Q: ASSIGNMENT. I lost my assignment sheet with requirements on it. Where can I see the overview again?
A: Right here – just download it. MG overview
Q: GENRES. Do I ONLY include the listed genres? Do my “other” pieces need to exist inside those pieces?
A: No. You must have the required pieces as part of your paper, but you are welcome to write as many other genres in any combination as suits your fancy and moves your reader. These other pieces exist “outside” your required ones, and may very well be part of the thread that holds the whole project together. Please include MANY – more than you think you are “required” to.
Q: MG DEFINITION. Am I just writing ONE paper or is this a project of multiple papers?
A: Both. While it is hard to teach MG without using the terms paper and project interchangeably, here’s what you need to know: The whole piece functions as ONE project/paper but is comprised of several small papers/pieces put together and arranged just-so to help your reader arrive at your desired effect.
Q: ORDER. Do my required sections need to be in order as they are listed on the assignment sheet?
A: No. It might be obvious that whatever kind of prologue you write will be at the start and you will need a last piece with a certain amount of finality, but ultimately, the order of presentation is entirely up to you. Experiment. Rearrange. How will you be able to impact your reader in the most powerful ways?
Q: RESEARCH. Do I find poems and flash fiction and stuff to include about my topic?
A: No. No. Most definitely, not. You might look up examples in a genre to help you know what KIND of piece to write, but the writing in your MG should be YOUR OWN!! You aren’t collecting the writing of others, YOU are the writer.
Q: FORMATTING. Do I have to type the whole paper with MLA format? What about the info at the top of the paper?
A: This one is a little tricky. I’d say, give your paper MLA page numbering (top right lastname and # header). If you want to use typical top-of-page-one info (name, teacher, class, date), you can. If you’d rather make a title page, you may (it does NOT count as one of your pages for length). The “argument” piece (the 2 – 3 page mini-paper) should be double-spaced and MLA style. The other pieces will vary – totally up to you. For example, you might want to single space a poem or write dialogue with a hanging indent
“theater-style.” Make letters look like letters, etc. Change as suits the pieces within your project.
Q: FORMATTING. I change pages everytime I change genres?
A: As a general rule, I would say no. But it might depend on the length of the piece in question. Use your own design savvy to place your work strategically. Someone who wants to include much poetry might put several short poems on one page, someone who writes a letter that takes up most of a page and then follows it with a different type of piece might choose to change pages before the next section. Use common sense. What you should NOT do is pad for length by spreading everything WAY out or making visual elements (including photos) overly huge. If your paper has a lot of white space, it will need to be longer than the 12 page minimum. (I won’t take off points for going over page limits, up to 22 pages).
Q: PICTURES. How many photos do I need? Do I have to take all of the photos? Can I use stock photos? What about clip-art?
A: Technically, your paper needs a minimum of ONE photo (an original photo) in your photo essay. You can include multiple photos in the photo essay, but all photos MUST be non-copyrighted, non-stock, non-professional photos. Outside of your photo essay, you might choose to include photos to enhance your writing (if the photo helps tell your “story”). Again, these should be original (if YOU took them, you don’t need to cite and if a friend or family member took them, please note it in a caption). As for other clip-art and other “borrowed” art, general rule – if you didn’t draw it (beyond small items like creative bullet points), don’t use it.
Q: PHOTO ESSAY. What is this? Is this just pictures with captions?
A: No. Not just pictures with captions. Ask yourself – what IS an essay? (hint – don’t say 5 paragraphs). If an essay is trying out an idea, mostly in a text format, then a photo essay is the same + a photograph that is essential to the text and meaning. It shouldn’t be fictional, just more of a musing on a topic, subject, event, place, phenomenon, etc. In simple terms, write an essay that incorporates a picture . . . or more than one picture.
Q: FONT. Does my paper need to be all in Calibri or Times New Roman font?
