Sunday, March 02, 2008

Discussion 4 - Writing

Consider the division between what you write about and how you proceed to write it.

Have you ever thought about your writing?

Do you want to continue writing using the same (read limited) vocabulary and sentence structure as you use now for the rest of your life?

Do you think that university will teach you to write, or that you should start university with an emerging writers voice?

Next year, regardless of your discipline, you will be judged by your writing. Consider that your ideas on a topic or subject will always be filtered by your ability to articulate your thoughts and set them down on paper. Always.

Your vocabulary and sentence structure develop by reading. Read everything: magazines, poetry, newspapers, the back of a cereal boxes, both professional and amateur writing on the internet, comic books, texts, and if all else fails, novels. When you encounter a word that you cannot define for your mom, or little brother or your English teacher, stop reading- grab a dictionary and look up the word.

Commit the following to memory, "Writing is a cyclical process". It usually is not a linear process. Understand now that authors, textbook writers, and poets all start and write / rewrite their work until they begin to see that their words stand alone.

Start by reading 'Writing' on the website.

For this week's assignment, choose a structure from the list I provide in the 'Writing Process' and explain it to me in this week's posting.

18 comments:

Trisha F said...

To be able to write well is extremely important. This is especially true for grade 12 students who are quickly approaching the end of their secondary school career, and perhaps moving on to post-secondary education. Grade 9 to 12 is a time to learn about the simple rules of writing. This includes grammar, punctuation, proper formatting, sentence structure, etc. However it is in university that one begins to develop their own writing style, and expand on the things they were taught in high school. That is why it is vital to enter university with an emerging voice as a writer.

The Writing Process, coined by MIT Online Writing and Communication Centre, is an effective step-by-step procedure which can be used when developing any piece of writing. According to this process, there are four distinct steps to follow. This is known as a recursive process, and includes prewriting, drafting, revising, and editing.

To begin with, prewriting refers to all the necessary steps taken before the actual writing begins. Researching, jotting down notes, brainstorming, interacting with others, and interviewing are some examples of ways to get some background information on the subject. According to MIT, “…generating ideas is an activity that occurs throughout the writing process.”

The second step of The Writing Process is drafting, which is taking all the ideas from the first step, and developing them into supportive sentences and paragraphs. It is key to focus on the writing, whether than the spelling and grammar. This way, all the creativity can come through, and the draft will be what is known as “writing centred”.

Next, is the revising step. This is a crucial step to The Writing Process, because it involves editing your piece to ensure that you are getting your points across to the reader. Organization, accuracy, and structure are the elements you should be achieving in this stage. Make connections between ideas explicit and clear”.

Finally, editing is the fourth step. It is always beneficial to get other people to edit your work, to ensure you haven’t missed any mistakes. Thins is not to be done until the other three steps are thoroughly completed.

The Writing Process is a great method to use and will ensure that all ideas are well thought out and developed.

Mike C said...

Every student in world today is faced with the fact of having to write an essay in their life, but writing an essay must come with good knowledge and understanding of the topic you’re intending to write and argue upon. English may seem like an easy course just because you know how to speak English, but no an English is nothing close to easy, its extremely hard and must be taken into deep contemplation and consideration. Writing garbage that has spelling, grammar, punctuation mistakes and do not completely make sense toward the topic you’re pinpointing won’t help you at all to get the A you intended to get after handing in that English paper you just submitted. There aren’t any shortcuts in writing an essay and Jack Lynch from Rutgers University says, “Writing good papers takes work, and that means reading, researching, writing, and revising.” Lynch tells us what professor’s mark on when reading that essay you just submitted into class and it’s divided into 5 key fragments, Thesis, Research, Close Reading, Style and Mechanics. By looking into Lynch’s advice from the 5 points made on the website will help give an insight to students the information needed in order to Get the A on an English Paper they want.

An essay with no thesis cannot just merely be written without one and a thesis must be a good thesis with an excellent argument that marks a specific case with a supported opinion before the topic you are presenting within your essay. The thesis must be something reasonable to argue and prove within your topic. It must be distinct, clear, engaging, interesting and right on the spot in order to catch the reader’s attention, it also has to be a topic in which not everyone is aware off and very supportive off towards your argument. Making a brilliant thesis takes time because Lynch tells us that if the thesis is poorly done then the professor’s will judge the rest of the essay being bad as well and that’ll affect you dramatically. It should not be focused on wasting your time on generalities, inanities and being vague the thesis must be to the point and convincing and if you fail to present this in the thesis it’ll be horridly marked.

After stating the thesis research must be backed up for it in order to prove your point. Lynch advices people to not go on looking around for information on the internet because you’ll find loads of junk, and it's really hard to tell apart from what is true and falsely stated. Starting out with reference books is the best way to go. Even though you know the word or topic reading from a dictionary and encyclopedia will help expand your knowledge and will give a better understanding of the facts you want. Going to the library is an excellent way of getting the information you need for that essay. “It's not just quantity, but quality.” says Lynch, books are far from perfectly reliable and have been approved as actual fact by inspectors before they appear within the library. Looking up library catalogues or consulting with reference librarians help you find the information you exactly need and want. Once all the facts are provided to help support your thesis you can then point out toward what you’re arguing about with the reliable details before you.

