Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Essay Analysis

Essay Analysis

The narrative writing prompts that I have completed were composed for practice to improve my writing. First, I had to write on the topics that I was given. Then, by completing the prompts, I received scores to find out where my problem areas were. Now I am going to analyze these areas and find methods I can use to improve my skills in them. Subsequently, I am enhancing my writing. I have chosen to analyze three weak areas of my writing and give techniques that I can use to improve my writing. On each prompt, there were five categories that I was scored in: focus, content, organization, style, and conventions. Each of these areas is an essential part of writing. They enable the essay to be read easily, and they help the reader to better understand the concept of the writing. The three main categories I found that I needed to improve in were content, style, and organization. I determined these weak areas by adding my scores together in each category from each of the five essays, and the sections with the lowest scores were the ones that I chose to evaluate. The first area I need to improve is content.

Content is the presence of ideas developed through facts, examples, anecdotes, details, opinions, statistics, reasons, and explanations. Content is an imperative part of writing, and I need to improve my proficiency in this category. After reviewing each of the five narrative essays, I realized that if I did not enjoy or had problems writing about the topic of the prompt I lacked sufficient content. I found this to be true because the writings that I received all of the possible points for content were essays that I enjoyed writing. Adding all of my scores together for this category, I received a total of seventeen points out of the possible twenty. This score conveys to me that I did not always show substantial, specific, or illustrative content that demonstrated strong development and sophisticated ideas. There are a couple solutions that can help me overcome this problem. One solution is to connect the topic with a personal experience. When I can relate the topic I must write about to an experience that has happened in my life, I find that it is much easier for me to think of and convey ideas. For example, the first writing prompt I finished this year had a topic of fate. I chose to write how it was my fate to become a dancer. I am very passionate about dancing, and the whole experience of me becoming a dancer could be connected with fate. Therefore, it was much easier for me to write about this theme when I could associate it with an actual event in my life. Subsequently, I did not lack content and received an excellent score. Another solution is to make the essay fictional. I did not try this approach to writing in the prompts that I have finished. I like to write fictional stories, and I believe that writing an entertaining paper would make the task more enjoyable. Having the prompt be similar to a story would assist me in including high-quality content because I can write more fluently when I am writing a story. For instance, one prompt topic that I received was to describe a storm and its effects on me. I could have made myself into an animal or an object. Therefore, I could twist the story and make the topic more pleasurable to write about. For example, I could have pretended I was an apple tree. I would have described the storm from the perspective of an apple tree. The effects would be easier to write because I could explain how the wind blew so hard that I was leaning over, and my apples were flying in the air. I believe that this would have aided me in including content because I could easily write about my experiences in a fictional sense. Although I do need to work on adding content to my writing, the second area that I need to improve is style.

Style is the choice, use, and arrangement of words and sentence structure that creates tone and voice. I need to improve my skills in this vital element of writing. As I examined each of my individual writings, I noticed that if I had problems connecting the prompt topic with my life, I had a troublesome time incorporating style into my writing. I came to this conclusion by reviewing all of my writings and noticing the prompts that I received all of the possible points for style were ones that I could easily connect with my life. I observed that it was especially easy for me to integrate style into my writing when I was passionate about the topic as well. I received a sum of seventeen points out of the possible twenty, after totaling all of my scores for this area. This score informs me that I did not continually show a precise and illustrative use of a variety of words and sentence structures to create consistent writer’s voice and tone appropriate to the audience. There are a few methods that I think I can use to improve my scores in the category of style. One way to do this is to brainstorm experiences in my life that could possibly connect with the topic before I start to write. I feel that this will really help me to incorporate style into my writing because I can select the experience that I can best relate to the topic and the one that I am most passionate about. For example, the obstacle writing—about my eating disorder—seemed effortless to write. I am extremely passionate about the topic I chose as my obstacle, and the words just flowed from my mind onto the paper when I was writing about it. My style involuntarily incorporated itself into my writing. Subsequently, if I can always select an experience that I am passionate about and can connect to the topic I am given, I am more likely to have better style. Another way to improve my scores in the area of style is to make my essay into a fictional story. I believe that this would aid in adding style to my writing because when I invent an anecdote my writing flows more freely. Therefore, my style would most likely appear effortlessly as I wrote, and I would not have to toil exceedingly hard to place it in the writing. I find that natural style in writing is better than style that has to be intentionally added. I could have done this in one prompt that I had difficulty writing. It was the lesson prompt. I was supposed to describe a lesson that I learned in school and write about what it taught me. I feel that if I would have made the writing into a fictional story, instead of trying to connect it with a recent lesson I learned, I could have scored higher in the style category. I could have written a story about how I was a small girl, and I learned that running in the halls was wrong and dangerous. I could have incorporated an incident of how I was running in the corridor and broke my arm. This would have made the writing more fun and easier to write. And when I can write easily, my style seems to effortlessly flow out from inside of me onto the paper. Therefore, I could have improved my style and received a better score for the area. Style is important in writing, but I also need to enhance my skills in the category of organization.

