Looking back on the first seven weeks of the semester, I’m astounded at how much work I’ve done. There are dozens of blog posts on this website, and all of them represent a lot of effort and thought. 

Blog/Website Review:

I haven’t changed my blog a whole lot since the beginning of the semester, but I did a lot of work at that front end getting it how I want. I love my theme because it’s clean and user-friendly, and I’ve already put a bunch of fun stuff on my sidebar because I figured out how to do that last semester with my other blog. I especially like the tag cloud on the sidebar that makes it super easy to navigate around the site.

I also love my project website. I’m incredibly impressed with the amount of features you get with a free Wix website, and it looks great! Everyone has been very impressed with the animated homepage, and I love it, too. I’ve also gotten a lot of positive feedback about my interactive images. I still want to add music links on every page, and I’m working on finding relevant tracks. I’m not entirely happy with how the text of my introduction/stories looks on the page. I think it’s hard to read. I’m going to try messing with that   by increasing the font size, changing the line spacing, adding space before/after paragraphs, and adjusting color. Right now I think it’s hard on the eyes.

Reading Review:

I enjoy doing reading for this class because I can choose what I want to do from many options. My favorite reading so far has been the first week, when I read The Illiad. I’m always inspired by epics, and I love classical culture, so I enjoyed working with the story. It has been cool to read stories from the Middle East and Asia, too, because I don’t know a lot about those mythologies or cultures.

Sometimes it’s hard to do the reading notes posts because I just want to read straight through the texts, but I like the challenge of reading like a writer. I try to add new strategies every week, and one of my favorites is looking up unknown things on Wikipedia. It really helps with the cultures that I’m less familiar with! I’ve discovered from taking these notes that I naturally like focusing on character in my stories, so in the next few weeks I’d like to challenge myself to practice other things like plot and setting.

A note-taking strategy that I particularly enjoy using that I’ve developed myself is the idea of “If I were…” Making this statement, and finishing it, allows me to get ideas for my own story adaptations while critiquing the reading. Sometimes it’s “If I were this character, I would have done this instead” and other times it’s “If I were writing this, I would have focused more on this part than that one.” I really like approaching my notes from this point of view.

Writing Review:

I like the amount of writing we do in this class because it forces me to be productive. I usually don’t write much “for fun” during the semester because of my other classwork, but this class allows me to be creative and practice my craft consistently. It’s also incredibly open ended, which I love. I hate writing under parameters.

I’m satisfied with the quality of most of my stories so far. Sometimes I’m very rushed in writing them, but I think I still execute well. I think I’ve done a good job of trying different kinds of storytelling. I’ve done a gender-flip, an epic poem/ballad, a katabasis (love that word), first person point-of-view, a frame-tale, and a major setting change. I’m looking forward to trying more new things! 

I’ve been really enjoying crafting my project. The assignments tend to sneak up on me and I’m left scrambling on Sunday to write an installment. However, I always end up enjoying it. It’s hard to get started. Sometimes I have to mentally grab myself by the lapels and shake myself, shouting “You like writing!” Once I get typing, I fall into a rhythm and have a great time crafting. I love my story topic, and I’m excited to write the rest of the story! 

Hands-down, my favorite part of the Storybook project is the built-in revision process. I’m not a fan of drafting, but I love revising and rewriting. Having the ability to do that makes me less stressed about grinding out a first draft and makes me feel better about the final product.

Image:

I chose to use this image in my Illiad reading notes. It’s a fresco depicting Achilles after he defeats Hector. Even though I’m totally #TeamHector, I like the image of Achilles holding Hector’s helmet aloft. The painting also shows the desecration of Hector’s body. It really captured the tragedy and drama of the epic for me and helped inspire me to write my ballad. 

Looking Forward:

During the rest of the semester, I would like to continue trying new note-taking strategies to make the exercise more fun and useful. I’d also like to keep trying new storytelling styles every week. I definitely want to do a Twine story, and I’d like to try a science-fiction genre story, too. I’m excited for the rest of my Storybook project, too!

Image 1: Rewind knob. Source – Flickr.

Image 2: Triumph of Achilles from the Achilleion in Corfu, Greece. By Franz Matsch. Source – Wikipedia