<%response.buffer=true%> <% yere = year(date()) Response.Expires = 0 %> Intro: Writing For The Web
< Types Of Writing >
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Authoring

"There's nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and open a vein." Walter Wellesley "Red" Smith

Writing Genres: Writing may have many different styles and forms. Sometimes the word 'genre' is used to describe a particular type of writing.

It is important that you identify the writing genre in which you wish to write. You should:

  • know your audience
  • how the writing will be read / used
  • the purpose
  • the layout
  • the level of complexity of the content
  • whether the sources of information need to be primary or secondary
  • the structure and the style

Define Your Audience: As we decide on a topic, we should think of some of the most common writing outlets:

  • Essays
    (Reports, subjective, informative, analytical)
  • Journals
    (Personal, Reflective, Critical Thinking)
  • Instructions
    (Manuals, Case Studies, Bulletins, How To's)
  • News
    (Articles, Reviews, Critiques)
  • Fiction/Arts
    (Stories, Plays, Poetry)

Each of these areas have a target audience. If we are clear on the common outlets for our writing, we may help identify our current project, and define it more clearly.

Defining Your Goal: As we decide upon a subject, and the pros and cons, it may be best to think of the audience. Ask yourself:

  • Who am I writing for?
  • Is the subject matter of interest to my target audience?
  • What format is right for my target audience?
  • Am I comfortable writing in that style?
  • Am I authoritative enough on the subject to do a credible job?
  • Would I want to read this?

Contention: To give your work validity, it is frequently useful to have some contention, or contradictory issues to discuss. Something that is simple and clear cut is rarely compelling work. This does not apply to all styles however! This may be more specific to fiction, or artistic work.

In many of those works, character development may ensue. Chief among the characters is the Protagonist, the major opposing character or force that works against the subject.

Analyzing Thought: Simple writing can be a statement of fact. In reports and journals authors recall and report events or collected research.

In Bloom's Taxonomy1, (a division of thought into ordered groups) recalling and reporting are seen as less sophisticated than the alternatives of translating information into new forms, applying it to new contexts, analyzing, synthesizing, or evaluating.

The chart below arranges Bloom's levels of cognitive activity in a grid moving (left to right) from simple to complex, and it lists a number of verbs describing its activities for each mode of thinking.

Bloom's Ranking of Thought
Knowledge Comprehension Application Analysis Synthesis Evaluation
List
Name
Identify
Show
Define
Recognize
Recall
State
Visualize
Summarize
Explain
Interpret
Describe
Compare
Paraphrase
Differentiate
Demonstrate
Classify
Solve
Illustrate
Calculate
Use
Interpret
Relate
Manipulate
Apply
Modify
Analyze
Organize
Deduce
Contrast
Compare
Distinguish
Discuss
Plan
Devise
Design
Hypothesize
Support
Schematize
Write
Report
Justify
Evaluate
Choose
Estimate
Judge
Defend
Criticize

Authors are not restricted to any specific taxonomy. When writing, authors often use several of the categories. If possible, we will try to work across the gamut of these

Writing An Outline: Outlining the key points to your work can vastly improve the writing process. If we know where our work is leading, we can write to support that

Inverted Pyramid: Remember to give the reader a reason to finish reading your work! On the web, the user wants to know whether they should bother to read. In most works, we can give the readers a 'taste' of the conclusion, so they may decide to read, or not!

Citing Sources: When authors support ideas in their own writings with web-based reference materials, they need to cite their sources, or give credit to the original authors of the idea or information.

A scheme web authors may use for citing web sources is the APA (American Psychiatry Association) Format suggested by Harnack and Kleppinger in 'Online!: A Reference guide to using internet sources' (1997):

  • Author's name (if known)
  • Date of publication or last revision (if known), in parenthesis
  • Title of document
  • Title of complete work (if applicable), italicized or underlined
  • URL, in angle brackets
  • Date of access, in parentheses

Other guides to citing electronic source materials can be found on the Web. Here's a list, presented in APA Web-citation format:

Citation Guides. (1996). 'UMUC Information and 
     Library Services'
. <http://www.umuc.edu/library/citationguides.html> (19 Feb. 2004).

Harnack, A. & Kleppinger, E. (1996). 'Beyond the MLA handbook'.
    <http://english.ttu.edu/kairos/1.2/inbox/mla_archive.html> (19 Feb. 2004).

Walker, J. R. and Taylor, T. (1998). 'The Columbia Guide to Online Style'.
     <http://www.columbia.edu/cu/cup/cgos/idx_basic.html> (19 Feb. 2004).

If you are writing a document for print, you may want to use the MLA (Modern Language Association) Format.

Writing Resources: Below are some general purpose writing links to help us determine what, and how to write in a compelling and consistent manner:

 

Bibliography:

1) Bloom, B. S. (Ed.). ( 1956). 'Taxonomy of educational objectives, Vol.1: The cognitive domain'. New York: McKay.

   
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