Open and Closed Form Writing

Open Form Writing

1.  Story narrative vs. an and then chronology

-Storytelling depicts events through time.

-Storytelling should be connected.  “Novelist E.M. Forester offered the simplest definition of a story when he rejected “The king dies and then the queen died,” but     accepted “The king died and then the queen died…of grief.”  The words “of grief” connect the two events to each other in a causal relationship” (Allyn and Bacon 626) – A causal relationship between events.

-Storytelling should create tension or conflict

-Storytelling should resolve, recognize, or reflect on the events of the story.  How is the narrative significant?  Does the narrative have a point or a moral  –  what is it (can be stated or implied)?

2. Use Concrete words that evoke images and sensations  — Show don’t tell

3. Use revelatory and memory-soaked words

           -Revelatory words: “specific details that reveal the social status, lifestyle, beliefs, and values of a people” (Allyn and Bacon 630).

-Memory-soaked words: words that “trigger a whole complex of ideas, emotions, and  sensations in readers who share memories from a particular era” (Allyn and Bacon 630).

4. Follow a less straight-forward path

– Offer the reader fewer directions and clues.

– Surprise the reader with delays and late reveals.

– Jump around and choose “odd Juxtapositions”.

-Violate convention by leaving gaps in the text to force the reader to interpret and puzzle over events.

5. Use Figurative Language

6. Expand your use of style.
(Ramage 619-646)

In-Class Activity Ideas for Open Style Writing

1. Have students read Allyn and Bacon chapter 19 before class.

-Have students split into groups of three or four and discuss the stories: Berkeley Blues and The Stolen Watch.

-Have students Answer the questions on page 624 and 628.

-One student in the group should take notes during the discussion and the group should be prepared to share their ideas with the class.

           -Have each group share their answer to ONE of the questions with the entire class.

Closed Form Writing

1. Convert loose structures into Thesis/Support Structures
2. Plan and visualize your structure
-scratch outlines
-“nutshell” argument
-tree diagram
-flow chart
3. Create an effective title
4. Introduction
-use the principle “old to new”
-problem – thesis
-attention grabber
-explanation of question
-background information
-a preview/blueprint of the paper
5. Topic sentences for paragraphs
-place at the beginning of each paragraph
-make sure paragraphs are unified
-support points
6. Transition and signposts
-common transition words:

7. Old before new information used to for cohesion
8. Conclusion strategies:


(Ramage 577-617)

Works Cited

Ramage, John D., John C. Bean, and June Johnson. The Allyn and Bacon Guide to Writing. New York: Longman, 2010.

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