THE WRITING PROCESS Writing What, Why, and How? 4 4 Drafting Revising Creating Essay Titles Editing/Proofreading Sample final essay Essay Checklist.
Slide 1THE WRITING PROCESS Writing What, Why, and How? 4 4 Drafting Revising Creating Essay Titles Editing/Proofreading Sample final essay Essay Checklist Slide 2 WHAT IS DRAFTING? After you do some good prewriting and write up an outline, its time to start writing the paper; the first writing stage is called drafting. In this stage, get your ideas down as quickly as possible and dont focus too much on grammar, punctuation or spelling. This is the ideas stage. Focusing too much on correctness can bog your ideas down and give you writers block. At this stage, you start getting ideas down on paper, extending some ideas, limiting others that aren't panning out. Many writers say that they didn't know what they thought until they saw what they thought. You might discover what you think as you write on a topic and your argument might change and evolve as you write. WHY DRAFT? It takes the pressure off to think of your initial writing as drafting which is more low stakes. It doesnt have to be perfect because no one is reading it at this stage but you, so drafting allows you to explore your topic using your creativity and analysis. Writing the first draft also gives you the opportunity to see how well your arguments support your tentative thesis and how the differing perspectives or opposing viewpoints will affect your position. Slide 3 HOW DO I DO IT? - Post your tentative thesis and paper assignment prominently above your work space, so you can refer to them as you write. - Review your outline and the notes you have made on the text/topic you are writing on. - In a draft, you want a clear beginning, middle and end even if they arent set in stone. - In drafting, some use a linear approach starting with the introduction and writing sequentially to the conclusion. Others prefer a more recursive approach where they work on one section for a time, move on to another part of the essay, and then return to the earlier section. Use the approach that works best for you. - Once you feel you have covered what you want to cover, read through again to make sure that the organization and development are logical. One strategy for doing this is to note in the margin in a few words the point of each paragraph. Take those brief phrases and look at them to see whether they follow logically or require reorganizing. Is anything necessary omitted? Make any appropriate changes to your organization and development. - As you look over your draft, try reading it out loud. It will help you hear what flows and what does not. When you complete your draft, here are some questions to ask yourself: - Is your argument (thesis) clear? - Do your main arguments give the reasons for why your thesis is so? - Have you supported these with credible and relevant evidence and your own analysis? - Have you adequately addressed alternative perspectives? - Is there additional reading or research you need in order to strengthen your thesis and arguments? Slide 4 EXAMPLE Here is a sample DRAFT of a paper in response to Chapter VII in Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass: Slide 5 EXAMPLE Sample DRAFT continued Slide 6 EXAMPLE Here is the first draft of the Works Cited Note: 3 sources are listedsome sources in the paper are missing from the Works Cited and none of the citations is properly formatted yet. Slide 7 WHAT IS REVISING? Revising means what is says: it is a re-vision of your paper. To revise is to see again, to re-conceive your original essay. When you revise a paper, the larger elements of writing generally receive attention firstthe focus, organization, paragraphing, content, and overall strategy. Improvements in sentence structure, word choice, grammar, punctuation, and mechanics come later when you edit the paper. In revising, you make global revisions that address the larger elements of writing. Usually they affect chunks of text longer than a sentence, and frequently they can be quite dramatic. Whole paragraphs might be dropped, others added. Material once stretched over two or three paragraphs might be condensed into one. Entire sections might be rearranged. Even the content might change dramatically, for the process of revising stimulates thought. WHY REVISE? Past Supreme Court Justice, Louis Brandels said: There is no such thing as good writing, only good rewriting. American writer E.B. White echoed these sentiments when he said simply, The best writing is rewriting. When you revise or rewrite your draft, you are able to bring a higher level of clarity and development. Slide 8 HOW DO I DO IT? Here are some guiding questions you can use to revise your draft: TITLE - Does your title give readers a good idea of what's to come? ("Assignment #3" is not a proper title) INTRODUCTION - Is your thesis statement clearly stated? - Does the introduction lead in smoothly and establish the importance of and context for the topic? Is there too much? Too little? By the end of the introduction, is it clear to the audience what kind of material will follow? If so, are these expectations fulfilled? BODY PARAGRAPHS - Is it clear where your introduction ends and body begins and where the