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  1. The Lively Art of Writing

  2. Chapter 1 • Note the non-biblical perspective. • To communicate • To share knowledge, ideas, and feelings • Purpose of all writing • Beware of what hinders communication

  3. The Essay • Essay- written expression of its author’s opinion • Blends fact with imagination and knowledge with feeling—BALANCE! • Purpose- to express an opinion • An essay author is not a machine, but a human being. • You must have an opinion before you can write an essay!

  4. Subjects for Essays • Limitless choices • You can write about anything you know enough ab/ to have an opinion. • Essays of knowledge and experience • Know what you’re talking about! • You must have an opinion!

  5. Opinion • Opinion- a belief not based on absolute certainty or positive knowledge but on what seems true, valid, or probable to one’s own mind; what one thinks; judgment- p. 17 • Must be debatable on some level • Ask yourself questions about your subject. • Yes/No questions • How, Why? What?

  6. Interesting Opinions • Usually have some opposition • The beginner will find it easier to write his first essays on topics that have a clearly defined opposition. • No argument, no essay!

  7. Examining Opposition • Helps to form your opinion • Study, don’t just blindly argue! • Use the other side to form your argument. • Every opinion should be checked against these questions: • Can a valid argument be made against it? • Can I defend it logically against this argument? • You should be able to answer “yes” to both these questions.

  8. Believe What you Say • You should have an honest and intelligent argument, not a bizarre one. • Do not arrive at an opinion without examining, thoroughly and fairly, every legitimate argument against it.

  9. Summary • Pick a subject. • Examine what you know about it. • Arrive at an honest opinion. • Think before you write. • Opinion always comes first. • You can write an essay only when you have something to say.

  10. Chapter 1 Assignment- p. 24 • Due Monday, 12/16/13 • Typed, 12 pt. Times New Roman font, double-spaced • MLA heading (Name, Miss MacQuarrie, English 12, 16 December 2013 in the top left-hand corner) • Follow the directions for numbers 1-4 under Assignment. • Save this assignment and all other writing assignments. We will return to several of these assignments throughout the year.

  11. Chapter 2: “From Opinion to Thesis” • Again, you cannot write an essay without first having an opinion. • Opinion for an essay- thesis • Thesis- your opinion boiled down to one arguable statement • Your one major point • On which your entire essay depends • What your entire essay proves

  12. “Closing In” on Your Thesis • Is your essay formal or informal? • Do you want to research for your essay?

  13. 5 Step Process • 1. Take inventory. • What do you know?- usually taken from experience • 2. Ask questions. • Avoid yes/no questions • Ask how? Why? What? • Avoid questions that can be directly answered with simple facts. • Keep on topic.

  14. 5 Step Process • 3. Look for relationships. • 4. Ask the yes-or-no question. • Is there an opposing viewpoint to your opinion? • Avoid the words always and never unless dealing with a biblical absolute. • Should bring you to an either/or position that you can defend • 5. Qualify • To what degree will you prove your point? • Use words like many, some, often, mostly, etc.

  15. 5 Step Process • 5. Qualify • Avoid the negative. Do not use the word not in your thesis. Make it positive. • Does the opposing argument seem valid? • After having considered both sides, you can settle on the thesis that you believe is closest to the truth. • You may have to qualify even more to line your thesis up with your point. • You must be able to defend your thesis with real conviction.

  16. Example on p. 30 • Your thesis should become more accurate with every step. • Remember to make sure that your thesis can be proved. • Avoid “sweeping” words like perfect. • Avoid vague words like wonderful. • Remember to qualify. Usually the other side does have at least one point, or no one would hold to that position.

  17. Summary • Every essay is an opinion, but not every opinion is a good essay topic. • A good topic can be boiled down to one arguable statement about one major point (thesis).

  18. Miss MacQuarrie’s Method • Although drag racing can develop skilled mechanics and good drivers, today’s drag-racing teenager is usually an irresponsible show-off whose ignorant love for speed makes him a public menace. (Thesis) • Even though teenagers can improve their driving skills and foster mechanical abilities by participating in drag-racing, drag-racing usually cultivates show-offs who endanger others with their need for speed. (Restatement of Thesis)

  19. Chapter 2 Assignment- p. 32 • Follow the seven steps. • Also for an eighth step, format your thesis like I showed you on the previous slide. • For a ninth step, format a restatement of thesis like I showed you on the previous slide.

  20. Chapter 3: “The Full and Final Thesis” • Your thesis is a kind of ignition key to your essay; until you turn it your writing will generate no power. • A full thesis contains the following three elements: • Thesis • Points that can be made against your thesis • Points in favor of your thesis • The full thesis statement never appears in its original form in the finished essay.

  21. “The Full and Final Thesis” • The three elements of a full thesis represent the psychology of all argument, whether written or oral. The goal in an argument is identical to the goal in any essay—to win others to a particular point of view, to persuade. • Nothing softens the opposition so much as a graceful admission that it has some points in its favor. • The strongest argument should be listed last.

  22. “The Full and Final Thesis” • Every successful argument, written or oral, conforms to the pattern: statement of case, recognition of opposition, and defense, with the strongest argument placed last. An essay, regardless of how it is written, should have this core or iron logic. • You should compose your full thesis as soon as you come up with your topic. Keep it in view while you write your essay. • Example on p. 37

  23. “The Full and Final Thesis” • Your thesis should guide you, it does not have to dictate you, the but the basic core of your thesis should remain the same. • Focusing on your thesis will keep you on track and prevent you from wandering completely off course. Your full thesis is your check against the temptations of irrelevancy.

