SPECIAL EDITION

UWF WRITING LAB

 

 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 
of it.
             
-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 any writer:
     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 revising.

 

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.

 

 

 

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