Close reading is a must have skill which one must have in order for the research to be perfected. It involves examining the words the author has presented and the ways of why, what, and the reasons in how the author interpreted it. Knowing this will help you gain a better understanding of what you’ll write on your essay. The thoughts will become much clearer enabling you to reach that good mark with the ideas you developed through close reading the research you found helping you gather arguable points to the essay.

The style of writing must match with the standards of how people write essays today. Developing a style of writing grows are a person matures through reading many books from authors. Reading helps you absorb the best styles of writing so one can learn and perform it within your own essay, but developing a great style of writing comes over time.

The last part is mechanics because without mechanics you’ll leave errors on you essay that affect your mark in a shocking way. This means watching for capitalization, commas, dashes, hyphens, paragraphs, punctuation and quotation marks, spaces, semicolons, titles and including citation with your research presented. Remember you are judged on how you write and having the balanced writing style helps the reader to have a positive attitude towards your essay.

Therefore following the guidelines of Jack Lynch from his five points recommend to be looked up on when writing an English paper will help you to improve in your writing, reading and researching habits that’ll soon lead you to accomplishing your goals to “Get that A on Your English Paper” you’ve always wanted.

Wayne D said...

A well written essay says a lot about the writer.
In today’s world, writing is really important because it helps a person enhance skills such as thinking , reading , researching , making connections and close reading. A well written essay takes a lot of hard work and there are no shortcuts. There are 5 major sections to a well written essay: Thesis , Research , Close reading , Style and Mechanics.

The thesis is the most important part in an essay. A good thesis makes an argument and it also makes people want to contradict your argument. A thesis is almost like a topic except that it is argumentative and it makes a case. A thesis reflects the whole written essay and if the arguments in the thesis appear to be believable at first sight then the argument would be considered weak and the essay would be considered weak as well and hence a person would not get the mark that they hope to achieve.

The second section would be Research. It is very important to research material about your essay and a writer should definitely know his way around the library. The point of researching data about the given topic is simply just to collect facts about a certain topic and use those facts to back up your argument.

The third section is called Close Reading. Close reading simply means reading an analyzing ever word with concentration. Close reading helps to understand each word and the writing style. The reason close reading is important is because we can identify each sentence to see if it makes sense or not or to identify faults or something that does not sound right. The more a person reads , the more he will understand and more will he uncover.

The fourth section is called Style. Developing a proper “sophisticated tone” will take a long time. I didn’t quite understand the meaning of this but I think that to develop a certain style a person needs a certain amount of time, research other literary works and then absorb all those different ways of writing and different ways of making a point.

Finally the 5th part is called Mechanics. Mechanics would be considered as really important because if we do not check our written work then we would not be able to identify the errors and our mistakes and leaving those mistakes behind and unidentified would eventually lead to a lower mark. The main things to look out for would be commas, capitalization , punctuation , spaces , hyphens etc etc.

Using these 5 points while writing and essay could be advantageous as a person will now know what the professor is looking for , would also be prepared and would have a plan on writing the essay and putting it all together and therefore following these steps would help a person achieve a high mark that they need.

victoria c said...

The Writing Process

“A word is a bud attempting to become a twig. How can one not dream while writing? It is the pen which dreams. The blank page gives the right to dream” said Gaston Bachelard, a French philosopher. Writing enables people to express their ideas creatively and effectively. It allows people to use their imagination and exercise their brains. When we write a good piece of work we feel a sense of pride. This is why writing a good paper is important. There are four steps involved in The Writing Process, which was established by the MIT Online Writing and Communication Center. These four steps will allow a person to perfect their writing.

The first step to perfect writing is prewriting. Prewriting prepares a person to begin writing and occurs before any writing is actually done. There are many effective ways to pre-write, some examples are brainstorming, gathering and outlining ideas. Some people gain ideas from other influences, such as interviewing people or researching on the internet or using books. There are numerous things that can be done to help develop ideas before a person begins writing, but new ideas expand as a person continues writing.

The next step is called drafting. This creates structure in someone’s writing. It is where a person finalizes their ideas and turns them into connective sentences and paragraphs. It is required to support and explain these ideas. People benefit from this step by discovering additional facts that will help support their original ideas. Spelling and grammar is not important in this step. According to MIT Online Writing and Communication Center, this step is recognized as “writer-centered” and is what tells a person what they know and think about the topic.

Revising is the third step. After becoming “writer-centered” a person’s paper will become “reader-centered”. This is when the writer focuses more on what the reader wants. The writer considers what the reader will need and expect from the piece they are writing. They reflect on how supportive they will need to be to with their ideas in order to convince the reader. They review things like organization, definitions, and connecting sentences.

The final step in this four step process is editing. It is the time when a writer corrects all spelling and grammatical mistakes. This is the very last thing that should be done before the writer prints their piece. It is important for the writer not to edit the paper until all the other steps are finished.

The writing process can be used to create efficient writing. It helps a person identify ideas collectively, put them together and edit them successfully. This is an organized way to write a great paper that will also help eliminate confusion with ideas. A reader will appreciate a piece of work that is well thought out and the writing process will help do that.

Rosanna C said...

The art of writing and recapitulation

“The purpose of education,” says Robert Bridges, “is to draw out or educate the inborn love of beauty.” Students of English in the higher classes of high school and university are bound to account various difficulties, which are experienced when trying to grasp the niceties and finer points of the language. Any student who wants to master the language and to express themselves intelligently and effectively through appropriately using the spoken and written word, will welcome a comprehensive guide—MIT’s The Writing Process, which offers a valuable understanding to capturing the elegance and accuracy in expressing oneself through the medium of English.

