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It's been a long time—probably 20 years, at least—since I sat down with a giant bunch of Lego bricks in front of me, but last week I had a chance to re-experience a small bit of my childhood with a whole new set of Lego pieces: the unreleased Lego Mindstorms EV3.
The newest generation of Mindstorms, the EV3, has capabilities that would have blown my mind back in the mid-'80s (if a set could have been sent back in time, my reaction would have looked a lot like the kid in this Onion story). The EV3 set we were given to review contained three different motors (two large and high-torque and one smaller) and three sensors (one touch, one color and light, and one infrared) along with a single control brick. Building things with the EV3 set is no different from building anything with Lego bricks, and I followed a similar procedure: unbox, dump on floor, build the thing in the instructions, look at it for a few minutes, then smash it to pieces and build my own stuff. The kit comes with printed instructions for the "Track3r" robot, a squat little guy who can be equipped with a number of different attachments and who can shoot things, pick up things, and attack things with a spinny claw. I tore down the Track3r and got to work on the flagship design for the EV3 set, the 16-inch tall "Ev3rstorm" robot.
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Let’s take a look at three helpful prewriting strategies: freewriting, clustering, and outlining. Freewriting is a great way to write when you “can’t think of anything to say.” In fact, those might be the first words you write down.
Like freewriting, clustering allows the creative side of your brain to run wild, enabling you to get related ideas out in the open where you can then begin selecting, deleting, and arranging them into a plan for your actual paper. But freewheeling exercises like these don’t necessarily leave you ready to start your first draft. We don’t have time to teach formal outlining in this lesson, but if you have not learned how to create an outline, we recommend you find a good text or teacher who can help you.
Besides freewriting, clustering, and outlining, there are many creative and practical ways to prepare yourself for writing. Haven’t even thought about writing for a while but you got me back to at least thinking about it. I am going to begin writing my personal statement for graduate school tomorrow and I will be using these tips to get the ball rolling! If you like a post, please take a second to click "like," and comment as often as you like.We promise not to correct your grammar!
Microsoft Office has long been the industry standard for enterprise-grade productivity suites. Microsoft Excel revolutionized the spreadsheet and quickly became the standard for organizing and automating information after it was released in 1993.
Microsoft has numerous templates available for cash flow and sales reports, as well as templates for almost any report an accountant would need. One of the best uses of Excel templates is creating detailed project planners that break down a project by day, week, month, department, etc.
While Excel has been around for over two decades, it's becoming increasingly popular as a business solution, far beyond simple spreadsheet applications. These new features, along with a well-established culture in the business community, means that the popularity of Excel is likely to grow for the foreseeable future. Include organizations you’re involved with and be sure to highlight your leadership roles and responsibilities within that organization.
At the end of you resume, list the specific skills that set you apart from the competition. When sitting down to write your first resume, you might feel as lost as you did on the first day of classes. If you are a member of Greek life, you can surely understand that it occupies most of your time. Valentine’s Day has passed, and odds are you feel like a failure for your Vday gift-giving performance.
This is a€?The Writing Process: How Do I Begin?a€?, chapter 7 from the book English for Business Success (v. This content was accessible as of December 29, 2012, and it was downloaded then by Andy Schmitz in an effort to preserve the availability of this book.
PDF copies of this book were generated using Prince, a great tool for making PDFs out of HTML and CSS.
For more information on the source of this book, or why it is available for free, please see the project's home page. helps people like you help teachers fund their classroom projects, from art supplies to books to calculators.
If you think that a blank sheet of paper or a blinking cursor on the computer screen is a scary sight, you are not alone.
Just as you need a recipe, ingredients, and proper tools to cook a delicious meal, you also need a plan, resources, and adequate time to create a good written composition.
Effective writing can be simply described as good ideas that are expressed well and arranged in the proper order. Prewriting is the stage of the writing process during which you transfer your abstract thoughts into more concrete ideas in ink on paper (or in type on a computer screen).
In addition to understanding that writing is a process, writers also understand that choosing a good general topic for an assignment is an essential step. When selecting a topic, you may also want to consider something that interests you or something based on your own life and personal experiences. Reading plays a vital role in all the stages of the writing process, but it first figures in the development of ideas and topics. The steps in the writing process may seem time consuming at first, but following these steps will save you time in the future. FreewritingA prewriting strategy in which writers write freely about any topic for a set amount of time (usually three to five minutes). Writing often comes easier when you have a personal connection with the topic you have chosen. Quickly recording your thoughts on paper will help you discover what you have to say about a topic.
