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Smarthinking Writer's

Chapter 1, Lesson 6
Writing to Argue a Position
In this lesson, you'll learn
how to develop an argument
designed to convince readers
that your position is logical
and reasonable.

You'll write many arguments
in your college career.
Understanding how to create
an academic argument is one
key to success in college
writing assignments. Most of
those arguments will be
written as research papers in
your major discipline; they're
called research papers simply
because you must investigate

issues to form educated
opinions. Other names for
these kinds of arguments
are academic or intellectualar
Writing these arguments
requires you to take a position
and defend it. You do not
have to convince your
audience that you are
"correct"; it is impossible to
convince all of your readers

that your position is the only
or the right one. Instead, your
primary purpose is to
convince your audience that
your position is valid, logical,
and/or worth considering.
Elements of the Intellectual
 Audience and purpose
 Thesis (assertion)
 Good reasons and logical

 Counter-arguments
 Introduction and
 Documentation
Audience and Purpose
Before you write an
intellectual argument,
consider your audience and
purpose. If your audience is
your professor, there is a good

chance that s/he knows more
about the subject than you do.
In that case, the purpose of
the argument becomes a test
of your ability to form a
reasonable thesis and to
support and defend it
logically and thoroughly.
However, even if your
professor knows something
about your issue, when you
conduct a good investigation,

you become the subject-area
expert and there's a very good
chance that your argument
will present new materials
and ways of thinking about
your subject.
If your audience is broader
than your professor alone
(possibly including your
classmates, peers, or the
readers of a newspaper
editorial or Internet website),

you'll be arguing your
position to people who
probably know less than you
about the issue. Then, you
really have the opportunity to
influence someone's way of
thinking about your issue—
the stakes are higher and the
writing becomes more
Thesis (Assertion)
 Many times, your

professor will assign the
paper and maybe even the
specific subject. However,
most likely it'll be up to you
to choose the angle that you
want to research on the
topic and the position that
you choose to take. If the
choice of topic is up to
you, find a topic that
interests you. Perhaps your
professor lectured about

No matter what subject you pick. be sure that it's a topic in which you are genuinely interested and about which you're willing to learn more.something fascinating or maybe there was an interesting question in a textbook. People who are engaged in their research write more interesting and original .

these arguments are built on controversial topics where .papers. Research papers that argue a position do so with subjects for which there are no certain answers.  Choose a topic that'll allow you to take a side. In fact. Academic arguments seek to address questions that people are concerned about.

Your position is a stance that amounts to an attitude or judgment about some issue. or position. So. Instead. is possible. you need to avoid topics that are simply a matter of opinion or that just need an explanation.more than one view. For . focus on topics where reasoned and logical argument can support an informed view.

" [see . it would be hard to build an argument around the thesis "Roses are the most beautiful flowers". you're simply stating an opinion. The sentence "It takes many years to cultivate a beautiful garden" also won't work. or preference—you can't argue about that.example. in this sentence. this thesis calls for an explanation of "why.

An assertion is a statement that often (but not always) includes a modal verb such as ."Exposition: Explaining Why"]  Write an assertion that reveals your position. An academic argument that argues for a position requires a special kind of thesis. often called anassertion.

Capital punishment should be abolished because human juries can make mistakes in their decisions. 2. People who download . Examples of assertions that argue for positions are: 1."should" or "ought" and asks the writer to make a judgment of fact or of value.

The . 3.and "share" music on the Internet are stealing from performing artists. they should be tried as adults. Notice that each of the above assertions takes a clearly defined position on a controversial issue. When children kill other children. as in recent slayings in American public schools.

Biology or Botany: The health benefits of radiation for food far outweigh the risks. Psychology: Even though . Academic arguments can be written about your college subjects. as well: 1. 2.writer's intention can't be mistaken and readers know that a strong argument must follow.

it seems barbaric. Your assertion should be consistent with available . 3. electroshock therapy should be used in the fight against emotional illness.  Be certain that your position is arguable. Political Science: America should use its power to stop genocide anywhere in the world.

Therefore. you must do research to find support for the argument. or claim. "Is this a claim that I realistically can ask people to accept?" Likewise. that you're making. the assertion should present a claim that . ask yourself. Then.evidence. You can't build an intellectual argument on opinion alone.

reasonably can be argued within the space (page) and time (due date) limitations of your assignment. write two possible assertions about . student writers go out on a limb with statements that can't be supported in a relatively short essay (6 . Sometimes.12 pages). Exercise In the textbox below.

Answer the following questions: Does each assertion address something that is controversial? Does each assertion clearly state a position with which others can disagree? In other words. is each assertion arguable or . Compare them against the assertions presented issue that you are researching.

Academic .does it represent a thesis that simply needs a "why" or "how" explanation (exposition)? Good reasons and logical evidence  Know what kinds of evidence will be convincing to your audience.

you need reasons for your position and each reason must be supported by evidence that defines. and/or justifies it. Let's use the following assertion as an example: "When children kill . Be sure to define special terms for your audience. defends. So.arguments appeal primarily to the intellect—to logic.

they should be tried as adults.other children."which means that we're not talking about a child who finds her father's handgun and accidentally ." What reasons can we provide for this assertion? Notice that the claim is qualified by "as in recent slayings in American public schools. as in recent slayings in American public schools.

or murder. Reasons: 1. When children make a decision to kill classmates. This assertion focuses on purposeful killings. 2.shoots her best friend. Children who kill their classmates have destroyed the lives of other children . they are using free will. as adults do.

as they might be if tried as a juvenile and released from custody at age eighteen. These reasons can be supported by certain kinds of logical. Children who have killed their classmates should not be in a position to kill again. non-emotional .and have lost the right to childhood themselves. 3.

or other numbers 7. percentages. Facts 5. Statistics. Narrative stories (anecdotes) from people with experience in the .evidence that people are likely to find convincing. These kinds of evidence are: 4. Examples 6. Expert testimony from authorities 8.

" In the textbox below. list some evidence that might support . they are using free will.issue Exercise Look at the following reason for asserting that children should be tried as adults when they murder other children: "When children make a decision to kill classmates. as adults do.

Remember: to convince your audience that your position is logical. you need to provide good evidence for each of . click the Compare button to view a sample response.this reason. Where would you find such evidence? When you're done.

Counter-arguments Academic arguments that assert and defend a position need to take into account what people who disagree would say about the argument.your reasons. The disagreements are called "counterarguments" and your job as a writer is to find the best counter-arguments to your .

writers address counter-arguments after presenting their own reasons. you'll earn your audience's respect and strengthen your logical .position and address them. By addressing the opposing point of view. Ask yourself: What bias or opinions will your audience have against your assertion or claim? Usually.

There is no way to predict whether such children will kill again. Children who kill. Two possible counterarguments to the above assertion are: 1. so it is better to . even if the killing appears to be premeditated murder. 2.position. are not mature enough to have made an adult decision.

3.give them a second chance. What the issue is. Can you think of any other counter-arguments that this argument should address? Introduction/ Conclusion Good arguments will present an interesting introduction that tells the reader: 1. Why it is important . 2. Why it is controversial (background).

By then. you'll be much more certain of exactly . However.(background). and 4. The introduction sets up your argument and reveals your assertion. What your position (assertion) is. you might find it easier to write an interesting introduction AFTER you've written your first or second draft of the paper.

Good arguments also present the reader/s with an interesting conclusion.what you want to argue and why. More than that. The conclusion pulls together the entire argument. the conclusion offers you a chance to suggest further . summarizing and stressing the main points. in an academic argument.

Documentation . Sometimes.consideration of the problem or research that people should do. the conclusion is a good place to ask questions for which you have no answers--this strategy leaves the reader thinking. Ask your professor whether it's okay to ask thoughtprovoking questions at the end of your paper.

Ask your professor which method s/he prefers for documentation and then follow the format precisely.Finally. in an argument that is intended for your college classes. you'll probably be asked to document your sources. Summary You'll write academic or intellectual essays in most of your college courses. A good .

and (5) will provide thought-provoking and informative introduction and conclusion. (2) have an arguable assertion. Smarthinking Writer's .essay that argues a position will (1) address a specific audience and purpose. (4) address counterarguments. (3) support the assertion with good reasons and logical evidence.

Lesson 7 Writing to Persuade Objective In this lesson. . you'll learn to develop a persuasive argument that convinces audiences to share your beliefs and motivates them to take action.Handbook Chapter 1.

politicians use . rhetoricians have studied how to persuade people to act. For more than two thousand years. In government debates. lawyers build cases that they hope will either convict or release people on trial.What is Persuasion? Persuasion attempts to move people to action. to get them to do something. In courts of law.

language to encourage people to vote (or not vote!) for particular people or public policies. of course. teachers use persuasion on a daily basis. In religious gatherings. to move their students to . And. leaders speak to their congregations to persuade them to behave in particular ways toward their fellow humans.

to buy you a car. too. have used persuasion many times in your life. You probably have persuaded friends to go to a party with .become interested in their subjects and to learn new concepts and skills. or to let you live away from home. You. You may have tried to persuade a parent to pay for your schooling.

you or to change a behavior. In a persuasive . you're using logic and reasons to convince your audience that your position. such as to quit smoking. In academic argument. written as an assertion. is logical and reasonable. Differences and Distinctions Persuasive writing is different from writing an academic argument such as a research paper.

many students don't learn to write.argument. . you also must convince your audience that your position is reasonable or credible. [See Writing to Argue a Position. unfortunately. But persuasion goes one step further: you invite your readers to act or to do something.] Persuasive arguments are special kinds of arguments that.

Written essays. Executives. advertising and customer service representatives. However. it's important in any job. and formal speeches are common kinds of persuasion. persuasion isn't limited to broadcasters or political leaders. and skilled trades people like auto mechanics all need to . television and radio broadcasts. salespeople.

Engage their human natures to move them to action.persuade people to be successful. Convince them that your position is reasonable and 2. you must: 1. Elements of the Persuasive Argument . To move an audience to take action.

or style 8. Audience and purpose 2.1. Introduction and . Ethical character of the writer or speaker 5. A do-able proposal 3. Rhetorical devices. Emotional appeals 6. Logical reasons and evidence 4. Counter-proposals 7.

then choose a group of people who actually could do something: . The goal of persuasion is to move people to action.conclusion Consider your Purpose and Audience Before you write a persuasive argument. consider your purpose and audience. if you are able to make the decision about whom to persuade. So.

.g. city council.e."] Ask yourself: . church congregation. you must understand them because that's the only way to move people to action. Having selected your audience. You need to do an audience analysis [See "Analyzing the Audience" and "Writing to Persuade. a school board. college administration or students.

you must propose an action that your audience . Who is this audience?  Can you realistically expect them to accept your claim and proposed action?  What are their values. biases. beliefs. fears. and needs? Write a Do-Able Proposal To write a persuasive argument.

you need to understand the problem for which you're proposing a solution. Most people would agree that we should take care of the natural environment and not pollute it unnecessarily. take the general problem of environmentalism. But what makes this problem controversial and arguable is . So. For example.can accomplish.

you must go one .that most people don't agree on how to solve environmental problems. however." This is an arguable position that needs good reasons and strong evidence to be convincing. To write a persuasive paper. Let's say that you take the position that "Our college shouldn't add to the planet's pollutions problems.

In what ways should the college avoid polluting the environment? Are there specific actions that the administrators and/or students should take to change their activities that promote pollution? Your proposal needs to address the problem and be reasonable enough to move people to .step further and propose a solution.

workers. our college should stop using Styrofoam plates and cups or disposable plastic tableware. and students) can avoid polluting . Let's say that you propose the following solution: "To help reduce pollution.action." This solution offers a clear and do-able proposal: The college and its members (administrators.

Give Logical Reasons and Evidence . Notice that the proposal doesn't have to solve all the problems of environmental pollution—it merely has to address one small segment of the problem. This change will have certain consequences for the entire college changing the types of eating utensils they use.

and anecdotes to convince your readers. expert testimony. Therefore. statistics. Ask yourself: . People cannot be moved to act on your proposal if they first aren't convinced that your position is reasonable.The lesson "Writing to Argue a Position" covers the best ways to convince an audience. you need facts. examples.

. What reasons are likely to appeal to them?  What sources will be convincing? You'll need to learn certain facts about the college's uses of disposable tableware. therefore. In numbers. how many tons of disposable tableware does the college use annually? How much does this amount cost the college (and.

you need to present yourself as a reliable and honest person. bowls.the students)? How much would it cost to replace the disposables with sufficient permanent plates. Your best character and good will for the audience must . glasses. and silverware? Ethical Character of the Writer or Speaker To move people to action. cups.

Ask yourself:  How do you present yourself as an ethical writer?  How can you present yourself as a person that they can trust and respect? You'll need to think about what your audience values in a writer about this subject.shine through or they will not trust you or your proposal. .

What kinds of research will be important to showing that you've really considered this problem? How can you show that you genuinely care about the environment and the college's contribution to it? How can show that this proposal isn't just a "pie in the .Environmental concerns easily can be made to seem trite and unimportant.

You need to avoid tugging at heartstrings and honestly address this audience's fears. Your job isn't to make people feel bad. you must understand how they can be moved emotionally to act on a proposal." kind of idea? Emotional Appeals To really reach your audience. . and needs. morals.

but to recognize their possible feelings about the issue and give them some constructive way to address it. you need to consider how the use of . Ask yourself:  What emotional appeals are likely to move this audience?  Will they be hostile to any elements of your proposal? For this argument.

such as during exam week when people are more selfconcerned and less open to being inconvenienced? Will . Does it really matter to the college community what kinds of tableware they use? Will not being able to take plates out of the cafeteria cause an emotional response.disposable tableware really impacts people's everyday lives.

.college administrators see themselves as part of an important environmental solution or just feel put upon? How can you help them to care about this issue? Counter-Proposals Just like an academic argument must consider counter-arguments. a good persuasive argument must consider counter-proposals.

