Bildungsroman and Rhetorikós

Homework Assignment 2: Lynda Felder – Writing for the Web – Chapters 9 and 10 & Brian Carroll – Writing For Digital Media – Chapter 8


There are many types of stories and ways to make them interesting for the readers. You have character driven stories, love stories, bildungsroman, adventures, and many more. Each story also emphasizes different elements. Aristotle believed that plot, or mythos, was the important element in a story. Quentin Tarantino focuses more on characters in his stories. Other elements that can be used include:

  • Conflict
  • Place
  • Premise
  • Backstory
  • Theme
  • Tone
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I’m sorry. I had to make this pun although it’s terrible. Click picture for original source

Felder also says that it’s best to “start with a hook.”  You have to gain your reader’s attention immediately to encourage them to continue reading. But what hook should you use? Look to the right for examples. (Excuse that terrible pun. I just really love puns. They are the highest form of comedy in my opinion). Actual hooks and examples include (but are not limited to):

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Click for Original Source

Cliffhangers can also be used in blogs to encourage readers to continue following the blog and reading future posts. When posts leave on an interesting note or unexplained questions, readers are more likely to continue reading your blog. Examples of cliffhangers in mass media (warning: slight spoiler alerts):

In order to be successful, a blog must be organized well. Rhetorical modes offer great patterns for organizing thoughts and making them understandable for readers. The four traditional modes are:

  • Narration
    • “Narration tells a story by walking the reader through a series of events. The thesis for narration is implied and often expressed as a mood, attitude, or impression.” – Lynda Felder
  • Description
    • “Description shows a picture of someone or something. Description works best when you provide vivid significant details and draw readers in with impressions from all your senses.” – Lynda Felder
  • Explanation
    • “Explanatory composition informs readers with explanations. definitions, examples, comparisons, and more.” – Lynda Felder
    • This is a broad mode that can be separated into several subsections:
      • Process or instruction
      • Classification and division
      • Compare and contrast
      • Cause and effect
      • Problem and solution
  • Argument
    • “Using the argument mode, you take the position that is somewhat controversial and then provide valid reasons to support that position in hopes of persuading your readers to join your side of the debate.” – Lynda Felder

Rhetoric is described as the art of persuasion by Aristotle. In Ancient Greece, rhetorikós applied to public speaking. Today, rhetoric is used in both spoken and written word. Aristotle said that there were three ways to persuade your audience; By appealing to: ethos, pathos, and logos.

MAKE YOUR WEB CONTENT CREDIBLE. Check your facts. Avoid errors. Proofread your site. Create a way that will allow readers to contact you to point out errors. Do not be like www.dhmo.org. There are also a lot of problems you can try to avoid. Common structural problems that need to be avoided/fixed include (but are not limited to):

  • Flashbacks or flash forwards in time
  • Effusive description
  • Missing information
  • Too much information
  • Arbitrary classification or division
  • Comparing apples and oranges
  • Missing causes or effects
  • Preaching to the choir
  • Faulty logic

Carroll talks about how technology is constantly changing how media is spread. He focuses mainly on how newspapers and print is dying. Newspapers and magazines are starting to make their target the elderly or older generation because they are the only ones still buying print materials instead of e-books.

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“Keep It Simple, Stupid”

Reading Response 1: Writing & Editing for Digital Media – Brian Carroll – Chapters 3 & 4 

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While it is exciting that Amy Poehler finally won a Golden Globe, this picture makes no sense in this context. KEEP MEDIA RELEVANT. [click picture for original source]

I felt like the beginning part of this chapter was relatively self-explanatory. You need to know your audience and direct your content directly towards them. The content you put in needs to be relatively concise as to not bore your audience and give them the most information in the shortest time possible. Also for headings on the web, the headlines must be concise, but also give a clear picture of what you will talk about while spiking the reader’s interest. It also gave us advice on how to put maps into our webpages because it can help the reader get a better understanding of what  we are talking about as well as possible directions to a specific location. Keep your topic and all media relevant.

Chapter 4 discusses more of the layout and how you should design your webpage. It is best to include links and images from multiple media i.e. maps, videos, bulleted lists, etc.. A good web page has multiple facets to it and looks pleasing to the eye. A webpage needs to be more than just words on a screen. It must be interesting to the readers. A color scheme must be used, varying font sizes [writer’s note: I was going to make “varying font sizes” in varying font sizes but the WordPress editing software is made for those with no web design experience (unlike myself who has 3 years). So that is incredibly frustrating. That has nothing to do with this topic at all. I just wanted to apologize for the lack of varying font sizes.] to show the differences in headings, titles, and the body paragraphs. Bolding and italics can also come in handy. But design can be too much and the webpage can get too much. If there is too much going on in terms of design, the reader will be unable to focus on the actual message of the website and the website will be a failure. The book gives the advice to KISS the website: “Keep It Simple, Stupid.”

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Click on Image for Original Source


Writing for the Web – Lynda Felder – Chapter 2

Felder gave us advice on how to write the passage ourselves in this chapter. The sentences must be in our own voice, but yet still semi-formal. Active verbs will make the passage more interesting. Short sentences are advised, but occasionally you have to mix it up.

Personally, I felt like most of this was pretty self-explanatory. You have to keep your page simple as to allow people who know nothing about the subject to fully understand what is going on. So if you use acronyms, it is best to give the full name when you first introduce it. If you are going to be talking about the National Association of Miniature Enthusiasts, introduce them. Do not just assume that everyone knows what NAME is. Also keep foreign phrases to a minimum as to not complicate the reader. Not everyone is going to know what it means.