The week 5 lecture of my class...

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The week 5 lecture of my class...

PostPosted by verdilak » Tue Apr 07, 2009 6:35 pm

Is rather enlightening for me mainly due to the additon of Zinsser's notion that clutter is the disease of writing.

Here is the lecture

Writing Basics

· Articulate the writing process and recognize its value to a student.

· Create a five-paragraph essay including an introduction, body, and conclusion.

· Differentiate between academic and nonacademic writing.

Introduction

Novelist E. L. Doctorow calls writing exploring: “You start from nothing and learn as you go” (as cited in Safire & Safir, 1992, p. 29). Student explorers typically begin as novices in university-level ideas and their expression, but from that relative nothing, they learn as they go: formulating theses, organizing arguments, providing backing and evidence, and ultimately learning. Learning to think and thinking to learn are two sides of the coin of education often discovered in writing. Acclaimed writers as diverse as William Faulkner, James Baldwin, and Elie Wiesel have claimed a link between ideas and writing, suggesting that they write to understand as much as to be understood. E. M. Forster, a novelist and critic, declares, “I don’t know what I think until I see what I’ve said” (as cited in Coe, 1990, p. 116). Writing is exploring and discovering, an adventure with paper and ink—or a word processor.

The Writing Process

Educators painstakingly study the writing process, the way writers write. They hold conferences, read student papers, write their own papers, and debate various strategies for how to teach students writing. Eventually, someone turns to a professional writer to get a writer’s perspective. Rhetorician Jacques Barzun (1994) discouragingly notes that most professional writers recognize that no one can teach anyone else to write (p. 3). Guy de Maupassant’s suggestion to “get black on white” (as cited in Safire & Safir, 1992, p. 80) is not much help either. Nevertheless, fiction writer and writing instructor John Gardner’s advice reveals an understanding of how difficult it is to find a writing process that works. He advises a writer to write in any way that seems to work, “Write in a tuxedo or in the shower with a raincoat or in a cave deep in the woods” (as cited in Safire & Safir, p. 23).

Many studies would concur with Gardner’s suggestion that writers write in individual ways; their processes are as unique as what they produce. However, all writers begin writing by reflecting, by thinking. While this may seem self-evident, students often rush into an assignment without giving it sufficient thought. Then they become frustrated when they discover that the words and sentences are not filling the pages. They suspect writer’s block, when they have not even written a word. Instead of panicking or postponing the writing, student writers should pause to consider the topic, look at class notes, reread the information in the text, and study the assignment. Then the writer should make a list of what seems to be significant points on the topic. To write an explaining concept essay about branding cattle, the writer might make a list of:

· The benefits of branding

· The origins of branding

· The processes of branding



Haphazard as it might seem, this kind of listing can open a door into the writing project.



The next step in this writing process might be to gather those points into logical groups. Cioffi (2005) asks, “Which several ideas might belong or be discussed together? How can I take these ten ideas (say), all of which I consider important, and classify and arrange them?” (p. 39). Whether the writer clusters certain ideas together, lists what logically follows what, or answers the 5-Ws: who, what, when, where, why (and sometimes how), there should be a gradual sifting of the ideas into some kind of hierarchy from which the writer can discern the central idea of the essay. At this point, some writers make elaborate outlines, mapping the paper to be written in detail. Such outlining can facilitate an easy transition into a draft because it accomplishes much of the sorting, arranging, and structuring of the paper. Using this method, the writer can begin a surefooted written draft.

However, many writers feel hemmed-in by a formal outline. They prefer to write on wings of imagination. Such writing can be creative, exciting, and often productive, as the writer leaps into the fray of persuasion. But (and it is an important but) drafting without an outline does not free the writer from sooner or later structuring the paper. Moreover, for an essay of more than five paragraphs, it is difficult to keep a paper’s organization in mind without some kind of written map. Many professionals suggest outlining later in the writing process—after the drafting is underway. The outline provides the writer with a shorthand representation of the project, which can help keep the writing on course or reveal where it might have lost its way.

