Mel Martinez

Mel Martinez was a US Senator for the state of Florida from 2005-2009 when he resigned.

Below is a link to a PDF of his resignation letter. (page 10)

Mel Martinez

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Bent Fortune Cookie

Genre Bending

Ex 1)

 

You should have asked that girl at the bar out.

 

Ex 2)

 

That umbrella you didn’t buy would have come in handy today.

 

Ex 3)

 

It would have been a good idea to throw that taco in the trash rather than eat it.

Genre Exploration

The text that is found inside a fortune cookie is well known for containing certain thematic elements that would hardly be considered a true fortune cookie fortune without their inclusion. One of the most important fortune cookie features is that the text must address the reader directly. In my prototypical examples, I use the personal pronouns ‘you’ and ‘your’ to signify that the reader is being directly addressed. Part of the appeal of getting a fortune is that the message is specifically for the reader alone. Another important feature is the length of the message. Generally, the messages are short and to the point, and they do not take up more than a line or two of small text. This is so that the message can fit onto the small piece of paper legibly for the reader to crack open from the cookie. Most fortunes are short, declarative sentences that do not contain any superfluous text. Lastly, the fortune cookie fortune is famously known for its message being pertained to the future. That is why a lot of the examples will use verbs signifying events that have not yet happened such as ‘will’. Including words such as ‘soon’ and sometimes even directly mentioning ‘the future’ in the message, the fortune cookie message addresses the reader directly with a piece of advice or clue as to their future behavior and life events.

Bending the fortune cookie genre, I chose to keep some elements the same so that they are recognizable as being ‘fortunes’ without being put into a cookie, but I changed the context. I kept the direct address to the reader by including pronouns such as ‘you’. I also kept the length rather short so that it could still conceivably pass as a fortune that could fit into a cookie. However, instead of having the message pertain to the future, I changed it so that the message addressed the reader directly about instances that have already arisen in their past. For example, the first bent genre example, it tells the person reading the fortune that they should have taken the chance and asked out the pretty girl at the bar instead of choosing not to approach her. Since fortunes are usually dependent upon the actions of the reader to make them ‘true’, I also included ‘fortunes’ that were linked to their own actions, except that they are past actions instead of actions to be made in the future. This is seen in the second and third bent examples; they both hint that the actions of the reader in the past could have changed their present moment. Fortune cookies are meant to be fun and exciting to open because they hold a hint of the future and humans are always endeavoring to know more than their present moment, even if the reader doesn’t believe in it being true. I believe the bent version holds true to that emotional response because humans are also constantly fixated on the past and what they should have done differently. The bent versions hold more room to be interpreted as sad or regretful since they hint at past events that the reader would have enjoyed the fruits of if they had only done something different. It still holds a visceral feeling in the reading of the text, but the emotional response is flipped.

Publishing House Homepage

A publishing house is a company that largely publishes and distributes literary works under their own brand. I chose which publishing houses to based on their popularity and success, such as Penguin Random House, Hachette Book Group, and Hyperion Books, but I also included publishing houses that are not so well known, such as the Cracked Jar Press and Nephilim Press. The publishing houses are divided up largely based on what works they publish. Generally, a publishing house will focus on publishing only a few or even one certain type of writing. For example, the Nephilim Press specializes on publishing works of the occult and other such geared writing. The homepage for the publishing house website gives the reader a first impression of what they can expect out of that publishing house.

The homepage is the first page that a reader interacts with upon visiting the publishing house’s website. Because of that first impression, the homepage often has some sort of symbol or emblem that designates that publishing house. For example, the Cracked Jar Press has a static symbol of, quite literally, a cracked jar outlined in white that symbolizes the company. These emblems, whether they are images or simply a statement of the name of the publishing house, such as in the upper left hand corner of the Penguin Random House homepage, they all serve a secondary purpose other than signifying what publishing house a reader is interacting with. They also serve as a static link that a reader can click on to return to the homepage of the publishing house regardless of where they are in the website. There are also static links to other sections of the website that are divided into headings and menu links that allow the reader to easily access the information that is provided. These static elements help the reader have control over what information they are seeing and when they choose to see it.

One frequent inclusion on the homepage is a link to the publishing house’s social media accounts. This can include links to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Pinterest, YouTube, LinkedIn, and Google Plus. Social media is a tool that many companies and organizations utilize in this modern society so as to expand their audience and establish a means of connectedness and communication with their readers. These links can be found either at the top of the page or the bottom of it, but they all feature a picture that symbolizes that specific social media domain, such as a camera for Instagram and a bird for Twitter. A move to social media interaction and communication works to modernize the publishing house and keep it relevant with the times, as well as because it opens up a convenient and efficient means of communication with the reader that was previously only plausible through email, phone call, personal visit, or letter. This new form of communication, on the other hand, is almost instantaneous. As well as links to the publishing houses’ social media accounts, there is also a place for the reader to submit their email address or otherwise become involved with the publishing house by subscribing to their newsletter. The social media and newsletter links, as well as the contact page that allows the reader to submit a comment or question directly, all serve the communicative purpose of the publishing house to connect and relate to its readers.

