Guidelines for Writing

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Guidelines for Writing

  1. 1. Guidelines for Writing Trebor Scholz Department of Media Study trebor@thing.net Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 1
  2. 2. Guidelines for Writing Trebor Scholz Department of Media Study trebor@thing.net Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 1
  3. 3. Process 2
  4. 4. Process 2
  5. 5. Writing Process Plan Rough Draft (Content) Rewrite (Argument, Consistency) Rewrite (Sentence Level) 3
  6. 6. Writing Process Plan Rough Draft (Content) Rewrite (Argument, Consistency) Rewrite (Sentence Level) 3
  7. 7. Principles 4
  8. 8. Principles 4
  9. 9. General Principles •Be yourself. • Be clear. Clear writing comes from clear thinking. •Avoid fancy words. •Specificity will raise interest. •Have a unity of pronoun (first person, etc.), unity of tense (past, present, future) and unity of mood. •After every sentence, ask yourself what the reader wants to know next. •Interview others and weave their quotes into your writing. 5
  10. 10. General Principles •Be yourself. • Be clear. Clear writing comes from clear thinking. •Avoid fancy words. •Specificity will raise interest. •Have a unity of pronoun (first person, etc.), unity of tense (past, present, future) and unity of mood. •After every sentence, ask yourself what the reader wants to know next. •Interview others and weave their quotes into your writing. 5
  11. 11. Less is more! Cut! Cut! Cut! Find the essence. Put it away for a day or two. Look it over and cut again. 6
  12. 12. Less is more! Cut! Cut! Cut! Find the essence. Put it away for a day or two. Look it over and cut again. 6
  13. 13. Rules 7
  14. 14. Rules 7
  15. 15. Q: What is a good time to write? A: The same time. 8
  16. 16. Q: What is a good time to write? A: The same time. 8
  17. 17. How do I get better at writing? 1. Know the rules of writing and learn when to break them. Establish a schedule for writing and stick to it. Force yourself to write regularly. 2. Practice, practice, practice. 3. Read good writers. Writing is learned by imitation. 9
  18. 18. How do I get better at writing? 1. Know the rules of writing and learn when to break them. Establish a schedule for writing and stick to it. Force yourself to write regularly. 2. Practice, practice, practice. 3. Read good writers. Writing is learned by imitation. 9
  19. 19. Further Reading: http://www.swarthmore.edu/x10243.xml 10
  20. 20. Further Reading: http://www.swarthmore.edu/x10243.xml 10
  21. 21. Citations 11
  22. 22. Citations 11
  23. 23. Referencing 12
  24. 24. Referencing 12
  25. 25. Recommended Books http://dianahacker.com/pocket/ Pocket Style Manual: Updated With Mla's 1999 Guidelines by Diana Hacker (Paperback - Mar 1999) On Writing Well, 30th Anniversary Edition: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction (On Writing Well) by William K. Zinsser 13
  26. 26. Recommended Books http://dianahacker.com/pocket/ Pocket Style Manual: Updated With Mla's 1999 Guidelines by Diana Hacker (Paperback - Mar 1999) On Writing Well, 30th Anniversary Edition: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction (On Writing Well) by William K. Zinsser 13
  27. 27. Argumentation 14
  28. 28. Argumentation 14
  29. 29. What is an argument? http://tinyurl.com/3x6pvo 15
  30. 30. What is an argument? http://tinyurl.com/3x6pvo 15
  31. 31. •An argumentative paper will have a claim. A thesis is a claim that is strong. A strong claim is a claim for which you can imagine an intelligent opposition. •You should define your central terms and definitions. But it is crucial that once you have defined a term you will stick to the meaning you have assigned it yourself. •You should support your claims about quotations from other texts. Use actual quotes. •You should anticipate objections to your thesis. You should anticipate problems, and criticisms and deal with them before they arise. http://socrates.berkeley.edu/~dalec/fourhabits.html 16
  32. 32. •An argumentative paper will have a claim. A thesis is a claim that is strong. A strong claim is a claim for which you can imagine an intelligent opposition. •You should define your central terms and definitions. But it is crucial that once you have defined a term you will stick to the meaning you have assigned it yourself. •You should support your claims about quotations from other texts. Use actual quotes. •You should anticipate objections to your thesis. You should anticipate problems, and criticisms and deal with them before they arise. http://socrates.berkeley.edu/~dalec/fourhabits.html 16
  33. 33. Arguing a point Choose a debatable issue about which you have some knowledge—either through personal experience or reading. 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. 17