The Writing Process is an attempt at self-expression in prose on a given subject. The writer tries to give his own impressions, feelings, and reflections by indulging oneself in a panoramic view, which demonstrates the richness of the essay topic. The art of essay writing is learnt by practice and involves four distinct steps—prewriting, drafting, revising, and editing. A process known as the recursive process that ensures writing is regulated in a well-disciplined manner. These practical principles and hints enlighten one on how to write a lively effective essay tainted with the novelty of originality.

The word essay is defined in “The Oxford Dictionary” as “a composition, usually in prose and short, on any subject.” When expressing one’s own personal opinions on a particular topic, one should attain a clear and lucid conception of the subject by analyzing and plunge into an in-depth thought process that masters the art of recapitulation, which can satisfy a pertinent question while asserting one’s own arguments. When taking the special preparation to write an essay, one should learn to prewrite and meditate on the relevant points. It is a stage for reflection where it is advisable to jot down points, have a concise continuity of thoughts, and assess data by confining our reading to a sufficient variety of facts, thoughts, and illustrations. At this stage of the writing process, it is not a necessity for materials to be arranged in an orderly fashion. After defining the subject, one must brainstorm, which will result in the collection of material for the essay. The necessity of defining our thoughts not only occurs in the first stage of prewriting, but it is a reoccurring continuous process which redefines the notion that all knowledge comes from books, it also comes from every human sense and one’s own experiences. In a nutshell, one should not confine one’s ideas but should confront these dry bones of ideas and refine them by breathing life and dimension into them.

Once the ideas or facts constituting an essay are assembled and arranged, one should move to the process of drafting. An analysis of the bare skeleton of the proposed essay should contain the continuity of thought, which ensures a logical and connected piece of writing. The repetitions of phrases and disproportioned grammatical usage can be disregarded for the moment. The essay should arouse curiosity and should indicate a challenging statement where moral generalizations may appear. The process of drafting should help one attach to their own construction of the composition, which appeals to their own imagination. When clothing the bare skeleton of words with the flesh of sentences, it evokes many additional implications, which results in a widening of the subject matter.

An essay does not merely end by putting the pen down. A sense of finality should resonate in the reader’s intellect. The art of revision should be mastered in one’s writing process. The effective essay should present persuasiveness and should satisfy the thirst of understanding the argument presented. By revising one’s draft, one analyzes the acquisition of style used and whether the reader perceives a vividness of imagery. One’s usage of idioms, phrases, and grammar, should be practical, effective, and to the point. One should use an adequate power of expression where the arresting statement used supports one’s ideas. It is a stage for refinement and tweaking. One should keep in mind that an abrupt ending could spoil the sense of fulfillment in the reader’s mind. If one is confident with one’s essay, it should express—ease, simplicity, directness, and conciseness.

The final stage that should automatically fall through in one’s writing process is editing. It is a time to exercise the proper usage of spelling, punctuation, grammar, and construction of sentences. One has to analyze habitual errors and remove them. An attempt should be made to avoid untidiness because it could result in the lack of clarity of the subject. Evidently to secure an effective essay, if using a computer to print, one should employ the usage of spell check as the final mechanic for checking.

Any piece of composition—an essay, a narration, or a description, must be processed in successive steps, which has a definite beginning and ending. When a writing process is followed in a disciplined manner, all intermediate steps fall through naturally. An essay should consist of unity and proportion. Even though a subject may not be compelling to write about, if written effectively it gives birth to an intrinsically fascinating narrative. As John Ruskin once said, “The author has something to say which he perceives to be true and useful or helpfully beautiful. So far as he knows, no one has yet said it; so far as he knows, no one else can say it. He is bound to say it, clearly and melodiously if he may; clearly, at all events.”

David S said...

The Writing Process

Developing a writing style is an important skill for students. Understanding the writing process is foundational in developing a writing style. Purdue University’s writing process is broken down into three phases. The three phases are invent, compose and revise. Developing a further understanding of this writing process will help to prepare students for post secondary education.

Before people begin to write, they must invent their ideas. One invention strategy is to ask critical questions. In these questions it should explore classic topics and ask stasis questions. The next invention strategy is free writing and brainstorming ideas. This process helps to record ideas without revising or proofreading. Another strategy is to map and cluster. This process helps to invent and organize ideas visually to explore processes. The final strategy is to keep a journal. Keeping a journal involves writing your personal reflections of ideas. These invention strategies provide options for the writer to complete the first phase of the writing process. Through the choice and use of invention strategies the writer is developing their writing style.

The second phase of the writing process is composing your ideas. In this step, writers are to conduct research, narrow the topic choice, develop a thesis, organize ideas and write the first draft. A big part of composing is to create an outline. In this outline, the essay is separated into three sections. The intro is where the writer sets their context, explains the topic importance and states the thesis. The body builds points and develops the ideas to support the main argument. The conclusion re-emphasizes the main idea and the thesis is restated. When the writer is done creating their outline, they enter into the third phase of revising their paper.

