Notes About Callie’s Text for 4/9 Discussion

I used track changes to create my notes because I feel I can better speak to specific material by adding comments to the document. I have attached the document with the track changes below, but I will also make some general comments here:

This was such an interesting piece to read. I haven’t read a lot of blogs about lifestyle and this is really a thinkpiece about how girls, generally, treat each other in the context of our culture here in America. Since, I haven’t read a lot of blogs that follow in this style, I can’t really speak to the type of style employed in this post. However, I really love how Callie uses more millennial punctuation (i.e. the ?!? at the end of the quoted sentence at the beginning of paragraph 3) as well as syntactic and diction choices (i.e. FaceTiming). This really sets the context and audience for which Callie is speaking from.

The only notes I really have are small, minor notes noted in the document with the track changes. Some are minor grammar changes that I offer up as options.

Otherwise, I really enjoyed the read!

Callie Workshop Piece


Notes About Imani’s Text for 4/9 Discussion

I used track changes to create my notes because I feel I can better speak to specific material by adding comments to the document. I have attached the document with the track changes below, but I will also make some general comments here:

Imani’s piece is truly stylistic gold. She is in constant command of her language (in both diction and syntax). She chooses her words carefully (I even highlighted my favorite diction choices because there were just many times I wanted to make comments on them, I gave up and just started highlighting).

Her style is truly so amazing that its seamless. I found myself getting pulled into the analysis because her style was completely spot on. I have no constructive criticism except for the very minor suggestions and notes mentioned in my track changes.

Truly this was amazing and lovely to read!

Imani Workshop Piece


Notes About AJ’s Text for 4/9 Discussion

I used track changes to create my notes because I feel I can better speak to specific material by adding comments to the document. I have attached the document with the track changes below, but I will also make some general comments here:

I really love the way that AJ uses sentences to build suspense. It really takes the reader along for the ride. Furthermore, as part of a different demographic than who this piece is centered, it allows me a way of stepping into the challenges and pressures inflicted by a white-centered beauty industry. Brilliant style work is at play in that way. I only commented on one section for this purpose, but every narrative that is written into this analysis is constructed the same way.

In the analysis sections, though, AJ could benefit from focusing in on diction choices for verbs, nouns, and phrases. These more specific choices would allow the audience to connect in the same way that they can connect to the narrative sections. This, in addition to some grammar options, are where many of my track changes come into play.

I hope it helps. Thank you for the awesome read!

AJ Workshop Piece

April 16 In Class

Our workshop, today, in class was somewhat informative. We talked, generally, about the pieces that everyone was supposed to read for today. However, we didn’t get into the crux of any style analysis because everyone was hesitant to talk. That said, I think we all got a lot out of everyone’s pieces. Every piece is so varied in its audience and intention that I think we all benefitted from reviewing a wide array of pieces.

Today, I learned the importance of recognizing audience because each of our pieces was geared towards a different audience. In turn, the language we used was also varied as it should be. Our styles varied because our audience varied. And that is something that I learned from the pieces I read for today. 

Overall, though we didn’t speak much in class, I think we all worked diligently outside of class and relayed the necessary and important information in class. The rest we will get from our online notes (which I still have to post because I totally missed that as part of the assignment, but I will post it today).

1st Revision of Luithana, Chapter 1 (Boundaries)

I made quite a few changes based off the wonderful constructive criticism Sean gave me. I have been holding this story and this chapter so close to me for so long. I have read through this chapter more times than I can count. And I honestly could not find any way of improving it (mostly because I didn’t want to find any way, if I am being honest).

Sean’s commentary on the piece helped me see past my own mamma-bear proteciveness and give the chapter new life through some very necessary changes. While I did not employ the change from 1st person to 3rd person as Sean suggested for this revision, I do intend to try it out on this piece. At first, I thought there was no way I would change it. I have had this story brewing in my head (and working on it, throughout) for just over six years. Since its inception, I always planned on the stories being 1st person. However, I appreciated Sean’s perspective that the change of 1st person narrative to 3rd could positively affect the tone of the piece. Furthermore, I never thought that I could keep my main character’s voice strong and present (in the way I wanted and imagined it) through a 3rd person narrative. But by utilizing the italicized, mental thoughts more, I could keep what I want and change the tone for the better. I would have never thought to do that without the suggestion and the way in which it was situated.

As for the changes I did make, many were also based off of the branching structures we discussed from Pinker’s relevant chapter. I did not adapt the whole chapter, focusing on only specific sections (as evident by the more densely packed areas of change). But I see that we will be workshopping again with this soon, and I think I will return to the others then.

Overall, I enjoyed this round, but wanted to note that my other reviewer did not post any commentary for my piece.

