Effective Writing Skills, Session One: Dos and Don'ts in Non-Fiction Writing

Pages: 2 (503 words) Published: October 14, 2012
Summary of Session One of “On Writing Well”

Session one presents us a brief introduction of writing styles and writing principles through the following ways: lecture slides, class discussions, the textbook On Writing Well and extra resources.

In the first place, the lecture slides describe the definitions, characteristics and writing skills of these three writing styles: summaries, which should be clear, concise and well-organized with main ideas together in a logical order; directions, which need to be short, correct and easy to follow; persuasive writing, which is supposed to be reasonable, convincing and with both arguments and counterarguments. Then, based on the theory, groups discuss further on the extinguishing factors and writing tips for the five common writing styles: summaries, essays, answering questions on tests, dissertations and E-mails. After that, the teacher focuses on teaching the students to revise their writing by cutting clutter (a common writing disease, which refers to too much unnecessary writing against simplifying the message the author intends to spread). He analyzes the reasons for clutter in students’ writing (such as lack of vocabulary, disregard for readers, lack of interest in improving the writing and so on) and gives practical skills to cut clutter(such as using short and simpler words, being careful with “that” and “there”, choosing active voice, reducing qualifiers, cutting information already implied and so on). It provides clues for students to think about why this writing disease exists and how to overcome it. Then, for exercises, students work in group to revise a group of sentences with clutter. At the mean time, the teacher provides more resources about specific ways to cut clutter from Writing. For example, in the article Five Ways to Cut the Clutter, “replace redundant expressions” is pointed out as another useful method and the “redundant expressions” are listed in another reading material - 200 Common...
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