Writing Advice for New Freshman

Students in my English 303 “Advanced Expository Writing” course study rhetoric, style, and writing for the web.  This quarter they

  • Read Performing Prose: The Study and Practice of Style in Composition by Holcomb and Killingsworth and did quite a few of the writing exercises contained in it.  Here is a review of the book by one of my former students.
  • Read Rewriting: How to Do Things with Texts by Joseph Harris.  This book is not about revision.  It is about interacting and using the texts of others.
  • Created a WordPress blog.
  • Kept an online commonplace book of quotations with responses.
  • Wrote five major assignments, each of which was posted to Blackboard for feedback from me, then posted to their blogs, most of which are open to the public.

The five major assignments were as follows:

  1. An introductory piece called “A Brief History of Myself as a Writer”
  2. A review of a product or a service
  3. A rhetorical and stylistic analysis of a prose piece using concepts from Performing Prose.
  4. A research piece on a case of disputed authorship.  These posts were on anonymous publications, pseudonyms, pen names, plagiarism cases, and ghostwriting.
  5. A reflective piece on “Advice for High School Writers and New Freshman.”

After all of this work on rhetoric and style and writing assignments with different genres and purposes, plus their experiences in Freshman Composition and other courses, the students had a lot of interesting advice for upcoming students.  Perhaps the three best were by theprickliestpear, indecisiveturtle, and wordpanini.  Readers may not agree with everything they say, or how they say it, but they certainly have advice to give.

I have more about this course on my guitarsophist blog.

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