 

Hachette Book Group: https://www.hachettebookgroup.com/

Penguin Random House: http://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/

Hyperion Books: http://hyperionbooks.com/

Cracked Jar Press: http://www.crackedjarpress.com/

Nephilim Press: https://www.nephilimpress.com/

Book Reviews

The book reviews that I analyzed I found at Tor.com, an online publication. I chose books that are familiar to a wide range of people and whose authors are noted as some of the greatest living of the time or are extremely popular: The Shining by Stephen King, You Suck! by Chritopher Moore, Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins, Percy Jackson: The Lightning Thief, and The Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare. The reviews are all posted by professional literary critics that have reviewed publications before.

The reviews generally start with a brief summary or synopsis of the work that they are analyzing. This includes a run down of the plot as well as the characters and their place in the work. It gives a decent outline of what can be expected to be addressed in the book as well as what kind of characters and situations that are being dealt with. The length of the summary does not seem to follow a particular format or pattern. Some go into quite a bit of detail in the plot in the summaries, such as in the review for The Clockwork Angel, while others choose to keep it short and straight to the point so that the readers have less of an idea of what is all included in the book, such as in the review for the Mockingjay.

After the summary, the writer addresses specific events or parts of the book that they happened to find interesting in one way or another. For example, the writer for the You Suck! review describes “what struck [her] in particular”, while the writer for the Percy Jackson: The Lightning Thief chose to include her favorite part of the book and why it stuck and resonated with her. What follows includes an analysis of the book, as well as the plot and the characters, so as to point out either interesting character development or to praise specific techniques that the author used to achieve a certain affect.

Along the same line as discussing the success of the author and the writing, the review also notoriously contains criticism for what the writer or the book failed to do for the reviewer. For example, the reviewer for Percy Jackson: The Lightning Thief wrote about “what bothered [her] about this section of the book” and the reviewer for Mockingjay lamented its flaws such as in the characterization. Whatever praise is mentioned in the review is tampered by some amount of criticism, which is to be expected of the genre. Without negative feedback being involved, I could hardly describe it as criticism.

Lastly, upon weighing what the author has done well against their failings, the writer gives a judgment on whether the book was favorable or unfavorable to them. This is directly addressed near the end of the review in which the writer either encourages others to read it or declares their dissatisfaction with the writing. For example, the reviewer for The Clockwork Angel harshly interjects that the book “left [her] cold and unimpressed”. On the other hand, the reviewer for You Suck! end his review by asking the audience “what more could you want?” out of the reader about the book. The ending judgment of the book that the writer is reviewing is perhaps the most important part. A good review could mean more traffic for the writer and a greater profit, but a bad review could hurt a book’s market or the writer’s reputation.

 

The Shining: http://www.tor.com/2012/11/01/the-great-stephen-king-reread-the-shining/

You Suck!: http://www.tor.com/2009/01/16/review-you-suck/

Mockingjay: http://www.tor.com/2010/08/26/suzanne-collinss-mockingjay/

Percy Jackson: The Lightning Thief: http://www.tor.com/2010/07/21/book-review-rick-riordans-the-lightning-thief/

Clockwork Angel: http://www.tor.com/2010/09/09/book-review-clockwork-angel-by-cassandra-clare-the-infernal-devices-book-1/

Literary Writer FAQ

The FAQ page is meant to provide information to the reader either about the author or their works. The information provided is based upon how frequent the question has been asked. The questions that are answered on the FAQ page are those that have been continuously asked. This is information such as how readers can contact the author, what their inspiration was, or what their future works pertain to. This page encapsulates questions about the author, specific series or books, or perhaps even certain characters. Other information that is typically included covers things such as events being held such as signing or upcoming release dates of their newest works.

Although the ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ page can be organized in numerous different ways, there tends to be a loose formatting guide that structures the questions into an easily decipherable way. Headings and subheadings were often used to categorize the FAQs based upon their subject. This technique splits the questions and answers into groups that the reader can choose to use to decide what category the question they have is under. This allows for easy navigation of the text for the reader. Other textual features were changed in order to show a change in topic or subject matter. Bold, italicized, and underlined text also worked as a means of dividing the FAQs and signifying their limits. More commonly, the questions were either numbered or listed in bulleted form. This format helps the reader navigate the questions just as well as the textual changes. The numbers or bullets give the text an ordered form for the reader to follow. Interestingly, the text was split up into a list form, and each separate line can be clicked on to expand and show the answer. These hidden text features allow for the reader to skim the questions to find one that interests them, and then once clicking on it, it provides the information without the distraction of other answers being shown. It allows the reader to narrow down and navigate the page.

The information that is provided follows a specific Question and Answer format. The questions is stated, in question form, and is often differentiated from the answer by some sort of bold or italicized text. Then after the question, the answer is given in a short and concise manner that strives to fully answer the question being addressed. I have noticed that the question can be answered in different tones and formality depending on the author. For example, Rick Riordan uses personal pronouns such as “I” and addressed the reader directly using “you”. The answers are most generally personal and familiar that leaves the reader feeling as if the writer was speaking to them alone and was answering them directly. However, there were others, such as James Patterson, whose FAQ was extremely not personable and was answered in third person. The more intimate FAQs in often includes a section in which the writers give advice to aspiring writers that wish to become published. The question is proposed and the author subsequently writes how they became good at writing, tips to getting over writer’s block, and other advice that might be able to encourage an aspiring writer.

 

Stephen King: http://stephenking.com/faq.html

Rick Riordan: http://rickriordan.com/about/frequently-asked-questions/

James Patterson: http://www.jamespatterson.com/contact-faq

Margaret Atwood: http://margaretatwood.ca/faqs/

George R. R. Martin: http://www.georgerrmartin.com/for-fans/faq/