Composition I

Literary narrative: How I adopted my default writing structure


If I had to choose one word to describe how the writing I’ve done in school makes me feel, I would say secure. Almost every piece of writing I’ve submitted has had a formula to it. I’ve always had a certain structure to my writing that’s acted as a security blanket for my assignments since I started in my first essay in third grade, evolved it in my high school English papers, and changed it completely when I moved to from English to Journalism. All throughout my writing career I’ve stuck to a formula that gets fairly repetitive but those restrictions have become my safety always reining me back into what is acceptable.

First when I began writing. I learned quickly that I needed a formula to write to in order to feel secure in my writing. For example, my first feelings of security towards my writing actually originated from feelings of insecurity towards my writing when I attempted my first essay ever in third grade. When my teacher had given us our first essay, all the students felt lost never having written a paper before but she eased over our anxieties by introducing the five paragraph structure. Along with the proposed rule of five paragraphs, she gave us stems for introduction and conclusion sentences, and paragraph starters. By providing these simple rules, my third grade teacher gave me the confidence to take a shot in the dark and write my first paper. The essay wasn’t the most elaborate thing with just a one sentence opening and closing that basically echoing each other with “this is because” and “that is because” and paragraphs that stated with firstly, secondly, and thirdly, however in that moment I felt like it was perfect. I had included in all the elements my teacher had requested and my grade reflected that. Due to the positive feedback on that, I adopted that writing structure and stuck to it like glue. I always hated not knowing what a teacher was looking for in essays so I’ve stuck to the five paragraph structure I was taught originally and usually just try to adapt it to the situation. By adopting a restricting structure within my writing, I gained the security to keep writing even when I didn’t exactly know what to expect.

Next when I’d been writing a few years, I learned I had to be adaptable with my writing formula in order to stay secure within my structure and accommodate the different types of papers I’d be writing. For example, when I hit freshmen English and was assigned my first paper to analyze Ender’s Game, I acquired the true meaning behind APE style and how to adapt it to literacy analysis. I learned to how to add my thesis into my introduction with examples listed within it, how to do a broad topic sentence with my opening points, how to partially embed my quotes within my evidence, how to explain how the topic sentence and evidence fit together, and how to close my paragraphs and essays with summed up points. By adapting my five paragraph structure to fit in APE style, that solved most of my high school English papers and AP essays as well as making me feel secure enough in my writing to share it with my classmates. As the essay types varied between research, narrative, persuasive, analysis, and argumentative I’d just switch out how I showed my evidence while clinging to my evolved guidelines and I’d be comfortable in at least attempting to write most things. Being able to adapt my structure to basically anything I wrote provided me with a security in my writing most people didn’t have.

Finally when I started writing in other subjects I learned I needed to be able to drop my English writing structure and pick up an entirely new one in order to keep my security. For example, when I started taking journalism classes the writing style varies so much from English writing I had to adopt a completely different one in there. My journalism teacher taught me leade, nut graph, quote, transition, quote, transition, quote, transition, quote which I picked up fairly quickly and clung to in there. The style works well with both news writing and feature writing which is typically what I write so I haven’t had to adapt it much yet. This journalistic structure isn’t my usual five paragraph style but having some kind of structure helped me gain security in writing in a subject beyond the bounds of English writing.

When it comes to describing how I feel about my writing in one word I choose the word secure because I make it that way by choosing to stick to my writing structures. Over the years I’ve learned the key to having comfort in writing is always having a go to plan which I developed in third grade, evolved in high school, and changed completely in different subjects. Having a go to formula may get kind of repetitive at times but it provides a security that usually brings in good feedback and prevents mental break downs when writing.

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