Ask yourself:  What biases or preconceived ideas might the audience have about my topic?  How could these biases lead them to alternate solutions that might sound better to them? .Counter-proposals are alternate or different proposals from your own.

Is there some way to solve the college's pollution habits other than completely banning the use of disposable tableware? Is there a compromise position between disposable and nondisposable tableware? .It can be challenging to think of counter-proposals because we tend to like the solutions that we've come up with on our own.

Rhetorical Devices. Ask yourself:  How formal should you be in writing to this audience?  How should you arrange the reasons to make the best impression on your readers? . or Style Your level of formality and arrangement of ideas are all kinds of rhetorical devices that can help to persuade your reader/s.

Should you talk conversationally as if student-to-student or more formally to address the college administration's more formal communication manner? Should you arrange your reasons by the strongest to weakest or weakest to .How you state your proposal and your reasons for it is as important as whatyou say in a persuasive argument.

you need to consider .strongest? Should you address the problem in a cause (disposable tableware) and effect (college's annual pollution) order that can be restructured for the proposal: cause (non-disposable tableware) and effect (less annual pollution by the college)? Introduction and Conclusion Finally.

Ask yourself:  How should you lead your readers into the argument?  How should you conclude it? Introducing your proposal .your opening and closing arguments. The introduction offers the necessary background information and the conclusion sums up the proposal's benefits to the community.

. your proposed solution. You may not be able to write the best introduction until you've completed a really strong draft of your argument.means that your need to state the problem. and possible implications for that solution. Concluding the argument means more than just summarizing the proposal and your reasons offered for it.

Future proposals can work with these. Top of Form True . Because I'm not a politician. I won't be using persuasive arguments.Consider whether your solution leaves questions that still need to be addressed. Exercise 1.

Logical appeals are necessary in persuasive arguments. Top of Form True False .False Bottom of Form Top of Form Bottom of Form 2.

People argue about controversial subjects where there isn't one certain answer.Bottom of Form Top of Form Bottom of Form 3. Top of Form True False Bottom of Form .

Top of Form Bottom of Form 4. Top of Form True False Bottom of Form Top of Form . Students never have the chance to persuade people because they're only students.

Bottom of Form 5. I should use emotional appeals to make people feel bad about the problem and then they'll want to fix it. Top of Form True False Bottom of Form Top of Form Bottom of Form .

Top of Form True False Bottom of Form Top of Form Bottom of Form 7.6. Ethical appeals are appeals to the audience's character and ethics. How I organize my reasons and appeals can make a .

I should always write my introduction before writing my first draft.difference in whether people accept my proposal. Top of Form True False Bottom of Form Top of Form Bottom of Form 8. .

I just show that my proposal is weak.Top of Form True False Bottom of Form Top of Form Bottom of Form 9. If I discuss counterproposals. Top of Form .

True False Bottom of Form Top of Form Bottom of Form 10. Top of Form True . Persuasive argumnet is the same as academic argument.

Practicing the elements of a persuasive argument will help you to write powerful arguments .False Bottom of Form Top of Form Bottom of Form Summary Persuasion is a valuable purpose for writing in many aspects of life.

Smarthinking Writer's Handbook Chapter 1. you'll learn how to prepare for shortanswer essay tests. and how .when you need to move people to solve a problem. Lesson 8 Writing Short-Answer Tests Objective In this lesson.

In recent answer test questions thoughtfully. colleges and universities are incorporating . employers have demanded better writing and communications skills from their workers. To meet this need. Introduction Short-answer writing tests are becoming more common in college courses.

writing into more courses. as well as in English or sociology. you must know how to prepare for and write short-answer essay tests. Preparation Begins Long Before the Test . Today. In order to succeed in your college classes. you may have writing tests in science and engineering courses.

you can't do well if you don't know the material. Because written tests demand that you think broadly about the subject of the course.Preparation for a short-answer test really begins long before the test itself. Pay attention to your instructor and your reading . The key to preparation is having good study habits in the course itself.

Mark your textbooks by highlighting key concepts and vocabulary. Many short-answer test questions require a deeper understanding of the subject matter than you can gain in . Review your textbooks and class notes frequently.assignments. Careful and consistent review is more effective than cramming the night before the test.

it's critical that you know what the professor thinks are the most important themes in the course. The following guidelines will help you with your long-term preparation:  Read the Syllabus Carefully Since written tests focus on the big picture. and try .one frantic night. Write down the goals of the course. discover any common themes in the assignments and lecture topics. you can learn what the professor's main interests are by looking at the syllabus. some professors will spell out the major themes for the whole semester in the first paragraph or page.  Know Your Audience Your professor is your .

How much detail and support does s/he expect? How much weight does he or she put on good grammar and style? Written tests are timed writing assignments. Knowing what your professor finds important will help you make better .audience. and you want to spend the bulk of your time on the things your professor finds important.

Pay close attention to topics or themes that relate to each other because many professors will ask you to . you should start reviewing your notes.use of the limited time you have available to write. This review will help you understand the material well enough to discuss it.  Review Your Notes At least one week before the test.

How many questions are you responsible for . Before you begin writing. o Read the entire test first. Taking the Short-Answer Essay Test Your objective during the test itself is to write clear and logical or contrast related topics in a written test. you should:  Review the entire test.

Divide your test period by . o Determine the point value of each question. make your choice quickly based on your best knowledge and stick with that choice throughout the testing period.answering? o If you have choices among different test questions.

By answering the ones that you know right away. spend more time on the 50% question.  Answer the easiest questions first. If you have to answer three questions and one is worth 50%. you can clear your mind of . whereas the other two are worth 25% each.the number of questions and their point value.

those obvious answers and allow your brain to work on the other. more difficult questions. Select the ideas that make the best .  Briefly outline each shortanswer before writing. or concepts that will help answer the question. ideas. Outlines in the form of simple lists help you to organize your ideas. Jot down facts.

answer and organize them quickly. Consider the following while writing your answers:  Each short-answer should start with a thesis sentence that tells the reader where you're going with your . If you've followed the steps above. This process will keep your answers on-track. you're ready to begin to write.

using every other line and one side of the page. but draw only one line over the word or sentence—don't fill the page with ink.answer.  Write neatly. it's fine to cross out words or sentences.  Provide relevant details to . Usually.  Follow your outline to stay on track. if possible.

 Review your answer when you've finished writing. If you've left out something important. or if you've included something that doesn't make sense. go back through .support your answer.  Proofread and edit Once you're comfortable with the content of your answers. make the necessary changes.

but many students come to prefer them to objective tests like true/false and multiple choices. Short-answer tests allow you to show what you . and spelling.the answer one more time and check for poor grammar. punctuation.  Remember that shortanswer essay tests may seem like a lot of trouble to you now.

Exercise In the text box below. Write about four . who has just taught research techniques using the Internet. practice writing a short answer to the following question.really know about a subject and provide you with the chance to shine. The question is for an English class and the audience is the professor.

compare your response with ours. with the first sentence revealing your main point. What are two advantages and two disadvantages to Internet research? .sentences. When you're finished. Question: Many students use the Internet to search for information.

Smarthinking Writer's . and write your answers with clarity and detail. organize your thoughts before writing. you need to know your audience. prepare well before the test.Summary To succeed on a short-answer essay test.

you'll learn how to prepare for. and write successful in-class and standardized test essays.Handbook Chapter 1. develop. Lesson 9 Writing In-Class Essays Objective In this lesson. Introduction In addition to short-answer .

tests. Your answer to the question may be nearly as long as a paper you would write at home. Spontaneously written essays often perform what is called a . An in-class essay test usually involves writing on a single question for the entire exam period. you'll also write in-class essay tests during your college career.

Both the LSAT and MCAT. You also may encounter essay questions in graduate and professional school exams."gatekeeper" function. Some schools require students to write a passing in-class essay before being released from a first-year English requirement. tests that determine whether you will be accepted to law or medical .

currently include an essay component. Preparing for the In-Class Essay Preparation is your key to while others stress good . Here are some tips on preparing for essay tests:  Know what the grader expects out of your essay Some professors stress content over grammar.

Both goals involve skills . Developing strong content lets your professor know that you can think logically and provide the details necessary for supporting your essay's thesis.grammar as well as informative writing. Focusing on readable prose and correct grammar tells your professor that you can write clearly under pressure.

your professor may value one goal over the other. you'll need to learn what your professor . however. While both are important. Since essay tests usually count for a large percentage of your grade or may serve to promote you to the next level of instruction.that college administrators believe are important for their graduates to possess.

practice writing essays under time constraints in your dorm or home. If you "clutch" or "grip" when asked to write spontaneously. spend time learning to edit and proofread under time constraints. If you're weak in grammar.  Know the ground rules Don't be caught off guard when you walk into your .expects from you.

Also ask about the ground rules: How long should the finished essay be? Should I use a pen or a pencil? Will I be writing in a blue book or on individual sheets of paper? Can I use my writing handbook or notes? Can I use a laptop computer? .class or exam room. Take time before the test to ask your instructor what type of question/s you'll be asked.

This practice will help you learn how much you can write in .Knowing the answers to these questions will help you to be prepared and tackle the exam with confidence. practice writing sample essays under the same time constraints that you'll have for the in-class essay.  Practice makes perfect Before the important test.

If the exam tests your semester's class content. Start at least the week before the exam and read all of your notes each night. Two nights before the test. prepare by rereading your class notes.the time allowed. and it'll teach you to use your time wisely. begin asking yourself practice questions that seem pertinent to the professor's .

to own. This kind of studying allows you to really know. the material and will help you to write a stronger essay under pressure. and so do writers. Write a few practice essays.  Warm up your muscles Athletes have to warm up before practice and games.focus. Free writing is one method of warm up that really can be .

It is the process of writing as much as you know about a subject without focusing on grammar or structure. just letting your words flow--the more the better. Writing the In-Class Essay  Reflect .helpful. sit down and free write. Ten to twenty minutes before your essay.

take a few minutes to reflect on what is expected of you and your essay.Before the professor hands you the assignment. What skills is the grader hoping to find in your writing? Is this essay testing both your ideas and your ability to express them well?  Materials Make sure that all materials are ready and available. If .

do you have to buy it. . a thesaurus. do you have them? Take advantage of whatever resources your professor or grader will allow so that you can do your best. or a writing handbook. or is it provided for you? Are you supposed to use a pen or a pencil? If you are allowed to use a're using a test booklet.

go to the next . Circle any words that you don't understand and ask your professor to explain them if necessary. If you're confused. take time to read the question/s or assignment thoroughly. Underline any key phrases or concepts that come to your attention. Read the question/s carefully Before you begin writing.

or a main point. often you can turn the test question into a statement of your point.step of outlining. Read your question and determine what your main point will be. In an essay exam. In the process of listing basic ideas. your mind probably will unravel the confusion. For the .  Determine your thesis All essays need a thesis.

think about possible thesis statements and what they mean for your essay: How did the Crusades affect the economy in Europe? o You could write: The Crusades affected the European economy in four essential ways. four body . your essay would require a brief introduction. In this case.following sample question.

or most .paragraphs. the thesis does not indicate how many paragraphs your essay will require. Here. o Or. you could write: Europe's economy was influenced significantly by the Crusades. and a brief conclusion. but it does guide your reasoning by directing you to look at the significant.

outstanding.  Outline Outlining your answer before you begin writing is perhaps the single most important step for writing good in-class essays. Your outline does not need to be any more formal than a simple list of the major . economic changes that Europe encountered.

points you want to make and the supporting details that you'll include. but it helps you focus on the necessary details. This kind of outline jogs your memory before and during your writing process. Not only does the outline give you confidence as you move through the essay. Following your outline is like driving with a .

a traditional.  Writing the essay o Begin your essay with a brief introduction paragraph and the thesis that you distilled from the You can concentrate on where you're going instead of stopping frequently to puzzle over the next direction. simple .  For an in-class essay.

your essay will have five paragraphs. so if you have three main points. don't waste it trying to be creative with your paragraph structure. Use one paragraph for each main point.structure is fine. Since time is limited. . including the introduction and conclusion.

third. The remaining . The second. Each paragraph should begin with a topic sentence that supports your thesis. and fourth paragraphs are the body of your essay. the first paragraph is your introduction. usually as the final sentence of the paragraph. It contains your thesis statement.For a five-paragraph essay.

which summarizes your main points and thesis. . Readers appreciate a conclusion in an essay test because it shows that you know how to close an essay properly. and/or justify the topic sentence. Your final paragraph should be the conclusion.sentences should provide details that define. defend.

write clearly and keep it simple. Write as though you're talking to your professor about the question you're answering.  Write neatly If you're handwriting the essay instead of using a . don't try to be poetic or dramatic. Keep it simple When you're writing the essay. Instead.

Write using every other line on one side of the page. be sure to write legibly. most professors accept neat cross-outs and arrows that direct the reader to the back of the page if you need to add or change information. If you are . enabling you to add details when you review the first draft. For essay

don't plan to rewrite! You won't have time and your professor doesn't expect you to do this. In either case.  Re-read the essay when you're done It can be tempting to hand in the essay immediately . make sure that it's okay to use your spelling and grammar checker for to use the computer.

but don't do it! Use all of the time that you're given. take time to re-read and proof the essay.after you finish writing the last paragraph. If you finish early. Ask yourself the following questions: Looking at Content  Is my thesis in the first paragraph?  Does my essay support .

and prove my thesis statement?  Do I have three or more main body paragraphs?  Does each paragraph have a topic sentence that supports the thesis?  Does each paragraph support the topic sentence?  Does the conclusion tie everything together and .

appropriately end the essay?  Are my facts accurate? Proofreading  Is my handwriting legible?  Are there any spelling errors?  Have I misused any words?  Are there any sentence .

fragments. answer the following True or False questions. click enter and see how you did. Without looking back on the material in this section. or serious punctuation errors? Exercise Test your knowledge. After you are done. run-ons. .

