Capstone Project Ideas

Idea 1: Fashion blog

I want to create a fashion blog geared towards students and recent graduates, and audience to which thousand dollar pairs of shoes are neither practical nor attainable.  I love fashion and beautiful clothes, but I always find it slightly entertaining (laughable?) when bloggers present themselves as wearing five-inch heels to go to the grocery store.

Though I still need to flesh out this idea, this project would be a fashion blog (or a fake fashion blog) focused on practical and attainable clothing.  At the same time, it would comment on this culture of the fashion world as it is presented in blogs and the media.  This project would be slightly journalistic, though written in the tone of a typical blog.  Models that I may look to include: the Man Repeller (manrepeller.com), the Cut (http://nymag.com/thecut/), Cupcakes and Cashmere (cupcakesandcashmere.com), and Atlantic Pacific (atlantic-pacific.blogspot.com).

 

Idea 2: Cheryl Strayed-Like Narrative

Again, I still need to think this through, but I think it would be interesting to write a personal narrative in the tone of Cheryl Strayed.  To pull this I would have to focus on a particular moment or series of moments in my life that are interconnected, perhaps different experiences I have had during college.  Like Strayed does, I would tell there stores “in the moment,” but I would offer up reflection, making it clear that I am looking back on a certain experience.  This essay would be creative non-fiction and geared towards people who have had their own college experiences.

3 ideas

Last semester in an english class I took we wrote creative non-fiction essays.  We had no official prompts–we could write about anything that we wanted–but our essays had to be descriptive and had to have a purpose.  This class was surprisingly a very welcomed break from the traditional essays that I had grown so accustomed to writing in college.  In fact, I liked it so much that I want my Writing 400 project to also be creative non-fiction.  The question now…what do I write.

Here are the three ideas that I initially thought of.  If I do end up going the creative non-fiction route, I am not quite sure what unifying theme would tie these ideas together other than them all be creative non-fiction.  Let me know your thoughts!

1.  Write about my summer working on an ambulance in Israel
Last semester I wrote a short essay about two specific cases that I saw when working on the ambulance.  The essay was very specific to two cases of suicide that I saw.  I really enjoyed writing this essay and finding meaning in these two cases.  One option is therefore to write more about my experience working in Israel–going beyond these two cases and writing about my overall experience, something that I did not get a chance to do when writing this other essay.
2.  Write about college: what I expected vs. what it is actually like
Thinking back on my college experience, there are so many things that I would have done differently.  From what I studied to the amount of time I spent in the library, college was very different than how I expected it to be.  I thought it might be fun/interesting to write about this in the form of creative non-fiction instead of a traditional essay that essentially lists these differences.
3.  Explore “hate-watching” television
As I mentioned in class, I watch Keeping Up with the Kardashians and end up making fun of them the entire time (I’m not that mean, I promise).  I don’t enjoy this television show for reasons other than hating it.  Along these same lines, I read tons of fashion blogs.  While I mostly read them because I genuinely enjoy learning about the behind the scenes of the fashion industry, I also enjoy looking at different fashion collections and listing all the reasons why I would never wear many of the pieces.
Let me know what you think.

HALLELUJA

I am very happy with how my ePortfolio turned out!  It is very clean and simple, just how I pictured it to be.  This semester has really taught me a lot about the usefulness and importance of new media writing.  The aspect of new media writing that I find most different from traditional writing but most useful at the same time is how the design and layout can affect the argument being made.  With this in mind, I created a very clean looking portfolio that really puts my writing (and the journey I took to get to each of my final drafts) on display.  For me, a writing portfolio should be all about the writing.  I think that the clean and minimal look of my portfolio really enhances this idea but making my writing the central piece of the portfolio.

In addition to its clean look, I chose not to include any images in my portfolio other than the banner that is on the top of every page.  I did not include any pictures of myself, because I think there is something so cool about my audience getting to know me through my writing.  Not that you really know someone from a picture, but you get the point.  I think that adding a picture of myself or even of my interests does not go hand in hand with the overall purpose of my portfolio.  I really wanted to stress my writing and the journey I took to create each of my final essays, and dont think that including pictures would work to enhance this goal.

