Final Blog Post

Introduction of Work

“Writers and Authors…A Rose by any other Name?” has gone through many changes. In the beginning, it was originally supposed to be a research paper, then midway, it became an essay that I was supposed to post on my blog and, in the end, it turned out to be a compilation of my works printed in a chapbook.

In my previous blog post, I introduced my project in this manner:

““Writers and Authors…A Rose by any other Name?” is a collection of my written works, which is composed of an original story written in my own style that is then rewritten in the styles of three other authors. It is an attempt to compare and contrast the writing styles of classical or literary authors vis-à-vis the modern or popular writers. The chapbook is also a project of self-improvement and a means of finding my own voice.”

I was working around the project with the following problem statement: “Finding Forrester” – Are we gaining writers but losing authors? I initially came up with this idea because I believed that the popularity of the internet has given rise to a new breed of writers. Through the help of the internet, these writers were turning out a vast amount of work at an incredibly fast pace and some of those who have attracted a significant following have even been published. I wondered if being published in such a matter qualified them to be called “authors” in the same league as the more renowned ones.

I was originally going to attempt to define and differentiate between the traditional concept of what an author is and the growing breed of popular internet writers. When the project was still going to be a research paper, I was going to juxtapose acclaimed authors and their works against published internet writers. I was aiming to find out what made these people different and if one was necessarily better than the other. I wanted to know if we were gaining writers but losing authors or if we were gaining a new breed of authors.

In the process of gathering resource materials, I realized that a purely academic approach in a research paper may not be interesting to a wide range of audience. In order to keep my project fun and interesting, I did away with the research paper and planned that my project would be an essay instead. The topic of the essay would have been about myself and I was going to write it in my voice (writing style) and then rewrite it in the writing styles of other authors. My project was going to be a collection of essays that would be compiled to make a chapbook. Instead of directly answering the questions that I had for my research paper, the essays would have been my means of comparing and contrasting the writing styles of classical or literary authors vis-à-vis the more modern or popular writers.

After considering some suggestions from my classmates, I scrapped the idea of writing an essay and instead made the decision to use an excerpt from an original short story of mine which I would then “translate” into the different writing styles of different writers and authors. If the excerpts were read side by side, the different versions would (hopefully) be an effective way of showing the difference between “high literature” (works that are often constructed as serious or boring, which most people avoid) and popular literature (works that are normally written to appease and appeal to the masses).

Although the finished product is no longer what it was originally intended to be, I am glad that it had undergone a metamorphosis because it became so much more than what I had planned. I am happy that I was able to explore my writing style and experience working on writing like other authors. The project became much more fun that way. I encountered challenges that I would not have encountered if I had written a research paper (and might I say, these challenges were easier to overcome than any challenge I would have encountered in a serious paper). If I had to work on a research paper or an essay for an entire month, I would have surely gone crazy and would have lost the energy and passion to continue giving the project my best.

Documentation

mindmap-2

The original plan for my project was for it to be a research paper. This [the picture above] is the Mind Map that I created to, for lack of a better term, map out my ideas for the paper (duh). In the map, I wrote how I wanted to define what a writer was. This meant that I was going to look into the works of acclaimed authors and writers who do not follow the literary path set for “academic” writers. I was then going to compare and contrast “high” literature and “popular” literature as well as consider why there is a divide and if this [the divide] should be broken.

The reason why I was interested in researching on this topic was because of my course and my passion. As a Creative Writing Major, I wanted to know why these internet writers were being published and read. I wanted to look into what kind of literature is considered worthy to be published and the reasons why they are well-received by the public. If the kinds of books on the market nowadays are actually “good” or are just published because their plot lines are popular. I also wanted to figure out if being discovered on the internet was a bad thing or a legitimate means of becoming an author, i.e. if the writers found on websites like Wattpad were actually decent in their story telling.

As seen in the map, I was originally going to publish my research on my blog because it meant that people could easily access it and look into what I have found out. When I changed my project’s medium to a compilation of stories, I decided to record my ideas and drafts in a notebook.

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Cover Page of Documentation Notebook

Unfortunately, the notebook was of no use to me during my writing process. I had originally planned to bring this notebook with me wherever I went so that I could productively work on my project but, sadly, I could not effectively write my drafts down.

There were problems with writing my thoughts down on paper. One is that, when my creative mood is flowing, my hand cannot keep up with my thought process, and a lot of my ideas would be forgotten before I could coherently write them down. On the other hand, there were also times when it was incredibly difficult for me to jot down my ideas for the project because, in my head, my ideas weren’t even formed in coherent sentences. I would be thinking of a setting, a chunk of dialogue, and a plot, all at the same time but when I tried to write them all down, it turned out to be a mess.

The notes I took were, admittedly, forced. I took a lot of time trying to properly articulate my thoughts in the notebook and make it look like I was drafting something. The last page (third photo) is actually how I normally write my ideas down. They are just bits and pieces of ideas which may be connected (figuratively or literally with arrows) to the project or just disjointed notes for later consideration.

