Have you ever read something that seems to be redundant? Have you ever read anything that seems to be redundant?
Well, redundancy is great for IT, not so much for writing. Having a second modem or router around or even configured can be quite the boon, but having the same sentence, even restated, in a paper can cause the reader a headache or even bore them to death. I used to be redundant in my writing, but I eventually started to cull some of it out.
Now, I'm sure you have all seen redundancy in places it probably shouldn't be. For example, have any of you read government documents? Those things are either nice and clean or riddled with redundancy. History journals are too redundant. Science papers like to restate things again and again. Editors miss it, but it is simply not a good style.
Anyway, my random rant of the year is all done.
Pronoun confusion is a fun little discrepancy that we all run into at one point or the other. I notice that as one gets to writing, one gets caught up in what one is trying to say. The writer believes that the writing is clear and concise but it actually becomes confusing, particularly in the event of substituting pronouns to save from too much repetition of names. “I’ve said her name like ten times… better replace all instances of Sarah with ‘she’.” It is sound logic. One doesn’t want to make it seem like one is over-using a word. The issue is that sometimes other nouns enter in the mix and the reader has no idea who “she” is. Here is a small snippet of conversation that exemplifies what not to do:
Sarah walked up behind Samantha and tapped her on her shoulder.
She was surprised but smiled back at her. She was always doing things like that.
“What are you up to today?” she asked.
“Nothing much, I’m just on my way to class.”
Who is going to class? It is unclear. One would think that the “she” is Karen, since Karen was the last character named. On further review, the other character could have been the last to speak… it is a mess. Help make your piece more easily understood by being sure to only use pronouns after just referencing the noun they are substituting, particularly if the pronoun could stand in for any number of other nouns.
Sarah walked up behind Samantha and tapped her on her shoulder.
Samantha was surprised but smiled back at Sarah. Sarah was always doing things like that.
“What are you up to today?” Sarah asked.
“Nothing much, I’m just on my way to class.”
Oh, Samantha is going to class. That’s much better.
College is crazy! If you happen to be a busy college student, a journal may help you relieve stress, just as it did for me. I started my first year of college with my mind set on not getting too involved. I wanted to get the best grades I possibly could, and if it meant staying uninvolved then that was the way it had to be. The workload from my classes was enough to keep me busy for many hours at a time; however, homework does not pay the bills.
I started my job at the Writing Center in order to help pay for my bills and the everyday costs of living. The hours I worked were not too terribly long, but after one considers that there is homework to do as well it seems as though they are. I finally adjusted to my new schedule when a coaching position opened for a park and rec program. My fiancé and I, along with another student, coached the basketball team. We attended numerous practices and games during the week, as well as on weekends. The schedule I had was overwhelming to say the very least.
I stayed with this schedule until the end of the year, and just as things seemed to slow down I had more on my plate; my fiancé and I were asked to coach the girls’ softball team. We had fun while coaching basketball, so we decided we could give softball a try as well. While coaching, we both got jobs at Upper Iowa for the summer. On top of coaching, and our jobs, we were planning our wedding for the coming October.
I am now in the beginning of my sophomore year, and the wedding is fast approaching; however my parents 25th Anniversary, and by Brothers wedding will come before it. The next few months will be very busy for me to say the very least. With all of the added stress on me, I realized that I needed to find a way to deal with pressure; this is when I turned to writing. I was never the type of person to keep a diary because I found it to be a waste of time. I now realize that it is very helpful when you are in a situation as stressful as mine. Writing in a journal gives you a chance to recollect on the events that occurred during the day, and maybe once they are on paper, they will not seem as stressful.
What are you doing Sunday, April 29th?
Make your appointments now for Sunday Night Rush(with milk and cookies) at the Writing Center(Liberal Arts, Room 127)! We have openings from 6:30-11:00 p.m. Claim your half hour slot! E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org with your preferred time and we'll send you and e-mail confirmation, or come to the Writing Center to make you appointment!