The process of creating this portfolio was actually very similar to my writing process when writing a paper.  I did a lot of writing and revising.  I also changed the layout of my portfolio several times, making the process of creating the portfolio itself very similar to the process of writing.  I think that choosing to make a sports blog for my re-mediation assignment really helped me with the design and layout of the portfolio.  After making the sports blog, I knew which of my goals were realistic and which were not.  I also was slightly more familiar with wordpress which  was very helpful.

I think that my portfolio does a good job of portraying me as a writer.  I have learned to value the writing process, and I think that my portfolio really reflects this.  I think that this comes through in the many reflections that I have for each of the Writing 200 essays, as well as on the home page where I discuss my writing and writing process.

As I leave this gateway and continue to the rest of the minor, I am excited to continue writing and put to use all that I have learned in Writing 200.  I think that the biggest thing that I have learned in this class is the value of the writing process (whether it be new media or traditional writing), and I am excited to continue learning about the writing process in the writing classes that I take in the future!

Thanks everyone for a great semester!  I have loved looking at your portfolios!

One more thing– my portfolio is complete but I have not yet officially submitted it.  I need to take a break from looking at it and then read it again later tonight with a fresh pair of eyes!

Final thoughts on my re-mediation project

I finally finished my re-mediation assignment.  After a long month of dreading the use of new media, I have completed my sports blog and am ready to hand in my third assignment.  I ended up writing a sports blog called “the aftermath” whose goal is to discuss the aftermath of major sports decisions.  Because of the nature of my argument (a defense of LeBron James’ talent after his decision to leave Cleveland for Miami and subsequent vilification by the media) I wanted to give my blog a very targeted angle.  It would be kind of odd if I made a sports blog and every post talked about the repercussions of James’ decision….so I named my blog the aftermath.

In my blog, I make my argument through different posts and comments.  While some posts are lengthy written paragraphs, others are polls or images.  Through my minimal work with new media writing, I have found that there is more than one way to make an argument and to get your point across.  Sometimes, a figure and a quick caption can make the same point as a paragraph.  Or categories on blog posts and work to further emphasize the point made in that post.  This idea that design can make an argument took me a while to figure out–my blog was initially all long blog posts–but now that I figured this out I think it really adds another element to my argument and also makes my blog look more realistic!

 

Writing Lists

When I get stressed out I write lists of what I have to do. I usually end up making multiple lists that all say the same thing, but for some reason the act of making the list calms me down.  It’s ironic though, because in writing list after list after list I am actually wasting more time that I could be doing something productive.

It may seem like common sense that acutely doing my work is more productive than making lists but I took me a while to realize this.  Last year I was home for the weekend and was doing homework.  My mom saw me making a list of things I had to do and told me that by making the list I was procrastinating.  Yes, this is rather obvious, but for some reason because I was writing things down that were related to school I did not think of it this way.

Even after my mom pointed out my list-making-procrastination, I still make my lists.  It might take me longer to actually do my work, but I get it done eventually.

Writing Essays in Hebrew

This semester I am taking a Hebrew class.  At this level, we are beyond simply learning the language–we are now learning the language through reading israeli novels, doing presentations, and writing essays.  This class is very similar to what we could consider to be an “English” class…we just happen to be speaking Hebrew and learning a little bit of grammar.

Whenever we write essays in this class, which is quite often, I am always hesitant to consider this writing an essay.  I’m not really sure why it is, but as I am working on a Hebrew “essay” due after Thanksgiving break, I find myself comparing my writing process for this Hebrew essay with an essay that I would write in an English class.  The goal of this essay is basically the same: analyze specific parts of a movie while making a larger argument.