Top of Form True False Bottom of Form Top of Form Bottom of Form 2. I should practice writing timed essays before the in- . Every professor expects the same things in an in-class essay.1.

I should take a nap about 10 to 20 minutes before I start writing the essay. Top of Form True False Bottom of Form Top of Form Bottom of Form 3.class essay. .

Top of Form .Top of Form True False Bottom of Form Top of Form Bottom of Form 4. It is wise to freewrite before taking the essay to warm my brain up.

True False Bottom of Form Top of Form Bottom of Form 5. I should not use any books or notes even if my professor lets me. Top of Form True .

Top of Form True False Bottom of Form .False Bottom of Form Top of Form Bottom of Form 6. I should make an outline before I start to write.

The thesis statement is the first thing I should write. Top of Form True False Bottom of Form Top of Form Bottom of Form .Top of Form Bottom of Form 7.

I should write simple.8. Top of Form True False Bottom of Form Top of Form Bottom of Form 9. clear sentences for an in-class essay. I should immediately turn in . When I am finished.

the essay. I should re-write the essay. . Top of Form True False Bottom of Form Top of Form Bottom of Form 10. If I do not like what I have written.

as well . However.Top of Form True False Bottom of Form Top of Form Bottom of Form Summary Writing in-class essays can be challenging. if you take time to prepare and practice writing them.

Smarthinking Writer's Handbook Chapter to organize your time wisely. you can write successful spontaneous essays. you'll learn . Lesson 10 Writing About Literature Objective In this lesson.

or poem is the key to success in many college English courses. to identify some literary to read literary piece closely. Before you can write about a . and to write an academic essay about a literary work. short story. Thinking about Literature Being able to write about a work of literature such as a novel.

focus on the story or idea being presented. 1.  The second time you read it. you must learn to read it well and to analyze it. The first time you read it. think about the characters' development and . Close reading:  It is best to read a piece of literature at least of literature.

Highlight important passages in the text and take good notes to help you remember what you read.the author's writing techniques. 2. 3. You might be asked to write about the piece of literature in several ways:  Explication: Most often used with poetry but sometimes with prose or .

irony. special meanings of words. and irony. explication is a detailed. sound. figurative language. an analysis usually . rhythm. explanation of a passage. This type of essay requires close attention to language: e. symbolism.g..drama.  Analysis: Whereas an explication will examine certain passages in great depth. line-by-line.

such as plot or character development. usually you will write about the similarities or differences within and . In this case.  Comparison and Contrast: Sometimes you will be asked to write about more than one work.looks only at one element of a piece of literature. and then relates that element to the entire work.

you might be comparing two poems about the same theme by different authors or contrasting the plots of two different stories by one author. Some Elements for Understanding Literature  Author: Who is the author? What kind of person is s/he? Reading a . So.between works.

 Historical Context: What was life like when the author wrote the piece? For example. consider Mark .brief biographical sketch of the author will give you valuable insight. Was the author male or female? Rich or poor? A member of a minority group in society? Understanding the author can help you to understand his/her writing better.

On the surface. understanding the racial concerns of Twain's day suggests that a major theme of the book is his opposition to racism in . American society in Twain's day was divided over the issue of slavery and racial relations.Twain's book Tom Sawyer. However. Tom Sawyer is about two boys who take a boat ride on the Mississippi River.

 Structure: While reading through the work. middle. secondary stories about minor characters)? .America. look at the plot or main point. and end? What is the major conflict? Which characters are most important? Are there any subplots (that is. Does it have a definite beginning.

Irony is an implied discrepancy between what is said and . Look for the following literary techniques as you read a work: o Irony . Literary Techniques: Different writers use different literary techniques. the writer chooses a specific technique in order to bring important themes to the reader's attention. Usually.

2. Verbal irony is when an author says one thing and means something else.what is meant. Dramatic irony is when an audience . There are three kinds of irony commonly found in literary works: 1. Saying. "That's great" when someone has made a mistake is verbal irony.

"I feel fine: never felt better. but the character does not know this and says. If the reader already knows that a character in a story has a fatal illness. 3." the statement shows dramatic irony.perceives something that a character in the literature does not know. Irony of situation is a .

Even though the viewer knows he will fail. but none of them ever work.discrepancy between the expected result and actual results. In the famous "Road Runner" cartoons. the coyote is always surprised and . the coyote always comes up with new schemes to catch the Road Runner.

and a few scenes later the character's husband says he is divorcing her. then . For example.disappointed: this is an example of irony of situation. if a character drops a vase and it shatters on the floor. o Foreshadowing Authors foreshadow with hints or suggestions of things to come.

A type of figurative language. o Metaphor . Often it's easier to see foreshadowing after a second reading of the work. metaphor is using a quality or an attribute of a thing or person to describe the thing or .the breaking of the vase foreshadows the breaking of the marriage.

person itself. o Symbolism .Authors use images to stand for moods or ideas. For example. saying that the tennis star Andre Agassi is "on fire" doesn't really mean that he's really on fire. One of the most common . the metaphor emphasizes how well Agassi is playing at that moment. Rather.

Think of Darth Vader in the movie Star Wars and you'll get the idea! . since the color black symbolizes evil or bad intentions.examples of symbolism is the use of color to suggest the qualities or personality of a character. For example. a character dressed all in black is likely to be a villain.

" for example.Imagery is language that calls to mind one or more of the five senses: sight. hearing. or touch.In poetry.o Imagery . o Rhythm and sound . taste. uses the sensation of taste to describe a quality of a person. words are either . smell. The phrase "Her lips tasted like wine.

smooth.stressed or unstressed. or slow. or . fast. Many examples of rhythm and sound can be found in a nursery rhyme: Little Boy Blue / come blow your horn / the cow's in the meadow / the sheep's in the corn. making the poem sound choppy. which form the rhythm. Read these lines aloud and hear the stressed syllables.

the use of special words. Style can include the author's repeated use of certain literary techniques. the conscious choice of subject matter.beat. Style is a .Every author has a personal writing style.  Author's Style . the use of regional dialects or patterns of speech. of the rhyme. or even deliberate errors in grammar.

set of traits that make an
author's writing
recognizable as uniquely his
or hers—a kind of literary
fingerprint. If you read
many works by one author,
you may begin to recognize
his or her unique style.
 Setting - Setting is the
place and time in which a
story or poem takes place.
While reading, take note of
how the setting factors in

the work's outcome. As you
read, think about how the
story might be different if
the setting were altered.
 Mood and Tone - Mood is
an emotional effect created
by the author. For example,
in a horror novel, the author
will use bleak images and
cramped or claustrophobic
settings to create a mood of
fear. Tone is the author's
attitude toward the subject.

A writer may present ideas
in a serious, sad, loving,
nostalgic, critical, or
comical tone.
 Character Development Knowing the characters in a
story is very important.
Since all action takes place
through the characters, it's
necessary to understand
each character's role in the
development of the plot and
the character's reason for

 Theme - Theme is the
general idea or insight the
author is trying to express.
To return to Mark
Twain's Tom Sawyer, many
readers believe that the
novel's theme is that racism
is evil.
There are many other kinds of
literary elements that you can
address in a paper about

literature. Your professor will
have a list and your textbook
may have them in a glossary.
Other issues that you can
think about regarding literary
works are:
 What is the author trying
to say? Is it important?
 What are the author's
values or beliefs? What
does s/he think about life,
humans, nature, God, or

 What is your response to
the work as art?
 What is your reaction to
the ideas in the work? Are
they truthful or relevant?
Guidelines for Writing About
Now that you've analyzed the
work carefully, you're ready
to write. Writing about
literary works is a special

kind of academic essay. [see
"Writing to Argue a
Position."] The following
guidelines are helpful when
writing about a novel, story,
or poem:
 Finding Meaning: For
most literature classes, your
professor will ask you to
explicate, analyze, or
compare/contrast the work.
Closely read the piece of
literature. Review your

notes on the work and
identify the elements that
you found most interesting
or significant.
 Develop a Thesis: The
thesis is a one- or twosentence statement that
introduces the key point or
idea of your paper. In a
literature paper, try to
develop a thesis based upon
the most striking element of
a work. Make sure that

you're able to support your
thesis with examples and
evidence from the literary
 Organization: Your thesis
will provide you with
general guidance on
organization. If you are
going to compare two
poems, then you can look at
each poem separately,
requiring a "block" type of
organization, or you can

One strategy is a "chronological" approach. requiring a "switch" type of organization. Another strategy is a "topical" .look at all of the similar elements in the poem. where you examine the literary elements in the order in which they appear in the story. There are other strategies for organizing a literature paper.

include detailed examples to illustrate your points. explaining imagery. where you explicate or analyze according to such elements as the author's use of metaphor. Make your points clear by showing dialogue. and . symbolism.method. or theme.  Provide Details: When you're writing about literature.

 Write Using the Present Tense: When you write about any literary work.using significant quotations or paraphrases of passages. sometimes called . When you write about literature. you are arguing for a particular way of looking at it. no argument succeeds without adequate support. use the present tense.

 Give Yourself Time Between the First and Next Drafts: As with all . when you read the work.the historic present. the action happens for you in the present. You must write in that same "right now" sense. the ''right now'' of your reading. Even though an author might write a story or poem in the past tense.

Then.academic writing. once you've been away from it. your objectivity and thinking about a draft become clearer when you let it sit for a day or two before coming back to it. reread your paper and doublecheck important sections from the literary work for accuracy and validity of your points.  Revise: All academic .

punctuation. most literature professors rewrite their essays up to 30 times!  Edit and Proofread: Edit your paper for clarity. concision of ideas. Proof carefully for grammar. None of us is able to say everything well in one shot. and correctness of such things as passages and quotations.papers need more than one draft. and .

. answer the following questions. Exercise (Under Construction) Read the attached short essay that contrasts two poems: "A Quest for Dignity Unfulfilled." After reading this essay.spelling errors. click on our answers to compare them: 1. When you are finished. What is the author's thesis.

or major point. for the essay? What metaphors and symbols does the writer use? How does the historical context of each poem .

influence the essay? [McKay's poem is written before the Civil War and Dunbar's after.] Summary . which allows the writer to contrast the quest for freedom both before and after American slaves were freed.

Smarthinking Writer's Handbook Chapter 1. identifying literary elements. Lesson 11 . and writing about literature in academic essays.You've learned some of the basic elements of reading literature closely.

Film and Television Analysis Objective: Certain scenes from films and television shows stay in our memories vividly. Genres: . Have you ever wondered why? This chapter will help you understand the strategies producers and directors use as they connect viewers with the production.

To best analyze a film or television show. There are several genres including:  Action: A production that emphasizes high-energy sequences  Adventure: Similar to action films. a high-tension story that often chronicles new experiences . first identify and understand its genre.

 Comedy: A light-hearted film that is meant to cause laughter  Documentary: A factbased story about a life or an event  Drama: A serious story that describes a realistic circumstance  Horror: A frightening story designed to scare. often coupled with science .

fiction  Musical: A film that uses music and choreography to tell its story  Romance: A production centered on two people falling in love  Science Fiction: A story highlighting futuristic experiences and characters Basing an analysis on a work's genre is helpful .

for example. strong special effects are a strength. Also. the same effects are likely to be a distraction and a weakness in a drama. it is important to understand that some genres may be combined.because each genre emphasizes different techniques. In an action or horror film. For instance. a film or television .

show that has romantic and comedic elements is aromantic comedy. Film Analysis Because there is much to . the genre is a docudrama. If a film has elements of a documentary and a drama. Use the qualities of the component genres to help you analyze this kind of film and television show.

focusing on a different aspect every time. but their roles are most prominent in production (filming) and post-production (editing.) .think about when analyzing visual media. watch the piece several times. etc. adding special effects. A few things to consider in the first viewing are:  Directing: Directors are responsible for the entire project.

. What is the director's style? How does this director relate to the actors? Does the director serve any other roles in the film (i. the resulting film or show reflects a lot of the director's style or "touch.Because directors are so intimately involved." Learn more about the director to help you analyze his or her work. . producer.e.

since most works follow the same . etc.  Storyline or plot: Many writers analyze a film's storyline (plot) because this is what most viewers remember about the film.choreographer. Analyzing a plot is similar to analyzing the plot in a work of literature.)? Learning about the director can make it easier to understand the film's style.

) Plot consists of:  Exposition: This section provides the background information about the story and/or introduces the characters.progression of a novel (see below. During the .

opening credits. sometimes a narrator provides background information for the story. while other times a flashback scene can fill in the viewers. What does this background information tell viewers about the characters or storyline? Why is it essential to have this background information?  Rising Action: This part of the plot is where the real .

and these complications build to the climax. Why do the complications make viewers want to continue watching?  Climax: The climax is the highest part of the plot. complications arise in the lives of the characters. here. wondering what is going to happen to the .story begins. it is likely the part where viewers are on the edge of their seats.

Filmmakers want to keep the viewers interested. character dialogue. the storyline is coming to an end. or other strategies are used to heighten the tension?  Falling Action: When the action begins to fall. . How do the filmmakers create the high tension of the climax? What camera angles. sound effects. special effects. music.characters.

what strategies or techniques do they use to make individuals continue watching?  Resolution: While the word "resolution" hints that all is well or "resolved." the resolution of a plot is not always a happy ending. Also. For instance. a character that viewers get to bond with might suffer a setback in life. the resolution .

think about why the . Screenwriters and filmmakers use many different strategies to end a story. so when analyzing a film.may leave the viewers not knowing what happened to a particular character or something that this character knew and loved. A resolution is simply the end of the crisis or conflict that led to the story's climax.

the viewer. There are many other components of films to analyze. or looking straight at a scene? How does this affect the viewing . Are you. looking down. including:  Camera Angles: When watching a film. examine the camera angles.screenwriter or filmmaker ended the film in this way. looking up.

pointed up at a tall man. this man becomes even taller and more powerful.of the scene? For example. Had the camera been mounted on a tripod and at eye-level of the man. he would not look as intimidating. if a camera appears to be sitting on the ground. Why would a director want to make a character seem bigger? .

