The Serial Killer Problem

This post is going to be short because at this point, it’s about problems I’m having with the paper…

Since 8th grade, I’ve been obsessed with serial killers. I started watching Criminal Minds and became immediately enthralled by the work of the FBI agents. I wanted to analyze the minds of lethal killers and not only catch them, but decipher why they operated the way they did–just like the FBI agents in the show. This repurposing project has finally given me the opportunity to explore the nature of serial killers in depth.

Unfortunately, I started writing the draft today and ran into a problem. Because I want to use real events, narrating the paper as a serial killer makes it waaaayyy too disturbing. No one wants to read (and I don’t want to write) about how a serial killer murdered his/her victim. Right now, I’m trying to brainstorm different ways to write about the same topic. I’ve considered writing from an agent’s perspective about either how the killer was caught or why the criminal felt the need to kill. I also think it would be really interesting to write a more academic “nature vs. nurture” type of paper about why serial killers kill. Although I think I may get more out of writing the latter, I’m worried it requires too much research to write about in the allotted time. Any advice??

 

 

Can’t Think of an Interesting Title For This One…

The title page of my original English 225 Paper
The title page of my original English 225 Paper

So my repurposing project is taking an academic paper I wrote last year and trying to turn it into a short story. The paper was an ethical analysis of the ticking time-bomb scenario, whether it could be considered ethical to torture a suspect given that a nuclear bomb is known to be loose in a major city. I first lay out the con argument – that torture is unethical always even in the most extreme of scenarios. I then proceed to give the pro argument, rebutting every point of the first one. I conclude that torture, in the situation, could be considered ethical, as it is the least unethical option. The consequences of not torturing (bomb goes boom) are far greater than of torturing one individual. Sorry if you’re really bored by this, but I’ve laid out a somewhat in-depth summary because my main challenge in the project is to somehow retain this fundamental argument in a fictional short story.

Here is part of the abstract from my original paper and what I expect to become the main plot of the story:

“A nuclear bomb is loose in New York City. CIA Agents do not know the location of the bomb; however they have just captured a leader of the organization planning the attack. Furthermore, they have strong reason to believe this man has knowledge of the bomb’s location. They offer deals of money and immunity, but the man is not swayed; he will not talk. As it stands, a nuclear bomb will go off in the heart of New York – killing millions of Americans in the process. The question: what’s their next move?”

I'm going for a 24-like scene in terms of the drama and suspense.  I guess I'll have to channel my inner Jack Bauer.
I’m going for a 24-like scene in terms of the drama and suspense. I guess I’ll have to channel my inner Jack Bauer…

As far as how far along I am, I’ll be honest and admit I haven’t even started writing yet. When I’m writing fiction, I kind of like to just get in the zone and write as much as I can in one sitting. Since this is only a short story, I think I’ll just go to the library or lock myself in my room one day and knock it out, however long that might take. Questions…I’ve played around with the idea of not naming the characters. I’m thinking this might highlight the ethical dilemma more and not make it about the characters, which is something I definitely want. What do you guys think of this idea? Anyway, I think it’ll come out pretty well but I guess we’ll just have to wait and find out.

Newsflash! You’re a stakeholder

As a business major, what I find really engaging and compelling about corporate social responsibility might not appeal to others in the same way. I anticipate this being a challenge for me throughout the repurposing project. For my project, I’m repurposing a reflective narrative about community service into more of a research paper about corporate social responsibility and the changing role of business overtime. I don’t want my paper to be well-written, but boring. I don’t want my paper to appeal to only those interested business. I want my paper to be thought-provoking and relatable for people of all backgrounds!

You might wonder how I plan to do this. You might wonder how I plan to engage all readers in a research paper that’s about the nature of a changing business phenomena. Initially, I also doubted my abilities, but then… I realized something. I realized that everyone in the entire world is a stakeholder in one business or another. Yes, even you. Do you buy things? Do you eat at restaurants? Do you store money in the bank? Do you have a WordPress account? Well congratulations, that makes you a consumer

Changing role of business
The modern corporation is technologically advanced, globally integrated, and impacts your life.

