Mike Hannay and J. Lachlan Mackenzie - Effective writing in English

THE THREE PROCESSES OF WRITING

which no English-language material is available. Notes that you take in Dutch should, however, at a very early stage in your preparation be transĀ­ ferred into English. In this way, you can integrate the information into the planning stage as early as possible. Only in this way can you be sure of avoiding the production of English that reads like translated Dutch. Another, equally important reason for the planning stage to be carried out in English is that a text written in English will often be for an international readership operating in English. Even the planning of a text is to be seen as a communicative act. In making a selection from the many ideas and feelings that are stimulated by the topic, you will want to consider the potential readĀ­ ership, and must do so from the very outset. For the kind of text you will be writing, you can assume that your reader is an educated adult with good general knowledge, although not a specialist in the field that you are writing about. Bear in mind that English is now an international language and that your text will potentially have a worldwide readership. You should therefore not only avoid references to phenomena that belong only to Dutch culture, but also not assume that the reader will be familiar with purely British or exclusively American cultural phenomena.

1.2 Planning: six activities

The planning process comprises six major activities:

1 2 3 4 5 6

generating content

selecting and grouping points establishing a perspective

determining an intention

formulating a title, structuring the introduction and conclusion

drafting paragraph themes

In this section we will consider each of these stages in general terms. We will then, in Section 1.3, go on to show what each of these stages looks like in practice by taking an example of an imaginary piece of planning. What will emerge is that the order of events even within the planning process is cyclical, in that any of the later stages may lead to a revision of earlier stages.

1.2.1 Generating content

As we pointed out above, generating content, i.e. thinking about what to write about, is a process which precedes, accompanies and follows writing proper. Many inexperienced writers fear that they will not have enough ideas around which to build a text of the length required. The solution to this problem usually lies in interaction. Nothing activates ideas as much as communicating, either with yourself, with others, with written sources of information, or with the Internet.

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