Make-One-Get-Three

Though I’ve been crafting several novels in my head for years and years, I’ve rarely worked to create something novel-related other than the stories themselves. That’s why, when T first introduced these “experiments” we would be making, one of my first thoughts was to use one of my novels as my origin document. Eventually, I decided I was going to use a novel for middle-grade readers (titled “It’s Pronounced ‘Pegasus’”) that I had started writing very late last year/early this year. 

Once I had the origin piece set, my experiment genres were soon to follow. I decided that my first experiment would be a sound essay capturing a “morning-in-the-life” of my protagonist – a medium I had never heard of before but was willing to try. My second experiment would be a book trailer (something I had always dreamed of making, anyway), and my third experiment would be a book website/author website.

The top of the landing page I’ve started making for my website

While each experiment was enjoyable to make and left me wanting to create more and more of it, I had to pick only one for my final, realized experiment (FRE), and that pained me. Luckily, I found a bit of a loophole. As such, for my FRE, I will be combining all three of my experiments into one by finishing my website (experiment 3), which will include the sound essay and book trailer as “Extras” on one of the clickable tabs.

Though I portray this little bit of ingenuity as a sudden revelation, it was actually my plan from the beginning. I always wanted to create the best website possible, and I thought that would mean including the other two realized experiments, too – which would require that each of them be finished in order for the website to be fully realized. But my plans changed slightly toward the middle of this journey.

Once I realized how time-consuming these experiments were – and how I was drawn to finish the other two experiments, anyway – I decided that I would make my book trailer my final experiment. I had gone above-and-beyond with the Sample, basically finishing it instead of just giving it a taste, and so the only still-needed piece to call the book trailer fully “complete” was an image of the book cover – which I would need to spend some time designing. In the course of making the Sample of my website, however, I also needed to make an image of the cover for the landing page (“Home” page), and so adding the already-made book cover to my book trailer was an easy few clicks from there, and my Experiment 2 was complete.

The book cover I designed for “It’s Pronounced ‘Pegasus'”

As such, I feel like I have no choice but to fully realize my Experiment 3, as it is the only one that still feels a bit “incomplete,” and – as my initial ideas indicated – the trajectory of my experiment journey seems to have been building toward a fully-realized website from the start.

One of my chief concerns is always time, but I think I’ve put in enough effort already to make it work. I’m also a bit worried about the logistics of it all, but I know I have resources in T and in my classmates, should I need them in the next few weeks. Other than that, I don’t think I have many concerns about this project. Now that I’ve accepted my fate, this feels completely doable.

My next steps will simply be to finish what I’ve started. This will mean tweaking the “Home” page, adding author bios (one short, one long) to the “About” page, finishing out what I’ve started on the “Book” page, and creating an “Author Q&A” for the “Extras” page. Even though this might sound like a lot of work on paper/screen, I think it will be manageable over the next two weeks. But, even so, wish me luck!

Mostly excited with a little bit of nervous

After much deliberation, I am happy to announce that my final project will be a timeline of the year of my life from 20 to 21 and what I learned from it. It will include the good, the bad, and some of the little things that have shaped and influenced me into the person I am now. It will be separated by each month that includes a picture or some other form of media, the lesson I learned, and how I learned it. My hope for it is that someone else who is also navigating this odd time in between childhood and adulthood will find it comforting, entertaining, and thought-provoking.

I chose this project because out of my 3 experiments it is the one that I feel the most pull to go back to and finish. I have clarity for this project on what it looks like in a final form and that is something that makes me excited to think about. This project is also the one that I want to share with others the most which I think is also important. I want my final project to be something that I am proud of in the end and part of that means showing it to the world so I can be proud.

Moving forward with this project I am looking at possibly switching platforms so that I am able to customize the interface of the project to be laid out exactly how I want it to be. I also need to set in stone what media I would like to use and pull in for my lessons for my last 8 months of the year. I am going to begin by creating a much more in-depth sketch of my project and doing more research about platforms.

I am excited, a little nervous, and ready to get to work. Follow along with my process here!


