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Writing Tips: Mastering the Basics Part 1: Introductory Paragraphs.

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Presentation on theme: "Writing Tips: Mastering the Basics Part 1: Introductory Paragraphs."— Presentation transcript:

1 Writing Tips: Mastering the Basics Part 1: Introductory Paragraphs

2 Introductions The purposes of an introduction is three-fold: 1.Intrigue your reader – Capture their attention and give them reason to want to keep reading. 2.Tell/Establish the context of the work being discussed or critiqued. 3.End intro. with the thesis statement which summarizes your main point in a sentence.

3 Why bother writing a good introduction? You never get a second chance to make a first impression. Your intro. is an important road map for paper Ideally your introduction will make your readers WANT to read your paper. The Writing Center: University of North Carolina

4 Intrigue your reader – The Attention Getter Capture their attention; hook them, and give them a reason to want to keep reading…. HOW? – Surprising Fact – Humor – A thought-provoking question – Quotation – General statement of interest

5 Example: Surprising Fact The Pentagon has twice as many bathrooms as are necessary. The famous government building was constructed in the 1940s, when segregation laws required that separate bathrooms be installed for people of African American descent. This building isn’t the only American icon that harkens back to this embarrassing and hurtful time in our history. Across the United States there are many examples of leftover laws and customs that reflect the racism that once permeated American society. (About.com Homework/Study Tips:The Introductory Paragraph) Note that the surprising fact isn’t just stated and never discussed again. Explaining it becomes an integral part of developing the paragraph and narrowing toward the thesis sentence.

6 Surprising Fact (Story) Walking down the street one day, I came across a homeless person who was just looking for a place to stay warm. I couldn’t help him, so I felt sorry for him. This makes me think of the book Of Mice and Men written by John Steinbeck. There are several characters in this book that I feel sorry for, and others that I did not feel even slightly sorry for. (Student paper, Mrs. R., Fall 2011) Stories often capture attention – we’re ready to hear more. Again the story is developed and connected to the thesis.

7 Startling Yet Related Statement Try to imagine taking a gun and putting it up to someone’s head. Could you pull the trigger? What if this person was your best friend? In the novella Of Mice and Men, George kills his best friend, Lennie, and I believe it was the right thing to do. George had three justifiable reasons for shooting Lennie. (Student paper with teacher added thesis, Mrs. Ruehlow, Fall 2011) Note: The startling statement is tied to the thesis in the following two sentences. It does not just exist to startle the reader, but it is connected to the thesis.

8 Humor When my older brother substituted fresh eggs for our hard-boiled Easter eggs, he didn’t realize our father would take the first crack at hiding them. My brother’s holiday ended early that particular day in 1991, but the rest of the family enjoyed the warm April weather, outside on the lawn, until late into the evening. Perhaps it was the warmth of the day and the joy of eating Easter roast while Tommy contemplated his actions that make my memories of Easter so sweet. Whatever the true reason, the fact is that my favorite holiday of the year is Easter Sunday. (About.com Homework/Study Tips)

9 Thought-Provoking Question Why do we feel bad for someone? Is it because of the things that happen to them or things that they bring upon themselves? Either way we all feel bad for someone at some point in our lives. After reading the book Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck and thinking of who I feel bad for the most, I have to say I feel the most sympathy for George and Lennie. (Student paper with Mrs. Ruehlow’s additions to thesis, Fall 2011)

10 Thought-Provoking Question Have you ever felt a certain way about the characters in a story? In the novel Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck, there are many different types of characters. Some characters I felt sorry for, and others there was no reason to feel sorry for them. (Student paper with Mrs. Ruehlow’s teacher additions, Fall 2011)

11 Quotation: Be sure to relate it to your topic Hillary Rodham Clinton once said that “There cannot be true democracy unless women's voices are heard.” In 2006, when Nancy Pelosi became the nation’s first female Speaker of the House, one woman’s voice rang out clear. With this development, democracy grew to its truest level ever in terms of women’s equality. The historical event also paved the way for Senator Clinton as she warmed her own vocal chords in preparation for a presidential race. (About.com Homework/Study Tips: The Introductory Paragraph)

12 General Observation of Interest What terrible luck! It’s hard not to feel bad for many of the characters in the novel Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck. It is a story about the lives of migrant workers and the hardships they faced in their everyday lives. The two main characters, Lenny and George, had their dream shut down over and over again by events they couldn’t control, and they weren’t the only ones with bad luck. In this essay, I will tell about some of the characters in this story and whether or not I feel sorry for them. (Student paper to Mrs. Ruehlow, Fall 2011) Can you improve the thesis statement?

13 Thesis Statements: Keep it interesting…. Include: The paper’s topic Attitude toward the topic A general, one-sentence answer to the question that has been posed (and of course, the essay provides the proof and support for your answer/statement/attitude in several paragraphs).

