Category: The Act of Writing

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

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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.

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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Simplify, simplify

The American author and philosopher Henry David Thoreau, who left town life for his cabin by Walden Pond, wrote, “Our life is frittered away by detail. … Simplify, simplify.” In your opinion, has technology simplified or complicated our lives? Defend

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Technophobe

Are you a technophobe? Or do you rejoice in high technology? Defend your answers with examples.

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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.

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Canadian Government: More or Less?

Canadians who want more government had their way in the sixties and seventies, while those who want less government are having their way now. Which do you favour, and why? Do you believe cutbacks and privatization are enhancing or threatening

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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

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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

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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

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Classification

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

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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.

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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

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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

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Description

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

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Example

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.

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Narration

WRITING ABOUT MYSELF 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

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