Wednesday, December 3, 2008

What Is Style Pt. 2

Style has to do with the choices that a writer makes in his work. For the most part, style comes naturally. It is something that is enhanced and fine-tuned over the course of many works--the more the better. I think that style may be somewhat of a conscious thing; writers are aware of the decisions they are making, but a lot of it comes naturally.

When talking about writing, style would obviously have a lot to do with word choices. So many different words can be used to make a point and the fact that those words are chosen at the discretion of the writer helps define his style. Using those words to elaborate on a subject also means choosing a direction in which to approach that subject. "Recount the process of creating a 3-panel comic" can be a task that some writers choose to do step-by-step, or out of order--while jumping from point to point. Essays are different in their formatting, as well as the more obvious word choices.

Through writing multiple essays for this course and reading other people's essays during peer review, the issue of different styles is reiterated. Just as reading several works by the same author reveals their personal style, going through drafts of a classmate's essay makes it evident that though the essay has been revised, it is still written in the same style. There is a constant mood that is set by the writer that his reader can feel.

In writing for this class and reading the material, I have thought more on the subject of personal writing style than ever before; I thought more about my own style in one week than I ever had. I have learned that style is something that should be encouraged, as long as it does not overlap into the territory of what is supposed to come from the essay. Certain points must be made and guidelines must be followed--it is how those guidelines are approached that defines a writer's style.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Final Peer Review

The final edition of peer review echoed the sentiments of most of the students at the end of the semester-- enough already! Not that I dont find this process to be a helpful one, but I think that most of us are nearing the end of our fuel reserves. Our group had 4 people, including me, and only one of us (not me) posted a finished, 1500 word essay the day peer review was to begin. Everyone posted something--an outline or good start to the essay--but finishing it was another story. I know its pretty much a cliche by now, but we are all really busy this time of year, and sometimes sacrifices are made.

Apart from the partial essay postings, the peer review went alright. My group posted some really good work, that I enjoyed reading and helping with. My 3/4 of the way finished essay received some good reviews that will help me a lot.

As with my last blog posting concerning peer review, I still like GoogleDocs the best. I still think that the features are the most helpful and user-friendly. The most useful part about peer review is the opinions of other students going through the same process that you are. Sounds kind of vague, but comparing 3 other people's comments about something that I wrote really helps make revision decisions. Comments from a professor are one thing, granted he/she is usually more knowledgable than students, but multiple opinions are more helpful.

The least useful thing about peer review is the half-ass comment. "Good job" is nice to hear, but it would be more helpful if the person described what was good about it, and maybe how to make it better.

One thing that I learned during this process was to not be afriad of hurting someone's feeling when reviewing their work. Realistically, they want your opinion, whether or not it means more work for them. At the same time, I also learned that there is a good way to go about criticism; by being constructive and offering advice on how to clean something up. There is also a bad way; by trying to sound like an angry English teacher--no offense Professor Krause, I said angry English teacher. Scolding someone os not a good way to get them to listen to you and take your advice. A person is more likely to write you off and not take your advice.

Overall, I liked the process. Once I figured out that everyone has their own style of reviewing, and to make use of the helpful ones you do get, it made more sense. Like many things, by the time it is over, you finally get the hang of it.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Looking Back/Forward

The collaborative video project has been a lot like writing in that making a movie involves many of the same processes. After our group decided on a topic, each member thought about what he or she wanted to say, and what was to be included in the film. The brainstormin part of the process reminded me of writing because we were simply generating ideas and reworking the ones that we liked. This was very much like the peer review aspect of writing an essay; everyone helped each other improve upon their ideas.

For the individual essay portion of the project, I think that I will use Ong and Baron as reference points for drawing similarities about the different processes. Both writing and film making involve a lot of creativity. This is something that Ong touches on-- that text is very malleable and can be shaped into almost anything. Film making applies a lot of the same concepts in forming the final product.

Baron speaks about the evolution of writing and of processes that could eventually be replaced by film/video. The statement that struck me as being possible pertains to writing becoming a way to record and validate business transactions. I plan on comparing that process to one that could be done with video.

