For the most part, logical sequence of actions supplies the narrative sequence: "I took off. . . I heard guns . . . I worked along under the trees." By virtue of the linear arrangement of these sentences on the page, the reader assumes the actions take place in sequence. However, here and there, transitions are needed to emphasize important time relationships, as in the phrase "by and by." Below are some of the common transitional expressions used in narrative writing:
This resource will help you to become an effective writer and reader/manager of email. This presentation was designed in response to the growing popularity of email and the subsequent need for information on how to craft appropriate email messages.
Cultural Context: How does the poem you are looking at relate to the historical context in which it was written? For example, what's the cultural significance of Walt Whitman's famous elegy for Lincoln "When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloomed" in light of post-Civil War cultural trends in the U.S.A? How does John Donne's devotional poetry relate to the contentious religious climate in seventeenth-century England? These questions may take you out of the literature section of your library altogether and involve finding out about philosophy, history, religion, economics, music, or the visual arts.
It is important to note that while being objective may be a writer's goal, getting past biases can be difficult. What a writer notices and chooses to describe as well as what a writer leaves out of a description is influenced by many factors: the purpose for writing, how the writer feels about the subject, the writer's age, ethnic and cultural background, cultural contexts for writing, and gender, too. Therefore, part of writing good objective description, is being aware of one's own biases.
Figures of speech: Are there literary devices being used that affect how you read the poem? Here are some examples of commonly discussed figures of speech:
A process analysis is a discussion of the steps one must take to achieve a particular end. Some process analysis writing is intended for an audience that needs to learn how to perform a process themselves, for example, fixing a bent bicycle wheel, quitting smoking, finding a good job. Other process analysis writing is informative rather than instructional; examples of this type include how to resolve the healthcare crisis, and how to rebuild New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Some process analyses work on both levels, for example, a discussion about how to respond to global warming will probably be both instructional and informative: individuals can take many steps to control global warming, but other steps must be taken by corporations and governments as well; the reader reads such texts for understanding as well as instruction.
A few years ago, researchers in Brazil studied the brains of expert radiologists in order to understand how they reached their diagnoses. Were these seasoned diagnosticians applying a mental “rule book” to the images, or did they apply “pattern recognition or non-analytical reasoning”?
Audience awareness is extremely important in process analysis writing. The writer must have a clear sense of the audience in order to know what to include, what to leave out, how technical to be, and how formal or informal to be. Asking questions before beginning writing is key: What does my audience already know about this topic? Which key terms and concepts might they already be familiar with? Which terms will I need to define? Consider the difference in these two descriptions of how to build a web page:
The controlling idea in a narrative paragraph presents some difficulty for developing writers in that they think of a story as a series of events without natural breaks. However, a controlling idea is important, even in a narrative paragraph, because it gives the reader information about what to do with the details that follow. In a narrative paragraph it is useful to think of paragraphs as scenes, and the controlling idea as a kind of wide angle shot on the scene. Further shots take the reader into the scene emphasizing details and actions that will take place in that scene. For example, in the previous paragraph from Huckleberry Finn, the controlling idea for the scene is "I took up the river road as hard as I could put." What follows is what happened when he took off and went up the river road—he hides in a tree from the men with guns. A new paragraph will begin when the scene changes, or when our attention is directed toward a new event—which in the case of Huckleberry Finn is the arrival of the men with guns.
A narrative is a story. As a method of development, storytelling can be very effective for the simple reason that people love to hear stories, and will tune in to a story when their eyes glaze over at other styles of writing. Even when your purpose is to write an essay that is primarily to inform, analyze or argue, a narrative paragraph can be effective at drawing the reader in and establishing your voice in the essay. For instance, at the beginning of an essay on the problems caused by excessive instant messaging by young teens, a writer might tell a brief story about the limited options she had for socializing outside of school in the 1970's to illustrate how substantially socializing patterns have changed.
When writing your own process analysis paragraph, take the time to decide who you think your audience is going to be, and write for that audience.
Answer the question according to general rules of academic writing. Use indentations; begin each paragraph with a topic sentence; support the topic sentence(s) with reasons and/or examples; use transition words to show logical organization; write a conclusion. Use correct punctuation throughout.