body ends and the conclusion begins? In other words, are your paragraph indents meaningful? - Are there transitions between all sections and paragraphs to create flow and unity? - Does each body paragraph have a topic sentence? If you took your thesis and all your topic sentences, would that correspond to what you want to say in your paper? If not, do you need to revise your thesis or re-examine your supporting points? - Do the topic sentences (1) make a connection back to the thesis, (2) establish a link with the previous paragraph's content, and (3) give enough information that the audience could guess where a particular paragraph's development would lead? - Does the order of paragraphs make sense? - Are your paragraphs too short or too long? Can you combine or separate any content? - Are your examples reliable, representative, and convincing? Are there enough of them or too many? - Are your sources convincing? Is there enough balance between your own insights and expert opinions? - Are all sources and direct quotations explained or have you left them standing on their own? - Has anything that goes off topic or is not essential been cut? CONCLUSION - Does the conclusion say something different from your introduction? - Does the conclusion leave a good lasting impression? - Does the conclusion end the paper on a strong and interesting note? Slide 9 EXAMPLE Here is a sample REVISION of a paper in response to Chapter VII in Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass: REVISED DRAFT Slide 10 EXAMPLE Sample REVISION continued DRAFT REVISED Slide 11 EXAMPLE Sample REVISION continued DRAFT REVISED Slide 12 EXAMPLE Sample REVISION continued DRAFT REVISED The revision of paragraph 3 is continued on next page Slide 13 EXAMPLE Sample REVISION continued REVISED DRAFT REVISED Slide 14 EXAMPLE Sample REVISION continued OVERVIEW Slide 15 EXAMPLE Revised Works Cited DRAFT REVISED Slide 16 WHAT SHOULD ESSAY TITLES LOOK LIKE? After you revise your essay and are moving onto the editing and proofreading stage in the writing process, its time to pay closer attention to the title of your essay. Essay titles should let your reader know what your essay will be about and immediately draw in your readers interest. Titles should also be specific enough to prepare the reader for your particular argument, so avoid vague titles like Racism or Hope. Also, never turn in a formal essay with a generic title like Paper #2 and dont use the title of the work you are writing on as your own title like The Great Gatsby. It is often easier to write or revise your title after you have written your essay and have settled on the central themes and thesis. WHY ARE TITLES IMPORTANT? Creating a strong, clear, appealing title is an important part of any writing task. The title is the readers first introduction to your piece of writing, and first impressions matter. Therefore, you want to create a title which pulls in your readers interest and makes him or her want to keep reading. In a college class, you want your title to make your essay stand out from the stack and make your peers and your professor drawn to read your essay. HOW CAN I CREATE A GOOD TITLE? You normally want to include the following features in your title: (1) It should convey the topic of the paper. In other words, your reader should know what the paper is going to be about from the title. (2) Many titles, but not all, reflect in some way, what point you are going to make about your topic. What argument are you presenting about your topic? Oftentimes, titles briefly reflect the argument or thesis of a writing piece. (3) A good title should also be creative, thought-provoking, and make the reader keep reading. Slide 17 For their first writing assignment, a college writing class was posed with the following paper topic: Take a look at the gender images that surround us in the media and analyze their various meanings. What roles and stereotypes are most commonly depicted? Do you find them accurate? Harmful? Limited? Helpful? Describe the affect you feel these gender images have on us as a society using specific examples, ads, etc. as evidence. Here are the titles of the papers students created in response to this writing assignment: Harmful StereotypesGenders in Society Male and Female Roles and StereotypesStereotypes Between Genders Advertising and StereotypesSeeing Stereotypes Harmful Stereotypical Views of WomenStereotypes Stereotypes and RolesGender Images Stereotypes: Silly and HarmlessAre you a Man or a Woman? The Roles of Males and FemalesSocieties Stereotypes Todays Stereotypes on Opposite GendersStereotyping Differences in GenderStereotypes The Power of SocietyGender Stereotypes How Society Categorizes Men and WomenSurrounded By Stereotypes PRACTICE Slide 18 Most of these titles clearly conveyed the topic of the assignment but they are repetitive and unoriginal. Now lets try to refine a few of these titles so they are more individually tailored to the writers argument. Below are several of the thesis statements for these papers. Create an effective title for each paper containing such a thesis statement: (1) Thesis statement: In films, men are always portrayed as tough, macho figures, and this image ultimately harms men as they are forced to live up to