In case ya missed it: 5 take aways from Maria Cotera’s talk #rayray

Hey all! For anyone who didn’t capitalize on the 100 point opportunity this Thursday at Literati (shame on you…JK. Kinda.), here are a few of her take aways about writing that I found potentially helpful:

1. Form affects tone. When you are writing for a blog, you adapt your “bloggy” voice. When you are writing academic research, cue the distance passive (i.e. “The following dissertation will argue that X…”). Secret ┬áis: no one likes the latter of those two. It feels distant and, frankly, boring. (HINT: our evolution essays should probably avoid that academicky passive voice.)

2. Boring to write, then boring to read. This plays into point 1 a bit.

3. Don’t “invisiblize” yourself as the writer. (This also plays into point 1 about the passive voice. Why should I care about what your “dissertation” is arguing? I’d rather see YOU and your passion about the topic. Read: it’s OK to use “I”.)

4. Start with a structure you know (i.e. classic essay structure)…it’s a safe jumping off point. Then, once you have the structure a little, nuance it. (Could help when drafting this weekend…).

5. There is strength in taking risky challenges and making them the focus of your work. Ask questions. Provoke. Push a little.

…That’s it! See you in class.


2 thoughts to “In case ya missed it: 5 take aways from Maria Cotera’s talk #rayray”

  1. Amy,

    Nice summation of yesterday’s event! I think the most important lesson from Professor Cotera came in point #3 when you talked about having passion in your writing. That was great to hear from a respected professor–when you are bored with your writing, so too will your reader be bored. That’s one of the difficulties I’ve had throughout college in that we don’t often get a chance to showcase our passions through our writing. The Capstone coursework should therefore be used as an opportunity to capitalize on this freedom and really write things that we’re passionate about. Plus, as you mentioned, Professor Cotera said to take challenges when you write. That sounds eerily similar to what Ray has been talking about with our project!

  2. Amy,

    I was one of the shameful ones who missed Professor Cotera’s talk. So, thank you for posting this summary! A lot of the points she talked about I feel like we’ve been tapping into a little bit in class, but it’s good to have those points reinforced–especially on how to use an effective tone. I feel like I’ll be looking back at this blog post through the semester to remind myself of what I need to be accomplishing both in my evolution essay and my project.

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