Magazine Pitch Letter

Dear Shelley-

Have you ever thought about the demographics that aren’t being catered to? Picture this: a digital magazine targeting the female gaming population. The magazine would be comprised of at least 5 separate featured pieces of writing including interviews, lists, current events, game reviews, and more.. The finished magazine will be anywhere between 8 and 12 pages long, depending on how long each piece of writing ends up being. The magazine’s intended audience is specifically the female gaming population but will be crafted to apply to the gaming community as a whole. The project will combine writing and visuals on each page of the magazine – lists will be mostly visuals with less text, while the feature pieces will be mostly text with a few images interspersed. This sample from Polygon would be an example of what my interview with Whitney Hills could look within the magazine (imagine gender representation in the place of LGBTQA representation):

“But for Anthropy, having games tackle a broader spectrum of themes is just an inevitable outcome of having a more diverse community of game creators: “I’m not sure if all my games are about being queer, but my queer identity is always visible in them. I think representation is important … making people aware that queerness exists and representing queerness in games. And also reaching out to other queer people who otherwise feel very alienated in games.”

This magazine would be a fantastic idea because it offers a different perspective from the gaming community and would allow the female gaming community to have a specific medium to use as a source of entertainment and information. Adult women now make up a larger portion of the gaming population than teenage males, so now is the time to target them and offer a discussion of gaming that relates specifically to them. I should write this work because I have been a gamer all my life and have for the past few years been writing about gaming and gender issues, especially spending time criticizing visual media. My experience within the gaming community and as critic of new media would make me a good candidate to tackle a discussion of gender issues within gaming, and my experience with web design will come into play in the magazine’s design.

Thanks for your time,
Sarah

Making Another Writer’s Decisions

After talking through my interests and project ideas with Erin, it was a lot easier to think through the various possibilities for genre and medium of the project. Not only did her suggestions help me out, but having to come up with project ideas for her helped me to think of more interesting ideas for myself. The list of ideas we came up with together were as follows:

  • A magazine targeted at a female gamer audience containing various topics (game reviews, game news, upcoming releases, controversies)
  • A website or blog from the perspective of a female gamer, talking about the gaming community and various experiences
  • An actual game concept treatment that works against the current representations of women in gaming

My first impressions of these suggestions is that the magazine sounds like an awesome project idea – it would be possible to combine a large variety of topics throughout something like an online magazine. This definitely combines my interests in studying feminism and gender representation in video games, and it allows me to translate this interest into a new media format. I would be most interested in pursuing making a short online magazine and perhaps even accompanying it with something like a Twitter account to get people aware that it’s something that is being created.

All of these topics would definitely be interesting and relevant to me, but as I’ve actually written a game concept design before I know how much work goes into them. For this reason I think it would be a little too much for me, especially to come up not only with game mechanics but the world, the characters, and the narrative as well. And to do it all in a way that throws out stereotypes respectfully while retaining good character relationships and story? I’m not sure I manage that in one semester. It’s a great idea, just a little bit too difficult for me.

I definitely had a pretty clear idea of what I wanted to do topic-wise; some of my favorite writing projects in college so far have focused on gaming and representation. I also talked about being interested in using new media for my project, so the fact that Erin suggested blogs or websites totally fit with my interests as well. It was really interesting to talk to her because she much prefers scientific writing rather than doing any kind of new media writing, and she prefers freedom in writing while I need to have some kind of rubric or structure to follow. Because of this I will be more likely to look for advice both from those that enjoy writing in a similar manner that I do and those that prefer a different style, as they will be more likely to think differently and have ideas I wouldn’t think of.

While I kind of already had an idea about what I wanted to do for the project, talking it through with Erin helped in terms of deciding what topics were most interesting to me and even thinking about other awesome project ideas like creating my own concept for a game. We talked about how I could pretty much talk about gaming gender representation in any genre or media I would like, and that a magazine or a blog would be the most fun for me.

Portfolio Intro: Academic and Professional

Hi other 220 section! I’m Sarah, nice to meet you – get ready to learn a bit about what I’m planning on doing in my portfolio.

