Category Archives: The Act of Writing

Write a Short Story

Imagine your story is already done:

Who is the hero in your story? Explain why you think so.

  • What is the turning point? In what way does your protagonist change?
  • What is the overall message and mood?
  • Is humour an important part of this story?
  • Why is your story title significant?

Now begin with a fuzzy plan:

Investigate drawing a plot diagram for your story. Use an online tool or draw your own chart. Complete it by adding story details under each of the following: exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution.

Have you read other stories like yours? Discuss these stories. How were their plots similar or different?

Think about a big idea:

In most good stories the characters undergo a significant change. What are some good ideas for a short story about an ordinary person who undergoes a significant change? Which idea would make an especially entertaining story for an audience of your peers?

Plan out the details:

Add details to your outline for your short story, including notes on the following: main character and personality, setting, conflict, initial incident, rising action, changes, climax, and conclusion/denouement/resolution.

Write a first draft:

Use this outline to write a first draft.


Ask a partner to give you feedback about improving your story. Revise your draft using this feedback.


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Applying for a Summer Job

Read about the situation below and complete the assignment that follows.

The Situation
Imagine that you are Kim Green applying for one of the four jobs listed below. Robin Thornton is the person at the Hillcrest Job Centre who processes the applications for these jobs.

Summer Jobs Available
Volunteer Jobs

  • Playground Program Assistant – assist with activities for seven-to-ten-year-old children
  • Senior Citizen’s assistant – assist with the needs and activities of seniors in a centre or in the community

Paid Jobs

  • Fast Food Restaurant Employee – prepare food, serve customers, clear tables
  • Landscaping Assistant – plant flowers and shrubs; cut and rake lawns

Write a business letter to Robin Thornton in which you apply for the job you have selected. (Select only one from the list above.)

When writing, be sure to

  • identify the job for which you are applying
  • explain what knowledge, skills, or experience you have that might be relevant to the job
  • sign your letter Kim Green – do not sign your own name
  • organize your thoughts appropriately in sentences and paragraphs
  • use vocabulary that is appropriate and effective
  • address the envelope

Note: The information you make up about Kim Green must be realistic for a Grade 9 student. Kim Green lives at 42 Wallaby Way in the city of Springfield, Alberta. Kim Green’s postal code is A3Z 1N9. The Hillcrest Job Centre is also in Springfield: 16961 61st Street, A5T 6P2.

Hint: Advice for ELA 9 Provincial Achievement Test

Download a Template



Job Application Letter from

Job Application Letter from

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An Essay on the Principle of Population

In his famous “An Essay on the Principle of Population“(1798), the English economist Thomas Malthus argued that, since geometric growth of population outstrips arithmetic growth of the food supply, we actually need poverty, disease, and starvation to restore the balance. While this theory was popular in the nineteenth century, very few would accept it today.

Point out the major developments in science, economics, and government which, since the time of Malthus, have counteracted his argument.

An Essay on the Principle of Population

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Tabula Rasa?

Immigration has occurred at some point in the background of all Canadians, even those who are now called “native” or “first nation” peoples. Choose one of these topics:

  • My ancestral homeland
  • The arrival of my ancestor(s) in Canada
  • My immigration to Canada

Select the most appropriate to you. Focus it to fit your circumstances, knowledge, and interest.

Now take a page of notes, perhaps consulting a parent, grandparent, or family records. Think about the importance, even the heroic, legendary, or mythic qualities you may see in this topic – then write your “discovery draft.” In the next version heighten these overtones by clothing bare fact in a variety of poetical devices (especially metaphor). Test your prose by reading aloud, before publishing the final version.

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Earth House Analogy

Write an essay based on an extended analogy between a house and our planet Earth.

First brainstorm or freewrite, because analogies demand free use of our imagination. Next write a rapid and free “discovery draft.” Let it sit at least one day, then develop your concept through at least one more draft, adding the kinds of vivid images needed to spark the reader’s imagination.

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Environmental Disaster

Write about an environmental disaster that you have either witnessed or heard about recently in the news.

