Disorganization doesn't always go well with paperwriting
       Often, when writing a paper with one or more sources to include or quote, it seems that just organizing the information is as much work as writing the paper. A pile of notes, loose papers, and half-read books and/or highlighted articles is surely a familiar site to me—and the stress that goes along with piecing together all those components is also not far enough in my past as a writer. However, it occurred to me somewhere along the way that there are more efficient ways to take notes, and even to employ the Writing Center suggestion of “citing while you write.”
       Of course, you may have a highly sophisticated method of organizing your thoughts and research, and that’s great. However, I have found that, for many, the organization occurs during the later writing process, and all the distraction of sorting information can really be a hindrance to the flow of writing. I do not speak of a magic solution though; my methods are simple, straight-forward, and obvious.
  • When reading, and I want to use any information from the source, I write the bibliographic information down right before I copy that quote, or paraphrase that idea. That way, all following information is under the same source
  • If I have the work in my possession, either saved to my computer or on my personal bookshelf, I only record the author and title at this point--But you could record all the bibliographic information to save steps later.
  • If I will have to return the book, or will not have the work in my possession during the time I will be writing, and revising, my paper, I write all of the relevant information down now to avoid going on a time-consuming hunt for the source when doing the final citations.
  • I make sure to include the page (and line, scene, etc., if applicable) number after every point.
  • If possible, copying and pasting quotes directly into a word document (or even typing the quotes from a book) instead of writing them on paper is a great way not only to save paper but also to keep everything in one place.
  • If I have thoughts or comments about what I am reading, I usually put them below the quote/section, usually highlighted, or the font changed, and titled “Liz note” so that I know it is my writing. 
  • The way that you save and title your documents can clarify where what notes are located.
  • If using just a few ideas from a variety of works, I will put them all in one document, usually titled “Sourcework Paper Topic” so that I can identify this document as my research.
  • If my notes on a work are multiple pages long, I make a separate word document for it, titled “Sourcework Author Name.”
  • I save all of the notes from that paper into one folder and I often use subfolders to separate research from outlines, random thoughts, and drafts.
  • Once the research mining is finished, I use these documents to compile an outline, or at least copy and paste the relevant quotes below subject headings.
  • I always back-up all of these documents, through flash-drives or e-mail multiple, times during the writing process.
So, now you know what I do during the mess of writing a paper. What about your methods? Do you have a system? Share it in the comments!

Elizabeth Gustosson-Berkstresser is a sophomore and a tutor in the Writing Center
  It was obvious that Open Mic was going to be a huge success as the dimly lit Hub began to brim with  anticipation minutes away from the commencement of the event. Co-sponsored by Agnes Writes, Aurora, Programming Board, the Sisterhood of the Lyrically Inclined, and the Center for Writing & Speaking, last Friday’s Open Mic featured Def Jam Poetry spoken word artist, Jon Goode. The evening started with a heartfelt acoustic guitar solo by musician, Devin McLaughlin, who performed several cover songs including, Supersonic’s “Secret Smile” and Dispatch’s “Two Coins.” The next performer to take the stage was sophomore Scottie, Tally Deushane with her incredibly adorable soft blue ukulele named, Kaylee in tow. In addition to senior Creative Writing major, Elaine Koutroulias’s recital of poems, Tehseen Dossul '11 recited a poignant excerpt from Sylvia Plath with nothing less than conviction as she seamlessly illustrated the narrator’s unyielding strength in the midst of tragedy. Local spoken word artist, Theresa Davis, gave a timely performance regarding unrequited love, which evoked laughter from the spectators amid her wit and fury.
Open Mic Featured Guest Artist with Scotties
In contrast to the cheery opening, Goode later recited a poem called, “Mastectomy,”about a woman that he knew who was forced to sever her left breast due to cancer. With expressions like, “I have cancer, but cancer will never have me, this performance was not only beautiful, but  strong and compelling as well. While discussing how he landed on the HBO hit series, Def Poetry Jam, Goode gave the sage words of advice to simply, “Be yourself.”

Jon Goode Writing Center Co-Coordinators Neil Simpkins and Shannon Yarbrough
Goode with even more Scotties

Soon afterward, another spoken word artist, Infrared, took the stage with a piece entitled, “Onion.There was no need for a microphone as he traveled across the scuffled wooden floor, bursting with fervor and candor.

Other Scotties who performed that night included Natasha Byrd, Hannah Hunt, Crista Carter, Raquel Stroud, Ashanti Boykin, and Rachael Pietkiewicz, Celeste Banks, Sydney Tonsfeldt, Kristen Davis, and Tiffany Samuels.

Dani Adamson is a sophomore and a tutor at the Agnes Scott College Writing Center.
In my “other role” as Secretary of Blackfriars (Agnes Scott’s very own theater troupe), I am in charge of all publicity for this years’ productions. It has often occurred to me that many of the things I do are related to the non-writing side of writing—editing and publication. Sometimes how your words are laid out is just as important as what they say, especially in the realm of publicity and general attention-catching-awesomeness. So for all of you aspiring publishers, even if the extent of that ambition is making posters for campus events, here are some tips to make them dazzle.

1.    Layout : Keep it neat. The less number of words you can use to get your point across, the more likely it is that people will pause on their way to get a biscuit and read about your event. Humans are simple creatures, and our eyes are attracted to large or bold words first—but watch out for the catch. IF ALL YOUR WORDS ARE EQUALLY HUGE NONE OF THEM WILL BE MORE IMPORTANT THAN THE OTHERS AND YOUR SIGN WILL NOT ATTRACT ANY MORE ATTENTION THAN IF ALL THE WORDS WERE TINY. The golden answer to this conundrum is to increase the size and prominence of important words in order to draw your viewer’s eye to the title, time, or place for your event. Keep the witty catch phrases and less important details smaller—you’ve got to hookem before you can entertain ‘em.

2.   Font: The best kept secret about publishing regards serif fonts versus sans serif fonts. Times New Roman has little ticks at the tops and bottoms of every letter—serifs! Arial does not. Hence, Arial is a “sans serif” font. The human eye naturally is drawn toward sans serif fonts, but prefers to read blocks of text with serifs neatly in place. This is so important for fliers—put your title in a large clear sans serif font, and other info smaller and be-serif-ed. I promise that this is the rule all professional publications go by, and it will greatly improve the readability of your signage. One last warning: don’t go font crazy. Use two or three fonts, tops, on any one sign. Your readers will thank you.

3.   Images: Everyone loves cutesy clip art and lolcats (well, I don’t, but I’ve been told that I may be the only exception in the world). Images are a great way to draw attention. However, they work best as single, large, clear image, particularly something vivid that can become emblematic of your event. Think of the most memorable posters for movies or plays--The Silence of the Lambs, The Phantom of the Opera, The Dark Knight--all of these have a single image associated closely with them—the white face with the moth over its mouth, a half-mask, the Joker’s creepy image. Go simple and memorable, and you won’t regret it.
Multiple images and no main focus make for a distracting poster
Clear memorable image and fewer words tend to draw an observer in much better
With these ideas about layout, font, and image, you can bring the masses in to your events and have them stealing the posters off the walls. To frame. Because they’re just so great. 



Molly Saunders is a sophomore English Lit major and Writing Center tutor.