Step 4 of the Kerrigan method of ‘Writing to the Point’ – FIRST DRAFT being CONCRETE

by Grace

I’m still on Step 4 of the Kerrigan method of Writing to the Point, and the latest assignment to write the first draft of an essay continues the focus on being specific and concrete.  (This is part of my project to study and learn the entire Six-Step method, explained in my initial post in this series.)  For a recap, here are Steps 1 through 4.

STEP 1. Write a short, simple declarative sentence that makes one statement. (Chapter 1, page 6)

STEP 2. Write three sentences about the sentence in Step 1—clearly and directly about the whole of that sentence, not just something in it. (Chapter 2, page 18.)

STEP 3. Write four or five sentences about each of the three sentences in Step 2—clearly and directly about the whole of the Step 2 sentence, not just something in it. (Chapter 3, page 31.)

STEP 4. Make the material in the four or five sentences of Step 3 as specific and concrete as possible. Go into detail. Use examples. Don’t ask, “What will I say next?” Instead, say some more about what you have just said. Your goal is to say a lot about a little, not a little about a lot.  (Chapter 4, page 43)


ABSTRACT or GENERAL vs. CONCRETE or SPECIFIC:
To reiterate a point from the previous post, Kerrigan Method sentences X-1-2-3 are usually abstract or general.  In contrast, the sentences in the body of the paragraphs that follow from 1-2-3 must fill in the details by being concrete and specific.  Both types of sentences are vital to good writing.

THE ASSIGNMENT
Write a theme on the following sentence X:  “A student must have a regular schedule of study.” … be specific and concrete, far beyond what you feel necessary.  Go all out in this respect.  Go into detail .  Give examples.  Don’t feel ridiculous.  You are not expected to produce a “good” theme here, but you can make it a good exercise.

After considerable head scratching, here is what I wrote.


X  A student must have a regular schedule of study..

1.  A student needs a study schedule to maximize academic achievement.
2.  A student needs a study schedule to accommodate his other activities.
3.  A student needs a study schedule to maintain good health.

—————————————————————————————————————————————

X  A student must have a regular schedule of study.

1.  A student needs a study schedule to maximize academic achievement.  Since his first priority is usually his schooling, it is important that a student find ways to improve his academic performance.  One way to do that is to plan and implement a study schedule that will put his school work at the top of his list of things to do.  If getting an A in a chemistry test requires three hours of reviewing notes and practicing problems, then that time must be set aside to take precedence over television, Facebook or daydreaming.  For example, sometimes scheduling 20 minutes a day to review vocabulary words is the only way to get a top grade in Spanish class.

2.  A student needs a study schedule to accommodate his other activities.  While academics are his first priority, a student must also fit in all types of other activities into his routine.  Eating, sleeping, sports, club activities, and simply relaxing are usually all important aspects of a student’s life.  Without a schedule, time is frittered away and a student may end up sleep deprived or being kicked off the track team for missing practices.  All these different activities can be planned so a student will be able to perform competently in school and as well as in other parts of his life.

3.  A student needs a study schedule to maintain good health.  Without a schedule, the elements of a healthy lifestyle will suffer.  If a student neglects to plan ahead for sufficient study time, then he may find himself up late at night cramming for a test when he should be sleeping.  He may find himself eating on the run, which often means fast food and cookies instead of healthier options.  This can lead to poor nutrition, weight gain, or more serious medical conditions.  Making time for adequate studying causes a student to feel well-prepared, while the opposite causes stress.  Sleep deprivation, poor eating habits and high stress can be avoided by a well-planned study schedule.

WHAT I LEARNED
There is always room for more detail.  Even when you think you’ve put in as much as can, you can usually squeeze in some more.  Editing out excessive information can be done later in the process, as I will probably learn in future assignments..
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