Instructions for Creative Product

In this creative assignment, you will either reinterpret a scene or create a new scene from Voyage in the Dark. Your piece should attempt, in some way, to imitate the style and tone of the author’s writing, and to reflect the themes inherent in that work.  You may work in whatever artistic medium you like: writing, visual arts, sound, film, dance, etc.

If you’re working in writing, here are some ideas of what you might do (these may apply to other mediums as well). There are just suggestions, to give you ideas. You can use these suggestions, or I encourage you to come up with your own ideas:

  • Recreate a scene from another character’s perspective: a scene from Walter Jeffries’ perspective, from Maudie’s perspective, etc.
  • Create a new scene involving characters from the story: Walter Jeffries and Vincent discussing their girls, Hester meeting Walter Jeffries, etc.

There is no specific length requirement for written pieces. But, it has to look like an appropriate amount of work went into it. So, as a general guideline, figure about 4 pages, or 1250-1500 words.

If you’re working in other mediums, here are some suggestions:

  • Visual arts: Create a short graphic novel in which you illustrate a scene from the novel; create a painting that depicts a scene; design a poster for one of these works, design a poster for a movie version, etc.
  • Sound: create and record a soundscape to musically reflect the mood in a particular scene (or of a specific work in general); create and record a song that might be playing in the background of a particular scene; create and record a song from the perspective of a particular character, etc.
  • Film: Recreate a scene from one of these pieces; create a trailer for one of these pieces, etc. (you may work collaboratively if you work in film, please speak to me first if you’d like to do this). Be careful: films shot on smartphones look great, but sound terrible. If you choose the film option, consider borrowing some decent sound equipment or recording sound separately.
  • Dance: an interpretation of a scene, etc. You can film this. (you may work collaboratively on this as well, with my permission).
  • Other options: Get creative. A recipe? A cookbook? An advertisement? A book cover? A DVD cover for a movie version? A character years later speaking to his younger self? There is plenty of room for play with this project.

All work, whether written or multimedia, will be shared as a blog post. If it’s a multimedia piece, you will upload it to Youtube or a similar broadcasting channel and embed a link. If it’s work of visual art, you will take photos of it and post it as a blog post. If you have any reservations about posting your work online, please come and speak to me. I won’t force anyone to post anything online.

In addition to the piece itself, there are 3 other components to this assignment:

1. Explanatory text. (due November 21)

To accompany your interpretation, you will write a 500-word text outlining the artistic choices you made.

  • What scene from the novel are you working with? Why did you choose that particular scene?
  • What led you to this project?
  • How does it reflect or depart from the thematic concerns of the text with which you are working?
  • How does it borrow from the style or tone of the novel?
  • What aspects of character did you pick up on in your work?
  • What challenges did you face in translating the thematic concerns of the novel to this other medium?
  • Do you feel that your work succeeded in capturing the spirit of the novel in one specific way? Why or why not?
  • Any other thoughts or observations about how your work relates to the novel, or surprising discoveries that you made.

2. Proposal/Partial first draft of creative assignment

(Counts as one Preliminary Exercise, Due Thursday, November 10).

In advance of your project, you will write a 250 word proposal.

  • If you’re working in writing: In one or two sentences, explain what scene you are re-imagining or creating, and from which work. Explain some of the stylistic elements you are imitating, and some of the thematic elements you are picking up on. Then, write a one-page draft of the scene (it doesn’t need to be complete. I’ll assume you’ll keep working on it and make it longer).
  • If you’re working in a non-writing medium: Write one page explaining what you intend to do, and how you intend to do it. Which piece will you be working with? What will you be creating, exactly? What stylistic or thematic elements will you be picking up on?

Anything you write in this proposal or partial first draft can be reused for your creative assignment, or your explanatory text.

Publish this as a blog post to the category: “Proposal”


 3.Participation in the Creative showcase (5%, November 21).

  • We will hold a showcase, where everyone will get to present their work. You’ll have to present it, and discuss the thematic elements of the novel that you’re engaging with.
  • You will be graded on the following criteria: You are present, and prepared to present your work in an engaging and interesting way.

How you will be graded on Creative Product + Explanatory Text (15%)

Grading creative work can be a challenge. One thing I will definitely not be doing: grading you on your “artistic talent.” You don’t need to consider yourself a good drawer, painter, musician, etc. to be able succeed in this project. On the other hand, this project allows you to express yourself well in a medium other than writing, or strictly academic essay writing. So, this gives you the opportunity to use transferable skills—to work from your point of strength.

I’m looking for two things in these assignments:

  • Effort. Whatever you make has to appear like you put time, effort, and thought into it. If you’re creating a painting, for example you don’t need to be a good painter. But you need to submit something that demonstrates that you took this project seriously and worked hard on whatever you created.
  • Engagement with one theme or motif from the novel. We’ll have discussed many themes or motifs or tropes from Voyage in the Dark. We’ll have discussed Anna’s character in detail. I want to see that you’re engaging with this in your piece. The best way for me to recognize this is through your two-page paper that will accompany your piece. Here is basically where you’ll have to sell me on your concept.

There is no rubric for this assignment. I will give you a grade out of 15 based on how well I think you accomplished the two goals above.


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