Monday, June 29, 2009

Multi-Genre Papers

I'm now reading Tom Romano's Blending Genre, Altering Style and I'm feeling inspired after only 40 pages. The entire second chapter, devoted to an example of a multi-genre piece, captivated my attention and I found myself not wanting it to end. I'm sure part of that feeling was because it dealt with cosmetics and department stores, two things with which I am very familiar, but I also think it appealed to me because of the variety of genres and the underlying tone conveyed throughout the entire piece. Each piece was interesting on its own, but when put together, the result blew my mind. This was the first multi-genre piece that I've read and it definitely won't be the last. I'm hoping to write my own by the end of this class, and I'm toying with the idea of expanding the short characterization I wrote in a previous post into something more complex and well-rounded.

One of the elements I liked best in Jennifer Sorensen's "Cosmetic Clips" was her imaginative use of unexpected genres such as a help wanted ad, excerpts from a training manual, a letter from an employee to a customer, and a script for a P. A. announcement. She took the genre and molded it to show what she wanted to say; altered it so it was a tongue-in-cheek representation of what actually happens behind a cosmetics counter.

She inspired me to brainstorm some unexpected genres I could use in my own piece. My head is swimming with ideas of what I could write about. I like the idea of including my graphic design character and showing the contrast and tension between she and a more "normal" girl in her school. I'm thinking the two characters are paired up for a project and realize they are actually more alike than they thought. Right now that sounds kind of cheesy and over done, but I guess it's a starting point. I'm envisioning going back and forth between the girls' minds and showing their own personal insecurities through descriptions of one another, samples of their work, excerpts from things in their daily lives, and have the piece culminate with a sample of the project on which they were assigned. Some of the genres I've thought about that are a little more interesting to me are:
  • Party Invitation
  • Excerpt from a daily planner
  • Lesson Plan
  • Morning Announcements
  • Credit Proposal (this probably wouldn't fit within the scenario I've created, but this is the type of writing I do at my banking job and I think it would be interesting to see how I could modify it to fit into a multi-genre piece)
  • Photography
  • Sales Slip
  • Shopping List
  • Recipes
  • A two person poem like the one by Brienne Cummings on page 6 of a multi-genre piece about Laurie Halse Andersen's Speak
  • Yearbook signatures/notes

I'm a little petrified of taking on the task of writing a piece like this. It seems overwhelming with all of the options. But I'm excited at the same time. I think this is a good chance for me to use some of the methods I've previously read about and really challenge myself to think about how all genres of writing can be used to convey meaning.

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