First jot down notes on a blank page under three headings: “Land,” “Air,” and “Water.” Now draw on these notes to classify, in an essay, the effects of the disaster in each of your three categories. Do not withhold frightening or gross information, for it will show the reader the importance of your subject. In your second draft add more sense images and sharpen your transitions. Read your final draft aloud to someone keeping enough eye contact to judge which passages have the strongest effect.

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Old Age In Good Health

Write a process analysis on how to attain old age in good health?

First, brainstorm or freewrite. Then do a rapid “discovery draft,” leaving whitespace. When it has “cooled off,” analyze it: Are the steps in order? Are the instructions clear? Have you suppled examples? Revise accordingly in your next draft. Now sharpen word choice as well. Heighten transitions. Cut deadwood. And test your prose by reading aloud, before publishing the final version.

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Real Estate Speculation

Today many people speculate in real estate, especially around large cities like Toronto and Vancouver. How is it done?

First consult a real estate agent or someone you know who has profited from real estate.

Focus, then write a brief outline to establish the order of your process. Now do the first draft, leaving whitespace.

Perhaps the act of writing has uncovered steps you had forgotten; add them.

In your next draft make sure to define technical words your audience may not know, and add any missing transitions between steps.

Does a point lack a good example? Add it. Is a passage off-topic or a phrase or word unnecessary? Delete it.

Finally, test your prose aloud before publishing the final copy.

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Canadian Military Spending

Politicians often state that one letter received from a citizen is worth a thousand votes.

Decide whether you think Canada is spending too little or too much on the military.

Now write a letter to the Minister of Defence, arguing your point deductively.

Apply your premise to a specific example or examples, such as tanks, fighter planes, destroyers, submarines, etc.

As you look over your “discovery draft,” see whether you have specialized in either argumentation or persuasion. If your treatment seems too extreme, modify it in your next draft with a dose of the other approach, to produce a more combined approach.

In your final draft, edit for conciseness (the best letters to politicians are short).

Finally, submit your letter to your member of parliament.

Canadian Forces “Combat Camera”
Members of Parliament
Leon Benoit
Hon. Peter Gordon MacKay

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Third-World Children

For one week read the international news feed from your favorite news site, paying special attention to reports that have implications for Third-World children.

Choose one event or issue that arouses either your approval or your indignation, then respond to it in an essay.

Using evidence from the article, make an inductive argument for your point. Use argumentation and persuasion in the proportion you think most effective.

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A Job You Have Had

Think of a job you have had.

Write a page of rough notes about it, then, looking these over, decide how socially useful or useless the job was.

Now write an inductive argument showing the evidence for your conclusion.

After a rapid first draft, examine what you have said: Do the examples support your thesis? If not, change your thesis to reflect what you have discovered while writing.

Are your examples fully enough explained to make sense to the reader? If not, elaborate. Or is there deadwood? Trim it out.

Read your second-to-last version aloud to help fine-tune its style.

Read the final version aloud to the class.

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High-Tech Invention

Choose one high-tech invention that you have used, and write an inductive essay that praises or condemns it.

First freewrite on your subject for at least five minutes – automatically, never letting your pencil or keyboard stop – then look over what you have produced in order to learn your point of view.

Now, take more notes, gathering examples. Arrange these in order from least to most important, and from this rough outline write a draft.

In the second draft adjust your tone: Is your whole argument serious or objective? Is it argumentative? Or is it more humorous, subjective, and therefore persuasive? Whichever it is, be consistent.

Now read your argument aloud to family members or classmates, revise any part that fails to work on your audience, then write the final version.

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American Influence in Canadian Life

What degree of American influence do you detect in these aspects of Canadian life.

  • Computer software
  • Eating habits
  • Fashions
  • Film distribution
  • Foreign policy
  • Hockey
  • Inflation
  • Interest rates
  • Language
  • Pollution
  • Popular music
  • Social services
  • Television programming
  • Textbooks
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Government Cutbacks

Choose one example of governmental spending which has been or soon will be “cut back.”

Produce a page of notes, then conclude from them whether you favour or oppose the cutback. Now write an inductive essay to support your opinion.

Apply at least three techniques of persuasion.