A camera's movements may also be significant. when a camera begins with a wide shot and then zooms in to the characters. . For example. the director shows the scene's setting but then draws attention to the characters. If a woman is peering into a man's house and that element is important to the understanding of the story.

whether the motion is sharp.the camera shot may begin outside and move inside to where the man sits."  Lighting: Lighting can help to tell the story. The way a camera moves plays a role in the story. smooth. choppy. In essence. and so on. Filmmakers play on human . too. the camera can begin to become its own "character.

including a natural fear of the dark. If a stalker is hunting in broad daylight. it is not nearly as frightening as if the hunt occurred at night. The lighting of such a scene might focus solely on the individual being stalked and leave the stalker in shadows. for example.emotions. . letting us see only the whites of his eyes.

as well. the lighting may be dimmed to present an atmosphere of uncertainty or sadness. the lighting might be brighter.Lighting might also be symbolic. If someone is remembering a time in his life when he felt happy. and if he is depressed. Changes from full-color to black-andwhite filming can indicate a .

but their performance is important. In what ways do the actors make their characters come alive? What. in particular.  Acting: Whether the actors are world-famous or hardly known is irrelevant. allows them to make their characters come alive? How do they use their voices and gestures to create the scene? .flashback.

How does the character (not the actor) fit into his or her role in the storyline? How does the actor's portrayal of the character affect the way viewers understand the story? Consider the character of Charlie Brown: what would change if he were played as a depressed quitter and cynic instead of a determined kid who just can't win? .

symbols take a wide variety of sounds and shapes. By . An item. A song might be symbolic of the character's life at the moment. such as the Ring in The Lord of the Rings. Symbols: Like literature. (See Writing About Literature for more information about symbols. may also have symbolic meaning. films also include symbols.) In film.

you will likely notice at least a few symbols.  Sound Effects: Some may think that sound effects are not very important outside of cartoons. a football sack. but sound effects play a significant role in almost every visual production. Many sounds heard in a film (a door slam.looking closely at the sights and sounds in the film. a cheering .

after the film is shot. There are many types of special effects- . etc. but these effects must follow the laws of science to be realistic.crowd.) are added in post-production. How do these sound effects help viewers better understand what is happening in the story?  Special Effects: Special effects push viewers to accept the extraordinary.

Also. just to name a few. the music . are they effective or ineffective in the film? What reason(s) are there to support that claim?  Music: Usually.freezing a scene and rotating the camera around a character. or placing us in a computer generated universe. see how they adhere to the laws of science. When looking at the special effects.

When watching the film. but if it offers tension like the music inJaws. a film or television show works into the storyline so well that the audience does not pay attention to it. pay careful attention . it makes the viewers feel calm. the viewers know to expect something terrible. the music helps to promote a particular aura. If the music is slow.

Is it the music. these songs provide important . music plays a more prominent role. Usually. as the actors will break into song at various points during the show. or does it have a chorus and verses? How does the music help to set the stage in the movie or television show? In musicals.

information: how the character feels about a situation. background information about what is happening in the character's life or elsewhere. and so on. Determining the reason why a particular piece of music is inserted into that section of the film is especially important for a musical.  Comparison to a Literary Work: Some filmmakers .

In addition to focusing on the similarities and differences between the novel and the film.have chosen to develop famous novels or other stories into films or television shows. Comparing the film to the print version is good analysis topic. the film or . Which version. think about why the filmmakers had to make these changes.

the printed one. The information presented in this chapter will help you identify the techniques used to . is better and why? Summary Being aware of the strategies that filmmakers use offers insights as to why certain productions receive rave reviews while others barely receive a nod.

Smarthinking Writer's Handbook Chapter 1. Lesson 12 Writing Scientific or . understand why they were used and how they affect the final piece.produce films and shows. and analyze an audience's reaction to a given work.

Using Observations to Write a Science Report The purpose of a scientific lab .Technical Reports Objective In this lesson. or technical reports. social science. The skills that you learn can be used in writing many kinds of science. you will learn how to write one kind of scientific report--a lab report.

Your job is to titrate (that is. [See "Writing About Observations" for more basic information about observation is to accurately convey the details and results of an experiment to your reader/s. who may need to repeat the experiment in order to verify your results.] Consider the following sample chemistry experiment. .

Finally. After the experiment is finished. you'll report any conclusions to be drawn from . you'll need to write a report that describes your measurements and what you observed.add in carefully measured amounts) one solution into another. At each step of the process. you observe and record the results in your lab notebook.

You must:  Be prepared for the experiment by doing any required reading and gathering of materials  Understand your goal for the experiment  Take very good notes during the experiment. and .the experiment. Note that this process requires several steps.

follow these . Preparation Knowing what you're going to do in the experiment is where everything begins. Write about your observations in an acceptable format. After all. how can you know what to do and how to write about it if you don't have the slightest clue what's going on? To get ready.

find the answers to your questions before you go to the lab.  If you're not sure what you'll be doing or you don't understand the material. the equipment.guidelines:  Read your lab assignment in advance and know what you'll be doing. or the experiment.  Record in your notebook .

equations. and write why you are making these predictions. You can use these later to explain what happened.  Record what you think will happen in the experiment before you go to the lab. Such predictions are .all the theories. and principles that you should know in order to understand the experiment.

you've done half the work already.called hypotheses. Observations Made Easy If you're prepared for the experiment. and not having a clue as to what they think will happen. not understanding any of the principles behind the experiment. A lot of students go to lab not knowing what they are going to do. These students end .

all you have to do is perform the experiment and record what actually happens. By contrast.up cramming lots of details in their notebooks-details that they won't understand when they look at their notes several days later. Now. your notebook will already be prepared. Writing About Your Observations .

Most scientific and lab reports use a standard format to present information. however. there are some variations. Make sure that you check with your professor before you record information and use the format s/he prefers.  The Introduction (Statement of the Problem) Your report should have an .

and o The "question.introduction that states the problem and the purpose of the experiment." or hypothesis. o Experiments or research that set the context for the experiment. The introduction should highlight: o Any relevant background information. for the .

the more you demonstrate that you know what the experiment is about. The Introduction certainly may be more than one paragraph in length.experiment. Don't skimp on this section: the more pertinent information that you write.  Methods and Materials (Procedure) .

The reader/s need to know: o The research design. you must describe the experimental procedure itself. o Methods and materials. such as the subjects and how they were selected.In this section. and . o The equipment. o Whether you did laboratory or field research.

or reagents. For example.o The steps taken in the experiment. for example. don't tell the reader that you mixed . Be precise as you discuss what you used and what you did to perform the procedure. you would include the chemicals. used in the experiment and the equipment. In a chemistry lab. or tools. that you used.

Stick to the precision that your equipment is capable of recording-no more. no less. Usually. the methods and materials section is written in the past tense because you've already performed the experiment.5 grams of sodium chloride. Its purpose is to .10 grams of sodium chloride into the mixture if you actually mixed 10.

and diagrams .  The Results (Data Presentation) This section reports on the findings of the experiment. Don't include explanations in this section. tables. or the data. Visual aids such as graphs. charts.relate the experimental process step-by-step so that the reader can duplicate your experiment using the same methods and equipment.

Or.  The Discussion (Conclusions) .make the data presentation stronger. This section also may include a sample calculation (if any data reduction is involved) for one representative set from the data. you can write a simple narrative account of what happened. depending on your professor's instructions.

In this final section. you'll summarize the findings of your experiment and offer some tentative conclusions. You've already told whathappened. now you'll tell why it happened. You'll discuss whether your original hypothesis was or was not confirmed by the experiment and speculate (make an educated guess) as to why. In addition. you'll .

The Discussion section is a very important section of the report because it shows that you understand the experiment beyond simply being able to complete it. or implications. of the experiment and describe any follow-on experiments that might confirm or extend the results. This .share with the reader the meaning.

Professors and professional colleagues reward people who can use writing to explain. Answer the following True/False questions and then click "Enter" to see if your answers . Exercise Test your knowledge. where the preparations before the experiment really pay off. and interpret results.

1. Top of Form True False Bottom of Form Top of Form Bottom of Form 2.are correct. Description and precise language are the primary . Writing lab reports is a type of observation writing.

There is only one format for writing scientific observations. Top of Form True False Bottom of Form Top of Form Bottom of Form 3. .tools of science writers.

You shouldn't read anything about the experiment until the last minute. Top of Form .Top of Form True False Bottom of Form Top of Form Bottom of Form 4.

Top of Form True .True False Bottom of Form Top of Form Bottom of Form 5. Preparing for the experiment saves time in the writing stage.

False Bottom of Form Top of Form Bottom of Form 6. A short introduction is best when writing about observations. Top of Form True False .

Top of Form True False Bottom of Form Top of Form . Never include graphs or charts in a lab report.Bottom of Form Top of Form Bottom of Form 7.

Bottom of Form 8. It's important to share your conclusions about why something happened during the experiment. Top of Form True False Bottom of Form Top of Form Bottom of Form .

and technical courses.Summary Knowing how to use details to write observations will help when you write scientific observations. social science. This skill is crucial to success in most science. and in many professional careers as well. The steps you take to write about observations in a science course or lab can be .

Lesson 13 Resume Writing Objective In this lesson. you'll learn how to develop a one-to-two page resume that will attract an employer's attention to .applied to other disciplines. Smarthinking Writer's Handbook Chapter 1.

help you get a job interview What is a resume? A resume is a one-to-two page document that summarizes your skills. qualifications. and education. job experience. Just as sales people use brochures to advertise a product. . you'll use your resume to advertise yourself to potential employers.

even thousands .New technologies and characteristics of the job market have changed the way in which potential employers read and use resumes.of resumes they receive. many companies use Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) into . Moreover. Studies show that hiring managers spend an average of 6 seconds scanning the hundreds .

they look for elements of your background that make you a good fit for the company and the job. Instead.which they scan applicant resumes and search for candidates using keywords. Construct your resume with these new conditions in mind. . Employers no longer look for the traditional statement of "Objectives".

and Accomplishments  Education  Work Experience  Interests and Activities (Optional) Steps Before Writing . Abilities.Employers expect to see the following things in resumes:  Contact Information  Skills.

qualifications. How do you know what kind of job is the right one for you? There are a variety of tools available to help you understand yourself and your working preferences better. Getting the right job means applying for the right job.Take time to assess your skills. . and experiences before you start to write your resume.

Books like this one offer you a series of questions. you can buy a book such as the wellknown What Color Is Your Parachute? written by Dick Bolles and published by Ten Speed Press. charts. Another tool is the Myer's Briggs Type Indicator test available on the .For example. and prompts to get you thinking about your ideal job situation.

you can develop an eye-catching and powerful resume. the jobs you've held. For each. List all of the schools you've attended. record . When you know what kind of work is best for you and how your experiences and skills factor into your decision. Making lists is also helpful. and your volunteer experiences.Internet and in bookstores.

and. Your prewriting will save you effort and energy later in the writing process. The following items will help you to flesh out your list:  Unique Selling . any degrees or certificates that you earned. your most salient accomplishments. most importantly.the dates you were there. the skills that you've gained.

and accomplishments make you an employee who adds value to a company?  Skills and Abilities: o Computer skills and programs in which you are literate o Technical or mechanical . qualities.Proposition: What makes you stand out from other applicants? How do your particular skills.

skills o Courses you have attended beyond general college course o Writing or other communication abilities o Languages that you speak or can read o Supervisory skills o Personal attributes that make you a unique or .

paid or unpaid . list accomplishments that demonstrate your application of those skills and abilities  Schools attended. and grades  Work experiences. courses taken.particularly good worker  Accomplishments: drawing from your list of skills and abilities.

In the text box. list at least ten skills that you've developed that are applicable to the type of job you want. 2. Can you think of anything else to add to the list now? If so.Exercise 1. Note which of these skills you may use in that job. add .

What particular accomplishments can you name in order to demonstrate your use of the skills you've listed? Try to add 1-2 . 5 = least important). Take a look at your skills list. 3.them to the list. and then rank all the skills according to importance on a scale of 1 to 5 (1 = most important.

What will each attribute contribute to the job? Writing and Targeting Your Resume Good resumes are targeted to one employer and one type of .accomplishments for each skill. At the bottom of your list. 4. write the five most important personal attributes that you possess.

and abilities. you can pull the most important .job. From that base. but they don't give a sense of focus to a particular employer's need for filling a particular job. skills. Therefore. it is helpful to write a lengthy base resume that records your work experiences. General resumes may reveal that you have had lots of experiences.

and then you'll have all the information necessary when you need to target a new resume to a new potential employer. Add your new skills and abilities to the base resume monthly. Whether you're writing a general resume or one for a particular job.information to target a particular job. if necessary. your resume .

skills. and accomplishments and demonstrate how they can contribute to a business's bottom line.should have a central purpose or focus. For a general resume. qualifications. the . For a resume you are developing in order to apply for a particular job. characteristics. the purpose is to showcase the unique set of abilities.

qualifications. skills. The purpose . Everything you write in your resume will contribute to that purpose or focus. characteristics. and accomplishments that fit the requirements for the job and demonstrate how they will contribute to the particular company's bottom line.purpose is to show the particular abilities.

and e-mail address at the top of the resume.of your resume will guide you as you select what elements of your experience and skill set to include. as well as the words you use in order to describe them. . Build your resume:  Contact Information Give your full name. telephone number. mailing address.