The final phase of the writing process is revising. The revising step is split into two steps of reviewing and proofreading. In reviewing, the writer makes sure they have a clear thesis, clear ideas, a good organization of the paper, good structure in the paragraphs and the conclusion restates the thesis and overviews the main points. Some reviewing strategies include refocus, re-order, add and cut. In proofreading, the paper must appear professional with good spelling and punctuation. Sentences and documentation style must also be clear. Strategies in proofreading include running spell and grammar check, reading the paper aloud and backwards and asking the teacher any questions that the writer has.

The writing process is a cycle and all three phases must be completed. The three phases of the writing process have a variety of strategies to support the development of a writer’s writing style. As a writer explores the various strategies, the writing style will evolve.

Indra D said...

The Talent of Writing
(According to Advice on Academic Writing- U of T)

Writing a composition takes a lot of time and effort. In order to succeed in writing a well-written composition, you must enhance your vocabulary and writing abilities. Essays, paragraphs, poems and any other type of writing must be done using a step-by-step process. If you write your first draft and assume that you’re finished, then the grade you receive may not be up to your expectations.

According to U of T, “the best time to think about your paper is during the pre-writing stage, not the writing or revising stage”. The best thing to do before writing your paper is to write what the topic is and then list all your ideas on a piece of paper. What all students should start off with when writing a composition, is an essay outline. This will help you generate your introduction paragraph, thesis, body paragraphs and your conclusion. When you have all these filled out, then you can begin writing your essay. It may help some to write your body paragraphs before your thesis because then you know exactly what has to be in your thesis. Your body paragraphs are the points that must be proven according to your thesis. Some might wonder how long it takes to plan your essay outline? The best answer for that is, the amount of time you put into your planning, reflects the type of grade you receive. The more time and effort you put into planning and writing your essay, the better mark you will receive. Your thesis is the most important aspect of your writing because that is what your entire writing will be about.

The next step in essay writing is the “Critical Reading Towards Critical Writing”. Some of the papers that you write will require you to provide a reflection on the specific topic. In order to provide a reflection, you must do a critical reading about the topic. Meaning, when you read a text, jot down notes about your personal opinion about them; whether they are positive or negative. There are a number of sources that will help your formulate your opinion; it can be found online or in the library. However, if you are going to use another source, make sure that you do not plagiarize. If you use someone else’s quote, cite their name or the proper MLA or APA format for doing so. Never take credit for someone else’s work if it is not your own. After you have written your introduction, the next process is the body paragraphs. These are also very crucial in an essay because you have to make sure that you have proven your thesis.

Finally you have your conclusion which is also another important part of your essay. The conclusion must sum up everything written in your essay; however, you must make sure that you do not add additional information that would cause you to contradict yourself. When you have finished writing your first copy of your essay, you must be aware that you are not close to being done. After you have your first draft, go over and check for punctuation. Then read it again and see if you can add any information. Another key idea to remember is, give yourself time when you need to write an essay. That way you can write it one day, take a break and then a day later, go over it and see how you can make it better.

Frank F said...

Four Steps to Success...

Writing is a skill that cannot be learned overnight. Just like anything, it requires practice until it is perfected. Every person needs to find a system that will allow them to be successful in their writings. According to the MIT Online Writing and Communication Center, the writing process consists of four steps. Each one of these steps is meant to assist while composing a piece of writing. By following this process, there is no doubt improvement in writing will be made.

The first step outlined by MIT is prewriting. MIT explains that prewriting is anything done before writing a first draft. No sentences are being put together yet, and ideas are starting to be formed. At this point, information is being gathered so the focus of the writing will be known. According to MIT, the best ways to find ideas are by thinking, taking notes, talking to others, brainstorming, outlining, and talking to different people. This step is the foundation for what will follow. Even though there is a step just for prewriting, new ideas may come to a writer at anytime, and they can be incorporated into the piece of writing. Once the writer’s ideas are all planned in a way they are happy with, they can continue on with the process.

The ideas which the writer has put together begin to take shape during the second step of drafting. Sentences are now being written, and ideas are being backed up. The ideas had by the writer should be connected at this point. MIT reveals that this part of the draft is usually writer-centered. This implies that the writer’s composition is geared towards them self, and their own opinions are greatly present in their writing. The main body blocks of the composition should be completed at this time, and the stance should be clear. Another tip from MIT is to not worry about spelling at this point, as it can be reviewed later on.

Once the drafting has been completed, the writer moves on to revising. Revising is the step where the necessary expectations of the reader are taken into consideration. Whereas before the writing was writer-centered, it has turned into reader-centered. MIT outlines questions which need to be pondered before moving on. These questions include deciding if enough support is given to convince the reader, if the layout of the composition is efficient, and if the reader needs to be enlightened on an idea before they can understand it. MIT also advises that time should also be taken to make sure all of the sentences are precise and the relation to all of the ideas make sense.

The fourth and final step to the writing process is editing. The writing process would not be complete without reviewing the spelling and grammar in the composition. No matter how well written the composition may be, spelling is a crucial part to receiving a positive outcome. Once the spell check is completed, the composition can be printed. MIT recommends to no edit the composition until all of the previous steps in the writing process have been done. At this time, the piece of writing is now complete.

By successfully completing the writing process the chances of improvement in writing is much greater. The simple 4 steps outlined by MIT are something that anyone in need of writing a composition should follow. The clear description of every phase ensures the success of any individual who uses it. A writer will be very confident to compose pieces of writing after following the process and will be proud of the end result every time.

Rayad A said...

