The Writers Essential Tackle Box: Getting a Hook on the Publishing Industry (Get It Write)
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You can make a list on your own or in a group with your classmates. Start with a blank sheet of paper or a blank computer document and write your general topic across the top. Underneath your topic, make a list of more specific ideas. Think of your general topic as a broad category and the list items as things that fit into that category. Often you will find that one item can lead to the next, creating a flow of ideas that can help you narrow your focus to a more specific paper topic.
From this list, Mariah could narrow her focus to a particular technology under the broad category of mass media. Imagine you have to write an email to your current boss explaining your prior work experience, but you do not know where to start. Before you begin the email, you can use the brainstorming technique to generate a list of employers, duties, and responsibilities that fall under the general topic of work experience. This technique is also known as clustering because ideas are broken down and clustered, or grouped together.
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Many writers like this method because the shapes show how the ideas relate or connect, and writers can find a focused topic from the connections mapped. Using idea mapping, you might discover interesting connections between topics that you had not thought of before. To create an idea map, start with your general topic in a circle in the centre of a blank sheet of paper. Then write specific ideas around it and use lines or arrows to connect them together. Add and cluster as many ideas as you can think of. Mariah tried idea mapping in addition to brainstorming.
Then, the general topic branches into two subtopics written in two smaller circles: television and radio.
The subtopic television branches into even more specific topics: cable and DVDs. From there, Mariah drew more circles and wrote more specific ideas: high definition and digital recording from cable and Blu-ray from DVDs. The radio topic led Mariah to draw connections between music, downloads versus CDs, and, finally, piracy. From this idea map, Mariah saw she could consider narrowing the focus of her mass media topic to the more specific topic of music piracy.
Using search engines on the Internet is a good way to see what kinds of websites are available on your topic. Did you guess at any of the answers? Searching the Internet may help you find answers to your questions and confirm your guesses.
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Be choosy about the websites you use. Make sure they are reliable sources for the kind of information you seek. Then look over the results for relevant and interesting articles. If the search engine results are not what you are looking for, revise your key words and search again. Some search engines also offer suggestions for related searches that may give you better results.
Note: Not all the results online search engines return will be useful or reliable.
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Carefully consider the reliability of an online source before selecting a topic based on it. Remember that factual information can be verified in other sources, both online and in print. If you have doubts about any information you find, either do not use it or identify it as potentially unreliable. Reading legal jargon made Mariah uncomfortable with the results, so she decided to look further. Reviewing her map, she realized that she was more interested in consumer aspects of mass media, so she refocused her search to media technology and the sometimes confusing array of expensive products that fill electronics stores.
Now, Mariah considers a topic on the products that have fed the mass media boom in everyday lives. However, this topic may still be too broad. Use brainstorming, idea mapping, or searching the Internet. Collaboration : P lease share with a classmate and compare your answers. Share what you found and what interests you about the possible topic s. Prewriting strategies are a vital first step in the writing process. First they help you first choose a broad topic, and then they help you narrow the focus of the topic to a more specific idea.
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Use Checklist 5. Using this checklist can help you decide if your narrowed topic is a good topic for your assignment. Do I have prior knowledge or experience with this topic? If so, would I be comfortable exploring this topic and sharing my experiences? An effective topic ensures that you are ready for the next step.
With your narrowed focus in mind, answer the bulleted questions in the checklist for developing a good topic. Have you ever known someone who was not very good at telling stories? You probably had trouble following the train of thought as the storyteller jumped from point to point, either being too brief in places that needed further explanation or providing too many details on a meaningless element.
Maybe the person told the end of the story first, then moved to the beginning and later added details to the middle. The ideas were probably scattered, and the story did not flow very well. When the story was over, you probably had many questions. Just as a personal anecdote can be a disorganized mess, an essay can fall into the same trap of being out of order and confusing. Just like a topic sentence summarizes a single paragraph, the thesis statement summarizes an entire essay.
It tells the reader the point you want to make in your essay, while the essay itself supports that point. You should form your thesis before you begin to organize an essay, but you may find that it needs revision as the essay develops. For every essay you write, you must focus on a central idea. This idea stems from a topic you have chosen or been assigned or from a question your teacher has asked. It is not enough merely to discuss a general topic or simply answer a question with a yes or no.
Remember that a thesis is not the topic itself, but rather your interpretation of the question or subject. A thesis is one sentence long and appears toward the end of your introduction. It is specific and focuses on one to three points of a single idea—points that are able to be demonstrated in the body.
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It forecasts the content of the essay and suggests how you will organize your information. Remember that a thesis statement does not summarize an issue but rather dissects it. As you may recall, the creation of a thesis statement begins when you choose a broad subject and then narrow down its parts until you pinpoint a specific aspect of that topic.
For example, health care is a broad topic, but a proper thesis statement would focus on a specific area of that topic, such as options for individuals without health care coverage. If the specific topic is options for individuals without health care coverage, then your precise thesis statement must make an exact claim about it, such as that limited options exist for those who are uninsured by their employers.
You must further pinpoint what you are going to discuss regarding these limited effects, such as whom they affect and what the cause is. A factual statement often is not considered arguable. Be sure your thesis statement contains a point of view that can be supported with evidence. You can rely on personal observations in order to do this, or you can consult outside sources to demonstrate that what you assert is valid. A worthy argument is backed by examples and details. The tone is assertive and takes a stance that others might oppose.
In other words, your stance has insufficient backing. Taking an authoritative stance on the matter persuades your readers to have faith in your argument and open their minds to what you have to say. These statements reduce your credibility and weaken your argument.
Your opinion is more convincing when you use a firm attitude. On a sheet of paper, write a thesis statement for each of the following topics. Remember to make each statement specific, precise, demonstrable, forceful and confident. Closing all American borders for a period of five years is one solution that will tackle illegal immigration. Compared to an absolute divorce, no-fault divorce is less expensive, promotes fairer settlements, and reflects a more realistic view of the causes for marital breakdown. Exposing children from an early age to the dangers of drug abuse is a sure method of preventing future drug addicts.
You can find thesis statements in many places, such as in the news; in the opinions of friends, co-workers or teachers; and even in songs you hear on the radio.
Pay attention to your own everyday thesis statements as well, as these can become material for future essays. Now that you have read about the contents of a good thesis statement and have seen examples, take a look four pitfalls to avoid when composing your own thesis.