Ideas for Process Essays
GETTING STARTED-Journal Ideas (from Moves Writers Make by James C. Raymond.) 1. Think of a process you know better than most people in your class—like canning strawberries, using a spreadsheet, or taking inventory, or building an architectural model, or resolving conflicts, or kayaking through whitewater. Or think of a zany process—like how to become famous by being really incompetent (ala Paris Hilton), or how to travel around the world without paying for it, or how to get someone else to wash your car. Make a list of steps, and then describe each step. To make an essay of a process paper, you have to interpret the process—make it interesting to people who have no intention of doing it themselves. (63) 2. You have already done a lot of reading and a lot of writing in your life. Pick some aspect of your experience with the printed word and write a "How To" paper, or if you prefer, a "How Not To" paper. Topics could include "How to find a good book," " How to find what you want in the library," " How to find ideas for writing a paper," "How to organize a bibliography," "How to find a publisher for your writing," "How to write about sports (or music, art, or social events)," "How to find things on the Internet." Think of your classmates as readers: make sure you explain terms that they might not otherwise understand, and try to make the process interesting even to those who may never attempt it themselves. (69) 3. Choose an institutional process you know well—perhaps one you learned as part of a summer job: how hamburgers are made, how people are admitted to hospitals, how lawyers operate behind the scenes, how political campaigns are run, how a play is produced. If possible, choose a process that looks different to insiders than to the general public. See if you can write an exposé of sorts—a process paper that reveals the real, true story (for better or worse). (78) Other Ideas (from The Macmillan Reader by Judith Nadell et al.) 1. How...
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