Narrative Perspective & Voice

This blog post is about a task I decided to take on about narrative perspective and voice. Originally, I was doing this because I wanted to complete some of the extra assignments in the class, but I actually was able to learn a lot about writing from it. I never thought about putting on paper the comparison between describing something in the moment and describing it later, but the results left me very surprised and intrigued about this way of approaching writing! Here is what I did:

1) Narrate an important moment from the past:

All I see is the ball and out of the corner of my eye comes her. Before I know it I’m on the ground and screaming in pain. What happened? The girl smashed into my body leaving me on the floor and the ball somewhere far away. There’s no blood but there is definitely pain and I begin to scream. The louder I am the more worried everyone around me becomes and I start to hear the whispers of my knee being torn. My only though is that this is my worst nightmare, the words no female athlete wants to hear- you’ve tour your ACL. When I’m finally able to open my eyes that are closed to hide the pain, I noticed the ambulance pulling up on the field. They ask to cut off my cleats but I beg them not too, thinking that maybe just one thing could still go in my favor and I could keep my favorite shoes. They strap me onto the stretcher and my mom comes inside the ambulance as I see my team wave goodbye to me.

2) Reflect on the experience now

The moment changed more than I thought it ever could. It changed the way my leg would look forever, slighting disfigured, a bit wider than its once identical partner and a fresh 5-inch scar. It changed the way I viewed the game I loved, from being something I thought I’d play in college and past that to something I’d reminisce about, when I would play “back in the day”. It changed the way I’d appreciate being able to run and cut and jump and even just walk. I used to think about that hit and day and game as a moment in time that stole something from me. It stole dreams I had and tainted good memories and took away something I loved to do, but I can’t live that way. You can’t live feeling sorry for the fact that something happened to you, that a twist and a turn and a wrong hit at the wrong time and constantly repeating if only, you need to accept it. You need to find the silver lining and enjoy the other moments that are important too.

What do you notice about the difference in voice between these two paragraphs? Imagine them sequentially- do they work together?

I notice definitely that the first one is supposed to be in the mind of someone injured, expressing hurt and confusion and describing the situation at the same time. Similarly, the reflection voice is also inside the mind but sounds more sophisticated, less frustrated and more accepting, poised and under control. The main difference is that narrating a moment as if you’re in the moment and then reflecting on it shows different perspectives that can be expressed through the voice. While one allows for raw emotion to come out, the reflection comes off as my reserved and understanding. I think it would be possible, with some adjustment, for these two paragraphs to work together, as long as their was some kind of bridge or transition expressing how you feel then and now.

Mapping my Capstone Portfolio

I’m planning on categorizing my work into three over-arching navigation pages: non-fiction, fiction, and multimedia. This will help maintain a cohesive feel throughout my site – I won’t isolate my capstone project and developmental essay from my other work.

I decided to categorize in this way in order to make the site easily accessible for a handful of audiences. Evaluators are looking for specific pieces, but other site visitors might be confused if the navigation was directed by specific assignment titles.

Each piece will be prefaced with a short blurb – here is where I will speak directly to my evaluator, explaining the content, and how it showcases a specific skill that I have acquired. This is also the way I plan to incorporate reflective material (in addition to my developmental essay, which in itself is reflective).

I think that my site’s organization will accurately represent me as a writer because it displays three distinct genres of writing (as well as sub-genres). I am a very flexible writer, and I have experience with various mediums. I want this aspect of my writing to be conveyed.

What do you guys think?

 

Show, Don’t Tell

One of the many things I admire about writing is description. I admire writers who are able to paint pictures through their words. They show, they do not tell.

Whenever I am asked to read another person’s piece of writing the first thing that pops into my head is the phrase “make sure to show, not tell.” This advice has been drilled into my head ever since I can remember, and in turn I try to drill it into as many other heads as I can. However, although I preach these words of wisdom, I am not always one to initially follow them. Before I start any piece of writing I remind myself to show, not tell. But like clock work I finish writing my piece, only to go back and realize that there are so many places that I could have shown and not told. Showing, not telling, is a skill. Although I have not yet mastered it, I try my best to recognize it and look out for it when reviewing others’ and my own writing. Description develops writing; it enhances the picture in a reader’s mind. I hope that over time I will become better at showing. Until then I will still preach it to my peers, even if I haven’t mastered it yet.

Preachin’ to the Choir

I think the list of things about writing that I know I “should” do but sometimes (or often) don’t do could go on forever. But something I have come to appreciate, especially after beginning this minor, is the beauty in how much freedom writing truly gives me. If I want to write in all CAPITALS, bold every other word, or have line breaks

at

random

times, I can.

