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Prewriting Chapter 3 Reasoning & Writing Well, 3 rd Edition ENG 101 Discovering Ideas Some students are reluctant to write because they don’t know how to begin. The prewriting techniques explained in this chapter can help anyone start writing quickly.

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Prewriting

Chapter 3

Reasoning & Writing Well, 3rd Edition

ENG 101

Alisa Cooper, South Mountain Community College


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Discovering Ideas

  • Some students are reluctant to write because they don’t know how to begin.

  • The prewriting techniques explained in this chapter can help anyone start writing quickly.

  • They can also help to divert the flood of anxiety that sometimes overwhelms writers.

Alisa Cooper, South Mountain Community College


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Prewriting

  • The first stage of the writing process is a time of discovery – you unearth ideas.

  • Prewriting can condense swirling mists of thoughts into words on paper.

  • You uncover raw material to shape and polish later.

  • There is no need to think about order or correctness.

  • The object is to produce as many ideas as possible.

Alisa Cooper, South Mountain Community College


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Prewriting

  • You can prewrite whenever and however you like – on paper, at a keyboard, or with a tape recorder.

  • Most everything we do in class is considered prewriting. You just have to record it in some way.

  • The literature we read, the journalresponses we write in the discussion board are both prewriting activities.

  • The six invention techniques in this chapter are ways to jump-start ideas.

Alisa Cooper, South Mountain Community College


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Invention Techniques

  • Freewriting

  • Clustering

  • Brainstorming

  • List Making & Scratch Outlining

  • Questioning

  • Reading Literature & Doing Research

  • Keeping a Journal (Discussion Board or Blog)

Alisa Cooper, South Mountain Community College


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Freewriting

  • Freewriting is uncensored writing, often in sentence form.

  • Freewriting enables anyone to start writing immediately.

  • To freewrite, just empty whatever bits and pieces of ideas are in your mind out onto the paper.

Alisa Cooper, South Mountain Community College


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Clustering

  • Clustering is uncensored brainstorming combined with doodling.

  • Clustering produces an overview of a subject, suggests specific topics, and yields related details.

  • To begin, take a fresh sheet of paper and write a general subject in the center.

  • Circle the word. As new thoughts burst forth, jot it near the word that prompted it.

  • Circle the new word. Next, draw a line between the two. Repeat the procedure.

Alisa Cooper, South Mountain Community College


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Brainstorming

  • Brainstorming captures ideas as they flit by, either as words, phrases, or fragments.

  • You can use this technique in a group or alone.

  • The secret of success in brainstorming is to think fast and forgo criticism.

  • In brainstorming, all ideas are respected and recorded, no matter how wild.

Alisa Cooper, South Mountain Community College


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List Making & Scratch Outlining on Computer

  • List making can be a boon when you know so much about a topic you feel overwhelmed.

  • With a list you can narrow a broad range of possibilities.

  • Lists often have no apparent order. When you start placing ideas in order, you are beginning a scratch outline.

  • This primitive outline is simply a revised list that herds ideas into a tentative order.

Alisa Cooper, South Mountain Community College


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Questioning

  • To use questioning at its best, try projecting yourself into the role of a reporter.

  • What questions could you ask to elicit information from other people?

  • The traditional “five W’s and H” (who? What? When? Where? Why? How?) can be expanded to full-fledged questions:

Alisa Cooper, South Mountain Community College


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Who was involved?

What happened?

When did it happen?

Where did it happen?

Why did it happen?

How did it happen?

What will be its effect?

What can be learned?

What is the subject like or unlike?

How has it changed over time?

Full-Fledged Questions

Alisa Cooper, South Mountain Community College


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Reading Literature & Doing Research

  • You can gather ideas for writing by reading literature.

  • We will talk more about this later in the semester when we read chapters 26, 27, and 28.

  • This class will also require research.

  • We will talk more about this later as well, when we read chapters 22 & 23.

Alisa Cooper, South Mountain Community College


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Keeping a Journal

  • Some instructors require that students keep a journal to store reactions to essays, fiction, and poetry or other ideas for writing.

  • We will use the Discussion Board to record some of our reactions.

  • Journals are also useful for recording observations, impressions, and incidents when you conduct firsthand research.

Alisa Cooper, South Mountain Community College


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Summary

  • Prewriting is a practical way to manage fear of writing. When a writer faces fear and starts prewriting, progress begins.

  • Prewriting is the first stage of the writing process, an opportunity to discover ideas and write them down.

  • Six common invention techniques, useful in prewriting, are freewriting, clustering, brainstorming, list-making, scratch outlining, and questioning.

  • You may also gather information for writing from reading literature and doing research.

  • Journals are a valuable way for storing observations and ideas for later writing.

Alisa Cooper, South Mountain Community College


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