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Carly's avatar

How can I become better at composition writing?

Asked by Carly (4375 points ) March 20th, 2012

I got an F in almost every English class in high school, and because I wanted to get better at writing, I decided to major in the subject when I got to college. I’m almost done with my B.A. but I’m still not very good at writing essays. I understand the basic structure of a 5 paragraph essay, but after that I’m lost, and I just don’t know why the process still isn’t coming easily to me.

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8 Answers

wundayatta's avatar

Write, write, write. Every waking moment, write. Shoot. Isn’t that what fluther answers are? Essay after essay? The only way to get better at something is to practice it.

Jeruba's avatar

Read. And think.

Read good writing of all kinds. Read essays in a magazine like Harper’s or The Atlantic. Read collected essays by accomplished essayists. Study what makes them good, effective, persuasive, polished.

Think about what you read. Think about what you want to say when you write. Make notes before you start writing. Think your position through. Dig deep. Find subtleties, find analogies, find connections. Find larger themes. Find universal meaning.

It’s not just how you say it. It’s what you say.

marinelife's avatar

Practice, practice, practice.

Read Stephen King’s book On Writing.

Aethelflaed's avatar

Do you know what the problem is, what’s wrong with the essays that makes them bad or at least not good?

Make an appointment to meet with someone in the Writing Center, bring in several essays, and then have them help you.

Ron_C's avatar

My creative writing professor emphasized the the importance of reading. I find that reading authors like Johnathan Swift and George Orwell improve your vocabulary much better than current novels that resort to profanity and cultural inferences to tell stories.

Although I studied electronics engineering, I find that having an improved writing ability put me ahead of my peers. Unfortunately, many young engineers can’t write a coherent memo or would even have a clue about writing an instruction manual.

josie's avatar

If you want to be a great photographer, study great photographs. If you want to be a great writer, read the works of great writers.

Ron_C's avatar

@josie said what I said except more concisely. That is another thing that great writers learn. Economy of Words

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