The level of writing essays and papers changes drastically through a student’s high school career. Many of these changes come as the student advances through grades nine to twelve, where a student learns how to create an effective piece. Students learn different methods of presenting information, assembling an argument, and proving a point through their respective teachers. It is not until a person gains an interest and takes pride in their writing that they will explore into the depths of essay writing on their own. Using writing guides such as the University of Wisconsin’s Writing Centre are advantageous to anyone who wishes to better their writing technique and enhance their understanding of how to effectively write.

The Writing Center, created by the Madison branch of the University of Wisconsin is an interactive guide which gives helpful tips and examples of proper writing. Not only does this guide teach one to write a better, more intellectual essay, but it discloses information about many other types of writing, such as business letters, reviews, and scientific reports. Each of the different types of writing methods makes available to the reader a range of useful pointers, as well as proper format examples and outlines. Ranging from cover letters to oral presentations, this guide assists the reader in learning how to better themselves as a writer, using techniques outlined in these guides, which teach the person what questions to ask themselves while writing.

To write a proper essay or paper does not only involve proving one’s arguments or presenting their opinion in the correct manner. Any research essay must be properly referenced, tailored to the type of format the paper is being written in, be it MLA, APA, or any other method used in the situation. The Writing Center also has the information to teach a student how to do just that. With an intricate, comprehensive guide, a student can explore the many ways to format an essay, as well as how to follow said format without error. With different guides to teach people how to reference, format, and write these essays, The Writing Center is able to benefit anyone who is interested in furthering their writing skills.

As drawn out as it may seem, grammar and punctuation remains a large issue in high school writing. Improper use of punctuation, and simple grammatical errors flood student’s writing with mistakes, even if their arguments are valid and effective. This guide also touches upon improving one’s grammar and punctuation. With mini-guides explaining how to properly make use of dashes, commas, and the ever-troubling semi-colon, The Writing Center achieves a standard that can teach students how to perfect their writing through the use of proper grammar and format. This guide also provides the reader with an in-depth guide on proof reading – what to look for, and how to correct errors in a way that is effective.

Considering most students learn about verbs, adverbs, and nouns in their earlier years, these definitions are rarely explained in much detail throughout high school, leading to common misuse and misunderstanding. Yet another important but overlooked subject is explained in great detail within this guide. Touching on conjunctions, and how to use verbs and adverbs properly, the guide is able to communicate the nature of these words and how to properly use them in order to achieve what you intended.

Perhaps the most important part of any essay or research paper is the thesis statement. With a weak thesis, one cannot communicate the purpose of their paper to the reader, therefore decreasing the overall presentation of the assignment. The Writing Center goes into great detail about what a thesis statement is, as well as how to write a thesis statement that truly depicts the meaning of your essay. This guide teaches you the vital steps that are used to create an effective thesis, beginning with identifying your topic, through editing and perfecting the statement. Through the use of this guide, one can pinpoint any errors or miscommunications within their thesis statement, leading to an overall more desirable thesis, and ultimately a higher quality paper.

Through the use of UW-M’s guide, The Writing Center, any student who wishes to take the initiative to better their writing capabilities can better understand the writing process as well as take steps to improve their writing in general. Using the comprehensive guide, the reader can learn about any steps necessary to produce an effective piece. These guides include essays, as well as a wide range of other forms of writing, or communicating in general. With the information on small, but fundamental elements of writing such as grammar, punctuation, and conjunctions, this guide teaches a reader how to avoid miniscule problems that, when combined with other problems, can result in a less convincing paper. Every element of writing is covered in this helpful guide, and as such, anyone who desires a better understanding of the writing process can learn much from The Writing Center. To better one’s writing is to better their ability to communicate in any literary form, whether the communication is through oral presentation, argumentative essay, or a business letter such as a cover letter – The Writing Center has it all.

Remy G said...

Writing: it just goes round and round

Through the years of writing most of us have thought that after writing the essay there would only be one revising phase, well there should be more. With the help of Jack Lynch of Rutgers University, you can learn what you should be doing before handing in that first draft. The process of writing an essay starts with a revisable thesis. It then moves into a close reading of the source of your proof. There is also the style with which you write that helps define your essay. Finally, it is the process of revising and editing the essay for mechanical, grammatical, and spelling errors. By following these steps you will be able to improve your writing skills and become a good essay writer.

The beginning step to writing an essay is a basic thesis. With a basic thesis you can begin to list what you need to look for in the literary text that you will use as proof. This basic thesis will begin as your main thesis but then be replaced after you have written your essay and come up with a better more decisive thesis. With a basic thesis you can begin to research and write your essay.

A close reading involves reading every word of the literary piece, not just generalizing the big picture but paying attention to the small details. The thing to look for is not what the author is saying but how it is being said. There are a few things to look for; diction, metaphors, word order, verb forms, and metaphors are among them. Then we can ask why the author said it that way. Finally we can answer what the author is saying. This is often the point that is overlooked, and the most important point to having a good thesis.

To have a good essay you must have your own specific style. This style will slowly grow and change with the different literature that you read. If you read books by authors with good style you will become a better writer. Your style is a main part of your essay. If you have a weak style your essay may look immature to a reader or teacher. It is the style that most people pick up on within the first few paragraphs and it determines what they think of you. Even with a good style there will be mistakes in your essay.

