Friday, March 6, 2015

What's Your Spirit Animal?

As the name of the post suggests, the Writing Center Staff Tutors asked a really hard-hitting and serious question regarding the kind of animal each tutor identified with based on the animal's characteristics and their own in terms of similarities. It was a very fun and thoughtful way to pass the time when it gets lonely quiet around here!

If I can recall, it all started between Lead Tutor Jenni writing each of Staff Tutor Hillary's top 5 characteristics on the chalkboard. Hillary described herself as... It then boiled down to an elephant and horse to which Hillary decided horse because... horses are cool, I guess.

Soon, each available Staff Tutor joined in afterwards. Some of the ones I remembered was: Greg was a two-toed sloth (even though most of us thought he'd be a Labrador by just how cheerful he is), Talea was between an ostrich, because her sense of humor and silliness is a lot like how an ostrich looks, and a giraffe. I was a "rabbit riding a parakeet" only because we couldn't decide if I were a rabbit or a parakeet.

The only parameters were it had to be an animal in our world so sadly, unicorns weren't allowed. But if you wanted to be one so bad, you could always choose a narwhal, the unicorn of the sea.

Thursday, February 5, 2015


In a time where our lives have become inherently intertwined with technology, have our romantic relationships altered as well? Will we get engaged via text? Fall in love with the voice in our phone? Marry our tablet? The story is up to you!
Announcing our Spring Flash Fiction Contest: A Digital Age Love Story
750 words or less, the rest is up to you!
Due by noon on February 23rd by email ( or in person at AUD 442.
The winner will be announced on February 26th at our Flash Fiction Party in the Writing Center. The winner's story will be published on our blog and the writer will receive a gift certificate as their prize.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Our Favorite Revision Strategies

With deadlines fast approaching and drafts piling up, we thought it may be nice to share a few of our favorite revision strategies to help you out in the home stretch to the end of the semester.

Lead tutor Jenni suggests a strategy of to determine the clarity of your topic to your audience.

“Here is a revision strategy which has helped me clean up and refocus many papers. After completing a first draft, print out two copies of your paper. Take one copy, and in the margins identify the topic of each paragraph. Limit yourself to no more than three words. Ask yourself what each paragraph is really about, and jot it down. When you get to the end of your paper, go ahead and put those pages away and forget about them for the time being. Retrieve that second copy of your paper; the copy you have not jotted notes on. Hand it to a peer. Without mentioning how you’ve already done this yourself on another copy, ask your peer to read and then write in the margin next to each paragraph what they think is the topic of that paragraph. After your peer has finished, bring your copy with your notes back out. Compare papers and notes. Have a conversation about what you each came up with and why. Do you and your peer agree on what each paragraph is really about? If not, think and talk about how this miscommunication could have happened. What specifically on the page is sending mixed signals?”

Staff tutor Hillary describes a simple fix for voice and sentence clarity.

“One of the easiest and most effective ways to revise your paper is to read it aloud. Read the paper out loud, and pay attention to spots you stumble on. I find that these trouble areas usually just need a quick flip or maybe a different word choice to make them flow better. If possible, have a friend read along silently--You’d be surprised how often you will actually auto-correct your own typed words when you are speaking them.  Often you will say something clearer than you typed it, and BAM!, your brain did the revision for you. This is a tool we often use in the Writing Center, and it can really help smooth out the voice in your writing without much effort.”

Lead Tutor, Dan, has a bit of a different spin on reading your paper aloud, which he calls the “Richard Nixon.”

“Once I've written my paper, I like to read my paper aloud using a character voice, my favorite being Richard Nixon. Because I am focusing so much on the character voice, I  remove myself from my own speech patterns and can find any trouble spots in the paper”

We hope these few suggestions help in your revision process!

Please note the the Writing Center is OPEN Monday and Tuesday 9-5 and Wednesday 9-Noon during Finals week! Visit our webpage to make an appointment!