Monday, October 22, 2007

Process Paper G2-4/Goddard

Annotation #10: Kosinski (revised) and original annotation
Annotation #11: Paul Bowels
Annotation #12: John Gardner
Long Critical Paper revision and first draft
Chapter one From Color to Ansbach and first draft

Dear Kyle,

I hope all is well with you. Things here have changed significantly since the last packet. Looking at the dates, it’s been less than three weeks, but it feels like so much longer to me. Of all the packets, and all the work I’ve done so far in the program, I feel I’ve gown the most in these last few weeks. Generally speaking, I have had so much to thing about in this process of writing, revision, thinking and rethinking. I apologize about the size of this packet; I’ve sent you way more than the usual page allotment. However, I have sent you older drafts of everything for your reference.

In your last response, you asked about the stories of Paul Bowels and the John Gardner chapter on plotting. Well, I read them, and thank you for introducing me these two fine writers. I only read the three stories from Paul Bowels which you recommended: “Midnight Mass,” “The Husband,” and “The Little House.” I was so impressed by them, and baffled I had never heard of Paul Bowels before now. I understand why you suggested them, and I see why you like him. In my brief research of this writer, I discovered he was first a composer and later a writer. I have not heard any of his music, but I plan to when the semester has ended.

John Gardner, at least the chapter on plot was equally as impressive. I didn’t find it dense in the least. The usefulness of what it taught me is in my annotation. Again, once the dust settles a little I plan to read the whole text. Speaking of reading, I wrote down every title of all the novels and stories he alluded to in the chapter, and I daresay I have a pretty impressive preliminary bibliography for next semester.
The long critical paper. Yikes. I must admit, I was in a panic like no other a couple of weeks ago. A simple revision on this paper would not have been acceptable. After a few stressful days, I reread a few chapters in How to Write an Essay, the Sparknotes book I showed you during the residency. I cannot begin to explain the comfort and usefulness I have found in this how-to book. The how-to on revision was simply this: from the outside in- 1) organization of thoughts and arrangement of body paragraphs, 2) weak or illogical arguments and 3) ideas in the introduction and conclusion. Then they suggest focusing on the smaller issues: 1) sentence structure, 2) word choice, and 3) proofreading. Those guideline were exactly how I tackled the rewrite. It is a rewrite. I felt a little embarrassed about the first paper when I read it again, and I felt bad about wasting your time on that draft. However, I do trust in the process, and the second paper is much sounder. I narrowed the focus, I took a linear approach, and I let the flow of events stay solely with smaller aspects. I trust in this paper a thousand times more than the last.

The struggle to convey my critical thoughts on the page is diminishing everyday with practice, and with work. When I think about the critical aspects of this program, it really is the basis of building creative thoughts.

The creative work is moving along. I haven’t yet found the leaps and bounds with it as I have with the critical work. The John Gardner chapter helped out immensely. The concept that warrants conversation here is the use of exposition. In judging what to include as well as how to include it and where the next step is for me. Working from an initial situation and working from the climax backwards is worth thought with Carmichael. He’s doing a little of both, and I will be focusing on it more. In the first chapter of the revision, there are still a few places that need work, but it’s getting better.

Fortunately, I have the next three weeks to work on my story almost exclusively. I have focused mostly on my critical work so far this semester. The emphasis now is the creative work. Whatever happens in packet five, I hope is the foundation for my work in semester three. Do you have more words of advice for me now?

I had a strange thought about my story the other day, how different will it be if I wrote in it the third person rather than the first? I don’t know exactly how it will work. However, in the Gardner chapter he does say the exposition of events should be shown not told. I realize there is much more telling than showing. Structurally speaking, the third person would force me to examine the events in a completely different way. Well, it was only a thought.

Anyhow, I hope packet number four is an improvement. I look forward to all criticism and comments.

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