I don’t know about you, but this was actually one of my least favorite activities when I was taking an English composition class at Ivy Tech (a community college in Indiana). Sometimes we got to pick our topics, other times they were responses to assigned reading material, but trying to come up with a certain number of words (and yes there was a minimum) on a particular subject, especially if it was one I didn’t particularly care about, was one of the most difficult aspects of the assignments for me.
We had to not only write a certain number of words, but if it was in response to a reading assignment, we had to critique the story/article/whatever, following the guidelines set for us by our instructor. There were quite a few times when I didn’t care for the story at all, but tried to be as objective as possible in my journal entry. I couldn’t very well just say, “I hated it, I thought it was rubbish, I have absolutely no interest in the subject matter and want the last two hours of my life back—the time it took to read the assignment, and the time it’s taken me to write this journal entry.” Tempting as it was to do just that, not only would my instructor not have appreciated the comment, I would have gotten a bad grade for not completing the assignment properly. Believe me, that was the only thing that kept me from doing just that most of the time.
There were a few times, however, where the subject was actually interesting to me, and then the problem became where to stop writing! There was one I wrote about Harry Potter, pointing out all the things I thought they got wrong when they made the movies (no, I didn’t expect them to religiously follow the books word for word, but come on! Anyone who’s actually bothered to read the books and not just watch the movies has also noted the same problems, so maybe the people making the movies should have actually listened to the fans, instead of just throwing in (or taking out!) whatever they bloody felt like? But what do I know, I’m just an avid reader who happens to be a major Potterhead (Ravenclaw, according to Pottermore, thank you very much 😛 ) and I’ve read the entire series many times, and watched the entire movie series many more times…
Anyway, I pointed out as many of the differences between the books and the movies that I could think of in one sitting, and had to stop myself from going on a rant about the travesty of the sixth movie (burning down the Burrow? Really? Did these people even bother to read the book before writing the script, or were they just making it up as they went along? There were so many ways they could have handled not having Percy or Scrimgeour in that scene, none of which would have ended in the Burrow being set on fire) by reminding myself that I wasn’t supposed to be writing an opinion piece, and that I was supposed to be writing objectively. (Good luck with that where Harry Potter is concerned…there’s a reason why I’ve been writing several fan fiction stories for the last several months now, two of them I started writing several years ago and have put up for a while to concentrate on these others…and I keep coming up with other ideas along the way, as anyone can tell who’s been reading my “writing prompts” posts the last few months.)
Anyone have any pet peeves of their own when it comes to journal writing, either for yourself or for school assignments?