Now that you know you’re a consumer, and by extent a stakeholder in various businesses, are you instantly more interested in corporate social responsibility? No? What about the changing role of business over time? Still no? Fine. Challenge accepted. After reading my final draft of the repurposing project, you will be interested. The way I frame historical content, statistical evidence, and business phenomena will draw you in. You won’t only be compelled to keep reading, line after line, but you will also be left contemplating your personal opinions on the role of business.

I decided to write about corporate social responsibility and the changing role of businesses after reflecting on a speaker’s discussion of the topic in one of my BA 200 lectures. Today, businesses are insurmountable. Like it or not, they have an effect on everyone. This is why I am accepting the challenge to write a research paper that appeals to the masses on this topic.

…but first, can you help me sort a few things out?

1. I’m still unsure about what platform to use. I want the platform to reach a wide range of people, but also be a platform that publishes lengthier pieces. Any ideas?

2. Another thing I am unsure of is the use of “I” and “you” in my paper. I’ve been debating interrupting the points I make and using a more colloquial voice to make sure that the point is clear. I worry this is too informal.  What do you think? Do you have any alternative suggestions?

Just Get Me a Really Big Closet

The process of choosing was never my expertise. Having gone through my old writing, I selected several pieces and actually structured them in my imagination in order to make the best decision, but then I found there is no better decision because repurposing any of them would be similarly challenging and exciting. So I decided to give up the comparatively more official Autism topic and the co-written short story with my friend; instead, I chose my shopping blog post in summer to present myself and to extend this specified topic into a broader definition of shopping and fashion in relation to economics and life. I believe shopping is more than purchasing; it is a lifestyle that we could establish in our life.

When we talk about economics, we always think of serious economists and sophisticated technical terms. Not so many people have thought of economics as an everyday life item that we can actually touch and feel. I have to admit that I’m a shopaholic. Shopping for me is a necessity and enjoyment while economics is where my interest lies. I hope I can bring my passion of shopping into the economic world, and help people open their eyes and know better about themselves and their shopping choices. My intention is not to educate, but to raise awareness and hopefully to gain the “ah-ha” moment for shoppers through simplified languages and ideas. Additionally, I also want to share my personal opinions, questions, and answers through exploration in the articles.

I anticipated creating a column in Vogue magazine named “Just Get Me a Really Big Closet”, which will include several articles in the discussion of different connections of shopping, economics and psychology. Just like my inspiration Carrie Bradshaw, I want to consider the topic in depth, but still make it easy to understand for everyone. I am excited about my exploration and thinking processes during the repurposing as well as growth and improvement after this project. Quoting Carrie Bradshaw, “Sometimes we need to stop analyzing the past, stop planning the future, stop figuring out precisely how we feel, stop deciding exactly what we want, and just see what happens”, so how about wait and see what will happen? I hope these explanations have furthered your understanding of my project; it will be greatly appreciated if you could point out your confusion (if there is any) and give me any suggestions for later development.

Carrie Bradshaw quotes from Sex and the City

So I’m Basically Ending Misogyny

I know you have all been waiting with baited breath to find out exactly what I will be doing my Repurposing Project on (kidding). Drum roll, please…. well after a very fruitful one on one meeting, I’ve decided to repurpose an old AP Literature essay on the play Medea by Euripides. The original prompt for the essay was essentially how the theme of ‘madness’ illuminated the deeper meaning of the work as a whole, and I accidentally turned it into a bit of a feminist rant on how female characters are portrayed in literature. I thought that would be really fun to repurpose into an online article targeted at young writers about how female characters have been portrayed throughout history in literature and how to proceed when writing “feminist” characters. Initially, I was hesitant because I thought it might become a sort of dry research paper, but I think adding in a personal element about my own experiences with navigating how to write a feminist character and adding in a satirical element could make this quite engaging, not only for me as the writer, but for the audience who could potentially get something out of a piece like this. I think it will be a really good opportunity to learn more about how we develop characters and what kind effect that has on a reader. I guess my biggest questions to tackle at this point are:

1. How do I narrow this topic? There are so many different directions I could take this essay in; I could tackle it from a historical perspective, or use it as a sort of defining essay for what a feminist character is. While the many facets of this topic will all add to the greater purpose, I think it is important to narrow it down just to keep it from getting too out of control.