The Light at the End of the Tunnel

It seems like just yesterday I was entering this classroom for the first time, receiving a syllabus and listening to a lecture about these hypothetical experiments. I remember being overwhelmed and confused at the thought of these three experiments, and a final project, and portfolio with everything in between, thinking, “this is not gonna go well.” But now here we are, knee-deep in finished experiments and heads full of fantasies for their final forms, and I’m seeing it all come to a sad, but exciting end.

When I look back, perhaps the most difficult choice I’ve had to make so far in this class is deciding which experiment to realize into my full project. Through the many hours I have put into working on these experiments, I have fallen in love with each one, and have become invested in making them perfect. For that reason, I wish to continue with all of them (and maybe I will) but for the purpose of this class, I can only choose one. Over the weekend when thinking about which experiment to continue as my project, I was caught between the first, which is a graphic novel, and the third, a poetry collection. However, I arrived at the conclusion that with the graphic novel I have already expanded my horizons by challenging myself to draw and piece together a visual project. Now I just want to write some more. I crave it. Thinking up tiny speech bubbles for the graphic novel didn’t satisfy my urge to write. What can I say? I am a writing minor after all.

A poetry collection is a group of poems published together by an author that follow a similar theme or format. The length and quantity of the poems vary, which is something I’m excited to play around with. Because poetry is something I’ve worked with before, I want to challenge myself to do something different. Maybe I will write a specific type of poem that I’ve not done yet, or will experiment with a length I’ve never achieved (my poems are always long so maybe it would be best to try writing a short one).

Because my other two experiments were so closely tied to my origin piece, I want this one to be more loosely based. I want to explore more of the experiences my character endures in my story and think about it in relation to my own life. For this, I think I will just write poems from now up until when the project is due that follow the themes of the story. I want the production of this experiment to be more natural- more vulnerable. I worry that this project may be difficult to organize, but we will cross that bridge when we get to it. After all, I have written three poems already and have plans to write a whole lot more before I consider organization.

Perhaps the thing about this project I am most unsure about is the way it will be presented. For the sample of my experiment, I tried out a couple different things. I thought about a video, with a slide-show type transition between stanzas that moved to the flow of a narrated voiceover. Then I found a website with the affordance of animated visuals that I worked on for an hour, only for them to try and charge me when I clicked the download button. The easiest thing to do would just to plop a title above the left-aligned text like most poetry collections, but I want this project to be unique. I suppose I will return to this question after the poems are written. Sometimes the words themselves tell me how they’re meant to be presented. I just have to listen.

Experiment 3: Revenge Tour

(Google Slides, circa 2019)

For my third experiment, I wanted to layer different Google Trends graphs on top of one another to demonstrate the upward trend of slang words since 2004. My slang words included features like “oof,” “yeet,” and “tea.”

However, my third experiment was not what I wanted it to be, and that’s okay. I found that through creating this graph, I discovered what I actually was interested in in relation to Google Trends. I want to analyze why each curve looks the way it does. Is it cyclical? Are there peaks? While I still want to do what my sketch for the third experiment outlined, this is the part that really interests me. So, my final project will be known as “(I can’t think of anything creative or snappy yet)” and will feature one diagram made up of layered Google Trends graphs, with an analysis portion for each word.

Moving forward, I need a better way to make this diagram than doing it in Google Slides. I also need to address words that aren’t solely slang (tea has a small peak every winter, and it’s not because we’re all gossiping in January). For my next steps, I plan to reevaluate the list of slang in my sketch and compare Google Trends graphs.

Here’s to this Revenge Tour being different than the last! (we’re a basketball school– no, a football school– no, wait– agh!)

Metamorphasis of a City Block

I will be advancing my third experiment into a final project submission format. The experiment was a sample of a photo essay of my trip to Detroit in which I highlighted the new Shinola Hotel as well as its revolutionary impact on the surrounding area. This experiment was the most desirable to continue working on because of its limitless communicative potential- alongside pictures, I intend on implementing opinions, overheard conversations, and thoughts that I/nearby people had at that moment and place.

I am slightly concerned about effectively narrowing down my camera roll from the trip to Detroit; I took over 150 pictures of that block including the interior and exterior of the hotel as well as adjacent businesses. While I used Powerpoint and Word for the experiment for this photo essay, I will use an official web platform to creatively relay my story and perspective on the day.