The final step in any type of writing is editing, editing and more editing. After the essay is written, you must read it over for all sorts of mistakes. Some of these include mechanical, grammatical and spelling errors. Often the simple push of a button to start spell check will miss some errors just because you spelt the word right but used it’s instead of its. There are also the mechanical errors of the sentence structure.

In short the writing process can never truly be complete; there will always be an error or two that you simple overlook because your brain does not see it as an error. The only way to get better at writing essays is to create a strong thesis, make a close reading of the texts, have a strong style, and eliminate all or most of your mistakes. This is something that will take a lot of practice and will not happen overnight or the first time you try it. It will take years. The sooner you start to try to improve your essay writing the sooner and faster it will get better and it can only happen through long grueling hours spent rereading and rewriting your essay. There is no short path. When Mr. Liconti said “Writing is a cyclical process,” he was not saying it lightly.

Olivia C said...

As students enter their final year of secondary school it is important that they are able to produce a well written and thought out paper. This is especially true for those students who are perusing post secondary education. The writing process can ensure that students can produce an effective piece of work .

The writing process is made up of four parts: prewriting, drafting, revising and editing. These four essential steps to writing are called the recursive process.

The first step is prewriting. The title of this step is somewhat self explanatory. Prewriting is anything that is done before you actually begin writing your piece of work. This includes creative thinking, taking down notes, researching, and interacting with other students.

The second step is drafting. Drafting is when you finally place your ideas in sentences and paragraphs. During this step it is important to emphasize the explanation of your thoughts and ideas. During this step spelling and punctuation is not important, just get your ideas down on paper.

The third step is revising. Revision is essential to producing and effective piece of work. In this stage, think critically about what the reader’s expectations and needs are. When this is complete the piece will be reader centered. The piece of work now revolves around the readers needs. To make your work become reader centered make sure your ideas will convince the reader, your work is organized, and thoughts connect to each other and flow.

The final step is editing .Editing is also crucial to an effective piece of work. Check for grammar, mechanics, and spelling mistakes. Allow someone to read over your work in case of any errors that you may have missed.

Using the writing process will help students ensure that their ideas will flow into one another, there are no errors and that their work is well invented.

Czarina A said...

Writing 101 according to The OWL at Perdue

“Writing is an exploration. You start from nothing and learn as you go” (Doctorow). Writing is an expression of a person’s ideas and arguments, with supporting evidence and proofs that emphasize the point being presented. In order to write an academic paper, a guideline or an essay outline can help achieve the writer’s purpose.

The best way to start the paper is by determining the type of essay to be written. This can help in knowing which outline to use.

“An analytical paper breaks down an issue or an idea into its component parts, evaluates the issue or idea, and presents this breakdown and evaluation to the audience.
An expository (explanatory) paper explains something to the audience.
An argumentative paper makes a claim about a topic and justifies this claim with specific evidence. The claim could be an opinion, a policy proposal, an evaluation, a cause-and-effect statement, or an interpretation. The goal of the argumentative paper is to convince the audience that the claim is true based on the evidence provided” (http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/545/01/).

In order to start, there are three things you must have: a purpose, a targeted audience and a thesis. The thesis is the heart of the paper that can be continuously revised throughout the writing process. It contains the stance of the writer with unified and specific main points/arguments to be proven to the audience regarding the topic given.

The next step is to create an efficient outline in guiding the writer along his/her way. With a purpose, known audience, and thesis ready, ideas can now be gathered by having discussions with peers, or self reflecting, and even research to attain plentiful amounts of information to start. The gathered ideas should be organized into different headings in order to easily find useful information for the paper.

The introduction of the paper is the most important part due to the fact that it must convince the audience to further reading it. If the introduction is not interesting, with irrelevant information, the reader would end up getting confused by the end of the paper. Thus, it is important to create an alluring introduction. It should provide general information to give the reader an idea what the paper is about, then ending with your thesis.

A good paragraph must consist of a transition sentence, topic sentence, evidence and a short concluding sentence. The transition sentence allows a flowing connection throughout the reading. The topic sentence introduces the argument/idea to be discussed. Inductive (conclusion based on facts provided) or deductive (relationship between points lead to a conclusion) evidence strengthens the paper’s position with the writer’s detailed analysis and the paragraph is finished with a brief conclusion that intertwines points argued to purpose of the paper.

Providing a ‘rebuttal section’ allows the writer to give consideration to the neutral-sided audience regarding the paper. It highlights a debatable argument, the writer’s position and counterargument.

The concluding paragraph summarizes everything discussed in the paper: the topic, the writer’s position, thesis, arguments, and rebuttals. The last few sentences should be general, simple and justly connects all points presented in the paper. Finally, check paper for any spelling and grammar errors.

But all is not done, even though following a structure would form the paper, criticism and review must be done in order to produce an even better paper. Self-proofing after a few minutes or days helps the writer to reflect back to his/her paper, focusing on his/her writing in further detail in order to spot errors or rephrase arguments to express their position clearer. Also, another person’s perspective or an experimental audience allows the writer a chance to see if the purpose of the paper was met. Learning from mistakes brings the writer closer to creating more inspiring papers. Altogether, this helps him/her to be more aware about different ideas to look out for in his papers to follow in order to convince more people about his purpose.

Candace L said...

