Words of Wisdom

quotes Khrystine likes

"If you tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything."— Mark Twain

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Summaries-Integrating Sources. Exerpt Read in Writing 3011, June 2010.

Knowledge is cumulative, always building on what has come before. Primary sources are ideas that the writer will interpret, secondary sources are ideas that are interpretive that the writer builds on. Citing sources gives the writer credibility by differentiating between his/her original ideas and those s/he is building on and by substantiating his/her claims. One is obliged to cite sources so that the reader can determine credibility of that source. Citations show that a writer has thoroughly researched and thought out his/her subject.
Integrating Sources into a Paper
1.1  Three Basic Principles
Be concise. Clarify when you (the writer) are speaking and when you are referring to someone else’s work. Make it clear how this source or idea relates to the rest of what you are saying.
1.2  Rules For Quoting
Do not quote unnecessarily. Establish continuity between the quotation and your writing. Prepare your readers for a quotation and choose your words carefully while doing so. Follow punctuation rules and quote verbatim.
1.3  Quoting Blocks
For longer quotations, use a quotation block: ten spaces from the left margin, no quotation marks, with explanations before and after the block.
1.4  Using Discursive Notes
Add commentary to your paper to clarify your argument. Explain when things are your own translations or your unique way of citation. Suggest further reading, especially of ideas that have influenced or are similar to yours.
Citing Sources
            2.1 When To Cite
                        Cite when referring to facts, when quoting verbatim, when using some else’s ideas or method, or when mentioning their ideas or method in passing.
            2.2 When Not To Cite
                        You do not need a citation when the source material is obvious (such as when you have just cited it in the previous sentence), when dealing with commonly known facts, when using common phrases or ideas only discussed in conversation.
            2.3 Methods of Citing
                        Some methods of citing include sequential notes such as end or foot notes, in-text citations such as author-page style, or coding such as having a specific number for each of your references.
            2.4 Acknowledging Uncited Sources
                        While not all sources need formal citation, writers should acknowledge help from these other sources in an end or footnote.
Misuse of Sources
            3.1 Plagiarism
                        Plagiarism is appropriating another’s ideas as your own, whether by specifically saying that they are yours or by omitting source information. Plagiarism consists of failing to cite data, ideas, or methodology of another or by stating their words verbatim without quotation.
            3.2 Other Ways of Misusing Sources
                        Writers also misuse sources when they misrepresent evidence to suit their own claims, collaborate when disallowed or represent collaboration as the work of one author, submit the same work for two purposes, or help someone else misuse a source.
            3.3 Special Hazards of Electronic Sources
                        Online sources have special caveats-many are untrustworthy, so check your source out. Also, print it so you can produce it if necessary.
            3.4 Disciplinary Consequences
                        If caught plagiarizing, a writer will likely fail their course, receive academic suspension, and the mistake will remain permanently on their academic record.
            3.5 How to Avoid High Risk Situations
                        Do not procrastinate. Use mainly primary sources. Do not rely on a single source. Be sure to differentiate between your ideas and the ideas of others. Be engaged while taking notes. Do not try to write in a voice that is not your own. Do not read another’s paper or notes before writing yours, or collaborate with another person on your individual projects. Always turn in original (new) work. Backup your files. If you come across an idea similar to yours, acknowledge it and expound on it, or make a note referring to it and how you found it. Do not use this as a “trick” to cover a stolen idea.
Styles of Documentation
            This section gives straightforward “how-tos” on citation for different disciplines and styles.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

They Say/I Say

Chapter 1: Language is meaningless without context. If one wants to make a point, one should give some sort of framework for why they wish to make the point, or what conversations are already in place.
Chapter 2:When summarizing, it is common to over summarize, so that the reader drowns in details; or under summarize; so the reader has no idea of the context. An effective summary provides essential background and relates it to the writers own words.
Chapter 3: Quotes are engaging and give a writer credibility. The writer must provide relevance and context for any quotations used. It is best to avoid redundant language such as "There is a quote by Jefferson...."
Chapter 4: There are three basic ways to respond to an argument: to disagree, to agree, or a mixture of both, i.e. to (dis)agree with reservations.
Chapter 5: It is important to distinguish which ideas are the writer's and which the writer is summarizing or reiterating. A writer can use various voice markers to indicate who is "speaking", such as the first person.
Chapter 6: It can enhance a writer's credibility to address criticism in their writing, as long as the writer can convincingly defend his/her own ideas . If a writer finds the criticism too convincing, perhaps they need to write on a different topic or express his/her agreement with his/her reservations.
Chapter 7: A component of success (meaning others read the piece of writing) is the ability to define the audience and explain why the topic is relevant to them.
Chapter 8: Fluidity is paramount to reader comprehension. The easiest way to achieve fluidity is to make sure the individual sentences connect. Sentences of no to little relevance placed next to each other confuse the reader. After checking the individual sentences, the writer can evaluate the continuity of the work as a whole.
Chapter 9: A writers individual voice can have place in a formal paper. Often it adds interest and readability. A successful strategy for incorporating personal voice in writing is to balance it with more formal diction.
Chapter 10: Metacommentary is commentary on something the writer is writing; it is commentary on the more general commentary of the paper. It can help the writer clarify ideas that the reader may misunderstand. An example would be, "My point is not that we should do away with privatization, but that some institutions benefit from socialization."
Chapter 11: While class discussion is informal, it helps to integrate formal conversational strategies. Briefly summarizing a classmates point, for example, demonstrates that one is involved, understanding others correctly, and gives context to one's own arguments.
Chapter 12: Readers benefit by seeing writing as a response to an ongoing conversation. By noticing such cues as voice markers and pointing words, readers can interpret what the writer wants to say and why s/he is saying it.
Chapter 13: Scientific writing is primarily presenting data and interpreting it. While the data itself cannot be disputed, one can interpret it differently or find new implications thereof.
Chapter 14: Writing in the Social Sciences is usually analysis of behaviors and institutions. These subjects are often interpreted in many ways, and the meaning or significance of certain things are disputed. Common approaches to this writing include disputing interpretations, expounding on them, or explaining why something should be studied further.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Writing Life

