Genre and Style

I wrote my first draft in a style that closely mimicked a New York Times article, when I was initially planning on having a much more laid back tone. However, as I began to write I found that this was the easiest way to get my ideas down on paper – in a journalistic style – because there were so many facts I wanted to include in the article. For my next draft, I think I will attempt to make the style a little less hard-hitting, and a little more conversational. One way I can do this is by introducing my interview subjects! Because neither were able to meet with me until next week, I did not include this part in my draft. However, this part will take on a much different style than the article section. This part will read more like a creative piece of fiction, though it will of course be the true stories of my interview subjects. I am really looking forward to integrating this part into the piece because I think it will really change the tone of the project, making it more relatable. My goal is to inform my reader with the first section, and then make them feel really connected personally to the issue by essentially being able to experience through storytelling in the second.

One thing that was really interesting however, was taking the very dry and technical language of my initial source and making it more journalistic. Instead of using legal jargon to dance around what I was really trying to say – I could outright make an opinionated claim without having to back it up with a source. I found this really refreshing because I really had to restrain myself from explaining my opinion in my initial source. This is why I found the in-class “translation” exercise so helpful. I essentially used this translation method to interpret various sections of my original paper that weren’t too bogged down with legal jargon. Overall, though it was definitely a nice change of pace I think I can go one step further and make the language even more conversational. I think the style that I wrote in for this draft was a really good first step in understanding my topic and converting really dry material into something meant to be both informative and enjoyable to read.

Research Research Research

In high school I hated research papers. My experiences had been pretty narrow, and research assignments had been pretty limited to dry History papers about historical figures. The task of the actual research felt daunting because I was typically uninterested in the topic. However, my feelings about research completely changed when I came to college and completed a research assignment for English 125. Rather than simply compiling biographical information into a ten page paper, we were instructed to construct an argument about any topic we were interested in and use our research on the subject to back up our argument. I had never completed such an assignment before and was genuinely excited to learn more about my topic. By the end of the assignment, I was an expert on all matters concerning the injustices of solitary confinement and maximum security prisons. Additionally, through my research I had formed a staunch opinion on the matter that I could back up with empirical evidence.

The research for my repurposing project is definitely not your classic Jstor or ProQuest type of academic research, like the type I mentioned above. But I think it will be just as rewarding. Mostly I’ve been digging into some new articles to get a sense of the political climate right now surrounding the fight around whether or not to defund Planned Parenthood. While I have been following this news story for a while, I was able to research some more of nitty gritty about the story, such as what a stopgap bill is, or some of the intricacies of John Boehner’s resignation. So far, I have not begun to collect interviews but am asking around for potential subjects. I’ve also been looking around at some blogs featuring personal stories in order to figure out a few ways I can tell the stories I am trying to tell. One way I can do this is by essentially transcribing the interview word for word. However, I think it could be compelling if I were to write the story as if it were 3rd person creative fiction, though the stories will be true. If the stories read like fiction, I think they could be really captivating.

Road Map

I began with a research paper analyzing the Substantive Due Process and the Undue Burden Standard within two cases: Roe v Wade and Planned Parenthood v Casey. I  wanted to repurpose this paper because there has been significant debate in the news as to whether or not the country should publically defund Planned Parenthood. I personally and am staunchly pro-choice and an avid supporter of Planned Parenthood, so I knew immediately that I wanted to dig into this topic and explore it in a new way. While I did discuss  my opinion in my research paper, it is very technical about certain means of the legislature and the Supreme Court. Thus, I wanted to explore the topic in a more creative way. Then a few weeks ago, I signed up for a feminist newsletter written Lena Dunham and Jenni Konner, two of my personal heroes and women I sincerely look up to. They sent out one newsletter entitled “#AskYourMother” in which after re-capping the many discussions going on in our government about defunding Planned Parenthood, they recounted two stories about their own mothers’ experiences before Roe v Wade.  First I will write a brief opinion-article type discussion about the current political climate, and how defunding Planned Parenthood could affect women across the country in very serious ways. Then, I will collect personal stories from women across age groups, to recount personal stories about women who have had abortions and how these experiences have affected their lives.