You seek the answers to these questions to gain knowledge, to better understand your daily experiences, and to plan for the future. When Mariah reread her freewriting notes, she found she had rambled and her thoughts were disjointed.
Now that you have completed some of the prewriting exercises, you may feel less anxious about starting a paper from scratch. Write your general topic on your own sheet of paper, under where you recorded your purpose and audience. You may find that you need to adjust your topic as you move through the writing stages (and as you complete the exercises in this chapter). After rereading her syllabus, Mariah realized her general topic, mass media, is too broad for her classa€™s short paper requirement. 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 e-mail to your current boss explaining your prior work experience, but you do not know where to start.
Idea mappingA prewriting strategy in which writers cluster ideas on paper using circles, lines, and arrows. To create an idea map, start with your general topic in a circle in the center of a blank sheet of paper. 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. When you search the Internet, type some key words from your broad topic or words from your narrowed focus into your browsera€™s search engine (many good general and specialized search engines are available for you to try). If the search engine results are not what you are looking for, revise your key words and search again. The results from Mariaha€™s search included websites from university publications, personal blogs, online news sources, and lots of legal cases sponsored by the recording industry. In Note 7.12 "Exercise 2", you chose a possible topic and explored it by answering questions about it using the 5WH questions. The following checklist can help you decide if your narrowed topic is a good topic for your assignment. With your narrowed focus in mind, answer the bulleted questions in the checklist for developing a good topic.
The steps in the writing process are prewriting, outlining, writing a rough draft, revising, and editing. Prewriting is the transfer of ideas from abstract thoughts into words, phrases, and sentences on paper. A good topic interests the writer, appeals to the audience, and fits the purpose of the assignment. Writers often choose a general topic first and then narrow the focus to a more specific topic.
Your prewriting activities and readings have helped you gather information for your assignment. Order refers to your choice of what to present first, second, third, and so on in your writing. In longer pieces of writing, you may organize different parts in different ways so that your purpose stands out clearly and all parts of the paper work together to consistently develop your main point. When you write, your goal is not only to complete an assignment but also to write for a specific purposea€”perhaps to inform, to explain, to persuade, or for a combination of these purposes. One legitimate question readers always ask about a piece of writing is a€?What is the big idea?a€? (You may even ask this question when you are the reader, critically reading an assignment or another document.) Every nonfiction writing taska€”from the short essay to the ten-page term paper to the lengthy senior thesisa€”needs a big idea, or a controlling idea, as the spine for the work.
For a longer piece of writing, the main idea should be broader than the main idea for a shorter piece of writing. The big idea, or controlling idea, you want to present in an essay is expressed in a thesis statementA sentence that presents the controlling idea of an essay. The recording industry fears that so-called music piracy will diminish profits and destroy markets, but it cannot be more wrong. Everyone wants the newest and the best digital technology, but the choices are extensive, and the specifications are often confusing. The first thesis statement you write will be a preliminary thesis statement, or a working thesis statementThe first thesis statement writers use while outlining an assignment.
Using the topic you selected in Section 7.1 "Apply Prewriting Models", develop a working thesis statement that states your controlling idea for the piece of writing you are doing. You will make several attempts before you devise a working thesis statement that you think is effective.
For an essay question on a test or a brief oral presentation in class, all you may need to prepare is a short, informal outline in which you jot down key ideas in the order you will present them. For a longer assignment, like an essay or a research paper, many college instructors require students to submit a formal outlineA detailed guide that shows how all the supporting ideas in an essay are related to one other.
Instructors may also require you to submit an outline with your final draft to check the direction of the assignment and the logic of your final draft. Use roman numerals (II, III, IV, V, etc.) to identify main points that develop the thesis statement. Use arabic numerals (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, etc.) if you need to subdivide any As, Bs, or Cs into smaller parts. A topic outline is the same as a sentence outline except you use words or phrases instead of complete sentences. Is my outline in the best ordera€”chronological order, spatial order, or order of importancea€”for me to present my main points? Do I need to make any adjustments in my working thesis statement before I consider it the final version? Word processing programs generally have an automatic numbering feature that can be used to prepare outlines. A sentence outline is the same as a topic outline except you use complete sentences instead of words or phrases. The information compiled under each roman numeral will become a paragraph in your final paper. PowerPoint presentations, used both in schools and in the workplace, are organized in a way very similar to formal outlines.