  24. “The Full and Final Thesis” • The full thesis disciplines the writer who has too many ideas, forcing him to organize his scattered thoughts and to check each one for relevance. • The full thesis stimulates the writer who has too few ideas, reminds him of the exact points that he must bring out. • Prepare your thesis carefully, refer to it often, and use it wisely.

  25. Chapter 3 Assignment • Due Monday, 1/27/14 • Typed, 12 pt. Times New Roman font, double-spaced • Write a full thesis statement for the topic you have chosen for your essay. • You may use a topic from p. 39 or chapter 2’s assignment topic.

  26. Chapter 3 Assignment • Using your full thesis statement as a guide, write an essay of three to five paragraphs on your topic. You must work into your essay most of the pro material suggested by your full thesis. You should also consider the cons wile you shape your essay. Develop and arrange your paragraphs in any way that seems effective, bearing in mind that your purpose is to persuade the reader to agree with your thesis, but please remember that your strongest argument should probably be placed last. • Hold on to this assignment. You will use it again later.

  27. Chapter 4: “Structure” • 3 parts- introduction, body, conclusion • Funnel structure- see diagram on p. 41 • This basic structure should NEVER change regardless of the length of the paper.

  28. Introduction • Prepares the reader • Begins broadly and narrows to a point • Grabs the reader’s attention (quotation, questions, story, hypothetical situation, startling fact, statistic, definition, etc.) • Ends with the paper’s thesis statement • The thesis should not be the first sentence of a paper: This would explode the author’s opinion in the reader’s face. • Your opening statement will relate to your thesis but will not take a position on it.

  29. Openings to Avoid • Don’t try to be cute! • Sound effects • Exclamatory sentences • “Recipe-writing”

  30. Introduction • You may want to write your introduction after the body of your paper.

  31. Body • Can be any length • Your argument • Refer to your full thesis! • Make the necessary concessions (for an argumentative essay). • Consider the other side. • Address all your pro points. • Save your best argument for last. • Simple to complex • Transitions!

  32. Conclusion • Should begin with your restatement of thesis • Opposite of introduction • Specific to general • Do not completely list your points; suggest the points instead. • Remind your reader of your argument. • Your last words to prove your argument

  33. W Assignment for Tuesday, 2/11 • Revise your chapter 3 essay. • Transform it into a 5 paragraph essay. • Keep in mind the points from W ch 4. • This essay should be double-spaced in 12 pt. Times New Roman font.

  34. “First Steps Toward Style”: Chapter 5 • The final judgment of a piece of writing depends upon the writer’s use of words. • Writing • Choosing the best words • Shaping sentences • Developing paragraphs • Saying what you want to say

  35. Style • Some special quality that commands interest and/or gives pleasure • The ability to do something difficult as though it were easy • Not laborious, painful, dull, or awkward • Easy to understand as a conversation • Holds interest without apparent effort

  36. Style • The secret is control. • Can be learned through self-discipline and practice • Not a mysterious gift reserved for select people • You can learn style because style is a technique. • The “how” of writing, not the “what” of writing.

  37. The Two Commandments • Can be broken only when you are more experienced- let’s just say the graduate level • 1. Do not use first person. • 2. Do not use word “there”—ever.

  38. The First Commandment • Shows conviction • I believe that God exists. • God exists. • It is my opinion that smoking causes cancer. • Smoking causes cancer. • Makes an opinion authoritative instead of apologetic, weak, and defensive • Don’t write about yourself; write about the subject.

  39. The First Commandment • “I think” and “I feel” are not needed; they are redundant. • Don’t conceal an “I think” with “this writer thinks.” This is the same thing. • Also, you should never use the second person unless otherwise instructed. • The word one makes your writing impersonal. • Examples on p. 63

  40. The First Commandment • Shortens writing and makes it more direct, vigorous, and powerful • This allows you to say what you mean, directly and forcefully. • Enables clear thinking and improves logic • Practice!

  41. The Second Commandment • Simply, “there” adds nothing but clutter to a sentence. • Often, you will also have to remove a beverb. • Examples on p. 65 • Use a thesaurus! • Use active verbs! In freshman English, you are not allowed to use passive voice. • Active verbs- verbs of doing

  42. The Second Commandment • Sometimes the word “there” is required, such as when indicating a place or position. • Learn to play with language. • Experiment, juggle, shape

  43. Chapter 5 Assignment • pp. 68-69 • Questions 1-3 (all parts)

  44. “The Size and Shape of Middle Paragraphs”: Chapter 6 • Middle paragraphs blocks • What goes into a paragraph? • How long should a paragraph be? • What is a paragraph? • Paragraphs make the physical job of reading easier, but they cannot be random.

  45. Paragraphing • The purpose of paragraphing is to separate ideas. • Your full thesis statement should detail your three points and therefore at least three paragraphs. • Some subpoints will need their own paragraphs. • Consider • “Oh, and by the way . . . ” • “Another thing . . . ”

  46. Length of Paragraphs • Cannot be predetermined • Get the “feel” • 6 to 7 sentences, 100 to 125 words • Encourage yourself to “think long.” • This class- 5 to 7 sentences

  47. Basic Paragraph Structure • Paragraphs- solid, self-contained, fully developed units • Paragraph blocks build the foundation of your thesis. • Like the essay itself, every paragraph has three parts: a beginning, middle, and end. • Paragraph- a miniature essay

  48. Basic Paragraph Structure • Beginning- topic sentence • Middle- explanation/illustration of the topic sentence • End- concluding sentence

  49. Topic Sentence • The 1st sentence of a paragraph • Announcement of the point • Taken from the full thesis • Tells the reader what the paragraph is about

  50. Developing a Paragraph • Like a conversation • Illustration/explanation • More formal than conversation, but same basic concept