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Tutor profile: Fain R.

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Fain R.
First-Year Writing Instructor at Indiana University - Bloomington
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Questions

Subject: Writing

TutorMe
Question:

My teacher/professor said my thesis wasn't strong enough. But how do I make sure my thesis is strong enough? How do I know it's any good?

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Fain R.
Answer:

Your thesis is strong enough when it needs a paper after it in order to be proven--because if it didn't need a paper after it, then why are you writing one? You're writing a five page paper, but you've established your thesis by page three. Okay, maybe it's time to see what else interests you about the topic, to see where you could push things or complicate things more. When instructors tell you, "Write a five page paper," what they're saying is, "Write an argument that's complex enough that it needs five pages in order to be established."

Subject: Study Skills

TutorMe
Question:

I just can't bring myself to sit down to do my work. I'll be at it for hours.

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Fain R.
Answer:

Then do it for a half hour. Or ten minutes. Or five. Do anything at all, because that's better than not doing it. I have two degrees, and I'm pursuing a third, and I still feel the same way. I have a book to read by next week? Okay, well I can't stomach reading much of it right now. But maybe I can stomach one page. Or one paragraph. Or just the next sentence. And maybe that's even worth it, because reading the next sentence is better than not reading the next sentence.

Subject: English

TutorMe
Question:

How do I know what to write about when I'm analyzing literature? What should I pay attention to in order to come up with a good thesis or argument?

Inactive
Fain R.
Answer:

You should pay attention to the thing that has your interest. That's not a vague, wishy washy answer. It's the truth--your interest is the thing that runs out ahead of your thoughts and highlights the next thing that you have some unspoken question about. So, do the introspective work of figuring out what you're actually asking about the thing that has your interest. Once you've put that question into words, start trying to answer it. That should get you well on your way to having something...well, *interesting* to say.

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