspects of the genre of informational pamphlets. It is double sided and is broken down into a list that is further broken up in alternating blue and white colors. There are a variety of links that can be typed into browsers (perhaps it would benefit from QR codes though? It’s not as if I can click the links) as well as reference pictures of the site.

There is also a fairly minimal amount of text on the sheet. It makes me think of Buzzfeed and other click-bait type stories in this way that it lacks extrapolation, but makes up for it in being an extensive list.


To save myself some grief, I’m just going to look at the outside rather than the ridiculous amount of writing within. I’m just going to assume that my notes are fairly in line with most note-taking genres (Lots of words. Lots of doodles. Sometimes I highlight things!)

Instead, the cover is pretty on point with what you might expect from a very cheap notebook. Plain colored, heavy cardboard cover. Perforated line along the metal spiral binding to indicate that the sheets are perforated (it even claims to have “High Tech Micro Perforation.” What… What does that mean? What part of that is supposed to be high tech?? Whatever.) There is also a bubble of white to indicate the type of notebook it is: 1 subject, 70 sheets with college rule lines. Nothing but the best for me.

Classic notebook.


I need to stop eating in my room.

This definitely falls into what I am familiar with when it comes to ketchup packets: strange vacuum sealed foil packaging with pointy edges, instructions on the corner for opening, ingredient list, distributor information, and a little picture of a ketchup bottle (very recognizable). This also falls in line with what I would expect from other condiment packages, too; mustard and mayo and whatnot.

At the same time, I think this genre might be changing. I’ve seen more and more plastic packages of ketchup that have tops that can be peeled back for dipping, or an edge torn for squeezing. Maybe this is a paradigm shift for the whole world of portable condiment pouches. Is the world ready? I think I might be, but I’m not sure. In the meantime though, this ketchup package falls in line with what I would expect, and that gives me comfort.


Last one. Half hour is almost up, and I felt it was only fair that I look at a website since I’m on my laptop with more than 20 tabs open. That’s a lot of writing.

Tumblr is an interesting example of a social media site. While the basis of this site was blogging, social media is probably the genre that it aligns with most closely now, but it is very markedly different from some other popular ones. The entire site is based upon sharing the things that people you follow have shared. There is also an element of sharing the things that you have created; it’s a great platform to share you music, art, videos, and writing, as well as participate in crowd sourced conversations. It’s slightly similar to Twitter in the public sharing aspect and the level of reach that posts can attain, but its form is longer than Twitter’s, which makes a big difference in post content.

The layout of Tumblr is also fairly in line with other social media sites. The background is blue for one thing (just like both Facebook and Twitter) and posts are in list form vertically with features, navigation, and posting options along the top and sides on the upper portion of the page. Where this format might differ more drastically is on the individual users’ blogs, which are highly individualized, allowing for custom html codes for layout and features.

Despite the differences, Tumblr is still very quickly recognizable for what it is based on the genre conventions is follows: social media, and a good source of procrastination and time wasting.

#GenreChallenge 2

One of the summer internships I recently applied for asked me to write a personal statement to accompany my resume, so I decided to do another Genre Challenge and earn some gameified , like I did for my resume.

After some research, one of the first things I realized is that the personal statement can be the critical factor in distinguishing you from the other applicants.  It is for this reason that the statement should attempt to entertain and entice the reader, rather than bore him/her.   Structure and writing style is also very important.  Just because the statement is meant to be “personal” does not mean that all formal writing conventions should be left by the wayside.  The personal statement falls under the category of professional writing; therefore, conciseness and preciseness are of the utmost importance.  Although certain experiences you choose to share may be complex, they must be presented clearly and effectively.  While the grades and test scores will highlight intellectualism, the personal statement will underscore one’s ability to communicate.

In order to begin the writing process for a personal statement, the statement instructions must first be carefully read and understood.  Different companies may call for different types of statements, which is why one cannot just reproduce the same one and send it out to multiple employers.  When getting started, it is helps to gather information about yourself in the form of past experiences, activities, personal challenges, and unique talents.  It is then easier to recall more specifics from this broad list of occurrences and capabilities.  When researching the resume, an important theme was showing the company how you would be able to benefit them.  The same goes for the personal statement, as most employers  are interested in what unique qualities applicants will be able to contribute.  The personal statement is the opportunity to showcase deeper qualities than those on the resume.

An extremely important aspect of the personal statement is to keep the focus on you.  The personal statement is all about you.  While there may have been people or experiences that have been influential in your life, it is vital that the focus is kept on you and not on that special person or experience.  An admissions board is not going to care about the accomplishment of someone else in your life, unless you focus on how that accomplishment influenced and affected you.  Most importantly, be truthful.  Readers can tell when someone is not being genuine, or simply exaggerating the truth.

