It’s been another interesting week, and I found myself working on newer pieces of my project. Unfortunately I wish I had developed more work this week but that was not the case, it was a very slow week for me mentally and physically as I dealt with a lack of motivation, energy, and bit of bad stress. But anyway last week I was planning and brainstorming my new scene or scenes, And this week I was able to finish those scenes. In addition I was also able to work with the creation of my website which will go hand in hand with my project. In this case I made the choice oh going with the platform named WIX. And I’m glad I did because using it again reminded me of some old pleasant memories. A long time ago I used to use wix for blogging, and even for some of my college classes. So basically I used to use it for personal projects or school projects and I was able to familiarize myself with the platform at a decent level. But then I stopped, and it’s been some years since I last used it. This time around since I am using it for a bigger project I’m trying to relearn and familiarize myself with it again because my new website will be heavy on presentation. This will be especially the case with the distribution of information. And so I found myself creating different tabs or rather categories that will inform background information about my project.
This week, for further crafting of my project, I found myself spending some time working on ideas for my next scene as well as ideas for the website which will accompany my project.
For the new scene I plan to incorporate more details and information about Kyle’s new change in behavior, lifestyle, and mindset. I’m also working with ideas that will further support my central inquiry, which is one addressing and showcasing common behavioral patterns with a person dealing with an epidemic. This new scene is meant to further give more insight into Kyle’s gaining mastery of survival instincts, since with this scene Kyle is now becoming more adopted to the world around him and trying to fit.
Another part of my planning and brainstorming phase for me this week was coming up with ideas for the new website. These are rough ideas, but I made sure to take notes of them and create some sort of a plan or an outline. Since I am not very tacky when it comes to working with websites I chose two websites or platforms that I’m familiar with and I find easy to use. And because there is not much complexity to the form of presentation for information being distributed, these two platforms will work just fine since they are simple and user-friendly and audience friendly. One of these platforms could be the well-known website “WordPress”, and the other could be the website or platform “WIX”.
Although at this moment I think WIX might be better suited for my planning ideas relating to my website, since I feel I can become more creative and the design aspect because of the various tools and accessible features that WIX has that WordPress doesn’t have, at least according to my current knowledge and experience. And so as of right now my planning for the information I’ll be presenting and showcasing on the website will fall under three or four categories. These categories are:
 information about The crafting process for my project,  information about the many sources that serve as reference to the crafting of my project,  and guidelines on where to find or where to reach my project.
The purpose of this website is to serve as a digital space for additional information surrounding my project. In this space the audience or anyone who is interested in learning about my peace can have the chance to learn about it in great detail. One reason that originated this thought with this goal is that in the past, I always felt that many times my audience or people who were strangers to my work, missed background information about my works because they only saw the final version of project.
I almost see it to the process of building and selling a house. In this case the buyer, after the house has been built, only sees or focuses on the final product and what they see. But rarely they are informed about the blueprints or base concept of construction of the house itself. This this part to them is not important, because it’s already built into the house and so they don’t see it right away. But learning about this blueprints or base concept of construction of the house can give the buyer a greater insight without strong the house was built, how long it will last based on the materials used in the quality of the materials, in a lot of other great details of information that only the architects and workers building the house know.
And so in a similar way I feel that having this website as background and supporting information for my project is essential to the reader and to the person who wants to learn more in depth information of my overall project.
This week, I was able to complete working on the scene that I had been previously planning. But I have to say that it was not an easy task to do, since this was probably my busiest week since the semester started. I had a lot going on in my plate, with my personal life. But that’s another story to share another time. As I worked on my new scene, I found myself working with the ideas I had brainstormed and planned. I was happy in the end with the final product, as I wrote it nearly exactly as I had visualized it in my mind. I started with having the main character (Kyle) coming back home and learning that his family was no longer there. To add some layers of interest to the scene, I built up the suspense. He walked in into a house that was not only empty without people, but it was also disorganized and ravaged by animals and scavengers. This was intentionally done by other living beings not related to Kyle or his family, so I worked on providing hints that would show this. I used clues such as footprints (of both animals and humans), opened windows and doors on this abandoned house, animals roaming around the place (rotten and cockroaches).