Expand the topic outline you prepared in Note 7.41 "Exercise 2" to make it a sentence outline. After gathering and evaluating the information you found for your essay, the next step is to write a working, or preliminary, thesis statement. The working thesis statement expresses the main idea that you want to develop in the entire piece of writing. Effective writers prepare a formal outline to organize their main ideas and supporting details in the order they will be presented. The writera€™s thesis statement begins the outline, and the outline ends with suggestions for the concluding paragraph. DraftingThe stage of the writing process in which the writer develops a complete first version of a piece of writing.
Even professional writers admit that an empty page scares them because they feel they need to come up with something fresh and original every time they open a blank document on their computers. Your objective for this portion of Chapter 7 "The Writing Process: How Do I Begin?" is to draft the body paragraphs of a standard five-paragraph essay. What makes the writing process so beneficial to writers is that it encourages alternatives to standard practices while motivating you to develop your best ideas.
Of all of these considerations, keeping your purpose and your audience at the front of your mind is the most important key to writing success. You may want to identify your purpose and audience on an index card that you clip to your paper (or keep next to your computer).
Many of the documents you produce at work target a particular audience for a particular purpose. Using the topic for the essay that you outlined in Section 7.2 "Outlining", describe your purpose and your audience as specifically as you can.
Workplace writing in certain environments is done by teams of writers who collaborate on the planning, writing, and revising of documents, such as long reports, technical manuals, and the results of scientific research. The collaborative software, or document management systems, that groups use to work on common projects is sometimes called groupware or workgroup support systems.
The reviewing tool on some word-processing programs also gives you access to a collaborative tool that many smaller workgroups use when they exchange documents. If you invest some time now to investigate how the reviewing tool in your word processor works, you will be able to use it with confidence during the revision stage of the writing process. If you have been using the information in this chapter step by step to help you develop an assignment, you already have both a formal topic outline and a formal sentence outline to direct your writing. An introductionThe opening paragraph of an essay that piques the audiencea€™s interest, tells what the essay is about, and motivates the audience to keep reading. A thesis statement that presents the main point, or controlling idea, of the entire piece of writing. Supporting sentencesA sentence in the middle part of the paragraph that helps explain, enhance, or prove the topic sentence.
A conclusionThe closing paragraph of an essay that reinforces the thesis statement and leaves the audience with a feeling of completion. These elements follow the standard five-paragraph essay format, which you probably first encountered in high school. Topic sentences make the structure of a text and the writera€™s basic arguments easy to locate and comprehend. Choosing where to position the topic sentence depends not only on your audience and purpose but also on the essaya€™s arrangement, or order. When you organize information according to spatial order, a topic sentence may appear as the middle sentence in a paragraph.
Developing topic sentences and thinking about their placement in a paragraph will prepare you to write the rest of the paragraph. The paragraph is the main structural component of an essay as well as other forms of writing. One answer to this important question may be a€?long enougha€?a€”long enough for you to address your points and explain your main idea. Journalistic style often calls for brief two- or three-sentence paragraphs because of how people read the news, both online and in print.
You may find that a particular paragraph you write may be longer than one that will hold your audiencea€™s interest.
In all cases, however, be guided by what you instructor wants and expects to find in your draft.

To build your sense of appropriate paragraph length, use the Internet to find examples of the following items. A long paragraph from a scholarly work that you identify through an academic search engine. Now we are finally ready to look over Mariaha€™s shoulder as she begins to write her essay about digital technology and the confusing choices that consumers face. You will learn more about writing attention-getting introductions and effective conclusions in Chapter 8 "Writing Essays: From Start to Finish". With her thesis statement and her purpose and audience notes in front of her, Mariah then looked at her sentence outline. If you write your first draft on the computer, consider creating a new file folder for each course with a set of subfolders inside the course folders for each assignment you are given. In your documents, observe any formatting requirementsa€”for margins, headers, placement of page numbers, and other layout mattersa€”that your instructor requires.
If you decide to take a break between finishing your first body paragraph and starting the next one, do not start writing immediately when you return to your work.
Preceding each body paragraph that Mariah wrote is the appropriate section of her sentence outline.
