Tutor profile: Dalton J.
"I often fret so much over the quality of my writing that I have a hard time starting projects. What is your advice?"
"When I'm having trouble producing words, I'll often force myself to use a single sentence structure. This allows me to focus on communicating my ideas without stressing over correctness or style. Only once I sufficiently develop my content do I go back and revise."
"My assignment is to write about the tone of a story we read in class. I feel confident in identifying the tone and discussing how content contributes to the tone, but I feel like I need more. What else contributes to a story's tone?"
"I'm happy to hear you feel confident approaching this paper! In terms of identifying tone, I would suggest putting the author's word choice under a microscope. For example, in Deborah Willis's story 'The Passage Bird,' she uses the words 'gold' and 'bone' eleven times each. Some of this usage is figurative, like when she refers to 'the bones of the house,' and other usage is more literal, as in the main character's golden canine teeth. If I were writing an essay on this story, I would ask myself: What is the relationship between gold and bone and how does it support my stance on the author's tone? How does word choice alter the emotional resonance of key scenes? Now, apply a similar approach to your own reading."
"I have to write a persuasive essay but I'm having trouble thinking of a topic. Do you have any advice?"
"Nailing down a topic for a persuasive paper with an open-ended prompt can be difficult, but I'll share what works for me: identify an issue within your personal life and use that issue as your paper topic. For example, my mom is an elementary school librarian, but just last week the county school board stated that they were planning on laying off all librarian positions. Some of my first thoughts were: aren't librarians necessary? How will reading programs change? How will student learning outcomes change? These questions can then guide you during your research process. Using this approach not only provides a solid paper topic, but it also provides real-world insight into important personal matters."
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