Writing Process—OWL

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The writing Process, step by step. By he Purdue Online Writing Lab

The writing Process, step by step. By he Purdue Online Writing Lab

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  • Welcome to “The Writing Process.” This presentation is designed to introduce your students to three major elements that constitute the writing process (invention, composition, revision) and the strategies for inventing, composing, reviewing, and proofreading. The eighteen slides presented here are designed to aid the facilitator in an interactive presentation of the nuts and bolts of the writing process. This presentation is useful for the beginning of a composition course and/or for the beginning of a writing project. This presentation may be supplemented by OWL handouts, links to which are mentioned on the specific slides. Directions: Each slide is activated by a single mouse click. Transitions inside slides are animated: clicking will lead to skipping the content. Notes: How often do you read manuals? Only, when you buy something with “some assembling required” label? Would you be able to assemble your purchase without the manual? Most likely, you would. It might take a few hours of trial and errors, a few unnecessary parts left, and, probably, some disappointment in the purchase, but eventually you’ll get it assembled. If you follow the steps suggested in the manual, however, you will save your time and avoid the mistakes that can ruin your purchase. Manuals are helpful even if we do not like that they are too prescriptive. Let’s consider this presentation the Manual to the Writing Process. You might choose not to follow every step in the manual, but knowing the stages, strategies, and techniques of the writing process will help save your time, so valuable in college; prevent frustration you might feel reading your teacher’s feedback, and, eventually, will help you get a good grade in a composition class. Manuals are a boring reading, but, after all, they are designed to walk you through the process rather than to entertain you. Suggested warm-up activity : Prior to the presentation, the facilitator might conduct a brief discussion of what the writing process is and ask the students what steps they usually make when they write. (Optional: the facilitator puts on the board some popular elements of the writing process: writing an essay, generating ideas, coming up with the thesis, proofreading for spelling and punctuation errors, organizing support to the thesis in a certain manner. S/he then asks the students to arrange these actions into the order they follow when they write). The facilitator might also find useful to compare the writing process to the process we follow when cooking something. It is important to know the right sequence of actions when your cook. When cooking spaghetti, we don’t drain water before it boils for at least 7 minutes! Otherwise, we can end up hungry. However, unlike the linear cooking process, writing is recursive. Writers do not go straight from generating and organizing ideas to composing, they re-think ideas and re-organize the paper when they revise it. Writer and Designer: Jennifer Liethen Kunka Contributors: Muriel Harris, Karen Bishop, Bryan Kopp, Matthew Mooney, David Neyhart, and Andrew Kunka Revising Authors: Elena Lawrick and Allen Brizee, 2007 Developed with resources courtesy of the Purdue University Writing Lab Grant funding courtesy of the Multimedia Instructional Development Center at Purdue University © Copyright Purdue University, 2000, 2006, 2007
  • The presentation starts with showing three major elements of the writing process, each of which is further discussed in terms of What is…? (i.e. its main stages) and How to..? (i.e. its strategies). E.g., the slide Inventing. How to invent? is followed by 1/the slide presenting major steps of invention and 2/the slide Inventing Strategies . The graphics presenting the writing process, i.e. the grey oval including invent-compose-revise elements, is consistently repeated throughout the presentation to make them memorable. Directions: Each slide is activated by a single mouse click. Transitions inside slides are animated: clicking will lead to skipping the content. Notes: When we write, we conduct three actions: we invent, compose, and revise. And, we invent again, and then compose, and then revise. Hopefully, we can stop the circle at a certain point when we realize that the piece of writing we are working on is good enough for submission. Or, that we’ve run out of time….As you can see, three main elements of the writing process are invention, composition, and revision. Invention is a starting point of the process, at which writers come up with the game plan and ideas for the writing assignment. Composition focuses on generating the thesis and organizing ideas to support it. Revision consists of reviewing the paper for organization and support and also of proofreading it for mechanics errors. The writing process is “a circle in a circle” in a sense that the three actions take place at every stage. When writers brainstorm ideas, they jot them down and assess them critically: that is, writers compose and revise when they invent! When revision happens, writers work with ideas by cutting and rearranging them, or by adding new ones: that is, writers invent and compose when they revise!
