After recovering from the shock of the moment, I had somewhat of a writing revelation!
Over the past year or so, my writing tastes have changed. As a younger student, I was happy to write anything. I enjoyed piecing together words for almost any kind of assignment: argumentative papers, reports, reviews, stories, poems, speeches, etc. But more recently, I have enjoyed writing research-based prose less and less. My professor's comment today made me realize why.
Research papers have built-in spoilers!
Conventionally, a scholarly writer includes the thesis statement of a paper near the end of their very first paragraph, giving away their final conclusion almost before the argument has begun.
As a story teller, and someone who enjoys even small measures of suspense, this ruins the whole process. It is much less fun to read, in my opinion, when I know how it all ends. And it makes less sense for me to write this way the deeper I get into creative writing. How can someone understand my conclusion if they haven't taken the journey I took to get there as I describe it in my paper? Does the end of a story make sense, is it as meaningful, before we hear the story itself?
Fortunately, I won't be writing too many more research papers in the foreseeable future. My formal studies have nearly come to an end. But I thought this revelation about my own composing process and motivations for writing was encouraging and interesting enough to share with you.
|From a favourite YA series of mine, |
A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket.
Image Credit: Alice Rosen
Share your thoughts by leaving a comment below: Do you read the last page first? Why or why not?
(If you do, don't feel bad. Lit. professors do it too!)