If you could divide the book/essay into sections, units of meaning, what would those sections be? How are they related to each other? Note that chapters, while they form obvious sections can themselves be grouped.Referring to the text: In writing analytic papers that address any kind of literature, it is necessary to refer to the text (the specific words on the page of the book) in order to support your argument. This means that you must quote and interpret passages that demonstrate or support your argument. Quotation is usually stronger than paraphrase. Remember also that your purpose in writing an essay is not merely to paraphrase or summarize (repeat) what the author has said, but to make an argument about how the make their point, or how they have said what they have said.
Sarah Hepola, who worked as Salon’s personal-essay editor, described the situation to me in an e-mail. “The boom in personal essays—at Salon, at least, but I suspect other places—was in part a response to an online climate where more content was needed at the exact moment budgets were being slashed.” When I worked as an editor at the Hairpin and Jezebel, from 2013 to 2016, I saw up close how friendly editors and ready audiences could implicitly encourage writers to submit these pieces in droves. For the first two years that I edited personal essays, I received at least a hundred first-person pitches and pieces each week.
The previous nine steps are intended to give you a sense of the tasks usually involved in writing a good interpretive paper. What follows are just some additional hints that might help you find an interesting topic and maybe even make the process a little more enjoyable.
I was worried that writing this way might get panned by readers, and might be annoying (all the little hints to remind the reader that everything is happening in relation, timewise, to everytyhing else), but I had my beta reader read the first chapter and they said “It’s like nothing I have ever read before” and meant that as a good thing. My beta reader reads 100 books a year on average so that means something. All that happened in the section they read was that the main character was introduced as they walked to work…that’s it…and they said they couldn’t stop reading, and had to know what happens next. A guy walks to work, and I kept it compelling, interesting, and got the reader to want to know the rest of the story based on that alone. I must have done something right.
Some categories, like race, gender, and social class, are dependable sources of interest. This is not to say that all good papers necessarily deal with one of these issues. My thesis on education in Frankenstein does not. But a lot of readers would probably be less interested in reading a paper that traces the instances of water imagery than in reading a paper that compares male or female stereotypes used in a story or that takes a close look at relationships between characters of different races. Again, don’t feel compelled to write on race, gender, or class. The main idea is that you ask yourself whether the topic you’ve selected connects with a major human concern, and there are a lot of options here (for example, issues that relate to economics, family dynamics, education, religion, law, politics, sexuality, history, and psychology, among others).
Thanks Melissa for the writing prompts. I asked my students to develop their writing skill through these useful prompts.
By the way, I have published my first fiction ‘Faith No More’. I’d be extremely glad if you could manage to read any of it and provide me with feedback.
These are excellent prompts, especially well suited for speculative fiction writers. My favorite is the prompt about seeing something out of the corner of your eye (that happens to me sometimes!). Thanks for adding these.
i dont believe in writiers block.. i think its more like an exuse to hide what we really want to write or say. Like sometimes peoploe wonder if it will be good enough so they put it off or they dont want people who read it to know something.. its all about the way you look at it i guess. Write what you feel. Write whatever you want. I love writing but i find myself wondering will this be good enough? What would someone think if they read it? Maybe thats just me. no self esteem… but, low selfesteem is what keeps creativity hidden…. my advice.. to everyone is to just go for it. if its not good try again you’ll get better(:
I haven’t tried the prompts yet but I have always wanted to be a writer since I was eight years old. However ever since graduating and entering the real world I find my muse being choked to death by the responsibility at home. I’ve had to give up my dream of writing for the past two years. I tried taking it up again and was drawing a huge blank, but just by reading a few of these prompts I’ve felt my muse start to breathe. Thank you!
Your prompts are definitely creative and helpful, but what I’m most impressed with is how you respond so positively and encouragingly to everyone who replied to this. Sometimes all it takes is a little bit of encouragement or approval from even a complete stranger to shift a young writers thought from maybe being able to do something to just doing it. I haven’t written in months, and are still my having any real luck, but I know I will write again someday, and I just thought it should be mentioned that you are a good person for encouraging others to do what they love. Best of luck to you…
i have learnt English as a second language…writing is my passion…this page is REALLY inspiring!thanks for evoking our creative faculties… i want to suggest some topics and the list goes as:
1The beast in me
2Daily journal of a pair of shoes which is in the process of its making
3What the world be if gender roles get changed
4What if i were in the shoes of my English teacher
5How things at the high school are going to be if the concept of beauty gets altered altogether
6It is said that writing is all about pouring your mind on a piece of paper but what it your pen literally starts articulating your thoughts and you end up writing EVERRRRYTHING(What consequences are you going to face)
These writing ideas helped a lot thank you. I really want to go to a creative writing school when I get older. One idea which I just came up with is
Write from the perspective of your fish.( does each fish have there own personality, how does each fish react to the different members of the house, what is it like to be a fish) 😛 I hope you like I write often mostly stories with a more poetic base, but once in a while i will feel in the mood to write some thing different. Oh also try continuing after this sentence. Its eyes gleamed pitch black death, creeping into imaginary, azure skies. now continue it :3
I think fan fiction is a great way for young and new writers to explore the craft. Some copyright holders are extremely strict about allowing fan fiction to be published. Others will actually develop and publish collections of fan fiction. There are also franchises in which fan fiction is encouraged. One of my all-time favorite writers, TV and film writer Damon Lindelof, said in a recent interview that he started out writing fan fiction. Now he’s writing for Ridley Scott and working on the Star Trek films as a fan-fic professional! It’s definitely an avenue worth pursuing if it interests you.