Writing a Narrative and Writing Well

I started off this week’s readings with “Writing A Narrative” from the textbook Everyone’s An Author  by Andrea Lunsford, Michal Body, Lisa Ede, Beverley Moss, Carole Clark Papper, and Keith Walters. Immediately I could tell that I would like this passage, as it was an easy read that confirmed a lot of what I already knew about narrative writing, and inadvertently gave me vocabulary to use when teaching my students.
The text meshed academic descriptions of narrative writing with an actual narrative writing which I enjoyed thoroughly. The text also lists the steps to take when writing a narrative including: A clearly identified event, a clearly described setting, vivid descriptive details, a consistent point of view, and a clear point. The text also gave suggestions for what to think about when writing a narrative including: Think about your stance, think about your purpose, consider the larger context, and consider your medium. I thought the part about the medium was very interesting. I never gave much thought to how much font, or images, factor into making a narrative more effective. Sure with graphic novels I have, but I haven’t thought about adding images or design to the ideas I already have rolling about narratives I want to write. Annd yet, now that prospect excites me just as much!
The second text, by William Zinsser, was from his seminal book entitled On Writing Well and the section was titled “Writing About People”. The text begins by discussing the importance of interviewing and how it is so much more than facts. One part I found particularly interesting was when the speaker was discussing how they were given transcripts from the original five judges for Book of the Month club. The writer was doing a write up for the 40th anniversary of the organization and this was in 1966! I find this so fascinating because I am a member of Book of the Month club and would LOVE to be a guest judge at some point!
This text dealt with interviewing and the art of collecting non fiction narratives. It goes in detail discussing different variations of interview procedures and the benefits of them. For example, the benefits of a tape recorder and hearing dialect along with being able to replay the tape, versus handwritten notes where the speaker talks faster than you write and seeming to mess up speech. The author also discussed the importance of correct punctuation, especially where quotation marks are involved. I found this rather funny, as I teach my students the importance of grammatical errors!  

Whatever your way, the author reminds you to ask yourself the following question: What about your obligation to the person you interviewed? This made me think about the previous article and I reminded myself that when writing narrative writing, I must keep in mind the following question: What about your obligation to your audience? What is my purpose for writing and am I doing that justice?

Writing a Narrative and Writing Well

I started off this week’s readings with “Writing A Narrative” from the textbook Everyone’s An Author  by Andrea Lunsford, Michal Body, Lisa Ede, Beverley Moss, Carole Clark Papper, and Keith Walters. Immediately I could tell that I would like this passage, as it was an easy read that confirmed a lot of what I already knew about narrative writing, and inadvertently gave me vocabulary to use when teaching my students.
The text meshed academic descriptions of narrative writing with an actual narrative writing which I enjoyed thoroughly. The text also lists the steps to take when writing a narrative including: A clearly identified event, a clearly described setting, vivid descriptive details, a consistent point of view, and a clear point. The text also gave suggestions for what to think about when writing a narrative including: Think about your stance, think about your purpose, consider the larger context, and consider your medium. I thought the part about the medium was very interesting. I never gave much thought to how much font, or images, factor into making a narrative more effective. Sure with graphic novels I have, but I haven’t thought about adding images or design to the ideas I already have rolling about narratives I want to write. Annd yet, now that prospect excites me just as much!
The second text, by William Zinsser, was from his seminal book entitled On Writing Well and the section was titled “Writing About People”. The text begins by discussing the importance of interviewing and how it is so much more than facts. One part I found particularly interesting was when the speaker was discussing how they were given transcripts from the original five judges for Book of the Month club. The writer was doing a write up for the 40th anniversary of the organization and this was in 1966! I find this so fascinating because I am a member of Book of the Month club and would LOVE to be a guest judge at some point!
This text dealt with interviewing and the art of collecting non fiction narratives. It goes in detail discussing different variations of interview procedures and the benefits of them. For example, the benefits of a tape recorder and hearing dialect along with being able to replay the tape, versus handwritten notes where the speaker talks faster than you write and seeming to mess up speech. The author also discussed the importance of correct punctuation, especially where quotation marks are involved. I found this rather funny, as I teach my students the importance of grammatical errors!  

Whatever your way, the author reminds you to ask yourself the following question: What about your obligation to the person you interviewed? This made me think about the previous article and I reminded myself that when writing narrative writing, I must keep in mind the following question: What about your obligation to your audience? What is my purpose for writing and am I doing that justice?

Thinking about Writing Fiction

Thank you to Stephanie for walking us through her two selected texts which focused on social action and activist-oriented learning: “Service and Self Renewal:  Service Learning as a Means to Invigorate and Renew Teachers” in The Activist Learner by Jeffrey D. Wilhelm, Whitney Douglas, and Sara W. Fry and “Principles for Practice:  What is Social Action?” by Jennie Fleming and Ian Boulton in Writing for Change: Boosting Literacy and Leaning through Social Action. It was a smaller group last week, but we still had a good discussion about how important this kind of learning is, and the particular challenges that are faced in different school contexts.  We considered how a specific locale and the resulting community often determines the extent (and nature) of socially committed forms of learning in a school district.  We also thought together about what is at stake when we teach children to be stakeholders in their own communities, and empower them to know what it means (early on) to make a difference in the world they live in.

I am glad that we were able to cover a thorough “walkthrough” of the procedures and expectations regarding a Literature Review for your formal Research Proposal.  You should all be working on your Lit Review at this stage.  Remember, we only have a few more weeks, and vetting materials that will influence your research is a time consuming (but also stimulating and pleasurable) part of the overall research process.

Next week, we will turn our collective attention to the writing process from a creative perspective.  Hope wanted to include some readings that helped us think through creative writing approaches a bit.  In selecting these texts to consider together, I hope we can broaden the discussion to include your own creative processes and share our individual creative approaches/methods.  Hope will lead us through the two articles (which are both broad and accessible):

The first text is by William Zinsser from his seminal book entitled On Writing Well.  We will read “Writing About People“.  (Harper Collins, 1998).

The second text is an excerpt from the well known writing textbook entitled Everyone’s An Author  by Andrea Lunsford, Michal Body, Lisa Ede, Beverley Moss, Carole Clark Papper, and Keith Walters.  We will read the section entitled “Writing A Narrative“. (WW Norton & Co: 2017).

Your blog for this week should consider these readings while also reflecting on how you generate your own creative work.  In addition, you should also include an update on your Literature Review progress.

Also, another reminder that our last meeting for class will be on May 8th, which is also the night of our Spring Symposium.  That is also the deadline for your research proposal.  In addition, you will also write a final “self-assessment”reflection, which will be due by Friday May 12th.

Enjoy the weekend.

See you Monday,

Dr. Zamora