Post Writing Critical Skills (A Short Story) - Day Nineteen to Twenty-One Online




Another story, completely fiction, but based on the creative writing class that I've been teaching online due to the COVID situation. Some details are true but the characters and their thoughts are made up.

The events:
Students were left to re-draft their stories in their own time and in class we moved on to critical academic writing. For the first class (day nineteen), we focused on how to critically assess one's own writing and processes in relation to the proposals they made previously. There was a strong emphasis on researching other elements of writing to connect with those they had looked into for their proposals. The next class (day twenty), we revised research and academic writing skills to make arguments more connected and logical. On day twenty-one, students shared their drafts with each other to help smooth out their papers.

The story:
At first you thought this class would be fun; just doss around, writing whatever came into your mind. As long as it was in good English, you'd surely get a top grade. Then the "inspiration" guidelines came and you suddenly had to write about something specific. Next, the teacher added in a critiquing aspect. But not just of your peers - of your own writing and the purpose of the the story. To top if all off, she wanted it to be academically appropriate.

By the time you realised that last point, it was too late to drop the class. So you continued to sign in each week. Complete each assignment. Then you found your mind wondering to that niggling sentence that you knew wasn't working but couldn't figure out how to fix. And that's when you looked up one of those concepts mentioned in class - alliteration. 

Alliteration, it seemed, wasn't only referring to the first letter of each word, but the sounds. Kind of like a poem, but sort of backwards. And you thought of the tongue twister you learned in elementary school when you were first forced to learn this other language - she sells sea shells on the sea shore. This connection led you to search more examples and practice the awkward sounds. At least it was improving your English, although perhaps not in the way intended by your writing teacher.

But it did help you with that line. And further along, when the same theme came up again and you remembered the concept of repetition; to highlight important moments. You imagined the reader, suddenly caught up in the rhythm of the phrase, their mind automatically taken back to the previous special moment and connecting to that important message that sums up the whole story.

Then you went back to that article that inspired the changes and hunted out another, to reference your ideas about tongue twisters. Before you knew it, you had got your argument - the topic sentence/thesis - that Prof B said was oh so important to the academic critical essay. It almost wrote itself. Except, you were the one who painstakingly spent hours thinking how to explain it all in English, then re-arranging sentences and double checking articles, particles and prepositions. But you did it. And you suppose you're kind of proud of the results.

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