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How to Write A Better Composition

Oct 31, 2007
Below are some tips on how you can write better student compositions. Choosing the right topic will get you off on the right foot.

1. Use your own experiences. Is there anything you know better than yourself and the things you've lived through? Is there anyone who can tell you better what interests you than you can yourself? The richest source of material for any topic is what happens to you from day to day. Take a tip from the professionals. They reach into their past for the moments and episodes that brought them pleasure, excitement, even pain - anything, so long as it is interesting to look back upon. Or they go out and gather material by living it.

That's the formula: interest plus experience. Write about things you know first hand, incidents that stimulate some emotion in you when you review them, events that were a change from the routine, or sometimes the routine itself can be made exciting to a reader.

Take advantage of human curiosity. We are all born with the desire to pry into the private lives of other people. Tell others about yourself, what happens at home, in school, on vacations - the little things, the ones the reader will be able to compare with his own experiences.

2. Don't ignore the commonplace. When you were told to concentrate on the little things in using your experiences for composition material, you perhaps took it for granted that the reference was to the unusual incident or sight. Undoubtedly the out-of-the-ordinary provides the greatest interest for the reader and you should certainly try to use such material whenever you can. However, you can often create a very entertaining topic out of the routine daily occurrences that you never give much attention.

3. Vary your approach. Try taking an unexpected point of view toward a commonly accepted belief or tradition. Occasionally, this technique can be very effective. For instance, one is supposed to revere one's relatives, but extraordinary humor can be found when you take a slightly negative view of your subject.

4. Get the facts. Never attempt to write on a topic about which you are poorly informed. Your scanty knowledge will show through like an elbow out of a threadbare sleeve. If you are not permitted to personalize or you don't want to with a particular assignment, make sure you have the necessary facts before you plunge in. Go to the library and do some research, if there is time. Perhaps some book at home will do the trick.

5. Limit the scope. This is one of the most important cautions you must observe. It means simply that the ground you expect to cover with your topic must be no broader than is dictated by the number of words you have been asked to write. If the composition calls for 250-300 words, avoid handling a huge topic.

6. Take a stand. Whenever you must write about a controversial topic, don't sit on the fence. If you do, the result will generally be weak and unconvincing. Make up your mind and swing out hard, one way or the other. If you are for the idea, be 100 percent for it, but be sure to back up your statements with acceptable arguments.

If you are against the idea, go all out to oppose it and fire away with all the factual weapons you have at your command. Never allow yourself to be found with both feet planted firmly in the air. Stay on solid ground, use statistics and references, and say Yes or No in a loud voice.

Before you choose a topic:
Pick the one that allows you to personalize.
If you have no choice, try to personalize the one that has been assigned.
Don't ignore the commonplace.
Be well-informed about factual or controversial topics before you write.
Limit your scope in proportion to the number of words required.
Make up your mind about topics that can be argued, and then argue with all your skill.
Use these tips to write a much better composition.
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