Use your cover letter to indicate how and where you can be reached and when is the best time. include a permanent address (a post office box or your parent's address will be fine) . [see "Writing a Cover and Thank-You Letter"] o Avoid using nicknames o In addition to your college address.

The best e-mail address will include your first and last name. . perhaps with a dot in between them.o Include the area code of your phone number o Make sure your e-mail address is written correctly o Note: avoid cutesy email addresses like flowergirl35 or hotdude.

This can be labeled in one of several ways: . Instead. employers look for some sort of summary that combines your relevant skills and connects them to what the employer is looking for. Summary o Objectives are no longer standard in resumes.

your summary of relevant skills should appear directly below your . Profile  Qualifications Summary  Core Competencies  Key Skills  Key Proficiencies  Areas of Expertise o However you label it.

and remember. It's the most important part of the resume. you should target resumes and write an appropriate summary to . because it is what the hiring manager will see first .contact information. the typical resume gets perused in about six seconds! o If you're applying for several different types of jobs.

should be consistent with the job title and general qualifications .match each job. Your summary:  Should be consistent with the job skills and qualifications that you include on your resume and  If a response to an advertised position.

Exercise Think about a job that you'd like to have.  Your summary should include the keywords employers will be using to search for the best applicants. Write a summary statement that corresponds to that job in the text box below. Read more about keywords below. .listed in that ad.

Use reverse chronology. If you don't have a job in mind yet.Rewrite as necessary. listing . you could practice this step using the job advertisements from an online job board.  Education This category should follow the summary statement.

and any other information.most recent schools first. Example: . Put information about each institution in an order that will be coincide with what employers want to know first. You can leave off dates for education. minor. and relevant coursework. city & state. The best order is name of degree and major. like GPA. school.

Ohio  GPA: 4.BA. U. History. Morefield State University.0  Minor: English  President's List.S. 4 years  Related Course Work: Writing for the Professional Audience. Columbus. Technical Writing I and .

Business Communication  Skills and Abilities Use brief bulleted statements to highlight special skills that make you a strong candidate for the position. If the advertisement calls for someone with teaching experience and you have been teaching swimming and sailing at a summer camp for .II.

you should reverse the position of these two . briefly list all of the programs that you are able to use.the past two summers. you have some teaching skills that should be mentioned specifically. Note that if your work experience is more pertinent to the job than your special skills and abilities. If the job requires computer skills.

Once again. it's fine to include volunteer and internship experiences under this category. The important thing is to identify those positions that . including relevant keywords is critical.  Work Experience List your work experience in reverse chronological order. If you do not have a lot of paid work experience.categories.

then dates. o The best order for employers and ATS systems is company name. o Provide a summary of your accomplishments in that position using active language. Begin your statements with active . job title.helped you develop and use skills that a potential employer might find useful.

For example. say something like: Wrote computer code for a biology software program. o Note the difference between writing about duties and writing about accomplishments.verbs (present tense for current positions and past tense for previous positions) and avoid using "I" in these statements. It will .

 Interests and Activities (Optional) This section now tends to . Focus on accomplishments rather than responsibilities.interest your employer less that you had responsibility for developing budgets than that you developed a particular budget for a particular program.

and (3) activities that provide .be discouraged by many resume experts. but if you have just graduated and you don't have a lot of job experience. You might include (1) social or civic activities. (2) interests or hobbies that relate to the position that you're applying for. this section helps employers know more about you.

1999 Football Team: First team member of the college's Division I . or other positive personal characteristics. Provide brief explanations of each activity if you have room.information about your dedication to a task. Examples:  1996 . ability to work hard.

 1992 .present Junior President of Rotary Club: Organized and developed activities for the Rotary Club in .football team. Practiced an average of 20 hours per week and participated in all games throughout the season.

In fact. Nevertheless.Creekwater.  References It is no longer standard to write "References Available Upon Request" at the bottom of your resume. you should have ready a list of references for your potential employer for when they ask for it. doing so may make you look inexperienced. This list should . NM.

include the full name of each reference. They cannot be family members. or colleagues. telephone number/s. and a brief statement describing how you know the person. employers. Note: Don't offer someone as a reference until you have . his/her title. References can be current and past professors.

o "Salary negotiable" employers already know . and hobbies o Your photograph . marital status.checked with him/her to make sure it is okay to do so. pets. sex.  What to leave out of your resume: o Your age.this is not necessary and will interfere with processing by ATS software.

Leave discussion of salary expectations for the interview. o Cliched phrases: salary negotiable. problem solving skills.what you want to do is demonstrate that you have these qualities by describing specific .salary is negotiable. hard working. detailoriented. proactive. team player . self-starter.

o Fancy fonts and excessive formatting these make the resume more difficult to read and may interfere with processing by an ATS. If you find a . o Overused templates avoid Microsoft templates.accomplishments in your outline of skills and job experience.

o Irrelevant jobs and activities . Do not list activities that do not relate to the . plus any earlier jobs that are relevant to the position for which you are applying. tweak it so that it is unique to you.include jobs from the last ten years. Leave others out.template online that you like.

o Spelling and punctuation errors .don't rely on your word processor's spell checker. Have a friend look over your resume. and then check it again yourself.  Keywords o Most employers now scan resumes into ATS software.position. creating a .

searchable database they can use to identify candidates using keyword searches.  Use keywords from the job description in your summary. skills. . Here are some tips for getting keywords right. That means including the right keywords in your resume is essential.

job boards.and accomplishments. and other .  Research keywords on websites for companies in the same industry.  Research the company and the industry to uncover other relevant keywords the prospective employer may use to search for qualified candidates.

When you type in the box. In one part of . skills with the words you type will appear in a dropdown box.  Use variants of keywords.  Use the LinkedIn skills box to identify commonly-used skill titles.sources of job descriptions.

you might use "CRM". you might use "Customer Relationship Management". for example. This maximizes the opportunities for your resume to turn up in a database search.  Software names and course titles are also . while in another.your resume.

 Find places in your resume to use keywords in contexts that link them to your specific'll want to be thoughtful about formatting. Resumes should be formatted for both reading ease and ATS compatibility. Moreover.common keywords. .  Formatting .

most resumes are now submitted electronically. but in the event that an employer does . o Develop both a text and a printable (document) form of your resume.  Many employers will specify the format in which they want your resume. either through e-mail or online application forms.

click the dropdown box. and . you can send both a text version in the bottom of your email (following a cover letter) and attach a document form of your resume to the e-mail  You can save the text version of your document as a ..not specify.". choose "Save as.. In Word.txt file.

 To see how your resume will look as plain text and adjust accordingly.scroll down to . view your document in NotePad.txt. cutting and pasting from a spell- . You can replace bullet points with asterisks.  When asked to submit your resume through an online form.

checked ." and scroll down to . You'll avoid spelling and grammar errors and make sure you include those valuable keywords.doc ("Save as.txt file is safer and more reliable than typing your information into the online form. use ...  When you save your resume in document form.

and all processors can open a . The advantage of .doc file. Some employers may still be using the earlier version of Word.Word 97-2003 Document).  Saving your document as a .pdf files is that they retain formatting across .pdf file is another option.

and to bold.platforms.  For the document form of your resume. chose formatting that will make your resume easy to read. italicize. or underline in limited and consistent ways that will make your resume both attractive and easy to . Use bullets freely. Use your computer's ability to change fonts and size.

This protocol simplifies organization for your potential  Name your resume using your first and last name and the word "resume".do c. include a cover letter in the body of the e-mail.  When sending a resume. For . Example: Jeffrey_Rogers_Resume.

 In the e-mail subject line. see "Writing a Cover and Thank-You Letter". the job title.  Even in the document version of your resume. graphics. avoid formatting that is ATS-unfriendly: lines. tables. fancy .more on cover letters. include the job reference number. and your name.

 Keep your resume to 2 pages if your work experience is 10 years or longer. so that it appears on every page of your resume. text boxes.bullets. and logos.  Put your contact information in the header. keep it to a single page if you have less than 10 years of work .

you'll learn how to write strong cover letters to enclose with your . Lesson 14 Writing a Cover and ThankYou Letter Objective In this lesson. Smarthinking Writer's Handbook Chapter 1.experience.

The Cover Letter A cover letter is a one-page . the cover letter and thank you letter represent your best chance to communicate with prospective employers. Introduction Along with your resume.resume and thank you letters to send after interviews. These letters set you apart from other candidates.

Although your resume also answers that question.letter sent with a resume. You should include a cover letter every time you submit a resume. A cover letter gives you an extra opportunity to show the employer who you are and how your talents match the job that needs to be filled. it does so in a very rigid format. The .

cover letter allows you to tell the potential employer things about your experiences and abilities in a targeted way. Even if you send your resume via e-mail. Your cover letter should explain precisely why you fit the qualifications of a specific position. Not sending one is a sign of laziness or . write and attach a cover letter.

Look for cues in the job description.inexperience in the job search process. Note: in some cases. neither of which is helpful in getting an interview. it may be acceptable to write your cover letter in the body of the email with which you send your resume. Writing a Good Cover Letter The following tips will help .

you write an effective cover letter:  Identify your purpose for writing the letter and maintain a focus on that purpose throughout the letter. Your purpose will be shaped by your desired outcome for the letter (getting an interview. learning about job opportunities at the company. getting on a .

 Research the company It is easier to write both a targeted cover letter and resume if you know something about the company or institution that is hiring.recruiter's radar) as well as by the qualities and experiences that would make you a unique and valuable asset. Researching the company can be as simple .

where you will find out more about the company's products or services. the founders or primary executives. and the hiring official(s). its financial going to a web site. it is acceptable to telephone the company and ask for the human resources division where someone can give you information about the . Often.

To .job and the hiring process.  Write your letter to the hiring official in charge of the job A cover letter is always most effective when it's addressed directly to the person who will make the final hiring decision. That knowledge can help you to shape both your cover letter and your resume.

By writing directly to the hiring official. try to find out using Google or the . your application might jump to the top of a very big pile.make a good first impression on this person is valuable. If you aren't sure who will be making the hiring decision. Do not address your letter to "Sir or Madam" or "To whom it may concern".

Because you will be targeting the letter to the company's website. In the event that you cannot determine who is making the hiring decision.  Write your letter in a formal letter style It's important to speak in a clear and formal style when writing a cover letter. you can . leave out the greeting.

and reveal by your words that you are motivated. the perfect match for the . enthusiastic.avoid writing a letter that sounds as if it were copied from a business textbook or as if it's being used for every job to which you're applying. and focused-in other words. Personalize your letter to fit the specific position for which you are applying.

you should restate this requirement in your cover letter: "I have two and a half years of .  Use the terms and phrases the employer uses in the job advertisement If the job advertisement says that the employer is looking for someone with "at least one-year experience in computer programming".position.

experience in computer programming. Of course. You'll want to speak only to your genuine skills and experiences and show how they match the employer's needs." Follow up this statement by explaining how you have met and/or exceeded that experience.  Avoid overuse of "I" . honesty and integrity are crucial.

and explain how you fulfill those needs. The idea is to convey very quickly how you can contribute to the company's bottom line.  Be brief Most employers will receive hundreds of resumes and cover letters.You want to convey the impression that the letter is about what the company wants. Refer to what that is. .

should be no more than 3-4 brief paragraphs. make your letter as brief as possible. salutation (greeting). and signature block. The entire letter. . while still making the points you want to make.Since they will not have time to read long cover letters. with your letterhead. covering 1/2 to 3/4 of a page. the company's address.

select a one or two relevant high points from your resume and use them to help demonstrate that you are a good fit for the position. Don't repeat your resume Instead.  Be active Express your interest in the job and don't be shy about highlighting your skills and experiences that make you a good match. Close by .

Tell the employer that you'll call or e-mail in one week or ten days to see where the company is in the hiring process. you should not stop there.telling the employer that you look forward to hearing from him/her. Then. make the call. However. This proactive stance sets you apart from other applicants who simply wait to hear from the employer-it .

 Be polite and avoid sounding desperate. "I look forward to your response" to help prompt a reply from the employer. Instead.demonstrates your dependability and independence. You may also add. Do not demand a positive response. . express your interest in the opportunity.

. Spelling. Proofread carefully. Have another person read your documents before you send them and read them aloud yourself. and typographical errors in cover letters and resumes are an easy excuse for employers to dismiss you immediately as a potential employee. listening and looking for readability and clarity. grammar.

Paragraph 2: Mention 1-2 accomplishments that demonstrate your suitability for the job and distinguish you from other applicants. Mention where you saw the ad. using the position name in the job advertisement.A sample outline for an effective cover letter Paragraph 1: Express your interest in the position. .

Thank the employer for considering . Say what you will do to follow up and express your willingness to supply any additional information the employer may need.).Paragraph 3: Address your desired outcome from the letter (an interview. etc. a discussion with the employer about their hiring plans or job opportunities.

in which I was promoted twice.your letter or application. Thank I may be reached at home at 555-555-5555 or via e-mail at bloa@aolb.However. If you are looking for someone dedicated to fresh approaches in the communicative arts. Montana 33333 Dear Mr. I will be happy to call you next Thursday to see whether you have received and reviewed my application. 2000 Don Blackman. I look forward to meeting with you to discuss the position further. I am available for an interview at any time. I am writing in reference to your advertisement for a graphic artist/designer in yesterday's Montana Morning Post. Graphics Director The Graphics Place 1323 Main Street Burkes. please look at my resume attached to this e-mail. Sample Cover Letter Sam Smith 10 Water Way Waterville. My former position. Washington 11111 May 10. I would be delighted to set up an interview appointment or to answer any questions that you might have. At that time. my specialty was exploring the potential of visual communication in all its contemporary forms and I have won three awards for my work in this area. My enclosed resume will show that I have the qualifications and skills that are necessary for success in this position. Blackman. Drumbeat. Sam Smith Attachment: Resume Exercise . Illustrator and Freehand. In this position. required that I develop and use experience in Photoshop.

use a job advertisement from your local newspaper. use the text box below to write a cover letter for a job in which you are interested. When you're finished.Using the sample cover letter above. compare your letter . If you are not currently seeking employment but you want to practice writing a cover letter anyway.