After a quick “discovery draft,” check to see if you have left out any good points from your notes. Has writing led you to discover new points? If they are good, add them.

In further drafts, revise for conciseness, concrete language, and consistent tone.

Test your prose aloud before publishing the final version.

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A Group That Has Been Poorly Treated

Identify a group that you believe has been poorly treated by Canadian society (for example the handicapped or disabled, the elderly, native peoples, farmers, immigrants, refugees, single parents, etc.).

Take notes, then write an inductive argument in which you present the evidence that led to your belief.

In your next draft revise to seek an effective balance of argumentation and persuasion.

Now share this draft and apply your classmates’ best advice.

At home, read aloud to detect wordiness and awkwardness. Edit.

Finally, read your good version to the whole class and be prepared to answer questions.

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Argumentation and Persuasion

Develop one of the following topics into an essay of argumentation and/or persuasion, choosing the side you wish to take. (See also the guidelines that follow.)

1. Companies (should/should not) be held liable for their own pollution.
2. Adopted children (should/should not) be told who their “birth parents” are.
3. The government (should/should not) require less foreign programming on television.
4. Compulsory retirement at 65 should be (continued/abolished).
5. Pit bulls should be (legal/illegal).
6. “Streaming” of students in the high schools should be (increased/maintained/reduced/abolished).
7. Canadian foreign aid should be (increased/maintained/decreased).
8. The government (should/should not) require that all plastic containers be biodegradable.
9. The minimum driving age should be (raised/maintained/lowered).
10. Private ownership of handguns should be (allowed/prohibited).
11. Free trade between Canada and the United States will (increase/decrease) opportunities in the career I hope to enter.
12. Racism in Canada is (increasing/decreasing).
13. Canada should (permit/prohibit) irradiation of food.
14. Municipal recycling should be (optional/required).
15. Car insurance (should/should not) cost the same for males and females.
16. There (is/is not) life in outer space.
17. The Canadian Senate should be (maintained/changed/abolished).
18. Public transit (should/should not) be free.
19. Canada should (increase/maintain/decrease) its level of immigration.
20. Chemical additives to food (should/should not) be allowed.
21. The minimum drinking age should be (raised/maintained/lowered).
22. Medical experimentation on animals (should/should not) be permitted.
23. Official censorship of films should be (increased/maintained/decreased/abolished).
24. Canada should (increase/maintain/decrease/abolish) passenger rail service.
25. Stores (should/should not) be required to close on Sundays.

Process in Writing: Guidelines
Follow at least some of these steps in writing your essay of argumentation and/or persuasion.

1. Choose a good topic, then go to either 2 or 3 below.

2. DEDUCTION: Do you already know your point of view because of a moral or intellectual principle you hold? First examine that principle, the foundation of your argument: Is it extreme, or is it reasonable enough (and clear enough) that your AUDIENCE can accept it? If the latter, proceed. Make notes, then write a rapid first draft showing how the principle supports your point.


3. INDUCTION: Did experience or observation teach you the point you wish to make? First generate a page of notes. Then put these experiences or observations into the order that led you to your conclusion. Now transfer this argument to a rapid first draft.

4. You have probably organized your draft through a pattern. Cause and effect is a natural for either deduction or induction, and so is comparison and contrast. You have probably used examples, perhaps narrating or describing them. You might also have classified your subject, or cast your logic in a process analysis. Apart from analogy, which appeals more to emotion than to logic, your approach can serve deduction or induction. Use whatever works. If your first draft makes partial use of a major pattern, consider revising to extend the pattern and strengthen its effect.

5. As you look over your first draft, add any missing examples, especially if your argument is inductive (the more evidence, the better). Heighten your logic with signals such as “however,” “therefore,” “as a result,” and “in conclusion.”

6. Now Judge how argumentative or persuasive your approach has been so far. Does your cold logic need a little colour and life? If so, add it, consulting techniques of persuasion: WORD CHOICE, EXAMPLE, REPETITION, HYPERBOLE, ANALOGY, IRONY, APPEAL TO AUTHORITY, FRIGHT, CLIMAX. Or do your emotional appeals dominate your argument? Do they even encourage the audience not to think? If so, revise towards a more blended stance in your second draft.

