FIRST STEP: Choose any ONE character from a story that we have read about in any of our stories in the textbook or the links I have provided in Blackboard. They may be from a story that we have already read or have yet to read. You cannot just choose a character from a random story (that I haven’t read!) You will write and create a sequel of this literary character, from an established story, by developing the character’s life after the established story has taken place. The character must be dynamic character in that their story follows a literary arc (beginning, middle climax, end). Also, this sequel must be in a multimodal presentation format.
1. How do you begin with a character? You can keep your character in his or her original setting, make your character experience time travel, or move him or her into a new stage of life. The control part of this character is that he or she must have already lived as presented in the original story; however, you can transform the character to another time or place, while he or she maintains original character traits. Remember that many of these stories are flashbacks, so you have to
take that into account with your sequel. For example, if you write about Montresor, you have to tell the story after he is an old man confessing—or when he is in the afterlife!
2. What is multimodal? The second challenge is that you must use multimodal or digital effects to present this character to your audience. You cannot just write a character analysis on a word document and expect that to be adequate. Conversely, you are to search for and use images and videos on the web that represent your character and reveal him or her to your audience through your findings. While this assignment is grounded in fictional character traits, it also calls forth your imagination to re-create a character from your own perspective through digital images.
3. Consi der your charact er’ s true traits to help build the sequel. For example, if you are using Jane from “The Yellow Wallpaper,” her greatest fear is probably being stuck in her restrictive marriage or behind the wallpaper! Show through imagery what that fear is like and how she attempts to overcome it (use music, too!). Be careful about what you do with the character—it must be realistic and logically follow their original story; in other words, don’t turn characters into mass murderers if they don’t reveal those traits in the original story. Furthermore, don’t rewrite the character so far away from the original story that your multimodal composition turns out to be a completely different second story on its own, with a character that doesn’t match the original character from the original story. Use the elements of the first story to build your sequel.
4. Length? Organization? Format?
• The typical short essay for my classes is a minimum of 600-700 words long. The average length of these sequels is about 15-20 slides in PowerPoint. I tell students who use video no longer than three minutes.
• Therefore, your composition should be in multimodal form and complete enough that your audience understands how your character has been dynamically transformed.
• It needs enough structure that shows a beginning, middle, and end (the narrative arc). It needs text—either as sound/voice or as text running across your screens.
• You do NOT need to recap or summarize the original story. Your sequel should begin AFTER the original story! And you are not rewriting the original story, either. This is not a retelling of the same story and this is also not a prequel.
• You cannot hand in a separate word document with the story, and a presentation of images only. The multimodal presentation must be inclusive.
5. Here is a list of potential characters who have worked well with this assignment:
• The college-age narrator in “Greasy Lake,” or one of his friends, Digby or Jeff (imagine they maybe ran into the lake characters at a café, restaurant, or on the street.)
• Montresor or Fortunato in “The Cask of Amontillado” (great sequel is that they meet in the after life!)
• The narrator or another character in “An Ounce of Cure” (she is telling this some years later—but what happened in between?)
• Toby or a townsperson in “A Rose for Emily” (Emily is dead, so you cannot use her, unless . . . . )
• Vic, Enn, Stella, Triolet, or Wain’s Wain in “How To Talk To Girls At Parties” (these females are already “otherworldly”!)
• Jane or the wife and her husband John in “The Yellow Wallpaper” (so much potential with this story).
• Calixta in Chopin’s “The Storm” or her lover, Alcée Laballière (they both accept cheating so easily—the outcome).
• Connie or Arnold Friend in “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” (many possibilities here)
• Lt. Jimmy Cross or another character in “The Things They Carried” (There is a book about this story, and Martha doesn’t ever marry because she’s likely gay… so she and Jimmy don’t really indulge in a romantic future.)
• A Hutchinson family member in “The Lottery” (lots of possibilities here! Does Mrs. Hutchinson really die?)
• Dave Saunders in “The Man Who Wanted to be a Man” runs away because he was teased and accidentally shot his boss’s mule Jenny. Where does he go when he hops that train?
• Dee or Mama or sister in “Everyday Use” (Don’t turn Dee into something she’s not…!)
• Narrator or her mother in “Two Kinds” (lots of possibilities here, too, but the mother passed away during the story.)
• The mother-narrator or daughter Emily in “I Stand Here Ironing”(lots of possibilities here for the daughter Emily.)
• Miss Brill in the story “Miss Brill” (what happens to her when she realizes she’s also elderly and odd?)
• Jig, the girl in “Hills like White Elephants”. . . . or even the American man.
• Sammy in “A&P”; or “Queenie” in “A&P” (not her real name, of course)
6. WHAT DO YOU SUBMIT FOR YOUR DRAFT?
• You should submit your completed written story sequel in a word doc, so it can be checked for accuracy, creativity, if you are following a good story arc, if you are not misrepresenting the character(s), and, of course, grammar and usage.
• Many students want to just submit the beginning of their story in a multimodal format, which is okay but not preferred; for example, if you submit a partial PowerPoint, I cannot help you with the grammar, usage, punctuation, and other errors and it doesn’t warrant a passing grade.
• This is YOUR story sequel, so be creative, but don’t venture too far away from the reality of the character; conversely, don’t make your story so conventional that it’s boring—beware of the obvious easy endings, the Hallmark Happy Endings, and the “slasher-everybody dies” endings.