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Transcript of Descriptive Writing
Dominant Impression: What is the main feeling about your subject that you want the readers to take away with them?
Subject: Imagine your subject in detail:
Scientific or technical writing
Subjective Organization: Classify types
If description is used to explain or argue, state the dominant impression outright
Audience: What details will you share with your readers?
Emotional, personal or impressionistic
To convey information without bias or emotion
To convey information with feeling
Purpose #1 is objective, impartial, or public
Purpose #2 is subjective
What emotion do you want to create for your reader?
How To . . .
Create an Emotion!
What Method Do I Use?
Like in Purpose #1!
Like in Purpose #2!
Organization of details
Using different points of view at different times to create a fragmented unity.
Combines several shifts in focus or styles
Abrupt shifts to disparate parts in an essay. Make cuts to the next reality without returning to the former one.
The central subject of the essay stays constant but the focus, content, and format keep shifting.
Use numbers, decorative symbols, icons, memes, or mini-titles to demark shifts.
if you live in Eugene, Oregon, you are one of four groups . . . The Yuptowers are the royalty of the valley . . . each morning, they dance into their Volvo, Benz, and Lexus in their Nike workout gear . . .After the abs-R-us rehearsal, they head over to the 5th street Market Juice Club for lunch. As the sunless sky gets darker, they bolt back up the hill to prepare for the evening performance at the Hult Center . . .
The Earthtranqs live in close to the Williamette River, the University, and the library. Their yards are crawling with vegetables, herbs, and gobs of colorful flowers. They are found every weekend manufacturing their goods at the Saturday Market downtown: diversion soaps, spirited incense, moody candles, cranky tie-dyed shirts, and perky beads. They have time to work on city issues such as where there needs to be a new footbridge. . .
Today, much to the police's horror, they have found that freedom is spilling out as oppression. . .They are now engaged in a bloodthirsty new-wave crusade, with a young, bad, boastful, hostile Black Army Faction. Anarchists. A Mr.-Rogers-versus-the-devil scene. . .Their hopes are to tear down the over-merchandized, over-commercialized city and return it to the primitive Ozzie-and-Harriet way of life (Gwartney 16) . . . In climbs Chief Jim Hill from the woodlands. Jim, the city's WD-40 knight in armor, who works behind a tidy, memo filled, coffee ringed desk, . . . is attempting to organize a peaceful Pow-Wow.
Free money built it, but it's expensive to maintain. Admission use to be a piece of wood, but today it's only willingness to succeed. The outside remains strong, but the inside creaks. . .It co-starred in a movie with Donald Sutherland and John Belushi. What is it? It's the University of Oregon's Deadly Hall, Department of Mathematics.
Prioritize, emphasize and dramatize key, defining details that capture reality
runs on the ground (tracks show 3 toes forward , 2 aft.) Large, slender, streaked; with a long white-tipped tail, shaggy crest, strong legs. White crescent on open wing.
He's half tail and half feet. The rest of him is head and beak. When he runs, he moves on blurring wheels. He can turn on a dime and leave change. He doesn't need to fly because he can run faster. He kicks dirt in a snake's face and then eats the snake. (Hollister)
Use a definite pronoun (I, we, he, she, they) to present the details and tie clues together
Organize clues into complimentary and contrasting pairs using short, compound sentences using and or but.
He can smell microscopic food, but you can smell him from fifty feet away
At the end of the clue list, give the answer to the riddle
Use to describe inanimate objects or abstractions
Create a biographical profile
Assign very general human characteristics--gender, age, race, etc.
Use specific details--hobbies, personality quirks, pet peeves, favorite music, occupation, physcial attributes, etc. to fill out the profile
characteristics should not be random; use personified characteristics to uncover fitting attributes on the subject
I am a sturdy statue of mud and have been given more nicknames than a childhood bud. Regulars sit with me for hours a day, while reading, thinking, or muscling through the fray. With a push on my arm, a whoosh, and a counterclockwise spin, I still sit on my spot and bear the torment of being aimed at or not. Technology has improved me since my original day, from plastic to cushion, to heated seats in Green Bay. I may not be associated with respect or repute, but I must be important if found all the way to Beirut. (Hilliger--Freshman Comp)
Immerses readers in the drama of a dilemma
Make the problem seemingly unsolvable
Detail all risks and worst case scenarios
Research to gather details
Tease apart research that mixes problem details with solutions
Ask question: What would have happened if X did not occur. How would the city hall be different if Y had not compromised?
Research other solutions to similar or related problems and then explain why those solutions won't work to solve the problem established in your essay or paragraph
it is apparent that football, at least in the short term, will become less violent. Kelly’s teams have found a new way to intimidate, one that does not involve high-speed collisions and head injuries. “Some people call it a no-huddle offense, but I call it a no-breathing offense,” Mark Asper, an Oregon offensive lineman, told me. “It’s still football. We hit people. But after a while, the guys on the other side of the line are so gassed that you don’t have to hit them very hard to make them fall over.”
“When you go without a huddle, you have to do your signaling and nomenclature in a way that your team understands it and the other team doesn’t.”
When Oregon is on offense, coaches on the sideline give hand signals. The backup quarterback flips a series of cardboard signs, each of them with four pictures or words on them. Some of the pictures include a tiger, a jack-o’-lantern, a jet taking off and a shamrock. . . Coaches on the other sideline may be able to decode the signals. But the signs change weekly, and with Oregon running plays so quickly, they would have just seconds to communicate what’s coming to their players. (And because Oregon’s spread offense contains numerous options on each call, depending on what the quarterback sees, stealing signals would only give the defense a hint.)
Break a large subject or group into separate, nuanced portions
Assign each slice a descriptive label to categorize groups and subgroups: Biodad, Adoptodad, Trophydad
Organize parallel qualities of subgroups
The women in my family divide into two general groups: those who fasten upon style, become identified with a look, and are impervious to change, weathering the years steadfastly, and those who, for a variety of reasons, are in the business of transforming themselves. In my sister's case, the quest for perfect hair originates in a need to mask her own appearance; in my mother's case, she wants to achieve a beauty of person unavailable in her own life story. Some women seek transformation, not out of dissatisfaction with themselves, but because hair change is a means of moving along in their lives. These women create portraits of themselves that won't last forever; a new hairstyle will write over the last
Promiscuous, doing what anyone wants if the person is strong enough to hold it, concrete is the slut, the gigolo, of materials. . . Once it has set, what a difference! Concrete becomes adamant, fanatical, a Puritan, a rock, Robespierre. It declares like no other material the inevitability, the immortality — the divinity! — of the shape it comprises, be the shape a glopped heap on the ground or a concert hall, ridiculous or sublime. (From Concrete and Burton by Schjeldahl)
Highlight important details: List 10 unique, definitive and predominant details about the subject. Be selective
Makes abstract concrete
Main frame of essay is suspended
Transitions used to escort the reader back the main frame.