Published on September 13, 2008
English 102: English 102 Lecture Two: Tony’s 12 Steps to Writing a Paper Tony’s Twelve Steps: Tony’s Twelve Steps To Writing A Paper Step One: Define Your Purpose: Step One: Define Your Purpose as defined by the assignment as defined by the prompt answer the question: Why am I writing this paper? helps to narrow range of topics Step Two: Choose Your Topic: Step Two: Choose Your Topic sometimes defined by the assignment if not, choose something that interests you (ie., not boring!) answer the question: What would I want to write about? only one rule: no abortion papers! Step Three: Analyze Your Audience: Step Three: Analyze Your Audience figure out who you’re writing for, what they need to know, what they already know knowing this can change the paper itself answer the questions: Who are my readers? Who am I trying to inform, convince, or persuade? How much do they know? What info do I need to provide? What beliefs of theirs will I need to be aware of or to answer? assume your readers are neither neutral or “hostile” – no use in “preaching to the choir” your audience is NEVER me and me alone Step Four: Gather Preliminary Info: Step Four: Gather Preliminary Info read an essay, look at an article freewriting, journaling, brainstorming, clustering, interviewing gasp! The dreaded “R” word! Wikipedia is a good place to start, but it should never be used as a primary source for anything for in-class papers, read the assigned essays Step Five: Define Your Research Question: Step Five: Define Your Research Question answer the question: what question am I trying to answer with this paper? for in-class essays, the prompt IS the research question may NOT actually involve research, despite the “R” word Step Six: Answer That Question: Step Six: Answer That Question reread the material you’ve covered with a more focused eye towards answering the research question look for info that proves your points and refutes those of the opposition for in-class papers: answer the question using what you’ve read Step Seven: Create Your Thesis or Main Idea: Step Seven: Create Your Thesis or Main Idea Research question? Thesis! “Oh, no, it isn’t!” NOT a statement of fact NOT a statement of blinding obviousness NOT a statement that begins “In this essay, I will prove that...” Step Eight: Organize and Outline : Step Eight: Organize and Outline outlines are NOT punishment! nothing fancy – just state thesis, reasons, proof form follows purpose ALWAYS have an intro and conclusion NEVER simply start writing! Step Nine: Draft Your Paperr : Step Nine: Draft Your Paperr get it down on paper don’t sweat the mistakes yet put it away, then come back to it Step Ten: Primary Revision: Step Ten: Primary Revision this isn’t your paper anymore – be brutal with it take things out, fill in the blanks, get rid of stupidity make the paper interesting avoid the typical errors (they’re/their/there, where/were, too/to) NEVER use “In today’s society” Step Eleven: Peer Evaluation: Step Eleven: Peer Evaluation “Why should I let someone in here look at my paper?” Why NOT? individuals make different types of errors be constructive, be kind, be honest “This is perfect, don’t change a thing” is the only statement you should NEVER trust Step Twelve: Revise, Document, Turn It In: Step Twelve: Revise, Document, Turn It In revise according to peer comments document sources at this point (Works Cited) print and THEN proofread do NOT trust spell check or grammar check! Your diagnostics: Your diagnostics I will mark these based on how well you responded to the prompt and to show what errors you made. These will be returned to you shortly - we will come back to these later!