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Answered: - 6 Personal Writing Learning Objectives After reading this

?need this assignment to be completely original. I cannot afford to submit any plagiarized material. Thanks for complete understanding in this matter.?

Personal Essay - Draft

For this writing assignment, you have two choices. Please select one of the following options for your essay:

  • Describe a person, place, or object that has special meaning in your life.
  • Describe a particular moment or occurrence in your life that had special meaning to you.

Use the techniques described in sections 6.3 and 6.4 of Essentials of College Writing and expand upon the prewriting done in the discussion forum for the past three weeks to provide specific details about the person, place, object, or event so that readers can visualize the subject and/or feel present in the story. Your description should be specific and appeal to the five senses. Please be sure to read and review the "Example Personal Essay - Draft" document before beginning your draft for more guidance on writing a descriptive essay.

This rough draft needs to be at least 550 words, and it should have a thesis statement that clearly states what you are going to be writing about. View the sample Personal Essay - Draft to guide you as you complete this assignment.

For more information about writing thesis statements, visit the Ashford Writing Center and review Chapter 5 of Essentials of College Writing.

The point of a draft is to allow your instructor to get a good sense of your organizational writing skills, examine your use of the strategies of narration or description, and provide you with feedback you can incorporate into the Final Essay that is due in Week Five.

As you write this draft, please pay attention to the areas that you struggled with in your "Grammar Assessment" quiz and "Practice Essay" assignment.

When submitting your draft, make sure to

  • Proofread your work for errors in grammar, mechanics, and style.
  • Format the essay according to the "APA Template" handout.
  • Perform a word count check to make sure the essay is 550 to 800 words in length.
  • Save the document as a Microsoft Word or compatible .doc or .docx file.
  • Use a naming convention that includes your last name, week number, and the assignment number (e.g., smith_w2_a1.doc).

The interactive video, Writing an Essay: The Fundamentals of College Writing, provides an overview of the essay writing process. It will prove very useful as you work on your Final Essay throughout the course.

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  • 06CH_Connell_Writing.pdf
  • 07CH_Connell_Writing.pdf




Personal Writing


Learning Objectives


After reading this chapter, you


should be able to:



1. Explain the purpose of a personal


writing essay.


2. Recognize the different types of personal essays.


3. Identify the different components of


a personal writing assignment, such


as point of view, structure, tone, and


language usage.



?Deborah Harrison/Photographer?s


Choice/Getty Images



4. Create personal essays that are aware


of the audience, have a strong plot,


have a clear point, use concrete


language, and properly incorporate




5. Generate essays with great descriptions by being specific, appealing to


the senses, selecting the right details,


and utilizing comparisons.



Writing is a form of personal freedom. It frees us from the mass


identity we see in the making all around us. In the end, writers will


write not to be outlaw heroes of some underculture but mainly to save


themselves, to survive as individuals.


?Don DeLillo



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Section 6.1 ? What Is Personal Writing?



As you have learned, there are four primary types of college writing: personal, expository,


persuasive/argument, and research assignments. You are probably familiar with personal


papers because they are frequently assigned in elementary and high school. For instance,


you may have written a paper describing what you did on your summer vacation, or you


may have shared your impressions of a book you read or a movie you saw. In college,


you will occasionally be asked to write a personal reflection or essay on a defined topic.


Although personal papers may not be the most common type of writing assignment you


will encounter in your college classes, you will most likely have some personal or narrative writing assignments in your courses, and many of your academic papers will be combination papers in which you must take a personal position on an issue. Perhaps you have


composed an essay about a significant person or event in your life or a paper reflecting on


your personal goals or what a college education means to you. Papers such as these can


be defined as personal papers. Developing a personal position on a subject can help you


clarify ideas, practice logical skills, and exercise your reasoning abilities.



6.1 ? What Is Personal Writing?






ersonal writing may share a


personal experience or perspective, and it can be an effective


method for offering a viewpoint on


a text or an event. Writing from the


personal perspective may also allow


a writer to write more freely than he


or she otherwise would because it is


less burdened by formal conventions


than other types of writing. Personal


writing includes opinion papers,


reflective papers, response papers,


creative writing assignments, and


combination papers.



