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The WIS-ful Thinking Blog

is a biweekly sampler of the new, developing, and tried-and-true in writing and writing instruction at Western Washington University.

Here you’ll find offerings from Writing Instruction Support and the Learning Commons, plus writing tips and trends, Frequently Asked Questions, and information about the WWU writing curriculum.

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Blog Topic: Writing Tips

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Where to Put Your Point

Posted on: Thursday, May 17, 2018 - 3:23pm

Topic(s): Writing Tips

Where should you put the main point you’re trying to make in your book, chapter, section, paragraph?

If your goal is clarity, the best place to put a point is usually near the beginning: in the opening section or paragraph of the article, in the first few sentences of the paragraph, in the introductory chapter to the book. This guideline follows from the radical notion that people are more likely to understand what you’re trying to say if you tell it to them.

But exceptions exist, and here are a few.

Read full blog post: Where to Put Your Point

Wordiness: Three Fixes

Posted on: Thursday, February 15, 2018 - 11:43am

Topic(s): Writing Tips

Nobody seems to approve of “wordy” prose, at least not in this century (I’m currently teaching a class on the 1700s, another story:  https://www.archives.gov/founding-docs/declaration-transcript). I hear students complain about reading wordy, dense articles, while faculty complain about student papers that spend ten words on what might be said in three.

Read full blog post: Wordiness: Three Fixes

In Which Some Things Are Said About Passive Voice

Posted on: Thursday, October 12, 2017 - 3:37pm

Topic(s): Writing Tips

One of the most frequent nuggets of advice writers get from teachers and editors is "avoid passive voice."

Judging from my own experience as a teacher, writer, and reader, most of the time this is excellent advice. That said, there are two pretty important exceptions to the rule.

Read full blog post: In Which Some Things Are Said About Passive Voice

Design Tips and Tricks for Writing Assignments

Posted on: Thursday, May 11, 2017 - 2:55pm

Topic(s): Writing Tips

Reviews Director of Writing Roberta Kjesrud's presentation on "Avoiding Assignments from Hell," with notes on her guidelines for writing assignments.

Read full blog post: Design Tips and Tricks for Writing Assignments

Engaging the Experts

Posted on: Thursday, April 27, 2017 - 4:54pm

Topic(s): Writing Tips

Examines why it can be tough for students to position themselves in relation to existing scholarship, and offers suggestions for helping them do so. 

Read full blog post: Engaging the Experts

Welcome to WIS-ful Thinking - Blog Post #1

Posted on: Monday, January 30, 2017 - 3:49pm

Topic(s): Assignment Spotlight | Writing Tips | WIS News

Answers some frequently asked questions, dives into writing tips on sentences and stress position, offers a sample assignment on transitions in writing, and highlights last quarter's discussions on ENG 101.

Read full blog post: Welcome to WIS-ful Thinking - Blog Post #1