Misconceptions Some common misconceptions about writing are that writing is an innate talent and that good writers put pen to paper and—presto!—out flows perfect, well-developed, well-reasoned, and well-organized prose, and on the first try, no less! Learning that writing is a process of discovering and revising ideas, and that good writers learn strategies for composing writing, helps students overcome the fear of not having the talent to write well. Students gain confidence and control as thinkers and writers when they are encouraged to develop their own strategies for writing.
Writing Process Strategies Stage 1: Pre-writing Choose an audience, purpose and form
Audience: Other students, college admissions officers, family members, other teachers, the general public, etc.
Purpose: To persuade, to inform, to pass along family stories, to demonstrate understanding, to entertain, etc.
Form: Essay, letter, story, poem, diary, article, etc.
Mind Map - brainstorm ideas on paper Discussion - ask a partner (or a group) about your ideas; get the perspectives of others Evaluate - get feedback from others regarding your point of view, and re-calibrate Listing & Grouping - get your thoughts into some organized structure (i.e. chronological, importance, or topic/sub-topic) Model - read essays from scholars and people with influence Planning - absorb all you have and make a logical plan to follow Reading & Research - ensure you have read (novel) or researched your topic well
Stage 2: Drafting Drafting involves producing a cohesive piece of writing that is ready for response and revision. Whether individual or collaborative, the drafting stage of the writing process focuses on content, logic of presentation, audience, purpose, and form, and allows for experimentation.
Partner - exchange drafts with someone and listen to constructive feedback
Small groups - share drafts in a study group
Stage 3: Reader Response Sharing one’s writing—no matter how terrifying—legitimizes writing as a process and, put simply, completes its purpose. This is where you share your work with others for the purpose of getting feedback on thecontent of the piece. The focus is on the ideas communicated in your writing, not necessarily on grammar, spelling, punctuation, etc. Once you've completed your essay, complete the steps from stage 2.
Stage 4: Revising This is where you re-see or re-think your writing. You look at your work again for the purpose of improving and clarifying. To revise literally means to re-see (see again) a piece of writing and the writer’s intentions. As you revise, you need to revisit the critical areas of audience, purpose, and form. Utilize all the feedback from your partner and groups to ensure your paper is constructed in a manner that reflects all the pre-work you've completed.
Stage 5: Editing Final editing for writing conventions familiarizes you with standard mechanics and guides you toward submitting writing that is free from distractions. Collaborative groups are ideal for editing for such things as grammar, usage, spelling, punctuation, and sentence structure. After you have made your revisions and are close to a final draft, your paper must be checked again for mechanical correctness. Editing is where others read your paper for the purpose of finding errors in grammar, spelling, and punctuation. Your editor will use some kind of abbreviations (see your teacher for ideas) to show you where mistakes are contained in your piece. These must be corrected before you make your final draft.
Partner - exchange your paper with a partner
Small groups - share papers withing a small group of peers
Stage 6: Final Draft This is where you take your final piece “public” by presenting it to an audience. This is your time to shine. Ensure your mechanics are free from errors, check your MLA formatting and be sure to have a properly constructed 'Works Cited' page.
Stage 7: Self-Evaluation This is where you think and write about your creative process, documenting what you've learned about yourself and writing. This is also where you set future goals and/or determine your next steps or needs as a writer.
(Michelle Mullen & Sandy Boldway)
Parts of an essay
This PowerPoint presentation will guide you through the constructs of writing an essay. From the Introductory paragraph through the body of your essay and ending with a functional conclusion:
The best writing follows the rules of grammar (or breaks those rules only with good reason) and is clear, coherent, and consistent. Most writers don’t want their work to be weak or dull. We want our writing to be strong and vibrant. If we learn the grammar rules and adopt best practices in the craft, our writing can shine. (http://www.writingforward.com/)
Here are ten of most frequently ignored (or unknown) grammar rules and writing practices:
Transitions are phrases or words used to connect one idea to the next; transitions are used by the author to help the reader progress from one significant point to the next logical point. Transitions also show the relationship within a paragraph (or within a sentence) between the main idea and the support the author gives for those ideas; different transitions do different things.
The focus of your essay should be on your understanding of the topic. If you include too much quotation in your essay, you will crowd out your own ideas. Consider quoting a passage from one of your sources if any of the following conditions holds:
The language of the passage is particularly elegant or powerful or memorable.
You wish to confirm the credibility of your argument by enlisting the support of an authority on your topic.
The passage is worthy of further analysis.
You wish to argue with someone else's position in considerable detail.
*Condition 3 is especially useful in essays for literature courses.
If an argument or a factual account from one of your sources is particularly relevant to your paper but does not deserve to be quoted verbatim, consider
paraphrasing the passage if you wish to convey the points in the passage at roughly the same level of detail as in the original
summarizing the relevant passage if you wish to sketch only the most essential points in the passage (University of Toronto