I think the main purpose of my portfolio will be to display what I think to be my best writing that I’ve done over the last few years. Some of it will be pieces from college classes and some will be articles that I’ve written over the past couple years for various online publications (Uloop News, The Borgen Project, HuffPost). The pieces I plan on featuring are those that I have had some choice in terms of topic, because those are the pieces that have best allowed me to explain and discuss topics that are important to me – these will range from discussions of gaming culture, women’s issues (mostly media representation), non-profit charities, and online communities. I’ll definitely add other important pieces as well, but they probably won’t be featured as prominently on the front page.

My academic work will probably either be split up in terms of the topic/classes they were written for or the year in which they were written. My online publication work will probably all be under its own tab along with descriptions of how I came to write for that publication. I’m not sure how I’m going to incorporate my remediation project because it was a website as well, so maybe I’ll just link to it – I’ll figure something out!

I’m honestly most excited to figure out how I’m going to format the portfolio in terms of design and organization – I’m still not entirely sure if I’m going to use WordPress or Wix to create my portfolio because I would like to have greater customization than WordPress allows, but it seems that WordPress would be a more professional choice. Hopefully I can figure that out soon, and if anyone has any ideas about which would be the better choice, let me know!

About Me: Ladies and Games

Given what I have written for papers in this class (blog posts not included), readers wouldn’t really know much about me at all other than that I spend probably a little too much time on the internet.

Booker and Elizabeth from Bioshock Infinite

That being said, two big interests of mine that I’ve only gotten to talk about a little through these blogs are video game  culture and the representation of women in media. The first thing I connect when I think about these topics is that I am actually (without consciously making the choice for this reason) taking two classes that relate very strongly to these two topics! One class, Visual Culture and Visual Literacy (Comm 365) has a lot to do with analyzing visual media, including a specific conversation of representation of women (in film/tv) and some theories behind gaming (realistic games vs serious games, etc.). The other, Technology and Play (Comm 408), which is my favorite class of the semester (sorry, Julie) is very focused on game design as well as the different motivations players have in playing games – there has also been a specific discussion of gendered gaming spaces.

Comm 365 is an ULWR, which strongly relates to my work in the MIW program as it has helped me develop my writing in a way that focuses on revision and analysis. While Comm 408 is a project-based class, it has still aided in forming my ability to write about things that interest me in an analytic way without putting too much personal opinion into my writing.

Another League Blog!

While looking for a blog to talk about for this post, my friend (that also plays League) recommended that I take a look at Cloth5, a site run through WordPress. The purpose of the blog seems to be to inform its viewers of League of Legends news – whether it be blogs with tips on playing the game, the most current eSports games and standings, or tier lists and forums. Overall it’s pretty informative and helpful for anyone looking for tips or news.

The organizational strategies put into place are pretty interesting – every tab that the blog contains is represented in some way on the main home page. This works effectively to allow the viewer to see all the information available and contains a snapshot of what kind of info each tab will contain. There are also a couple interesting features on the home page that aren’t seen anywhere else: a short list of the most popular posts, and a group of tabs near the bottom of the page that feature certain parts of eSports like infographics, the League Championship Series, and the North American Challenger League for those that want specific information.

It is a very easy site to navigate and includes a simple search function if you can’t find what you’re looking for under the tabs.

 

The Beauty of Wix

The technology I’m learning to work with through building my website is actually different from the prior experience I’ve had with website design in prior communications classes. Rather than fiddling around with code for hours and becoming incredibly frustrated when things don’t work out, I took a suggestion from Blake and started learning to use Wix HTML Editor/website builder.

This has to be one of the coolest websites out there – it’s so varied in the amount of design choices you can make and it is an incredibly helpful tool for those of us, like me, that don’t want to spend their time running through lines of code to find tiny errors. Since my website is going to be mostly based on visuals, it was important to learn how to input images and videos in a way that looks good and works well. I mostly learned how to use Wix as opposed to learning to code a website, but just by fiddling around with all the options Wix provides, I gained some insight into how web design should work and how sites should look as well as what they should provide for those people visiting the site. It’s a really fun editor to use, so if you have any site-building projects I would highly reccommend it!

League of Media

I spend a lot of my free time playing League of Legends (multiplayer online battle arena game) with a group of my friends, so naturally I spend a decent amount of time on the game’s website as well. Their setup is actually incredibly interesting and has changed a lot over the past year or so that I’ve been enjoying the game.

jinx!