Of course, the videos that we saw can relate. Many of our video projects were inspired by what was shown in those YouTube clips and will likely incorporate some of the same concepts.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

YouTube-- Good, Bad, Writing?

The process of making a simple video has been pretty fun and easy-going thus far. I think that the most difficult part has been the initial decision making process of choosing an idea and running with it. Once our group picked an idea that we could all agree on, the ideas began to flow and shots started coming together. The rest of the process should be fairly painless; iMovie seems like a program that will be easy enough to use.

The writing process has differed from the video-making process in that this project is the most collaborative thing that we've done. Peer review works toward making everyone's individual projects as spectacular as they can be, while the video making collaboration is supposed to achieve a great product that the whole group can put their name on. I have yet to start the essay portion of this assigment, but I imagine it will be more like writing about a team sport than the individually themed essays that we've been used to.

I think that the process of making a simple film, or any film, is very much like writing. The preparation and thought that go into creating an idea, script, and list of shots and how they'll be edited together use a lot of writing. For instance, our video will feature writing on paper and screen, as well as dialogue and movement. All of these pieces have to first be written before they can be put onto film. Everything in a particular shot is there for a reason-- just as every word written down or spoken has been planned. Creating a script is like creating a detailed outline of a paper. And just like a paper, a viedo has a beginning, middle, and end that has been written down, thought out, and decided upon.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Peer Review vol. 3

The third edition of the peer review saga has been the most successful, thus far. As I stated in my very first peer review blog, that session was mostly-- for me-- about reviewing grammatr, sentence structure, etc. and less about content. The second time around, I was a bit more content-oriented in my reviewing of my peers' work, but frustrated with WetPaint. Our third attempt has been the most fluid because using GoogleDocs is much easier than WetPaint, and everyone seems to be sure about their job description.

This peer review has been the most helpful for me, as a writer, because I get the opinions of three peers. The first review only lent me two other opinions, which were helpful, but the first run is always a little shaky. By this, I mean that people, myself included, were unsure about what to review, and how to review it. The three other people in my group have given greatly descriptive and suggestive advice, not just corrections of comma usage and so forth. For the Style Rule project, I only had one person review my work. While this person gave me some helpful stuff, one person's review is not enough.

Reading other people's blogs is always a fun experience and I should really do it more often. I agree with Jeff's positive review of the threads in WetPaint. I did not like much about reviewing with that site, but I did enjoy the threads. It was a lot easier to read someone's comment at the bottom of the page-- with their name and time of posting there next to it. This business of threads also eliminated much of the in-text commenting that would foul up an essay's format and make it that much more of a task to read when you are the second or third reviewer.

Throughout the process of peer review, I have learned that pretty much everyone in this class takes pride in their writing and wants it to be the best it can possibly be. My classmates-- through their feedback-- have shown an aptitude for nosing out good and bad, that has been helpful in this process.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

McCloud part 2

The blog that I chose to review was --belonging to Allison Bondie. She reviewed a comic called "The Silencer" by Mike Heronime and Tony Pacitti, in which some sort of murder or kidnapping plot is detoured into a story of two young boys finding a briefcase containing a gun-- possibly in a dream sequence?

Allison wrote about the transitions between frames, which were much different than conventional comics. Because the comic was online, the authors chose to include a couple frames on each page, seperated by the normal white space, and the following frames on different pages. In other words, the entire comic cannot be seen at once. Pages have to be "flipped" to unveil the complete story. This method made for a much more suspensful story. Not that people like to jump ahead and skip frames within the comic itself, but the process of clicking "Next Page" roughly 15 times, made for a more intriguing experience. To quote Allison, "more closure and direct participation from the reader," is included in this comic.

The storytelling technique primarily used throughout "The Silencer" is of the "subject-to-subject" persuasion. Because each page contains one to three frames, each frame is of another subject. Moment-to-moment would be entirely too long for a story of this kind. The authors also use scene-to-scene-- especially in the beginning of the story, which depicts a criminal plot unfolding.

McCloud part 2