  • The presentation starts with showing three major elements of the writing process, each of which is further discussed in terms of What is…? (i.e. its main stages) and How to..? (i.e. its strategies). E.g., the slide Inventing. How to invent? is followed by 1/the slide presenting major steps of invention and 2/the slide Inventing Strategies . The graphics presenting the writing process, i.e. the grey oval including invent-compose-revise elements, is consistently repeated throughout the presentation to make them memorable. Directions: Each slide is activated by a single mouse click. Transitions inside slides are animated: clicking will lead to skipping the content. Notes: When we write, we conduct three actions: we invent, compose, and revise. And, we invent again, and then compose, and then revise. Hopefully, we can stop the circle at a certain point when we realize that the piece of writing we are working on is good enough for submission. Or, that we’ve run out of time….As you can see, three main elements of the writing process are invention, composition, and revision. Invention is a starting point of the process, at which writers come up with the game plan and ideas for the writing assignment. Composition focuses on generating the thesis and organizing ideas to support it. Revision consists of reviewing the paper for organization and support and also of proofreading it for mechanics errors. The writing process is “a circle in a circle” in a sense that the three actions take place at every stage. When writers brainstorm ideas, they jot them down and assess them critically: that is, writers compose and revise when they invent! When revision happens, writers work with ideas by cutting and rearranging them, or by adding new ones: that is, writers invent and compose when they revise!
  • Invention a starting point of the process. At this stage the writer comes up with the game plan and ideas for the writing assignment. Directions: Each slide is activated by a single mouse click. Transitions inside slides are animated: clicking will lead to skipping the content. Notes: Now, when you are familiar with the main stages of the writing process, let’s look at each stage in terms of “How to..?” and talk about the strategies that can be used to invent, compose, and revise. Remember, this presentation is your Manual to Writing , whose ultimate goal is to equip you with the bank of techniques you can choose from when you write. So, what exactly is the invention and how do we invent? This slide can be complimented by invention and prewriting material on the Purdue OWL.
  • This slide deals with What is..? part of the explanation and presents two necessary initial steps of writing: scheduling a particular writing process and assessing the assignment in terms of a rhetorical situation. Directions: Each slide is activated by a single mouse click. Transitions inside slides are animated: clicking will lead to skipping the content. Notes: Do not rush to start composing right after you’ve received a writing assignment. Pause for a moment and think of it as of a business project. Devise a game plan, schedule your project: it will help you time-manage it, especially if you are a lover of procrastination. Are you the one? Then do not ignore this step: generating a game plan will guarantee that you will not “wake up” the night before a deadline. Since invention is about generating ideas for the paper, which is a struggling process for many writers, thinking of the assignment in terms of a rhetorical situation can be a way out of the ‘labyrinth’. Do NOT think about the assignment globally: it can be overwhelming; think locally: just start answering simple questions. Who is my audience? What is the purpose of this paper? What is the genre of this assignment? What do I know about this genre? What about the style? Do I want to sound informal or formal? What kind of research do I have to conduct to gather information for the paper?
