In my experience as a writing teacher for 20 years + years, students of all ages from K-to College fall into two categories: those that love to write- and do it often, and those that hate it and avoid it.
No matter where you stand as a student, here are some sound and simple techniques you can apply to your writing.
Writing hasn’t been phased out of the educational system with the advent of technology. On the contrary, there is more emphasis placed on writing ability and skills as we progress through our educational system. It’s important to know how to write a business letter, express your ideas clearly, and even write a tagline or adhere to the 140 characters Twitter requires, unless you post an image in your tweet, which takes up 22 characters of the total allowance.
So, where do we start?
Start with the end in mind like Covey suggests you do in his book, the 7 Habits of Most Successful People. When we apply this principle to Writing we put ourselves in our intended audience’s place.
No matter who your audience is, it will want to know what your point is. Huh? that’s what they will say when they know not what you’re trying to say.
Write 5 different titles for your paper.
Spiderwoman, an Amazon Legend; Legends From the Future; Utopia: Hybrid, are all titles of the same book (I actually published each title separately) and I’m still not satisfied with my title. But I am moving on to Utopia Book 2, coming in 2019.
Turn your Title into a Logline. Loglines are used to pitch screenplays, books, and just about any idea. An old template used in grade school is: Someone wanted to …. but….. For fictional topics that works best, but when it comes to nonfiction which is the most widely used writing style prompted from highs chool to college and beyond, you must think a little about the purpose of your writing.
In my expert opinion, we are always writing to inform, compare/analyze, and persuade unless we are like Wikipedia, in which case we’d just want to inform. We want to inform people of the benefits or detriments of something so that they will agree with us and take action. to upon something doesn’t mean you’ll buy or even click. However, having an awareness of something will eventually produce an effect.
A thesis is a logline in most academic circles unless you go to “Writing School” like I did. I believe in learning and that learning is a dynamic active action that guides our desires and talents in the direction we want to grow. I want to grow as a writer every day of my life.
Write three to five loglines for your paper.
Think of your paper as a body. Give it a small head. The Heading introduces your topic and states the point (logline). Once people know what you’re going to say they’ll read on if your logline or thesis merits their attention. People want you to respect their time. Unless you’re writing for school purposes that is, then your teacher will appreciate your brevity and composition skills.
Think about the progression of your paper as if it started at the shoulders and ended in the feet. In the Thoracic are you’re going to have your first and second points.
If you’re talking about red tide (one of my favorite environmental topics of the day since I love the Florida beaches surrounding me), you’ll want to tell your audience what it is, the history behind it, and how it affects the ecosystem and its natural and business environment. Then you’ll make these points walk at the legs and end at the feet. The next point after informing is to make that call to action. What do you want people to take away from reading your paper? Do you want them to believe we can do something about red tide? That we should be aware and concerned or that you think it will end without doing anything about it? Whatever it is, you want people to support you in your thesis.
Yes, mention your thesis (the logline) again in different words. That’s why you need to develop more than one thesis statement.
End your paper with another logline and a summary. This is tricky, I know. While you go back and reread what you wrote, write a sentence explaining what each paragraph in the body says. Add a version another version of your logline and there you have Whawla!
Your paper is finished. Phew! give yourself a pat in the back. We’ll talk about sentence structure and elaboration another time. But if you want to be really smart, take it to Grammarly. They have a free service where you can check all their papers.
The Best Writers are those who make their point with the most brevity and clarity.