unc writing center narratives
Once you have a working topic in mind, skim back over the story and make a more comprehensive list of the details that relate to your point. For my paper about education in Frankenstein, I’ll want to take notes on what Victor Frankenstein reads at home, where he goes to school and why, what he studies at school, what others think about those studies, etc. And even though I’m primarily interested in Victor’s education, at this stage in the writing, I’m also interested in moments of education in the novel that don’t directly involve this character. These other examples might provide a context or some useful contrasts that could illuminate my evidence relating to Victor. With this goal in mind, I’ll also take notes on how the monster educates himself, what he reads, and what he learns from those he watches. As you make your notes keep track of page numbers so you can quickly find the passages in your book again and so you can easily document quoted passages when you write without having to fish back through the book.
Plot is the string of events that go into the narrative. Think of this as the “who did what to whom” part of the story. Plots can be significant in themselves since chances are pretty good that some action in the story will relate to your main idea. For my paper on education in Frankenstein, I’m interested in Victor’s going to the University of Ingolstadt to realize his father’s wish that Victor attend school where he could learn about a another culture. Plots can also allow you to make connections between the story you’re interpreting and some other stories, and those connections might be useful in your interpretation. For example, the plot of Frankenstein, which involves a man who desires to bring life to the dead and creates a monster in the process, bears some similarity to the ancient Greek story of Icarus who flew too close to the sun on his wax wings. Both tell the story of a character who reaches too ambitiously after knowledge and suffers dire consequences.
Ending with a sense of closure, linking the first paragraph back to your conclusion, will answer all lingering questions that may have surrounded your paper (Harvard). In order to bring this closure, you can evoke a vivid image that allows the reader to clearly envision your point (Richmond). Also, to make sure your conclusion is serving its purpose, remind the reader of your thesis statement and answer the question, “So what?” (Webster). Finally, you should aim to synthesize, not summarize: Include a brief summary of the paper’s main points, but don’t simply repeat things that were in your paper. Here, you should show your reader how the points you made are supported and how the examples you used fit together (UNC-Chapel Hill). These are just a couple of strategies that have worked well for writers when forming conclusions, and the WRC always keeps these tools in mind.
There’s no way around it: writing a strong conclusion is tricky. For one, there are many different elements the concluding paragraph must have if the reader is to leave satisfied. A writer needs to ensure their main points are addressed in a concise way, not merely rehashed. Also, if a writer is working on a paper where a claim has to be made and defended, emphasizing the thesis again is crucial so the writer can leave a lasting impression on their audience — but this needs to happen without sounding redundant. You don’t want to end with a fizzle, but with a bang — and this has proven to be harder for some than most.
Mendeley is the free alternative to EndNote, the expensive (though handy) reference manager by Microsoft. Just download their software to get started. Since it’s software-based, you don’t need internet access to use it, though access is required to use some features.
Coherence: Topic Sentences and Support
Writing About Film – Simon Fraser University (Simon Fraser University Library)
“This guide has been designed as a starting point for research into writing about films.”
AMS Author Handbook (American Mathematical Society)
This is the most widely recognized handbook for writing in mathematics.
North Dakota State University
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Page manager: Center for Writers
Each “genre” (type of document) involves specific features that set it apart from other genres. Therefore, writers must understand the format and writing style expected of them. These resources provide basic information for students to understand an instructor’s writing assignment and the features of some types of documents students may be asked to write.