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Xiuzhu_Chen Mr. Padgett ENGL 1101 Mr. Padgett Writing Theory EssayDate What is Good Writing? What is good writing? This is a really hard question. Different people have different answers. Some people think that good writing must contain a variety of vocabulary. Some people will say that good writing must have good grammar. Stephen King said that good writing is based on reading and writing (1). In my opinion, good writing are is clear, good communication between reader and writer, and trying to use simple words to describe. Clear means focusing on the thesis and not putting much other information which is disconnected with the thesis to confuse the readers. People would prefer to read the writing which is clear because they can understand the thesis quickly. A paper or an article that is easy to understand means that writers could use a simple method to describe the writing. Then readers could easily to understand what the writer is trying to say. Good communication means writer and reader have a good communication based on the writing. When people enjoy reading a book, he or she must understand what the book is talking about. If people do not understand the writers thesis, they usually do not like the writing. The basic purpose of a writer writing is to get people to read the writing. If an article confuses people, most people would not choose to read this article. So, the most important thing is trying to make the
Comment [AP3]: Good! I like that you are defining your terms and you are simultaneously constructing a clear thesis. Comment [AP2]: I think he said to be a better writer you must read and write a lot. Comment [AP1]: Good title.

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readers get the point that the writer is trying to say. After that, we should care about the grammar and vocabulary. This does not mean that grammar and vocabulary are not important. Stephen King said to put the vocabulary on the top shelf of toolbox, and do not make any conscious effort to improve it (2). One of the really bad things you can do to your writing is to dress up the vocabulary, looking for long words because you are maybe a little bit ashamed of your short ones (3). Vocabulary and grammar are very basic elements to good writing, but the first aspect to define a good writing is being easy to understand. During our life timelifetime, we can always hear people say that you should never use first person to write an argument paper because it is not formal. But I always do not understand why we should not use first person in an argument paper. It sounds like an impossible mission to not use first person in writing. A good argument paper should have a clear thesis, supportive reasons, and strong counterarguments. If a paper can follow these rules, I think this one should be a good writing. In contrast, a bad writing lacks of thesis. A writer uses the best words, the best sentence and even the best grammar. But he or she does not have a thesis of this article. In my opinion, this is the worst writing style because nobody can understand the thesis. In another words, it is a meaningless work. Most people do not want to read this kind of article because the writer and reader do not have the communication in this article. Reading and writing are the most important thing as a writer. Reading a lot can get the source for writing. Practicing writing can help us more to understand the structure of an article. Reader and writer have a relationship which is communication. Communication is a very important method to involve the writer and reader. It can help the writer to understand deeply of writing from readers. A good communication should be the writer and reader have the same opinion of thesis. So, they could communicate more based on the same opinion. In contrast, a bad
Comment [AP12]: What if the writer is trying to convince the reader to believe in something new or different? Comment [AP9]: The word this is a specific pronoun. So, are you referring to a specific article, or a hypothetical one? Comment [AP10]: Arent these the only things a writer should/could be concerned with? Comment [AP7]: Are you talking about in a argumentative writing only? Comment [AP8]: Im having trouble inferring meaning from these two sentence fragments. Comment [AP6]: Why? Say more on this. Comment [AP5]: Use quotation marks so that I can clearly see which words are yours and which are his. Comment [AP4]: What does he mean by this? Doesnt that sound contradictory?

Comment [AP11]: I really like this idea here, the idea of a relationship. Nice :)

