Given that most of class today was devoted to workshopping our Writer’s Evolution drafts in our preassigned groups, I figured it would be fruitful to share some common issues to address that my group and I discovered. Tracing back to class last week, we discussed at length the importance of keeping readers engaged in what naturally may turn out to be a very unappealing topic. We may find joy in reminiscing on the progression of our writing over the last three to four years, but unfortunately, any audience will likely need more than some sentimental reflections to remain engaged. I realize that a lot of this may vary based on the specific direction and goals of your essay, but below are a few suggestions that my group collectively came up with.
1. Give your readers a chance to breath by breaking up your text. Quotes, writing excerpts, imagery, headers, etc. Bottom line, reading through seven (plus) straight pages of this sort of subject matter will be challenging. Give you readers a break. Allow them to feel like they just need to reach the next check point rather than having nothing in site but a very distant finish line.
2. Instead of lecturing to your audience, try to have a conversation. I think the underlying tone of this paper is very important to keep readers engaged. Imagine that they have showed up to your office hours in order to hear what you have to say. No need to overdo it with formality and fancy words. Just say what’s on your mind. A little voice and personality will never hurt anyone. Maybe not never but you get the idea.
3. The opening will set the tone. Try to be creative in how you begin your essay and clearly articulate what direction your piece will be headed in. This is your chance to establish your credibility and make the reader optimistic that they truly won’t dread (perhaps even enjoy) reading what you have to say. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box and try something different.
I hope at least one person finds at least one of these bullets at least slightly helpful. At the very least, I tried. Good luck to everyone!