Ingram Publishing/Thinkstock



Personal writing allows you the freedom to express your


own ideas, thoughts, and beliefs in a creative manner,


often without having to adhere to the structure or


conventions of other writing styles.



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Section 6.1 ? What Is Personal Writing?






The Purpose of Personal Writing


Personal papers are usually written to accomplish one of the following purposes:















Tell a story;


Share a personal experience;


Give a personal interpretation of an event;


Describe a person, place, object, or event;


Express personal feelings or opinions on a subject; or


Entertain or provoke the audience.



When you write a personal paper, you express your own thoughts, ideas, and opinions


about a subject. Writing in Action: Week 2 Essay: Literary Elements illustrates questions that


could be asked for a personal paper on a film.



Writing in Action: Week 2 Essay: Literary Elements


Consider an interesting movie you have seen recently. Prepare a three-page paper about that movie


based on the following questions:


1. Keeping in mind what you have learned in class thus far about literary elements, what does


this movie mean to you?


2. What is this movie really about?


3. Is there a ?moral to the story,? a theme to be explored, or a comment to think about?


4. What is the point of the movie?


5. Did you find this movie meaningful for you personally? Why or why not?



Recognizing Personal Writing Assignments


Personal papers can sometimes allow you to think through your position on a topic and


even aid you in writing an expository, persuasive, argumentative, or research paper. Many


of the required papers in your college courses will be combination papers that are a blend


of personal papers and one or more of the other types of college writing. Let us look at


some assignments that fall into the category of personal papers or have personal writing


components, as well as some that do not.



When It Is Not Personal


If a prompt is asking you to write an analysis, interpretation, objective account, or a


research paper, it is likely not asking you to write a personal essay or to integrate personal


elements. A prompt will clearly indicate that it is asking you to incorporate elements of


personal writing by asking you to discuss your feelings, experiences, memories, impressions, or perspective. Ask yourself whether the assignment in any way is about you as a


person?if it is, then you should include personal elements, and if it is not, then no personal elements should be used. Table 6.1 provides a list of words in an essay prompt that



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Section 6.1 ? What Is Personal Writing?






would signal that the essay is not personal (but make sure it is not a combination essay


and doesn?t ask you to relate something from your personal life. See the examples given


in the sections ?Opinion Papers? and ?Combination Papers?).



Table 6.1: Key words in an essay prompt that signal nonpersonal writing


Give an objective account .?.?.


Assess the factual circumstances .?.?.


Offer an interpretation .?.?.


Produce a reading.?.?.


Research the historical underpinnings of .?.?.


Evaluate the consequences of the newly passed legislation .?.?.


Argue for the significance of the text?s theme of justice .?.?.



Keep in mind that Table 6.1 is not a complete list; look for terms in the writing prompt that


gesture toward objectivity or reasoned interpretation. If you are unsure whether or not


a prompt allows for any personal elements whatsoever, ask your instructor, but bear in


mind that the prompt will explicitly ask for this if it is what is required of you. The following Writing in Action box, Personal Paper Assignments, provides examples of paper prompts


that specifically ask the writer to compose a personal paper.





Writing in Action: Personal Paper Assignments



You can recognize a personal paper assignment by key words or phrases in the assignment that ask


you for your opinion or your views on a subject. Key words and action verbs are underlined in the


following examples:


? Write about an experience in which you struggled with something and were unsuccessful and


discuss what you learned from the experience.


? Explain what you think about a current scientific or social controversy.


? Reflect on a person who had a strong impact on your life and the ways in which he or she


influenced you.


? Imagine that you have unlimited wealth and write about what you would do with your money


and why.


? What do you think has been the most important social or political movement of the 20th





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Section 6.1 ? What Is Personal Writing?






Opinion Papers


Opinion papers express the writer?s point of view or opinion on a specific topic. They


may be personal papers if you are asked simply to give your opinion on an issue and


explain your point of view. An opinion is a personal viewpoint on a subject that may or


may not be supported with facts or evidence. However, if you are required to state your


opinion and then argue that point of view, your paper will be a combination of personal


and persuasive writing. This would be a hybrid paper that asks you to incorporate both


personal reflection and logical, nonpersonal argumentation. If you are writing this kind


of paper, you should keep the personal and argumentative sections of the paper separate


in order to show how your personal reflections contributed to your argument. This will


also help ensure that you include an argumentative, nonpersonal section to your paper.


