This is “Generating Further Questions”, section 6.6 from the book Writers' Handbook (v. 1.0).
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6.6 Generating Further Questions
- Recognize that a writing plan is fluid, not set in stone.
- Understand that you can improve your writing plan by continually asking questions.
- Know the types of questions you can ask to improve your writing plan.
Even after you have your core plan in place and start to do some initial research, you should still be very flexible with your plan and let your research and critical thinking guide you. You can help solidify your plan by continually and repeatedly asking questions at all stages of the writing process. Some possible questions follow:
- Am I following the assignment guidelines?
- Do these details actually support these ideas?
- Am I truly representing my intended position?
- What aspects of this topic have I not covered that would add positively to my paper?
- Is my core topic a solid choice?
- What organizational structure would best present my ideas?
- Is a first-person, second-person, or third-person essay the most powerful form to use for this topic?
- What can I do to make my ideas matter to my audience?
- Exactly what is my purpose in pursuing this topic?
- Do my key points directly address my purpose?
Every time you make some adjustments to your topic, audience, purpose, or form, ask these same questions again until you stop adjusting and stop getting different answers to the questions.
- A writing plan is the first step in shaping a writing project. The next step is to adjust and shape the plan to make the best possible end product.
- A core method of adjusting a writing plan is to systematically ask and answer questions about the plan until you stop getting different answers.
- When asking questions to adjust a writing plan, ask about all aspects of the writing project, including questions about the topic, audience, purpose, form, and assignment guidelines.
Discuss how you would write a descriptive, informative essay for the following audiences on a subject in which you have a passionate interest:
- People who share your passion for and knowledge about the subject
- People who have a passing knowledge and limited interest in the subject
- People who know absolutely nothing about the subject and who might even be a little hostile toward it
Discuss how would you approach writing a descriptive, informative essay on the following subjects for the third audience listed in question 1 (people who know absolutely nothing about the subject and who might even be a little hostile toward it):
- A violent video game
- A controversial celebrity or politician
- A reality television show
Let’s say you have a specific topic and audience in mind, category (a) from questions 1 and 2: people who share your passion for and knowledge about violent video games. Discuss how your plan for an essay would change based on the following purposes:
- To persuade an audience that your favorite game is the best in its class
- To inform an audience about some of the cutting-edge methods for reaching new levels in the game
- To compare and contrast the features of the newest version of the game with previous versions
- To analyze why the game is so appealing to certain demographic profiles of the population