  34. 34. Arguing a point Choose a debatable issue about which you have some knowledge—either through personal experience or reading. 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. 17
  35. 35. http://tinyurl.com/39suf4 18
  36. 36. http://tinyurl.com/39suf4 18
  37. 37. Arguing a Point 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. 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. 19
  38. 38. Arguing a Point 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. 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. 19
  39. 39. Grammar 20
  40. 40. Grammar 20
  41. 41. Grammar People judge you based on your communication skills. http://tinyurl.com/yo3scl 21
  42. 42. Grammar People judge you based on your communication skills. http://tinyurl.com/yo3scl 21
  43. 43. Whom, Whose Whom did Alan go out with last night? Whom do you think you’re speaking to? Whom you know counts more than what you know. 22
  44. 44. Whom, Whose Whom did Alan go out with last night? Whom do you think you’re speaking to? Whom you know counts more than what you know. 22
  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. 23
  46. 46. 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. 23
  47. 47. Aspiration an hour an honorary degree a hint a hospital, a hotel 24
  48. 48. Aspiration an hour an honorary degree a hint a hospital, a hotel 24
  49. 49. i.e. or e.g. e.g. i.e. quot;E.g.quot; means quot;for example.quot; quot;I.e.quot; stands simply for quot;that isquot; quot;I.e.quot; is used in place of quot;in It is used in expressions similar other words,quot; or quot;it/that is.quot; It to quot;including,quot; when you are not specifies or makes more clear. intending to list everything that is being discussed. I.E. I'm going to the place where I work best, i.e., the coffee shop. E.G. At the places where I work best, e.g., Starbuck's, I have none of the distractions I have at home. 25
  50. 50. i.e. or e.g. e.g. i.e. quot;E.g.quot; means quot;for example.quot; quot;I.e.quot; stands simply for quot;that isquot; quot;I.e.quot; is used in place of quot;in It is used in expressions similar other words,quot; or quot;it/that is.quot; It to quot;including,quot; when you are not specifies or makes more clear. intending to list everything that is being discussed. I.E. I'm going to the place where I work best, i.e., the coffee shop. E.G. At the places where I work best, e.g., Starbuck's, I have none of the distractions I have at home. 25
  51. 51. 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. 26
  52. 52. 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. 26
  53. 53. The comma goes within the quotation marks. 27
  54. 54. The comma goes within the quotation marks. 27
  55. 55. Lists The breakfast menu included ham and eggs, pancakes, omelets, and french toast. Either way is fine but you must be consistent. 28
  56. 56. Lists The breakfast menu included ham and eggs, pancakes, omelets, and french toast. Either way is fine but you must be consistent. 28
  57. 57. Structure 29
  58. 58. Structure 29
  59. 59. Ask yourself: How does each individual paragraph serve your argument? 30
  60. 60. Ask yourself: How does each individual paragraph serve your argument? 30
  61. 61. One main point for one paragraph 31
  62. 62. One main point for one paragraph 31
  63. 63. Active or Passive Voice 32
  64. 64. Active or Passive Voice 32
  65. 65. Active/Passive Voice Use the active voice unless you have a good reason for choosing the passive. http://tinyurl.com/2674kz 33
  66. 66. Active/Passive Voice Use the active voice unless you have a good reason for choosing the passive. http://tinyurl.com/2674kz 33
  67. 67. Analysis 34
  68. 68. Analysis 34
  69. 69. http://tinyurl.com/3adfmq 35
  70. 70. http://tinyurl.com/3adfmq 35
  71. 71. Analyzing a Reading In the opening paragraph, mention the title of the reading and the name of the author and describe the author’s thesis and overall argumentative strategy. Then state your own thesis. Your thesis should sum up your evaluation of the author’s argument. Evaluate the evidence the author gives in support of his or her key lines of reasoning. If the author makes unproven assumptions or provides weak evidence, point out these flaws; if the author’s reasoning is largely sound, explain why you find it persuasive. http://www.bedfordstmartins.com/hacker/assignments.htm 36