A: Again, the “argument” piece should be a standard font (if you use Arial, no bigger than 11). But the other pieces are up to you. Choose wisely. Don’t use fonts that are giant or ones that are so flowery or artistic that they are difficult to read. Changing to suit the section is acceptable and could be creative.
Q: NOTES/SOURCES. What kind of notes and sources do I need to turn in? Do I need notecards?
A: You WILL need to turn in notes and sources. They will be collected at the end with the final “teacher-ready” product. You have options: notecards are fine if you like them, a notebook could be handy, printed out sources with annotations are also acceptable. Remember there are points for note-taking and providing sources. This paper may become creative, but it is based in your research. Be methodical and systematic so that your note-taking is not haphazard and random. For your BOOK source(s) you will need annotated photocopies, notecards, or even post-it notes.
Q: CITATIONS. How is citation supposed to be done? How do I use End Abstracts and Works Cited for this paper/project?
A: Throughout the paper, you should cite sources MLA style if you quote material from your source or if you paraphrase/summarize. Particularly, in the “argument” portion, I should see parenthetical citations. The works that are used for these citations should appear on the “Works Cited” page just like they would for any humanities discipline research paper. (This should be the second to last page of the overall project). If you use info from a source in a more creative piece (e.g. a poem) it might not make sense to include a parenthetical citation because it would change the way the poem reads. Use common sense here. In the case of citing in the more “creative” genres, use a superscript to indicate an end abstract, and conversationally mention your source (or source of inspiration) in the corresponding endnote. Then you would STILL include that source on the “Works Cited” page.
Endnotes/end-abstracts here (check it on the assignment sheet) are NOT Chicago-Style/Turabian endnotes to show merely sources. Do NOT include any “Ibid”s or any URLs!! Use your end abstract page to make some commentary (informal abstracts) about any of the pieces you wish to tell the reader (i.e. me) more about. You can include inspiration or reasoning or other pertinent notes here in addition to source citations for creative works that resist parenthetical documentation. You don’t need an note for EVERY individual piece, but I would guess you might have notes for at least half of the sections you create. Just use superscript to indicate them (MSWord does a nice job of this, so it shouldn’t be too difficult). If you would rather manually type your End Abstract page, go right ahead (if you are using Google Docs for typing I think you might have to). Just use superscript numbers in the text for reference and then make a note page (it should be the very last page(s) of your paper) and use a numbered list to include your corresponding abstracts.
Q: EXAMPLES. I still don’t think I understand what this MG thing will end up looking like. Can you show me examples?
A: Feel free to look up examples. There are some decent ones at http://www.users.miamioh.edu/romanots/mgrpapers.htm . Just remember that the assignment completed for these is NOT exactly the same, and some are outdated in terms of “bibliography” and including URLs and such. (Some are better than others). Also, be sure you follow the requirements for our class assignment which differ in some significant ways from Dr. Romano’s. What you can see through these examples is that MG can be so many different things. No two students will complete this kind of challenge in the same way, and different topics demand different kinds of creativity. Have some fun with it. Play. (But also make it excellent and worth my time as a reader).
If you want another look at the examples shown in class, make arrangements to see Mrs. C on your own time.
Q: ARTWORK. Can I include artwork or images other than photos? What if I want to draw things?
A: Simple answer, yes. More complicated answer – since we are working within the confines of digital submission, let’s work with the technology at hand. Meaning, take photos (or convert artwork) to digital formats and place it within the paper you will submit online. Don’t rely on hand-drawn images on paper format.
Q: OTHER TECH MEDIA. Can I use video or music or other forms of media that don’t work on “paper”?
A: For the most part, let’s keep this one ON the paper, albeit digital. As this MG thing is still relatively new to me as well (2nd year in), I’m not ready to accept and assess projects with other kinds of tech media. That being said, if you want to include a link to an awesome song or video clip that will enhance your reader’s understanding, go for it. (Just don’t expect it to be considered part of the length of your project, and make sure the piece works without said link as well – keep it like bonus material.)