I would ideally like my ePortfolio to represent the recurring theme between my experiments and origin piece – the gentrification/revitalization/renovation of urban landscapes. On this note, blurred background images of modern buildings and construction projects would be fitting for each page of the website. While I have been passionate about each experiment that I’ve done, I want to include a blurb about each experiment and what I learned from them. More generally, I would like to have an about the author segment to give the reader some background on my personal interests so they can better relate to and connect with my final project.

Video Poempalooza

For my final project I will be realizing my first experiment, a video poem based on the first poem of my creative writing poem portfolio (which is serving as my origin piece) that examines the differing perspectives of a newborn baby and the world around it.

It is entitled “Life Becomes A Girl” and I plan for it to have about a 3 minute duration, with a progression of a newborn girl being born in the hospital to being taken home and adjusting to the world around her. This one is less centric to the overall theme of my experiments, which is a tribute to my grandmother’s life, as it does not convey any of her specific life experiences or facts as do the other two experiments. Yet this is the experiment I felt most passionate for. While it was easily the most difficult to create and will be the most difficult to adapt, I found myself enjoying the process of this experiment the most, and also the greatest satisfaction when completing the sample.

The concerns that I outlined in my sketch and sample are still relevant, and I’m still worried about them, but I trust in my abilities. Namely, I think it will be difficult to find high-definition, readily-available footage of the scenes I want to show, as I don’t really have any old VHS or DVD footage of my own or siblings’ lives at hand. I also believe I’ll have to somewhat re-learn the shortcuts of editing and sound mixing and such that I held a small grasp of whilst conducting the sample.

The good thing is that the scenes are all mapped out from my sketch. All I really have to do is find the right footage for them, and once I find them, it just becomes a matter of editing. This takes time, but I’m very willing to sacrifice time for quality. I also have to record the rest of the narration for the video poem, but that should not prove to be too arduous.

The layout or design of this project is pretty direct, considering it’s just a video. The challenge is balancing the colors and the transitions so that there’s a sense of fluidity and continuity with the footage. It also has to balance with the background music and narration, which influences the duration of the clips and cuts that are made.

No lie, this final project is daunting. It took me a long time to do the sample, and that ended up around just over a minute. Now I have to create two more minutes of it, with footage I believed would be harder to find. So we’ll see how it goes. Overall though, I’m content with my choice, and I’m happy knowing I decided to undergo a passionate challenge rather than something of boring ease.

The Big Reveal

For my final project, I’ve decided to fully realize my Ziggy Stardust fan fiction piece. More specifically, it’s a short story based on David Bowie’s concept album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spider’s From Mars, telling the tale of Ziggy’s fall.

This piece was my very first experiment. After choosing my origin material, I knew it was something I wanted to try since it had so much creative potential. When I began the story, I immediately felt a connection to it. I found myself unable to stop writing, as ideas continuously flowed onto the page. I also had the opportunity to have this piece workshopped, receiving significant valuable feedback that I want to incorporate into the final project. Part of the reason why I chose this project was that, out of all my experiments, I felt most uncomfortable with having this piece remain unfinished. I want to finish what I started, and create a full story by filling in the missing pieces.

One of my concerns is that I wrote the majority of the story in my sample. While I do have a good amount of detail, background, dialogue, etc. that I want to add, I don’t think it will end up making the piece significantly longer. I mostly just want to make the story feel complete, rather than change it dramatically.

Moving forward, I want to focus on making the fan fiction story as strong as I possibly can. I began my e-portfolio ahead of time so I can put more time into my writing. I hope to get some fresh eyes on the piece since I have read it so many times at this point.

Folding Up My Final Project

For my final project in the Minor in Writing Gateway course, I’ll be finishing my experiment 3: a pamphlet encouraging readers to start a journal.

Actually, I’ll be writing two pamphlets. I realized part-way through my experiment that I was really trying to address two audiences that were very different: adolescents and college students. I’ll be writing two different versions of my project using language and resources that are best correlated with the audience in mind.

