Remedios Varo. Creation of The Birds (1957)
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Overview

The following reading and practice material focuses on advanced writing strategies:

  • Content (development)
  • Structure & organization
  • Coherence with topic strings (transitions)
  • Topic sentences
  • Introductions
Most of this material applies both to the paragraph level and to the document level.

Please be aware that at this point I'm just writing the programs. Very little real exercise text/material is in place—just dummy stuff so that I can get the programs to work.

Conceptual Introduction

The following discussion and practice exercises are very different from anything out there for the teaching of writing. Well, maybe that's too strong: the material here takes the scant coverage in mainstream rhetorical-and-composition study materials way further than anything I am aware of. To get an overview of what's going on here, read the conceptual introduction available from the link below.

Readings: Conceptual introduction
Thoughts on Remedios Varo's Creation of the Birds

Content Development

When writing teachers talk about content or development, they are referring to the "stuff" that you put in your documents. Less-developed writers tend to under-develop their writing projects!

Readings: Content development
Activities: Identify content-development types really coded; add more items
Select types of content development coded; needs more items
Select text for a requested content-development type really coded; needs more items
Write the requested type of content development really coded; needs more items
Write your own type of content development coded; needs more items
Identify content-development types for entire paragraphs really coded; needs more items

Paragraphing

It's essential to be able to see the main topics in sentences, paragraphs, and beyond. In this unit, you study groups of sentences to identify where the focus of the discussion changes.

Readings: Topics within paragraphs and between paragraphs
Activities: Identify topic changes within paragraphs not coded
Identify topic changes between paragraphs not coded

Coordination and Subordination

In the previous unit, you saw how to use different kinds of text (for example, description, definition, examples, comparison) to generate good, useful content—not just padding—into your writing. However, understanding and using the concepts of coordination and subordination, presented in this unit, give you a more organized and powerful way of improving a document's content.

Readings: Coordination and subordination within paragraphs
Activities: Identify coordination and subordination coded; needs more items
Select coordinate and subordinate sentences really coded; needs items
Write your own coordinate and subordinate sentences really coded; needs items

Coherence with Topic Strings

When you have developed content, one of the next things you can do is to work on its continuity as express by its topic strings. Topic strings are the way sentences begin and end—their start topics and end topics. You can achieve a surprising amout of continuity in writing simply by manipulating how sequences of sentences begin and end.

Readings: Topic strings & coherence
Activities: Identify topic strings really coded; needs more items
Select topic strings really coded; needs more items
Write the requested revision of topic strings really coded; needs more items
Write your own revision of a topic string really coded; needs more items

Coherence with Transitional Devices

Sometimes, reworking topic strings is not enough to achieve good continuity in a paragraph. Sometimes, neither the continuous pattern nor the shifting pattern does enough. That's when transitional words and phrases (for example, however) come in handy. In this unit, you practice identifying the logic connecting sentences and then use that logic to choose transitions in order to strengthen continuity.

Readings: Transitions and coherence
Activities: Identify logical connections between sentences really coded; need more items
Select logical connections between sentences really coded; needs items
Write your own logical connections between sentences really coded; needs items
Write your own logical connections between paragraphs really coded; needs items
Select summary transitions within paragraphs really coded; needs items
Write your own summary transitions within paragraphs reallyt coded; needs items
Select review-preview transitions between paragraphs really coded; needs items
Write your own review-preview transitions between paragraphs really coded; needs items

Topic Sentences

If you can identify the topic and focus of a paragraph (covered in preceding units), it's easy to identify, revise, or write topic sentences—when they are needed. This unit gives you practice identifying topic sentences, knowing when they needed or not needed, choosing among the various types of topic sentences, and writing your own.

Readings: Topic sentences
Activities: Identify topic sentences really coded; needs items/
Identify topic-sentence types really coded; needs items/
Select topic sentences really coded; needs items/
Write your own topic sentences really coded; needs items





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