As promised, here is some reading homework:
So What and the Seven Common Moves (from Moves WritersMake by James C.
The So-What Factor. What does the writer want you to know, understand, feel, or believe
after reading the essay? Does the writer's interpretation ofthe subject earn your
• Beginning. What moves does the writer make to create interest atthe beginning?
• Ending. What moves does the writer make to give the essay a sense of an ending?
• Detail. Look for examples ofthe writer's eye and the writer's ear at work. Look for
examples of showing and telling. Look for generalizations that are not supported by
specific evidence. Would the essay be improved by adding details, stories, examples,
or explanations atthose points?
• Organization/Plot. Are the various parts ofthe essay arranged in a sequence that
makes sense? Does the writer sustain a sense of unfinished business untilthe end?
• Style. Name or describe the writer's best moves.
• Voice/Attitude. How would you characterize the writer's attitude (angry, serious,
detached, playful)? What sort of person do you imagine the writer to be? Is the voice
too formal or notformal enough for the purposes ofthis particular essay?
• Economy. Testfor economy by looking for words, phrases, or details that could be
omitted without being missed.
• Nadell, Judith, et al. The Macmillan Reader. 4th ed. Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 1996.
• Raymond, James C. Moves WritersMake. Upper Saddle River, NJ
Some quotes about bad writing.