Writing Workshop


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Writing Workshop

  1. 1. Workshop Guidelines for Writing Sarah Bay-Cheng Trebor Scholz Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 1
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  3. 3. http://tinyurl.com/33lwo6 3
  4. 4. Recommended Books A Pocket Style Manual Daine Hacker On Writing Well William K. Zinsser The Elements of Style William Strunk and E.B. White 4
  5. 5. download this presentation: http://molodiez.org/rules_for_writing.pdf 5
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  7. 7. Who is writing? Voice, Perspective Artist, Social Scientist, Film Theorist, Anthropologist 7
  8. 8. •Be clear. Clear writing comes from clear thinking. • Avoid complicated words. • Specificity will raise interest. 8
  9. 9. What is at stake in your project? 9
  10. 10. How do I get better at writing? Know the rules of writing and learn when to break them. Establish a schedule for writing and stick to it. Write regularly. Practice, practice, practice. Q: What is a good time to write? A: The same time. Read good writers. 10
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  12. 12. Writing Process Plan Rough Draft (Content) Rewrite (Argument, Consistency) Rewrite (Sentence Level) 12
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  14. 14. In your opening sentences, give readers some background information about the issue you have chosen to debate; as you do this, establish your own credibility by showing that you are knowledgeable and fair-minded. At the end of your first paragraph, state your thesis— your own stand on the debatable issue. Provide your intellectual background. 14
  15. 15. Build common ground with readers who may disagree with your position on the issue. Attempt to refute opposing arguments—or at least to explain why they are less weighty than your own arguments. 15
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  19. 19. • An argumentative paper will have a strong claim for which you can imagine an intelligent opposition. • Define your central terms and stick to your definitions. • You should support your claims with quotations from other texts. Take a stand on the issue and defend your position to a general audience of intelligent but skeptical readers. Evaluate a source carefully before deciding to use it. Anticipate objections to your thesis. 19
  20. 20. Research Literature Review Evaluating sources online: author, date online vs. print peer-reviewed limit scope Create a bibliography http://credibility.stanford.edu/resources.html 20
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  22. 22. Evaluating Sources Web search engines often amass vast results, from memos to scholarly documents. Many of the resulting items will be peripheral or useless for your research Source. Author/producer is identifiable. Author/producer has expertise on the subject as indicated on a credentials page. You may need to trace back in the URL (Internet address) to view a page in a higher directory with background information sponsor/location of the site is appropriate to the material as shown in the URL. 22
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  24. 24. Content Accuracy Don't take the information presented at face value Look for point of view evidence of bias Source of the information should be clearly stated, whether original or borrowed from elsewhere Prefer sources with named authors; do not rely heavily on unsigned articles or anonymous Web site material. 24
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  29. 29. Cut. Find the essence. Put it away for a day or two. Look it over and cut again. 29
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  31. 31. Pay equal attention to the first and last sentence. The perfect ending should take your readers slightly by surprise and yet seem right. 31
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  33. 33. People judge you based on your communication skills. http://tinyurl.com/yo3scl 33
  34. 34. Titles Every essay or report you ever write should have a title, and that title should give prospective readers a sense not only of your topic, but also of your thesis. College-level papers are ideally essays that create their own context, and not private correspondences between students and their professors. The title should be centered on the first page. 34
  35. 35. • Enforce a unity of pronoun (e.g., first person), unity of tense and mood. 35
  36. 36. Quotation Marks vs. Apostrophes Never substitute an apostrophe, <’>, for a quotation mark, <”>, and never use a quotation mark unless you’re really quoting. Students often use apostrophes when they are paraphrasing a stereotypical view, or use apostrophes for what are often called “scare quotes”—an indication that one is quoting an opinion which one does not really believe. Don’t make this mistake. The only time you should use apostrophes to indicate a quotation is when you find yourself needing to present a quotation within a quotation: 36
  37. 37. Whom, Whose With whom did Alan go out last night? With whom do you think you’re speaking to? Whom you know counts more than what you know. 37
  38. 38. Lists The breakfast menu included ham and eggs, pancakes, omelets, and french toast. Aspiration an hour an honorary degree a hint a hospital, a hotel 38
  39. 39. Avoid using passive constructions whenever possible. You all should know what a passive construction looks like by now: “A compositional error was committed”; as opposed to “Johnny committed several compositional errors.” Passive constructions conceal questions of agency, precisely the questions with which critical essays should be most concerned. Passive constructions most frequently appear when a writer is generalizing. 39
  40. 40. http://tinyurl.com/3adfmq 40
  41. 41. Semicolon Samantha went to the store. She forgot to buy milk. OR Samantha went to the store; she forgot to buy milk. NOT Samantha went to the store, she forgot to buy milk. 41
  42. 42. i.e. versus e.g. i.e. e.g. quot;I.e.quot; stands simply for quot;that quot;E.g.quot; means quot;for example.quot; isquot; quot;I.e.quot; is used in place of quot;in It is used in expressions other words,quot; or quot;it/that is.quot; similar to quot;including,quot; when It specifies or makes more you are not intending to list clear. everything that is being discussed. 42
  43. 43. Respect the difference between hyphens, <->, and dashes, <-->. They mean very different things. When you wish to use a dash, type the hyphen key twice. 43
  44. 44. He versus him Do not assume that humanity can be universally described by the male pronouns. If you feel you must use pronouns in the abstract (i.e., not for a specific person), do not use “he” and “him” exclusively. There are a number of stylistic substitutions you can use. You can use “him/her,” “s/he,” or, “him or her.” You may also alternate pronouns from one usage to the next. 44
  45. 45. However Fine The roads were almost impassable. However, we at last succeeded in reaching the camp. Better The roads were almost impassable. At last, however, we succeeded in reaching the camp. 45
  46. 46. You should avoid presenting quotations as independent sentences, unless you are block quoting. Introduce a quotation, and then set it off with a comma or a colon. Ellipses, < . . . >, are unnecessary at the beginning or end of quotations—it is assumed that you are excerpting when you quote. Use ellipses when you interrupt a quotation. 46
  47. 47. The word “this” is not a pronoun: it cannot be used as the subject of a sentence without an accompanying noun or noun-phrase. The only exception to this rule is when “this” is immediately followed by a verb of being. “This is a case in point.” But, for your purposes, it is better to avoid the impulse altogether. 47
  48. 48. The punctuating of quotations. Periods and commas, in American convention always go inside quotation marks; colons and semi-colons go outside (if you use a book published in Britain you’ll find that different conventions pertain). Consider the sentence below: In Eliot’s view, poetry cannot be written without a sufficiently developed “historical sense,” a sense he finds “indispensable to any one who would continue to be a poet beyond his twenty-fifth year” (Selected Essays, 4). 48
  49. 49. Its and It’s. The possessive for a non-gendered object is “its.” For example, “When opening the peanut butter, I lost its cap.” The contraction for “it is” is “it’s.” 49
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  51. 51. Online Research Tools 51
  52. 52. http://www.bibme.org/ 52
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  57. 57. http://www.citationmachine.net/ 57
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  63. 63. Sarah Bay-Cheng Trebor Scholz baycheng@buffalo.edu trebor@thing.net 63
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