What is Good Writing?

“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards.  So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.”  Steve Jobs

This quote is dedicated to the prospective student of writing.  This course will help you to not only connect the dots when it comes to writing, but also, when you are finished with this course, you can look back at all you have learned and connect the dots and use them to continue your progress forward with your newly acquired writing education.

In this course, you will learn rhetorical concepts, argument, claims, evidence and discourse communities but most importantly you will gain confidence about the quality of the writer you are.  The professor will guide you through your assignments and will praise what you have done well and then offer gentle, constructive criticism on what needs to be improved.  Here is one such quote from him to me, “I like the organization of this post because each graf has a loopback to the previous part of your theme.  It’s easy to follow that theme as a result of that organization.  Of course, you could totally rearrange the organization to capture each moment in time more.  For example, you could have done something like…….”  Professors like him don’t come around too often so treasure his words of advice because they  will be a crucial component of the writing process.

“How do I get started?” you ask.  Well, for starters, here are some supplies you will need in order to be a good, prepared writer:  a notebook, writing tools, a reliable computer/laptop, a good dictionary, an open mind and a good attitude.  Once you know what the topic you will be writing about, *TIP*, write out an overall outline of what your paper will look like:

  • Title:  A catchy one
  • Introduction
  • Thesis, part of  the introduction
  • Topic sentences, 3-4, that prove your thesis
  • Elements of Ethos, Pathos, and Logos
  • Conclusion, restate your thesis
  • Work Cited

Do this for every essay you write.  It helps to see it and to write it out.  Then, as you begin the research portion of your writing, you can begin to fill in your outline with short passages/annotations.  Then in your notebook, start writing out your notes and start to develop your essay. *TIP* Don’t be afraid to use your dictionary to look up words you don’t know.  It makes life easier!

As you are writing, you will need to move your sentences around or insert new ones or delete other ones.  Before you know it, you will see an essay start to form right before your eyes? *TIP* Always go back to your outline and align it with your paper so that you know you have met all the requirements.  Do a check list of all the things you are required to have.  Now that you know the basic blueprint of writing, I think you are ready for me to break it down a bit more.

WHAT IS RHETORICAL CONCEPT?  Rhetoric means, “The art of effective or persuasive speaking or writing.”  The rhetorical concepts are the ways you, the writer, appeal to the reader through:  ethos (credibility/trustworthiness of the writer), pathos (emotional) and logos (logic).

EXAMPLE OF ETHOS: From my article, “Academic Writing”

In “Men’s Search for Meaning:  The case of Legos,” the title is clear and the source is stated.  The three authors’ names are front and center wit their schools right under their names.  The date this article was received, revised and accepted is under the academic information of the authors.  Appealing to the ethos, all this information supplies the read with the necessary information to establish credibility.

EXAMPLE OF PATHOS: From my article: “Red, White and Blue”

Hilary’s politics are liberal and although she has not stated an official political stand as candidate, it can be expected that she will have a lot of things to say about women’s pay, time off for family or even sick pay for the lowest paid workers.  Appealing to the pathos, now women will be looking at her a serious contender.

EXAMPLE OF LOGOS:  From my Essay #2

He uses logos  when he mentions that corporations have set a goal of 1/1/1, meaning corporate giving is indeed one percent of profit but it is not the only target of CSR, corporations claim their contribution is multiplied by employee welfare and employee contributions to the community.

Now that we have that out of the way, “What is an argument?”  Your essay will have an argument–a statement (your interpretation) of something you want to prove or disprove.  Then you will use claims to convey your interpretation (argument) and make sure that your claims can be backed up with evidence (facts).

EXAMPLE:  From an essay I wrote that shows my argument and my three claims.  I will use the body of the essay to write one solid paragraph for each of the claims I am making and then I will back them up with evidence.

“In this paper I will argue that the epidemic of childhood obesity must be stopped because currently 18 percent of children in the United States are obese, because overweight and obese children and teens are at risk for developing Type-2 Diabetes and because the physical side effects of childhood obesity are bullying , low self-esteem, depression and suicide.”

*TIP* Always use quotation marks when using someone else’s work to give them credit for it.  Never use someone else’s words as you own.

EXAMPLE OF THE USE OF QUOTATION MARKS: From my Academic Writing Blog

Their message to managers, “Managers who wish to have motivated employees must recognize the work people perform.”  So the purpose of the experiments and the results show managers what they can do to increase employee production.

The different types of writing that we had in this course helped us to learn how to write each type.  One of the assignments we had to do, which I found to be fun and informative, was the discussion/forum writing.  Click on the link below to view it:

http://summerwrit.richardcolby.net/discussion-boardsforums/

My favorite writing assignment was the Discourse Community.  I get to describe a particular club that I am a member of that not only is helping me with my goal of becoming an author, but also it cements what I want to do for the rest of my life.  It was an honor to share it with the class.  Please click on the to view:

http://summerwrit.richardcolby.net/book-it/

All of the writing assignments were infinitely valuable to me because I learn to write and the writing assignments were personal.  It was a win-win situation.

What is good writing?  Good writing is good thinking.  Good writing is good preparation.  Good writing is communication.   Good writing makes sense to the reader.  The reader should not have to decipher what you as the writer are trying to convey.  Writing is used in emails, reports, documents, texts, letters, presentations, essays, websites, and social media.  We need format and structure.  We need good grammar, spelling, punctuation.  Good writing is the first impression you make on other people.  Our thoughts are in that writing.  In essence,  we are the writing.  Own it.  Communicate.   Last *TIP* Have Fun!  Now, I pass the baton on to you.  Take it and run with it!

Here is a Youtube video you can watch and get some extra pointers:

 

3 Responses to What is Good Writing?

  • Jess Smith says:

    I like that you quoted comments from the teacher. That was a great idea. You have a great outline and appropriate examples. I think all new students should read this post. Also thank you for sharing the video.

    • Lixinting2012 says:

      Thank you Jess for the positive comments! I have felt rather unsure about my work. I will comment on yours shortly. Since this is the final assignment, I want to wish great luck throughout all your studies and in all your future endeavors. Enjoy the rest of summer! Take care!
      Xinthing

  • richardcolby says:

    the extensive use of evidence from the work you did in the course works well to support your argument. This is a great application of the course concepts. You also invoke the specific audience here in a clear way, so there is no question about who you are writing this for. The organization with subheadings, the tips, and ending with the video was also a nice way to take advantage of the media. All in all, this was successful. However, I think it would have been better to make hyperlinks out of the URLs or even hyperlinking the sentence, such as, “Check out the post here.”

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