  72. 72. Analyzing a Reading In the opening paragraph, mention the title of the reading and the name of the author and describe the author’s thesis and overall argumentative strategy. Then state your own thesis. Your thesis should sum up your evaluation of the author’s argument. Evaluate the evidence the author gives in support of his or her key lines of reasoning. If the author makes unproven assumptions or provides weak evidence, point out these flaws; if the author’s reasoning is largely sound, explain why you find it persuasive. http://www.bedfordstmartins.com/hacker/assignments.htm 36
  73. 73. Writing a Research Paper Conduct research on a debatable political or scholarly issue. A debatable issue is one about which intelligent, well- meaning people might disagree; it does not need to be a highly controversial topic. Keep an open mind as you read a variety of sources reflecting different points of view. After weighing the evidence, form a tentative thesis that sums up your position on the issue. Then write a seven page paper that supports your thesis with authoritative and properly cited evidence. 37
  74. 74. Writing a Research Paper Conduct research on a debatable political or scholarly issue. A debatable issue is one about which intelligent, well- meaning people might disagree; it does not need to be a highly controversial topic. Keep an open mind as you read a variety of sources reflecting different points of view. After weighing the evidence, form a tentative thesis that sums up your position on the issue. Then write a seven page paper that supports your thesis with authoritative and properly cited evidence. 37
  75. 75. http://tinyurl.com/33lwo6 38
  76. 76. http://tinyurl.com/33lwo6 38
  77. 77. Writing a Research Paper Prefer sources with named authors; do not rely heavily on unsigned articles or anonymous Web site material. Map out a research strategy appropriate for your topic. For current topics, you might seek information in newspapers and magazines and on Web sites. For more historical topics, books and scholarly articles may be best. Integrate all quoted material and most summaries and paraphrases with clear signal phrases, usually including the author’s name. Avoid plagiarism. Enclose borrowed language in quotation marks, put summaries and paraphrases in your own words, and document sources with MLA citations. 39
  78. 78. Writing a Research Paper Prefer sources with named authors; do not rely heavily on unsigned articles or anonymous Web site material. Map out a research strategy appropriate for your topic. For current topics, you might seek information in newspapers and magazines and on Web sites. For more historical topics, books and scholarly articles may be best. Integrate all quoted material and most summaries and paraphrases with clear signal phrases, usually including the author’s name. Avoid plagiarism. Enclose borrowed language in quotation marks, put summaries and paraphrases in your own words, and document sources with MLA citations. 39
  79. 79. Judgement 40
  80. 80. Judgement 40
  81. 81. Judging Online Sources Evaluate the Source 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 41
  82. 82. Judging Online Sources Evaluate the Source 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 41
  83. 83. 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 Comprehensiveness Depth of information: determine if content covers a specific time period or aspect of the topic, or strives to be comprehensive 42
  84. 84. 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 Comprehensiveness Depth of information: determine if content covers a specific time period or aspect of the topic, or strives to be comprehensive 42
  85. 85. Conclusion 43
  86. 86. Conclusion 43
  87. 87. The Conclusion 1. Give as much thought to the last sentence as the first. 2. Don’t conclude with a summary. 3. “[Y]our readers hear the laborious sound of cranking. They notice what you are doing and how bored you are by it. They feel the stirrings of resentment. 4. Don’t use “In conclusion,” or other derivatives. 5. “The perfect ending should take your readers slightly by surprise and yet seem exactly right. http://tinyurl.com/2p4cwe 44
  88. 88. The Conclusion 1. Give as much thought to the last sentence as the first. 2. Don’t conclude with a summary. 3. “[Y]our readers hear the laborious sound of cranking. They notice what you are doing and how bored you are by it. They feel the stirrings of resentment. 4. Don’t use “In conclusion,” or other derivatives. 5. “The perfect ending should take your readers slightly by surprise and yet seem exactly right. http://tinyurl.com/2p4cwe 44
  89. 89. Tools 45
  90. 90. Tools 45
  91. 91. 46
  92. 92. 46
  93. 93. 47
  94. 94. 47
  95. 95. - end - please direct comments, additions, etc to trebor@thing.net 48
  96. 96. - end - please direct comments, additions, etc to trebor@thing.net 48
  97. 97. 49
  98. 98. 49

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