The Thank You Letter You should write a follow-up letter to a prospective employer within twenty-four (24) hours of your interview for the position.with the example. Many . This letter is a very important part of the interviewing process.

the letter gives you an opportunity to tell him/her . making those who do stand out in contrast! By sending a thank you to the employer. you are letting him/her know that you are still interested in the job.people fail to send a thank you letter. it is a chance for you to remind the interviewer of your interview and skills. In addition. Finally.

things that you may have forgotten to say in the interview or things that you wish you had said better. You never know how quickly the employer will be looking to . Writing a Good Thank You Letter  Send the letter as soon as possible. Do not delay—get it in the mail or email.

.  Develop a thank you letter with the standard components.hire. Send it directly to the person who interviewed you for the position. The letter should use the same formal tone and format as your cover letter.  Type the letter in standard business format.

Include any elements of the interview that come to mind (e. Include the names of the people who interviewed you and the position title for which you interviewed.g. .. touring the facilities or meeting potential co-workers). express your appreciation for the interview.o In your first paragraph.

o Include specifics details about the interview to refresh the interviewer's mind about who you are. Include any comments or a part of the conversation that would make you stand out from others. o Drive home any main points that you think would be helpful. Reemphasize your most important skills and show .

o Briefly add any relevant information that you forgot to include in your resume or interview.the interviewer why you are the right fit for the organization. o Let the employer know that you want to continue your discussion about the position. Be proactive and tell him/her when you will .

I look forward to continuing our discussion and will call you on Friday to see where you are in the interviewing process. Then call as promised. . I logged on to your web site and downloaded the "Writing Better Test Questions" demo. I am a very organized and methodical individual who can easily learn the latest developmental software programs for the medical/nursing industry. as you did prior to receiving the interview. Sample Thank You Letter Joe Smith 56 Clear Lane Hamilton. Once again. In the meantime. please feel free to contact me at any time. I am also very interested in learning more graphic to follow-up the interview. The step-by-step examples. I found it both interesting and easy to follow. These kinds of responsibilities certainly will put my creative efforts to the test! As you suggested in my interview. Texas 11111 August 10. Wilson. 2000 Jamie Wilson Director of Publications Tom's Publishing Company 10 Trial Way Hamilton. I believe my passion for editing and talent in the marketing and graphic arts field mesh well with Tom's Publishing business goals and objectives. Texas 11111 Dear I enjoyed speaking with you this afternoon about the Publication Assistant position. During our meeting. I can be reached at home at 555-555-5555 or via e-mail at aolb@bloa. thank you for meeting with me. guidelines. you said that you want someone to step in and take over the editorial aspects of the company in an organized manner. and Educator Tips give great insights into what is expected on an exam.

Compare your letter with the sample when you are finished.Sincerely. Joe Smith Exercise Using the example thank you letter as a guide. . write a follow-up letter in the text box below. You may use the experience of a past interview to guide your writing.

Smarthinking Writer's Handbook .Summary You've learned why cover and thank you letters are important to the job search process and how to write effective ones.

you’ll learn what a short story is. Lesson 15 Writing Short Stories 1: Short Story as Genre Objective In this lesson.Chapter 1. You’ll also learn the elements of a short story. and the sub-genres of short stories. and . the difference between a simple narrative and a short story.

you’ll practice using those elements. What is a short story? Scholars. However. critics. and should be read and written . academics and writers are still debating this question today. there is one aspect of the short story that they all agree on: the short story is more than just a short novel. It is a genre in and of itself.

in a short story.with different expectations than the novel. the focus is on the plot. With that in mind. though there is a “narrative. the “what happens next. there are essentially two types of short narratives: the short story and the simple narrative.” there is also meaning that lies below the .” However. In a simple narrative.

surface story. Conflict. . This symbolic substructure is where the real meaning of the short story is. What makes short stories interesting is trouble. there must be a conflict. and everything in the story points to it. or a symbolic substructure. Crisis and Resolution For a story to be successful.

Conflict comes in many forms. must want something intensely. “What the central character wants doesn’t have to be violent or spectacular. but the main thing to remember is that the central character must yearn for something. it’s the . or conflict. According to Janet Burroway.Trouble. is what keeps readers reading your story.

There are many different conflicts.intensity of the wanting that counts. conflict can be broken down in the following way:  Human against human .” Think about it this way—the most dangerous things in life are not necessarily the most spectacular. but in a nutshell. The same is true of short stories.

 Human against nature
 Human against society
 Human against machine
 Human against God
 Human against self
Once conflict has been
established, and this is usually
at the very beginning of the
story, it is then developed
through the story. Then the
conflict must come to a crisis,

either internal or external.
After the crisis, there either is
aresolution, or, as many
modern and contemporary
stories end, the reader is left
to decide the resolution. In
the short story (as opposed to
the simple narrative) this
crisis is often called
the epiphany, where the main
character comes to an
understanding, changes

his/her view, or has a chance
for change but either doesn’t
recognize the chance or
chooses not to take it. In such
a case, the epiphany is the
reader’s, because the reader
comes to understand or see
something that the character
is unable to. The key is that
there is change, or a chance
for change, or reversal. A
reversal of some sorts is

necessary to all story
structure. The conflict can’t
go on in a short story; there
must be an end in sight, either
for the characters or for the
So, a short story begins “in
the middle,” with the conflict
and tension established first.
The sooner you get your
characters into some sort of
conflict, the better. Because a

short story is by its nature
short, you don’t have the
luxury of a novelist in
providing background
information or describing
This exercise will give you an
opportunity to practice
conflict, crisis and resolution
in a very short space.
In the text box below, try

writing a story in exactly 100
words. Because this is so
brief, you will want to create
your conflict right away.
Also, remember that your
resolution can be implied.

How did you do? Did you
establish your conflict in the
first sentence or two? Were

you able to write a complete
story in 100 words? Can your
conflict fall into one of the 6
categories of conflict above?
Was your crisis internal or
external? Was there a
resolution, or did you leave it
up to the reader to decide?
A symbol is an object or
event that represents
something other than its self.

Most symbols in short stories
become symbolic in the story
itself, and they don’t have this
meaning outside of the story.
But do writers intentionally
place symbols into their
stories? The answer is no.
So, while symbols and
symbolic substructures are
important if you are writing
short stories (as opposed to
simple narratives), the

confusing part is that you
don’t want to intentionally put
them in. So how do they get
into your story? The masters
of the short story form say
that they write stories from
the place they dream, and that
the symbols and symbolic
substructures exist only
because of the nature of the
human mind, where meaning
is below the surface.

I guess somewhere some of the same ideas must be in me. I .Following are quotes from masters of the short story on symbolism: Ernest Hemingway: “I know what I am writing about but I never throw in symbols consciously. Sometimes I find out what I’m supposed to mean when I read the books on my work.

” .certainly do have crazy ideas.” Katherine Ann Porter: “Symbolism happens of its own self and it comes out of something so deep in your consciousness and your own experience that I don’t think most writers are at all conscious of their use of symbols. I never am until I see them.

.Flannery O’Connor: “I really didn’t know what a symbol was until I started reading about them. When you do this. as opposed to trying to tell the story.” So. It seemed I was going to have to know about them if I was going to be a respectable literary person. your goal is to strive to do is to let the story tell itself. symbolism occurs naturally.

not about thinking something up… Another way to think of it is that writing is the art of taking dictation. writing is about: … getting something down. When I listen to what I hear and simply jot that down. not giving it. According to Julie Cameron.because of the nature of structure and the nature of the conscious and subconscious mind. the .

In the structuring of events. it is because I am trying to speak on the page rather than listen there. When. and . I struggle to write. the choice of object. the writing process is inherently and by definition symbolic. detail. the creation of character and atmosphere.flow of ideas is not mine to generate but to transcribe. Thus. on the other hand.

then. do you know if symbolism is present in your story. How. and if that symbolic substructure is working? One of the best ways to discover if your writing has symbols and symbolic substructures is to .language. you are selecting and arranging toward the goal that these elements should signify more than their mute material existence.

It is always interesting and enlightening for a reader to find symbolic meaning in your story. Very often writers don’t even know that they are there until someone points them out to them! For more . to learn that the depth of your consciousness and experience points to meaning beyond the narrative.have others read your stories.

Writing Poetry. Writing Short Stories 2: Techniques: Editing and . Lesson 16. read the section on symbols in Chapter 1. Lesson 17. Another way to know if symbolism is present and working in your story is through re-visioning your story (see Chapter 1.on symbolism and how symbols naturally evolve.

reading classic and . LINK to the lesson seeing your story new.Revising). You will be amazed sometimes at what winks back at you from the page. This is why it is so helpful to set your work aside for a period of time and then go back to it. Also. and seeing what was always there but not obvious (even to you) at first.

but the works that withstand the test of time. how writers use it.contemporary short stories rich with symbolism will help you to understand what symbolism is. the works that speak to us and stay with us long after we put .” There is certainly nothing wrong with simple narrative. and how it enriches the story beyond the “simple narrative.

Anton Chekhov. Flannery O’Connor. Franz Kafka. A good place to start is by reading some of the short story writers that are considered masters of the form such as Eudora Welty. Katherine . have symbolic substructures that the reader identifies with (sometimes subconsciously).the story down. Grace Paley.

William Faulkner. William Gass. Joyce Carol Oates. Ralph Ellison. Jorge Luis Borges.Mansfield. Robert Coover. and Imamu Amiri Baraka (Leroi Jones). Williams Carlos Williams. Guy de Maupassant. Kate Chopin. Edgar Allen Poe. Donald Barthelme. Vladimir Nabokov. . Ernest Hemingway. Amy Tan.

For example. impact than a story that is . a story that is 1500 words may have a more concentrated. and poetic. the form of a short story contributes significantly to a story’s effect and to your reader’s response. Like poetry.Structure and Form Structure and form are the overall design or arrangement of material.

15. There are many devices that you can use in order to enhance . But length is not the only aspect of form that you can use to comment on the content of your story. The sheer “shortness” of the story lends a strong emotional and intellectual effect that lingers with the reader long after she has put the story down.000 words.

Framing in the short story is similar to a frame around a picture. but is separate from the internal image. Following are some of these devices:  Framing. Frames take many different forms.meaning and emphasize symbolism and theme. . but some of the most common are different time periods. It holds the picture together.

With a story that is framed. you want to have the “complete” story inside of the frame. or sometimes seemingly unrelated events.  Diary entries or notes. . with the frame adding complexity and reader revelation.different characters. The idea of the frame is to “surround” the story with the frame in order to add meaning.

A collage is an assortment of disparate fragments pasted together and transposed into an artistic composition. if anything took place. which can be a comment on reality or perception of reality.Telling a story by a series of diary entries or notes.  Collage. As is common in stories of this mode. . the reader must question what.

disconnection and isolation.  Non-linear plot. This is an experimental form of fiction.Collages suggest rather than tell. or not . Events not in sequence. and can have the effect of fragmentation. but can be very successful if there are the symbolic and thematic threads that tie the fragments together.

Plots are truncated. or abandoned. This technique can comment on the idea that the universe is not rational or coherent. but . This technique can comment on the idea of time itself and the effects it has on man.having a beginning.  Anti-story. distorted. middle and end arranged according to chronological or clock time.

etc.rather a meaningless puzzle. the short story form. the character. This can comment on the poetic nature of life. Breaking parts of the prose into poetic form. There are many more aspects of structure that you can use in your stories—and contemporary writers .  Lyricism.

remember that they are only apparently disconnected or incongruous. One thing to keep in mind: If you decide to use the disconnected or incongruous techniques. the disconnection creates coherence.certainly are inventing new ones. In actuality. the structure of sentences themselves can also comment . Like the form of the whole.

but also the nature of the lost or wandering modern man. Like . lingering sentences and paragraphs can convey not only drawn-out action or emotion. Short. but can also convey the “choppiness” of the contemporary world. choppy sentences can convey the emotion or action of the character.on content. Conversely. long.

see if you can rewrite the story in the form of a diary entry. you can consciously use these techniques in revision to emphasize your point and comment on theme.symbolism. Now. However. Exercise Take your 100-word story that you wrote above. these techniques cannot be forced upon the story. Try .

Short Story Sub-Genres To understand the development of the short story means to get a grasp on what has come before. sculpture. Just as other art forms such as painting. and music .to keep the new story at 100 words.

you come to understand that there is no formula that is “ the masters to understand their own work.” no . Understanding the short story as a genre also opens the doors for you as a writer. By reading the short story in all of its forms. so it is extremely beneficial for a writer to study the short story in its various stages.

parable and poetry.cut-and-dried way to tell your story. They are often elusive. and . Following are some of the short story sub-genres and some of the writers who write in these non-traditional forms. mythology.  Magical realism is a subgenre characterized by fantastic detail.

and his stories include “Eva is Inside Her Cat.” “A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings. Gabriel Garcia Marquez is considered to be one of the leaders in this sub-genre.operate in a world that is at the same time both real and unreal. moods.”  The lyric short story concentrates on internal changes.” and “Eyes of a Blue Dog. .

but it is not plot development that arouses interest.and feelings. often figurative language of the poem. using a variety of structural patterns depending on the shape of the emotion itself. Many of Jean Toomer’s stories can . relies for the most part on the open ending. and is expressed in the condensed. evocative. The essential of storytelling are present.

be considered lyric short stories. Franz Kafka’s “Before the Law” is . Toomer’s book Cane is a collection of lyric short stories and poetry.  Short-shorts or flash fictions are classified as having less than 2000 words. The brevity of this form allows for a concentrated emotional and intellectual impact.

