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by Mike Gatenby on 18 October 2013

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The more prewriting you do, the less likely it is that you will block when you come to
writing your first draft.
Creating a Thesis Statement
1.Determine what kind of paper you are writing
2. Your thesis statement should be specific—it should cover only what you will discuss in your paper and should be supported with specific evidence.
3. The thesis statement usually appears at the end of the first paragraph of a paper
4. Your topic may change as you write, so you may need to revise your thesis statement to reflect exactly what you have discussed in the paper.
Four Main Components for Effective Outlines
Consider your own knowledge about, interest in, feelings for, and
thoughts on a topic as you decide whether / how to write about it.
Consider paper length—Make sure your topic is sufficiently narrow to
allow you to develop a paper fully within the assigned page limit.
*Who is the audience for your writing?
*Do you think your audience is interested in the topic? Why or why not?
*Why should your audience be interested in this topic?
*What does your audience already know about this topic?
*What does your audience need to know about this topic?
*What experiences has your audience had that would influence them on this topic?
*What do you hope the audience will gain from your text?

We use the term genres to describe categories of written texts that have recognizable patterns, syntax, techniques, and/or conventions.
A WRITER’S STYLE IS WHAT SETS HIS OR HER WRITING APART and makes it unique. Style is the way writing is dressed up (or down) to fit the specific context, purpose, or audience. Word choice, sentence fluency, and the writer’s voice — all contribute to the style of a piece of writing. How a writer chooses words and structures sentences to achieve a certain effect is also an element of style.
Writing can have many different purposes. Here are just a few examples:
*Expository essays
*Descriptive essays
*Narrative essays
*Argumentative (Persuasive) essays
*Research Papers (Informational)
*Summarizing: Presenting the main points or essence of another text in a condensed form
*Arguing/Persuading: Expressing a viewpoint on an issue or topic in an effort to convince others that your viewpoint is correct
*Narrating: Telling a story or giving an account of events
*Evaluating: Examining something in order to determine its value or worth based on a set of criteria.
*Analyzing: Breaking a topic down into its component parts in order to examine the relationships between the parts.
*Responding: Writing that is in a direct dialogue with another text.
*Examining/Investigating: Systematically questioning a topic to discover or uncover facts that are not widely known or accepted, in a way that strives to be as neutral and objective as possible.
*Observing: Helping the reader see and understand a person, place, object, image or event that you have directly watched or experienced through detailed sensory descriptions.
Don't feel constrained by format issues. Don't worry about spelling, grammar, or writing in complete sentences. Brainstorm and write down everything you can think of that might relate to the thesis and then reread and evaluate the ideas you generated. It's easier to cut out bad ideas than to only think of good ones. Once you have a handful of useful ways to approach the thesis you can use a basic outline structure to begin to think about organization. Remember to be flexible; this is just a way to get you writing. If better ideas occur to you as you're writing, don't be afraid to refine your original ideas.
*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.
Thesis Statement Examples
Example of an analytical thesis statement

An analysis of the college admission process reveals one challenge facing counselors: accepting students with high test scores or students with strong extracurricular backgrounds.

The paper that follows should:

Explain the analysis of the college admission process
Explain the challenge facing admissions counselors
Example of an expository (explanatory) thesis statement:
The life of the typical college student is characterized by time spent studying, attending class, and socializing with peers.
The paper that follows should:

Explain how students spend their time studying, attending class, and socializing with peers
Example of an argumentative thesis statement
High school graduates should be required to take a year off to pursue community service projects before entering college in order to increase their maturity and global awareness.
The paper that follows should:

Present an argument and give evidence to support the claim that students should pursue community projects before entering college
Each heading and subheading should preserve parallel structure. If the first heading is a verb, the second heading should be a verb. Example:


("Choose" and "Prepare" are both verbs. The present tense of the verb is usually the preferred form for an outline.)
All the information contained in Heading 1 should have the same significance as the information contained in Heading 2. The same goes for the subheadings (which should be less significant than the headings). Example:

a. Note important statistics
b. Look for interesting classes
(Campus and Web sites visits are equally significant. They are part of the main tasks you would need to do. Finding statistics and classes found on college Web sites are parts of the process involved in carrying out the main heading topics.)
The information in the headings should be more general, while the information in the subheadings should be more specific. Example:

a. Favorite high school teacher
b. Grandparent
(A favorite teacher and grandparent are specific examples from the generalized category of influential people in your life.)
Each heading should be divided into 2 or more parts. Example:

A. List relevant coursework
B. List work experience
C. List volunteer experience
(The heading "Compile Résumé" is divided into 3 parts.)

Technically, there is no limit to the number of subdivisions for your headings; however, if you seem to have a lot, it may be useful to see if some of the parts can be combined.
Draft #1
Using your outline, you can now begin to write a draft. Your draft should have the appropriate structure to achieve your purpose.
*Alert your reader to the question you are answering in your paper.
* explain the importance of the question and your answer
* appeal to the reader's interest
* conclude with your thesis.

Above all, make sure your intro is sharply focused.
Body Paragraphs
*Make sure your body paragraph is headed by a topic sentence that relates directly to your thesis statement.
*Your body paragraphs will develop the ideas you formulated in your outline.
* The number of body paragraphs will vary depending on the depth of your paper.

