Here’s a great article that talks about how to write ‘as’ a thing: detective, coroner, attorney, eulogist. I love it: “Murder! (Rhetorically Speaking)” by Janet Boyd. I’ve used this in several classes before when the students and I had to “solve” a murder (if the link fails, copy and paste this: http://writingspaces.org/boyd–murder-rhetorically-speaking).
In your groups, you’ll be dealing with a real mystery and real information–an unsolved mystery–but you’ll be solving the crime with additional and made-up facts which you’ll include in your solution. Each member of a group does his or her own thing. Be a coroner, a professional sleuth, private investigator, copper, or an attorney. But you can all share research. You can even all come up with different solutions if you like. This is a creative and fun project–with research because you have to KNOW the crime, but you get to be creative, too. Because the real crime is unsolved, you can decide what’s been missing that is needed to “solve” the crime.
You could stumble upon evidence of some kind that you unearth in a forgotten case file, archive, closet. You could re-interview the suspects and one could break and confess to you. You could find a new witness that no one knew about before. You decide how you want to play it depending on your role. Apply what you’ve learned about detecting and how folks “play” the game from what we’ve read so far. Nothing fancy. Play and have fun. This is a case of “you’ve read the genre, now write something in it.” This doesn’t need to be perfect nor does it need to be aligned with anyone in your group other than in content.
So. For. Instance. You could write something hard boiled and another person in your group could write something ala Mrs. Pollifax (although, technically, the Mrs. Pollifax book are spy fiction, it’s a good example of the silliness possible in the telling of thrilling stories).
You could write a police report, a coroner’s report, an attorney’s summation notes, a eulogy, a diary from the perspective of the murder victim. What matters most is that your group produces a variety of perspectives about the same crime. And has fun doing it.
What I want you to get at, in a casual and unplanned way, is something akin to the film Vantage Point. It’s about one event but told from a variety of points of view. Or it’s predecessor in theory: Rashomon.
There will be three blog posts required (these are already listed in the reading/writing schedule):
July 14, Week 8, Long blog post #33
This is where you start to speculate, share research, talk about what you’ve learned and share what “role” or perspective you intend to write from. Please feel free to quote from the Boyd article to clarify your point. You might also want to share the details of the crime–perhaps in bullet point fashion (this could be the same bullet points for all group members).
July 21, Week 9, Long blog post #38
You write your story, share your perspective, solve the crime. And share with us YOUR solution. Voila. Do list your sources. (Any consistent fashion for listing references is fine–if you use MLA, though, please include links to any online material. Thanks!)
July 28, Week 10, Long blog post #43
Tell us about how you did it, why you picked the role you did, how your group worked together, how you managed the research–this is a meta thing, a reflection on the project: what worked, what didn’t what was fun, what was scary, what you enjoyed, what you learned, how did you love it, how you dreaded it, how it turned out great… (fingers crossed for that last).
And that’s about it. I’ve heard from some groups about size and topics. Please be sure you FB message me or email about what you want to do. You may, of course, use FB to organize yourselves–just let me know if you have any questions or need any help.