For example, an opinion assignment may ask you to write an essay in which you discuss


whether or not you think you should buy products from a company who gives money to


something you do not personally support.



Reflective Papers


Personal papers may also be assigned when your instructors want you to think about


something you have read and to respond to it or discuss its meaning for you; these assignments are often called reflective papers. However, if an assignment asks you to reflect,


discuss, or explain something, be careful. The words reflect, discuss, and explain all have


multiple meanings.


We reflect on something when we think about it and express our personal opinion or share


a personal story. However, the word reflect can also mean to carefully consider something


or to explore options. Instead of voicing your own opinion, a reflective paper assignment


may be asking you to consider an issue, to analyze a situation, or to explore options, based


on what you have learned in the course. This type of assignment requires an expository


paper, which we will discuss in Chapter 8. Similarly, if an assignment asks you to discuss


or explain an issue, you must look further at the assignment to determine whether you


are being asked to write a personal paper that discusses or explains your own opinion


or whether you are being asked to share information you have learned from your text or


from research. A reflective paper, for instance, may ask you to read an article on a current


event and then to reflect on the position stated there.



Response Papers


When you are asked to respond to material you have read by expressing your personal


opinion on a topic or to reflect on what you have read and share its meaning for you, your


instructors are looking for a specific type of response from you. Responses to reading,


like other personal papers, require that you state your opinion on an issue or reflect on


an issue and state your viewpoint about it, and they are written in first person. However,


unlike other personal papers, you do not choose the subject. Before you write a response,


you have most likely read about or discussed a controversial topic. A response paper usually requires you to think about the different points of view expressed in the material you


read or discussed and to take a personal stand on the issue. Because a response paper asks


you to begin by demonstrating that you understand the issue, it is usually best to begin


with the more objective third person. Notice that this is very different from the suggested


format discussed earlier for the combination personal and research paper.



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Section 6.1 ? What Is Personal Writing?






In this type of paper, you generally begin by presenting a brief overview of the issue


and the different viewpoints presented, to demonstrate that you understand both the


issue itself and the controversy surrounding it. This first part of the paper is expository


(see Chapter 8) and should therefore be written in third person. Then, you will switch


to a first-person point of view and share your opinion of the issue and state where you


stand on the issue. This part of the paper requires personal writing. Finally, you must


support your point of view by stating why you believe as you do and how you came to


adopt this perspective. Discuss what factors were most important to you in arriving at


a conclusion about the issue.


As you can see, papers that ask you to respond to reading share all the characteristics


of other personal papers outlined earlier in this chapter, but they also require that you


explore and explain your opinion, which is often a way to introduce you to expository


writing. A response paper could ask you to read two positions on the creation of constitutional amendments?one for and one against?and then to develop a personal response


that indicates your viewpoint.



Creative Writing Assignments


The term creative writing refers to written works or artistic expressions whose purpose


is to create images or to express thoughts or feelings. It can also include information and


an implied or direct position. Creative writing can be considered personal writing and


includes genres, or categories, of writing such as short stories, novels, poetry, screenplays,


and creative nonfiction like biographies and memoirs. You may engage in creative writing as part of your college career if you take a dedicated creative writing course, if one


of your other courses has an assignment that involves creative writing, or if you decide


to pursue creative writing as an extracurricular activity. Journaling, and idea-generating


techniques like mind mapping and free-writing, covered in Chapter 4, are also examples


of personal creative writing.