The lenny letter genre is what I largely want to base my repurposing project off of as I think it is both informative and has an element of creativity and storytelling within. However, I want my piece to have an element that is similar to an opinion article that might appear in the opinion section of a  publication like the New York Times. To do so, I will have to do more research on the potential government shut down as well as the short term and long term implications of defunding Planned Parenthood. This New York times article is an example of some of the types of research I will have to do to write this section. For one, I will have to continue to familiarize myself with all of the bills intend to avert a government shut down, and all of the major political players who are currently at the center of this debate.

I hope that the combination of both a journalist perspective and a few personal stories will help my audience understand the importance of the issue, and will allow readers to both increase their knowledge about the debate, and form a personal connection to the stories I plan on telling in order to come to a deeper emotional understanding of what it means to defund Planned Parenthood, or even to overturn Roe v Wade.

 

 

 

 

RookieMag

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Rookie mag (http://www.rookiemag.com) is one of my favorite blogs, and I’ve been an avid reader from its inception. Tavi Gevinson originally started fashion blog when she was a sophomore in high school. It was a pretty standard fashion blog in format, but the international fashion community became enthralled by this pint-sized fashion prodigy. She traveled to countless fashion weeks, and met with the fashion world’s most coveted icons. Yet in 2013, she started rookiemag, a new franchaise in which she completely reinvented her blog to resemble something that looked much more like an online magazine publication.

Each month there is a theme, and all of the articles put out that month have to do in some way with that particular theme. These themes range from ‘mulitiplicity’ (this month’s) to ‘up all night’ to ‘trust.’ The articles incorporate these themes in a vast variety of ways, some expected and some a little less clear in their connection. Readers can click on each issue and read the articles posted each day for that month, or they can click through the “category” section in which they have articles written under categories titled things like “beauty,” “dear diary,” or “live through this.” Some of the articles are written about current cultural phenomena, some are written about fashion and beauty, and others are articles of advice. The entire publication is geared toward young high school and college aged women. Though there are many different writers who contribute blog posts, the publication has a really clear voice directed toward young women. None of the articles feel preachy (which I feel frequently when I read Elite Daily) or too dry. There is a really nice range of articles from different categories, all of which feel relatable to my particular demographic. I also like the fact that there is a nice mix between serious articles about sensitive topics such race, abuse, or politics, and fun blog posts about music and fashion. It captures the complex range of interests that any young woman might have.

In addition to the content, the blog is incredibly well designed, featuring hand-drawn icons and a vintage color-palette. The illustrated icons next to each article really attract the reader and the entire publication is overall aesthetically pleasing. Ultimately, I like this blog because I think it speaks to a very specific audience in every way – both through content and design.

Writing – what exactly is it?

Writing comes in many different shapes and forms, but I didn’t quite grasp how expansive these mediums were until our gallery exercise. The question of how exactly to define writing is nearly impossible. On one hand, there are the “obvious” forms of writing that take shape as books, articles, academic essays – forms of writing that clear and explicit purposes. These purposes range from telling stories to organizing ideas to galvanizing change. Yet many other forms of writing aim to achieve the same goals in a range of ways.

For example, the piece of art posted in our gallery that depicts a hand made up of various words and phrases is certainly telling a story and conveying ideas – even if it is not spelled out for the audience in the same manner as a short story. In this way, writing can take many forms that are indirectly aiming at touching an audience. Writing is incredibly personal – which is why I have such an affinity for studying and practicing the craft. Writing has the ability to affect change and shift thought through both a fleshed out argument as well as a single word. Yet writing has pragmatic purposes as well – as we saw in our gallery through the lists and calendars. In this way writing is a means through which we can organize the chaotic 60,000 thoughts we have in a given day.

One topic of discussion I found incredibly thought provoking was the part of class in which we asked if spoken word could be considered writing. Most agreed that the words spoken in a telephone conversation could not be considered writing, while an oral speech that had previously been written down could be considered writing. I thought about this conversation while reading Ong’s piece in which he argued that writing detracting from our traditions of Oral storytelling. I personally disagree. I think writing captures the stories that shape people’s lives. It creates a mechanism through which these ideas and experiences can be shared and cherished. The books I read growing up shaped me as a human being, and I would not have had these formative experiences without the practice of writing.