Writing Project 1: Provoking Responsibility

First Draft Due for Peer Review: Tuesday, February 10
Final Draft Due: Tuesday, February 17
4-5 Pages

For this assignment, you will describe a situation where you were confronted with responsibility. You will narrate an experience in which you were called to take responsibility (or to not), when you took responsibility for something or someone (or did not). Narratives should make clear to readers the complexity of the situation and of responsibility itself, demonstrate strong critical thinking, and employ vivid detail and narrative style.

Think of a time when an action occurred which caused you to respond in some fashion or compelled you to be responsible for someone or something. You might have chosen to respond or take responsibility for the situation or you might have chosen not to respond or take responsibility. Either way, you will use the genre of narrative to describe the situation.

Narrative considers the order of events and ordering of details as evidence to illustrate your situation. You will have to consider the key figures in telling the story of your event. You will need to pay close attention to how you reveal the order of events in order to illustrate your situation. Narratives often deploy the use of “show don’t tell,” so consider painting the picture of your scene and using descriptive language to represent and characterize your key figures. In other words, creative writers sometimes say, the universal is specific; show your reader the details of your situation, as opposed to simply telling them.

Finally, these narratives can be fictional or non-fictional.

Pre-writing Questions:

  • Consider a time when you were provoked to respond to an action or event.
  • Where were you? What people were present? How did the actions unfold? What events happened before or during the event to catalyze something to happen?
  • Were you distantly or closely related to the action? In other words, were you directly involved or did you choose to involve yourself?
  • Describe your decision process concerning your response. What questions flooded your mind as you sifted through your choice to respond or not respond?
  • What did the resolution of the event look like?

Portfolio and Writer’s Memo:
You will complete the project in the form of a well-organized portfolio, which will include:

  • An author’s note
  • All planning, brainstorming, and research notes or worksheets (clipped together)
  • All early drafts of your project (clipped together)
  • Revisions to shorter assignments 1 and 2
  • All feedback you received, from both me and your peers
  • The final polished draft of your project.

Author’s Note: The Author’s Note serves as a cover letter to your project and should be no more than one page in length (double or single spaced). For this author’s note, you will tell me, your reader, what your point is in telling this story and composing this portfolio. In particular, after completing the narrative assignment, you will reflect upon how this (in)action situates you within a community, upon what this tells readers about how we ought to act within a community, or upon what this means for responsible actions more broadly. Essentially you are telling your reader what you wanted them to get out of your writing. Imagine that I don’t know the point you are trying to make. Tell me what you learned. Tell me what was difficult. Tell me what aspects of the project you want me to look at specifically. This is your opportunity to provide some context for the writing but also a chance to ask your reader (me) directly about the effectiveness of this piece.

Successful Papers Will:

  • Develop an insight or series of insights about the relationship among responsibility, writing/composition, and community membership.
  • Pay close attention to the organization and order of events as they unfold in the narrative.
  • Provide enough detail so that your reader can visualize the event in their mind. Show don’t tell!
  • Use effective transitions between sentences and paragraphs to guide the reader along with the writing.
  • Remain well written and free of grammatical errors.

See Writing Project 2: Writing to Inform.