In the end, I opted to give up on the notebook and just type my works directly on my laptop. This was more in keeping with my writing style and turned out to be more efficient and easier to track and organize. Below, you could see my drafts for each version of the excerpt “Silver” (my original story). Instead of deleting my failed attempts, I just kept their files so that I could look back on them and maybe recycle ideas. I kept all my writings in one folder and distinguished them by their titles, i.e. 1st draft, 2nd draft, and so on.

Documentation

One of my main struggles with my project was writing in the style of Jane Austen (I used her most popular work, Pride and Prejudice, as a guide). It was difficult to write in her “voice” because of the distance of time. When Jane Austen was still alive, there were no such things as air conditioners or laptops so when I wrote in her style (formal, sort of posh/polite dialogue), those words looked awkward and out of place.

The screenshots below is an example of a work that was in progress at that time. The red font indicates an attempt at a different writing style from the black font seen at the top of the document.

Jane Austen 1st

Another way that I handled my drafts was creating an entirely new document for my new writing. The photo below is my first attempt at writing “Silver.” The scene depicted is very different from what “Silver” ended up being (see second photo, “Final Draft”, or check out the entire chapbook posted in my previous blog).

My Voice 1st

1st Draft of “Silver” in my style

My Voice 3rd

Final Draft of “Silver” in my style

When I finished my work, the next problem I encountered was creating the cover page for the chapbook. I am not adept in editing photographs or photoshopping so my first attempt in printing the chapbook failed. The cover page was made in Microsoft Word and I simply placed word art on top of the photo of my choosing. It was the best I could do at that time.

Unfortunately, when the lady in the printing office opened the word file, the format of the cover page changed. The word art stayed on the front page and the photo moved to the second page. Luckily (or so I thought), I exported the file as a PDF. What I didn’t know was that, for some reason, the page documents shrank. There is no other way that I could describe what happened in my first printing (see photos below.)

Fortunately, my friend offered to make me a new cover page (seen below) and when I exported my file as a PDF on her computer, the format was fine. I guess my Microsoft Word was just outdated or I am just really bad at technology.

I am happy to say that, despite the mishaps, I was able to finish my project and have it printed ahead of schedule. By the end of the month, I had 5 chapbooks, all ready to be read.

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Old and New Chapbook

Evaluation of Process

This whole semester was, for the most part, interesting. I never expected to take an entire month off of class just to finish one project. In hindsight, I feel like if I really only had to work on this project, I would have been able to finish it in just a few weeks. Alas, life got in the way many times – life and other subjects.

The creation of my chapbook was very eye opening. For the longest time, I just wrote for the sake of writing. If I had an idea for a story, I would simply write it down. If I got tired of the idea, I would leave it alone to collect dust in my hard drive. This project forced me to stick to a story (albeit just an excerpt) and work on it until it was finished. It did not matter if I got sick and tired of describing the same scene or writing the same dialogue. I could not give up on my work.

My experience with working on my chapbook and being in FA 102 taught me that art took time, dedication, and patience, but sometimes, I did not have enough time and I had to work on my dedication and patience as well. It was difficult to get into the “zone” of writing and staying in that “zone” but you just have to suck it up and will yourself to get into the “zone.”

Although the purpose of my art was to bring light to “good” literature and writing, I ended up exploring and examining myself as well. I found out my strengths and weakness in writing. For example, one of my biggest weaknesses was visualizing the chapbook. In theory, I knew what I wanted to do but the execution was difficult for me. The process of thinking of what to write and how to go about writing it left me unproductive for days. It was only when I stopped worrying about what I was doing and started doing some work that I was able to get some things done.

Art reveals a lot about the person who created it. At least, mine did. My chapbook revealed the kind of literature I enjoyed reading and how I tended to write my stories. Because I spent so much time on the project, I became aware of what it was and if it succeeded in answering the problem that started the whole project.

My chapbook was my “baby” and like a mother, I wanted to protect it and believe that it was good. But as an artist, I knew that, although I was able to do what I had intended, i.e. discover my own writing style and imitate the writing styles of others, I do not think I was able to explicitly answer the problem I had raised in the beginning.

My project was able to show the differences between “high” and “popular” literature but it failed to directly answer if one was better than the other and if both kinds of literature can coexist with one another. I believe that the answers to those questions lie in my readers but, I do not think they would find the right answer either. I do not believe that there is a right answer at all.

Maybe this is because there is a difference between understanding art as a body of information and discovering it via practice and exhibition. In the course of studying it, we may analyze and understand it in an academic sense but we undergo an entirely different experience in the process of writing or creating the art. Furthermore, when you exhibit your creation, the reception of the audience may not always be the same as you intended in creating your art.

 

Moving Forward

Now that my project is over and done with, I guess the next thing I should work on is figuring out what I should do next. I know that I want to continue writing stories so I believe that my next step is to keep on writing and actually stick to what I start.

This project forced me to work on one story and I think I should keep that mindset. I should continue keeping my drafts and work on making them better. I should visualize how my stories would look like when they are done because I never felt such accomplishment than when I saw my chapbook being printed.

Where do I want to go? Well, I do not think I should aim for anything else than up! I have always wanted to be an author and I should strive to keep that dream alive. I should not settle for less because I believe that my stories should be out for the public to read just as much as any best selling author.

