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Writing Strategies


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Version 2: This presentation provides basic definitions and explanation of rhetorical modes, patterns of paragraph development, or, as I like to call them, writing strategies.

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Writing Strategies

  1. 1. Writing Strategies Pathways to Proving Your Point
  2. 2. Writing Strategies are approaches toproving a point, ways to support a thesis,or patterns of communicating or thinkingthat are also known as: • patterns of development • patterns of inquiry • rhetorical modesWhen faced with a writing challenge, use thesestrategies to find the most effective way to proveyour point.
  3. 3. ✦ Description details a person place or thing✦ Narration tells a story, usually in chronological order✦ Exemplification (or illustration) proves a point with examples✦ Comparison and contrast distinguishes likenesses and differences✦ Cause and effect examines reasons and outcomes✦ Classification types or categorizes✦ Process analysis explains a process or tells how something is done or happens✦ Analysis (or division) examines the parts to better understand the whole✦ Argument asserts a stance on a controversial issue
  4. 4. Analysis
  5. 5. When you write using analysis:•separate the whole into parts•carefully study each part•make a conclusion about the whole Using the chart on the previous slide, a coffee taster separately considers the aroma and the taste of a given sample.
  6. 6. This photo was taken in Wales in 1965 byFor example, to analyze a photograph, consider: documentary photographer Bruce Davidson. To see more of•the focal point or central figure his photos, do a Google Image search. (Warning:•the background of the image not all images are “PG”)•the line of continuation or the progression of the viewer’seye as she studies the photograph•What story is the photographer (obviously not a wedding photographer)telling through this image?
  7. 7. To analyze an advertisement,consider elements such as thefollowing:•The focal point or central figure•The background of the image•The text•The use of color and lightDo you find this ad confusing?Disturbing? Effective?How would you summarize thestory this ad tells or the message itoffers viewers?
  8. 8. Description
  9. 9. When you write usingdescription: detail the subject of the description appeal to the reader’s five senses The Bellelli Family by Edgar Degas use figurative language to convey meaning use consistent details to establish a dominant impression When you study the details of the painting, what is your impression of the family in the painting? Does the painting convey a close family or does it communicate distance?
  10. 10. NarrationThere was an old woman who lived in a shoe... (illustration by Mary Engelbreit)
  11. 11. When you write using narration:tell a story focus the story-consider telling on a specificorganization: point: this is calledchronological order the narrative point;is the most it can be implied orcommon explicitly stated but should be clear touse literary devices the readerto guide yourwriting: conflict,character, setting,plot, theme
  12. 12. Exemplification
  13. 13. When you write in the exemplification strategy:• You prove a point with examples• convince the reader by detailing each example and relating it back to the main idea• use representative, substantial, compelling, and clear examples• What point could you make about toys marketed to children today using the three Bratz dolls pictured in the previous slide?
  14. 14. Comparison and Contrast
  15. 15. When you write using the comparison contrast strategy: distinguish between two or balance the comparison more subjects in order to and contrast support a main idea Consider the ads in the detail the likenesses and the previous slide: How do differences advertisers market cigarettes differently to explain the significance of men and women? the likenesses and differences
  16. 16. ClassificationWhen you write using the classificationstrategy:•break the broad subject (pizza, in thiscase) into categories•detail each classification, type, orcategory in order to make a point aboutthe broad subject•What point could you make about pizzathrough a discussion of these four types orstyles of preparation: New York, Chicago,California, and Neapolitan?
  17. 17. Cause and effect
  18. 18. When you write usingthe cause and effectstrategy:•examine the reasons that led upto an event or condition•isolate a causal chain of events inwhich one thing leads to another•explain the effects that followedfrom an event or condition•make a point about the causesor effects or both Consider the previous images of hurricane Katrina: what combination of causes led to the degree of destruction inflicted by the storm? What steps might have been taken prior to the storm that were not? What are the lingering effects of the storm? All of these questions can be explored through cause and effect writing.
  19. 19. Definition
  20. 20. When you write using the definition strategy:The whole idea is to Consider the previousdefine a term, concept, photo: how would youcustom, idea, position, define “mullet” for anview, or anything unfamiliar audience?unfamiliar to thereading audience. Often writers rely on description andConsider what the reader exemplification whenneeds to know in order writing comprehend the largerpoint you are trying tomake.
  21. 21. This is the McRib. This is the gordito. What distinguishes the gordito from the taco and the burrito?What are the defining McDonalds sells the McRib when it is not incharacteristics the vault, so to speak, and the gordito is a Tacoof this sandwich? Bell product.
  22. 22. Argument
  23. 23. When you use argument as a writing strategy:you take a stand on a How can the previous photograph becontroversial or debatable issue considered an argument? It was taken by British photographer Juliayou present clear evidence to Margaret Cameron in 1872, around the same time Romantic Era Britishsupport your point or stance poets were writing about the wisdom of children, cultural perceptionsyou objectively summarize and about childhood were changing, andthen refute the opposition’s child labor laws were being passed topoint of view or stance on the protect children from exploitation.issue.
  24. 24. Synthesis• Most writers use more • Any excellent college- than one of these level essay is going to strategies each time they feature analysis and write. most can be considered arguments.• Description is an important strategy to • When presented with a use when providing writing challenge, examples, telling stories, carefully consider how and presenting you might use each of arguments. these strategies to get your point across most effectively.