Saturday, August 16, 2008

getting closer to the end of time.

I begin this blog with a huge sigh. It's been a long road, and yet, I feel we just started. This class, much more so then my other 2 classes, have been my life, my focus.

I think I have had a good understanding of what style is from the beginning of the class. I am not sure, however, if I was able to articulate it as well as I should, and that is where I learned the most about style as a writer, and as a student, too. I have always had an understand of audience, and have been fairly successful in writing for a specific audience outside of school. This has NOT been the case in school. Perhaps my distance of 20 odd years, perhaps my worry of getting it right has been a factor, but, it's clear to me that this process has been essential in my growth as a student.

Style as a student writer is a bit more difficult. I am still trying to decide how to meld those worlds, to create something that works for me. I realize as I write this that I come up against a particular road block for myself. I am someone that gets things right, and therefore, anything less then an A feels like a failure to me. I am just not a half-assed person.I carry this thru in all aspects of my life. If I am going to ride prelim, then damn it, I am going to be the absolute best I can be, given whatever shortcomings I may meet/have.

However, I also know that my writing style is pretty important to me, and as far as my voice as a writer must feel true- to myself, my ideas, and my purpose. So, now, with this class, my papers, my blogs, I must somehow create a comfort place for myself. Every person has a preference in what they read, and what style they appreciate. I know my writing will appeal to some, and not to others. My husband is a great example. He does not enjoy reading prose, poetry or literature that does not have purpose- action fiction, okay, but other sorts of writing does not appeal to him as it does to me. I know I will run up against this as I approach my next semester of writing, which, probably, will be non-existent with Chem, BioChem, Genetics as well as A and P. :-)

So, what has come to my attention is this- I want to write for my audience- that sounds strange, but stick with me here. I am grateful for the clarity that peer review has created for me, and grateful for the edits that Dr. K has provided- but as a way to hone my voice, not change it. But, I am not going to try and become something that I am not. How do I know what my audience is? I am not sure... When I write for USPC, I know it's kids, and horse kids. That one is easy for me; in all honestly, I just reach back a bit and I am there. I do think that I will write for more then that, perhaps after this science part of school is done. the one thing I know, and have gotten in touch with again, is that writing is very important to me. I am not as capable of sharing my feelings IRL, long story there, but in words, with language, I feel like I can give feeling and texture to the world as an artist does with paint and a brush. I am perhaps too sappy at times, and that worries me, but overall, it may also be where my strength exists.

So, style is creating what we want for who wants it. In that, it's tricky. It's subjective. In the end, style actually is as some suggested in their blogs earlier. It is how you wear your words, your way of creating a paper, book, essay, that reflects who you are, while reaching out to your reader in a way that they can absorb what your point, ideas are. So, Style is actually who we are, but as writers, rather then humans. It's not stagnant, but motionfilled, like water in a river. The banks are there, but the words can wash up on them, creating small disruptions that actually work, as long as the banks stay solid (Grammar, word usage, etc) you can succeed. (at least I hope so!! :-) )

Monday, August 11, 2008

The most important web rule...

I find as I wander through the creation of my web site that web design is very similar to paper design. As I said in the previous blog, there are many things in common.

For me, as a new web design person, I believe the most important web rule is a mixture of ideas- the primary one to to pay attention to your audience. Quoting from the Web Style Guide,
"THE DESIGN OF THE SITE will determine its organizational framework. At this
stage you will make the tactical design decisions about what your audience wants
from you, what you wish to say, and how to arrange the content to best meet your
audience's needs. Although people will notice the graphic design of your Web
pages right away, the overall organization of the site will have the greatest
impact on their experience"

Since my web site is still an act in process, I am somewhat unsure of my audience. I hope to eventually use my site for something; it will be for the horses and the rescue efforts I make. So, I have created the pages for the farm as well as for some of the horses. I also think that I will make a page for family, as it seems like that will be useful.

Luckily for me, my audience is not going to be web savvy! It will be much more gathering information. Therefore, I will be using this bit of info (again from Web design)
Efficient Web site design is largely a matter of balancing the relation of
menu, or home, pages with individual content pages. The goal is to build a
hierarchy of menus and pages that feels natural to users and doesn't mislead them or interfere with their use of the site.
Since I will know my audience pretty well once I get to make this site a bit more personal, I think I know how to present the information on my page to entice people to look a bit further. Horse people want horse things...they want to know the sweet and special stories about the animals. This I can provide!

What my goal is now is to create this site so it meets the guidelines, and then keep going with it. I think each of the groups of animals deserves their own page, as well as the dogs. Hunter, our lab, is dying as I write this blog, so, he will get his page, too.

Who whould have thought that I would EVER continue making changes to my web page? What a concept!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Web style vs. Paper style

Paper and Web style have some certain similaraties, and yet some very important differences. The biggest common thread between web and paper design is the KISS format. In a paper, you want to keep your ideas clear (or to see my Style paper, to keep to your point!:-) ) In a web site, you want each page to be clear, not cluttered, and specific.

In a paper, this is not quite as evident, as we are looking at only one document and we need to expand with clear transitions between ideas- a thread, as it were. This makes a paper, at first glance, more complex- or another way to think of it is more initially thoughtful. A paper usually has one purpose, where a web site often has more then one purpose, and expands in ways one could not do in a paper. Ideas need to flow between paragraphs, where as in a web site, they can be presented in chunks- additional pages in your site.

In a web format, it's possible to do links, which allow the design to expand- much more difficult to do in a paper format. The way I think of a web site is like a tree- the main page (or Index) is the trunk, and the branches are the pages. It is not as important to create transitions between subjects, as your visitor can decide to click or not to click.

A paper is like a bush, more tightly compacted, ideas need to be closer and more related.

While initally, your paper may be more difficult to construct, I believe that there is a great deal that goes into the design of a web page that one needs to pay attention to that the normal web surfer may not even notice. Ease of navigation, colors being harmonious and readable, and clear links that work. I do think of a web design like a spider web, you draw in your surfer and want them to keep on clicking to find out more. This applies more to a professional web page, as the further you have your customer come into your site, the more likely business will result...very important in todays economy!