[Milestone] Artwork Presentation

Title of the Artwork: Writers and Authors… A Rose by another Name?
Artist Name: Katya Castaneda
2017
Medium: Chapbook 
Dimensions: 32 pages on 8 sheets, A4 

 

IMG_6062 (1)

 

“Writers and Authors… A Rose by any other Name?” is a collection of my written works, which is composed of an original story written in my own style that is then rewritten in the styles of three other authors. It is an attempt to compare and contrast the writing styles of classical or literary authors vis-à-vis the modern or popular writers. The chapbook is also a project of self-improvement and a means of finding my own voice.

 

WIP 2: Slow and Steady

So far, so good. I’ve more or less been able to stick to my calendar despite other school requirements that I had to do. I just need to finalize everything and figure out how to layout my chapbook. I’ve already looked up some templates and “How to dos” on the internet. I’m satisfied with my progress.

Highlights:

  1. Books
    1. During the week, I reread passages from Pride and Prejudice and Me Before You to refresh my memory of the authors’ writing styles. I paid close attention to how they describe settings and characters as well as how they write their dialogues. I did the same when I read As Told by Nerdy.
  2. Write
    1. I was able to rewrite my story in the styles of the three authors I chose. I still need to review my drafts but overall, I believe I was able to capture their “voices.”
    2. I actually had to do more drafts for my own stories but only needed a single draft for each of the other authors. I guess there was a learning curve and it was easier to rewrite after the first couple of drafts.
  3. Time Management
    1. I’m quite pleased with myself that I was able to stick to my schedule because I was (and still am) overwhelmed with my workload for other subjects.

Difficulties

  1. Documentation
    1. In a previous blog post, I stated that I would document my notes and drafts in a notebook. I was unable to write down a lot of notes because the ideas I got were quickly translated into the drafts already. I was also unable to write down my drafts in the notebook. Instead, I saved them in my computer. This is more convenient in terms of reviewing and editing my work.

Documentation

  1. Layouting
    1. I haven’t been able to really think about what my chapbook would look like and what the layout would be. However, I already started researching on the internet for ideas and tips.
  2. Confidence
    1. I’m happy with my rewrites but I’m worried that not all the readers will be able to appreciate the differences between the rewrites or if they would be able to identify the styles of the authors I am emulating.

WIP 1: Things don’t go as planned

 

First things first. I didn’t stick to my schedule for this project. In fact, I’m WAAAAY behind it. But that’s okay. Because, really, I was overestimating myself with the amount of work that I planned to do.

I should have known better. Life and other school responsibilities get in the way.

Anyway, I’d just like to say that I have made some tweaks in my project (which, in a way, contributed to the delay in keeping up with my schedule).

Tweak 1:

I will no longer be writing an essay about myself. Instead, I have written a short story excerpt with the topic of love. Why? Because the authors I decided to imitate are not essay writers. They are (more or less) romance fiction writers. I thought that by writing a love story myself, it would be easier to “translate” it in their writing styles.

Tweak 2:

Instead of writing in the writing styles of 8 authors, I have narrowed it down to 3.

At first, I decided to write in the styles of Jane Austen, John Green, and one Filipino Wattpad author (it was either the author of Diary ng Panget or She’s Dating the Gangster) but when I went to the bookstore to purchase the Wattpad novels, they were unavailable so I ended up purchasing “23:11” by Pilosopotasya and “As Told by Nerdy” by Tsubame/Shim Simplina.

In the end, I chose “As Told by Nerdy” because I have actually read it before when it was still in Wattpad and it was an easier style to imitate (“23:11” was written like a chatserye). I also ended up replacing John Green with Jojo Moyes (author of “Me Before You”) because I wanted the three books to have somewhat of a common theme.

My author and book list is now as follows:

  • Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
  • Me Before You by Jojo Meyes
  • As Told by Nerdy by Tsubame

The common theme that I see in these three stories is the protagonists don’t exactly get along when they first meet.

The highlights of my week are:

  1. Books
    1. I was able to gather copies of the books in my reading list easily because I already own most of them, other than the Wattpad novels.
    2. The Wattpad novel that I chose to imitate (“As Told by Nerdy) was a story that I’ve encountered before. It was a nice surprise.
  2. Story
    1. In deciding on what to write, I revisited old story ideas that I’ve saved over the years. One was in keeping with the theme of the books in the reading list so this helped jumpstart my writing process.
      1. I have to admit that in revisiting old story ideas, I ended up procrastinating because I enjoyed looking back at them.
  3. Writing
    1. I started drafting the story that I would eventually “translate” using the different writing styles.

The difficulties that I’ve encountered during my week are:

  1. Books
    1. The original Wattpad novels that I wanted to look through were no longer available in stores. I overcame this by looking through the other Wattpad novels available.
  2. Story
    1. I couldn’t think of a story to write so I looked through my reading list to see if they had a common theme. When I decided to write a story wherein the protagonists didn’t get along right off the bat (inspiration: Pride and Prejudice and As Told by Nerdy), I adjusted my reading list accordingly (i.e. replacing The Fault in Our Stars with Me Before You).
  3. Writing
    1. I couldn’t find the inspiration and motivation to write my story from scratch so I revisited old story ideas that I had saved.

