Tag: writing

“New Starts, New Semesters, New Year’s Resolutions” by Alex Stone

Being on campus again feels like I have been transported back to my freshman year. Everything feels brand new. Just walking around campus, I find myself looking at a map to be sure that I know how to get to my Women and Gender Studies class in Gore Hall. And, just the other day, I had to have my roommates remind me that the Scrounge in Perkins is called the Den. I am learning to adjust to life on campus all over again, but this time, I am not the same person as I was freshman year. I am looking at this semester as a fresh start and a second attempt at my freshman year. It is all about new beginnings and new experiences, and with new beginnings, come new resolutions; this school year, I have decided to make a New Year’s resolution: I want to journal more. Continue reading

“Essays for Essays” by Chris Hope

I am a fan of anything that goes into great depth to analyze media or the humanities, whether that be Wikipedia articles on niche linguistic concepts, articles analyzing album themes, or what I’ll be talking about in this article: YouTube video essays. There are a wide variety: ones analyzing movies or TV shows, ones discussing political concepts, and more. I also believe that there’s much to learn from these videos aside from the ideas that they posit, such as topics to use in one’s own writing and ways of structuring one’s own writing, and they can even be something to watch in one’s free time or as background noise.

Looking online, you can find videos on almost any topic; to me, this is an interesting way to brainstorm ideas for your own writing, as well as a way to find sources. Similarly to how you wouldn’t cite Wikipedia and would rather go and find the sources from which the authors get their information, oftentimes creators will include their sources throughout the video or in the description. This way, you can look more into primary sources for the topic and then gather your own. The intersection of the topics of these video essays also allows for you to find resources on deeper, more academic topics while hearing about how they intersect with media. There are channels dedicated to music and its use in films, and one video I’ve watched talks about how animated movies use imagery relating to immigration and police and the implications such imagery has on the films’ messages as a whole. There are also ones that just talk about a specific topic on its own, one in particular I think of being about how languages die out because of colonial powers. The structure of these videos can also be of benefit when looking at your own writing. Continue reading

“Tips for Top-Notch Writing” by Nadya Ellerhorst

I am not good at many things. However, I am okay at a handful of things.

I can reach books off of high shelves. I can recommend a movie for you to watch based on your preferred genre. Set a plate of food in front of me, and *poof*—I can make it disappear before your very eyes.

If there’s one thing I’m particularly okay at, it’s writing. Sometimes I like to believe otherwise, but if the opposite were true, I think Hayley and Abhigna would have kindly kicked me off 186 South College by now.

Disclaimer: I am not an English major or a Writing Fellow, and I do not, nor do I pretend to, know all the in’s and out’s of the complex galaxy that is the English language. However, over the years, I’ve made enough vocabulary, grammar, and spelling errors to provide me with some insight that I hope can assist you. With a little practice, patience, and dedication, anyone can become a skilled writer.

Hence, I am pleased to present some tips and tricks for reaching your full writing potential, because if your professors, Purdue OWL, or pure reason can’t sway you, maybe this freshman can.

1. Proofread your paper before asking others to read it 

I cannot — let me pause here to let that sink in — stand it when I’m asked to proofread something littered with tiny mistakes. You may not think they’re a big deal. After all, what are your professors who have spent years getting graduate degrees for other than correcting your goofy spelling errors (the red squiggly lines are not just your imagination, friends) and reminding you for the umpteenth time that “The period goes inside the quotation marks.”

In case you’ve forgotten, a gentle reminder that you’re human. All of us are prone to making an occasional error in our work, and it takes a while to get the hang of the myriad of spelling and grammar rules out there. You can’t spell revision without vision, so look over your work at least once after writing it.

2. Write something you enjoy reading

If you don’t like how it sounds, chances are we won’t like it either. If you start zoning out while reading, either you need to fine-tune your writing to make it more engaging, or that sentence is too long. It’s really just a matter of trusting your gut as to what sounds pleasing to that little voice in your head that vocalizes what you’re reading.

3. Check citations

Yes, not everyone is going to read them, and yes, they are a pain in the neck to compile. However, sloppy, ill-formatted citations, both on a Works Cited page and in the text itself, are an eyesore, especially if you get a citation nut like me looking over your work.

There are plenty of digital resources out there to help you figure out what to cite and how to cite it. Remember your ancestors who did not have Purdue OWL!

4. Become good friends with a thesaurus

There exists a multitude of words beyond “good,” “great,” and “interesting.” Do these words get the job done? Sure. Is reading “excellent” 15 times in the span of the same paragraph enjoyable? No.

You don’t need an actual thesaurus. Simply Googling synonyms for a given word will yield a vast array of websites and suggestions for different terms to spice up your work. Continue reading

“An Evening of Poetry with Phil Kaye” by Hayley Whiting

About a month ago, I received an e-mail from the Honors Program announcing that Honors Mosaic, a group dedicated to promoting diversity in the Honors Program, would be hosting writer and spoken word poet Phil Kaye for a writing workshop and performance. I had never encountered his work before, but I immediately knew I wanted to take advantage of this amazing opportunity, especially after learning about his impressive background. To give some context, Phil is a Japanese-American poet who has published two books; has performed in twenty countries; was a National Poetry Slam finalist; has worked in maximum security prisons leading poetry workshops; and is co-director of Project VOICE, an organization that partners with schools to bring poetry to the classroom. 

As if Phil’s accolades weren’t enough, on the day of the writing workshop, as soon as I entered the room, I noticed how friendly, genuine, and funny he was (besides just being an all-around cool guy, complete with a man bun). He even made a point to remember everyone’s name after only hearing each name once, and throughout the workshop, he was really supportive when students shared their ideas.

 He began the workshop by describing it as a “crash course in spoken word poetry.” To gather inspiration for poem ideas, he had us first make a list of three things we knew to be true — the more personal to us, the better. He explained that lists are a great way to beat writer’s block; if you don’t know what to write, pick a topic (that could be “things I know to be true” or “things I regret,” for example) and make a list to get your feelings down on paper. After that, he had us pick one of those topics and add as many sensory details as we could while creating a poem: sights, sounds, tastes, smells, and tactile feelings. Then, we focused on how to perform a spoken-word poem and brainstormed tips, from becoming aware of your fidgeting to slowing down your speech. Phil also asked us to do a fun activity in which we got into a circle, picked a word from our respective poems, and created an action to go with it, going around the circle and repeating each person’s word and action after them. Finally, the workshop culminated in performing our poems for each other and giving each other feedback. I had a blast at the workshop while also learning a lot about writing and performing poetry, from how to gain inspiration for what to write about to how to effectively perform my poetry. 

After the workshop, that evening, I was also lucky to see Phil’s performance in the Trabant theater. I really enjoyed watching him interpret his own poetry, observing the actions he chose for certain words and the tone of voice he used for certain lines. His poems were full of vivid images and different tones, from humorous to poignant to sorrowful to joyful, and ranged from topics such as the cultural differences of his grandfathers to the streets of New York City. I have never witnessed a spoken word poetry performance before, and hearing Phil’s poems come alive was a wonderful experience! 

After the performance, I had the opportunity to get a signed copy of Phil’s most recent book, Date and Time, and even snagged a picture (as you can see above)! I am so glad Honors Mosaic hosted Phil Kaye at UD for a fun and fulfilling evening of poetry!

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