his book began with an ambitious goal: to meet the writing needs of all students.
Acknowledging that students are not confined to a classroom, the idea was
to develop a reference book that would assist readers in any situation, academic,
Writing / 21
SAMPLE INDEPENDENT PARAGRAPH
The following paragraph, written as an independent composition, serves as a sample
for analysis for this section. You can find numerous examples of other independent
paragraphs throughout Parts II and III.
24 / Basics of Good Writing
became involved with them? Why you build them? Their aerodynamics? How to
paint them? Fly them? Narrowing your subject in this way will help give you a manageable topic.
Having narrowed your topic, like how to paint model glide
26 / Basics of Good Writing
Spatial order presents topics as they appear in space: left to right, top to bottom,
front to back. Useful transitional phrases in a left-to-right spatial order would
At the far left.
Next to that.
Near the center.
Writing / 25
Develop the list from Step 1 into a thesis sentence. Then compare with the following
A model-glider builder may paint a simple two-tone combination, but a more
creative builder will develop a startling over-under pattern
Writing / 27
STEP 4: Writing the Topic Sentences
With the thesis sentence in place, you can easily write a topic sentence for each body
paragraph. Study the following:
Caring for pets requires tedious daily chores, sometimes heartbreaking
28 / Basics of Good Writing
STEP 6: Drafting the First AttemptThe Introduction
Some writers prefer to begin writing with the introductory paragraph. Others prefer
to begin with the body paragraphs. Use whichever method suits you.
No matter when you write
Writing / 29
Use a quotation, adage, or proverb:
Its not what you know but who you know.
The reader wonders whether the writer will agree or disagree with this adage.
These introductory methods offer a place to start; other methods will serve as well.
30 / Basics of Good Writing
SAMPLE MULTI-PARAGRAPH PAPER
The following five-paragraph theme includes the traditional introductory paragraph,
three body paragraphs, and a concluding paragraph. Once you have finished your
own theme, compare its structure wi
Writing / 31
Ohio River. In winter, the bald eagles soar among the thousands of geese and ducks, surely a
testimony to the value of this wildlife sanctuary.
Boasting none of the amenities of modern campgrounds, Hovey Lake nevertheless attracts
32 / Basics of Good Writing
A concluding sentence in the last body paragraph ties together the paragraph
as well as the general idea.
In the fifth paragraph:
The reference to the thesis sentence rewords without repeating the thesis.
Reference is als
ou have finished the prewriting and writing steps. You have studied how to write
good sentences, good paragraphs, and good multi-paragraph papers. Now you
are ready to revise.
During the process of revising, the really tough part of w
34 / Basics of Good Writing
Are there adequate transitional devices to connect the paragraphs? [See Sample
Revision for Transition later in this chapter.]
Does the theme follow a logical order? Do the body paragraphs follow a logical
order? [See order
Revising / 35
Does my paragraph follow a logical method of organization? [See order, in
paragraph development, in the Glossary.]
Have I included adequate transitional devices to connect the ideas within the
paragraph? [See Sample Revision for Transiti
36 / Basics of Good Writing
Have I, wherever possible, substituted strong action verbs for weak linking
verbs? [See action verb and linking verb in the Glossary and in the Verbs section
of Chapter 42.]
Have I used appropriate vocabulary for the subjec
Revising / 37
Have I avoided dangling modifiers? [See dangling modifier in the Glossary.]
Have I avoided ambiguous modifiers? [See ambiguity in the Glossary.]
STEP 5: Checking Consistency
The next thing you should check is consistency: consistent poin
38 / Basics of Good Writing
Revised to Add Specific Detail
In spring, fishermen replace hunters on Hovey Lake waters. Attracted by the spring crappie
run, fishermen haul in hefty stringers of slabs and return to fish for bluegill. Evening campfires
Revising / 39
that, I really like pigeons. In fact, we used to raise pigeons when I was a child. Some of them
are quite beautiful, not only because of their colors but also because of the ruffs around their
necks or the long feathers along their legs. Of
22 / Basics of Good Writing
WRITING A MULTI-PARAGRAPH
Multi-paragraph papers, often called themes or papers, use any method of development suitable to the topic. [See development, methods of, in the Glossary.] They usually contain an introductory pa
20 / Basics of Good Writing
about the water skier in the preceding step are arranged chronologically, the order in
which the skier must react.
Number the items on your list in the order in which you will write about them.
STEP 4: Developing the Notes
Writing / 19
For instance, consider the following examples, and notice from which part of the topic
sentence the accompanying subtopics come.
Utility bills seem to reflect household activities.
Bills rise when school is out for
2 / Introduction
The chapters detailing each method of development and each type of writing
characteristics of the method and/or type,
the process for developing the method and/or type, including prewriting,
writing, revising, and proofreadi
PA R T I
BASICS OF GOOD
ood writing starts with process. So well begin by telling you how to go about
writing. How to get ideas. How to put them together. How to get them on paper.
How to polish them into a fine piece of writing. Those are
Prewriting / 5
read and understood it. The assignment may also be a springboard from which you
can make mental leaps to topics of related but special interest to you.
Reading: General Background. Frequently, however, the reading material is something othe
Prewriting / 7
may help you
joyful, remorseful, even furiousa feeling that may be worthy of a description, a
hroughout Parts II and III of this book, you can find series of steps labeled Prewriting. The term generally refers to any kind of activity that helps you loosen
up, think about your topic, focus on purpose, analyze your audience, a
6 / Basics of Good Writing
which to write. The idea of journal writing may suggest a goal of creative writing,
such as short stories or poetry, but that is not necessarily the case. Journalists, copywriters, even students who must respond on a regular bas
8 / Basics of Good Writing
development in a paragraph or multi-paragraph paper. The following questions can
help you limit your subject:
How many divisions are included within this topic? Will any one division
better serve as a topic for a full paragrap
Prewriting / 9
STEP 5: Analyzing the Audience
Directly related to purpose is audience. For example, if writing about the childrens
play area, will you write to local government officials, to the children, to the newspaper editor, or to parents? Your audie
10 / Basics of Good Writing
Most writers go through a prewriting process, begin writing and stop writing from
time to time to think again about the results of their prewriting activities. Thus,
because writers often move from prewriting to writing to prew