  • This slide presents four strategies to generate ideas for the paper: 1) questions, 2) free writing and brainstorming, 3) mapping and clustering, and 4) keeping a writer’s journal. Each strategy is complimented by a short and vivid explanation/example that pops up on the left-hand side of the slide. Directions: Each slide is activated by a single mouse click. Transitions inside slides are animated: clicking will lead to skipping the content. Notes: There are several techniques you can use to come up with the ideas for your writing assignment. It is helpful to be familiar with and try all of them because you never know which one will work today. For example, you are experiencing a writer’s block: your mind got blank and not a single idea comes to it. Try freewriting, and then use it as a starting point for clustering the ideas. Or, you are having a whole bunch of ideas, but you do not see how they are related. In this case, listing and clustering will help you out. So, let’s built up the bank of strategies writers use to invent ideas. Ask critical questions : The technique that works for every writer! Ask yourself simple questions nosy journalists love to ask: What? When? Where? How? E.g., what would I like to learn about it if I were a reader? When did it happen? Look how easy to work with reporter’s questions. Let’s say you wrote a sentence: Mike walked into the room. Boring? Then, be curious: How did Mike walk? What was the room like? Who was there? Why did Mike walk there? (This is a great opportunity for a facilitator to engage the audience, invite the students to come up with answers, and generate a sentence full of details and vivid words). Brainstorm the topic: jot down any idea that pops up in your mind. Do not assess whether it is relevant or not, you’ll figure it out later. Your task now is to build up a collection of ideas you associate with the topic. Freewriting is a useful technique when you experience a writer’s block. How many of you felt at least once that you were not able to squeeze anything out of your mind? In such cases, writing without stopping for five to ten minutes is the best remedy. Turn off you inner critic: forget about spelling or punctuation rules. You are not going to show your writing to anyone, you just give a voice to your mind! Besides being an urgent care for a writer’s block, freewriting is a great source of ideas. You will be surprised how many fresh ideas you can find among a junk yard of spelling errors and awkwardly-phrased sentences. Mapping & Clustering : Have you ever created a web of ideas? Do you like to draw bubbles and put words into it? Even if you don’t, clustering is a great way to sort out the thoughts you have generated so far. (Or, the ones you have found in your freewritten passage). Clustering helps to see which idea is not developed enough or not supported with sufficient details. Keep a journal: If you like to keep a record of the events happening in your life, or, if you just like to express your feelings on paper, then your journal can be an excellent collection of ideas for your writing assignments. Reread the entries: you might find something related to the theme of your writing project. Journals are not for everyone, but they might be the treasure cave for those who keep them. Suggested activity: After presenting these strategies, the facilitator can engage the audience into a discussion of strategies students find more efficient as well as encourage the students to try new ones. As an optional follow-up activity the facilitator can divide the audience into six groups and ask each group to generate ideas for the assigned topic by using one strategy. All groups will work with the same topic, however the means of coming up with the ideas will be different. Class discussion wraps up the activity.
  • Composing is a complex process ranging from conducting research to writing the first draft. Often, students struggle with writing a paper because they mistake composing with drafting; that is, they reduce composing to writing the first draft. Hence, conducting the research, narrowing the topic, developing the thesis statement, and arranging supporting ideas in a logical manner escape the students’ writing process. As a result, students have to deal with the issues of organizing papers and communicating ideas at the revision stage. It is essential to point out the importance of every step of composing and show how each step contributes to the ultimate successful first draft. Directions: Each slide is activated by a single mouse click. Transitions inside slides are animated: clicking will lead to skipping the content. Notes: The next element of the writing process is composing. Unlike the common stereotype, composing is more than writing a draft. It is a complex process that involves major decisions regarding the topic and organization of the paper, in which drafting is only a final step. It will be fair to sat that composition is the main strategic element of the writing process. After all, you are in an introductory COMPOSITION class. Just don’t forget that we can’t compose a decent essay without invention and revision.
  • This slide names the steps of composing: 1/conducting research, 2/narrowing the topic, 3/developing the thesis, 4/organizing ideas to support the thesis, 5/writing the first draft. It might be useful to stress that the composing stage of the writing process is linear and sequential. The key to a strong first draft is to follow the steps in the order listed: from conducting research and narrowing a topic to the developing a thesis statement and arranging its support. In the long run, this can save a writer time and effort. Directions: Each slide is activated by a single mouse click. Transitions inside slides are animated: clicking will lead to skipping the content. Notes: Here are five major steps writers takes when they compose : Research the subject. Research makes your argument more credible, it provides specific details and supports to the statements you make. There are different kinds of research: you can go online or to the library, conduct an interview, or even observe the subject—the research you’ll do depends on the writing assignment you are working on. Narrow the topic. Think of your writing assignment: Is the topic you’ve chosen narrow enough? It is extremely difficult to discuss a broad topic like “Smoking on campus” on two or three pages. Choose one aspect of the problem you want to discuss. Broad topics lead to generalizations and shallow argumentation, that is why the topic should be narrow enough to give you space to develop and support your claim. For example, instead of “Smoking on campus” you can discuss the reasons why the students on your campus do not abide anti-smoking rules. Now, when you know more about the subject, after you narrowed the topic, it is time for developing a thesis statement. The thesis is the major claim of your argument, it is a main strand around which you will weave other ideas. The way you will word the thesis will depend on a kind of paper you are writing: analytical, expository, or argumentative. (You will find more specific advice on creating a thesis statement on http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/545/01/) The rule of thumb to organize a paper: ideas should be related to a thesis and support it. The choice of a manner of organization can vary: you might organize supporting details in a time, space, or importance (from the weakest to the strongest) manner, but do not forget that every detail should work toward the thesis and should be coherently connected with the others. Otherwise, the paper won’t flow. So, you are focused on a specific facet of the topic, you have researched it, developed a strong thesis statement, and arranged the support: it’s time to write the first draft! Suggested follow-up activity (next class session): The facilitator might follow up the presentation by conducting a case study of two drafts of a student’s paper which explores the problems with one of these issues: the topic is too general, or there is a conflict between the thesis and support, or illogical organization of supporting ideas, or the lack of the thesis statement/research. The facilitator can use this slide solely as a grid for the analysis of the paper.
