Narratives and Interviews

Screen Shot 2017-04-24 at 12.53.34 PMThe first article for this week (that is to be presented by my classmate, Hope) was a very interesting sort of how-to article titled “Writing a Narrative” by Andrea Lunsford, Michal Body, Lisa Ede, Beverley Moss, Carole Clark Papper, and Keith Walters. The authors recount very detailed and precise ways to go about a narrative after explaining what it is, and providing examples of several successful attempts of narratives in many different forms and from a plethora of genres/circumstances. I was able to take away a lot from this article for my own creative work in a very general sense. This article is practical and useful when generating creative content; it provides great guiding questions and doesn’t seem to leave its reader mystified as to what to do next. In more detail, the article providing tips and advice as far as making sure readers understand that setting, point of view, the kind of medium being written in etc. are all crucial to one’s process. What sort of larger picture/context can the narrator bring forth from what they are writing about? Why is their topic significant?

I will say that in my personal experience, and what I have learned thus far, I won’t say that I learned anything new, but there are many more people out there that need this kind of article right alongside what they are working on to better help them with pacing and generating content. With that being said, I also don’t always remember everything, so keeping something like this article for my own use will greatly help when I need a refresher when it comes to my work. I have gotten to the point in my own creative process where it is becoming almost second nature to ask myself these questions not only because I have actually had a mazing professors who encouraged me to think in this way, but also because with technology constantly advancing the way that it does it is almost inevitable that I will have to keep asking myself these kinds of starter questions because change is always at rise. If one part of a machine constantly changes what it does and the job that it does varies then other parts of the same machine will titled
have to adjust and work accordingly, right? Maybe this wasn’t such an effective example, but I think I’ve pretty much spelled it out.

Moving along to the second article, “Writing About People”comesScreen Shot 2017-04-24 at 12.53.02 PM from a larger text On Writing Well by William Zinsser. This excerpt gives the very essence of what an interview is, can be, and how to get there. It reminded me of the “What Not to do at a Stoplight” bit of a spongebob episode. “Writing About People” was straightforward and didn’t seem to spend too much time telling the truth “slant” as Emily Dickinson would say. I immediately found myself agreeing with the author as the excerpt explains the importance and beauty of quoting a person correctly, and it was simply because “as soon as a writer steps in, everyone else’s experiences become secondhand” (“Writing About People”, p.100). I was pulled to think about the ways in which I find myself and others of my generation speaking, and that would be in quotes and long drawn out recounts (verbatim) of what someone said in a play, movie, TV show, song etc.

The excerpt then takes us into “the human element” stating so eloquently how even behind a seemingly dreary brick building can be traces of lives from all walks of life. There is a human element to everything we encounter as people, and that is what makes this world special. The piece gets deeper into the nuances of interviewing specifically when tape recorders come into question. Now, yes, I understand the hesitations that came into play for the author such as practicality (one will more likely come into having a pencil more often than not vs. a tape recorder), as well as sticking to this notion of being a true writer and actually writing and doing one’s work in front of the interviewee. Let’s keep in mind, though, that the most recent publication date (per the copied version we are reading from) is 1998, and it would make sense that some sort of hesitance occurred when it came to a form of technology.

My same fear of the interviewee talking too fast was addressed in this excerpt and the advised solution didn’t really go past telling the person who is talking to stop and then resume. To me, this abrupt pause not only disrupts flow, but inherently makes one lose track of what one is saying. I know I would. This can be a minor hinderance, but still. Being able to refer back to a recorded version gives more archivable artifacts, as well as alternative options for storing and accusing the information even if it isn’t the form you pull from most for whatever end-product is being worked on.

This excerpt from On Writing Well by William Zinger may have much to do with my work for my thesis, since it is comprised of mostly talking about people (through verse). I have no idea if I will interview people in the near future, but it is definitely a possibly and my work can thrive from it, but it all depends on the direction in which the project feels itself going. I am going to lend myself to it… not the other way around. Overall, this second reading was useful as much as the first one was. I like the warnings and the “it’s okay” feel of the piece as it addressed many of the obstacles first timers may see when beginning their interviewing journeys. I didn’t really find myself having questions afterward, but then again, I only read it once. 🙂


Literature Review Process

How is my literature review going? That is a great question because I would like to know myself! To be serious, I have having trouble finding motivation and TIME to do the research I so desperately need to do. I am worried, but not worried at the same time because I know that I am diligent and determined and will get it done. On the other hand, I want this research proposal to be over (saying this is the most positive way I can).



I am a current graduate student at Kean University's Nathan Weiss Graduate College. While majoring in English and Writing Studies, I am also working as a graduate assistant in the writing center and enjoying my time to grow, learn, and explore!

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