New Student Successes
(continued from page 1)
Read Thomas Austin's hilarious,
well-written essay "To Buy or Not to Buy" in the first section
of Student Successes, an anthology of student essays collected and
edited by Linda Moore and Chris Morris. The book is currently used in
several composition classes at UWF. Austin points needy, hungry students
to possible campus locations of free food. If you do not have a copy of
the book and want to preview Austin's essay, go to the UWF Library's web
page, click on online reserves, ask for Linda Moore's reserved essays, and
click on "Timed Essays." While you're there, you might want to
read the tips for writing timed essays and practice for the next in-class
essay by using some of the topics at the end of that section. In addition,
you will find posted several student models of argument and
cause-and-effect essays. Dan Mayhall's essay in the argument section
provides an excellent documented discussion of literacy and the athlete.
What's so valuable about a student essay book?
Ever look at a Joan Didion or E.B. White essay and feel somehow inferior
in your writing skills? Me, too. The publication and use of good student
models give a more realistic picture of what most beginning writers are
fully capable of producing. UWF student writers are talented, and many
appreciate the chance to have their writing published and available for
educational instruction. Student Successes gives them this chance
to list a publication on their resume.
Ora Wills and Linda Moore, both instructors of
composition at UWF, are editors of the second edition of Student
Successes. This edition follows closely the personal-to-academic
approach described in the department's composition guidelines.
Put yourself into your writing, but
leave you out
-Judy Young, Department of English, UWF
Becoming a Better Writer?
It's a Collaborative Project!
by Maria W. Warren, Department of English and Foreign Languages
"English is my worst subject!"
"I'm just not a good writer!"
First-year students often believe that they
cannot improve their writing, but here are some strategies which will help
First, get help! Take your drafts to the Writing
Lab and work with one of the tutors. But don't just rely on the paper
reader to "fix up" tomorrow's paper. View the paper reader as
your writing consultant and the paper conference as a collaborative effort
to make you become a stronger writer.
How will a paper reading conference help you to
work independently later? During the conference, use each of the paper
tutors' open-ended questions to sort out your thinking about the focus of
the paper. Then, at the end of the conference, consider what changes you
will make in the paper next (after you get home and begin working by
yourself). Most important of all, reflect on what you did as you produced
this paper. If you don't already have strategies for overcoming
"stuck" points in the process, then try some new ways of
drafting and revising!
Use your composition courses to your best
advantage. Try to accomplish more than just producing six or eight papers
- develop a more effective process of drafting, getting feedback, and
How to Write a Paper
by Mamie Webb Hixon
Writing Lab Director
There really is no recipe or formula for
writing a paper, but there are some stages that most seasoned writers go
through before a reader sees the finished product.
Writing is a process -- a process of
writing and rewriting. A paper you're planning to submit to your
professor for assessment should be constantly in flux. The final product
should be one that has gone through at least four of these stages:
- Stage 1 - Prewriting and Discovery
Decide on your topic, collect your thoughts, brainstorm, gather
information, and then "free write" -- write whatever comes
to your mind without regard for correctness of expression. Remember,
this version is for your eyes only.
Spend about 15% of your writing time on this stage.
- Stage 2 - Drafting
Now, it's time to develop a sloppy draft from your prewriting
and free writing notes. Again, ignore the conventions of writing,
spelling, grammar, punctuation, etc. Talk on paper.
Spend about 20% of your writing time on this stage.
- Stage 3 - Writing
Now, you're ready to write your paper. Organize the information
from your sloppy rough draft: write your introduction and state a
thesis, format the paper, and develop your thesis with details in
several body paragraphs. This is your first draft.
Spend about 30% of your writing time on this part.
- Stage 4 - Rewriting and Editing
Read your first draft yourself. Check this draft for clarity,
continuity (transitions), coherence, unity, focus, logic, and
relevant details. Fine tune your paper by making changes in word
usage, punctuation, grammar, etc. Also, you shouldn't be the only
person who reads your paper, so ask a competent writer to give you
some input. You could also take your paper to a Writing Lab Paper
Reader for assistance.
Spend about 30% of your writing time on this part.
- Step 5 - Proofreading
After you and someone else have carefully edited the first
draft, proofread your paper so that it is ready for publication or
presentation: check for typos and other errors you didn't find in
the editing process.
Spend about 5% of your writing time on this stage.
- Step 6 - Pacing
Leave your finished product alone to "simmer" for 24
hours or so. Then return to it. You may be surprised by what you
find. Read and revise again before turning it in.
Remember that, as you write, you will
probably move back and forth between stages and that not all writing
goes through all the stages.