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Writing Strategies

Filed under: Extra — anlactunay @ 7:27 AM

Writing Strategies
1. The general writing strategy proposed in this e-Book is recommended to anybody still gaining experience. Emphasis is placed firmly upon making detailed plans before starting a writing task. You are then advised to produce multiple drafts, and then to revise extensively what you have written.

2. However, other techniques of composition exist, and may even be appropriate for different subjects and tasks. Some people are more comfortable with approaches which involve the collection of data, or the gradual generation of a work.

3. Each stage of the pre-writing phase may be punctuated by any amount of THINKING for instance. Some people make rough notes first, then put them on one side. Meanwhile, they might be thinking about what they are going to write – either consciously or unconsciously. Some time later, often without any apparent effort on their part, they find that the ideas in their rough notes have expanded and developed.

4. Some people are more at ease with UNPLANNED writing. They like to see what emerges during the process. They find that one idea sparks off others as it is written down. Too much planning might give them the feeling that their possibilities have been hemmed in, that their plan acts as a straightjacket rather than a foundation on which to build.

5. What follow are brief descriptions of the most common writing strategies. If you feel uncomfortable with detailed planning, read through them all. Try to find one which suits your temperament. You might even wish to experiment with one or two until you discover the most appropriate to your needs.

6. Outline – draft
In this approach you create a list of headings or numbered topics on the subject. These follow the same order that they will be arranged in the finished piece of work. Each one of these items is then expanded separately and discussed in turn until the final text is generated. Computer programmes which assist this approach are called ‘outliners’.

7. Draft – revise
This approach may be suitable if you prefer to work spontaneously, free from the constraints of detailed planning. You set down a stream of ‘first thoughts’ and ideas. These may have only glancing relevance to the finished work, but they give you a sense that there is something to work with. You might deliberately avoid criticising the quality of what is produced. These first thoughts then form both a rough draft and a source of inspiration for further writing. More work on drafting and revision is then done until the final text is produced.

8. The polished draft
Sometimes when producing longer pieces of work,there may not be time for creating multiple drafts. In this case you might choose to maximise the quality of the first draft. This will cut down on work to be done at a later stage. The preparatory stages of collecting information, and planning will have been done. A draft is produced which is as close as possible to the end product. Care will be taken with GRAMMAR, WORD CHOICE, SPELLING, and SENTENCE CONSTRUCTION. All this may not eliminate the necessity for a subsequent draft, but the bulk of the detailed work will have been done.

9. Expansion
In this popular approach, you assemble materials and notes, then individual items are selected for separate consideration. Each of the notes is gradually expanded until some shape and ideas begin to emerge. This is the opposite of planning. Each separate issue is being explored to see what it might yield. Individual topics might be developed independently so that you don’t feel overwhelmed by the whole assignment. This is sometimes called a ‘DISCOVERY’ APPROACH to writing.

10. Cut and paste
This approach is one of collection and assembly. You gather together a variety of materials related to what will be the end product. These might be notes, quotations, fragments of earlier writing, extracts from other people’s work, or materials which might just act as prompts or sources of ideas. The materials are then moved around and organised until they fit the current writing task. The results may be used as a plan or a rough draft on which the finished piece of work will be based.


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