  • This slide provides a sample of an outline and reminds students of the basis structure of an essay and the functions of each part. Directions: Each slide is activated by a single mouse click. Transitions inside slides are animated: clicking will lead to skipping the content. Notes: Organizing the paper in the form of an outline helps visualize its flow and coherence of ideas. The outline you see on the left-hand side of the slide shows the basic structure of an essay. It contains an introduction, body, and conclusion. The introduction grabs the reader’s attention and introduces the main idea or claim, often in the form of a thesis statement. The body consists of several supporting paragraphs that help elaborate upon the main claim. It is the body of the paper where you build points, develop ideas, and support the main claim, which you made in the introduction. The conclusion serves to wrap up the argument and reemphasize the writer’s main ideas. Whether you created an elaborated outline, like the one you would submit to your teacher, or simply sketched the main points of your paper, you immediately have a clear picture of the strengths and weaknesses of the organization of the paper. An outline shows your argument in a simple and comprehensive manner, so you can save time and effort and re-arrange ideas BEFORE you even start writing the first draft. Outlines are like maps: they show directions and guarantee that you won’t get lost when you write a paper. This slide can be supplemented by the handout Developing an Outline from http://owl.english.purdue.edu/handouts/general/gl_plan1.html
  • Although revision is the final element of the writing process, it leads to re-inventing and re-composing. Thus, the three elements make a circle. Directions: Each slide is activated by a single mouse click. Transitions inside slides are animated: clicking will lead to skipping the content. Notes: Revision is the final component of the writing process. Simply put, we revise when we change a written paper. We can make global change to add, cut, or re-arrange ideas, or we can make minor changes to correct punctuation and spelling errors. But remember, when I introduced invention, composition, and revision, I stressed that writing process is recursive. Revision causes re-invention (writers brainstorm for new ideas) and re-composition (you have to re-arrange the support and re-write the entire paper). Since there is no revision without invention and composition, it is helpful to keep in mind the strategies of these initial elements of the writing process. Suggested activity: The facilitator might ask students what exactly they do when they revise the first drat and, building on the responses, might explain that the efficient revision is two-fold: reviewing and proofreading, or editing. This brief discussion will make a smooth transition to the next slide.
  • The presentation shows revision as a hierarchy of reviewing for higher-order concerns and proofreading for later-order concerns. Revising a paper can be an overwhelming business and students tend to focus on correcting grammar, punctuation, and spelling errors; thus, loosing sight of the issues of organization, clear communication of ideas, and coherence. Therefore, it is helpful to divide revision into two stages: reviewing and proofreading. The facilitator might want to stress a prior order of reviewing over proofreading. Directions: Each slide is activated by a single mouse click. Transitions inside slides are animated: clicking will lead to skipping the content. Notes: Every writer at least once felt overwhelmed while revising the paper. Revision is messy: you start with checking how clearly your ideas are communicated, stumble at a comma in the wrong place, and slide into correcting grammar, spelling, and punctuation. It helps if the writer does revision into two steps: first, review the organization, coherence, and clear communication of ideas, and then, proofread the for grammar, punctuation, and spelling. Hence, revisions is not messy any more, and you focus on one thing at a time. It’s a bad, though tempting idea, to proofread before review since it’s easier to do. Reviewing might require major changes in your paper and adding new paragraphs, so you will inevitably have to proofread again.
