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Loyola University Chicago

Writing Center

1: Getting Started

Quick Tips for Writing Top-Notch Essays

Writing is a process that consists of a series of stages. Those stages are broadly divided into three categories: prewriting, drafting and revising. Although we tend to think of these stages as distinct, it is not unusual to move back and forth between them because writing is recursive, not linear.

For example, you may have completed a first draft of an essay, and in the peer-review process, your editing partner may have suggested that a section of the paper needs further development. You now need to go back to the idea development/information gathering stage of the process.

Or perhaps in the revision stage you notice that one of your arguments could be bolstered by additional expert testimony. Now you must gather more information and draft a new section of the essay.

Although the movement back and forth through the stages can be frustrating, attention to the fluidity of the process will produce a stronger, better developed essay.

   

Where should you begin?

Before you even move to prewriting strategies, you should begin with the teacher's assignment. Your understanding of the assignment is the first step in creating a successful response to it. The following steps will guide you through the process:

   

Sample Assignment

Due date: October 16, 2009

Length: 4-5 pages

Review the six cultural variants of the "Cinderella" story read and discussed in class, and select two for analysis. Examine them specifically for the cultural values and beliefs they transmit. Think of the stories as containing a set of instructions to children on the endorsed behaviors of the time period and place from which the story emerges. Because the audience for "Cinderella" is primarily female, you might want to explore the gender expectations transmitted to young girls. Because you are writing for a general audience and cannot assume their familiarity with the stories you are writing about, you should offer a brief summary of each story. Remember, your summary should provide only enough information to allow your reader to understand your analysis. This is not a research paper. Your "Works Cited" page will contain only your primary sources, the two stories you choose to analyze. This essay should be formatted according to the guidelines on page L20 of the Loyola University Chicago Edition of the Bedford Handbook.


2: Prewriting >>

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Writing Center
Loyola University Chicago · Klarchek Information Commons Suite 221 · 6501 North Kenmore Avenue, Chicago, IL 60626
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