Mariah then began her third and final body paragraph using roman numeral IV from her outline. That's what playing with Lego bricks reminds me of—sitting cross-legged on the floor in the back room of my parents' house on Saturday mornings, a giant tub of Lego pieces open in front of me while animated bears bounced here and there and everywhere. Back then, the most complex type of Lego sets you could buy were the Technic sets, which mixed together the standard studded bricks and more complex pieces with fitted pegs and holes and gears. First demoed at CES back in January, the EV3 set features a new controller with an ARM9 CPU with 64MB of RAM, 16MB of NAND flash storage, a USB 2.0 interface for expansion modules (like Wi-Fi), and Bluetooth. There's also an infrared remote control (an "IR beacon," the manual calls it, since it has a few other functions as well).
Actually, that's not entirely correct—there are five separate Lego-provided robot designs that can be built with the set.
It was a great way to dip my toes into the EV3 pool, though after I'd built the robot, I realized that the "build" part of that pool is definitely the shallow end.
There are eight ports on the brick itself: four on the top for output, which are used to drive motors, and four on the bottom for input, which are connected to sensors. Keep in mind that even though the five steps I outlined can seem like a complicated way to approach writing, they are really designed to make writing easier.
Take the time to plan and get your ideas organized on paper before starting the first draft. It might be that you just have little or nothing to say, or it might be that there is such a crowd of ideas waiting to get out that they cause a mental traffic jam. It is an easy and graphic way to capture your ideas on paper while showing how each idea is related to the others. Our minds may start in one direction, but one thought leads to a another that we might want to record before going back to the original idea. The painstaking organization of thought required in outlining intimidates and discourages many writers. Strategies like freewriting and clustering can help you loosen the clogged ideas in your brain and get something onto an otherwise blank sheet of paper, but only old-fashioned outlining will put those scattered ideas into a manageable order.
Use one of the first two “brainstorming” strategies and then fashion an outline to corral your scattered ideas .
Everyone from the largest corporations to college students use Microsoft Office software and file formats.
Whether the billing occurs monthly, quarterly or annually, it is useful to have a pre-built template that can easily be filled out for each customer during the new billing cycle. These templates allow a business to quickly enter in an itemized list of revenues and expenses, which is automatically calculated by the form and inserted into the relevant part of the document. With any large project, staying organized is absolutely essential, and project management templates allow a company (or team within a company) to break down the cost of each individual section of the project and assign employees or departments to specific tasks. The introduction of OneDrive and Office365 has made Excel and its templates more accessible and affordable than ever before. Best of all, it is now more affordable than ever before, which will be good for the bottom lines of large and small companies alike.
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Formatting a resume can be difficult for many first timers and can also be what helps employers decide whether to pass or trash your resume. See the license for more details, but that basically means you can share this book as long as you credit the author (but see below), don't make money from it, and do make it available to everyone else under the same terms. However, the publisher has asked for the customary Creative Commons attribution to the original publisher, authors, title, and book URI to be removed. In other words, writing is a process that requires following steps and using strategies to accomplish your goals. Sometimes your instructor will give you an idea to begin an assignment, and other times your instructor will ask you to come up with a topic on your own. While reading almost any document, you evaluate the authora€™s point of view by thinking about his main idea and his support. The more you plan in the beginning by reading and using prewriting strategies, the less time you may spend writing and editing later because your ideas will develop more swiftly. Reading prewriting exercises (and outlines and drafts later in the writing process) will further develop your topic and ideas. Remember, to generate ideas in your freewriting, you may also think about readings that you have enjoyed or that have challenged your thinking. The instructor allowed the members of the class to choose their own topics, and Mariah thought about her experiences as a communications major.
For example, you could use experience and observations to come up with a topic related to your course studies. She realized that the topic that interested her most was the one she started with, the media. The purpose of prewriting is to find and explore ideas so that you will be prepared to write. With some ideas down on paper (or saved on a computer), writers are often more comfortable continuing the writing process.
Choose it from among the topics you listed or explored during the prewriting you have done so far. If the topic you have chosen is not working, you can repeat the prewriting activities until you find a better one. Generating lots of subtopics will help you eventually select the ones that fit the assignment and appeal to you and your audience.
Then, the general topic branches into two subtopics written in two smaller circles: television and radio.
Writers use search engines not only to understand more about the topica€™s specific issues but also to get better acquainted with their audience. Some search engines also offer suggestions for related searches that may give you better results. Give careful consideration to the reliability of an online source before selecting a topic based on it. Reading legal jargon made Mariah uncomfortable with the results, so she decided to look further. 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. The more you sort through the pieces of information you found, the more you will begin to see the connections between them.