And that is a great feeling. Even the fact that I just began that sentence with the word “and” is something I was always taught to never do. I think my tendency to break the rules of writing has increased since beginning the Gateway course–and I am very grateful for this. That being said, there are still instances where I know I should be writing in a certain way, but still do not do so. One example that comes to mind is the “he or she” rule. Rather than writing something like, “someone does what they want to do,” I know it should read, “someone does what he or she wants to do.” But unless it looks or sounds completely ridiculous, I still sometimes include a “they” here and there instead. Oops.

Something less grammatical that I tend to do but probably shouldn’t is planning out every detail of my essay/assignment. It is definitely good to have an outline and clear idea of where a piece of writing will go, but the organizational freak in me always seems to appear when I sit down to write and takes this notion to a whole new level. People are always saying to just sit down and write, let the magic happen, but that is way too risky for me. I like to plan out the definite structure and content, even including the exact quotes from sources that I will use. I think I do this because it makes me feel more sure of my writing. Even if I veer off from my original plan, at least I was following some sort of plan in the first place. But, I still do want to try and just sit down and let the words flow from my mind for a piece of writing in the near future!

When I am asked for advice about writing, I often suggest to others that they read their writing out loud to help catch grammar mistakes or parts where the structure just isn’t working. But I often do not practice what I preach. It seems I never set aside time to read my writing out loud before submitting it or declaring myself finished. I don’t really know why I avoid this task. I think I would rather stay in my head when I write–it’s a little scary to hear your own words read aloud for the first time. But even just from writing this blog post I know I really should listen to my own advice. Maybe this prompt had a hidden agenda? Either way, for my next piece of writing I plan on reading it aloud as the first step in my revision process.

Commenting on Wix Pages for drafts

Hello all,

There is a cool feature on Wix that we all could take advantage of when it comes time to have our group members comment on our portfolio drafts, its the comments feature.  You simply click on the little bubble icon on the right hand side of your webpage in the edit setting.  It will give you a link you can email to your group members to allow them to put comments wherever they would like on your site in small bubbles.  To remove them after you have used them you can just simply click the little trash can on them.  Hope this helps some of you out with getting feedback on your portfolios.

I’m not a writer, but I want to be.

Even as a Minor in Writing student, I still don’t really consider myself a writer. I know that probably doesn’t make much sense, but it’s true. When I picture writers, I see people who just write for fun. I see people who write daily about anything and everything. I wish I was one of those people. I never really take time out of my day just to spend some time writing, although I know I should and wish I would. Several times I have considered starting a blog of my own, but I never do it because I don’t actually know what I’d write about. That’s my problem, I suppose. I have even tried out tumblr (back in high school when all my friends decided it was cool), but I guess it just wasn’t really my thing. That type of writing just doesn’t come easily to me. In fact, I’ve actually had quite the time writing this blog post. I am a perfectionist and want everything to be absolutely perfect before I submit it. This whole blogging this is very different from the academic writing I’m good at. I find enjoyment in spending hours editing and re-editing my academic pieces.

I’ve tried to convince my friends to join the minor because I truly believe in the importance of being a skilled writer, regardless of the field a student decides to pursue. From that, I should probably follow my own advice and realize that in order to become a better writer, I need to put more time into it. But at the same time, put less time into it. Not all writing has to be perfectly edited. Sometimes I need to write just to write. If I am able to do this, I think I will finally be able to consider myself a writer. But until then….

A moment of gratitude

I have been inspired by Shelly’s “it takes a village” prompt. As I begin constructing my ePortfolio, I am in total awe of how many people have been involved in my writing and professional development.

As I pull together the various written components, I can see just how many professors and instructors have contributed to this final body of work from my college career. I can look back on the revision processes and remember conversations about how to make these pieces even better. Each prompt and course is different, but I feel incredibly grateful that each teacher I have had in these writing courses inspired me to try new things and push myself to become a better writer. How many students across the country can say that?

Beyond classroom instructors, there are many other people who have helped me to this point: internship supervisors and co-workers, classmates, family, friends, and strangers. As I think about how to add reflection into my ePortfolio, I am reminded that every piece of writing could have an accompanying story just about how I got to the final production of that piece! And those stories would often be about those important people in my life.

Do y’all feel similarly? I might break out the “thank you” cards at the end of the semester for those special people who have played a role in helping me to have an ePortfolio I can be proud of.

Portfolio Thoughts?!

My capstone portfolio looks to answer this question: Is there any such thing as authenticity?  We live in the Digital Age —  we are always meticulously crafting, curating and reconstructing our selves. Can anyone just be?

I am interested in this question because I believe the authentic aka unedited and unfiltered self is attractive and aspirational. But does authenticity even exist anymore?

I will ground my project in performance theory and theory of the self/identity construction.