Revised Process and Timeline:

Process and Timeline Revised

[Milestone] First Pitch

    • Title: Writers and Authors… A Rose by Any Other Name?
    • Abstract
      • My project will be an essay originally written in my voice and then “translated” or rewritten in the writing style of other authors. The collection of essays will be compiled to make a chapbook. The essays will be a means of comparing and contrasting the writing styles of classical or literary authors vis-à-vis the more modern or popular writers. If read side by side, the different versions of the essay would show the difference between “high literature” (works that are often construed as serious or boring, which most people tend to avoid) and popular literature (works that are normally written to appease and appeal to the masses). The chapbook will also be a product of the research done, which suggests that copying another author’s style of writing would be beneficial for an aspiring writer. Hopefully, the exercise would also be one of self-improvement and help me in finding my own voice.
    • Framework
      • Before I can start on this artwork in the form of a chapbook, I will be gathering different works that range from classical literature to popular literature. I would then read/look through these works and take note of how the authors wrote. I would pay close attention to how they write their dialogues and how the describe characters and settings. After that, I would then proceed to write the essay in my voice and rewrite it by imitating their voices.
      • I believe that this project is timely due to the popularity of the Internet giving rise to a new breed of writers. A number who have attracted a significant following have even been published. The project will attempt to differentiate the traditional concept of what an author is and the growing breed of popular Internet writers. The writing styles of acclaimed authors will be juxtaposed against the styles of published Internet writers. The approach of showing the different ways a particular essay may be written is an illustration by example. It is the clearest way to show the differences is to have the same piece written in different styles
    • Methodology
      • Output
        • Essay
          • Topic:
            • Still under consideration
          • Chapbook
            • Compilation of essays written about the same topic
              • The first essay to be read would be the one I’ve written in my own voice. It will then be followed by the essays that I will write imitating the voices/styles of other authors and writers
            • Chapbook will be minimalistic in design.
              • Might contain photos of the authors or works I was inspired by to differentiate the essays
            • Reference Authors/Authors to be Imitated
              • Classical/Literary/Acclaimed Works
                • Jane Austen
                • William Golding
                • Scott Fitzgerald
              • Popular Literature:
                • K. Rowling
                • John Green
                • Stephanie Meyer
              • Filipino Wattpad Writers
                • HaveYouSeenThisGirL
                • Bianca Bernardino/SGWannaB
              • Method of Data Collection
                • The first thing that I have to do is collect the works of the authors I’m planning on imitating. I’ll be focusing on the works that they are most known for.
                  • Classical/Literary/Acclaimed Works
                    • Jane Austen (“Pride and Prejudice)
                    • William Golding (“Lord of the Flies”)
                    • Scott Fitzgerald (“The Great Gatsby”)
                  • Popular Literature:
                    • K. Rowling (“Harry Potter”)
                    • John Green (“The Fault in Our Stars”)
                    • Stephanie Meyer (“Twilight”)
                  • Filipino Wattpad Writers
                    • HaveYouSeenThisGirL (“Diary ng Panget”)
                    • Bianca Bernardino/SGWannaB (“She’s Dating the Gangster”)
                  • After the collection, I would look through each work and take note of how the author writes the dialogue and describes their characters and the settings.
                  • All the notes that I would be taking would be recorded in a notebook along with drafts of the essay I will be writing.
                • Process and Timelineprocess-and-timeline-jpeg

     

     

Medium

I have always been better at writing than drawing so it made more sense to me to use a blog as my medium for the project. My experience with blogging leaves much to be desired. The first time I’ve encountered a blogging website was in the seventh grade when I first made a Tumblr account and I’ve got to admit, all I ever did on Tumblr was reblog the photos and posts of the accounts I followed. I never posted my thoughts and feelings on that website – well, that’s a lie. I actually made a second account on Tumblr to post my rants about life but I panicked after posting my first rant and deleted my account right after.

WordPress came into my life last semester because I needed it for a project in Filipino and I left my account untouched until this semester for FA 102. Though I haven’t actually used WordPress to blog personally, I find that it is quite fun and I think that it’s the best medium for my project. Blogs can be accessed by literally anyone on the Internet and I think that this makes it an efficient medium. People read and write blogs to learn and share knowledge, express themselves, have exposure, and to refine their writing skills. These benefits work hand in hand with the topic of my project – “Are we gaining writers but losing authors?”