Combination Papers


A combination paper may require you to combine elements of personal, expository, persuasive or argument, and research papers. For example, you may have an assignment


that asks you to state your opinion on a controversial issue (personal) and then to conduct research and find evidence both in support of and in opposition to your viewpoint


(research). This type of assignment combines elements of personal and research writing


in the same paper. In a combination paper such as this, you will write in first person


when you are stating your personal opinion and then switch to third person when you


report the information you found in your research. This would be an appropriate format


if the assignment asks you to first convey your personal opinion and then to lay out and


develop your reasoning afterward. The first person ?I? is not appropriate when you discuss research because research is not personal but rather an objective interpretation. This


means that while others may have a different interpretation of the same research, it is not


?personal? to state your interpretation?therefore, the first person ?I? is inappropriate. A


combination paper could ask you to do research about the extent to which American citizens should have the freedom of speech before it begins to infringe on the rights of others


and then to formulate a viewpoint on this subject using the first person.



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Section 6.2 ? Personal Writing Conventions



6.2 ? Personal Writing Conventions






efore responding to a personal writing assignment, it is important to understand how


to construct a personal paper. Personal writing generally calls for writing conventions


that differ from those used in other types of writing, such as argument and exposition. For example, the tone, language, and structure used in a personal paper are often more


informal than in other paper types. The following sections will help guide you in choosing


the proper tone, language, point of view, and structure for writing a personal paper.



Tone and Language


Personal papers are generally written in a less formal, or even conversational, tone, and


the use of contractions and other types of informal language is often allowed, if it is appropriate to the story or the topic. Personal papers might also include dialogue, which should


be placed in quotation marks. However, it is important to remember that you are writing


for an academic audience and that the essay prompt may require you to include an introduction and a thesis statement that makes a claim about the personal experience you


describe. The language in personal writing assignments should be appropriate, and the


paper must meet the writing requirements outlined in your course guide or syllabus. If


you are unsure of the type of language that is appropriate for a particular writing assignment, make sure that you ask your instructor.



Point of View






The chosen style of narration can have


a significant effect on the tone and


effectiveness of personal writing. Mark


Twain?s Huckleberry Finn is defined by


the potentially unreliable narration of its


young and uneducated title character.



con80878_06_c06.indd 115



Because you are sharing your personal viewpoint


on a subject, a personal paper is usually written


from a first-person point of view, which means you


are able to use pronouns such as I, me, my, we, and


our. However, personal papers are often narrative


and tell a story. In your paper, you might also tell


a story about another person. In this instance, as


the narrator, you would write from a third-person


point of view and refer to the person by name or


use the pronouns he, she, or they. This creates the


effect of a more distant narrator, one who seems to


be more objective precisely because the paper does


not use the first person ?I? and therefore does not


seem to be speaking from personal opinion. Your


instructor will not likely ask you to write a creative


writing piece such as a short story, but the following fiction excerpt from Mark Twain?s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1895) includes several of


the key elements of a personal paper. Read Writing


in Action: Excerpt From The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn for an example of how Twain employs a



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Section 6.2 ? Personal Writing Conventions






first-person point of view to create a narrative from the perspective of a young boy growing


up in the antebellum South. In the excerpt, Huck is trying to decide if he should do what he


believes to be his duty and mail a letter reporting the whereabouts of Jim, who has escaped


from slavery.



Writing in Action: Excerpt From The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn


I felt good and all washed clean of sin for the first time I had ever felt so in my life, and I knowed I could


pray now. But I didn?t do it straight off, but laid the paper down and set there thinking?thinking how


good it was all this happened so, and how near I come to being lost and going to hell. And went on


thinking. And got to thinking over our trip down the river; and I see Jim before me all the time: in the


day and in the night-time, sometimes moonlight, sometimes storms, and we a-floating along, talking


and singing and laughing. But somehow I couldn?t seem to strike no places to harden me against him,


but only the other kind. I?d see him standing my watch on top of his?n, ?stead of calling me, so I could


go on sleeping; and see him how glad he was when I come back out of the fog; and when I come to


him again in the swamp, up there where the feud was; and such-like times; and would always call me


honey, and pet me and do everything he could think of for me, and how good he always was; and at


last I struck the time I saved him by telling the men we had small-pox aboard, and he was so grateful,


and said I was the best friend old Jim ever had in the world, and the only one he?s got now; and then I


happened to look around and see that paper.


It was a close place. I took it up, and held it in my hand. I was a-trembling, because I?d got to decide,


forever, betwixt two things, and I knowed it. I studied a minute, sort of holding my breath, and then


says to myself:


?All right, then, I?ll go to hell??and tore it up.



