Harris and His Techniques

I missed the first blog but I still feel that Harris has give me several good ideas on how to improve my writing technique. Overall, his point is that we need to read and then think about how it could be improved upon and that’s when we start to insert our own ideas and begin to move past summarizing. To start, I like the idea of focusing on what the writer is trying to do when they write but I think once you get that it is only natural to take it a step further and draw the conclusion about what the author’s point of view. I think one question answers the other.

I understand the idea of rewriting something and how they may make it better but I have a hard time standing behind was basically comes down to fan-fiction. Now one can say that it’s artistic and isn’t supposed to be perfectly polished but it usually isn’t better and is almost too absurd. However I do like the idea of being aware of one’s own biases and ideas and experiences before starting to judge. So to give this a practical application, when writing an essay (although I can’t place myself directly into the piece) I can point out how the novel may effect others with these experiences and how the author uses this to their advantage. Although it isn’t a rewrite, I am basically “explaining the joke”. This doesn’t have to be dry however. Bringing to light what the author is saying and putting in my own ideas to further the thought doesn’t ruin the piece but instead furthers it.

The part about the thesis puzzled me. My entire life I’ve had this idea of the one sentence to give the main idea of my paper. Of course with a book you can have a main broad idea and then each chapter can have its own thesis statement as a mini essay and the end can tie them all together. If we don’t use a thesis statement, what do we use? I think I need more clarification on this point. I understand the idea of wanting to point out what the author is trying to accomplish with his or her writing but is that not the point of the middle paragraphs?

When I got to the section of chapter one that discusses “projects”, I congratulated myself on doing his first tip. When I start an essay I always take the first paragraph and discuss what the book was all about in my own words. However I know once I start to use quotations it begins to be more of a summary and less of my own ideas coming into play. I think this is where I need the most work.

The last section that really stood out to me was the part where he discusses that in literature the world isn’t black and white. Many people focus on pro or con but often times there are several other view points. I think this is something I need to keep in mind because I don’t always think about any other view point than those against me.