Unit 9 Evaluation
What skills (at least three) do you think have helped your writing in this unit? Why and how?
Through this project, I have learnt, not only about different writing forms, but also about graphic design. As I learnt about formats such as script writing, radio plays and news features, I also learnt about the skills that go into writing them. These include syntax, which is the use of varying sentence lengths to create a rhythm, characterisation, which is adding detail to your characters to make them feel more real, showing not telling, which is the process of using words to show your audience what is happening instead of telling them, allowing them to deduct the situation themselves instead of spoon feeding it to them. These are only some of the skills we have learnt. Others include the use of figurative language that is not clichéd, which means to write something and then re-read later and decide on a different way to write it, then there is the process of setting the tone of your piece, which means to use expressive language to create a tone that matches with what you are writing. Each of these skills have helped my writing as I have been able to create more immersive and detailed pieces of writing. As I have been able to explore various mediums such as scripts, documentaries, radio plays and many others, it has also opened up my mind to new writing opportunities.
Which exercises have been the most useful to you and your writing and your understanding of how to develop your work (crafting)?
- One of the most useful exercises we have done was on the topic of ‘Show, not tell.’ We were given a paragraph to rewrite in the style of showing and not telling. We then were given sentences to rewrite, showing the reader what was happening instead of telling them. I found this exercise to be really helpful as I was able to learn more about the concept as well as writing my own pieces using what I’d learnt.
Another exercise I felt really benefitted me was the work we did on theatre scripts. We were given two random characters, a setting and an object, and from that we were to create a script. I found this exercise to be really interesting as it opened up my creativity to a new medium. It was also a really interesting experience to work with characters created by someone else.
How does the writing in each medium/form compare and how do they differ? Reflect back on the characteristics and whether you recognise this in your own writing?
- To me, my two chosen formats contrast in a complimentary way. My news pieces hands out the facts and tells a story whereas my memoir is a personal look at the issue at hand. Whilst the two formats are different, they work well together to explain all sides of a topic.
In my news article, I told the story of Bijan Ebrahimi. I felt that his story would provoke a strong emotional response from the reader. In my memoir, I also recounted two encounters I’d had. Whilst both featured myself looking on at racism, each featured a different character or human interest. One being the victim and the other being the racist. I felt that these two views worked well together as they allowed the reader to gain insight into the minds of both parties.
When looking back at my work, I can identify the characteristics in each piece such as the humour I have added to make it easier to read and make it feel less like an essay. Other characteristics I have identified in my work include the use of characterisation and crafting to efficiently create my piece. I used the appropriate word choice for the piece and was able to analyse my work for potential clichés or changes that I could make.
When it comes to the style of my writing, I delved deeply into characterisation. As I am closely linked with the first character, her being my friend of many years, it was really important for me to do her story justice and tell it in a way that would reach people. Had I not experienced racism for the first time the way I did, I may have a different view on the topic. Having a personal link to such a big issue really influenced my writing and made me think twice when writing every word. I believe that through this writing, I created a very personal piece that was of my own style.
This also links to the conversation I had with my Father. Whilst I still wrote from the heart, I felt conflicted. I told the story how it is but I also felt like I was labelling my Father and portraying him in a bad light. However, after some changes in word choice, I realised that I only wrote what happened with my own views and it is up to the reader to decide if they sympathise with him or disagree with him.
Reflect on the process of writing: the main characters or human interest in the story and how their needs drive the action and the plot/story; the themes or subject and how it was structured. Checking, proofreading plus crafting editing your work
- When writing my pieces, I constantly reminded myself what I was writing about as I didn’t want to go off topic. For my news feature, I aimed to add an emotional pull without coming across as too attached. Throughout my article, the main focus was the story of Bijan Ebrahimi and how he was treated. I wanted to really open people’s eyes to this issue as many turn a blind eye. I believe that his story was what was needed to get the point across.
With the memoir, I wrote on a much more personal level. I drew from personal experiences to create this piece. At first, I was unsure on how to write a memoir, however, I studied other memoirs and gathered an idea. I took from conversations I’d had and people I’d met to make this piece. I hit a roadblock however after I wrote Tatenda’s story. That was until the recent conversation between my Dad and me. After said conversation, I went upstairs and began writing.
Throughout the writing process for both pieces, I constantly went back to check the spelling and to edit what I had written, recrafting my sentences. However, there were a few mistakes that I didn’t catch but luckily, my Tutor did, resulting in my finished work.
My Tutor and I discussed both of my pieces and I now believe that my memoir could be taken a lot further. I intend on writing more and perhaps turning it into a novella or an official memoir. I am keeping this idea in my mind for my Final Project of the year and also for future works, maybe in university or just as a side project.