Structure and Supporting Ideas


Personal papers are read sequentially from beginning to end, and frequently narrate


events or circumstances in chronological order, as they would occur logically in time.


Personal papers do not usually contain headings to divide one section of the paper from


another (if you were writing a novel or short story, however, it would be appropriate to


divide up your thoughts according to organized chapters or sections). Your intent should


be to capture the reader?s attention at the very beginning of the paper and to carry the


reader along with you, in a clear and organized way, through the end of the paper. All


good personal papers share some common features. They have a suitable topic articulated


over the course of several paragraphs, and they anticipate a reader?s desire for context,


information, and development. Consider what would be interesting to you as a reader


and what kinds of details and information you look for when you read a piece of personal


writing. What allows you as a reader to stay engaged with personal writing?



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Section 6.3 ? Narrative Writing Pattern









6.3 ? Narrative Writing Pattern



arration is storytelling from the perspective of a narrator, and the story may be


true, false, imaginary, or a combination. A narration can be about past, present, or


future events, and it can be short or the length of a novel?it is important to note


that more complex narrative forms of writing frequently combine a variety of time frames.


For the purposes of your own writing, which will usually consist of a short assignment


of approximately two to five pages, it is ideal to narrate from the perspective of one time


frame. The event, or plot, of the narration may come from your own personal experience,


or it may be a hypothetical situation or an event that you imagine. If the assignment states


that you can make up a hypothetical or imaginary situation, then that is assumed and is


fair to do so in your writing. However, if the assignment calls for a narrative based on


something that actually occurred, be sure to select an actual event and stick to the facts of


that event in writing your paper.



The Purpose of Narrative


The purpose of a narrative may be simply to entertain or engage the reader, or the story


might have a more specific purpose such as to share a personally significant event or to


teach a lesson, or moral. When we tell a story using a narration strategy, we attempt to


bring the subject and the events to life for readers so that they can share in the experience


and the emotions of the experience. To accomplish this goal, we must make sure to incorporate certain important elements in the narrative. Most of us remember being told stories as children, and we love a good story that holds our interest. We have also probably


known someone who is a poor storyteller, who rambles on or gives too much detail, who


goes off track, or who ruins the ending. For our narration to have impact, we must tell a


story that grabs and holds the audience?s attention, provides important and appropriate


details, and discusses events in a clear and well-organized sequence.



Consider the Audience


When you write narrative papers, remember to think about the writing situation and consider the purpose and the audience for your paper. You might be interested in the topic, but


is it appropriate for the assignment you have been given and for an academic audience?


Also consider aspects of the rhetorical context such as the backgrounds and the attitudes of


the audience. Anticipate how the audience is likely to react to your narrative. Will they like


or dislike what you write? How do you want them to feel when they have read the story?


Answers to these questions can help you determine what to write and how to write it.



Develop the Thesis


Review Chapter 5 for information on how to construct an effective thesis. Recall that a thesis statement is a claim that the writer must argue and prove over the course of an essay.


All good narrations make a point and have a clear purpose. Do not leave readers wondering, ?So what?? after they have read your paper. Make sure that they understand the significance of your story and the primary idea you want to share with them. In other words,


why is the story important? If the assignment is asking you to articulate your personal


position, then you should write a thesis that will suggest why your position is important.



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Section 6.3 ? Narrative Writing Pattern






In this case, you would also write topic sentences that link up with the thesis statement


and claims that interpret evidence. However, if you are writing fiction or a short narrative,


it usually will not contain a direct thesis statement, and will likely convey significance in


the story through the articulation of a key theme or concept that the story builds toward


and resolves to some extent. If your story has a message such as a lesson or a moral, also


make sure that the message is clear to the reader either through an explicit argument (in


the form of a thesis and well-argued paragraphs) or an implicit argument (through the


careful structuring of a theme or issue).



Develop the Plot


As you learned earlier, plot is the order, or sequence, of events that unfold in your story. It


is crucial that you organize these events so that, by the end of the story, they make sense


to the reader and build up to a crucial moment in the narrative. Your story should have...


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