Most writers discover that the more they know about a topic, the more they can write about it with intelligence and interest.
The writing you complete in all your courses exposes how analytically and critically your mind works. Your purpose for writing should always be in the back of your mind, because it will help you decide which pieces of information belong together and how you will order them. Each draft of the thesis statement will bring you closer to the wording that expresses your meaning exactly.
This kind of outline reminds you to stay focused in a stressful situation and to include all the good ideas that help you explain or prove your point. If you are required to submit an outline with the final draft of a paper, remember to revise the outline to reflect any changes you made while writing the paper.
Her purpose is to inform, and her audience is a general audience of her fellow college students. This feature automatically sets indents and lets you use the tab key to arrange information just as you would in an outline. Be sure to observe correct outline form, including correct indentions and the use of Roman and arabic numerals and capital letters. Point out areas of interest from their outline and what you would like to learn more about. Complete sentences create clarity and can advance you one step closer to a draft in the writing process. In the previous example, the outline follows the standard five-paragraph essay arrangement, but longer essays will require more paragraphs and thus more roman numerals.
PowerPoint presentations often contain information in the form of talking points that the presenter develops with more details and examples than are contained on the PowerPoint slide. In this outline, be sure to include multiple supporting points for your main topic even if your topic outline does not contain them. Because you have completed the first two steps in the writing process, you have already recovered from empty page syndrome.
As long as you complete the assignment on time, you may choose how many paragraphs you complete in one sitting. These aspects of writing are just as important when you are writing a single paragraph for your essay as when you are considering the direction of the entire essay. If your purpose is to persuade, for example, you will present your facts and details in the most logical and convincing way you can. On that card, you may want to write notes to yourselfa€”perhaps about what that audience might not know or what it needs to knowa€”so that you will be sure to address those issues when you write. You may find that it is highly advantageous to know as much as you can about your target audience and to prepare your message to reach that audience, even if the audience is a coworker or your boss. Collaborators do not need to be in the same room, the same building, or even the same city. Strong communication skills, in addition to strong writing skills, are important in this kind of writing situation because disagreements over style, content, process, emphasis, and other issues may arise. Then, when you start to revise, set your reviewing tool to track any changes you make, so you will be able to tinker with text and commit only those final changes you want to keep. Knowing what a first draft looks like will help you make the creative leap from the outline to the first draft. A topic sentence is most often located at the beginning of a paragraph, and it makes the structure of a text and the writera€™s basic arguments easy to locate and comprehend. This basic format is valid for most essays you will write in college, even much longer ones. In college writing, using a topic sentence in each paragraph of the essay is the standard rule.
The assignmenta€™s audience and purpose will often determine where a topic sentence belongs. When you organize information according to order of importance, the topic sentence may be the final sentence in a paragraph. You may discover topic sentences that are not always located at the beginning of a paragraph. Each paragraph of an essay adds another related main idea to support the writera€™s thesis, or controlling idea. To grab attention or to present succinct supporting ideas, a paragraph can be fairly short and consist of two to three sentences. In such cases, you should divide the paragraph into two or more shorter paragraphs, adding a topic statement or some kind of transitional word or phrase at the start of the new paragraph.
Many instructors will expect you to develop a mature college-level style as you progress through the semestera€™s assignments. Copy them into a file, identify your sources, and present them to your instructor with your annotations, or notes. Take notes on, or annotate, your selection with your observations about the effect of combining paragraphs that develop the same topic idea. As she does, you should have in front of you your outline, with its thesis statement and topic sentences, and the notes you wrote earlier in this lesson on your purpose and audience.
Notice how the outline helped her guarantee that all her sentences in the body of the paragraph develop the topic sentence. Label the folders clearly with the course names, and label each assignment folder and word processing document with a title that you will easily recognize.
She had supporting details but no numbered subpoints in her outline, so she had to consult her prewriting notes for specific information to include.
Notice how she expanded roman numeral III from her outline into a first draft of the second body paragraph. I had my own Saturday morning cartoon routine, and when Gummi Bears came on, it was time to build with Lego bricks. The Technic line is still thriving, but Mindstorms go beyond Technic and include that most irresistible variety of geek candy: sensors and programmable controllers. The brick runs an ARM version of Linux and is capable of driving four separate motors and receiving input from four separate sensors.
