Over the course of my writing career I’ve noticed a trend. Writing is hard because it’s as frightening as a rollercoaster. There are even models, on the internet, for how to plot a story with a rollercoaster-like method. However, I like to view the process of writing as a rollercoaster, not just a story-plot rollercoaster with a climax and a resolution. I had a recent Writing Center appointment that helped me to brainstorm this idea. I gave one student my tip to view writing their papers as different stages in a rollercoaster. I mentioned how, most often, the writer doesn’t want to start off after they have hit the peak of a story because then the main idea is lost. The idea is to view their writing as different stages of moving up and down. Writing words has a certain rhythm to it, just like when one speaks to a crowd of people. The tone of a piece of writing matters.
Here is an example of how this method of writing would work. Imagine you write the first paragraph of your paper and it reads, “The experimenters learned so much with this lab, after they learned how to connect it to their research.” Now notice how the second half of this sentence takes the reader backwards. The rollercoaster is no longer forward moving. The ideas aren’t easy to understand because the writer has written the content of their paper going downwards, rather than upwards. It’s like getting on a rollercoaster that’s already rolled to a stop. Essentially there is not take off. However, this sentence can be quickly fixed, like so, “The experimenters connected their research to their lab and gained a lot of information.” With this revised sentence, the reader is able to move forward with the topic a lot quicker. Making the subject of a work of writing come first is always helpful when trying to clarify one’s main ideas. If the reader reads too quickly they may slip over the fact that the research was important, along with the lab. Therefore, the reader will be less confused if the writer begins at the start of their writing rollercoaster.
Another way to view this rollercoaster idea is with the organization of a paper. Every single sentence must work to make the paper better, or else it can be considered a loose track for the rollercoaster cart to slip off. To prevent from any scary instances in one’s writing, an individual must try to work on every paragraph and breakdown what they mean to say. Is this the part where the reader goes upside down and sees a new viewpoint? Or is this the part where the reader is climbing a hill to understand all the work that was done to formulate this argument or topic of this paper? Whatever part of the writing process a writer is in, they must try to keep the rollercoaster running smoothly. After all, writing is just another form of engineering.
Contributed by: Edith Torres, Writing Center tutor