For the next part of my scene, I worked on giving Kyle as sense of familiarity with the situation, and so I put more focus on his thinking and way of feeling. At this moment, he’s going through some reflections and mental stimulation that leaves him a new state of mind. This new state of mind is one that not only changes his new goals and motives, but also his behavior and part of his personality. As it is, he must find himself now trying to survive for the time being, and he sets on another journey to find his family. Adding new adopted layers of behavior to his personality, I focused on giving him a new basic need for survival. And so, he finds himself worrying more about how he keeps himself fed, alive, and protected, all in the space of this house. The purpose of this was for him to go through a new turning point in his life (both emotionally and physically). The build-up of his new emotional growth is something that I intentionally worked on in this scene because this one is the beginning of a new chapter (two), and so there is some sort of turning point to the story’s progression and narration.
With new chapter in my story having been started and new starting scene completed, I now feel my progression slowly building up as I continue on working on the “rising action” part of my work. And so, with this in mind, I’m starting to not only think of my next scenes, but also in other parts of my project. One of these parts is not necessarily related to my manuscript, but rather with a creation of a website that will support information about the crafting of my story and work itself as a whole project. So, this week, I plan to work around the idea of creating a site that will go hand in hand and provide additional support for my project.
This week has taken a different turn for me, in terms of the process of my thesis project. One of my main priorities is the continuation of development of my manuscript (creative project). This normally includes the addition of a new scene or chapter, along with other adjustments of revision and editing. But this week, unfortunately, this process has only been only partly. And so this time around, I put my focus mainly on planning the next scene and editing the previous scene. I found myself making some slight changes to the previous scene, since I noticed that it would facilitate the flow transition with my next scene. This didn’t caught me by surprise, since the nature of my project. This being a big and large project, there is more for me to remember and keep in mind. Many times, I find myself reviewing all over again everything that I have, in order to write a new chapter or scene without it feeling like it doesn’t belong to the rest of the work. This is a challenging part for me, but it’s also something that’s not impossible. It just take patience, focus, and motivation.
And so with this aside, I started planning my next scene over this week, which falls under the next chapter (chapter 2). This next scene will focus on the experience of Kyle after arriving home. From here on, Kyle will come to realization that his family is gone, and that he is alone during this difficult time. In this part of my story, I plan to start incorporating some elements of survival (through his behavior and actions). The built setting should make this easier for me, in order to allow more complexity of character development and story progression. This chapter should be a strong indicator to the main character’s interest, goals, personal troubles and challenges. With this in mind as my next step, I plan to work around these central ideas as I continue writing my manuscript.
It’s been a good few months since I’ve started my journey to crafting my thesis project. In the Spring, I took the first course (out of two) that allowed me to work on the initial stages of my project. The first course, together with the second course (this semester, in the Fall of 2020), serve as a whole crafting experience and completion of my thesis. But, I am still not there yet, as it is still a work in progress. But so far, I am somewhat satisfied with what I have accumulated so far, since this is a demanding project and I fear having something good is never enough.
To properly make sense of my work and the current progress of it, I like to briefly give a description about my creative project.
In to come up with this creative fictional story, I had to obviously do some planning and brainstorming of ideas. And so, I found myself developing a short-of-outline (Story Map, as I call it) that would depict the story line. Because the project is not necessary short, I had to develop a series of chapter that were detailed with the various important events that would take place as part of the story. I also focused on arranging this outline in a way that would have a standard creative writing and story-telling technique, which would improve the flow of the narration and story progression. This writing technique I speak of consists of a popular format: exposition/ introduction, rising action, climax, falling action, and conclusion/ resolution.
In addition to this, during this stage of crafting of my project, I was also working on something I like to call “Character Profiles”, which consists of detail profiles and descriptions of all characters found in the work. These profiles are not as simple as just writing a name of a character and giving it a role, but also giving them motives, personality traits, conflicts, and much more, in order to make them as dynamic as possible. My character profiles are so important, that when the actual writing of the work starts, I always go back and forward between this sheet and a manuscript, to make the character feel more real.
After having put this big puzzle together and visualizing it in my mind over and over, I started to have more confident in writing the manuscript, which is basically that space or created world where the story comes alive. To some people, this might be the easiest part, but for me is always the most challenging. The actual writing of a story can sometimes take too much into consideration, depending on the type of project. At least, this was the case with my project, and so I tried to first memorize well my story-plan consisting of all of the above which I previously mentioned. I needed to familiarize myself with my work, so that I knew exactly what to say and how to say it, according to all of the settings I build for the work. I visualized the characters in my head over and over, and learned them as if I lived with them at my own house (as if they were real people).