In total, the set contains 594 Technic-style pieces for actually building things; there's not a studded brick anywhere in the entire box, though, so mixing the EV3 set into your pile of non-Technic Lego bricks will require a bit of ingenuity.
The true depth and complexity of this set—and of the Mindstorms line in general—is the programming.
He comes with pre-written programs to demonstrate some of the more advanced capabilities of the EV3 set: he can roll forward on his treads, detect and move around obstacles, and even shoot little red balls at an infrared target (though his accuracy leaves a bit to be desired). The provided cables terminate in a plastic plug similar to an RJ-12 but with the latch pin relocated left of center. It is an attempt to unleash your creativity without interference from the more conscientious quality-control center of your brain. Then, as related words, phrases, and ideas come to mind, write them, circle them, and connect them to the circles that enclose related ideas. But students who diligently outline their ideas, even roughly, before starting a first draft almost always find the actual writing a much easier task. Become familiar with them, and look for opportunities to use them as you apply the writing process to your assignments.
While Microsoft Word is perhaps the most popular program in the productivity suite, Excel is truly the most versatile and useful program, particularly for enterprise and business customers. There is no other application on the market that can be used for so many business operations and calculations in such a user-friendly format. Many businesses use Excel billing statement templates as a foundation, and then customize the template to reflect the company’s logo, color, and other thematic elements. Each task can be given a timeline, as well as a breakdown of what percentage of the overall project it represents.
Microsoft now provides an online, in-browser version of Excel (as well as the rest of the Office productivity suite), which can be used on any computer (PC or Mac), any tablet, and all of the major smartphone platforms.
Such content is not and shall not be deemed tax, legal, financial, or other advice, and we encourage you to confirm the accuracy of the content.
If possible, include quantifiable information such as the number of events you planned, the number of people you led or the number of dollars you raised.
Yet, with the right wording, Greeks can really use their work within their chapters to help boost their resumes. You may also download a PDF copy of this book (33 MB) or just this chapter (9 MB), suitable for printing or most e-readers, or a .zip file containing this book's HTML files (for use in a web browser offline). When faced with a blank page, however, experienced writers remind themselves that writing, like other everyday activities, is a process.
Although many more prewriting strategies exist, this chapter covers six: using experience and observations, freewriting, asking questions, brainstorming, mapping, and searching the Internet.
A good topic not only covers what an assignment will be about but also fits the assignmenta€™s purposeThe reason(s) why a writer creates a document. The first important step is for you to tell yourself why you are writing (to inform, to explain, or some other purpose) and for whom you are writing.

After writers think about their experiences and observations, they often take notes on paper to better develop their thoughts. For example, a magazine advertising the latest research on the threat of global warming may catch your eye in the supermarket. When you judge the authora€™s argument, you discover more about not only the authora€™s opinion but also your own. As you continue to follow the writing process, you will see how Mariah uses critical reading skills to assess her own prewriting exercises.
She used this freewriting exercise to help her generate more concrete ideas from her own experience. Then you could use freewriting to describe your topic in more detail and figure out what you have to say about it. As you choose your topic, answering these questions can help you revisit the ideas you already have and generate new ways to think about your topic. A prewriting technique like asking questions can help you both find a topic and explore it. As with Mariah when she explored her writing topic for more detail, it is OK if you do not know all the answers. Mariah also realized that although her readers are other communications majors who are interested in the topic, they may want to read a paper about a particular issue in mass media. This technique is also known as clustering because ideas are broken down and clustered, or grouped together. Searching the Internet may help you find answers to your questions and confirm your guesses. Remember that factual information can be verified in other sources, both online and in print. 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.
Here, in Note 7.21 "Exercise 3", choose and complete one of the prewriting strategies to narrow the focus.
If you answer a€?noa€? to any of the questions, think about another topic or adjust the one you have and try the prewriting strategies again. In some courses, the only direct contact you may have with your instructor is through the assignments you write for the course. For example, when telling a story, it may be important to first describe the background for the action.
In other words, choose the order that will most effectively fit your purpose and support your main point. Ask yourself, a€?How many pages will it take for me to explain and explore this main idea in detail?a€? Be reasonable with your estimate. A formal outline is a detailed guide that shows how all your supporting ideas relate to each other. Although in business this style might be acceptable, in college your instructor might have different requirements. If you think that a paragraph might become too long or stringy, add an additional paragraph to your outline, renumbering the main points appropriately. If you are more comfortable starting on paper than on the computer, you can start on paper and then type it before you revise.
