Dissertation 5

This blog post is sponsored by Grammarly: 

I used Grammarly to grammar check this post, because I have an issue with my dyslexia and any software that can help, I will use.

Okay so the dissertation is half way through… Amazing that it is that far! When I realised I couldn’t believe it but there on the little word count it said 7500 words! Wow…

So I give a little leap of happiness and then I get a feeling of dread. I have to start thinking about the critical essay… I’ve written small ones for the modules but this is big and is the majority of my mark. It’s almost as if I have writer’s anxiety about it. My nightmares are all critical essay linked at the moment.

So I’ve done some research and worked out what ought to be in a creative writing critical essay and I thought I’d share it, just in case anyone else is anxiety ridden over their essay.

Critical Essay Rules

Before you start – research everything about your genre or type of writing. For me this meant everything about children’s writing, in particular ages 7-9, and reading a large number of books for this age range.

Decide how you will word your argument. After all, it is how you are showing you know what you are doing. I’ve saved copies of my edits, so I can show how I have changed the story for the better. I feel like I am arguing that I know what I am doing, and using references to prove it.

Key Points

  • The argument must be based on the story.
    This may seem obvious but remember to quote the story within the essay. Particularly if it is a very long piece of work.
  • Question what you have done and then explain it.
    I have changed from past tense to present to give the book a more immediate effect on the reader. Now I have to prove this effect. I plan on using a paragraph from Harry Potter to do this. And to back it up with further research from what writers, agents and publishers have said about writing for children.
  • Never use a rhetorical question – they just show a weakness in your ability to create the argument.
    I am so bad at these. Literally the first draft will be riddled with them, and then I’ll have to edit them out.
  • Appeal to the examiners emotions, show them evidence and facts that support your argument.
    I have a whole notebook of research and I’m still not done.
  • Don’t forget to be open to alternative views or options.
    At one point my character passes into the world of the fey. I have him walking through a barrier of sorts, but he could have gone with a puff of smoke, or through a dream. Why did I pick this way? (See that is a rhetorical question sneaking in…)

The style

One of the easiest styles has to be – this is what I wrote, this is why and here are the quotes to prove it. It is also the style I will use. I’ll examine the story and then explore the reasons behind it.

So I’ll look at the structure, language, metaphors, pace and content, and use references to back up what I’m saying about them.

What I am hoping for is that I create an essay that shows them I know what I am saying and that I understand the genre. So I have a list of Dos and Don’ts.

Do

  • Use more than one reference per argument.
  • Describe the story that you are referring to well. You can’t guarantee that the marker will remember the text that you are talking about. Just because you know it by heart does not mean they do.
  • Don’t make the essay a long line of negative criticism. If the story has that much wrong with it then change it before you hand it in.
  • Use notions such as logic, deduction and inference.
  • When paraphrasing references make sure they are accurate.
  • When there are different opinions then mention them, even if you have decided to go against them. Argue why.

Don’ts

  • Don’t make statements without references to back them up.
  • Don’t ramble. I am terrible for this. Sometimes I can lose track of the argument – a very bad thing for the essay.
  • Don’t put any new material in the conclusion.
  • Try not to be subjective. This I find hard and will probably not succeed in.
  • Keep your language scholarly.

There are a few more points that are important. These are a list of common mistakes. Most of which I am guilty of.

  • Don’t repeat yourself.
  • Make sure you use a language that matches the style of the essay.
  • Don’t use too many negative sentences.

My plan is to make a plan! To create a list and then stick to it. Still I’m not sure what form it is going to take, but if I follow the rules and avoid the Don’ts I think I will be able to come up with an interesting critical essay.

Now all I got to do is the research…

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