this aggressive, emotionless ideal. Possible Title(s): (2) Thesis statement: Because the media depicts men and women in such narrow and stereotypical roles, people get a distorted image of what careers they can and cannot pursue. Possible Title(s): (3) Thesis statement: Television, which seems to continuously show women as sexual objects, limits their potential and damages their sense of self worth. Possible Title(s): (Pause) PRACTICE Slide 19 Here are some potential titles for these thesis statements: (1) Thesis statement: In films, men are always portrayed as tough, macho figures, and this image ultimately harms men as they are forced to live up to this aggressive, emotionless ideal. Possible Title(s): Men in Film: Macho on the Outside, Crying on the Inside How Movies are Making Men Tough but Emotionally Dead (2) Thesis statement: Because the media depicts men and women in such narrow and stereotypical roles, people get a distorted image of what careers they can and cannot pursue. Possible Title(s): Be All You Can Be! Not If the Media Has Any Say Female Firefighters and Male Secretaries: How the Media Limits Our Career Choices (3) Thesis statement: Television, which seems to continuously show women as sexual objects, limits their potential and damages their sense of self worth. Possible Title(s): Womens Heightened Sexy Factor and Lowered Self-Esteem Woman or Thing? How TV is Changing Women into Objects ANSWERS Slide 20 WHAT IS EDITING/PROOFREADING? When you get to this stage, the hardest part is over. At the editing/proofreading stage, you are looking at sentence clarity, grammar, punctuation, spelling and any other sentence level issues or careless mistakes that distract your readers from your main ideas. Wait to edit and proofread until you are at the finishing stage, so you dont waste time carefully fixing each sentence in a paragraph you might end up removing entirely in the revision stage. WHY IS IT IMPORTANT? You dont spend a long time picking out a nice gift for someone and then wrap it in newspaper. You spent a long time on your essay, so you want the final presentation of it to be inviting and impressive. An essay that contains careless or excessive errors will tell your reader that you did not invest much time or effort and will make your reader uninterested in reading your paper. Slide 21 HOW DO I DO IT? Check out your verb tenses. Don't feel you have to completely avoid the "passive" tense (e.g., "the ball was caught") but definitely try to have MORE subject-verb "active" sentences; they add power and agency to your writing (e.g., "Billy caught the ball"). Also make sure your verbs are in the right tense. If you're talking about literature, keep the tense in what is called "the literary present." So a sentence in your essay to set up an example would read "When Hana tells Caravaggio about the English patient..." If you're writing a historical paper though, past tense is more suitable. Read your essay out loud to listen for either awkward or long sentences that could be clarified or broken up to read better. Check your punctuation. Fix any errors with quotation marks, commas, semicolons, colons, dashes, etc. Look for grammatical flaws. Be especially on the alert for mistakes you make often. Check your diction (word choice). If you're looking for a better word, look up some possibilities in a thesaurus or if you're having usage problems (affect vs. effect for example), then check out a writers handbook (there are many accessible online). Now you can check your spelling both with a computer spell-checker and with your own eyes to catch those words that are spelled right but used in the wrong context (like there vs. their vs. they're). Someone else's eyes are great at this point because you're probably too close to your own writing. Work on the presentation of your paper: double space your lines, maintain 1 inch margins, and prepare a title page with an original title and your vital student info. Also make sure your font is very readable (Times New Roman is the most common) and in 12 point. Slide 22 EXAMPLE Here is a sample of EDITING/ PROOFREADING in a paper in response to Chapter VII in Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass: Slide 23 EXAMPLE Sample of EDITING/ PROOFREADING continued Slide 24 EXAMPLE Sample of EDITING/ PROOFREADING continued Slide 25 EXAMPLE Sample of EDITING/ PROOFREADING continued Slide 26 EXAMPLE Sample of EDITING/ PROOFREADING continued Slide 27 EXAMPLE Here is a sample FINAL VERSION of an essay. In these lessons, you have seen all the writing stages that went into building this paper: annotating Douglasss text, freewriting, brainstorming, journalist questions, listing, clustering, creating a thesis, outlining, drafting, revising, editing and proofreading. Slide 28 EXAMPLE FINAL VERSION continued: Slide 29 EXAMPLE FINAL VERSION continued: Slide 30 EXAMPLE FINAL VERSION continued: Slide 31 EXAMPLE FINAL VERSION continued: Slide 32 EXAMPLE Final Works Cited Slide 33 Before turning in a final essay, use a checklist to make sure the essay is strong and complete. This checklist is based on the writing advice in the Rhetoric and on the essay grading criteria in the grading rubric. ESSAY CHECKLIST Slide 34 that concludes 4 4 THE WRITING PROCESS Writing