Using new methods of writing certainly created a different final product than I’ve ever made before. I’ve done a lot of writing in my life so far, but all of it was either for academic purposes, or for novels that I work on in my free time. I’ve never really had the chance to add hyperlinks, footnotes, annotations, and even pictures into the mix, so this semester was definitely an exploration of different ways of writing than I’m used to.
Often with my writing, I’m the one who’s adding details into a story or topic through verbiage and rhetorical devices, so it wasn’t all that odd to do a retelling of a collective story for our first big assignment. Having to do it in so few of words was a challenge, as I’m an author that likes spending time to work over scenes, but that wasn’t anything compared to using annotations. Having to explain what I’ve written in a story was certainly interesting, and often I found myself struggling to find references to outside factors when it came to The Hero’s Journey and classic epics.
Rewriting a story to encompass every aspect of a collective story was a fun exercise in meaning and symbolism, but explaining those aspect was difficult. Footnotes, short little tidbits of information at the bottom of a page, became awkwardly formal compared to the silly little story I wrote, but apparently it worked fairly well. You never really know what works until you try it and put it in front of an audience, of course, which was another crucial lesson I learned in this class, and not just when it comes to footnotes.
Using pictures and comics to accurately convey a message of a piece I’d written was fresh air compared to writing blocks of text. At first, I doubted that a comic would fit well into an academic writing course, but as the semester went on, I realized that collective stories are all about the evolution of storytelling and the media used in such stories. How better to convey the evolution of media than through something that isn’t technically literature? It also helps to connect to an audience that is more commonly wrapped up in television and more visual forms of media today, such as teens and young adults.
Although it can alienate more traditional audiences that prefer reading, I found that the visual style of storytelling fit well within our classroom of mostly young adults, and the crowd that may commonly visit a museum (where everything is essentially visual media; exhibits). If I were to do the same assignment from scratch for a more academic, professional audience, I would definitely have to make sure visual media was acceptable for the venue provided, and that it fit the theme of the assignment. Comics and pictures certainly don’t fit into every subject, but definitely add a new perspective.
When it comes to new forms of writing, I’ve learned that it’s important to know your audience and what they will find interesting or acceptable for an assignment or piece of writing. Not all audiences will be so accepting of every type of annotation, be it in footnotes or in pictures, and not all assignments work like the ones we’ve done in class this semester. Even so, I’m thankful for the chance to try out new forms of media, and will certainly try to implement them into future works when applicable.