Since I’ve never really blogged before and my project will incorporate my skills as a writer, I looked into websites that gave tips on how to write a good blog:

  • “The 12 Dos and Don’ts of Writing a Blog” by Brian A. Klems
    •  Klems has been writing blogs for over ten years and has provided some very helpful tips in writing a good blog along with what to avoid. I’m going to disregard his “Don’ts” because I feel that they are somewhat commonsensical, i.e. don’t make grammar mistake, don’t be negative, etc., and focus on two of his “Dos.”
    • The first “Do” on Klem’s list is “Find Your Focus” – who are your target audience? Obviously, my target audience is my professor but it would also be nice to be able to get aspiring authors to have a look at my project as well. The second “Do” is “Be Yourself” – content draws the readers in but the writer’s personality (their voice in writing) keeps them there. It is interesting to know that my audience’s attention is dependent on my “voice in writing” because that is what will be tested in my project. I will make sure to keep Klem’s tips in mind when I’m writing my blog.
  • “Capture Your Readers: 8 Tips to Writing Engaging Blog Posts” by Issa Mirandilla 
    • Mirandilla’s post gives good tips in writing blog posts as well but I decided to focus on her seventh tip – “Make Your Post Unique (Even if the idea isn’t).” My project will essentially be two essays of the same topic, one written in my voice and the other written in the voices of several authors. I’ve found articles talking about how copying another author’s writing style would actually make someone a better writer but I have yet to find an example of this online (I may just be using the wrong words in the search engine). I think my post would be something new because it’s me trying this theory out and at the same time finding my own voice.

My essay topic would most likely be about myself or something that has happened to me so I looked into tips on how to write about myself as well.

  • “An Essay About Myself: Writing Tips and Tricks” by April Klazema 
    • Klazema gives advice on how to begin and end an essay as well as tackling sensitive topics. In talking about how to begin an essay, Klazema says that one should avoid cliches such as “My name is…” and “The happiest time in my life was…” and instead write about a vivid and exciting memory. It would be interesting for me to describe my memories in the voices of other authors as it would really test my writing abilities.

Moving on, what inspired my project is the idea that because it’s getting easier for people to be published with the help of websites like Wattpad, the books that are being distributed cannot compare to the likes of classic novels such as Pride and Prejudice and Lord of the Flies. I would want to know if this is true or, if given time, these Wattpad books would be considered classic in the future.

  • “Being Popular vs. Being Good”by Scott Berkun 
    • Berkun shares some interesting insights on what authors and artists end up losing when they strive to be popular with the public. It is a common misconception that being popular is synonymous with being good. Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case. Berkun explains that people who work towards popularity end up making mediocre (sometimes downright awful) work in their attempt to please everyone. Popular works end up being boring, predictable and meaningless instead of interesting, complex and meaningful.
    • This article would help me in finding authors to imitate in my essay as I would like to incorporate the voices of “popular” and “good” writers and authors.
  • “How Do Author’s Earn Credibility?” by Scott Berkun
    • In Berkun’s second article, he actually points out that being popular helps in the career of an author. He references the previous article and says that plenty of bad books are popular while good books don’t get the recognition they deserve. There are many cases where in a badly written book about a good topic can be more successful in selling than a well written book about the same topic just because people know about it (the bad book). Every review and recommendation a reader makes helps the author’s career. Berkun says that book ideas and their quality are “slated” towards the masses.
    • This article helps back up my theory on how popular books are not always good.
  • “Want to Dramatically Improve Your Content? Copy Other Writers (Shamelessly)” by Lorraine Thompson
    • Thompson says that “traditionally, learn by mimicking masters” and lists down the benefits of copy work. She states that copy work helps a writer:
      • Absorb structure and style
      • Immerse yourself in different literary forms and styles
      • Open a window into great writers’ minds
      • Identify bad writing habits
      • Practice mechanics of good punctuation and grammar
      • Improve your spelling
      • Clarify your thinking
    • This article serves as one of the inspirations I have in my project because I am essentially mimicking great (and mediocre) authors.
  • “Want to Become a Better Writer? Copy the Work of Others!” by Brett and Kate McKay
    • The McKay’s article is similar with Thompson’s in the way that they agree that copying another writer’s work is helps in improving oneself. Their article even shares that the practice of copy work has been around for years. People like Jack London, Robert Louis Stevenson, and Benjamin Franklin were actually copy writers as well!
    • Like Thompson’s article, this will serve as one of my inspirations for my project as I will be trying to write like other authors.
  • “Finding Forrester”
    • The movie is actually an example of how people view authors and their works. Forrester, an award-winning author, withdraws from the world but his book continues to be revered. Jamal, a young, black, basketball player, befriends him and asks him to teach him how to write. Jamal’s professor does not believe him to be capable of good writing. The professor only acknowledged the worth of Jamal’s work when he thought it was written by Forrester. What then makes an author good? Is it the literature itself or is our appreciation influenced by our opinion of the author?

Mindmap

Problem Statement: “Finding Forrester” – Are we gaining writers but losing authors?

The popularity of the internet has given rise to a new breed of writers who are turning out vast amounts of work at an incredible pace. A number who have attracted a significant following have even been published. Does being published in such a manner qualify them to be called “authors”?

The research will attempt to define and differentiate between the traditional concept of what an author is and the growing breed of popular internet writers. Acclaimed authors and their works will be juxtaposed against published internet writers. What makes them different? Is one necessarily better than the other? Should they be kept separate or do they cross each other’s realms?