Are you writing for experts, for a general audience, for other college students, or for people who know very little about your topic? It may be a good idea to also state exactly what you want to explain to that audience, or to inform them of, or to persuade them about. During revising, you will have the opportunity to make changes to your first draft before you put the finishing touches on it during the editing and proofreading stage. These can be specific facts, examples, anecdotes, or other details that elaborate on the topic sentence. However, the topic sentence does not always have to be the first sentence in your paragraph even if it the first item in your formal outline. However, as you begin to express your ideas in complete sentences, it might strike you that the topic sentence might work better at the end of the paragraph or in the middle.
When the purpose of the assignment is to persuade, for example, the topic sentence should be the first sentence in a paragraph.
A reader may first need a visual in his or her mind before understanding the development of the paragraph. For example, fiction writers customarily use topic ideas, either expressed or implied, to move readers through their texts. Each related main idea is supported and developed with facts, examples, and other details that explain it. A paragraph in a complex essay about some abstract point in philosophy or archaeology can be three-quarters of a page or more in length.
Readers often skim the first paragraphs of a great many articles before settling on the handful of stories they want to read in detail. As you read, ask yourself how closely she stayed on purpose and how well she paid attention to the needs of her audience. If you wanted to build actual machines that moved around on their own power, you bought Technic. It can also be linked to other Mindstorms bricks (including previous-generation Mindstorms NXT controllers) for truly large creations.
The control brick is capable of recognizing the sensors and motors to which it's connected, and even without programming them, you can use the brick's built-in controls to assign the outputs to buttons on the remote so you can drive your creations around manually. Papers written without preparation are not only poorer in quality, but frequently more time-consuming than papers written with attention to the prewriting phase.
If I didn’t take time to prepare the surface, the paint job wouldn’t look good for long. The purpose is to get your ideas out of your head and onto the paper or computer screen where they belong.
Continue as long as you like, filling up the page with an increasingly complex map of your thoughts. Ideas spur ideas and the connections we make keep us from forgetting the idea we started with.
Before this outline would be helpful to the writing process, however, the writer should fill in some detail and perhaps eliminate some of the less significant points.
Part of what makes Excel so easy to use is the vast array of pre-designed templates that are available, both from Microsoft as well as from third-party or open-source developers. Billing statement templates can easily be filled out, and produce all of the information needed on a billing statement simply by filling out information at the top.
The best project management templates can automatically adjust other numbers on the report when a section is completed as well. This means that not only are Excel templates sharable via e-mail, they can now be viewed and edited by multiple users in real-time.
And most importantly, they’re looking for a resume that correlates to the desired position.
Instead, consider listing your GPA for only the classes in your major, because often those grades tend to be higher than your overall average.
Every process, from writing to cooking, bike riding, and learning to use a new cell phone, will get significantly easier with practice.
Using the strategies in this chapter can help you overcome the fear of the blank page and confidently begin the writing process.
Write your purpose and your audience on your own sheet of paper, and keep the paper close by as you read and complete exercises in this chapter.
If this step already seems daunting, remember that even the best writers need to use prewriting strategies to generate ideas. Once you start writing with few limitations, you may find you have more to say than you first realized.
You may also discover aspects of the topic that are unfamiliar to you and that you would like to learn more about.
The key to effective prewriting is to use the techniques that work best for your thinking process. 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. From there, Mariah drew more circles and wrote more specific ideas: high definition and digital recording from cable and Blu-ray from DVDs.
If you have doubts about any information you find, either do not use it or identify it as potentially unreliable. Now, Mariah considers a paper topic on the products that have fed the mass media boom in everyday lives.
But only when you start to organize your ideas will you be able to translate your raw insights into a form that will communicate meaning to your audience. Or you may need to first describe a 3-D movie projector or a television studio to help readers visualize the setting and scene. Later, when you draft paragraphs in the next stage of the writing process, you will add support to create a€?flesha€? and a€?musclea€? for your assignment. The thesis statement is not the topic of the piece of writing but rather what you have to say about that topic and what is important to tell readers. As you continue to develop the arrangement, you can limit your working thesis statement if it is too broad or expand it if it proves too narrow for what you want to say.
It helps you distinguish between ideas that are of equal importance and ones that are of lesser importance. She then arranges her main points and supporting details in outline form using short phrases in parallel grammatical structure.