2. What is my best venue for this piece? If I’m trying to access young, primarily female writers, I figure an online source would be best- but which? I initially thought something like an online version of Time or Reader’s Digest, but other than me, what teenaged-to-college-aged girl reads those? Maybe an online literary journal for young writers? Maybe something like the New Yorker? Maybe even something as colloquial as Buzzfeed? There are so many options, but I guess it is a matter of picking an outlet that is going to fit best with my narrowed down topic.

So basically I’m going to end misogyny in literature and media. And here is a man to tell you why we need to do that:

Joss Whedon Equality Now Speech

 

 

Bring It On

I find myself constantly defining words.

Whether it is something I’m reading or pondering about, I oftentimes catch myself defining words just so I can get a better grasp of what I am truly searching for in them.  And yes, I am THAT person who enjoys going to dictionary.com and exploring the new word of the day.  Typical minor in writing thing to do, right?

So, here’s my progression with this project:

Repurposing Project.  Repurpose (verb): adapt for use in a different purpose.  I found it really interesting that the definition used the word adapt.  When I think of this word, I think of adjusting to new conditions; this helped me to envision what I needed to do.

I need to adapt what I already have for a new outlet.  This made me feel better in knowing that I didn’t have to start anew with my topic.  My original thought was that I might have to since I wasn’t quite sure how to turn reflective passages and letters into an article.  But, hey, I chose to be a writer for a reason, right?

Bring it on.

What I found most interesting about my research on gratitude, which is my topic for this project, is that most other articles in The New Yorker relating to it are about the holidays.  In fact, many of the articles I found online via other magazines discussed gratitude in the same manner.  Most of them focused on Thanksgiving, in particular.

So, why is this the case?  Why do we put such an emphasis on gratitude at these times of the year and not at others?

This very fact proved to me that my choice of writing a magazine article on this topic is something that is needed.

But then this happened…

Writer's Block
Writer’s Block

I got all of these great ideas about my exigence and didn’t know what to do with them!

Since that happened, I focused mainly on the layout of my article.  I know that I want to start off with a catchy title in a large, bold font.  My goal is to make the title a short phrase.  I also would like to use two images since this will be a longer article.  Upon researching other articles done by The New Yorker, I have learned that they do not include captions with their images; this is a stylistic choice I will have to be aware of.

Also, I found an article that has influenced my ideas for this project:

Mother’s Day Article

I really enjoyed how the writer’s personal narrative flowed into their argument and facts.  As I continue the early writing stages of my article, I plan on keeping this in mind and mirroring this progression of buildup in my own.

But I still have a few questions.

What kind of tone should I aim for – should it be more relaxed and relatable, or should it be more serious?

Also, what do you think about balancing personal narrative with research?  Should I focus on one more than the other?

Please let me know in the comments below!

~~

Repurposing the Repurposed Idea

Although I was initially deciding between a few different pieces to repurpose, I think instinctively I knew that I wanted to rethink a blog post I wrote for my personal food blog, “Piece of Cake” (http://collegegirlinafoodieworld.wordpress.com/ for everyone who’s been asking for the link!) This particular post was about a crazy delicious hummus stall my family ate at during a visit to the Arab Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem. And while I knew how meaningful that dining experience was to me, I wanted to dig deeper as to why.

At first, I thought that I wanted to repurpose my blog post into an article for a culinary magazine, such as “Food & Wine” and reflect on my experience at that hummus stall while connecting my story to some greater cultural and political implications of the food we were eating and the place in which we were eating. However, I don’t think that idea was focused enough. It may be hard to seamlessly integrate research and facts with narrative, and to find that balance.

