The Center for Academic Excellence presents... Composing
Composing an essay comes late in the Writing Process. As you will recall, there are approximately twelve steps (depending on which authority you consult). All versions of the Writing Process include a basic structure: Pre- Writing, Writing, and Re-Writing. The next screen is typical of the way in which most college textbooks present the Process and clearly shows the steps which should precede Composing (or Drafting).
The Writing Process 1.Discovery 2.Determining Rhetorical Stance 3.Invention and Pre-Writing 4.Gathering Data 5.Planning and Organizing 6.Outlining 7.Composing/Drafting 8.Reviewing 9.Revising and Rewriting 10.Editing 11.Proofreading 12.Publishing There are no final draftsonly deadlines. (Diana Hacker)
Having worked through the pre-writing excercises, and working directly from your outline, you are now ready to start your first essay. There are various methods of composing, and you need to select whichever method best works for you. There is no right or wrong methodonly the one which fits you best. We will discuss two specific methods of composition: (a)The top-down method (b)The block method
The Top-Down Method Introduction Paragraph 1 Paragraph 2 Paragraph 3 Conclusion Some writers simply like to start at the beginning and work their way through to the end of an essay in a very orderly, logical fashion. They begin by writing the introduction, then working through the paragraphs in order. If the method works, feel free to use it. However, do not feel constrained to write essays this way.
The Block Method Introduction Paragraph 1 Paragraph 2 Paragraph 3 Conclusion Many writers prefer to use the block method, where they deal with ideas in random order. Perhaps they start with Paragraph 2, because they already know the information and dont have to do research, then move on to the other paragraphs in no particular order. I prefer this method myself. I dont generally write the introduction until I know what Ive said. In both methods the end result is the same. Do what works for you.
Remember, although the initial draft of your essay should be well crafted, you need not overly concern yourself with grammar, spelling, or punctuation. The goal, at this stage, is to get your ideas down on paper in as logical a format as possible. The initial draft will not be perfect. In fact, when you are done with it, you will want to set it aside for a day or two (ideally) while your ideas percolate. When you come back to it, you will review the essay; there will undoubtedly be areas where you want to change what you have writtenwhere shifting a sentence or a paragraph will make your point more clearly, or where adding an example, an anecdote, or a fact will improve the essay.
At this stage nothing is written in stone. Remember, the Writing Process is recursive, which means that you can go back to an earlier point at any time. In other words, the outline is a guideit is not intended as a rigid structure, but as a framework. Only when all of your ideas are in place, and your essay is logically sound, will you turn your attention to editing and proofreading the text. The bulk of your grade will be based on whether or not your paper is logically sound. You will not be graded for effort, but for the overall value of your ideas.
PowerPoint Presentation by Mark A. Spalding, BA, MEd, MA (2009). The End