SEARCH – essay FAQ

What does KILL IT mean?

Kill it means to stop using it (you, things, etc.) in your writing.

How do you like my name for you? “Brickidy Brock”

Indeed. Makes me want to dance.

Is there any possibility I could see an example of how someone established an audience and wrote directly to them?

Yes! Columnists are amazing at this. Here are a few examples:

Thomas Friedman

Jen Koski

David Foster Wallace

Joan Didion

Could you please post a key for the shorthand comments you make? It would be much appreciated.

Lead – need one that is hooked to the so what of your thesis

Conc – get a solid conclusion that resolves instead of repeating (or that exists where one does not)

WC – word choice

? – you lost me. What do you mean?

Awk – awkward, rework the sentence, phrase, etc.

You request that we kill the word “things,” but does that also include words such as nothing, something, everything, etc.?

Use sparingly. If there is a better word that is cleared and gets to your point quicker, use it.

How do I narrow down who I want my “audience” to be?

Great question!

If I am writing about what I stand for, and it is owning who you are, good and bad, I’d think about a person or group of persons who need to hear this message. I’d visualize That person or persons and write “to” them.

Are you going to teach us how to write good papers?

Writing is an art. “good” writing is confident and authentic. “Good” writers understand the form for essays and then fill it or break it according to what they need to get their point across. Will I “teach” you how to do this? Well, I’ll show you examples of how people have done this, and give you ample opportunities to practice and find your own craft and art.

When are we doing the college essays?

This coming week! October 6-10

Where do you go when you don’t know what to continue to write?

Good question. It depends (not a great answer). Often we run out of ideas when we aren’t engaged with the topic or when we are trying to fill the form instead of having something to say and choosing the right form for it. For example, If I choose a basic cornerstone like honesty and only talk in generalities about appreciating people who are honest and how I like to be honest because it makes me feel good, then I’ve said what I can. However, if I dig into why I believe in honesty and give specific examples about why honesty is important because lying and cheating gave short, easy answers, but not a foundation for relationships, then I have more to say.

Where is the line between free writing and bad writing?

Free writing is typically for you. Journaling, initial jottings, rough drafting, etc. The line is when you turn that in as final, publishable writing, when that wasn’t the intention of the writing.

Do I use “I”???

Yes, when it is appropriate and necessary to do so.

How can I reword my sentences that overuse “I” so that they still apply to me without confusing the audience?

It is about combining concepts.


“I love going to the beach. I love the sounds of the waves and seagulls. I love watching the people stroll barefoot and hand-in-hand and I like creating stories about them.”


“The beach symbolizes freedom and creativity. The sounds of the waves and seagulls are peaceful and allow me to daydream about the people who stroll barefoot and hand-in-hand leaving their conversations in footprints on the sand.”

Where is vulnerability found? Is it from the topic matter? Is it from the treatment of certain values, ideas when writing, how do we show vulnerability without overly exposing weakness?

Great question. There is a difference in these three sentences:

Honesty is the only way to live. People don’t like to be lied to. It creates a dishonest relationship.

Relationships break under the weight of lies and deception. Unfortunately, this is a lesson learned through the practice of lying and cheating. When I continually lied to my parents, our relationship was strained and close to breaking before the value of honesty sunk in.

Lying to my parents created a distance that has shadowed me through my entire life. They look at me in a way that reminds me daily that I am nothing more than a liar and a fool.

The first is vague, anyone can say it. The second offers something specific to the writer, but doesn’t over share to the point of awkwardness. The third might be good for a short story, but for an essay about a cornerstone, it is a little too revealing. Vulnerability is more about authenticity and truth within the parameters of the purpose of the publication.

I don’t see how the above rubric applies to a story, could you explain how this rubric would work for one?

Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
4 In addition to score 3.0 performance, the student demonstrates in-depth inferences and applications that go beyond what was taught.
3.5 in addition to score 3.0 performance, partial success at score 4.0 content
3 Students will produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
2.5 No major errors or omissions regarding score 2.0 content and partial success at score 3.0 content
2 Students will produce writing in which the development, organization, and style may be appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
1.5 Partial success at score 2.0 content and major errors or omissions regarding score 3.0 content
1 With help, partial success at score 2.0 content and score 3.0 content
0 Even with help, no success

If the task is the write a story, and your purpose is to have an overall theme that comes through the story, and your audience is of 18 year old seniors, then the story needs to have an overall theme appropriate for the audience. The skill rubrics are about discernment. Can you, as writer, consistently produce meaningful writing and discern what form to use depending on the task at hand?



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