  • Directions: Each slide is activated by a single mouse click. Transitions inside slides are animated: clicking will lead to skipping the content. Notes: Reviewing is revising the paper on the idea-level. Literally, it is re-seeing the argument of the paper. Sometimes a first draft is just that--a first draft. After completing it, the writer has a better sense of the audience, purpose, and thesis statement. Don’t feel chained to every word you wrote, look at your writing as at an evolving piece of work and subject to change. Ask for a feedback from your peers. Compare the message they received from your paper with the one you intended to get across. Do they coincide? If not, you might want to reconsider the organization of your paper focusing on the clear communication of ideas. Go over each paragraph: Does it have a topic sentence? Does the body of the paragraph relate, clarify, and illustrate the point a topic sentence makes? Are paragraphs coherently connected? Does the paper flows? A simple trick will help you to check the organization of the paper. Highlight the thesis statement and topic sentences of every paragraph. Now you can see crystal clear ONLY the skeleton of the paper, the argument you are making. Is it logically and coherently organized? If not, you need to employ review strategies. This slide can be supplemented by the handout Higher Order Concerns and Later Order Concerns (HOCs and LOCs) from http://owl.english.purdue.edu/handouts/general/gl_hocloc.html
  • In the process of re-thinking the argument, writers exploit the following strategies: refocusing, reordering, adding, and cutting ideas, sentences, and, sometimes, paragraphs. The strategies are self-explanatory; however, the facilitator might use the example of a sample outline to show how the clarification of the thesis can lead to changing of the arrangement of the support. Directions: Each slide is activated by a single mouse click. Transitions inside slides are animated: clicking will lead to skipping the content. Notes: There are several strategies to re-think the argument in the writer’s arsenal: The writer might refocus the argument, reorder supporting ideas, add new details or cut the ones that irrelevant or redundant. For example, after reading the first draft you feel that the topic is still too broad to cover it in one paper, and one aspect of it obviously dominates: it’s interesting to the reader and you have sufficient research to illustrate it. Concentrate on this aspect then and re-arrange the supporting ideas to show every facet of it. If the thesis is strong, but the ideas in paragraphs drift away from the main claim, the paper needs reordering the supporting claims. Or, if you discovered a black hole in your argument, brainstorm for new ideas, conduct necessary research, and add. From time to time the writer has to cut some sentences or even paragraphs. It’s a painful, but necessary activity. Remember, your main concern in review is the argument you are developing in the paper. Check for clear communication, coherence, and relevance.
  • After working on the quality of the content and organization at the reviewing stage, writers then need to take care of mechanics, including corrections of spelling, punctuation, sentence structure, and documentation style. Directions: Each slide is activated by a single mouse click. Transitions inside slides are animated: clicking will lead to skipping the content. Notes: Now, when global issues of the paper are taken care of, it is time to proofread for spelling, punctuation, grammar, and documentation style. These issues might seem not important, but they might impede the communication. After all, who likes to struggle through grammar and spelling errors while reading? This slide can be complimented with the handouts Proofreading Strategies http://owl.english.purdue.edu/handouts/general/gl_proof.html, Proofreading Your Paper http://owl.english.purdue.edu/handouts/general/gl_proof2.html, Steps in Editing Your Papers http://owl.english.purdue.edu/handouts/general/gl_stepedit.html, Proofreading for Commas http://owl.english.purdue.edu/handouts/grammar/g_commaproof.html.
  • This slide presents several efficient proofreading strategies. Directions: Each slide is activated by a single mouse click. Transitions inside slides are animated: clicking will lead to skipping the content. Notes: Start with running grammar and spell check. They will point to basic errors. If treated with caution, checkers are a great help to writers. It is important though, to caution students against an overreliance upon computer checkers. The technology can not think, it will not recognize “Good smelling (instead of spelling) is important in college” as an error! Also, many grammar checks function on computer-programmed patterns of words. Often, they cannot process long or complicated sentences. Just because sentences are long or complicated does not mean they are wrong. Having an understanding of grammar yourself is the best way to check over your work. Read your paper out loud. Reading aloud forces the writer to engage each word verbally. Often typos, spelling errors, and sentence structure problems can be caught this way. If spelling is a big problem, checking through the paper backwards can also help writers to correct errors. Again, checking backwards will help writers to engage every word. Exchanging papers with a friend can also be a good way to check for errors. Sometimes a fresh pair of eyes helps. However, writers need to remember that the paper belongs to them and they are responsible for their work. If a friend corrects something that you don’t think is incorrect, double check with a grammar book, the OWL web site, or the Writing Lab Grammar Hotline.