Dillard (1990) suggests, “When you write, you lay out a line of words” (p. 549). That line of words is the first draft. Having given the project sufficient thought and, when necessary, research, the writer writes with the confidence of a storyteller with a good story to tell. Writers know what happens next because they have lived the essay in thought or outline. When they finish that first draft, it is with pleasure in their creation of sturdy, articulate paragraphs. At last, they have something to work with!

Yes, they have only something to work with because the work is not finished. Good writers revise. Coe (1990), a writing specialist, suggests that “a common rule of thumb among experienced writing instructors is that, on major writing tasks, 40% to 50% of the writing time should be allotted to revision” (p. 100). It is a hackneyed notion that revision is re-vision, to see again, but it is a crucial part of the writing process. In revision, the writer needs to ask questions about the paper as a whole. Does it all make sense? Do the parts add up to a coherent whole? Is it logically organized? After examining the paper as a whole, the writer turns attention to the diction (word choice), syntax (sentence structure), and general mechanics, which includes grammar and punctuation. These style issues are signals of the author’s credibility and integrity. Missing commas, sentence fragments, and random capitalization devalue writing. They suggest some indifference on the writer’s part. The writer does not care enough to dress up; he or she is presenting serious ideas wearing a T-shirt with holes. Tidying up makes a good impression in writing, and in life.

The Five-Paragraph Essay

Essays are thoughtful units of response to a particular topic, and they come in all sizes. Essay exams often ask for essays as small as a paragraph. Research papers are essays of several pages. The five-paragraph essay is a common response, and its structure is similar to many essays.

Paragraph 1: Introduction.

In addition to introducing the essay, the beginning paragraph provides a thesis statement, which is a formal, carefully defined, and concise statement that answers the essay’s central theme. For example:

· The seeds of World War II are evident in the Versailles Treaty.

· Economist David Truman believes that unorganized special interest groups’ greatest weakness is their inability to quickly respond to political initiatives.

· Kate Chopin employs bird imagery to reveal the plight of Edna Pontellier in The Awakening.

Paragraphs Two–Four: Body.

Middle paragraphs develop support for the thesis statement and offer evidence. A possible second paragraph for the suggested thesis for The Awakening might include: Edna is lost in her adopted Creole culture. The cultural disparity is suggested in the novel’s first line where a yellow and green parrot speaks French, some Spanish, and a language no one understands. A third paragraph might develop the idea: Edna feels trapped, which is shown in the story’s caged birds and in what she calls her “pigeon house.” A fourth paragraph might focus on Edna’s suicide: Edna’s suicide is mirrored in the bird with a broken wing that beats the air above her as she swims into the ocean. Each proposed paragraph would be developed around a single, general idea—as suggested above—which supports the thesis statement. Then evidence is supplied to support that general idea. It should be detailed, accurate, and convincing.

Paragraph 5: Conclusion.

The old adage of writing an essay by saying what you are going to say, saying it, and then saying what you have said can lead to a dull essay. The conclusion should not be a dry restatement of what has come before, but should complete the essay and, as such, should be memorable. It should reward the reader for reading. It “amplifies and enhances the thesis” (Cioffi, 2005, p. 5). While new information is not introduced in the conclusion for The Awakening, it effectively concludes: Edna’s suffering and death is revealed by a heterogeneous bird flock: a parrot, a maddening mockingbird, seabirds in flight, and domesticated pigeons.

Academic Writing is Different

Students occasionally ask professors why they are not permitted to write the way they speak. Barzan (1994) argues for writing that is simple and direct, but he also writes that “most speaking is not plain or direct, but vague, clumsy, confused, and wordy” (p. 12). Such problems are the bane of student writing. In academic writing:

Choose the best words. The best word is the word that most clearly conveys the meaning. It is not necessarily the longest word, nor is it the shortest word. Mark Twain famously writes, “The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightening and the lightening bug” (as cited in Safire & Safir, 1992, p. 188).