7. Now cut all deadwood. Check for details of spelling and grammar. Write your good copy, then proofread it word by word. Save the essay in case your teacher suggests further revision.

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Process Analysis

Tell your reader how to perform one of these processes. (See also the guidelines that follow.)

1. How to avoid debt
2. How to survive driving in city traffic
3. How to windsurf
4. How the average person can help to reduce pollution
5. How to choose your style in clothing
6. How to avoid burnout in a high-pressure job
7. How to take a good picture
8. How a woman breaks into a male-dominated profession
9. How to find low-cost entertainment in the city
10. How to train a dog (or other pet)
11. How to get a raise from your employer
12. How to avoid criminal attack in the big city at night
13. How to decorate a room on a low budget
14. How to become a Canadian citizen
15. How to survive eating at the school cafeteria

Explain how one of these processes is performed, or how it occurs. (See also the guidelines that follow.)
16. How a piano works
17. How a fax machine works
18. How a television set works
19. How a transistor works
20. How paper is recycled
21. How the human circulatory system functions
22. How the human liver functions
23. How food is metabolized in the body
24. How a muscle functions
25. How animals hibernate
26. How a bird flies
27. How a plant synthesizes food
28. How hail is formed
29. How sedimentary rock is formed
30. How ______________________. (If you choose your own topic in this final item, check it with your teacher before proceeding.)

Process in Writing: Guidelines
Follow at least some of these steps in writing your essay of process analysis.

1. Choose the topic that most appeals to you, so your motivation will increase your performance.

2. Visualize your audience (see step 6 below), and choose the level of terminology accordingly.

3. Fill a page with brief notes. Scan and sort them to choose the steps of your process analysis, and their order.

4. Write a rapid first draft, leave extra white space, not stopping now to revise or edit. If you do notice a word that needs replacing or a passage that needs work, underline it so you can find and fix it later.

5. A. When this draft has “cooled off,” look it over. If you are giving actual directions (topics 1-15), are all steps there? Do TRANSITIONS introduce them? Have you defined any technical terms that may puzzle your audience? Revise accordingly.

5. B. In explaining how your process is carried out or occurs (topics 16-30), have you provided enough examples and IMAGES to interest your audience? Revise accordingly.

6. Share the second draft with a small group of classmates. Do they think they could actually follow these directions? Or do they show interest in a process performed by others? Revise accordingly.

7. If you have consulted books, sites, or periodicals to write this paper, follow standard practice in quoting and in documenting your sources.

8. Now edit for spelling and grammar. Write the good copy and proofread word by word. Save the essay in case your teacher suggests further revisions.

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Develop one of the following topics into an essay of classification. (See also the guidelines that follow.)

1. Conversations
2. Television commercials
3. Crime
4. Music lovers
5. Wine
6. Martial arts
7. Roommates
8. Bosses
9. Horses
10. Grandparents
11. Education
12. Drugs
13. Novels
14. Lovers
15. Police officers
16. Landlords
17. Slang
18. Marriages
19. Readers
20. Salespersons
21. Handicapped people
22. Parties
23. Families
24. Teachers
25. Success

Process in Writing: Guidelines
Follow at least some of these steps in writing your essay of classification.

1. Write a short outline, since the logic of classifying can be difficult. Once you have chosen the principle on which to classify your topic, decide on the categories. Then ask: Do all relate to the same principle? If not, revise. Do any categories overlap? If so, revise. Have you left out an obvious category? Add it.

2. Write your thesis statement.

3. Now arrange the categories in some climactic order that supports your thesis: smallest to largest, least important to most important, worst to best, etc.

4. Write a rapid first draft, double-spaced, not stopping now to revise or edit.

5. When this draft has “cooled off,” look it over. Does it follow the outline? If not, do the changes make sense? Does every part support the thesis? If not, revise.

6. In your second draft sharpen word choice. Add missing IMAGES or examples. Heighten TRANSITIONS. Cut deadwood.

7. Now edit for spelling and grammar, and write the good copy. Save the essay in case your teacher suggests further revision.

