1. Mumble Bee

    Mumble Bee Keep writing. Contributor

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    Writing by the page

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Mumble Bee, Dec 17, 2016.

    Does anyone else hate how schools generally require writing assignments to be by the page, instead of whether or not the subject is covered?

    I feel this requirement bleeds into writing in general, and we start to push empty sentences and paragraphs to hit some imaginary quota.
     
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2016
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  2. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    Well, I'd say that a subject can be "covered" to different depths. A paragraph versus a page versus ten pages versus a hundred pages, each represent different depths on a subject.

    Now, if a teacher says ten pages and objects if you produce nine, or eleven, that does seem picky. But if he says ten pages and you declare that one page is enough coverage, I think that that's a misunderstanding of the assignment.

    Also, my understanding is that in print journalism and some other areas, there are genuine hard word limits, so the task really would be to do the best possible job in X words.
     
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  3. izzybot

    izzybot Transhuman Autophage Contributor

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    I don't know about school projects, but I used to be part of the pbp rp scene and (in my part of it) there was a big push for long posts, and I know it messed me up for a while. I guess, just personally, school requirements never impacted my actual writing, whereas when the writing I was doing for fun and to actually exercise my creativity became regulated to some degree, it bled into projects closer to my heart.

    When it came to rp at least, I always felt that when I'd said all I wanted to say, it should be enough, and the extra was needless padding without which my posts would've been stronger. I feel that way about my actual writing, too; I tend towards brevity. And in freelance writing, I do get frustrated when clients request 500w on something I feel I covered in 150w. But that's the job, eh? For creative writing endeavors you just have to learn to look for different markets that fit your comfortable output. It sucks that they may frequently not pay as well but ... I guess that's also the job.
     
  4. Mumble Bee

    Mumble Bee Keep writing. Contributor

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    (Sorry, I can't quote users on my iPad for some reason.)

    @ChickenFreak those are a few good points I hadn't considered, though I believe that skills relating to a particular job type shouldn't be encouraged in such a huge category. English classes need to be more general, like gym, and less specialized/quantified, like track and field.

    @izzybot early on I developed a habit of adding 'needless padding'. In response, I overreacted, and started questioning every letter I put out... Now I'm somewhere in between and stressed out.
     
  5. Alex R. Encomienda

    Alex R. Encomienda Contributor Contributor

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    Earlier this year during college I had to write an LRA in APA format and they required us to meet an 800 word criteria. I had no problem with the word count but I noticed most students had trouble filling in the pages because the subject was mediocre. Sometimes it's the subject and other times it's the criteria; either way the school systems should catch on.
     
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  6. izzybot

    izzybot Transhuman Autophage Contributor

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    Same, honestly - I went from being in the habit of padding things out to appease people to stripping things way down and getting about as minimalistic as possible to overcompensate, and I'm trying to work out the happy medium now. The funny thing is that I used to be really verbose and flowery when I was younger, began to feel it was too much, and developed a much leaner style before rp, so I just can't seem to stop flipflopping one way or the other, hahah. It's gotten to the point that nothing I write sounds like 'me', right now.
     
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  7. Mumble Bee

    Mumble Bee Keep writing. Contributor

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    @izzybot Now that I think about it, maybe our problem would be easily solved with a ceremonial fire, a spirit guide, and like a pound of peyote.
     
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  8. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    I suppose I'm lucky in this realm-- I naturally produce a WHOLE LOT OF WORDS, so my problem with length-controlled assignments was to cut, not to pad, which I think is easier. I remember showing up fifteen minutes late to a written test that involved an essay, so that I only had 45 minutes to everybody else's 60, and even so I still wrote far more than was called for--the teacher said that my introduction was roughly equal to the entire response that she was expecting.
     
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  9. 123456789

    123456789 Contributor Contributor

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    That's because they don't teach essay writing well in highschool- I remember a few certain girls in my class (back in the day) being asked to read out loud their "superb" essays, written in the very same inane style ridiculed by Mark Twain way back in the day.


    It's very simple. Write an outline with your introduction (thesis), supporting paragraphs, and conclusion. For some reason they save for college.
     
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