As I wrote pieces in two different formats, the style of my writing did change. My memoir was written in a very personal style whilst my article was written in a more professional manner, backed up by statistics. I chose to write in these styles as they worked with the format. I wrote my memoir in this style to reach the audience and get them to relate to the experience. I wrote my article in a more professional style as I felt it would fit better with the format and that it was the appropriate style to share the information in.
Does the work open with the most important information: The Hook/Lead? Dramatic point/inciting moment – if drama, are we aware of the world, the characters that inhabit that world and how the interact.
In both of my pieces, I start off with a bold, attention grabbing statement. In my memoir, my first line is ‘I remember the first time I encountered racism,’ whilst the first line of my article is ‘Let me tell you a story about a man who moved to England from a foreign country.’
I wrote these sentences as I wanted to grab the reader’s attention from the start. I feel that the word choice in these openings immediately draws the reader in and lets them know what they are going to be reading. It keeps them interested and makes them want to read on.
In my pieces, I believe that my word choice has the right meaning and puts across my intended message. I chose words that would set the tone and suit the style. As I was writing pieces about a serious topic, I did try to inject some humour to lighten the pieces a bit without taking away from the seriousness of the subject. I wrote both pieces with intent to have an impact on the reader, I structured sentences to have varying lengths to do this.
I changed the structure of my article several times before deciding to open with Ebrahimi’s story as I felt it would grab the attention of the reader and draw them in. It has a dramatic opening which will pack a punch with the reader.
I have identified the characteristics of both mediums and written both pieces to relate to the target audience.
What skills and knowledge have you used and learnt to fulfil the idea and aim of initial ideas?
To create the piece I intended, I pulled on multiple skills that I have learnt on this course, all of which I have stated previously. I took my knowledge from my own encounters with racism and used them to write from the heart. I also researched this topic through both primary and secondary sources. From my primary research, I conducted a survey through surveymonkey.com on the topic of multiculturalism. I used the findings from this survey to influence my piece. I also conducted secondary research using books and websites to gain more understanding. I was able to use this knowledge in my work and express an informed view on the topic.
From reading my own work:
Reading my work now, as a reader instead of the author, I can see my development. When I compare my finished pieces to the first drafts, I can see a big change. I have structured the pieces differently than before and have incorporated crafting into the process more.
My finished work stays true to my original ideas whilst also having a new twist.
Looking back at my work, I have tweaked a few sentences, recrafting them to fit better with the tone. Other than that, my work has remained the same. Looking at my work as a reader after I have finished writing is a really beneficial practise and it is something I will continue from now on with my future works.
My work has been influenced by two specific memoirs. The first being ‘Coreyography: A Memoir’ by Corey Feldman, in which the American actor retells the story of his career and the abuse he suffered. I found this memoir to be really heart wrenching and the writing style is really immersive. I tried to replicate this in my work by creating a tone that will reach the audience.
Another memoir I was inspired by was ‘A Mother’s Reckoning’ by Sue Klebold. This is also a very personal piece as the author is the Mother of one of the Columbine shooters. Her writing connects with the audience on a personal, heartfelt level and you can really feel the tension build as the book goes on. I tried to replicate this in my own work by using different sentence lengths to create tension and add to the feel of the piece. I also used the crafting skill frequently to ensure I was writing in my intended style.
My article was also influenced by a Guardian article by Anthony Heath called ‘Has Multiculturalism failed in the UK? Not really.’ I took a lot from this article, I learnt a lot about how people identify themselves nationality-wise. I found this article to be really interesting through the writing style. It opens with the words of an MP and then the writer puts his opinion. To me, this made me want to keep reading as he added his own sardonic humour into it.
I chose the medium of a memoir as I felt it was a very personal writing form. I believed I could best tell my story through this form and reach the audience on a personal level. I have also read a lot of memoirs in my free time and I feel that that influenced my decision.
I chose to write a news feature as I felt that it would reveal the other side of the coin regarding racism. I felt that this medium was very different to a memoir and I wanted to cover all angles of this issue. I also liked the versatility of news features as you can add your opinion as well as stating the facts. A news article is a lot more fact based compared to a memoir which has a lot more of a personal feel.
I originally wanted to write a poem instead of a news feature however, I quickly changed my mind for several reasons. One being that I felt I wouldn’t be able to fully explore the topics of racism and multiculturalism if I chose this medium as the form is quite similar to that of a memoir. I wanted to write from a different view and explore the subject from all angles.
Throughout the process of writing, I used multiple skills such as crafting, using syntax, editing, proofreading and using ‘show not tell’ among many more. I believe through this project, I have furthered my skills and gained more experience and understanding of what these skills can do. I also believe that I have developed as a writer as I have explored a new issue and new mediums. Through this project, I have been able to progress as a writer and gain more experience.