There is no one way to conclude a paper. But here are some suggestions:
* address ideas from a fresh perspective
* pose a question for future study
* describe possible limitations of your argument
* refer to a detail in the introduction to bring the paper full circle
* offer a provacative, unexpected, or exciting insight
* offer a solution or different way of thinking about the topic
1. Revise your thesis and structure
A first draft is very often a way of finding out what you actually want to argue. Once you've
arrived there, you need to go back and figure out what is the best strategy for presenting the
argument you want to make--which may bear little resemblance to what you have already written
2. Check your transitions.
* Strong transitions are a large part of what makes a good paper good, because they express the relationships between subsidiary ideas.
*A good transition both makes a substantial claim
relevant to the argument of your paper and links that claim to what you've already said.
*Weak or sloppy transitions are often a sign that you haven't thought through your ideas and organization fully.
3. Remove clutter from your prose.
*Your main task in revising a rough draft, as explained above, is to develop, sharpen and structure your argument.
*So be prepared to revise strenuously for clarity and concision.
*Your mantra throughout this process should be: Cut to the chase.
*Here are some specific things to avoid:

Metadiscourse is characterized by reference to the author and/or the
reader and/or yourself.

*In this scene, Austen conveys the idea that...
In this scene, the reader realizes that...
In this scene, I could see that...
What seemed to me important about this scene was that...

Remember, what you offer in an essay is
your own view, which will be judged not by that fact but by how well it is supported by sound argumentation and pertinent evidence.

Author Flattery
This is where the writer uses words like wonderful, exciting, excellent, compelling, etc. to show how much he/she liked the work or a particular
aspect of it—often instead of actually making an argument about it.

If you really loved the work, prove it through the intelligence and depth of your engagement with it.
Filler sentences
Every sentence in your paper should be advancing your argument,
whether by presenting your thesis, introducing subsidiary points, explaining logical relationships between points, presenting and explaining textual evidence, or drawing conclusions. Anything else is filler.

Some common examples of filler:
Big generalizations
about life, death, true love, human nature, history,
literature, etc
Introductions are especially prone to this: please, please, never begin a paper with
the words, "Throughout history…"
General instructions
on how to read,
"When we look at a poem/story/play,
it's important to pay attention to x,y,z,."--

Instead of telling your audience what one needs to do in general, just do it to the text at hand.
Excessive quotations, paraphrases, and summaries
*Don't quote more than you need to make your points.

*Avoid sentences composed entirely of a quotation or of factual material from the text.

*Integrate evidence into a sentence which makes an interpretive point about it
4. Check your sentence structure
The more you write, the more you will develop your own prose style, with distinctive patterns of sentence length and structure.

But look out for these potential issues:
Lots and lots of simple subject-verb-object sentences in a row
*Though a few such sentences can be useful to punctuate longer ones, long strings of them tend to sound
simpleminded, and the repetition of subjects and verbs leads to excess verbiage.

*It is also difficult to make a sophisticated argument using simple sentences.
Spaghetti sentences
Some writers try to get all the points
that are related to one another into one big sentence, resulting in confusing or meandering verbal
5. A word about big words
*It is a fine thing to have a large active vocabulary. The more words you know how to use, the more precisely you can express yourself, and precision always makes a good impression.

*But nothing is gained by simply substituting long, obscure words for short, familiar ones--like
"pulchertudinous" for "beautiful."

*As a general rule, steer clear of deploying new words you only
know from vocabulary drills for the SATs, or found in a thesaurus
6. Conclusions about conclusions
Some tips for ending your paper:

*state a solution to the problem
*offer a different way to view an issue
*synthesize your main points/theme in a powerful paraphrase.
*AVOID, "In conclusion,..."
Draft #2
* Proofread your work more than once and wait several hours after you've printed out your essay to proofread it for the final time. The more you can detach yourself from your work the easier it is to proofread.

*Always proofread at least once with the hard copy instead of just looking at it on the computer screen.
Read your essay aloud, reading exactly what is on the page. You'll find that you can hear errors, particularly missing or misused -s or -ed endings
* If you have difficulty seeing your errors, you may be focusing too much on the meaning, what you meant to write instead of what is actually there.

*To distance yourself from what you meant to write, try going through your paper backwards. Begin with the last sentence and continue until you reach the beginning.
*If you have a lingering proofreading problem (comma splices, apostrophes, fragments), do an extra reading looking just for that error.

*Don't worry if this means you are reading through five, six or seven times. The more you look the more errors you will find to correct.
*On the computer, use spell check but be skeptical about grammar check. Human grammar is too complicated for a computer to do a full-proof job, but spelling is not.

*There is no excuse for spelling errors in a college-level essay.
*If you have a friend proofread your essay, then you are relying on someone else to do something you should learn to do for yourself. Proofread it yourself several times first, and then if you have a friend (or your mother) help you proofread, have that person put a check mark in the margin next to the sentence with the error in it rather than correcting it.

*That way, you can then see if you can find and correct the error yourself. This will teach you more than just allowing someone to fix it for you.
Finally, there is more to writing than getting the grammar right. Writing is an art in which you try to entertain, persuade and educate your reader. If you work hard on making your meaning clear and illustrating your ideas specifically, you will have fewer grammar and usage problems.
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