Also, practiced visualizing strategies of each chapter I was going to write, over and over to not deviate myself from my story progression. I addition, something else that happened behind the scenes of my manuscript writing was more memorizing practices of dialog, sentences, and phrases, which I wanted for each character to say. The purpose of this was to keep a consistency of character distinction and characteristics for the writing to feel immersive. The interesting thing about this is that the finish product is something the reader only sees through an outside point of view, and rarely ever thinks about what the various tricks, techniques, and strategies a writer adopts when crafting such writing. Knowing this, I still keep my process of writing because it would benefit my work in many ways.
Over the months, until now, I kept this somewhat complex writing process for my manuscript, and kept adding more chapters and filling up the gap to completion. But course, I am still not there yet, and I still have a bit more of time. Now, I have been faced with another layer of work for my project, which we call it the Lit-Review. I have to say, that it took me some good time to actually grasp adequate understanding of how to go about this part of my project. But thanks many feedback, class meetings, and advice from peers and my instruction (Dr. Zamora), I am more aware of how to approach it. And so far, I feel good about my work on this area too, which is something I couldn’t see a few months ago. But each time, I’m starting to see that this project is like climbing a mountain, and thus it takes time and patience to reach the top. But I’m hopeful that I will make it to the top, if not with this project, then with another one. For now, I’ll continue on this journey, and only time will tell the outcome at the end.
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As I continue on the process of working on my manuscript, for this week I am proceeding according to my planned thesis-progress-calendar (for the month of September). And so, this means working on/and strengthening the manuscript of my creative project. This being the case, I can share the following about my current progress.
Thanks to a class I took in summer, I was able to further work on my thesis project, after pausing the work at the end of Spring semester (thesis part-one course). In part-one, I spent a good deal of time in the planning stage, building a base for my project, crafting an outline, looking up at some references of other works relating to my proposed project, and even reading and researching other works. And over the summer, as I continued my progress, I started crafting the actual manuscript. In this short amount of time, I was able to write a solid introduction and exposition part of my creative project. Now in part-two of my thesis, I find myself again sailing the waters on this creative project.
As a way to start again the on my continuation, I focused this week on over-viewing, revising, and getting a good feeling of what my project is all about. When writing such a big project, it’s easy to lose track of what I’ve written already and the intentional meaning behind each part and section. Everything has to fall in place (atmosphere, events, characters, intentional message of the events, ect…), and everything must make sync together to make sense of this world I am creating here. In addition, I also, worked on some correction and editing of the work I been crafting (much of the introduction and exposition).
Speaking of the word I’ve written and carefully crafter so far, my introduction if based on the following. I started it off with putting great focus on the characters, setting, environment, and the major conflict that will be presented throughout the story. I made sure to introduced many of the important characters and showcase some of their personality traits. The intention for this was to help build the setting and story ambient. Then I moved on to what’s the beginning of my exposition for my story, by having the protagonist embark on his journey and goal, which is partly to find his family during a time of pandemic (where a deadly virus has taken over the country). In order to maintain a clear story progression, all the events are told in the style of scenes, where each one focuses on a specific event, progress, character development, and accumulation of facts and information.
For this week, during class online, we got the chance to break into groups and talk about our progress with our project. It was fun hearing from other classmates, who happened to also be working on their thesis this second time around, about their progress. And as expected, they all had accumulated considerable amount of work since the previous thesis course. I had the chance to share my progress with them as well, and exchange ideas on my process and progress. We talked about a few important things in relation to our thesis projects, such as the central inquiry, research done so far, methodologies, and our desired next steps to follow.
For me, I shared the following:
My central inquiry, as I understand it myself right now, is based on the idea or concept of encouraging “voice”. I purposely showcase it in the strategies used through my own creative writing piece (thesis project). And I also support the idea that voice becomes the inspiration to become a better writer. And so, I incorporated in my piece, academic and personal strategies that serve as the guidelines as methods to strengthen a writers voice. I also purposely selected the genre of creative fiction, so that this central inquiry becomes a possibility.
The research that I have done so far in relation to my thesis project is the following. I have taken some time look at other works within the same genre I selected for my project. And I have further narrowed my search by looking into works that have a strong and apparent writer’s voice. Some of the works I found meeting this criteria are:
- Never Let Me Go, by Kazuo Ishiguro
A dystopian science-fiction and coming-of-age story with a cast fated since birth to never see an advanced age, and its dystopia is one all-too-familiar: a world in which certain classes live well, and others are effectively doomed.
- Nineteen Eighty-Four, by George Orwell
The NSA, the War on Terror, the rise of Fake News as a capital-letter concept; the world is seemingly more Orwellian by the day, more horrifying than any alien invasion, nuclear wasteland or supernatural-disaster.