It's the most wonderful tiiiime of the year...summer! Vacations, graduation, no school...the moments we've all been wating for since Fall Term 1. I bet you have already made your plans; whether it's traveling the world, getting to know your couch a lot better or goin to the Jersey Shore, you have already put the remainder of this school year somewhere in the back of your mind. However, we all know that the summer is a prime time to forget 90% of what we spent 9 months trying to hold on to. If you're like me and you see a beautiful sunny day outside your window, chances are you are outside enjoying it. That book you still have in your backpack from school can wait until later. You were only gonna glance over it anyway. Later comes and you've decided to play video games with your family, leaving that poor book in the bag yet again. Tommorrow you said you would finally get to it...but it's another beautiful day. You can't pass THAT up. The point of it all: the summer is our friend and yet our enemy simultaneously. We enjoy the break from studies but then get brain mush for the next school year. I urge our readers to devote some time over the summer to refreshing your mind. Yes, I know, there are more important things to do with your free time. But I guarantee you'll thank yourself in the long run. If you don't believe me...ask a math major. I'm sure they LOVE forgetting and re-learning forumlas, rules, and properties. It's just oh so much fun
MIDWESTERN LITERARY PROJECT, showcasing contemporary Midwestern writing, editing, and publishing
The Upper Iowa University Writing Center will host the Midwestern Literary Project, showcasing contemporary Midwestern writing, editing, and publishing, on Thursday, March 22. An author/editor panel discussion will begin at 2:15 p.m. in the Liberal Arts Building, Room 110, on the Fayette campus. The reading/presentation will begin at 4:00 p.m. in the Liberal Arts Auditorium.
Both sessions are open to the public and questions are encouraged.
By Kait Graybill
Participants in the author/editor panel discussion include:
•Timothy Fay, editor, publisher, and printer of the Iowa-based literary journal, The Wapsipinicon Almanac, with Dr. Doug McReynolds, UIU Bissell professor of English, who authored a suite of personal essays on the seasons that was published in the Wapsipinicon Almanac (Vol. 17);
•Jim O’Loughlin, editor and publisher of Final Thursday Press (FTP);
•Kimberly Groninga, author of a volume of poetry, Other Things that Grow, published by FTP. The panel discussion is for anyone interested in the author/editor relationship and the process of creative work publication.
The second session will include readings by McReynolds, Groninga, Fay, and O’Loughlin.
•Fay and O’Loughlin will also discuss the triumphs and trials of running a small press in the large world of publishing and their varying publishing styles. The Wapsipinicon Almanac is produced by labor-intensive linotype setting, and honors the craftsmanship of letter press equipment mostly considered obsolete in today’s publishing realm, while FTP relies on thoroughly modern printing methods with the capability of bringing to press a variety of local Iowa authors.
Both sessions are open to the public and questions are encouraged. Come join us and learn more about writing, press and these writers!!!!
As most of you might know, cursive handwriting is no longer taught in American school, and for several reasons. Technology is constantly evolving and changing. Electronic transfers and online banking are making checks more and more obsolete. I have realized that I had wasted a part of my chidhood education. Granted, I am proud to read and write American cursive handwriting, but I know it has become a useless skill. It is one talent that my children wouldn't need to know when they go to school.
As a writing tutor, I have helped many students, American and international students, with their essays. Furthermore, many international students don't understand cursive handwriting. For these students, learning English is hard enough to learn without learning a soon-to-be ancient form of American writng. Some international students have asked me to translate the cursive handwritten comments on their essays from their teachers!
In conclusion, as this change occurs, we must all adapt to it. For those who do know how to write cursive handwriting, be proud of your talent. For those who don't know cursive handwriting, please don't be ashamed. Cursive handwriting is not a necessary skill to have. Those who do know cursive handwriting should not exploit those who don't, or merely accept others to understand, whether they are domestic or international students.
I have been writing ever since I could write. When I was young, I enjoyed learning English and cursive hand-writing. My only regret is that part of my childhood education was wasted. Nowadays, American elementary schools no longer teach cursive hand-writing. Checks are becoming obsulete. Electronic banking, plastic cards, and direct deposits are taking over the way we earn and spend money. Quite frankly, if I knew if it would become a waste of time, I would of studied a new language or how to play an instrument instead.