After more thinking, I’ve decided it may be more logical to separate my article into 3 parts. These 3 parts will make up an article all about hummus. While as of now, I can’t say exactly what those 3 sections will be, they will be something along the lines of:

1. The history of hummus/the history of the food in relation to Israel

2. A reflection on my unique hummus-eating experience v. what hummus is typically considered today

3. A review of a few hummus spots in Ann Arbor

My article will potentially conclude with a list of middle eastern restaurants in the Ann Arbor area and their information. I’m hoping that this new structure will aid in the organization of my paper, as now there will be clear areas to discuss history/research and clear areas for narrative. I think that this also better goes along with articles typically found in culinary magazines like “Food & Wine.” So I guess my question for my blog group, with whom I discussed my original format, is whether this new format makes sense/whether they like it? I would completely value your input before I begin writing!

Taking Risks

Okay, maybe not THAT much of a risk...
Okay, maybe not THAT much of a risk…

I think the best kind of class allows students to take risks without the fear of failing the class. Students should be encouraged to work outside of norms, to combine their interests with the topic at hand, to learn new skills just as much as they refine old ones.

 

I have really enjoyed this class because every project has challenged me to learn new things and integrate my passions with coursework.

Why I Write: I decided to make a video with iMovie. I’ve never used iMovie before, and I ended up learning a lot about how graphics, cropping, transitions, and stop motion video techniques. I also learned how to record audio, all while still completing the assignment.

Re-Purposing: I really wanted to make a website for some reason. I’m a very visual learner, and the ability to move images and text around to create a project felt a lot less like homework and a lot more like entertainment. Again, I worked within the broad guidelines of the assignment and still completed the task at hand, just not in a conventional way.

Re-Mediating: The entire purpose of this assignment was to think creatively and to translate writing from simple text to video, audio, etc. I went on a bit of an unconventional route and selected Pinterest as my media, but this was still accepted and encouraged by the professor and fit the assignment stipulations well.

E-Portfolio: Even here I wanted to challenge myself to learn new formats. I synthesized some of my work into a journal, learned about embedding PDFs and videos, and I’m still learning much more as I continue to work on this portfolio.

 

Overall I have really found this course to be completely different from what I anticipated when signing up for the Minor in Writing gateway. I haven’t done a ton of conventional “writing” but I have learned so much about web writing, social media best practices, blogging, video editing, and more. Are others feeling the same way?

Thoughts on Revision

So this week I was a little confused and turned in a revision of my Re-Purposing paper, instead of the Why I Write revision that was due.  Luckily I’ll still be able to make revisions once the comments for that paper are returned, but I actually thought it was interesting what I found while revising my paper last weekend.

What I actually did for this paper was set it aside for a long time (I really hadn’t looked at it in depth since I turned it in) and then came back to it in order to do revisions.  Now, I’m sure this is actually what many of you do for papers, especially since I remember my teachers since high school explaining what we should use this strategy to gain a fresh perspective on our own papers.  However, I can honestly say that I’ve never done something like this.  I always rush to revise and feel like it’s better to get everything done at once — which really isn’t that helpful the more I think about it.  After going back last weekend and reading through the paper again, I found myself agreeing with some comments and having a clear enough mind to answer some of my questions that I had.  I also found myself being a little to critical I felt at times, with different features like tone sounding good to me after some time away from the piece.  I really couldn’t believe how much clearer my mind felt after not thinking about the essay for about a month!

I am really this late to the game?  Is this a strategy that mostly everyone uses?  I can’t believe that as a junior in college I am just now figuring out that this can be a really helpful tool for revision!  I hope that in the future I can continue to keep this up and practice this skill in different ways with papers and assignments… it was a really interesting thing to learn as I revised this paper!

Third Time’s a Charm

My repurposing project is finally coming along. I have taught myself to navigate through Microsoft Word’s project gallery, and am making my three-pronged spread on salsa (the food) look like a true magazine article. I added images from Flickr, which I never knew existed before this class. I’m finding relevant and high-quality pictures on the site, which is making my project really come to life. I am slowly figuring out that magazine writing is my passion, which is why I am really enjoying doing this project. This experience reminds me of my experience as a writer for Spoon University, an on-campus magazine I just started writing for this year. I write for the “food-for-thought” section, and the style, I am finding, is very similar (as is the topic of food, of course). I think I’m going to be proud of my repurposing project when I finally finish. They say third time’s a charm… and my third draft is the one that I feel most proud of thus far.Salsa