In expository writing, the first task is to identify a central thesis. Often this is expressed as a question or a tension and the job of the subsequent writing is to answer or resolve. Keeping in mind that we are writing to discover or illuminate thought as it relates to your work rather than prove an argument, writing out of a sense that you are answering a question or exploring and resolving a tension or instability nonetheless is a good way to build a coherent text.
“Work on good prose has three steps: a musical stage when it is composed, an architectonic one when it is built, and a textile one when it is woven.” — Walter Benjamin, One Way Street
- Reading discussion: Isabelle Graw, “Talk Til You Drop: The Art Conversation and the Communication Imperative” (Mousse 56, pdf)
- 5 True Things
- Workshop: Reverse Outline:
Exchange drafts with a partner. Read through and write one sentence that summarizes the content and purpose of each paragraph. This will produce a reverse outline which will make the skeleton of your thought more apparent.
Discuss each other’s draft with your partner and be prepared to answer the following in a group discussion:
- Were you able to summarize each paragraph in a sentence or do some paragraphs require several? Do any have too much diverse information?
- Are there gaps? Missing parts?
- Do the ideas flow in some kind of logical sequence from one to the next?
- Does anything seem to be in the wrong place?
- is there anything that should be eliminated (unnecessary or repetitive)?
- Does this outline, in itself, clearly convey what you want your paper to convey?
Assignment for 4/20:
(Jordan and Kayley drafts due to committee April 19)
Bibliography draft (rough is fine, just get your sources down.)
- Library Guide for Art + Design
- Library Guide for Citing Sources
- Chicago Manual of Style: Notes and Bibliography
“It’s Not Personal, It’s Business”