My project will ultimately live on an online website.  It has a few components.  First, in order to gather information about the cultural context, I will distribute surveys to my peers.  Ideally, my survey questions will help unlock the ways in which we identify ourselves, see ourselves and present to the world.  I will also ask questions to my peers specifically about their online identities in order to discover whether there is a difference with how people really identify themselves and how people present on Facebook/Instagram. In addition to the survey questions, which will be culminated into survey data/charts, I will also interview and feature a few full profiles on my website in order to give this data a human face.  The next component of the project is a photo collage.  I will ask all participants to take a picture of themselves in a ‘natural and comfortable’ setting, holding a piece of paper with words that express ways in which they define themselves.  Next to that picture, I will have a picture of their social media profiles (facebook/instagram). This explicit contrast will hopefully draw attention to the differences between our real selves and our curated selves.
Next comes the reflective part.   I will reflect on my experience interviewing people and my findings. This will be my opportunity to delve deep into my project, my inspirations and the outcomes. This will be the crux of my deep analysis. Let me know if you have any ideas/feedback/critique… I welcome all! Thanks!

Portfolio thoughts

For the Gateway class, I harnessed some ambition (past tense is key here) and decided to design and hand-code (sort of, with HTML/CSS a lot of the standards are already set in stone and it’s more like aggregating pieces together than reinventing the wheel) my portfolio. This turned out to be way more work than I’d anticipated, so this time around I think I’m going to focus more on the content and use a WordPress theme.

My Gateway portfolio has a super minimal design, which I think suits me and my writing well. My main throughline there was a focus on writing as a way for me to make sense of all my thoughts, and though some pieces may seem disjointed at first, they all made me stretch my brain and interpret familiar subjects in a new way. For my capstone, I’m going with a similar theme, this time focusing on my writing as a process and a verb rather than a collection of pieces, something I wrote in my developmental essay that stuck with me. I also want to address my gravitation (in both my major and writing minor) toward creating things from scratch, and how I wanted to come out of college with tangible evidence of my learning (in the form of many, many CS and writing projects) rather than just focusing on absorbing material already spelled out for me. I’m not quite sure how these concepts will translate to my portfolio as a composition (it seems kind of meta?), but I guess everything here is an iterative process, and I trust things will come together in the end (this has been my mantra this semester but so far I’m more talk than anything to be honest… woo senioritis).

My early thoughts on structure – my portfolio will probably stick to a fairly standard theme with a navigation bar on top, with tabs for my Developmental Essay, Capstone Project (which will have a table of contents and the ability to navigate between individual essays), and a dropdown for earlier writing. I’m planning on including an introduction on the first page to explain my portfolio concept, and some reflective material before each individual piece to provide some context for the reader.

Conceptualizing my ePortfolio

I wanted to share some of the thoughts I had about my ePortfolio after completing the “Pitching Your ePort to Your Peers” document in class today. Any questions or suggestions welcome! Please feel free to add your thoughts about your ePorts as well!

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Conceptualizing the ePortfolio

I am approaching my ePortfolio as an expanded online resume that specifically focuses on my experiences in writing and media. So for me, the “writing minor” section is one portion of the ePortfolio. The others include “bylines,” which includes links to published writing from my internships and other work, and “WOLV-TV,” which explains the work I’ve done for the campus TV station.

I have structured the section of the “writing minor” tab so that (hopefully!) it takes the reader through the chosen articles in a meaningful, well-thought out way. I start with my “Why I Write” from the gateway course, followed by the developmental essay. These two sections will showcase my writing process. Next, I have the “Remediation Assignment” tab that includes the repurposed and remediated pieces from the gateway course. I want to include these because they shows how I work in different mediums and can conceptualize writing in new ways. The next tab is the “capstone project.” Finally, I conclude with “other writing,” which consists of my ULWR essay and two fiction pieces from a creative writing class.

I think this layout ties things together because within the “writing minor” tab I’ve tried to show two essays about my writing, two projects (one from gateway and one from capstone) that showcase diverse samples of writing, and three “other” pieces to complete my writing portfolio. I am hoping this ties things together. Thoughts? Do y’all think the ePortfolio will make sense? Is it cohesive? 

Audience

Because I have chosen to make this ePortfolio an expanded online resume and work showcase, my audience is most likely professional. For example, it could be recruiters or future employers. This has impacted my plan because I want to maintain my voice in the ePortfolio while keeping a professional tone. The layout will be clean and easy to navigate.

Reflective Material

Reflective material will be incorporated into my ePortfolio through my “Why I Write” piece and as a portion of my “Remediation Assignment.” My Capstone Project also has a reflection portion on its separate Wix website. (My ePortfolio is on WordPress.)

Overall Takeaway from my ePortfolio

My hope is that the ePortfolio will showcase me as a person and writer in a way that communicates my unique talents and experiences in an engaging and professional way. I want the reader to get a taste of my personality, but ultimately takeaway my skills and what I’m capable of accomplishing through various types of writing.