The process leading up to the final drafts of our personal essay project was very experimental. Each step, from generating the ideas for the essays, to incorporating literary tools in our writing, to video and media production, and even to sharing with audiences, was an experiment.
First of all, the way in which we chose topics about which to write was very creative. Dr. Burton read a list of different topics or experiences, and if something interested us, we were supposed to begin generating raw material about that topic. We then wrote multiple blog posts to narrow down the topics of our essays. The elimination process depended highly upon our taking in account of other people's comments about what what they found most interesting. That was experimental in itself in that we had to find ways to collaborate with classmates to review, edit, and share our material. As the essay topics were narrowed down, we began experimenting with different forms of Mormon personal essays. We studied examples of personal essays written by several authors, like Edward Geary, "Disorder and Early Joy", Tessa Santiago, "Take, Eat", and Gideon Burton, "In an Open Field, Near a Gravel Pit". We then analyzed ways to include Mormon Humor from Personal essays like DeNae Handy’s, "Falling for You.", and we even experimente with how to make our writing more like poetry.
Secondly, whilst actually writing our essays, we experimented with different ways of incorporating imagery, description, figurative language, and the inclusion of the Book of Mormon aspect in our writing. As a result of several differnt writing stages, we concluded that it was most effective to establish respect with the reader by building up our credibililty through the application of literary tools in our writing, and then bringing in the Book of Mormon content.
Lastly, we experimented with different ways of sharing the content of our essays. This included experimentation with video production, as well as selecting audiences or individuals with whom to share our material through social media and offline interaction. The video production included each member of the class developing their own minute-long video to advertise their essay with their own preferences to background, content, and inclusion of the Book of Mormon, as well as whose essay we talked about. Our initial videos helped us to determine what the effective aspects were. As a result of this experiment, and differences in aspects like sound and lighting, the final draft of our videos was much more uniform in the above-mentioned components.