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What makes a good writer? [Jan. 25th, 2010|06:35 pm]
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I'm teaching a basic composition course at a local university, and I thought I would have a lot of "repair work" to do on their writing.  I was pleasantly surprised at how good they already are...they just need a little polishing.

One of the things I wanted to do with them was presentations on grammar points, but that seems unnecessary now.  So, instead, I want to focus on qualities of good writing or of a good writer.

Keeping in mind that it's not a creative writing course, what do you think makes a good writer (or makes good writing)?

(cross-posted a few places, so I'm sorry if you see this a couple times)

From: lilysaid
2010-01-26 12:06 am (UTC)
For me, I value specificity and focus. Every general statement must be backed by specific examples, or it's just a whole lot of nothing. I teach ENG 101/102, and we focus solely on argumentative/persuasive writing with research.

One of my favorite articles for students to read is "How to Say Nothing in 500 Words" (which is apparently online here, though I'm not sure whether the poster had permission). It's old, but addresses a lot of the major pitfalls that keep students from producing good writing ("Get Rid of Obvious Padding" is my favorite section).

I think creativity is the difference between an "A" paper and a well-written B/C paper, because creativity usually goes hand in hand with critical thinking.

Also, I teach at a community college and I COVET the grammar/mechanics skills with which your students arrived.

Edited at 2010-01-26 12:07 am (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: chalkolitlover
2010-01-26 12:12 am (UTC)
I was surprised, myself. This school has a large international student population, and I was told that some of them are still grasping mechanics. I must have gotten lucky. :-)
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