Creating Consistent Paragraphs


Essays, short stories and novels are all different types of writing that require patience in the progress. The well structured paragraphs found in different kinds of literature aren’t thought of in seconds and placed on paper but are completed in a process. In high school, all the ideas and important parts of an essay can seem overwhelming for high school students, especially in the ninth grade when writing skills might not be well developed. U of T’s advice on Developing Coherent Paragraphs explains how writers can have the main idea flow from paragraph to paragraph. Keeping your ideas clear and outlined not only makes it easier for your readers to see the central idea of your literary piece but also keeps you on the overall point.

Stating the central idea of each paragraph is very important. This can be done in the topic sentence of each paragraph in order to keep readers aware of what to expect to read next. The topic sentence is key in creating coherent paragraphs, but how can a topic sentence state the central idea without giving away everything there is to be said? This can be done through explain the important point in a broad and general way to give readers an idea of the points the paragraph will cover. Seeing that the audience is expecting the writer to have something to lead up to this does not apply to the first and last paragraph.

Now is time for the actual body paragraphs, not a repetition of the topic sentence. Instead this is where the topic sentences are further explained and elaborated with the use of examples and details. Persuasion is significant in producing effective writing. Key elements to use include relevant examples and details of the main idea along with displaying connections and patters.

Showing connections to the readers can become easy once the audience of the writing is decided, whether it be directed to a specific gender or culture. After this, prevent your idea from being addressed to a variety of audiences which only throws off the focus of the readers. Coherence in writing is important and can become easy when pronouns (such as they, and this) are used to pull ideas together. Also, by repetition of key words and emphasis on important phrases the readers can stay focused on the intended idea as the overall idea can be forgotten throughout the paragraph.
In addition to showing the connections among your ideas, certain words can help to explain the main idea with clarity as you write. U of T’s advice provide words to reinforce the overall idea when the ideas change such as although, in contrast and on the other hand. To further explain examples words like in other words and more importantly can be used. Lastly, therefore, thus and finally are words that can be used when conclusions are being made.

The very last thing to remember is the length of each paragraph. The length can determine how much the audience is draw to reading literary pieces. With paragraphs of extensive length readers can slowly become distracted and uninterested in the information being presented. A solution to this problem is to divide paragraphs wherever the change in ideas occurs. On the other hand when paragraphs are only two or three sentences the point being made can seem weak and ineffective. This problem can be fixed by combine paragraphs with similar ideas into paragraph.

The process of writing is a procedure that can be painful and drawn out without the knowledge of how to get it done. U of T’s Developing Coherent Paragraphs provides a step by step breakdown of how consistency can be included throughout an entire literary piece. The key components of a basic outline, connecting paragraphs, reinforcing words and paragraph lengths are useful. U of T's advice on the progression of writing is a document helpful to those in high school as their vocabulary and writing skills continue to develop.

Michael M said...

Literacy can be considered one of the most important tools utilized by mankind. Writing enables the imagination’s feet to roam and allows expression of internal emotions. Being able to express one’s thoughts and emotions effectively through words is one of the most crucial skills for any student of secondary or post secondary schools. Being able to speak the English language does not imply that one is necessarily good at crafting it. A person must develop their writing process to further enhance the quality of their work; one way to do so is to use MIT’s The Writing Process.

The Writing Process is a step-by-step guide to writing a concise and effective document. According to MIT there are four steps to the writing process: prewriting, drafting, revising, and editing, this being known as the recursive process. The first step of the process is prewriting. This step happens before the writer has started forming their work. The generation of ideas is very important to this step; this includes brainstorming, gathering data and noting important information. People may find other means to complete this step such as plotting rough drafts of their ideas on paper. Throughout the writing process these initial ideas expand and become more developed.

Drafting, the next step in the process, is where the writer can begin to form sentences and paragraphs. Connecting the ideas originally conjured in the prewriting step is very important in this section. This is the section where semantics become very imperative. Choosing the correct words means creating a document that conveys the author’s original message. The writer can dismiss appropriate spelling and grammar at this stage. This aspect will become important later on in the writing process. Presently the document is “writer centered” and focused on the authors main ideas and emotions.

According to MIT Online Writing and Communication Center revising is the third step in the writing process. The organization of this step is essential; one must make the reader focal point of their ideas. After each sentence the author should ask himself or herself why they think of feel that way. They should also consider if they have enough evidence to support their original ideas and where the boundaries for their paper should be set. Clarity is glue that holds this part of the process together; concise wording makes connection between ideas effortless for the reader.

No author is the master of the English language (possibly a few exceptions to this statement) so it is very important to edit one’s word to weed out errors. Words do not translate well from one’s head to their paper. This often results in chaotic and ambiguous piece of work. An author should take the time to spell check their document and possibly get a friend to read it over, this is where grammatical errors can be corrected. Editing should always be the very last step in the writing process.

The art of writing is a beautiful thing, but it is not something that is done haphazardly, and if it is done this way the author’s message will forever remain muddled in their poor use of structure and language. MIT Online Writing and Communication Center is a fantastic resource for anybody to build and refine their writing skills. Once the writing process is mastered an author can articulate their inner most thoughts and feelings with the use of language, the most effective use of communication for humans. Until, perhaps, telepathy can be properly utilized.

Matt K said...
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Matt K said...
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Matt K said...