Be direct. No one is so fond of words that he wants to read superfluous ones. Consider this sentence: It is a known fact that bull sharks are fierce predators of the ocean that have attacked unsuspecting swimmers in the water. A more direct approach would be to write the sentence this way: Bull sharks, fierce oceanic predators, attack swimmers. Zinsser (2006), in his classic guide to writing nonfiction, announces that “Clutter is the disease of American writing” (p. 6). Furthermore, extra words obscure meaning and leave the reader to sort through the writer’s refuse to find the precious truths.

Acquire the language of the fields of study. Different contexts require different nomenclatures or vocabularies. Sociologists write of expected behaviors, such as shaking hands, as societal norms. When referring to the past tense of Spanish, a Spanish professor asks students to differentiate between pretérito or imperfecto. English professors expect students to understand that essay and short story are not interchangeable words.

Formalize words. In an academic setting, kids are children. Policemen are not called cops. Avoid slang and colloquial language. For example, find other words for nouns like stuff and for verbs such as get and make.

Conclusion

In the exploration that is writing, students make significant discoveries. Writing provides a gift of space and time. Unlike informal communication, writers can take back a misstep. They can collect and arrange their thoughts. They can proceed without interruption and express what they might have only wished they had said in a casual conversation. Writing allows writers to be their best expressive selves. In turn, good writing offers its readers a distillation of worthy ideas.

References



Barzun, J. (1994). Simple & direct. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Cioffi, F. L. (2005). The imaginative argument. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Coe, R. M. (1990). Process, form, and substance. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Dillard, A. (1990). Three by Annie Dillard. New York: Harper Perennial.

Safire, W., & Safir, L. (Eds.). (1992). Good advice on writing: Writers past and present on how to write well. New York: Simon & Schuster.

Zinsser, W. (2006). On writing well. New York: Harper Collins.





© 2008. Grand Canyon University. All Rights Reserved.


and the answers for my discussion questions.

1) How do you imagine that collegiate writing experiences will differ from your other writing experiences? How might IM or text message language infiltrate your collegiate writing? What can you do to ensure that your writing is on the collegiate level?


It seems that writing in a collegiate manner will be exceptionally different that how I am used to writing. I will be trying to de-clutter my sentences and write in a manner that is foreign from the way that we all speak.It also makes me questions the validity of how we speak as a whole, since if we want to read a written form that is different from our spoken words, then it is no wonder that we do not listen very well to each other.
I hope, desperately, that I would not write such a faux pas in regards to implementing IM or text message language into my writing.
Revision, or re-visioning of my writing, is the best way that I can ensure my writing is on a collegiate level. Also, surrounding myself with a dictionary, thesaurus, and being up to date with the language of my field of study will also be of tremendous help. To be even more honest, the single best way would be to read as many academic papers by different authors so that I can understand what exactly is meant by "academic writing" since it is so foreign to me.

5) How might Zinsser’s notion—that clutter is the disease of writing—apply to your writing?


Not only my writing, but my speech as well can be applied by Zinsser's notion. Clear and concise writing and speaking is essential so that those who are reading or listening can understand your meaning perfectly, the first time. This notion is the most enlightening part of the lecture, because now I understand how badly we humans as a species converse with each other. I want to change, and remove all the superfluous words, but I am very verbose in both my writing and speech. This is, by far, the most challenging aspect of this course so far.
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Re: The week 5 lecture of my class...

PostPosted by NulSyn » Tue Apr 07, 2009 7:08 pm

:s_omg eek the discussion of writing and its styles......it burnses my eyes!!!!! :s_crazy
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Re: The week 5 lecture of my class...