Teach yourself how to customize the levels of outline numbering in your word-processing program to fit your instructora€™s preferences. You can also use a voice recorder to get yourself started, dictating a paragraph or two to get you thinking.
Although paragraphs may vary in length, keep in mind that short paragraphs may contain insufficient support. Keep asking yourself what your readers, with their background and experience, need to be told in order to understand your ideas. Descriptions like a€?organic romainea€? and a€?free-range chickena€? are intended to appeal to a certain type of customer though perhaps not to the same customer who craves a thick steak. In a persuasive essay, the writera€™s point of view should be clearly expressed at the beginning of each paragraph. Chronological order may also position the topic sentence as the final sentence because the controlling idea of the paragraph may make the most sense at the end of a sequence. When the topic sentence is in the middle, it unites the details that come before it with the ones that come after it. In nonfiction writing, such as popular magazines, topic sentences are often used when the author thinks it is appropriate (based on the audience and the purpose, of course).
By exploring and refining one main idea at a time, writers build a strong case for their thesis. As long as the writer maintains close focus on the topic and does not ramble, a long paragraph is acceptable in college-level writing.
You will read her introduction again in Section 7.4 "Revising and Editing" when she revises it. The roman numeral II identifies the topic sentence for the paragraph, capital letters indicate supporting details, and arabic numerals label subpoints. Then copy sentences from Mariaha€™s paragraph to align each sentence with its corresponding entry in her outline. If she had stopped writing in the middle of writing the paragraph, she could have jotted down some quick notes to herself about what she would write next. The brick can also flash its lights, display images on its screen, and play digital audio files from its speaker (quite loudly, actually!). I hated the process of scraping, sanding and crack-filling; I would have much rather started wielding a brush and slapping paint. To get started, follow our 5 steps, check out our top resume examples and even send us your college resume for a makeover. Make sure to use past tense unless it’s a position that you currently hold and write in the third person.
If you don’t have enough material, you may include one or two significant experiences from high school. Or maybe a novela€™s courtroom drama sparks your curiosity of a particular lawsuit or legal controversy. To see how asking questions can help you choose a topic, take a look at the following chart that Mariah completed to record her questions and answers.
You may also use factual information from books or articles you previously read on your topic. Start with a blank sheet of paper (or a blank computer document) and write your general topic across the top.
Using idea mapping, you might discover interesting connections between topics that you had not thought of before.
The radio topic led Mariah to draw connections between music, downloads versus CDs, and, finally, piracy. You may want to group your support effectively to convince readers that your point of view on an issue is well reasoned and worthy of belief. In this lesson, Mariah does all her work on the computer, but you may use pen and paper or the computer to write a rough draft.
How can you best express your ideas so they are totally clear and your communication is effective? Similarly, mail-order companies research the demographics of the people who buy their merchandise.
In general, try to keep the paragraphs longer than one sentence but shorter than one full page of double-spaced text.
But I knew that short-cutting the prep inevitably results in cracked and peeling paint, which just means more work later. Example labels for this section are: Professional Experience, Work Experience, Related Experience or Employment. Label this section one of the following: Organizations, Community Involvement, Activities or Campus Involvement. If you get stuck, just copy the same word or phrase over and over until you come up with a new thought. She asked herself the questions that reporters and journalists use to gather information for their stories.
Later in the chapter, you will read about additional ways (like searching the Internet) to answer your questions and explore your guesses.
Successful vendors customize product descriptions in catalogs to appeal to their buyersa€™ tastes. For more information on topic sentences, please see Chapter 5 "Writing Paragraphs: Separating Ideas and Shaping Content". Instead, save the draft with a new tag after the titlea€”draft 1, draft 2, and so ona€”so that you will have a complete history of drafts in case your instructor wishes you to submit them.
Or you can use this section to share your hobbies: surfing, yoga, traveling, playing the saxophone etc. The questions are often called the 5WH questionsThe questions that reporters and journalists use to gather information for their stories and that writers use in the writing process: Who? Think of your general topic as a broad category and the list items as things that fit in that category. As a guideline, try to write paragraphs longer than one sentence but shorter than the length of an entire double-spaced page. Try setting an alarm to limit your break, and when the time is up, return to your desk to write.
For example, the product descriptions in a skateboarder catalog will differ from the descriptions in a clothing catalog for mature adults. 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. Choose from any of these labels: Skills, Interests, Publications, Additional Skills and Interests, Passions, Languages.

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