Amy Stern (bigbrotherreads) wrote,
Amy Stern

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Introductory Post

So this is the assignment (edited for brevity):

Research a particular topic, person, or history of interest to you about which a general search yields either nothing or no book of sufficient excitement and/or worth already available for a young audience.

Spend the semester researching your area of interest to accumulate data and to begin to see the book taking shape. Your object is not to settle on something necessarily obscure so much as something to which you can bring fresh insight and excitement.

You must submit a rationale for the publishing of this book and an outline that details your organizational framework. What will be your hook? Writes Penny Colman: "The initial writing task I undertake is discovering the structure, which is to nonfiction what plot is to fiction. Just as good fiction has a plot and subplots, good nonfiction has structures and substructures, or macro- and microstructures."

You will share your research, and highlight any exciting discoveries and their genesis. You will pitch this book to a particular ‘structure’: picture book, short or longer work and indicate what graphics (photographs, graphs, maps, etc.) will accompany it.

I'm fascinated with reality television. I haven't always been; as of May of 2006, I would have taken personal offense at the very suggestion that I could find something appealing in the genre. Then I watched Big Brother 7, "All-Stars". This was followed by Big Brother seasons 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, and 10; Survivor All-Stars (and then seasons 1-7, and 9-17); Amazing Race All-Stars (and all other seasons, through the current one); Project Runway (seasons 1-5); a wide variety of Real World seasons; a few America's Next Top Model marathons; and more VH1 reality shows than anyone with a single remaining vestige of shame would ever admit to.

The real tragedy is not- as people like to say- that reality television has no redeeming value. It's that there's no real resource evaluating it which shows that the art of creating unscripted media is, in fact, an art.

Helpfully, Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins just came out. Hunger Games is a young adult novel which essentially uses the structure of reality television to create a dystopian society. Hunger Games is a great book, and more importantly, its structure offers a great way to show audiences that reality television is more than just cheap, mindless programming.

Using passages from Hunger Games as starting points, I intend to examine the format of reality programs and show how much depth there can be if the audience is willing to give it a chance.

bigbrotherreads, or "Big Brother is Reading," will function as a record of what I'm looking for, what I'm finding, and why I think it matters.

Questions? Comments? Leave me one.

Tags: assignment, introduction
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