A writing assignment is like a symphony. The writer is like a conductor whose instruments are words; the reader (or grader), like a member of the audience.
Writing, unquestionably, contains both visual and auditory elements. It is heard as much as it is seen. Words that fit together to create a mellifluous medley replete with harmonies, changes in tempo, and mood can inspire a reader—just as a powerful piece of music can inspire a listener.
Here is an example of writing with a musical style:*
One minute it was Ohio winter, with doors closed, windows locked, the panes blind with frost, icicles fringing every roof, children skiing on slopes, housewives lumbering like great black bears in their furs along the icy streets.
And then a long wave of warmth crossed the small town. A flooding sea of hot air; it seemed as if someone had left a bakery door open. The heat pulsed among the cottages and bushes and children. The icicles dropped, shattering, to melt. The doors flew open. The windows flew up. The children worked off their wool clothes. The housewives shed their bear disguises. The snow dissolved and showed last summer's ancient green lawns.
Though this kind of style may not, initially, come easily to you, once you begin to think of writing as being melodious, you are halfway there. From there on out, it’s just a matter of letting your writing flow gracefully and poetically—which you can do in tandem with addressing your topic methodically. (Moreover, since so few students tend to employ creativity in their assignments, your pulsating piece of prose is sure to shine more brilliantly than most of the pieces to which it will be compared).
Here are five tips for creating outstanding essays:Vary your sentence structure. Follow long descriptive sentences with short accentuating or punctuation sentences. Example:
Long: In the aftermath of World War II, many of the Allied partners clung to new allegiances that had formed with a tenuous grip that was often strained by profound philosophical differences.
Short: Not unexpectedly, some of these relationships were short lived.Use interesting and highly descriptive verbs. Example:
Normal: Some governments can easily be controlled by the occasional public compliment, just like one boy can become friends with another just because the other boy says something nice about him.
Improved: Some governments can be placated through the occasional dispensation of well-placed public praise, just as one can garner favor in the playground by lauding one boy to another.
- Do NOT use your computer's built-in thesaurus to randomly replace words. Find someone you trust to help police your word use. Example:
Poor: He was well known to masticate his food vociferously and insolently.
Better: Those who knew him forgave his tendency to chew his food in a way that could only be described as a feral feeding frenzy.
- Choose a bold title that sets the tone for your essay. Example:
Boring Title: The History of the Automobile Industry in America
Bold Title: Stirring the Melting Pot: The Automobile Industry's Impact on American Society
- Use alliteration and assonance - but judiciously! The terms “alliteration and assonance” refer to the repetition of consonant and vowel sounds, respectively. When applied well, they create a musical flow. When used poorly, they can sound tacky and trite. Example:
Poor: With climate change bringing warmer weather, the cacophonous climate can be attributed to paltry pollution and poor human practices.
Better: The cauldron-like climate of "Future Earth" will be directly attributable to our inexcusable addiction to fossil fuels.
In summary, the pursuit of spectacular writing is one that begins with the realization that creativity is not a four-letter word, even when its powers are applied to ostensibly “non-creative” assignments. With practice, each student can learn to master the essay—just as musicians learn to master the scales of a guitar, or the rousing harmonies of a cappella. Words are like musical notes. Their most riveting manifestations begin with a dedication to the art form, and strengthen with hours of patient practice.
In the timeless words of American author Anais Nin:
"If you do not breathe through writing, if you do not cry out in writing, or sing in writing, then don't write, because our culture has no use for it."
*Excerpt taken from The Martian Chronicles, written by Ray Bradbury
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