Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Emperor's Soul as a Metaphor for Writing

Brandon Sanderson's The Emperor's Soul offers one of the best metaphors for the writing process that I've seen.  For today's discussion, we're going to consider how this metaphor works within our differing fields of interest, and then we'll follow-up with research approaches for Project 1.  By the end of this discussion, you should have four posts that provide potential research sources for your Project 1:
  1. A Main Post, where you describe your field of interest, and then relate writing in this field to a quote from The Emperor's Soul.  This main post should also include an attached PDF of a scholarly article you found via Milner Library.  (see the next blog post for Videos on Finding Scholarly Sources via Milner.)
  2. Three Response Posts.  As in past discussions, each response should refer to a specific point made by one of your classmates (or to my initial post), provide your own thoughts, and then an outside quote or example to support your point (see #3 below).
  3. Three quotes for Outside Support.  For each response post, your outside support can be any one of the following: a new quote from Emperor's Soul, a link to a website that you find interesting, or a quote from your Milner article (see #1 above).

For this discussion, I want to see lots back-and-forth conversations, so I've limited the number of discussion topics.  Your main posts and response posts can go anywhere in the conversations - simply choose the topic that your post would relate to, and post there.  The Main Post should tie-in with the conversation topic in some way, but don't worry about trying to connect with what everyone else is saying.  And you can post response posts before posting your main post, if you like - just make sure you have a Main Post up by Wednesday at 11:59pm, and three Response Posts up by Thursday at 11:59pm.

Project 1 Topic: Simply Toss Your Ideas Out There

We haven't really talked about your Project 1 topics yet, but that's okay.  For this discussion, nothing is carved in stone - simply link to the wild and crazy stuff in your field, the things you find interesting.  And use The Emperor's Soul to help show the craziness.  At this stage, I just want you thinking about what's interesting.  (For this assignment, Wikipedia or other general websites are perfectly acceptable for your Response Posts.)

Milner Article

I want you each to find at least one good scholarly article related to a field you're interested in.  Make sure it is scholarly and that you can download a PDF or HTML copy of the article (you can use the checkboxes on the left when you do your Milner Search.)  You can also see my article with Video Tips on Finding Scholarly Sources on Milner.

Discussion Topics


Production, Activity, and Ecology

What is the actual writing process?  How do physical constraints (Ecology) affect the types of writing (Production) we can engage in?  Which Activities hinder, help, or are essential for the writing process?
Some aspects to consider from Emperor's Soul:
  • Shai's use of soul stone
  • Conversations with Gaotona
  • the "remodeling" Shai does to help her think
  • the materials available in the prison cell in the opening scenes

Reception, Representation, and Socialization

Do our Representations of writing affect our Reception of specific texts?  How does writing lead to changes in attitudes and behaviors (Socialization)?
Some considerations from Emperor's Soul:
  • What do the Grands think of Forging (Representation)?  How does this affect their impressions of Shai and her work (Reception)?
  • Why do Gaotona's attitudes about Shai's work change over time?
  • Why did Shai burn the one painting?
  • What do think of writing after reading The Emperor's Soul?

Audience and Distribution

To what degree does the choice of audience affect our means of distribution?
Some considerations from Emperor's Soul:
  • How does Shai's need for secrecy affect her choices of distribution?
  • What do Frava and Gaotona do with copies of Shai's notes?
  • How does Shai change her writing style in response to Frava's requests?



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