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Analogy and Related Devices

Choose a topic from items 1-15, or choose a subject from items 16-30 and add an appropriate image to it. Then develop your choice into an extended analogy. (See also the guidelines that follow.)
1. Music as a drug
2. Prejudice as a wall
3. Human metabolism as fire
4. A career as a mountain to climb
5. Life as a road
6. A library as a brain
7. The playing field as a battlefield
8. The human race as a family
9. Addiction as a crutch
10. A paragraph as an essay in miniature
11. A career as war
12. The beehive as a city
13. Reading as programming a computer
14. A career as marriage
15. Dancing as life
16. Crime as ________________
17. Wealth as ________________
18. A library as ________________
19. Dating as ________________
20. Old age as ________________
21. Our legal system as ________________
22. A doctor as ________________
23. A teacher as ________________
24. Religion as ________________
25. Divorce as ________________
26. Nuclear missiles as ________________
27. Health as ________________
28. School as ________________
29. A book as ________________
30. The planet Earth as ________________

Process in Writing: Guidelines
Follow at least some of these steps in writing your essay of analogy.

1. Choose a topic you really like, because motivation is the single greatest factor in good writing.

2. If you complete one of the topics from 16 to 30, be sure to invent an analogy (with two items from different categories), not a comparison and contrast (with two items from the same category). Know which item is your real subject, and which one exists merely to explain the other.

3. Now freewrite on your topic, to achieve the spontaneity and originality that spark a good analogy.

4. Incorporate the best of this freewriting into your first draft. Let the ideas flow, not stopping now to revise or edit.

5. In your next draft add any more points of comparison that come to you (a strong analogy is fully developed). Read your prose aloud to detect awkward passages, and revise. Trim deadwood. Heighten TRANSITIONS.

6. Now edit for things like spelling and grammar.

7. Write and proofread your good copy. Save the essay in case your teacher suggests further revision.

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Comparison and Contrast

Compare and/or contrast one of the following pairs. (See also the guidelines that follow.)
1. A newborn and an elderly person
2. Front-wheel-drive and rear-wheel-drive cars
3. The newspaper and the TV newcast
4. Cats and dogs
5. Renting and owning your home
6. Using credit and using cash
7. Touring bikes and mountain bikes
8. The novel and the short story
9. Any two martial arts
10. The classical music fan and the rock music fan
11. A Canadian city and an American city of the same size
12. A wedding and a funeral
13. Writing on paper and using a word processor
14. Natural and synthetic fabrics
15. The authoritarian parent and the permissive parent
16. Luxury cars and economy cars
17. Speaking and writing
18. Community college and university
19. The analogue watch and the digital watch
20. A team sport and an individual sport
21. Sales tax and income tax
22. Glasses and contact lenses
23. Driving a motorcycle and driving a car
24. Two newspapers(news channels or news sites) that you know
25. Large families and small families

Process in Writing: Guidelines
Follow at least some of these steps in writing your essay of comparison and contrast.

1. Spend enough time with the topic list to choose the item that best fits your interest and experience.

2. Draw a line down the middle of a blank page. Now brainstorm: jot down notes for subject “A” on the lefl and for subject “B” on the right. Join related items with lines, then take stock of what you have: Is A better than B? Is it worse? Similar? Opposite? Or what? Express their relationship to each other in a thesis statement.

3. Now choose either “halves” or “separate points” to organize your argument, depending on the nature and size of your subject, then work your notes into a brief outline.

4. Write a rapid first draft, leave extra white space, not stopping now to revise or edit.

5. Later analyze what you have produced. Does it follow your outline? If not, is the new material off-topic, or is it a worthwhile addition, an example of “thinking in writing”? Revise accordingly.

