writer’s notebook 4.2

For this Writer’s Notebook, you should construct an outline for your next assignment by following these instructions:

Take a moment to look ahead to your next assignment.  You are asked to write an extended visual analysis.  Take a little while to browse the images available to you and choose one that will be the subject of your essay.After you’ve chosen an image, take some time to brainstorm and generate ideas about your topic. You may choose any of the invention strategies discussed in Unit 1 and the strategies discussed in the visual rhetoric lessons in this unit.

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Once you have generated some ideas, begin thinking about ways to tie them together.  Try devising a thesis statement that makes a claim about the image you have chosen.  Next, think about how to organize your ideas into a coherent essay.  Use the outline template provided here to help guide you in constructing an outline for your essay.

When you are finished, you should have a working thesis statement and a detailed outline for your major essay. min. 300 words please.

Visual Elements

Being “literate” in the twenty-first century implies a variety of skills. Often, the term refers to verbal literacy, describing someone who can read and write. Literacy might also be used in the context of computer literacy, someone who knows how to operate a computer and manage files. In some ways, building visual literacy is similar to building verbal and computer literacy. Basic elements and terminology come first, followed by more advanced skills that help you analyze and explain the impact of images on viewers.

The Visual Grammar

The gurus identify and offer examples of the visual elements used to analyze images: content, framing, composition, focus, lighting, angle, and color.

Video Focus Point

Look for answers to this question when watching the video:

  • How do specific visual elements help a viewer understand what a picture is saying, rather than just what it is showing?

More Than Meets The Eye

More Than Meets the Eye offers a brief analysis of a film poster and discusses some different ways that text and visuals often combine to create meaning. A classic Hollywood era, film noir, provides the backdrop for the gurus to explain how to analyze visuals by exploring the interaction of an image with text, context, and subtext in order to generate meaning.

Video Focus Points

Look for answers to these questions when watching the video:

  • How can text, context, and subtext add meaning to an image?
  • How can text, context, and subtext sometimes distance a viewer from an image?
  • What effect does “announcing” a topic have on writing?

Visual Elements 1

Many terms fall in the category of visual elements, which are the basic components used to create a work of art. This activity takes a defining look at fundamental elements commonly used in visual communication.

Invention Strategies

Why choose a strategy or strategies for getting started on a writing project? The answer is fundamental to overcoming and avoiding writer’s block: practicing a prewriting strategy forces the writer to start writing rather than procrastinate or stare at the wall. Asking questions during and after the process helps a writer begin exploring ideas generated by prewriting strategies.

Prewriting Strategies

Our mind likes to create and organize, but the two processes are often at odds. When we need to be creative in discovering ideas, we need flexibility and freedom to explore. We need to let go and see where our ideas take us. Too often student writers want to edit and correct as they are trying to loosen up and explore, yet editing and correcting stifle creativity and discovery. That’s why many writers rely on freewriting, brainstorming, mapping, or outlining to free up their thinking. Open notebook, pencil, pad of sticky notes, and cup of coffee

Freewriting: This activity is easy to describe but harder to do. When writers freewrite, they set a timer (5–15 minutes) and write non-stop. They do not pause to reflect or correct, but write the words as quickly as they come to mind. Even when the mind freezes up, they continue writing, confident that ideas will find them! If you have never written this way, you will struggle at first, because we have been taught to correct and reflect (but these mental activities will come later). Practice freewriting several times before you give up on the strategy. With practice, freewriting will lead you to discover an idea, a concept, or an insight that you can lift from the wandering thoughts and use as a topic for a more thoughtful and considered draft.

Brainstorming: Usually brainstorming is done in a small group, but it can be done alone. The idea for either situation is the same: start jotting down every idea that comes to mind without editing or eliminating. If you are brainstorming in a group, it is vital that no one criticize or eliminate the ideas posed by members of the group. Brainstorming can help a writer discover specific topics that might lie beneath the surface of broader concepts.

Mapping: For visual learners who like to see ideas connected in ways other than sentences, mapping is a simple prewriting activity in which the writer starts in the center of the page with an idea within a circle. Then the writer begins drawing links to other circles with ideas and tries to connect them to as many details and related ideas as possible. This is a good way to see relationships between ideas that is more visual than the linear approach of outlining.

Outlining: If your MBTI identifies you as a “T” (Thinking) type, you may find outlining a very natural and linear way to put together a plan for developing ideas. In outlining, the writer assigns a number to ideas of similar weight and relationship, and then uses subnumerals or letters to fill in supporting ideas and details. If you are an “F” (Feeling) type on the MBTI, you may find outlining is best done after you have written through your working draft. The outline allows the writer to see if the draft has a logical and orderly development of ideas and supporting details.

Inventing Ideas

Prewriting also invites the writer to use writing to discover what he or she knows. That’s right. Often student writers think of writing as a way of expressing what they know, but, in fact, writing can also help writers discover what they know as they work through the invention process.

Choosing a Topic

Lakshmi, a student writer, begins working on an essay about the relationship between humans and germs. Questions from the writer’s group play an important role in developing the topic, while a series of self-directed questions eventually lead to a working thesis.

Video Focus Points

Look for answers to these questions when watching the video:

  • Describe the process Lakshmi follows to begin working on her essay.
  • What questions typically help writers identify and narrow a topic?

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