Don’t Write Alone | Notes on Craft

Teaching Freshman Comp Was the Best Writing Education I Ever Got

As part of our Education Week series, Jaime Green describes how teaching the fundamentals in undergrad writing comp made her a better writer.

I likedI didn’t likeI wonderedI wantedyou should trywhy

Why do I need to know this? I’m gonna be an engineer! Why do I need to know this? I already know how to write well!

I felt confused here.The end of this paragraph is about X, so I expected the next paragraph to develop that idea, but you instead move on to Y and bring X back three paragraphs later.

This is goodHere’s what you did and why it worked.

They Say / I Say


They-say/I-sayOkay??they-say/I-sayUnless . . .


What presumptions does my reader have about this topic?I found it!!!



The Philosophy of Literary Form

And every time I read that quote, the vision crystallizes. The parlor walls become more solid; the dim lighting takes a clearer, warmer hue. Thanks to everything I learned teaching comp, I can feel myself more solidly within this metaphorical conversation—the heated discussion, the flowing river into which I dip my nonliteral oar. There’s much, as Burke says, to do before it’s time to depart.