Are we gaining writers but losing authors? Or are we gaining a new breed of authors?

mindmap-2

Topic and Inquiry

Line of Inquiry  1: The Blurring of Lines between Entertainment and News

Problem

In various forms of media, there is a pressure for news providers to attract the attention of their target audience. Relevant and objective reporting can suffer from sensationalism and selective emphasis. On the other hand, traditional entertainment media are increasingly making use of  news as input for entertainment.

Explanation

The research will focus on the recent political news and entertainment shows in the US. Examples will be shown of how news reports are trivialized by insignificant yet diverting details. Another set of examples will be about entertainment shows that have significant political content.

Line of Inquiry 2: Commercial Success vs. Social Relevance in the Filipino Movie Industry

Problem

There has been a long-standing challenge of growing the Philippine movie industry to be both profitable and socially relevant. It has been the experience of the industry that the more critically acclaimed or socially relevant films have not always performed well at the box office. On the other hand, movie goers continue to favor slapstick comedies, predictable love stories, and watered-down horror movies.

Explanation

The research will focus on the box offices performance versus the reviews of locally produced films in the past few years. There will be an attempt to classify the films as either purely commercial or socially relevant. There may even be some films that would straddle both classifications, indicating how the movie industry may surmount the identified challenge.

Line of Inquiry 3: “Finding Forrester” – Are we gaining writers but losing authors?

Problem

The popularity of the internet has given rise to a new breed of writers who are turning out vast amounts of works in an incredible pace. A number who have attracted a significant following have even been published. Does being published in such a manner qualify them to be called “authors”?

Explanation

The research will attempt to define and differentiate between the traditional concept of what an author is and the growing breed of popular internet writers. Acclaimed authors and their works will be juxtaposed against published internet writers.

1st Blog Post: Well…This is Me

Hi. My name’s Katya Castaneda and I guess an introduction is long over due considering my actual first (and used to be only) blog post was published last September. If you’ve seen me in real life, I would just like to say that you shouldn’t let my resting bitch face scare you, I’m actually a nice person.

Or, well, I try to be. I like to think that I’m amiable, someone that could be considered a good friend, but I’m also painfully awkward. If someone doesn’t take control of the conversation, I clam up and turn to my phone for entertainment.

Introductions are the worst because I’ve never really been good at talking about myself because, frankly, I don’t think anyone would really want to get to know me. I’m not exactly the most exciting person. I’m not being humble, honest, I’m just… well… boring.

All I ever do is stay home.

I spend most, if not all, of my time in front of my laptop reading, watching videos, or scrolling down Pinterest and/or Tumblr. Sometimes I’m on Facebook but only to check for school announcements and to watch animal videos. I’m a sucker for those.

I want to say that I also spend my free time writing and drawing but unfortunately that’s not true. The most I’ve done this year was jot down scrambled ideas and doodle. My passion for the arts just isn’t the same as it was back in high school, sad to say.

Don’t think that I don’t try though. I really do. I want to be able to write and draw just like I used to. When I find the time, I look for new books to read or revisit books that I have loved. I find that doing this helps me remember the reason why I told myself that I was going to be an author one day.

I’ve recently read “For One More Day” by Mitch Albom and I guess it’s safe to say that he has become one of my favorite authors. I had read “Tuesdays with Morrie” about a year or so ago and I remembered why I liked his works. His stories killed me. His words grabbed hold of my soul, pulled it out of my body and threw it around my room before slamming it back into me.

That’s what I want my work to do to my readers in the future. I want my stories to destroy them (in a good way, of course.)

When I think about the stories that I want to write, I pay close attention to my characters and what they look like. When I was younger, instead of writing down a scene that I’ve picture in my head, I would draw it. I found that it was easier to to get attached to my story if I could physically see it.

Back in the day, I had imagined myself to be a manga artist rather than an author because it was so much easier for me to draw than to write. Some days I find myself wondering if I could still pursue that dream except I would draw for comic books or cartoons. Artists like Inkydandy and Gabriel Picolo make me want to pick up a pencil and paper and hone my drawing skills once more. I like the cartoonish look their characters have because I find their anatomy more attractive. I often visit their social media accounts and look over their artworks to see if I can draw inspiration from them. Most days I’m just jealous of what they can do.

I think it’s hard for me to write and draw because I depend a lot on being in the “zone” but what puts me in the “zone” varies from time to time. There are moments where I have to be listening to music in order to write and/or draw (Nina Nesbitt, Halsey and Marina and the Diamonds are artists who usually put me in a creative mood because of the melody and lyrics of their songs) but there are also times wherein complete silence is what I need to work. I try to keep a notebook with me at all times just in case the urge to write hits me but sometimes I find that it’s easier to type my thoughts out. I talk to myself a lot when I’m writing. I pace and jump around my room. I try to be the character I’m thinking about. It’s a mess. It’s hard to get into the “zone” but it’s incredibly easy to get out of it.

Basically, if I’m in the mood to do something, I do something.

Unfortunately, I’m hardly ever in the mood to do something.

Like I said, I’m boring.

