My writing differs greatly between more structured formal essays, and more informal writing assignments and blog post style writing. This more informal writing tends to require less editing than more structured writing, and is what I seemed to primarily use in essay 4, which was less of an essay and more of an overall project with shorter sections of writing. My ability to write this way got easier as the course progressed. For example, in the story map assignment, we were meant to write a short summary of our argument not a full essay, but I phrased things like a formal essay, with a proper thesis “The advice the narrator is dispensing reflects anxiety about societal expectations and judgements of woman in society, and the way those anxieties and sexist attitudes are internalized and passed down through generations.”
As for my more traditional essay writing, there were some changes between the first and third essay. One of the most obvious changes is a better ability to summarize and contextualize the piece being analyzed in the essay. On my first essay I received the comment “I think the essay could benefit from a more generous exposition, reminding us what the story is about.” Since that essay, I have begun every introduction with contextualization of the story or poem being analyzed. In fact, my introduction has become more formulaic since the first essay, following a format of: context, current consensus on a piece, disagreement with said consensus, and thesis. This has replaced the flowery, generic opening my first essay had. In the first essay my argument felt broad and rushed. They felt less rushed as the course continued, but that may be do to being allowed longer word counts. Every essay was pretty much as least a few words over the word count. One change through is that with later essays, I incorporated more (and better sources) and used more block quotes. All essays written for this course were posted online, but only essays three and four really made use of the format by incorporating images without being required to.
As for progress in my comments, they o n the whole got longer as the course continued. The format of my comments also changed. For the first essay, my comments tended towards the format of: one thing I liked, then on thing I’d change. By the third essay, the format was more mixed, including a rephrasing of the perceived thesis, and a mix of good things and things to change or improve.
In terms of aspects of my writing to continue to work on, I tend to have trouble staying focused on the reader. Various comments on my work tended to be along the lines of emphasizing both the “why” and “how” of a given scenario, rather than adding every piece of evidence or tangential argument into the essay along with it. I got better at looking at the bigger picture by the third essay, but it’s still something for me to be aware of. The biggest issue with my early essays was passive voice and run-on sentences. The long run-on sentences have gotten better, but passive voice is still abundant in early drafts of my essays. I still have to work on not using passive voice on instinct and meeting shorter word counts.ENG-220-Writing-Audit
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