PostPosted by verdilak » Tue Apr 07, 2009 7:27 pm

:s_rofl
ImageImage
"I'm imagining Kiera Knightly, Katherine Zeta-Jones, Angelina and Meg Fox sitting around your map wearing bandanas vigorously shaking fists full of d20s." - Aval Penworth, in regards to a map I made
"We're talking about the GM that made us fight giant Fruit, Verd is totally unpredictable." - Nikurasu (one of my players)
Everyone is an atheist about some gods, we just went one god further. - Richard Dawkins
Ism's in my opinion are not good. A person should not believe in an -ism, he should believe in himself. I quote John Lennon, "I don't believe in Beatles, I just believe in me."--Ferris Bueller, 1986
To the human body, a spoonful of flour and a spoonful of sugar are identical.
"Seeing, contrary to popular wisdom, isn't believing. It is where belief stops, because it isn't needed any more." - Terry Pratchett, Pyramids
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Re: The week 5 lecture of my class...

PostPosted by Svartalf » Wed Apr 08, 2009 3:54 pm

NulSyn wrote: :s_omg eek the discussion of writing and its styles......it burnses my eyes!!!!! :s_crazy

must admit I've internalized that kind of stuff for so long, seeing it discussed that way is quite painful.
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Re: The week 5 lecture of my class...

PostPosted by patricia39 » Tue Sep 07, 2010 3:14 am

The lecture that you have said was helpful. Though every lecture are helpful. Why I say this so? Because the lecture was all about writing? How to be successful in writing. Personally, even if I had graduated in college, I still don't have a full knowledge in writing. I hope I am the one who listen that lecture.
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Re: The week 5 lecture of my class...

PostPosted by NulSyn » Tue Sep 07, 2010 11:24 am

Not again.....
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Re: The week 5 lecture of my class...

PostPosted by verdilak » Tue Sep 07, 2010 11:32 am

Why are these interesting to these spammers?!?!?
ImageImage
"I'm imagining Kiera Knightly, Katherine Zeta-Jones, Angelina and Meg Fox sitting around your map wearing bandanas vigorously shaking fists full of d20s." - Aval Penworth, in regards to a map I made
"We're talking about the GM that made us fight giant Fruit, Verd is totally unpredictable." - Nikurasu (one of my players)
Everyone is an atheist about some gods, we just went one god further. - Richard Dawkins
Ism's in my opinion are not good. A person should not believe in an -ism, he should believe in himself. I quote John Lennon, "I don't believe in Beatles, I just believe in me."--Ferris Bueller, 1986
To the human body, a spoonful of flour and a spoonful of sugar are identical.
"Seeing, contrary to popular wisdom, isn't believing. It is where belief stops, because it isn't needed any more." - Terry Pratchett, Pyramids
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Re: The week 5 lecture of my class...

PostPosted by NulSyn » Tue Sep 07, 2010 1:50 pm

Link them anywhere else?

prophp also tries to do certain SEO capabilities for you, you might have just hit certain keywords the bots search out.
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Re: The week 5 lecture of my class...

PostPosted by verdilak » Tue Sep 07, 2010 7:35 pm

Nope, never linked them out, but its got like 1200 views!
ImageImage
"I'm imagining Kiera Knightly, Katherine Zeta-Jones, Angelina and Meg Fox sitting around your map wearing bandanas vigorously shaking fists full of d20s." - Aval Penworth, in regards to a map I made
"We're talking about the GM that made us fight giant Fruit, Verd is totally unpredictable." - Nikurasu (one of my players)
Everyone is an atheist about some gods, we just went one god further. - Richard Dawkins
Ism's in my opinion are not good. A person should not believe in an -ism, he should believe in himself. I quote John Lennon, "I don't believe in Beatles, I just believe in me."--Ferris Bueller, 1986
To the human body, a spoonful of flour and a spoonful of sugar are identical.
"Seeing, contrary to popular wisdom, isn't believing. It is where belief stops, because it isn't needed any more." - Terry Pratchett, Pyramids
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Re: The week 5 lecture of my class...

PostPosted by NulSyn » Tue Sep 07, 2010 8:46 pm

That's got to be an accidental super job of SEO. o.O
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