Despite this loss, I have developed a hobby for writing. Throughout high school, I began to write more and more. Not only was I writing essays, I was writing down my own thoughts, ideas, and emotions. It was a way of reducing stress and to open my mind.
When I went to college, my love for writing only increased. I wrote many history essays, I wrote for the college newspaper, and I wrote every day, just for the hell of it! Writing became a hobby for me.
So why do I write? I have many reasons. It makes me happy, it relieves stress, controls emotions, a way to communicate, it's a way to make history, and it's a way to develop new ideas. I will not stop writing, and encourages others to never quite writing. No matter what language you speak, what you write on, or what it's about. No matter how time changes things, never stop writing.
As a fellow student and as a history minor, I acknowledge the burden of history essays. You can't state your opinion about it, you cannot just say anything you think of, and you cannot assume anything. Because of these restrictions, you are required to obtain information and then research that information. History is a large part of non-fiction, in fact, history IS non-fiction.
History is created every day. One example of this is 9/11/01. I was in the 5th grade at the time, and I never expected to see the World Trade Center, on TV, while it collapsed. Another example is all of the wars across that have occured and are happening today. We all expericence history, whether we are aware of it or not. Fifty years from now, today would will be considered the "good ol' days."
So what does this have to do with your history essay that's due next week? Let me tell you, it has everything to do with it! When you write about a certain event, time period, or individual, you have to have three things:
1. Resources of information
2. Acknowledgement of history
3. Your our personal experience
With these three tools, you can write about any type of history, and furthermore, learn something from it. I have always enjoyed writing history essays because I have the information in front of me, and the hindsight to show the significance of that history.
Before I can to UIU, I went to North Iowa Area Community College for two years. It was a generic and plain place, but I had excellent teachers. My history professor from NIACC changed the outlook I had on history. I will never forget his words of wisdom, and I will share the most important one with all of you. "History is not about who, what, where, when, or how, but why? Why did it happen, and importantly, what can we learn from it?"
The bottom line is this: If you do the research, find the facts, write the references, and reflect on why this history happened, then you can write the essay. Most importantly, you must write why this history is important and what you will learn from this history. History is connected to everything, history IS everything, and by learning about the past, you will learn from it, and prepare yourself for a better future.
Creating a topic for an essay can be a daunting task, especially when your professor gives you full reign over what to write about. There is an overwhelming amount of content in the world for you to consider, and the manner with which you approach a particular subject can further add to the confusion because you could conceptually interpret it in so many different ways!
But do not fret, young writer – for here are three basic guidelines designed to make topic-searching a little easier for you:
1) First and foremost, select a small range of topics that YOU are comfortable writing about. Often, students make the mistake of picking certain topics to impress their readers rather than discussing something they fully understand and care for. The more knowledgeable and interested the author is with the topic, the more the author has to write about it.
2) Transform your potential topics into claims to find out which one appeals to you the most. Topics are categories that writers utilize to create thesis statements. For example, a general topic for an essay could be “Violence in America”, but you can formulate many claims from this, such as “Capital Punishment in the United States should be discontinued due to its immoral implications”, or “Young American children exposed to fictional violence in the media are more likely to become aggressive themselves.” Make sure your claim is specific and arguable; there really is no point in arguing about a statement like “Violence is detrimental to the lives of American citizens” because this is common knowledge.
3) Once you have finally managed to pick a claim that YOU would like to write about, make sure to talk to your professor for advice! You do not want to find out in the later stages of writing your paper that it did not fit the parameters of your assignment. By talking to your professor about the topic beforehand, you will be able to make sure that your argument is relevant, and if not, you can refer to the other topics you had selected earlier for an alternative claim. If the topic/thesis you selected is valid, your professor might even be able to provide tips to make it better, so do not hesitate!
You do not want to devote your paper to an argument that you do not fully comprehend or feel passionate about. Hopefully, these guidelines have managed to relieve you of the stress of searching for topics that make writing fun and engaging for you!