- Earth Abides, By George R. Steward
This story begins with a rampant disease killing off most people in America. A young grad student, the wonderfully named Isherwood Williams, has managed to survive in the mountains — but after he emerges from his “temporary” sabbatical, he finds civilization entirely collapsed. After a mostly fruitless cross-country road trip searching for fellow human life, Ish agrees to have children with another survivor, Emma. They form a new society of sorts, but without electricity or other modern advantages, they must revert to a semi-primitive lifestyle: hunting and gathering for food and eschewing literacy in favor of survival skills.
- I Am Legend, by Richard Matheson
Like Earth Abides, it also begins with a pandemic. But there’s a twist: the disease doesn’t just decimate the population, it also turns them into vampire-like mutants who want to infect all other humans. The only remaining hope for civilization appears to be Robert Neville, a lone man driven to discover the scientific cause of the disease and find a cure, before he himself is affected. His wife and daughter have already perished from the disease; even the dog he takes in as a last-ditch companion ends up becoming infected. Neville finds hope in the existence of another survivor, Ruth… but she seems to have her own agenda that doesn’t necessarily align with his.
- The Stand, by Stephen King
The Stand is a post-apocalyptic tale that stems from a deadly virus, but King’s development of it is singular. He terrifyingly describes the initial outbreak of “Project Blue” and the military’s failure to contain it. The deadly sweep of influenza extinguishes 99% of the world’s population, leaving society in tatters.
As for my next steps with my project, I can simply say that I just plan on continuing my progress with fair improvement each time. My strongest wish is for me to finish up with a final version of my project that I can be proud off – something meaning not only to me, but also to those to come to learn about it in the near future.
—–MY LITERATURE REVIEW—–
In terms of my Lit-Review, I can’t say that I have a strong and solid idea in mind yet of how I want it to be. But I do think I want to base it on the various strategies that I will use in my creative writing project. I will talk about them in detail, as well as how they work in my writing to strengthen my voice. In essence, for now my plan is for my lit-review to serve as the window to all the secrets behind my thesis project and purpose.
In terms of my methodology, I am also not set on a specific concept of methodology, as I am still exploring. But so far, thanks to a recent summer class I took this year, I got the chance to come up with two methodologies which will go in hand and in relation with my inquiry of “voice”.
Essentialism (Focused on oppression / Suppresses VOICE):
The theory of Essentialism says that school is where students come to learn what is considered essential knowledge, in order for them to live in the “real world” and succeed. In this case, the teacher is expert of the subject being taught and he has complete authority and voice over the student. Meanwhile, the student is bank of knowledge, whose only role is to learn by memorizing, repeating, and recording.
In this process, the student is unable to fully explore and express his own creativity, voice, authority, and authenticity due to oppression.
How I plan to use it:
I plan to use this one to support the idea of how a writer’s voice can be suppressed under such system.
Existentialism (liberation of the mind / Encourages VOICE):
This theory says that the student learns to be authentic and responsible. He or she also develops conscious decision-making skills where he explores the meaning of life and finds meaning for goals.
How I plan to use it:
I plan to use this one as my primary form for obtaining and exercising the practice of voice in my writing.
—–THESIS PROGRESS CALENDAR—-
-Working stage of my thesis manuscript
-Working stage of my Lit-review and researching.
-Further working on my thesis part of the project.
-Further working on my Lit-review part of the project.
-Finishing up the Lit-review/Thesis parts of my project.
-Putting up all of the pieces together.
-Making final editing touches and adjustments.
-Inclusion/exclusion of additional ideas, concepts, ect…
-Having my final version of the project 100% done.
-Turning my final project (thesis project/Lit-Review) into a physical form (Book/digital article) for presentation and showcasing.
This semester I am returning back to the second part of my thesis project. I can honestly say that is my most excited class this semester, not only because I will continue working on a project that is of great value to me, but also because it is one I have already emotionally bonded with in ways I never imagined. Interestingly enough, this class will be one of two classes I am taking this Fall, as part of my last semester at Kean. This is of course, if everything goes well.
It is a habit of mine for many years now, to never feel safe or sure about anything (in this case, making it to graduation) until getting to the finish line. And so, there is always a bit of fear in the back of my mind. But this is not a bad thing, being realistic about my fears, actually helps me keep on track and focused so that I can get there to the finish line.
With that aside, I really feel excited for what’s to come in the next 4 months of class, and to see how everything unfolds. But more importantly, I am looking forward to seeing through the completion of my project. This is because I have further personal plans for my thesis project.