Tag: writing

JSU removes English Competency Exam as graduation requirement

Miranda Prescott, Correspondent

Jacksonville State University announced on Tuesday, April 14 that the English Competency Exam, or ECE, will no longer be required by students to graduate from the university. This change in requirements will take effect as of the summer term this year.

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The many types of fanfiction writers

Miranda PrescottArts & Entertainment Correspondent

You would be lying to yourself if you said that you have never heard of a small concept known as fanfiction. Or, rather, you would be a human being who does not geek out over book characters or television shows. So, rather, you would be a normal person with a normal life.

For those who love the previously mentioned activity, fanfiction is a wonderous world where people who call themselves “aspiring authors” write the same plot line that at least 500 other authors have done before, using someone else’s characters from major works. They do this because, normally, they can’t create more than five characters for their given plotline on their own. I should know. I was a fanfiction writer.

The keyword there is “was.”. I finally quit around 2015, after spending four years of my life doing such activities. However, I’ll check in from time to time to see how everything is going in the communities I once wrote under. In my illustrious career as a fanfiction writer, I noticed three main types of writers that I feel sum up the idea of fan fiction quite nicely.

“The Almost Novelist”

This is the type of writer that writes so well that their story could possibly, in some cases, be better than the story they have modeled theirs after. This archetype, surprisingly, has allowed many major authors today to have a platform to create their own works, mostly. Some authors today use their fanfiction to create original works. I’m pointing at you, E.L. James. You are the perfect example of this type of fan fiction writer.

“The ‘Insert Self Here’ writer”

This writer is found mostly in fanfiction written about real-life celebrities. One Direction, BTS, you name it. The reason they are found here is because they like to insert themselves into their own stories. These writers use their work to live the dream of being with Harry Styles. They are also probably the most common type of writer you will see. Mainly because if you ever read fanfiction, you are probably reading stories like these. Some writers will even let you fill in the blank. Like Mad Libs, but slightly more awkward because these scenarios are with real people in fictional settings.

“The… what?”

This is the writer that absolutely makes no sense. Their storyline is all over the place, and their descriptions of things are incoherent and they improperly use the right words in them.  Characters jump in and get killed off at random. When they speak, the characters often cannot even say words properly. And do not get me started on the plotline of these stories. More than likely, this writer is of ages 14 or less and have no idea how the world really works. For laughs, I often investigate these types of stories, and I immediately add at least 10 years to my lifespan while doing so.

Sure, there are more types of fanfiction writers out there, but these three are the ones everyone has probably ran into more than once or twice while scrolling through websites dedicated to this valuable art form. Now, is all fanfiction bad? Not really, but it is slightly illegal in some context. Thankfully, fair use does indeed exist.

English Department Spotlight: Crossing t’s and dotting i’s

Located in the Stone Center building is one of the many gems of Jacksonville State University—the English Department.

Dr. Robert Felgar is the Department Head and believes that the department provides students with excellent instruction.

“We stand out because we put so much emphasis on skills that are crucial to students’ futures: thinking, writing, speaking, listening, and reading,” said Dr. Felgar.

The English Department offers students a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree and a Master of Arts (M.A.) degree along with a Minor in English. The department also offers courses for students seeking teaching certification in English or the Language Arts teaching field.

“The Department offers a variety of special topics courses, ranging from film noir to the graphic novel to The Bible as literature. Broadly speaking, we want JSU graduates to emerge as the best thinkers and communicators possible,” said Dr. William Hug, Professor of English and Director of Writing.

Students who major in English can propel their career into a variety of directions. The department offers an internship for majors to allow them to see what kinds of professional opportunities are available.

“One graduate recently spent two years in Thailand teaching middle-school girls English. Still another graduate focused on public relations and now works for a local Chamber of Commerce,” said Dr. Teresa Reed, Professor of English.

Although students are often reading works that are centuries old, Dr. Andrea Porter insists that the subject matter still significantly interests them.

“Even though the world around us changes, what it means to be human does not. In a time when we’d rather text than talk, scroll an Instagram feed than take a stroll with a friend, our subject matter is more relevant than ever,” said Dr. Porter, Associate Professor of English.

The English Department provides students with the opportunity for financial aid through two different scholarships. The Calvert Scholarship provides the accepted junior or senior student with full-tuition. Freshmen students may apply for Writing Scholarships that provide full tuition for one year.

The English Department is also involved in a variety of community service projects. The “Imagining the Holocaust” Writing Competition is held each year to help teach Holocaust history to middle school and high school students in the state of Alabama.

The annual JSU Writers Bowl allows high school sophomores, juniors and seniors to create teams and compete in the areas of poetry and prose.

Students familiar with the Southern experience may enter their original work into the Southern Playwrights Competition. The first-prize winner receives $1,000, as well as a production by the Jacksonville State University Department of Drama.

Students struggling in their writing classes may stop by the English Department Writing Clinic located in Room 230 in Stone Center. Students do not need to make an appointment, and the tutoring is free.

Students who love reading literature and writing will enjoy the assortment of classes the department provides. The department is full of instructors who are passionate about their subject matter and their students.

Adam Higgins
Staff Writer