In terms of the site’s purpose, it is there to provide players with information about upcoming changes to the game, current events (tournaments, competitions, etc), and to provide a community forum as well for players to participate in with suggestions and requests as well as just general conversation. The recently revamped site actually looks really cool, and you can’t tell from the picture obviously, but the background is actually moving! Jinx looks back and forth across the top of the site and it’s pretty sweet, so is the way that the site portrays their most important stories. Usually sites will have a box that cycles through the top stories, but on the League site it’s the entire background that changes, which I like a lot.

The rest of the site is really just links to other content including videos, articles, and forums – so as far as regular content goes, it’s not that far away from the ordinary. I just think the way the front page uses motion and really makes their top news the center of attention is a pretty solid strategy. Learning how to make a place on a website for top videos/news articles would be a good idea to learn, because I’ve been thinking about making a website for my remediation project and I already have some experience with it from prior Comm classes.

Pro Writing Strats

strat

With an awesome title like that, I’m sure you’re all expecting some amazing, well-thought out, top-tier writing strategies. Well, I’m sorry to say, I have deceived you. The truth is, I really don’t have any concrete writing strategies to speak of. Usually, I just wait until I really feel like I need to get an assignment done, and then I do it. While I’m sure it would definitely be helpful for me to have a more organized, consistent writing technique, I’ve just never used one that has made me want to keep coming back to it.

If I have to pick a strategy to talk about though, I would probably say that it is easiest for me to make sure that the first things I know are what my argument is (or what my purpose is) and how I can support that argument. So, starting with the question I’m trying to answer, I will outline the main points I need to cover and make sure there is enough to talk about under each point to fulfill any specific length requirement there is. After I have the general structure of the essay or article or whatever laid out for me, I just start writing. I will usually start with the intro and end with the conclusion (I know a some people start with body paragraphs and I don’t know why but I just can’t do that), then if I see that my intro sounds odd compared to the points that my conclusion brings up, I will do my best to change it so it makes more sense.

I guess my usual strategy uses a bit of both outlining and free-writing, but there has never been a specific way that I have been taught to write a paper that I use often. I don’t outline all my thoughts beforehand, nor do I always write a thesis and go from there. However, there is usually some structure to what I do in that I like to have all my ideas laid out before I start to write.

Repurposing Ethnography

The paper I want to focus on for repurposing was an assignment for my cultural anthropology class freshman year. The paper was an 8 page long ethnography – an anthropological term that basically amounts to a study of some group or culture. Think of it as a content analysis of a group. The researcher is supposed to, through direct contact, learn about and explore the group or culture in question. The group I chose was an online community called Nerdfighteria that was formed around the video blogs of two men – John and Hank Green. Their Youtube project started out as one year of communication between them solely through these video blogs. They slowly amassed a following  and this following came to be called Nerdfighters. I wanted to choose the group for the ethnography assignment because I was a Nerdfighter and wanted to explore the community and the experience more deeply.

I chose this paper to repurpose because, to be honest, I wasn’t really happy with the way it turned out. I think it could have been a lot more interesting and engaging if it were formatted in a different way. The ethnography turned out more like a research paper, and I would have been happy just writing a more informal and informational paper. One specific thing to change would definitely be to get rid of the concrete sections (hypothesis, data, reactions, etc.) and to reformat the paper entirely in a more informal/less scientific/academic way. I’m honestly not sure what genre I could change it into, maybe an informational news article or something like that. It’s something I have to keep thinking about, but I definitely want it to have a less academic feel.

Why I Write

Before reading Orwell and Didion’s “Why I Write” essays, I honestly had never questioned my motivation to write or my general enjoyment of writing. When posed with the question, the first thing I could think of is just that I’ve always used writing to express myself in some way or another.

Writing for me has never really been about creative writing or sitting down and making myself write. The motivation to write has always come around when I have had certain feelings to let out or certain assignments or work to complete. Throughout my middle and high school years, most of the writing I did either came out as assignments for school or angsty poetry about feelings and boys. However, once I started living my life on the internet, a lot of my writing has become very opinionated, as a lot of internet writing tends to be. Then when I started writing for online publications, my writing transitioned into something a lot more formal and purposeful.

Writing for online news sites and blogs has given me traditional researching and writing skills that are more commonly found in journalism than anything like creative writing or argumentative essay writing. It seems like my motivation to write has transitioned from an emotional motivation to a more goal-driven motivation. In a general sense I guess I still write in both ways, for a certain purpose but also to express ideas and emotions. I’m sure my writing will continue to transition based on my college and career path as well.