One major difference, however, is that Hebrew essays typically have a word limit in 200 words.  While I know that essays can be written in 200 words, I find that it is much harder to make a point and give adequate examples in such a little amount of words.  Another different in the process of writing the essay that differs from writing an English essay, is my attention to grammar.  Because English is my first language, I do not have to actively think about my grammar as I am writing.  Sure, there are always grammar mistakes that I catch when editing, but not to the same extent as my Hebrew essays.  When I write Hebrew essays the grammar is on the forefront of my mind, maybe even more than the content itself.

These two major difference make it is hard for me to consider my Hebrew essays actual essays.  While the grammatical issue is simply due to Hebrew not being my first language, I think that writing an essay in 200 words seems “un-essay-like” to me because I am not used to it.  In hindsight, writing such short essays is probably a good thing…it teaches me to be concise!

ePortfolio Proposal

Overarching Theme: In my electronic portfolio, the overall theme will be a “journey.”  Because we are going to be uploading different stages of drafts for each essay, I think this theme will work to tie each piece together.  While I do not want to make this theme the main aspect of the portfolio (for example, by blatantly telling my audience that this is my theme), I will make the theme very clear through the different writing components of the portfolio.  For example, this idea will be stressed in the “About Me” section, as well as a piece of writing explaining my process of writing for each essay.  While I do think having a theme is important for the continuity of the portfolio, I do not want this theme to be the main component of my portfolio, for I think that my writing should be the center of the portfolio.

Audience: My target audience is students, or people who are genuinely interested in the process of writing.  I want to present myself to my audience as someone who is still on the journey to learning how to write, rather than someone who thinks that the journey is over.  In order to present myself in this way, I would like to include pieces of writing that I have saved from middle school, high school, and college.  Doing so will make my writing journey very clear to my readers, and will also show them that my writing is constantly evolving, making it clear that my writing journey is not yet over.

Distinction:  The writing that will be the focus of my portfolio will be what makes it distinctive.  The different stages of my writing within the portfolio will present me as a writer who is still learning.  Also, I would like to make my portfolio distinct by including my blog posts that show my feelings towards the specific writing assignment to really give the reader a look into my mind and writing process.  Additionally, I want to scan in drafts of my essay that I wrote hand written notes on while editing, to again give the reader a glimpse into my writing process.  Because I want my writing to be the main focus of the portfolio, the design will be very simple.  This simplicity of my portfolio will again work to make it distinctive by putting the writing, rather than the design, on display.

Design: Because I want my portfolio to be very simple, I do not want to include any web 2.0 elements in my portfolio.  I think that doing so will take away from the simplicity of the portfolio and will distract readers from my writing.  While I do not want to include any web 2.0 elements, I do want to design my website so it puts my writing on display.  Therefore, I do not want to imply attach a pdf of my writing.  Instead, I want to integrate my writing into the template of the website, making it look like a natural extension of the template rather than something that was simply copied and pasted.

Show Don’t Tell

I am working on my re-purposed essay right now, and have been trying to figure out how to word a certain part of my essay for the better half of the day.

Just to recap, I am writing about LeBron James.  In order to make this magazine article seem more real and “magazine-y” I am trying to incorporate elements that really describe James’ style of play.  While it is relatively simply to describe the way someone talks, their personality, or even quirks, I am finding that it is much more difficult to describe the way someone does something (in this case, the way LeBron James plays basketball).

I can tell my reader that James plays with intensity, but I don’t think that adequately describes the level of intensity he plays with.  The hard part is relaying this mega intensity to my readers, who, because of the nature of the magazine I am writing for, I cannot assume have ever watched LeBron James play.  If I was writing for a sports magazine such as ESPN, I could simply allude to this intensity, and the general audience would have a pretty good idea of what I was alluding to.  But, what I am struggling with is painting the picture of this intensity to an audience that may not know just how intense I mean when I say intense (does this make sense?)

In middle school we learned to “Show Don’t Tell” when we wrote.  While this idea may be cheesy and over simplified, I think that, on some level, it is exactly what I need to do in my essay.  The difference is, however, that in middle school we were describing something that was visual or a clear cut emotion.  In this case, I need to describe an action — the act of LeBron James playing basketball — while at the same time making sure my audience is well aware of the fire in his eyes when he plays the game.