6. In your second draft cut all deadwood. Sharpen word choice. Add any missing examples. Strengthen TRANSITIONS.

7. Test your prose aloud before writing the good copy. Save the essay in case your teacher suggests further revision.

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Cause and Effect

Analyze the cause(s) and/or effect(s) of one of the following. (See also the guidelines that follow.)
1. Marrying as a teenager
2. Use of steroids in sports
3. The high price of housing
4. Being adopted
5. Being a twin
6. Being the oldest, youngest, or middle child of a family
7. Use of the drug “crack”
8. Lying
9. Free trade between Canada and the United States
10. Getting into debt
11. Violence in a particular sport
12. Clearcutting of a forest
13. The housing shortage
14. Drought
15. Private ownership of handguns
16. Hitchhiking
17. Racial discrimination
18. Extensive reading
19. The proliferation of “smart” phones
20. Cheating in school
21. The high price of car insurance
22. The widespread increase in municipal recycling
23. Working while being a student
24. Eating junk food
25. Coffee addiction

Process in Writing: Guidelines
Follow at least some of these steps in writing your essay of cause and effect.
1. In the middle of a piece of paper, write the subject you wish to explore in your essay of cause and effect. Near it write many other words that it brings to mind. Connect related items with lines, then use what you see in this cluster outline to focus your argument.

2. Write a first drafl rapidly, leave extra white space, getting it all down without stopping yet to revise.

3. When this version has “cooled off,” analyze it: Have you begun and ended at just the right places in the chain qf causality? If not, cut or add. Have you identified the real causes and the real effects? If not, revise.

4. In your next draft sharpen the TRANSITIONS, using expressions like “since,” “although,” “because,” and “as a result” to clearly signal each step of your logic.

5. Share this draft with a small group of classmates. Revise any places where this audience does not follow your logic.

6. Now edit for things like spelling and grammar, and write your good copy. Proofread. Save the essay on in case your teacher suggests forther revision.

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Describe one of the following as vividly as you can.
1. The crowd at a rock concert
2. Cottage country in autumn
3. The kitchen of a fast-food restaurant
4. Your favourite painting or sculpture
5. A factory assembly line
6. A polluted river or lake
7. A building that you love or detest
8. Your room
9. Your pet
10. The subway platform during rush hour
11. A garden in July
12. The midway at night
13. A New Year’s Eve party
14. Your favourite gallery of a local museum
15. A fitness club on a busy day
16. The terminal of an airport
17. A garage sale
18. A nightclub on a Saturday night
19. A hologram
20. A wedding reception
21. The interior of a barn
22. A highrise building under construction
23. The race track on a busy day
24. The interior of a bus station or train station
25. A professional wrestling match

Process in Writing: Guidelines
Follow at least some of these steps in the act of writing your description.
1. If you can, take eyewitness notes for your description. If you cannot, at least choose a topic you know well enough to make very specific notes from memory.

2. Look these notes over. What is the dominant impression, your main feeling or idea of the subject? Put it into a sentence (this will be your THESIS, whether or not you will actually state it in the description).

3. With your notes and thesis before you, write a rapid first draft, leave extra white space. Get it all down on paper, rather than stopping now to revise.

4. When your first draft has “cooled off,” look it over. Does every aspect of your description contribute to the main overall effect? If not, revise. Does each word “feel” right? When one does not, consult your thesaurus for another.

5. In the next draft increase the SENSE IMAGES – appeal to sight, hearing, touch, smell, and maybe even taste. Add more TRANSITIONS. Read aloud to detect and revise awkwardnesses hidden to the eye.

6. Finally, look over the spelling and grammar before writing your good copy. Afterward, proofread word by word. Save the essay in case your teacher suggests further revision.

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If one of these traditional or popular sayings expresses an important lesson you have learned about life, illustrate it in an essay developed through extensive use of example. (See also the guidelines that follow.)
1. Experience is the best teacher.
2. Money cannot buy happiness.
3. The best defence is a good offence.
4. You have to like yourself before you can like others.
5. Practice makes perfect.
6. True wealth is measured by what you can do without.
7. If you try to please the world, you will never please yourself.
8. Time is money.
9. Virtue is its own reward.
10. No pain, no gain.
11. Beauty is only skin-deep.
12. Money is the root of all evil.
13. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
14. The more you have, the more you want.
15. Love is blind.

