Quick Write

How is the class going so far? What do you like? What can be improved? What is going bad?

Chapter 6, Developing an Argument of Your Own

Chapter 6 focuses on the different stages of the writing process, from brainstorming to revising. The chapter helps you to get and develop ideas in four main ways:

  1. Ask yourself questions
  2. To write and rewrite
  3. Think of the audience as collaborator
  4. To submit drafts to peers for review

Planning, Drafting, and Revising an Argument

The chapter begins by showing that writing is rewriting. When we write, we are constantly improving it and developing ideas. We need to rewrite, or draft multiple drafts, before what we say can seem well thought out and effortlessly written. It takes lots of work to write and argue well.

Getting Ideas: Argument as an Instrument of Inquiry

The first step in writing arguments and really anything is to first come up with ideas, or what is traditionally called invention. Come up with creative or new ways of saying what it is you want to say. Hopefully, so that it fits the audience and purpose you are writing for.

Writing is a way of thinking. It is important to write notes and drafts in order to find interesting points and claims to further develop into an argument.

Brainstorming Strategies

  • Freewriting
  • Listing
  • Diagramming
    • Clustering
    • Branching
    • Comparing in Columns

Asking Good Questions

  1. What is X?
  2. What is the value of X?
  3. What are the causes (or the consequences) of X?
  4. What should (or ought or must) we do about X?
  5. What is the evidence for my claims about X?

The Thesis or Main Point

  • Topic: sin
  • Thesis: sin is bad

Imagining an Audience

  • Who are my readers?
  • What do they believe?
  • What common ground do we share?
  • What do I want my readers to believe?
  • What do they need to know?
  • Why should they care?

The Audience as Collaborator

What does and doesn’t the audience need to be told?

The Title

The book suggest you announce your thesis in the title. The title should give your audience an idea about what the essay is about.

The Opening Paragraphs

Do not worry so much about your opening. Get the points down and keep going. Come back after you have a draft to work on engaging the audience in the beginning. We did this in the proposal.

Organizing and Revising the Body of the Essay

  1. Statement of the problem or issue
  2. Statement of the structure of the essay (its organization)
  3. Statement of alternative (but less adequate) solutions
  4. Arguments in support of the proposed solution
  5. Arguments answering possible objections
  6. A summary, resolution, or conclusion

Checking paragraphs. Watch out for short paragraphs that may not be well supported.

Checking Transitions. Make sure the reader can follow the paragraph from the beginning to the end and from paragraph to paragraph. Transitions help to:

  • Unify
  • Organize
  • Clarify

The Ending

Concluding, summarizing, and reaffirming your position. You don’t have to say, “In conclusion, I have argued, or I refuted.” Did you end the essay?

Two Uses of an Outline

  1. As as preliminary guide
  2. A way of checking a draft

An outline is meant as a guide not a straitjacket.

Tone and the Writer’s Persona

Consider your ethical appeals or ethos when writing. It is an important part of using rhetoric effectively.

Be courteous and respectful. It doesn’t serve your cause to insult your audience. Remember “Libtards?

We, One, or I?

Think about how you are using I, we, and one. Use it purposely not as a default.

Avoiding Sexist Language

Courtesy is common sense. Think about your use of gender-specific nouns or pronouns.

He or She, s/he, he/she, or other. Use the plural (they) or recast the sentence to avoid gender.

Peer Review

Peer review benefits both the author and readers