If I’m something other than boring, I’m indifferent, passive. I have a very blasé attitude and it has caused me to be in the dark about a lot of things. I try to be unconcerned with a lot of things and sometimes my lack of concern bothers me. If I have to be concerned about something, it’s the fact that I’m unconcerned. I’m bothered by the fact that I’m not bothered at all, if that makes any sense.

So yeah, that’s me. Thank you for taking the time to get to know me, I guess.

Tunay na Kagandahan

Sa karamihan, hindi ko masyadong natatandaan ang mga alaala ko mula sa panahong 2010 hangang 2015 dahil hindi ako naging masaya sa mataas na paaralan. Ang mga estudyante sa paligid ko ay pawang mga nagbibinata at nagdadalaga. Akala ko ay isa ako sa mga masuwerteng pinagpala ng “puberty fairy,” ngunit pinabulaan ito ng mga sunud-sunod na masamang gupit at estilo. Hindi naging mabuti para sa aking pagpapahalaga sa sarili ang mataas na paaralan dahil parati kong inihahambing ang sarili ko sa iba, sikat man o hindi. Ikinahiya ko na mas malaki ako kaysa sa iba kong mga kaklase at naaalala ko na parang masamang panaginip ang pagtawag sa akin na “semi-ugly.”

Inaliw ko na lamang ang sarili ko sa pagbabasa ng mga pahayag sa Tumblr tungkol sa kumpiyansa sa katawan at kung paano huwag mag-isip ng kakulangan sa sarili dahil lamang sa hitsura ng iba. Nakatulong naman ito ngunit ang Tumblr ay mayroon ding mga larawan ng mga payat na babae na puro may “thigh gap” kung kaya’t naisip ko na hindi ako kaakit-akit.

Ang mataas na paaralan ay hindi lamang panahon ng aking galit sa sarili. Ito ay panahon din ng One Direction. Naging isang tagapaghanga ako ng One Direction ilang buwan bago nila inilabas ang kanilang pangalawang plaka na “Take Me Home.” Halos maiyak ako noong una kong narinig ang kanta nilang Little Things. Pakiramdam ko ay para sa akin isinulat ang awit na ito (maliban sa mga parte tungkol sa freckles at tsaa).

Anu man ang sabihin tungkol sa One Direction, hindi maikakaila na ang lyrics ng Little Things ay maaaring makapag-paniwala sa kahit kanino na maganda siya. Madaling maliitin ang ating sarili sa dami ng mga halos hindi kapani-paniwalang perpektong mga tao sa media, sa mga magazine, mga artista, at mga modelo. Naaapektuhan nito ang ating pagpapahalaga sa sarili at pinapaniwala tayo na kailangan nating maging kamukha ng mga ito upang maging maganda.

Ang awit na ito ay mula sa pananaw ng isang tao na totoong nagpapahalaga sa kanyang kasintahan. Nagbibigay ito ng ilang mga pisikal na katangian at mga naiibang asal na maaaring ikahiya natin sa ating mga sarili ngunit sinasabi ng awit na ang mga maliliit na bagay na mga ito ay ang dahilan kung bakit ang isang tao ay natatangi at nagiging kaibig-ibig.

“You never want to know how much you weigh, you still have to squeeze into your jeans. But you’re perfect to me.” (Harry)

Ayon kay Kate Fox, “Concern with appearance is not just an aberration of Modern Western culture. Every period of history has had its own standards of what is and is not beautiful, and every contemporary society has its own distinctive of concept of the ideal physical attributes.” Sinabi niya na noong 1917, ang kanais-nais na babae ay may taas na 5’4” at timbang na 140 lbs. Lampas dalawang dekada na and nakakaraan, ang mga artista at modelo ay mas magaang ng 8% kaysa sa karaniwang kababaihan. Ngayon, ang timbang ng mga artista at modelo ay maaaring 23% na mas magaang kaysa sa karaniwang mga babae. Hindi aabot ng 5% ng mga babae ang makakaabot sa ganitong ehemplo ng media sa timbang. Kung ipagsasama ang sinasabing kanaisnais na hugis ng katawan at mukha, hindi aabot ng 1% ng mga babae ang mabibilang dito.

Dahil dito, ang mga batang babae na normal naman ang tibang ay nagnanais pa rin na bawasan ang kanilang timbang. Sa isang pag-aaral sa Amerika, 81% ng mga batang babae na may gulang na 10 taon ay nakapag-diyeta na. Sa isang pag-aaral naman sa Sweden, 25% ng mga batang babae na may gulang na 7 taon ay nakapag-diyeta na. Sa Hapon, 41% ng mga babae sa mababang paaralan ang nag-iisip na mataba sila. Ang iba sa kanila ay 6 na taon gulang lamang. Sa isang pag-aaral ng Harvard University, ipinakita na 2/3 ng mga batang babae na may gulang na 12 taon na kulang ang timbang ay nag-iisip pa rin na mataba sila. 50% ng mga 13 na taon gulang ay hindi masaya sa nakikita nila sa salamin. Ang mga may gulang na 14 na taon ay hindi rin masaya sa kanilang mga balakang at hita. 3 lamang sa 10 babae na 17 taon gulang ang hindi nag-diyeta at 8 lamang sa 10 babae ay hindi masaya sa kanilang hitsura (Fox 1997).