Organization is the order developed and sustained within and across paragraphs using transitional devices and introductions as well as conclusions. This is an essential part of writing. Organization helps writing to flow smoothly, which aides in reading. Adding together all of my scores for this area, I received a total of eighteen points out of the possible twenty. My score in this category shows me that I did not continually illustrate sophisticated arrangement of content, and that I did not always have evident or subtle transitions. As I reviewed each of my essays, I noticed that if I was not partial to the topic of the essay, I had poor organization. However, I believe that I need to work on the category because I do not feel as confident in this area as I do in the others. I have found that there are various techniques that I can use to improve my organization, and I have chosen two that correspond with what I believe I need to work on. One technique is to write stronger transition sentences. I realize that transition sentences are a key ingredient to an outstanding essay because they help the reader to shift into the next idea smoothly, instead of coming to an abrupt stop with one thought and then suddenly moving on to another. Enhancing my skills in writing stronger transitional sentences would make my writing more flowing and smooth. One way I can improve my transitions is to make the last word of my transition sentence the first word in the initial sentence of my next paragraph. Personally, I really like this suggestion, and I feel that it would truly help strengthen my transitions. As I reviewed my essays, I found one transition in my writing prompt on the topic of describing a storm that would really be strong if I used this technique. The last sentence of one paragraph was: As I lay, I could hear the storm surging outside. The first sentence of the next paragraph was: The rain began to turn to hail as it fell from the sky. If I were to use the technique I described I would keep the last sentence of the paragraph the same and add the word outside to the beginning of the next sentence. Thus the transition would read as follows: As I lay, I could hear the storm surging outside. (Next paragraph) Outside, the rain began to turn to hail as it fell from the sky. I feel that I would have had a stronger transition by doing this. I also like how the sentences read smoothly and connect with one another. Thus, this technique would thoroughly aid in my transitions, giving me better organization.

Another way to improve my organization is to do more specific and in-depth prewriting. I notice, as I look back on my writings, that I used more detail in the prewriting outlines that I did for the topics I enjoyed writing about than the ones that I did not. I received excellent scores on the essays that I did better prewriting on. Therefore, I believe that if I give more details in my outlines before I actually start writing the prompt I can improve my organization immensely. For example, on the writing about a memorable event in my life I chose to write about the day that I had surgery on my wisdom teeth. As I glanced over my prewriting, I noticed that I mapped out exactly what I was going to write and put all of the day’s events in their respectable order. However, when I looked at the prewriting for the prompt on the lesson that I learned in school, I found that I just superficially outlined the idea of my essay. I find that it is much easier for me to write when I have a solid foundation to start with. Subsequently, I can make the foundation of my writing my in-depth outline. With both of these techniques, I feel that I can improve my writing.

To improve my writing, I have completed and analyzed the narrative writing prompts that I composed for practice. I found that not constantly showing considerable, detailed, or descriptive content that displays strong development and sophisticated ideas caused me to lose points in the content category. When I write in the future I am going to try to connect the topic with a personal experience or make the essay fictional. Not always showing an exact and illustrative use of an array of words and sentence structures producing regular writer’s voice and tone suitable to the audience caused my score in the category of style to go down. There are two ways that I plan on raising my score in the style area. One way is to come up with occurrences in my life that could possibly relate to the topic I need to write on, before I start to write. Another way is to make my paper into an imaginary story.

Finally, I found that not continually demonstrating sophisticated order of content and not always having obvious or ingenious transitions lowered my score in the organization area. There are two strategies I am going to use to improve my organization. One is to write stronger transition sentences, by making the last word of my transition sentence the first word in the first sentence of my next paragraph. The second strategy is to make my prewriting outlines mores explicit and thorough. After examining each of my weak categories of writing and finding ways to enhance my skills in them, I believe that I have a strong grasp on what I have to do to improve my writing. Since I now have specific ways to improve my writing, I can put them to use in the future. These strategies will not only help me with writing impending prompts, but they will also aid me in all of my writing: research papers, biographies, reports, essays, etc. Thus, I can use these methods of improving my writing all throughout my life.

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