I targeted these two age groups because these time periods are highly stressful and are when many mental health problems first show up. Since journaling has many emotional and mental health benefits, I thought it could be especially useful to these groups.

My sample from Experiment 3, aimed towards the college demographic.

This project is really meaningful to me because songwriting, which was my form of journaling, helped me through some really tough times in middle and high school. I was able to rant, tell my side of the story, ask questions, or create a happy ending all through my songs. I would love to help others find this release and explore their writing in a new form through this project.

I plan to finish designing the pamphlets and then print some out to distribute. I might stash some on campus to see what happens, or T suggested reaching out to a local high school to see if they might be interested in having some available to their students. This way they can actually get in people’s hands and, hopefully, impact them in a positive way. I’m excited to see what the future holds for this project!

I’ve done it…

Well, against all odds (really, in my reflection for this experiment I even explicitly ended with the sentence “this will not be my final project) I have decided to fully-realize experiment 1, my website/magazine website. This site, created on Wix, will serve as a culture and inspiration hub for millennials/college students. In contrast to my origin material, which touched on the common negative media stereotyping of our generation, I will be creating a space for positive posts about millennials. The site is called “Millennial Moment.”

my landing page of “Millennial Moment”

Basically, after completing experiment 3 I knew this had to be “the one.” This was really the only experiment that I thoroughly enjoyed envisioning/designing/doing. I like that its multimedia, for a change. I also kept comparing every subsequent experiment I created to this one, which told me that this site is something I didn’t want to let go.

Moving forward, the only real concern I have is time. Though, I have completed some major steps within the project this weekend, so I’m feeling better about it all. It will be quite the task to both make the vehicle for the content (the website) and the content itself (the articles/listicles on the site), but it’s a task that I’m up for.

Image result for woohoo gif

Eureka! I’ve created it!

In modern times, pursuing writing and pursuing science are looked at as two ends of a very long spectrum, but I would argue that writers and scientists – at their most basic level – are pursuing the same things.

Now, you might be furrowing your brow, but what is writing if not discovery? What is science if not communication of meaning? Do not both fields act as a lens through which we come to understand the world?

And the realization of this connection was why I found the title of “experiments” so fascinating. Almost literally, we would be combining various elements (thoughts, mediums, individual words and letters) to create brand new products – something we might not have been able to fully envision when we first set out to invent.

For my part, I’ve been enjoying the journey. It’s been exciting to try new things and see what results, but I wish I had more time. Researching has been taxing, and, though I am pleased with how my experiments are turning out, many nights the hurried deadlines feel like they’re sucking away my creative spirit.

My first experiment was a perfect example of this. At the suggestion of my professor, my first experiment was to make a sound essay – something I had never heard of before. Apparently, neither had most other people in the world. (FYI, a sound essay is like an audio essay, but it tells the story entirely through sounds instead of words.) Very little research existed on this genre, and this made figuring out where to start the first major hurdle. Once I had an idea of what to do, though, the actual creating part was a blast! I found myself working extremely late into the night and not realizing this fact until the experiment was done and I looked at the clock. (Time truly flies when you’re crafting a story!)

A screenshot of my monitor while creating Morning Blues (my sound essay) in iMovie

My second experiment was making a book trailer. The research for this genre was much easier and far more exciting. I came into the experiment with a lot more excitement about the genre than with the first experiment, and that made this labor of love a little less laborious than I was expecting. In the end, I wasn’t thrilled with the constraints of the creative platform I chose to use, but I was very happy with how the final product turned out.

A screenshot of one of the first frames of my animated book trailer, made using Powtoon

For my third experiment, I’m planning on making a website. My origin material is a novel for middle-school-aged-readers that I’ve been writing, so I’m hoping to make the website into the book’s actual website. On the website will be both of my first two experiments, as well as fun extras like interviews with the author, pictures of the cover, character bios, etc. While I haven’t started yet, I’m hoping it will be great!

My experience of the experiments so far has been a bit of a rollercoaster, but I’ve been thankful for the push to play with writing in a way I don’t typically have reason to do. Like with science, I think writing is something that should be probed and tested, so I’m glad that these experiments have invited me to try things that are outside of my current wheelhouse, and I look forward to the challenge of continuing to explore.