  • Directions: Each slide is activated by a single mouse click. Transitions inside slides are animated: clicking will lead to skipping the content. Rationale: This slide takes the audience back to the three key elements of the writing process: invention, composition, and revision; thus, wrapping up the presentation in the summary. It is important to remind the audience about the recursiveness of the process where all three elements interact at every stage.
  • This slide informs students that there are three ways to get help from the Writing Lab with specific concerns: to come to the lab, to call Grammar Hotline, and either email or search OWL website. Directions: Each slide is activated by a single mouse click. Transitions inside slides are animated: clicking will lead to skipping the content. Notes: There are three ways to receive help from Purdue Writing Lab: you are welcome to make an appointment and talk your paper over with a tutor, you can call the Grammar Hot Line if you are working on the paper and need urgent advice, or you can search OWL website or email your question. Whatever means of communication you choose, be sure that Writing Lab specialists are happy to help you to enhance your writing.
  • This final slide provides the detailed information regarding how to reach Purdue Writing Lab. Directions: Each slide is activated by a single mouse click. Transitions inside slides are animated: clicking will lead to skipping the content. Notes: So, you are on West Lafayette Campus, the Writing Lab is located in room 226 in Heavilon Hall. The lab is open 9:00am-6:00 pm. For urgent telephone enquires call Grammar Hotline at (765) 494-3723. OWL, Online Writing Lab, is a reach resource of information. Its address is http://owl.english.purdue.edu. And finally, you can email your questions to owl@owl.english.purdue.edu and our tutors will get back to you promptly.
  • Writer and Designer: Jennifer Liethen Kunka Contributors: Muriel Harris, Karen Bishop, Bryan Kopp, Matthew Mooney, David Neyhart, and Andrew Kunka Revising Author: Elena Lawrick, 2007 Developed with resources courtesy of the Purdue University Writing Lab Grant funding courtesy of the Multimedia Instructional Development Center at Purdue University © Copyright Purdue University, 2000, 2006, 2007

Transcript

  • 1. The Writing Process
  • 2. Introduction What you will learn f rom this presentation : How to invent, compose, and revise.
  • 3. How do we write? We… Compose Invent Revise
  • 4. Inventing How to …? Compose Invent Revise
  • 5. Inventing Devise a game plan: schedule the writing process Ask questions to explore your rhetorical situation:
  • 6. Invention Strategies Explore classic topics Ask stasis questions Use tagmemics Record ideas without revising or proofreading Invent and organize ideas visually to explore relationships, processes Write personal explorations and reflections on ideas Ask more critical questions Freewrite & brainstorm Map & cluster Keep a journal
  • 7. Composing How to….? Compose Revise
  • 8. Composing Conduct research Narrow the topic Develop the thesis Organize ideas Write the 1 st draft
  • 9. Organizing Strategies I. Introduction A. Set the context B. Explain why the topic is important C. State the thesis II. Body A. Build points B. Develop ideas C. Support the main claim III. Conclusion A. Reemphasize the main idea B. Restate the thesis Create an outline
  • 10. Revising How to…? Compose Revise
  • 11. Revising Review Proofread
  • 12. Revising Review
  • 13. Reviewing Strategies Refocus Reorder Add Cut
  • 14. Revising Proofread
  • 15. Proofreading Strategies Run spell & grammar check Read the paper aloud & backwards Speak with your instructor Visit your writing lab
  • 16. How do we write? We… Compose Invent Revise
  • 17. How can you get help? from Purdue Writing Lab… call visit email
  • 18. Where can you get help? Grammar hotline: (765) 494-3723 Contact us: http://owl.english.purdue.edu/writinglab/email/owlmail Writing lab: HEAV 226, PU Our website: http://owl.english.purdue.edu
  • 19. The End