14 Thesis Statements: Be straightforward and confident. WARNING: Avoid statements like "In this paper, I will argue that Frederick Douglass valued education." While this sentence points toward your main argument, it isn't especially interesting. It might be more effective to say what you mean in a declarative sentence. It is much more convincing to tell us that "Frederick Douglass valued education" than to tell us that you are going to say that he did. Assert your main argument confidently. After all, you can't expect your reader to believe it if it doesn't sound like you believe it! (The Writing Center: University of North Carolina)

15 Your New Paper’s Thesis: Purpose: Write a characterization essay to fully assert and support the characteristics of one character in the play, 12 Angry Men by Reginald Rose. General template for thesis: character name + list of characteristics + attitude toward character Look at WS; practice writing your thesis now…

16 Example: Juror No. 3 nearly unfairly caused an unjust jury verdict because of his bigotry, impatience, and aggressive nature.

17 Ideas:

18 Complete Draft: Due Tues., 10/12 Printed out, and in-hand as you walk into the classroom. Be sure you have access to however it is stored in class on Wednesday because it is very likely you will want to make changes to it (so bring your flashdrive with to class, etc.) You have time now to get your first draft done. Work time (Reference Writer’s Inc. book)

19 Part 2: Self Edit: Do you have these essential parts? Does your introduction: 1.Intrigue your reader – Capture their attention & give them reason to want to keep reading. 2.Establish the context of the work being discussed or critiqued (list title, author?) 3.End with the thesis statement which summarizes your main point in a sentence. 4.If not, make necessary changes now.

20 Editing Day: Tues., 10/12 Look at your introduction. Does it:  Open with an attention getter?  Say something useful in an interesting way?  End with your thesis statement?  Is the paragraph error-free? If not, change it so your thesis sentence does have these qualities.

21 Peer Edit (After Self-Edit) Exchange your paper with another Proofread just their introduction Ask yourself: What do I think this paper will discuss? What kinds of evidence will be used in the paper? What will the tone of the paper be ? If your proofreading partner is able to predict the rest of your paper accurately, you probably have a good introduction. Discuss it.

22 Return the paper to its owner.

23 Now carefully consider your thesis. Does it answer the question in one sentence? Does every paragraph provide information to support your thesis? Are you using transitions to guide the reader through your essay and connect your ideas to the thesis (remind the reader of the thesis)? Answers to these questions should be “yes.”

24 Part 3: Transitions Like a tour guide through your paper Create helpful connections Assure that the reader won’t miss your point Are used between paragraphs Create order in your essay Guide the reader from one point to another

25 The Key to Effective Transitions: Highlight connections between corresponding paragraphs By referencing in one paragraph the relevant material from the previous ones, writers can develop important points for their readers. Picking up key phrases from the previous paragraph and highlighting them in the next can create an obvious progression for readers.

26 Effective Transitions, continued It is a good idea to continue one paragraph where another leaves off. (Instances where this is especially challenging may suggest that the paragraphs don't belong together at all.) Many times, it only takes a few words to draw these connections. Source: The Writing Lab & the OWL at Purdue at Purdue University

27 Example I would feel so lonely if I had a life like Crooks. Another character I feel sorry for is Curley’s wife. Improved: I would feel so lonely if if I had a life like Crooks, and I feel badly for him because of that. Another character I feel sorry for is Curley’s wife. She is in almost the same situation as Crooks in some ways. She never gets to talk to anyone… (from student paper with embellishments by Mrs. Ruehlow Fall 2011)

28 Revisions, Side by Side BEFORE Amy Tan became a famous author after her novel, The Joy Luck Club, skyrocketed up the bestseller list. There are other things to note about Tan as well. Amy Tan also participates in the satirical garage band the Rock Bottom Remainders with Stephen King and Dave Barry. AFTER REVISION Amy Tan became a famous author after her novel, The Joy Luck Club, skyrocketed up the bestseller list. Though her fiction is well known, her work with the satirical garage band the Rock Bottom Remainders receives far less publicity.

29 Transitions Within Paragraphs: Introduce Necessary Background & Interpret Meanings Introduce quotes or paraphrases from a text with important context. Who said it? Why is it relevant & important to consider the example? After the quote or example… Be sure to clearly state what you see as the point of the example used – If you do not tell the reader how to interpret the example, you run the risk of them thinking something else.

30 Transitions with Evidence: Good Example Within Paragraph After they found Curley’s wife dead in the barn, Candy said to George, “We oughtta let ‘im get away. You don’t know that Curley. Curley gon’ta wanta get ‘im lynched. Curley’ll get ‘im killed” (94). That proves that if George hadn’t killed Lennie, he would have been in pain from Curley shooting him. Nobody would have ever given Lennie a second chance, and he would have been lynched if George didn’t shoot him. (student paper with improvements made by Mrs. Ruehlow, Fall 2011)

31 Another good example: When Candy asked George who he thought killed Curley’s Wife, he said, “I shoud have knew. I guess maybe way back in my head I did” (94). George saw it ocming and for the safety of everyone around him, he had to kill he best friend.

32 For More Information: See Writers Inc. text Writing an Opening Paragraph p. 55 Developing the Middle pp Writing a Closing Paragraph p. 58 List of Transitional Words and Phrases p. 109 Ideas for support in an essay p. 247 Sample Literary Analysis: Novel p. 248 Another Literary Analysis example p. 250


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