Below is the link for the google doc where I made my changes:


Analysis of Style in Michaela’s Text, 3/28/18

In “Ghostwriting and all its Spooks,” Michaela does a really good job of keeping the sentences flowing smoothly. Michaela constantly makes well-formed sentences that follow Pinker’s advice about paying attention to trees for clarity-sake, with only minor structural issues throughout.

Michaela’s abilities really shine in sentences like: “People are quick to dismiss any published works or authors that are accused of being plagiarized,” in the first line of the second paragraph. This is a complex sentence with various moving parts. Still, Michaela is able to keep her audience with her by connecting her sentences linearly as well as hierarchically. By this I mean that the structure of the sentence is well-formed. The subject “people,” directly precedes the core-verb, “are.” This leads to a very complicated predicate that is pulled off by the relation of words that are next to each other. For instance, “quick to” relates directly to “dismiss.” And the compliment phrase “that are accused of being plagiarized,” is governed by “authors,” which directly precedes its head word as well. All of this makes the potentially challenging phrase much more easy to read and follow. Examples like this are present throughout.

In other places, Michaela does have some sentences that have a slightly confusing phrase structure. Pinker’s discussion on trees can help reform some of these sentences in order to make them more clear. In Michaela’s final paragraph, for instance, this sentence is a little difficult to follow: “But even if a ghostwriter was an early writer, fresh out of school trying to jumpstart their writing career, it seems as though accepting a ghostwriting position would set up a tone and reputation that would follow them throughout their career.” The reason this sentence is difficult to follow is that the main phrase “even if a ghostwriter was an early writer,” is directly connected hierarchically to the final phrase, “accepting a ghostwriting position would set up a tone…” The meaning behind the phrases that bisect these two correlating phrases, linearly, are indeed important. The structure makes the sentence difficult to follow because the long phrase, “fresh out of school trying to jumpstart their writing career,” diverts attention momentarily, making it difficult for the reader to keep the phrase in their memory long enough to complete the “if… then…” structure. These kinds of structures are extremely difficult to keep clear to begin with, but the extra phrase in between further complicates and makes the reader have to hold more in their short-term memory longer. But these kinds of sentences are few and far between in Michaela’s piece and overall, she does a wonderful job at keeping the tree structures linearly and hierarchically connected. This, in turn, makes her prose and style clear and concise.

Analysis of Style in BWEST’s Text, 3/28/18

On an overall level, I want to start by saying that this piece is fantastic! It flows extremely well from sentence to sentence and from word to word. The eyes never glaze over as the argument comes together. Moreover, I wanted to mention that (as a prior resident for 16 years in Orange County, CA), I really connected with this piece.

On to style: The first line really captured me from the first three words. It is really well constructed. “I am guilty,” it begins. While it doesn’t end there, that very first line is gripping. It pulls the reader in immediately. Already, as the reader, I want to know more about what is going on. I want more context; more understanding. Basically, I need to read on. The sentence finishes by saying “of wasting water,” so that all together the sentence is “I am guilty of wasting water.” This sentence works precisely because of points that Pinker makes in Chapter 4. For instance, in considering tree structure, “I am guilty” is one of the simplest sentences that a person can utter. It is organized into two over-arching phrases, one being a noun phrase and the other a verb phrase. Subordinate to the verb phrase, is a simple adjectival phrase (“guilty”). In beginning with this simple structure, the sentence creates a great impact on the reader. The sentence continues, of course, with a prepositional phrase that is directly connected to the adjectival phrase. Since the prepositional phrase is not only directly-hierarchically connected in the tree, but directly connected on a linear level as well, the sentence is easy to process. Furthermore, its simple in its sentence structure making the interesting and well-chosen diction, like “guilty,” and “wasting,” stand out. This, in turn, serves the purpose of the piece because the ultimate meaning of the sentence is like a microcosm of the entire piece.

BWEST does makes so many well-chosen stylistic moves as exampled in the paragraph above. Another example comes in the third sentence of the first paragraph. The coordinating structure is tricky and yet the writer does an exemplary job of making it easy to process and understand. I could go into further detail and I could continue to mark all the amazing things happening in this piece, but I also wanted to touch on some small instances where thinking about trees might make this piece even better.

In the second sentence of the first paragraph, this sentence is slightly confusing: “After long, stressful days I have been known to take hot thirty minute showers after everyone in my house was asleep where I dozed off multiple times.” While the confusing final phrase, “where I dozed off…” does not detract from the fluidity of the piece, it did catch my attention my second time through reading it. I realized I was not sure whether the writer’s parents were dozing off or the writer, themselves. This most likely occurs, according to Pinker, because the phrase is disconnected linearly from it head word or phrase. This next sentence is a small example and the only other slightly confusing structure I found in the piece: “I, yes, left the faucet on when brushing my teeth.” While this is a small, nitpicky point, “yes” would probably be better before “I,” because then the subject is closer to the verb, connecting more closely-related elements to one another.

Again, overall, I really enjoyed this piece. It is extremely well written and well-executed in style.