lunes, 10 de octubre de 2011

Writing workshop 1: A neat presentation

One of the objectives of this blog for the 2011-12 school year is helping students to develop their writing skills, as one of the papers in the exam is writing.

Every Monday, we will be publising a blog entry with composition writing techniques to help students, especially those in the intermediate level, in the writing process.

The first post in this series, Presentation, was already published in September last year.


When writing a composition, or any other piece of writing for that matter, we must get used to drafting (writing on rough paper) it several times until we are happy with the end result. Nobody, even well-established writers, manages to come up with a decent piece of writing at the first go. We are not exception to it, and we must bear in mind the fact that we are writing in a foreign language and we are putting together an academic assignment, something we hardly ever do in our lives. So drafting, drafting, drafting is a key rule to composition writing.

When we are happy with our final draft, our composition will be ready to be published (handed in to the teacher, most of the times). Consequently, our document will have to keep to normal presentation requirements:

1 Standard-size A-4 blank paper (not ruled, or squared).
2 Double-spaced writing if we use the computer or with enough separation between the lines if hand-written.
3 Easy to read: Legible hand-writing, no crossing out, no changes, no insertions.
4 A margin (two centrimetres wide on the right, on the left, at the top, at the bottom)
5 A title: This is a must in all types of writing, especially if we are writing a story, a newspaper article, a blog entry.
6 The date when you hand in your composition.
7 Proof-reading: We must have checked our composition for accuracy before publication. That doesn't mean that there will not be mistakes in it (that is in fact why we are writing compositions -to learn, to improve, to have our mistakes corrected), but that there will be no mistakes that the students themselves could have corrected.

Treat your work with respect. Make it look good before you send it to the world. Treat your reader with respect.

The ideas presented here are a summary of chapter 1 of Feedback, Cambridge University Press, a writing course for intermediate students.

Next week: Having something to say.