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communication is when readers misunderstand the writers thesis. So, they do not have many common points to share with each other. What if the reader disagrees but still thinks the writing is good? That could happen. But writers can use persuasion which is a communication skill to convince the reader. The purpose of writing is making communication between different people. They could share some information and communicate with each other. Readers can get knowledge from the writer. In this semester, I really like Shitty First Drafts which was written by Anne Lamott. It is a really short article, but it tells me a lot. Lamott wrote that not one of them sits down routinely feeling wildly enthusiastic and confident. Not one of them writes elegant first drafts. Very few writers really know what they are doing until they have done it (4). She put her opinion in the first paragraph because it can attract the readers attention at first sight. It is very easy to understand Lamotts idea, which is practicing. She did not use any complicated words, but she still described her own opinion in writing. It is easy to make people understand how to be a writer by this article. There are no other choices, just practicing. Practicing in writing is very hard work because it takes time to accomplish it. It needs writing a lot and reading. Sometimes people confused a question I have been practicing for a long time, why am I still not a good writer? In my opinion, they make a mistake in practicing. Practicing is not equal to learning. From trial and error, we should know learning by making mistakes. When we practicing writing, we need to focus on not only the mistakes which were made, but also we have learned from these mistakes. We need to summarize what lesson we have learned, where we stumbled ,and where we have succeeded. Through this process, the practicing of writing could help us to write better. I once took an English course. When the first assignment was due, I got a D on it. I did not understand why I got this grade. So, I asked my teacher and he told me that I cannot use two
Comment [AP14]: Okay, so this paragraph seems to be about the importance of practicing writing, which seems off topic to your thesis. Comment [AP13]: Right, so doesnt his contradict what you said earlier?

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examples in my paper. In that paper, I even used three examples to demonstrate my opinion. That is the reason why I got this grade. After that, I just used only one example to support my thesis. But it was so hard when I finished a paper. So, I always worry about my writing. During this semester, I change my mind. A good writing is based on a good thesis. A good thesis needs many good reasons to support it. If I could write my paper clear and logic, this is a good writing. To me, I am an international student. English is not my mother tongue. So, writing is a hard work to me. I cannot use the proper words or sentence structure in my writing. But I always tell myself I have to make it clear even when using the simplest words. I do not think that using the simple word such as, use, do, like, is not as good as using the complicated words. Sometimes people would prefer the complicated words because it sounds higher level than the simple words and hard vocabulary can make people feel intelligent and knowledgeable. But intelligence and knowledge are not equal to hard vocabulary. People can get hard vocab from the dictionary directly but not from their minds. Trying to follow the hard vocab is not the right way to write. For example, Stephen said that you will never say, John stopped long enough to perform an act of excretion, when you really mean, John stopped long enough to take a shit (5). Do not hesitate and just use the first word comes into your mind. Writing is not a short-time work and needs us to put many efforts and summarize our work. I did not do many practicing on writing as before. So, I believe that I am not a good writer right now. I am always trying to make my paper clear and logic. To me, clear is not only a very essential element to good writing, but also the most important element to a paper. Without a clear thesis, people cannot understand the paper, they would refuse to read the paper. In the future, I will still keep my writing clear and easy to understand. I think it is the best way to be a good writer.
Comment [AP18]: I think you have a strong conclusion here. you really hammer you point home. Comment [AP17]: Why? Isnt this antithetical to the idea of revision? Comment [AP16]: Thats not true, youve used proper words and sentence structure in this essay. Comment [AP15]: This example is very ambiguous and unclear. I need more specificity here.

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Xiuzhu, I think you do a really good job asserting your opinion and providing a clear thesis. I also like how you seem to be actively and continually supporting your thesis. I would like to see you lean a little more on solid examples to support your argument as opposed to these nebulous hypothetical scenarios you seem to vaguely discuss (like the instance where you received a D). Be concrete and be more specific. Also, a few paragraphs dont seem completely on topic. I like what you have to say about the Lamott piece, but I dont see the relevance to clarity in communication. Having that said, I really like the argument you are making and youve demonstrated thoughtful reflection on writing as a serious subject of study.

Work cited: (1). King, Stephen. On Writing. New York: Pocket Books, 2000. 145. Print. (2). King, Stephen. On Writing. New York: Pocket Books, 2000. 117. Print. (3). King, Stephen. On Writing. New York: Pocket Books, 2000. 117. Print. (4). Lamott, Anne. "Shitty First Drafts." Trans. Array Bird by Bird. 1994. Print. (5). King, Stephen. On Writing. New York: Pocket Books, 2000. 117. Print.

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