If your answer to one if the following is based on strong experience, support it in an
essay developed through extensive use of example. (See also the guidelines that follow.)
16. The (best/worst) program on television is _______________.
17. _______________ is the best book I’ve ever read.
18. The (best/worst) spectator sport of all is _______________.
19. One kind of music I really detest is _______________.
20. _______________ is the (best/worst) restaurant I’ve ever tried.
21. My favourite newspaper is _______________.
22. _______________ is the most practical computer for my needs.
23. My favourite musician is _______________.
24. The very (best/worst) film I have ever seen is _______________.
25. _______________ is my favourite holiday spot.
26. _______________ is my best subject this term.
27. The radio station I prefer is _______________.
28. _______________ is the best teacher I’ve ever had.
29. The political leader I most admire is _______________.
30. _______________ is my favourite city.

Process in Writing: Guidelines
Follow at least some ojthese steps in developing your essay through examples (your teacher may suggest which ones).
1. Choose a topic you think you like, and try it out through brainstorming or freewriting. Do you have something to say? Can you supply examples? If not, try another topic.

2. Visualize your audience: What level of language, what TONE, what examples, will communicate with this person or persons?

3. Do a rapid “discovery draft,” leave extra white-space. Do not stop now to fix things like spelling and grammar; just get the material down with pen or keyboard.

4. The next day, look this draft over. Are there enough examples? Or: Is your one long example explained in depth? If not, add more. Does each example support your main point? If not, revise. Are examples in order of increasing importance? If not, consider rearranging to build a climax.

5. Check your second draft for TRANSITIONS, and add if necessary. Test your prose by reading aloud, then revise awkward or unclear passages. Now reach for the dictionary and a grammar book(buttons, menus or tools) if you need them.

6. Proofread your final copy slowly, word by word (if your eyes move too fast, they will “see” what should be there, not necessarily what is there).

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Choose one of these topics as the basis of a narrative about yourself. Tell a good story: give colourful details and all the facts needed to help your reader understand and appreciate the event. (See also the guidelines that follow.)
1. My traffic accident
2. The day I learned to be honest
3. My moment as a sports hero
4. The day I learned to recognize people of the opposite sex as
5. My visit to the dentist
6. My brush with the law
7. An occasion when I surprised myself
8. My first date
9. The day I learned to like (or dislike) school
10. The day I was a victim of prejudice
11. The day I learned to tell the truth
12. The day I got lost
13. The day I realized what career I wanted
14. My escape from another country
15. The day I realized I was an adult

From this list of events, choose one that you witnessed in person. Narrate it, giving colourfulI details and all the facts needed to help your reader understand and appreciate the event. (See also the guidelines that follow.)
16. A brush with death
17. A rescue
18. An incident of sexism
19. A catastrophe
20. An example of charity in action
21. An assault
22. An historical event
23. A major failure of communication
24. An important event in the life of a child
25. An important event in the life of an elderly person
26. A violent incident at a sporting event
27. A practical joke that backfired
28. An alarming mob scene
29. An example of courage in action
30. A success in the life of a teacher

Process in Writing: Guidelines
Follow at least some of these steps in the act of writing your narrative.

1. If you keep a journal, search it for an incident that could develop one of the topics.

2. When you have chosen a topic, free write on it for at least five minutes, never letting your pen(or keyboard) stop. The results will show whether your choice is good. If it is, incorporate the best parts into your first draft. If it is not, try another topic.)

3. Write your first draft rapidly, spilling out the story. Leave room for revision (extra white-space). But do not stop now to fix things like spelling and grammar, for you will lose momentum. Consider narrating in the present tense, making the action seem to happen now.

4. Look over this draft: Does it begin and end at just the right places, narrating the event itself but omitting parts that don’t matter? If you see deadwood, chop it out.

5. In your second draft, add more SENSE IMAGES to heighten the realism. Add more time signals such as “‘first,” “next,” “then,” “suddenly,” and “at last,” to speed up the action.

6. Read a draft to family members, friends, or classmates. Does it sound good? Revise awkward passages. Does it communicate with your AUDIENCE? Revise any part that does not.

7. Finally, edit for spelling, grammar, and other aspects of “correctness” before (re)writing and proofreading the final copy. (Save this version in case your teacher suggests further revision.)

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