Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The heat is on: Finalizing eBook content

My students are finalizing their chapters for the eBook we are creating, "Writing About Literature in the Digital Age." Nothing like a hard deadline to get us all motivated. We've given ourselves one short week to complete the formatting and other details, so content needs to be finalized for the final stages to come into play.

Realistically, not all of my students' chapters are going to be publishable today. But I've read enough of their drafts on their blogs to know that some will be ready, and others will be very close. We may have to go to a staggered model, feeding the most ready chapters to our editing team while the stragglers hurry up. There's little time to waste, since we all have other duties related to the eBook's success that we must attend to in the week remaining.

General Book Production Issues
  • Table of Contents (order and grouping of chapters)?
  • Front matter / End matter?
  • Cover art (Rachael Schiel)

Prospective Table of Contents

Part 1: Breaking from Traditional Writing about Literature
  • Gideon Burton
  • Sam McGrath
Part 2: Identity Issues
  • Ariel Letts (Ender's Game)
  • Aly Rutter (To Kill a Mockingbird)
  • Andrea Ostler (Song of Solomon)
  • Nyssa Silvester (Notes from Underground)?
Part 3: Educational Applications
  • Carlie Wallentine (Charlotte's Web)
  • Amy Whitaker (Where the Red Fern Grows)
  • Rachael Schiel (Labyrinths)
  • Matthew James (Walden)
  • Ashley Lewis (Jane Eyre)
  • Bri Zabriskie (Huck Finn)
Not categorized:
  • Derrick Clements (Assassins)
  • Taylor Gilbert (Screwtape Letters)
  • Matt Harrison (Ender's Game)
  • Ben Wagner (The Great Gatsby)
  • Ashley Nelson (Dubliners)

Ready for Editing Team? A Checklist
  • Title
    Does my title refer 1) to the primary literary text I've studied, and 2) to issues about writing about literature in the digital age?
  • Teaser
    Do I include an epigraph, cartoon, photo, scene, personal angle -- something that draws readers quickly into my chapter?
  • "Tweethis" Statement (Tweetable Thesis Statement)
    Does my main claim stand out within my chapter, and is it under 140 characters?
  • Author
    Have I appended a one-sentence biographical blurb and picture of myself?
  • Images
    Do I provide a link to each image used? Is each image creative-commons licensed? Is notice of that license included with the image?
  • Sources
    Are in-text citations done in proper MLA format?
    Does the Works Cited section follow MLA format? Are linkable references linked from explicit URLs?
  • Subheadings
    Is the chapter clearly signposted with appropriate subheadings?

    General Revision Issues
    • Reference to English 295. Referring to our course can be relevant as part of the personal angle and documenting process. Where it will work against us is if such reference ever suggests that what any one contributor is doing is just fulfilling an assignment. Count on people not caring about our little, temporary community, or about your status as a student. The general point you are making needs to stand out, so don't let referring to our course throw that. 
    For Next Time (Friday, 6/10/11)
    • Read other students' chapters looking for keywords/tags
    • Read other students' chapters looking for cross-referencing possibilities.

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