Paper Writing

Paragraph 1: Introduction

Attention Getters

  • Definition: Begins the paper by defining a word. Typically students define words that have known definitions. This limits their attention-getting potential. Why would a reader care to read about a definition that they already know?
  • Rhetorical question: Asks a question to start the paper. If the reader is not entertained with the question that does not need answering, then they will not maintain attention to the paper. These types of questions need to stimulate actual thought, not activate readily available prior knowledge.
  • Quotation: Begins the paper by stating a quotation. If quotations that are over-used are chosen, then the reader will be bored by the quote. The quote needs to be unique, different, and not well-known. These types of attention-getters are weak and are typically taught in the middle school. The limitation on the whole is that student writers choose to use the techniques exactly as they learned them, and that they sound like fifth graders.
  • Data/Facts: Begins the paper by stating data or facts. Data might not be available, and the data might not always be very interesting.  Effective use of this technique involves finding a statistic or data that is surprising.
  • Anecdote: Starts the paper with a short story. Perhaps your life isn’t connected in any way, you don’t have an example. No personal connection. Effective anecdotes rely on elements of surprise, shock, and are very personal. The more personal the anecdote, the greater the attention-getting potential. The more individualized, personal, the attention-getter, the more universal the appeal. The more generalized the attention-getter, the less universal appeal.

An attention getter doesn’t have to be just one sentence.

Theses, as previously stated, are a fact plus an opinion, i.e., “Women have long hair, which attracts males more than short hair.”

Axioms (remember these as you write)

  1. If there is reader confusion, it is the writer’s fault.
  2. You know nothing.
  3. Know your audience.
  4. Sentence variety is required.
  5. Parallel Structure enhances emphasis and reader comprehension.

Two sentence summaries are used to summarize only the plot related to the quote, not the entire story.

If you use a quote, cite it using MLA format. “True story” (Stuck 2009).

Analysis is your attempt to show the connection between the point and the quote and establish a connection to the thesis statement. You are making the reader see how it aids you in proving your point.

Paragraph 2: Support

This should not be a chintzy little paragraph. Stuck expects it to be at least 10 sentences. Don’t forget to add and cite a quote.

All of this information plus examples can be found here.

Your homework tonight is to write an introductory paragraph for a paper connecting All Quiet on the Western Front, Brave New World, and “Perchance to Dream”.

Don’t forget to look up the vocab here.


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