As with any piece of writing, proofreading is always important and writing several drafts can always help.  Just like any other piece of professional writing, the personal statement should be A+ work.  One strategy I read about was writing a first draft, then waiting to review it until a little time has passed so that you essentially have a fresh pair of eyes.  It also helps to have the statement reviewed by as many people as possible, including friends, family members, and letter of recommendation writers.  Either way, it is essential that the statement be free of grammar, syntax, and spelling errors.  While the statement may be personal, the tone and structure must remain professional.

Genre Challenge: Gamefied Points

A How-To-Guide for Writing Music Criticism:

Music criticism, according to the Oxford Companion to Music (a music reference book produced by the Oxford University Press) is defined as: “the intellectual activity of formulating judgments on the value and degree of excellence of individual works of music, or whole groups or genres.” Because interest in music has become so popular in the advancing technological world we live in today, music criticism has come to acquire the basic meanings of journalistic reporting, particularly on musical performances.

Winton Dean, an English musicologist of the 20th century, noted that music is especially difficult to criticize in relation to other art forms. Music is written in a language unique to its own kind. In other words, the musical note C, for instance, has no explicit relations to love, journey, peace, or other abstract notions or ideas that music works to portray. Additionally, music can be recreated and reinterpreted, making it a dynamic art form, rather than one that is static.

If you’ve never critiqued a piece or pieces of music before in your life, do not despair. I have broken it down for you:

First, consider these questions when critiquing music:

  1. What was your overall reaction to the performance?
  2. What was the strongest element of the performance?
  3. What was the weakest element of the performance?
  4. Was the event well-organized? Was there any element of the performance that detracted from your concentration or enhanced it?
  5. If the performance is vocal, how did the text correspond with the music? Did the music communicate the text effectively?
  6. If the performance was purely instrumental, what visual images and/or emotions might have been conveyed by the music? Did the music communicate effectively?
  7. If there was a conductor, did you feel the conductor communicated his or her interpretation of the music to the players and the audience?

Now, let me break it down for you even further, with eight easy steps to keep in mind as you are answering these questions:

1.     Decide what sort of music you’ll offer critiques on.

First, set parameters for yourself. What genres of music will you critique (Rock & Roll, Jazz, Folk, Metal, Hip-Hop, Pop)? All genres are open to criticism! While some online bloggers have “listening blogs” through which they listen to and critique a multiplicity of genres at once, others prefer to critique one specific genre at a time.

2.     Form an opinion before saying it out loud.

As you listen to a song or other piece of musical art, avoid expressing your opinion about it while you listen. You should refrain from doing so because your opinion on the piece may change multiple times before it ends. Wait until you have listened attentively before saying or writing/blogging about how you feel.

3.     Refrain from presenting yourself as an expert on musical techniques.

For those of you who aren’t musicians, you might find it hard to avoid pretending you are. If you want to refer to a professional musician’s skill or talent, make sure you do so in an opinionated manner. Rather than saying, “He’s not that good of a piano player,” you may want to say, “Personally, I like how Pianist 1 plays piano over Pianist 2.” This allows others to contest your opinions, and allows for further discussion.

4.     Use your knowledge of similar music.

Draw connections between musical groups, songs, musical genres, instrument sounds, etc. when you notice they exist. This will help validate your opinion in the eyes of others who might not be familiar with the particular music piece you are critiquing, but instead are familiar with alternative, similar pieces. Drawing these similarities will also boost your credibility in the music world, and prove you are generally knowledgeable about a particular genre/style/instrument/group.

5.     Do your homework.

Read other music reviews in the same genre you are critiquing. It might be helpful to get a second, third, and even fourth opinion from people who have done similar critiques in the past. Also, if you play an instrument that is prevalent in the genre you are critiquing in, play it on your own time! Producing and listening to your own music can help you to become even more familiar with the tone, pace, harmonic techniques and other existing aspects of the musical piece you are critiquing.

6.     Contact people, if possible!

Don’t be afraid to contact the musician of the piece you are critiquing, whether it is someone you have met before, or a complete stranger that lives on the other side of the country. Ask questions, conduct interviews, and find out information that may help you better critique the piece you are studying.

7.     Encourage others to discuss the music with you.

Generate open discussions with others in the music world. By talking out your opinions with people who understand how music is written and produced, you may notice and learn new things about a particular song, band, or performance. Open discussions allow for agreement and disagreement… but don’t be afraid, because both can be good!

8.     Recommend your favorites.

How does word and opinions about music spread? You! Recommend your favorite bands and songs to others, publish your criticisms, and get other people talking about your work and critiques. Word of mouth is what allows the world of music to exist, how connections among music-lovers are maintained, and how musical criticism stays alive!

 Examples of Music Criticism: