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Transcript of IDEAS
Language of Ideas
Tips for Success
"You write to communicate to the hearts
and minds of others what's burning inside you.
You edit to let the fire show through the smoke"
- Arthur Polotnik
All writing begins with the idea. . .
Definition: a short account of a particular incident or event, especially of an interesting or amusing nature
Definition: fully and clearly expressed or demonstrated; leaving nothing merely implied
Definition: creativity, freshness, novelty of ideas
Definition: attention to a subject in individual
or minute parts, paying attention to sensory descriptions
Definition: clear and immediate understanding of a complex issue or situation;
the ability to grasp or see the inner nature of things.
"We don't want [the writer] to describe every ride at Disneyland,
or tell us that the Grand Canyon is awesome. . .if one of the rides
at Disneyland got stuck, or if somebody fell into the awesome Grand
Canyon, THAT would be worth reading about." - William Zinsser
Write from EXPERIENCE
Write with individuality
Write your ideas crystal clear
look for ways to connect the topic to your experiences
find what moves you - it will move the reader too
tap into "unforgettable stories"
if the topic is too big (Animals of Africa) there's too much to tell, resulting in lack of focus on one idea long enough to make it clear
skinny it down (Why Lions Hunt in Pairs) to make the topic manageable
Include details to show readers what matters most
Surprise the reader with what you know
if anyone else could write it, don't waste your time (avoid writing "playing an instrument takes practice" - even people who don't play instruments can figure that out)
Instead, describe the steps you took and tools you used in your practice sessions to become a competent saxophone player
Avoid general statements like, "our trip was exciting." Exciting, how?
Instead, say, "two hungry black bears crashed our camp site and rummaged through our supplies until we chased them away."
Specific/sensory details that help the reader picture what is happening can make your writing stand out
"It's like a bird watcher watching for birds.
The stories are there, you just have to train
yourself to look for them." - Barbara Michaels
"Don't tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass" - Anton Chekhov
narrow, manageable topic
relevant, quality details
beyond the obvious
fresh and original from experience
anticipated and answered questions
insight - picking out what's significant
This paper is clear and focused.
It holds the reader's attention.
Relevant anecdotes and details
enrich the central theme.
The writer is beginning to define the topic,
even though development is still basic and
the topic is fairly broad
support is attempted
ideas are reasonably clear,but not in-depth
difficulty going from general observations to specifics
more info is needed
generally stays on topic
As yet, no clear sense of purpose or central theme. To extract meaning, the reader must make inferences based on sketchy or missing details. The writing reflects more than one of these problems.
still in search of a topic
limited or unclear support
simple restatement of topic, little or no attention to detail
no meaningful, personal involvement
everything has equal importance
may be repetitious or disconnected, random thoughts