Posted on April 3, 2019
When we write, often times we are writing for ourselves and tend to neglect or forget the fact that readers other than us are looking over and critiquing your essay. To us, everything seems right because we are more lenient on ourselves. Also, us being both the writer and the reader doesn’t really help because in respect to an essay, we are omnipotent. We know and anticipate everything following the previous sentence because we wrote it. Because of that, it is hard to step into other reader’s shoes and understand the concerns they have towards our paper.
The “Am I in the Right Movie” annoyance helped me because I just realized I subconsciously do it. When I find a quote from a source, I write it in my paper word for word, and usually, I don’t change the quote to agree with the grammar in the previous sentence. This is because I don’t read my paper out loud a lot because I think it is a little time consuming, and I focus on more emphatic grammatical issues. However, I have a friend who is a grammar freak and proofreads my essays so I think I will rarely have these issues.
I don’t do this anymore, but it is still worth mentioning because my high school English teacher senior year had a pet peeve about this: putting a quotation without introducing it. I understood that she meant well, but she penalized me quite hard for such a mistake. There was a word limit for her essays, so I tried my best to be concise and cut down where ever possible. One time, I cut parts of introducing a quote to allow for more analysis, and she told me it was like getting slapped without knowing why. Thanks to her harsh criteria, I don’t pull quotes from thin air now.
The most encouraging tip for me is probably the one about dating Spider-Man; no other analogy could represent this better. I don’t do this exact annoyance while writing, but it’s a close variation. Sometimes, in the conclusion, I insert a quote and don’t explain it too much, which is similar to this, because the effects are basically the same. The conclusion acts as a wrap to your whole argument, and presenting new information feels unsettling or makes the reader linger for more now. In a music analogy, it’s like wanting to hear a certain note to close a melody, but another note is played. In music, it can be a good thing, but in writing it isn’t.
Ultimately, the tips were really solid and helps improve writing a lot, especially in research papers. I liked the nonchalant tone that the author used and how he tried to relate every tip to a funny analogy to liven the vibe and make it less one-dimensional.