Caring for an Essay

Why is writing so important? Writing captures our history and if we don’t take our writing seriously then we are not capturing our history. Our writing helps develop who we are and allows people to learn about ourselves and our ideas that we share. A novel, play, news article, poem, biography and an essay is not only a piece of writing it is also a piece of our lives. That is why writing is so important. In university it is crucial to know how to write an English/essay paper in order to achieve an excellent grade. From Jack Lynch’s, Getting an A on an English Paper, he guides U.S college and high school students with five major sections on how to write good papers. These five major sections are: the thesis, research, close reading, style and the mechanics.

To begin, in order to maintain your reader’s interests into what you have written give those readers something interesting in your introduction to your essay. After that it would be a good idea to have a strong and controversial thesis. A weak thesis results into a weak essay, thus an awful grading by your teacher. “Use the beginning of your paper wisely” says Jack Lynch. For your thesis you want to be proving something not too obvious but something where you’ll have people agreeing and then some people disagreeing. Also be specific with your writing don’t write the generalities be creative and have a well supported view about the text.

To have the support for your text you are going to need research. Have the back up needed to help prove your point. The resources vary from internet, reference books, other books and articles, reference libraries, and research papers. Remember, if you are going to take someone else’s idea and expand from that then cite your resources because it is stealing and your teacher will judge your paper with the punishment of a failing grade and perhaps in a stricter sense a failure in the class.

Jack Lynch says, “An English teacher’s heart will go pitter-pat whenever he or she sees close engagement with the language of the text.” What he is advising is that you should pay very close attention into how the writer is writing. This is called a close reading. Such as the authors choice of words; try to uncover synonyms of words the author uses to explain his point. Proper word order is not be used properly; it may be important if a poet does not follow the standard English word order, subject than verb than object. Changes in the way the narrator tells the story; a work changes its point of view, voice or tenses throughout the novel say for example the a narrator starts from third person and changes to first that maybe a important indication towards what the writer is trying to point out. Watch for metaphors; these have literal meaning to what the author is trying to say but is hidden behind imaginative formations. A close reading will help you stay away from writing about general ideas and give you more to write, perhaps even too much. “The deeper you dig into the text, the more things you’ll find” says Jack Lynch.

Try to avoid a primitive tone towards your writing and begin developing a critical and convincing attitude because that will help influence your reader’s judgement. This is your style of writing. Think about this, say you want people to know you’re an organized individual. In order to persuade people in believing this you should dress proper; always be attentive to things and have a good sense of time management. This can be compared to your style of writing. Your dress attire, your attentiveness and your management are all a critical and convincing tone to influence the people who judge you.

The last section is called the mechanics. These are the little details about writing like spelling, punctuation, proper citation, fonts, etc. This is the way you write and if you don’t take these little things seriously then how can the reader take your opinion seriously.

Jack Lynch’s five major sector guide is not meant to guarantee an excellent grading from your teacher but it is meant to help improve those who don’t know the proper basis on how to write a university level English/essay paper.

Eric Z said...

The Importance of Cyclical Writing

The ability to express an idea on paper is one of the most important and useful skills anyone can ever learn. It is a proficiency that is necessary for success in any career or subject. Ideas can not be expressed more soundly than in an essay. The ability to effectively articulate an idea from one person to another is nothing short of an art form. Many prestigious schools have incredibly useful guides that help explain the writing process, to help its readers produce written work that is effective, sound, and easy to understand.

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Writing Process guide helps students to define, explain, and go through the writing process so that their work is as effective as possible.

The first step to writing is prewriting; anything from making several notes, getting an idea of what the written work is trying to prove, and discussing that idea is all part of the prewriting process. MIT suggests free writing, which is simply writing about an idea or theory without interruption for ten minutes. It is irrelevant if what’s being written does not make any sense; the purpose of this is to figure out a “center-of-gravity” sentence, or an argument. Other techniques for prewriting include directed free writing. This is similar to free writing, but having no information on an idea. Through directed free writing, one may discover a certain facet of the idea that was not apparent at first thought. Listing is the process of citing anything that comes to mind about the topic being discussed. Classical invention is a method of asking questions of the topic and attempting to answer them.

Forming the first draft is where the writer groups their ideas into sentences and paragraphs. It is where the writer attempts to convey their idea as clearly and effective as possible. This stage is where prewriting becomes very useful for writing out the first draft. Proper punctuation and sentence structure is not too important at this stage; many if not all sentences will be revised in some form.

Revision, according to MIT is the most important part of the writing process. It is where all aspects of the piece is made more effective for the reader. The writer must consider the reader in this process; “how will this make sense to the reader?” “Are my ideas clearly and properly defined?” are some questions the writer must ask themselves. The writer must consider the organization of their piece, such as what point should be made in what order, as well as consider the amount of evidence and it sufficiency. Editing and revising one’s own work is essential to the overall clarity and effectiveness of the written work, so constant revision must be made to the piece, as all errors are not caught in the first revision. It is a constant process the writer must be involved in. Spelling errors and sentence structure are not always caught by the writer, so MIT suggests that they let their piece be read by several people to make known any grammatical mistakes.

The MIT Writing Process guide is a very useful tool for any writer who wants their work to be as effectively written as possible. It offers many useful suggestions on writing that are crucial to the creation of excellent written work. The writing process is a constantly developing skill for writers, and only through constant use of the writing process may one’s own work be written effectively and clear. It is a great tool for anyone who has to convey their ideas on to paper.

Or you could try drawing.