1) Dillard's process—at least as she describes it on pages 49-52—involves trying to work herself up into a fury, drinking multiple cups of coffee, putting herself in a vise clamp (metaphorically), and smoking multiple cigarettes. In short, she engages in the physical manipulation of the self in order to attain a “writerly” state of mind, to find the “lions” so to speak. Do you engage in any physical rituals as you prepare to write? How much does your physical position affect your ability to write? Do you have any pre-writing rituals? If so, what do they accomplish? 

The main key to my writing-or anything else-really-is caffeine. I don't drink coffee though, so this means copious amounts of cherry coke. I like to write school papers in the library but I also like a healthy amount of very loud music when I write creatively. I end up writing in tempo to the music, with frequent breaks for air guitar and air drums. I sometimes end up writing in restaurants. I feel I can write okay in pretty much any situation, but some are better than others.

2) In the opening chapter, Dillard describes writing (or perhaps more accurately rewriting), as a process of knocking out bearing walls. When you write or rewrite, how often do you knock down those bearing walls? If we can think of bearing walls as the necessary structures that support, yet also put limitations upon, writing, who creates these foundations/limitations? That is to say, are the bearing walls to which Dillard refers generated by the writer, or by social constructions? 

I occasionally find myself knocking down the bearing walls of my writing. I think writers themselves put these limitations on their writing. It can feel like a betrayal to change/eliminate these original ideas.

3) Dillard uses myriad metaphors to describe the process of writing—Inchworms, bees, construction sites, exploding typewriters, etc. Do you find any of her metaphors particularly salient for—or applicable to—your own perception of writing? Do you have (or can you come up with) any metaphors or images that seem to describe your own writing process? Do you consider metaphors useful in this sense?

I really liked the metaphor of the inchworm. When I am struggling, I really do feel that overwhelmed after every sentence. I also like Ernest Hemingway's statement about sitting at a typewriter and bleeding. Sometimes writing is that raw, intimate, and painful. Sometimes I feel like I can barely get any blood out. I think metaphors are very effective when discussing writing.

4) Part of the reason Dillard uses so many metaphors (I think) is that she seems to take a “mystical” view of writing. Do you share her sense of mysticism when it comes to writing? If you do, it might be a line of narrative worth continuing. If you don't, then how do you view writing in more concrete terms?

I am pretty mystic. I tend to follow the original meaning of the word "inspire", that is, to breathe in the spirit of creativity.

5) It is possible (and I am truly not sure) that Dillard's thick prose, mystical descriptions, and constant use of metaphors are meant more to entertain and intrigue us than to say anything concrete about writing? It may be a mixture of both. Dillard is considered a very talented writer, as this book and other books show. But she seems determined to maintain a certain vagueness when writing about writing. Why?

I think it is mixed, but I also think she wants to create a sacred distance between writers and non-writers. She criticizes writing as a profession as well as young writers, but obviously she feels that she is a "real" writer.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Practice Sentences: Commas, Semicolons, and Colons

  1. The flooding was worst at the point where New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania meet.
  2. Because he loved to read, to write, and to edit, Mr. Diamond was considering a career in library work, marketing, or publishing.
  3. Salinger’s first novel, The Catcher in the Rye, captures the language and thoughts of teenagers.
  4. He has only one ambition: to produce a Broadway musical.
  5. If you blow out all your candles, your wish will come true.
  6. The district managers represent four regions: Terry Smith, Rochester, NY; Chris Adler, Superior, WI; Kim Young, Chimayo, NM; and Pat Golden, Tallahassee, FL.
  7. The weather report predicted high winds, freezing rain, and snow; the highway patrol advised caution when driving, yet the storm blew out to sea.
  8. My boss, who wears bright colors, is a cheerful person.
  9. He hires people who are energetic, efficient, and polite.
  10. When asked what she wanted to be later in life, she replied, “An Olympic swimmer.”
  11. The governor issued this statement: “I have done nothing wrong; the IRS will find that my tax returns are all in order.”
  12. Scientists spotted large numbers of dolphins, nurse and great white sharks, and blue, gray, and humpback whales, near the offshore station.
  13. She loves her car: a red Toyota.
  14. If you drop by the doctor’s office without an appointment, you can be sure of one thing: an icy reception.
  15. His dog, a big Labrador retriever, is afraid of mice.
  16. His recent painting, which is hanging in our local restaurant, shows dogs in various disguises.
  17. His recent painting that is hanging in our local restaurant shows dogs in various disguises.