 

Perfect?.jpg

Sa ibang kaso naman, ang pagnanais na maabot ang antas ng kagandahan ay nagtutulak sa mga babae na baguhin ang kanilang anyo sa pamamagitan ng “plastic surgery.”

“According to the annual plastic surgery procedural statistics, there were 15.9 million surgical and minimally-invasive cosmetic procedures performed in the United States in 2015, a 2 percent increase over 2014. Since 2000, overall procedures have risen 115 percent, but the types of procedures patients are choosing are changing.” (American Society of Plastic Surgeons w.p.)

Ngunit sinabi ni Amy Alkon na “Being 50 and trying to look 25 through plastic surgery usually succeeds in making a woman look 45 and fembot-scary – an object of pity instead of an object of desire.”

You’ve never loved your stomach or your thighs, the dimples in your back at the bottom of your spine. But I’ll love them endlessly.” (Liam)

Pyramid of Attraction.png

Ang panglabas na anyo ay hindi lahat. Sa “attraction pyramid” ni Jen Kim, ang ilalim ng estruktura ay kalusugan at katayuan. Ang katayuan ay may dalawang bahagi: panloob at panlabas. Ang panloob na katayuan ay mga bagay tulad ng kumpiyansa at paniniwala. Ang panlabas na katayuan ay mga bagay tulad ng trabaho at mga materyal na pag-aari. Kung walang kalusugan at katayuan, wala ring atraksyon. Ang sunod na baitang ay ang emosyonal na koneksyon tulad ng tiwala at aliw, emosyonal na katalinuhan, kakaibahan, at pagka-misteryoso. “Naturally the emotional stage is where we fall in love and bond. This is the core of our mammalian brain” (Kim 2015). Sa tuktok ng piramide ay lohika. Sinisiguro nito na ang taong kausap natin ay praktikal na kaalyansa natin.

Sa isang artikulo tungkol sa “Laws of Attraction,” sinasabi na may limang patakaran na pag-aakit (The 5 Laws of Attraction w.p.).

  • Beauty
    • Panlabas na anyo ang unang nakakaakit
  • Mental Attraction
    • Ang pagka-akit sa pangkaisipan ay mas tumatagal
  • Proximity
    • Ang pagiging malapit sa isa’t isa ay nagbubunga rin sa pagka-akit
  • Exposure and Familiarity
    • Ang pakikipag-ugnayan at pagpapalagayang-loob ay nagpapakilala ng ibang kaakit-akit na katangian
  • Similarity
    • May kasabihan na “birds of a feather flock together.” Mas madaling maakit kung maraming pagkakatulad ang dalawang tao.

Mula sa iba’t ibang pag-aaral na nabangit, maaaring masabi na ang kulturang popular ang nagdidikta kung ano ang itinuturing nating pamantayan ng kagandahan. Ang ideolohiya na ito ang maaaraing tagapag-udyok ng paglikha sa kantang Little Things. Ang awit na ito ay sumasalungat sa estereotipo. Binibigyang-diin nito na ang mga sariling katangian at pagkakaiba ang nagpapaganda sa atin. Nilalabanan nito ang isang popular na pag-iisip tungkol sa panglabas na kagandahan sa pamamagitang isang popular din na teksto – “pop music.”

Ang pangkasalukuyang pag-iisip tungkol sa kagandahan ay tatanawin ng hinaharap bilang bahagi ng kasaysayan. Sa ganoong panahon lamang natin malalaman kung anong pananaw tungkol sa kagandahan ang mananaig.

 

Mga Sanggunian:

@aceshowbiz. “Video Premiere: One Direction’s ‘Little Things'” http://www.aceshowbiz.com. 2012. Kinuha Setyembre 19, 2016. http://www.aceshowbiz.com/news/view/00055166.html.

Fox, Kate. “Mirror, Mirror: A Summary of Research Findings on Body Image.” Social Issues Research Centre. 1997. Kinuha Setyembre 19, 2016. http://www.sirc.org/publik/mirror.html.

Alkon, Amy. “The Truth About Beauty.” Psychology Today. Nobyembre 10, 2010. Kinuha Setyembre 19, 2016. https://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/201011/the-truth-about-beauty.

“New Statistics Reflect the Changing Face of Plastic Surgery.” American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Kinuha Setyembre 19, 2016. http://www.plasticsurgery.org/news/press-releases/new-statistics-reflect-the-changing-face-of-plastic-surgery.

Kim, Jen. “The Four Types of Attraction.” Psychology Today. April 7, 2015. Kinuha Setyembre 19, 2016. https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/valley-girl-brain/201504/the-four-types-attraction.

“The 5 Laws of Attraction.” Laws of Attraction. Kinuha Setyembre 19, 2016. http://www.lawsofattraction.com/psychology/the-5-laws-of-attraction/.

Stewart, Dodai. “American Women Have Deep Pockets For Superficial Spending.” Jezebel. 2008. Kinuha Setyembre 19, 2016. http://jezebel.com/5038816/american-women-have-deep-pockets-for-superficial-spending.