All audiences enjoy a story, particularly those with human interest.
In this instance, you are putting a face or faces to your composition by drawing upon an incident containing a moral center, one that you can then use in leading your audience to the thesis statement. Here again, the best anecdotes are those coming from popular culture: from stories and events that people are aware of and talking about. You do this by presenting statistical data, facts, figures that underscore the issues about to be discussed. The data must be pertinent, validated and presented in an objective manner free of any editorializing — the facts speak for themselves;.
This is best done by using two of the six gambits. Your more skilled writers frequently make use of this, the seventh and final opening gambit.
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All of these opening strategies, or essay gambits, have one purpose and that is to focus the audience on your purpose for writing: your thesis statement. This statement is best seen as a single, complete sentence containing the main idea of the entire composition with at least three 3 patterns by which you intend to develop and support that subject.
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It has no focus and fails to give the audience anything in terms of where the composition is going. From this thesis statement, we know that you are going to write about 1 the great gas mileage a Hyundai gets in comparison to other cars, 2 the low maintenance and monies saved in repairs with the Hyundai in contrast to other vehicles, and 3 the responsive way the Hyundai handles on the road in relationship to other cars on the highways and city streets.
Those three patterns of development all contribute to and support the main idea, which is that the Hyundai is a great car. They do so in a logical, orderly fashion which is what your readership expects in a well-organized composition.
By the same token, you need to now about the four 4 most common errors made when fashioning thesis statements:. Synergy — Bringing Everything Together:. When structuring paragraphs, essays and other compositions that work for the reader — and keep in mind that when writing for the public, that audience always comes first!
You accomplish this by using the opening gambits or strategies that I have identified here, each of which leads the reader to what hopefully will be a well-formulated, clearly-articulated thesis statement i. Your reader s should be able to follow that thesis in a logical and orderly fashion to the conclusion.
You want to writer something that leaves an impression in the mind of your audience, a belief that they have been given something of considerable worth. This is best achieved by using any one of the following six 6 closing gambits Again, there are actually eight but students who follow-through with me into Freshman Composition will pickup the remaining two at that level :.
What you are doing here is to repeat for your readers those patterns of development first articulated in the thesis statement; in effect, you are now tying the package together. This can be a very effective means for closing out an essay. It adds style and grace to the writing. The best quotes, again, come out of popular culture or wisdom. The quote s should be directly related to the subject matter. Using quotes definitely gives your audience the impression that you are in control of the material. Once more, we are dealing with readability.
Audiences love good stories, those that have a core, a sensibility.
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The writer who can close a composition with a brief story is certainly going to leave a memorable impression on the readers. Anytime you can focus the audience on the main point of your writing, then leave them with something to mull over once they have finished the reading, then you have succeeded.
Remember that the prediction reflects what might or will take place if the assertion in your thesis is not followed through or acted upon.
This engages the audience into actions which is always a positive effect. In the same vein, giving the audience a recommendation or series of recommendations is effective in that you are providing them with a list of actions they can take. This moves the audience from passive readers to active doers. This is proactive, engaging writing that makes your audience aware that what they have read is not merely brain candy, but a serious call by the writer for them to act upon what has been put on the table.
This conclusion keeps your readership stimulated. Good writing calls for practice and commitment.
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One of the keys to being an effective writer is remembering your audience, keeping them in mind, understanding that the best audience is one that takes an active rather than passive role in reading what it is that you are trying to get across. The opening and closing strategies that have been discussed here are proven means for accomplishing that exact purpose.
To become really adept at writing, though, you have to read: widely and broadly. Reading will give you access not only to new information but, even more, will expose you to different writing styles and ways of expression that can only enhance and improve your own. Discussion Questions:. What are those seven and provide your own original example s in explaining each one. The author lists the four most common errors in the construction of thesis statements. What are those errors and which one s give you the greatest difficulty? Identify each of the eight techniques and briefly give your own, original examples and illustrations in explaining each one.
In what way s has it expanded on your previous knowledge and awareness of ways in which to open and close your writing. Do not make the thesis too broad. Most of the essays in my new collection of sample college application essays, Heavenly Essays , start with anecdotes. They are my favorite literary writing device when it comes to personal essays.
They Show instead of Tell. The essay was still strong and interesting she was accepted to Middlebury College, a top liberal arts school in Vermont! But I want you to see if you think it would have had a more compelling introduction if she started with her anecdote and showed her point. The idea is that you scour your own writing for the juicy parts, the anecdotes, the interesting moments or real-life examples, and see if you can move them up to the top and start by showing instead of telling.
See what you think. Where I come from being religious is unusual; Washington is considered the least religious state in the nation. Very few of my classmates go to church. The few who do probably would find my belief system rigorous and almost radical. Christian Science is most known for the practice of spiritual healing and for me, it is a way of life. It does not only come out in times of need, but is a part of my everyday existence and rids fear from each activity.
Being a religious teenager in a highly secular place can be difficult. But I patiently answer these questions and embrace this challenge because spiritual living is crucial to who I am. I have overcome countless scenarios with the help of prayer, including the biking accident I experienced while training for a mile bike ride from New York City to Washington, DC. The dry smell of summer filled the air, and my legs churned up and down.
The wind was at my back, and I felt like I was flying. Seconds later, however, I veered out of control. My bike and I hit the pavement and skidded across the road. After bandaging the scrapes and resting in bed, I actively prayed to be healed. Supported by my mom and a Christian Science Practitioner, my thought was transformed from fear of the accident to reassurance that I would be okay.
My body certainly needed time to mend, but being freed from fear was the central benefit of this healing. Although my classmates and peers seemed surprised to see me active again, I knew that my quick recovery was because of my prayer.
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I rely on my relationship with God everyday, and not just to recover from accidents. For example, when presenting scientific research to an audience of Bahamian government officials last spring, I was fearful of stumbling through my speech. Turning to God, however, I found confidence and assurance that I could deliver my proposal with poise. Here is the same essay when you move the anecdote to the beginning I shifted three paragraphs to the top :.
Anecdote: Showing Biking along Lake Washington, the trees flew past me and the wind whistled in my ears. So, what do you think? Did you like one version over the other?