John Barth is considered one of the forerunners in this example of such a story.  Metafiction is fiction about fiction. His most famous book Lost in the Funhouse is a cycle of short stories focusing on . where art is an artifice in which the real and fictional worlds are inseparable.

. By reading the masters of the genre and practicing.metafiction. you will learn to develop your own style and unique way of telling your story. Summary In this lesson. you’ve learned the difference between short stories and simple narratives and the elements that make up short stories.

Noel Harold Kaylor. Charles E. Story to Anti-Story. May.. 1994. Ed. 1997.. Ed.. Dr. Ed. 1976.Works Referenced Creative and Critical Approaches to the Short Story. . Short Story Theories. May.. Jr. The New Short Theories. Charles E.

Julie Cameron. Jerome Beaty. Dramatic Technique in Fiction.Mary Rohrberger. 1998. 1992. 1998. Janet Burroway. Writing Fiction: A Guide to a Narrative Craft. The Right to Write: An Invitation and Initiation into the Writing Life. Robert Bahr. 1996. The Norton Introduction to Fiction. 1979. .

To . you’ll learn the techniques that short story writers use and learn how to develop your own craft.Smarthinking Writer's Handbook Chapter 1. Lesson 16 Writing Short Stories 2: Techniques Objective In this lesson.

understand what a short story is and the different types of short stories. . you can refer to Chapter 1. Along the same lines. Writing Short Stories 1: Short Story as Genre. every word is extremely important. Rhythm and Voice Because the short story is brief. the rhythm of the prose is also extremely important. Lesson 15.

if your character is taking a long. but one way to work on it is through sentence length. try writing in long.This is also sometimes called your “voice. leisurely walk. For instance. Let your sentence structure imitate your action.” how you say what you say. There are many techniques to developing rhythm. leisurely .

for more information on rhythm readChapter 1. . Writing Poetry. Find a balance where the rhythm of your words works in tandem with the action and feelings of your characters. Ultimately. Because poetry focuses on rhythm also. however. you don’t want the structure of your sentences to distract from the action. Lesson 17.sentences.

Summary covers a longer period of time in a short space. but a scene is where significant things happen in moments .There are basically two methods of treating time in fiction: summary and scene. and a scenedeals with a short period of time at length. Summary helps give background information or leap moments or years.

and cannot be summarized. . they require scenes. Think of scenes as similar to a camera zooming in on something. Every detail. every word is looked at close-up and with extreme care. Because short stories are full of conflict and confrontation and turning points and crises (Writing Short Stories 1: Short Story as Genre. every gesture. ).

Exercise To practice summary and scene. and the scenes that show those moments are powerful for writers and readers. think about something . Short stories are about moments.You must look very closely at actions and words and subtle facial expressions in short stories. and this can’t be done in summary.

every gesture. every word. and every action that happened in a two or three minute span.that happened to you today. Then write the same incident as if you are zooming in on it. . Write every detail. First write a summary of the incident in two or three sentences.

present tense and past tense are the two basic tenses used in short fiction. It is generally more effective to stay in one tense all the way through a story. though if there is a thematic reason for jumping from tense .Tense As far as tense goes.

which is when the ongoing story flashes back in time and the reader sees a scene or scenes that help him to understand the ongoing story. doing so can be tense. give the reader a smooth transition . when you do use flashbacks. Flashbacks are one way to show past events in the narrative time of the story. Remember.

into the past and then back into the present story time. Viewpoint Someone must tell your . dialogue. so see if your flashback can be told through the present story. Though flashbacks are very useful. Too many flashbacks often bog the story down. or a detail may tell the reader all he/she needs to know. narration.

all the characters will be referred to as he. In the third person. This “someone” is called the narrator. and first person. There are three basic viewpoints through which stories are told: third person. second person. Person refers to the basic mode of a piece of fiction.story. or they. she. There are different ways to .

but one of the most effective is limited omniscience. the character telling the story will refer to himself or herself as I and to the other characters as he. or they. In the first person.use omniscience with the third person. she. which is when the reader knows the thoughts of only one character. The second .

this does not alter the basic viewpoint of the piece from third to second person.person (considered a very experimental form) is the basic mode of the story only when a character is referred to as you. when all of the characters’ thoughts are known) addresses the reader as you. When anomniscient narrator (or all-knowing. Only .

or . “the reader. but also for the reader of your story.” But the story may also be told to another character.when “you” become an actor in the drama is the story written in second person. the “you” implies an identity not only for the teller of the tale. Most fiction is addressed to a literary convention. In choosing a point of view.

characters. It is important to stay in one viewpoint consistently . in which case the reader “overhears” it. An example of this is a story written as a diary or taking place completely in the mind. the teller of the tale does not acknowledge the reader. One more way a story can be told is to the self. which is very intimate.

or they.” Keep in mind. In other words. she. .throughout the story unless you are changing viewpoints for specific reasons. if part of your theme in your story is to show how different people think differently about the same event. you might write part of the story in the first person “I” and part of the story in the third person “he.

if anything. s/he missed.however. Ultimately. . You want them to be so caught up in your story that they experience the emotions you want them to. And your readers can’t be expected to do this. that changing viewpoints in a story jolts a reader. What happens is that the reader often has to stop and even go back to see what.

changing viewpoints should
be done sparingly and with
specific reasons when you are
writing short stories.
Characterization: Dialogue,
Action, Thought
Characterization is how you
develop your characters
through dialogue, action, and
thought. What your
characters say, do and think
are the crux of how your story

will be told. Depending on
the story you are writing, you
can use all three, or two, or
just one. Just like real people,
your characters will come to
life through their words,
actions and thoughts.
The purpose of dialogue in
fiction is never merely to
convey information.
Dialogue may do that, but it
must also simultaneously

characterize, provide
exposition, set the scene,
advance the action, and
foreshadow and/or remind.
Dialogue that is only there for
the sake of talking is
sometimes called “pass the
peas,” where the character is
only talking but nothing else
is being revealed. Look
through your dialogue to
make sure that first it is

absolutely necessary, and
second that it is revealing
something either about the
character, the scene, the
action, or something to come
(also called foreshadowing).
With dialogue, you will
convey information more
naturally if the emphasis is on
the character’s feelings. But
this is easier said than done.
The trick to writing good

dialogue is hearing the
character’s voice. Ask
yourself, “What would he or
she say?”
A good way to practice
writing dialogue is to listen to
people in real life. Eavesdrop
on people anywhere, from
restaurants to bus stops to
airports to classrooms. Keep
a journal with you and try to

write down exactly what you
hear. If you hear an
interesting conversation, try
writing a passage of that
conversation. Try not to look
for words that seem right; just
listen the voice and let it
flow. You will develop your
inner ear and consequently
your own range of voices as
you listen to real people and
practice writing

conversations. Also, try
reading your dialogue out
In your short stories, examine
your dialogue to see if it does
more than one thing at a
time. Do the choice of words
and their syntax reveal that
the character is stiff,
outgoing, ignorant of the
facts, perceptive, afraid, about
to boil over? Is the conflict

advanced by “no-dialogue,”
in which the characters
say no to each other? Is the
drama heightened by the
character’s inability or
unwillingness to tell the
whole truth?
Just like dialogue,
every action should have
more than one purpose in the
short story. This can be to
characterize, set the scene,

move the plot forward, or
foreshadow. Though what the
characters do may often be
important to the plot, often
the internal or mental moment
of change (or epiphany) is
where the action lies. For
example, the moment of
change may be the moment at
which the character decides to
do something, discovers that
an accident has happened, or

realizes that they were wrong about something. And remember. This internal change goes hand-inhand with either action or dialogue. This adds depth and complexity to your characters. What your characters do can often be in conflict with what they think or say. also. the action that your character does can often be the “wrong” .

Your story can either have the thoughts of one or more characters or no thoughts at all. If the reader cannot get into the mind of the character(s). while the character does the opposite. the conflicts must be expressed in contradictions outside of the . the reader can know what the “right” action should

the conflicts in the difference between what the character thinks and how he acts or what he says becomes apparent. let them tell you what should be revealed.characters (such as speech and action). you will want to listen to your characters. However. if your reader “hears” what your character is thinking. Ultimately. .

Setting and Description Like everything else in the short story. setting and description suggest more meaning than just being where the story takes place or arbitrary details. Why does your story take place where it does? Is there a conflict between the characters and the setting and/or description? Or are they .

In this way. thought. etc. a farm.? Writers often use symbolic settings such as war. to give their stories depth and meaning. an inner-city project. and other . appearance. Description can also be used this way. a city. setting and description comment on the action.parallel to the action/characters/conflict etc.

setting and description can arouse the reader’s expectations and foreshadow events to come. Editing and Rewriting Revision is an ongoing process.” But the advantage of revision is the chance to see your story fresh . and many writers never consider their stories ever “finished.elements of the story. Also.

And. You’ll need your conscious critic.and creating it again.” One of the best things you can do for your story is to set it aside and not look at it for a . you may discover what your story is really “about. or seeing your story in a new way. and readers you can trust. your unconscious. involves internal and external insight. over time. This revision.

go back to work. When you think that you have acquired enough distance from the story to see it in a fresh way. write new passages . This gives you some distance on your story and allows you to see it new again. freewrite. Make notes in your journal.matter of days or weeks— until you feel fresh on the project.

Listen to your characters and what they are telling you. Try to write in one sentence what your story is about. conflict. Keep a copy of the story as it is so that you . Look for irrelevant scenes. and look for places where you have told too much. tension. Make sure that it is clear and that your reader can follow the story.or dialogue. and crisis or epiphany.

Remember. in the short story. what is between the lines often is most profound.can always go back to the original. Summary You’ve learned some of the techniques that short story writers use to tell their stories and the different ways you . and then be merciless with revising another copy of the draft.

You’ve also learned the importance of revision and how important it is to see your story anew so that you can rewrite to make your story better and better.can tell your own. With practice. . And remember that reading short stories is one of the best ways to learn how great writers do what they do. your characters will come alive.

Jr. 1979. Ed.Charles E.. Noel Harold Kaylor. Ed. The New Short Theories. . Mary Rohrberger. 1994.. Short Story Theories. Ed.Dr.. Charles E.. May.Works Referenced Creative and Critical Approaches to the Short Story. 1997. May. Story to Anti-Story. 1976.

Jerome Beaty. 1998. The Right to Write: An Invitation and Initiation into the Writing Life. Julie Cameron. 1998.Writing Fiction: A Guide to a Narrative Craft.Janet Burroway. The Norton Introduction to Fiction.Robert Bahr. 1996. 1992. Smarthinking Writer's . Dramatic Technique in Fiction.

. some types of poems.Handbook Chapter 1. Lesson 17 Writing Poems 1: What is a Poem and How Do I Start One? Objective In this lesson you will learn what a poem is. and some strategies for starting to write a poem.

Poets also use language to communicate. but not in the same ways as in regular speech and writing." We all use language to communicate: we speak and we write. The primary purpose of .What is a poem? Audre Lorde describes poetry as "distilled emotion." Alice Fulton describes it as a "model of the way the world works.

and write it in textbooks. and images of language to . on the news.language as we see. rhythms. The task of the poem is to use the sounds. but a poet uses language the way a painter uses paint or a musician uses notes. and in essays is to convey information. hear. Those words serve a primarily utilitarian function. textures.

but the pictures painted are secondary to the way the language paints them. all of which are important. and intellectual responses in readers and listeners. What are some types of poem? Poems are as varied as beetles . aesthetic. Poems have ideas and places and aunts and bathtubs in them.evoke emotional.

some general categories that you can keep in mind as you read and write. There are. First.000 species of those! The best way to learn what the possibilities are for poems is to read poems — lots of poems. nonetheless. . let's look at categories that reflect the way a poem is built — its form.— and there are at least 450.

and ghazals.k. Open Forms (a. villanelles. Some examples of formal poems are sestinas. rhyme. meter.Fixed Forms: A fixed form poem is one that fits a traditional set of rules about repetition. and other patterns. sonnets. Free Verse): An open form poem is one that does not fit a .a.

Narrative: A narrative poem . rhyme.traditional set of rules. but it creates its own set of rules for how to use those tools. Within the broad categories of open and fixed forms are some other divisions that reflect what a poem's relationship is to its subject matter. meter. It still works with repetition. and other patterns.

has the elements of a story (see Chapter 1. Lyric: A lyric poem meditates . Writing Short Stories 2: Techniques: Editing and Revising). Lesson 16. setting. It tends to include events "out there" in the world. though its subject can be (and frequently is) concerned with emotions and other inner experiences. plot. and action. characters.

Rather. poems may exist in another space . Hybrid: A hybrid poem isn't exactly a type.on one subject. it is a reminder that these categories — narrative and lyric — are not rigid. It tends to focus on internal experiences without a strong storytelling component. Poems can have moments of each or may exist in both modes at once.

you will discover that the poem no . part way through your villanelle. These poem categories can help you as you think about the poem you are creating. so you might set out to write a villanelle. You might decide that you like the challenge of writing within a form.that is neither narrative nor lyric. Perhaps.

you will have more options in your own writing.longer fits that shape. open formed poem. It wants to take a detour and become a more narrative. you will move through two crucial stages: Getting . How do I begin a poem? As you set out to write a poem. As you begin to have a feel for what the possibilities are in poetry.

you can visit Writing Poems 2: Techniques and Revision Getting Started: The Creator Beginning can seem like the hardest part of a poem. the beginning is the easiest . but once we let ourselves write. In this lesson. we will focus on Getting Started. When you are ready to revise.Started and Revising.

the reviser shapes it. we have two minds: the creator and the reviser. As poets. Below are some tips to help you start .part. The creator generates material. making the tough choices about what stays and what goes. you will have a hard time getting started. If you let your reviser start working before your creator has a chance to finish.

telling this inner self to come back later when your creator is done doing his work. . The best — and possibly the only — way to start a poem is to start writing. Here are a few techniques you can use to get your creative energy flowing. but the most important thing to remember is to turn off your reviser.your poem.

