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Pre-Writing: Brainstorming

Different ways to get your ideas on paper!
by

Michelle L

on 9 February 2013

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Transcript of Pre-Writing: Brainstorming

Getting
Started Understanding the Prompt and
Brainstorming Has this happened to you: You are in class and your professor randomly gives you a writing prompt? Your heart sinks because you look at the prompt and think,
"What the heck...
I have no idea what I'm going write about!"
Have no fear!
Pre-writing (a.k.a Brainstorming)
can help you in these times of crisis! So what is "Pre-Writing" anyways? Pre-writing is the first stage of the writing process and the point at which we discover and explore our initial ideas about a subject.

Pre = before writing= well, writing Good question! Stuff you do before you write---to get ideas about
what the heck you're going to write about. Pre-writing helps us to get our ideas on paper, though not usually in an organized form, and brainstorm thoughts that might eventually make their way into our writing. Either way, think of Brainstorming as a
way of jump-starting the thinking/writing process Good Idea! The following are some of the most common types of pre-writing techniques. You should become familiar with all of these and figure out the one that works best for you. 1. Creating Questions
2. Freewriting
3. Making Lists
4. Clustering
5. Discussing It
6. My Method Pre-Writing Techniques 1. Creating Questions: Journalistic Technique As you may know, journalists have six important questions they need to answer about any story they report: who, what, when, where, why, and how.

By answering these questions, journalists can be certain that they have provided the most important information about an event, issue, or problem to their readers. Suppose that your government professor has asked to write about the political conflict in the Middle East. Using the journalistic technique, you could begin working on the paper by asking yourself the following questions: Example of asking Questions: Who is involved in the conflict?
What issues most clearly divide those engaged in this dispute?
When did the troubles in the Middle East begin, and how have they developed over time?
Where does the conflict seem most heated or violent?
Why have those living in this area found it so difficult to resolve the situation?
How might this conflict be resolved? 2. Freewriting Freewriting involves jotting down on paper all of the ideas you have on a particular topic before you even begin to read about it or do research. You are not worried about complete sentences, proper spelling, or correct punctuation and grammar. Instead, you are interested in “dumping” all of the information you have on paper. You should write everything that comes into your head—even if it does not necessarily make sense yet. Give your self a set amount of time (maybe five to ten minutes), and write down everything that comes to mind about your topic. 3. Listing Sometimes simple making a list of everything you want to write about, research, or are curious about is a great way to start writing. Example of Listing: Topic: What is something you used to do that you no longer do?

1. Pick my nose
2. Afraid monsters/dark
3. Play Pokemon
4. Watch TV all day
5. Imagine Maybe after reviewing your list, you realize that you REALLY want to write about your Imagination as a child..instead of how you picked your nose ;-) 4. Clustering With this technique, you start with a circle in the middle that contains your main idea and then you draw lines to other, smaller circles that contain sub-ideas or issues related to the main idea. Try to group like ideas together so as to organize yourself. Example of Clustering 5. Discussing it Sometimes the best way for me to get ideas is to talk it over with a tutor, your classmates, friends, and family. Although you can't always do this, when you have time to Brainstorm, ask other people how they feel about a topic and see how their ideas mesh with yours. "Hey mom, what do you think about X" 6. My Method If given time to write (like a take-home essay) and I don't have a clue what to write about...I google it How does searching the Internet help? For me...
1) it helps me understand the topic more (Wikipedia/dictionaries)
2) Just by clicking around, I can find useful, relevant information about the topic (newspapers, World events, new discoveries)
3) I can also search YouTube videos or pictures so I can visualize the concept in greater detail. However, if I can't Google it, I use the folded paper method. I fold the paper in half (hot dog style) and then in thirds so that I have SIX squares. Each one of the six squares represents a paragraph. Then I list ideas that I want to talk about in each paragraph. This works for me... Okay...now you have to decide which kind of pre-writing works for you. Try them out. Learning is a wonderful process of trial and error! Remember to save all of your pre-writing! You will have to turn in this step with the rest of your writing, so make sure you put is somewhere safe until the paper is due. Also, your prewriting will often look very different from the final draft. That’s ok—remember that this is just the first step to get you started writing. Your writing will evolve in each step you take it through. Intro>Body 1>Body 2>Body 3>Naysayer>Conclusion Thank you! According to your 13+ years of schooling, what is "good" writing? Life is easier for those who can write well. "Now, practically even better news than that of short assignments is the idea of shitty first drafts. All good writers write them. This is how they end up with good second drafts and terrific third drafts. People tend to look at successful writers who are getting their books published and maybe even doing well financially and think that they sit down at their desks every morning feeling like a million dollars, feeling great about who they are and how much talent they have and what a great story they have to tell; that they take in a few deep breaths, push back their sleeves, roll their necks a few times to get all the cricks out, and dive in, typing fully formed passages as fast as a court reporter. But this is just the fantasy. I know some very great writers, writers you love who write beautifully and have made a great deal of money, and not one of them sits down routinely feeling wildly enthusiastic and confident. Not one of them writes elegant first drafts." Even professional writers and speakers
need time and help Good Writing Starts with understanding:
1) The Topic (what?)
2) The Purpose (why?
3) Your Audience (who?) For example, look at this prompt:
"An important component of this course is learning how to write evaluations and interpretations of literary works. Whether you are writing about short stories, poems, or plays, you must offer an opinion (an argument) about the literary work and you must back up that opinion with evidence (facts from the literary text)." What is the topic? The purpose? The audience? 4 Purposes of Writing To Inform
To Persuade/Convince
To Express yourself
To Reflect Audience Age
Gender
Education Level
Values, Morals
Once you understand the assignment,
it is important to consider the Writing Process The Writing Process Pre-Writing Drafting Revising Proofreading Pick a topic
Decide your purpose
Get information
Ask questions
Organize your thoughts Decide the audience
Choose the format (letter, essay, paragraph)
Create introduction, body, and conclusion Elaborate
Add more support
Re-order ideas
Add transitions
Make it flow Correct Errors
Check grammar
Check format
Make it sound better Let's talk about Pre-Writing From Anne Lamott's "Bird by Bird" I think we all have moments like this, but have no fear! By understanding the writing process, it might ease your anxiety! Even President Obama edits and reworks his speeches The Topic What is this paper about? Introduce and talk about the prompt, give background. Why are you writing this paper?
Is it to convince someone to do something? (Persuasive)
Are you telling a story? (Narrative)
Are you explaining something? (Expository)
Are you describing something in great detail? (Descriptive) However, in college you should try to be as unbiased as possible... Hopefully, by
1) understanding your prompt in greater detail:
topic, purpose, and audience
2) doing some pre-writing techniques
you should feel more confident about starting any paper however, writing well is difficult... Words of Wisdom No one is perfect... by thinking of writing as a process,
it is less daunting Once you get your writing prompt....
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