 Find a "writing outfit"— something that makes you feel outrageous enough that . Just get your ideas and images on paper. If you are stuck. Write in the bathtub or in longhand. do something you don't usually do. write outside. Don't worry about grammar or eloquence or spelling. write for 20 minutes without stopping.

teachers. a floppy can get away with writing anything— a feather boa. parents— the people who will remind you that you can't say just . Make yourself into a character who can say anything and get away with it. (You might want to keep this persona away from friends. a chiffon ball gown from Good Will. liederhosen.

the library.anything! The point is to keep your creator protected from the censors— internal and external.)  Get a special notebook that you use for writing. perhaps even a special pen. images. and ideas . a park.  Keep a list of words. the bus station. phrases.  Write in a new place: a coffee shop.

write a poem of your own that uses that line as its first line. (When you revise.that appeal to you. but when you are stuck for a place to begin. you'll want to cut the .  Pick a beginning line from a poem you admire. Then. you can use an item from your "seed book" as the starting point for a new writing session. You may not use all of them.

)  Describe the people around you.  Write nonsense because you like the sound of the words next to each other. Write until you surprise . the music booming through the floor from the apartment below. the smell of the grass. Let yourself keep writing.borrowed line and keep only your own.

." Don't be afraid to let your poems wander from what they originally seemed to be about. what Richard Hugo refers to as the "triggering town.yourself. Frequently. but as the poem keeps going. it moves away from that initial image. we start writing with an image or place that inspires us. And then keep writing about the surprise.

. grandfather. write without stopping or worrying about grammar or correctness. separate from the triggering subject.Trust the writing to find it's own meaning. foster parent. Write for ten minutes about a place you associate with a person who raised you — mother. Exercise In the space below.

and let those details show us how you feel about that person. Keep the person who raised you in mind. . describe that place that you associate with him or her — your mother's office. your father's garden — in as much detail as you can.sibling. but don't write about him or her directly. Instead.

now you . How does the mass of words in front of you become a poem? You job now is that of a sculptor: you have hacked marble out of your mind's hillside. you are ready to think about how to revise it.After you have generated some material to work with.

you learned what makes a poem and some types of poems. Summary In this lesson. You also learned some strategies for getting started on your own poem. The best way to keep learning about poetry is to keep reading it and to experiment with imitating or .must shape it into a work of art. Your reviser can come out of hiding now.

responding to what you read. There are many good books of writing exercises. Smarthinking Writer's Handbook . You might start with The Practice of Poetry by Robin Behn and Chase Twichell. You can also keep your creative mind sharp by trying various writing exercises and experiments.

Chapter 1. To understand what a poem is and the different types of . Lesson 18 Writing Poems 2: Techniques and Revision Objective In this lesson you will learn about techniques that poets use and will learn some ways to use that knowledge to revise your own poem.

poems. you must be able to . waiting for the right word to come to her. To revise your poem. you can refer to Writing Poems 1: What is a Poem and How Do I Start One The Reviser No one writes a perfect poem the first time: Elizabeth Bishop kept unfinished poems tacked to her walls for years.

sometimes we hate it . We can be so in love with a poem so that we can't see what would make it better. Some of us hate everything we’ve written. and some of us love it all. It means that you need to figure out how to let go of your attachment to the poem. that doesn't mean that you need an ear transplant.hear it with fresh ears. No.

But. along with time. Whichever way you much that we can't see what is already good. Time is the best method — even a few days or a week can allow you to have a fresh perspective on a poem. the key to writing a good poem is to give yourself a chance to look at the poem as if someone else had written it. you can use .

line by line.  Print it out. then cut each .  Have someone else read it to you.  Play a drum to the rhythm of it.  Read it backwards.some other strategies to get new ears:  Read it out loud.  Sing it.

line or stanza out of the paper and rearrange the pieces. looking for surprising and pleasing connections. try at least three different orderings and read each one out loud.  Tack it to the wall by the place where you do homework so that you will see it periodically as you are thinking about other .

and you can ask your peers and writing tutor . You can ask yourself these questions as you revise your poem. Trust your gut as to whether something sounds good. you need to have a sense of what to look for. you can use them as you read your peers' work.things As you revise your poem. but also think about the questions below.

to think about these issues as
they consider your poem.
Questions for Revision
Is my language concrete? Do
I show instead of just telling?
Concrete nouns are things
that we can touch, see, smell,
and taste: garlic, bamboo, a
white t-shirt, a Bowie knife.
Abstract nouns are intangible
and tend to describe feelings
or ideas: love, peace, anger,

democracy, war. Sure, poems
can be about abstract things,
but the best poems talk about
abstract things by using
concrete nouns. When readers
can see and feel the objects,
they are more moved by the
poem than they are by an
abstract discussion of the
Concrete nouns make your
poems more alive, more

interesting to your reader, and
they allow you to show your
readers the emotions that you
want to convey. You want
your reader to get as close to
feeling as you can get, but
saying "I missed her" won't
do it. Think instead of an
image that will let your reader
sense sadness without having
to be told about it: "The
daisies she gave me had

wilted in the vase. Limp
leaves clung to the glass,
abandoned by water. Each
morning, more petals littered
the countertop." Think of an
image that conveys sadness or
peace or grief or war or love
or desire and use it to show
your readers what matters in
the poem.
Make a list of concrete nouns

— twenty-five things that you
can see, feel, and taste. Pick
words that you like for their
sound and image: coriander,
coconut, velvet.

As you read over your list,
think about each item on it—
if you close your eyes, can
you see it? If not, then it is

probably not concrete. Pick
the fifth, twelfth, thirteenth,
eighteenth and twenty-first
concrete nouns on your list.
Write a twenty-five line poem
using those words and three
from the following list:
bottlecap, macaw, recliner,
pencil, horseshoe, moose.
Pick either joy or loneliness
as the emotion of your poem,
but don't use any words that

are typically associated with
that subject. (That means
no hearts or tears or smilesor
sadness or happy or absence.)
How is my poem using the
music of language?
Poetry is about using
language to make music. It
takes advantage of all the
sound patterns in
language: consonance (simila

consonants), assonance(simila
r vowels), alliteration (same
initial sounds) Assonance,
Consonance, and
and rhyme (similar word
like trance and glance,darknes
in and discipline, daze and al
ways). And it makes use of
rhythmic patterns: meter (the

patterns of stress in
words) and repetition (the
recurrence of phrases or
sentence structures). The best
way to get a feel for the
musical patterns in your poem
is to read it out loud. Pay
attention to how it feels in
your mouth. Does it sound
and taste good? Could you tap
your foot to it? Does the
rhyme sound too obvious, the

the –ing turns the verb into a noun. but in fact. A lot of beginner poets think that the –ing sounds more poetic." which isn't . the only real action in the sentence is usually "was. The verbs are all stopped.alliteration too much like an advertising jingle? One flaw to watch for in your poem's music is an overreliance on –ing verbs.

I was running toward the gate. Dancing and singing. [Our Example]: "As I ran .much as action goes. Exercise Revise the following sentence so that all of the verbs are active (not –ing).

toward the gate. We have uncovered a need for revision. I danced and sang. In addition. we see that the verbs we are using are not as interesting as we would like them to be. That's good news! As a poet. once we remove the masking –ing endings. be excited when . The action is clearer and more active." Yours may look very much like ours.

but that doesn't mean that the rule book can be pitched out the window! As you reread your poem. Poetry allows writers to bend the rules of grammar in service of music and realize that something needs changing and that you know how to go about it! Music in poems also exists at the level of the sentence. .

Then ask yourself. Does the fragment create a rhythm and lack of action that you want in your poem at that point and could not get with a complete sentence? If it does. once you find these sentence structures. . and sentence fragments just as you would in an essay.look for passive voice. run ons and comma splices. whether they serve a purpose.

as does the speaker. For example. "I stopped and stared. so the sentence fragment fits with the movement of the poem. . Sentence structure matters." The dead bird lacks action. A dead bird.then keep it. But— and this is important— don't just pitch the rulebook on a whim. you might want to keep the fragment in the line.

the healthier your poem will be. Am I getting the most mileage out of my verbs and nouns? Verbs and nouns are the backbone of a poem.You have more choices than you do in an essay. One way to make sure that . and the stronger they are. but make sure that you make your choices for reasons.

" you are using the adverb slowly to specify the . These descriptive words are our way of trying to make our nouns and verbs more specific. but frequently they are a signal that we need to rethink our nouns and verbs. If you write "walked get the most out of your nouns and verbs is to check your adjectives and adverbs.

Strolled. However. shuffled." then you may find words that can help you to tell us something specific about the emotions of the person who is walking slowly. more specific verbs that mean "to walk slowly. andsauntered are all verbs . ambled. if you think of other.pace at which the speaker walked. prowle d. stalked. crept.

The same principle applies to adjectives and nouns.that suggest slow walking. Depressed? Shuffled. look at the word it . Annoyed? Then perhaps she stalked. Whenever you use an adjective. Carefree? Strolled or ambled. but they imply very different attitudes. Is your walker arrogant? Then perhaps she sauntered.

could you tell us that it was a hummingbird orGoss hawk? (Note: you may be thinking "I ." could you use oak or redwood to give your reader a more specific picture? If a "beautiful bird" flew overhead.modifies and try to think of specific words that could give you more bang for your noun. If you are describing a "big tree.

not about a completely accurate record of events. your poems have more life and will ." It doesn't matter.) When your nouns and verbs are specific. If you need a Goss hawk in your poem. Poems are about emotional and aesthetic experience. put one there.wouldn't know a Goss hawk from a hummingbird if it hit the window above my desk.

Exercise How many different ways can you think of to make the words “entered” and “left” more specific? When you're done click below to compare your list with ours. .have a greater impact on your readers.

we may have some that aren't on yours. That's fine.[Our Example]: Entered: burst in. You may have some words on your list that aren't on ours. That's part of what makes reading different writers interesting! . Left: stormed out. evaporated. slunk in. burrowed in. Everyone has her or his own way of phrasing things. fled.

look over the nouns and verbs in your poem. What mood do you want your poem to have? Are your nouns and verbs creating .What moods are suggested by your revisions of entered and left? Are any of your verbs sorrowful? Ecstatic? Reluctant? Defiant? Hesitant? Determined? Oblivious? As you revise.

We need more specific verbs and nouns to make our sentence ." Now that we've revised the sentence to remove the –ings.that mood? Exercise Let's look again at the sentence we revised in the last section: "As I ran toward the gate. I danced and sang. we know that the sentence still needs more work.

more dynamic. we might write. "I hummed 'Hi Ho Hi Ho' as I skipped out . Can you think of other verbs to use in the sentence that will be more specific actions? [Our Example] Since we know that our verbs and nouns need some work.

" "gate." We've improved the line in two ways: those patterns of repetition are subtler— and therefore more .the gate to meet Grace." Notice that we've gotten rid of the echo of the –ing and replaced it with the consonance of "out." and "meet" and the alliteration of "hummed" and "Hi Ho Hi Ho" and "gate" and "Grace.

the pictures painted in language. are crucial to your poem. it should come as no surprise that images. As . and we've made the action more interesting! Are my images working as hard as I want them to? With all this talk of concrete language and verbs and nouns.pleasing— than the repeated -ings in the original.

we like to compare things to each other through simile and metaphor.poets. using the second thing to tell us something new about the first. Go for it!  A simile compares two things to each other using "like" or "as": "The sun sprang over the horizon like an Olympic hurdler."  A metaphor emphasizes .

the similarities between two things without resorting to "like" or "as": "The sun launched itself over the horizon and detonated in my flowerbed. shattering the night with zinnias." In the Exercise you did in the previous lesson you used a place as a metaphor for a person who raised you. The comparisons that we draw between things give our .

poems their tone and let our readers know what our concerns are. just say thatsadness is like sadness. Two aspects of image are . we can't even express certain ideas without a metaphor or simile! We can't. we need to compare sadness to something else in order to understand it. Frequently. for example.

particularly important to successful poems.  Avoiding clichés. . A cliché is an idea or image that has been overused and has become dull and predictable. Some examples of clichés include comparing beauty to a flower or something smooth to glass.  Making sure that your images work together.

We've heard "emerald green" and "white . keep an eye out for clichés and eliminate them.describing rage as "seeing red" or youth as innocence. As you reread your poem. Clichés make your writing less interesting and less expressive. Exercise We all know a slew of clichés about color.

as snow" so many times that we barely even think about the image. one that surprises us. But you want your readers to think and to be surprised. pick a color and write as many ways as you can think of to describe it. In the box below. Compare "emerald green" to "construction cone orange"! The second is a new image. Don't worry at first about .

go back through it and pick out the most surprising and original descriptions from your list. but after you have finished the list.whether your images are clichés. [Our Example]: How did you do? Did you come up with one or two new ways of .

describing your color? Our list included: arresting red. sleep-starved pink. green as a gated neighborhood. metaphors. Summary Writing a poem involves a process of creation and . a deep shade of yolk. They compare the color to something else. Notice that all of these descriptions of color are. in fact.

How could it be more original? How could it more fully express the emotional and aesthetic experience that you are trying to capture? In this lesson. think about how your poem could be even better. be weird. try to let your mind be as wild as you can. surprise yourself. Let yourself explore. . Later. as you revise.revision. As you create.

and make your own poetry tools. As you play with your poems. you will keep coming up with new ideas for ways to put words together to .you learned some of the techniques writers use to help them revise poems and you looked at some of the issues you will want to bear in mind as you revise your own poems. Use those tools as you revise.

Whatever you do. keep playing! .make meaning.