Writing Checklists

Writing Checklists

From: Greg M. Reed

Here is a sampling of various “checklists” for either self-editing or peer revision specifically geared for certain genres. I’ve also inclosed a “grading criteria” downloaded from America Online. I hope it is helpful!!

Autobiographical Incident Response:

  1. Can I see very specific images? YES NO
  2. Can I hear specific sounds? YES NO
  3. Can I smell specific smells? YES NO
  4. Can I reach out and feel specific sensations? YES NO
  5. Can I taste specific tastes? YES NO
  6. Is the story focused? YES NO
  7. Does the story include dialogue? YES NO
  8. Does the story pull you in and make you YES NO feel that you are right inside the ‘story’?
  9. The part(s) of the piece I liked the best:
  10. Changes I might make:

The Proofreader’s Checklist
Newswriting

Proofread the story with each of the points listed below kept in mind. If you answer “NO” to any of the questions, make a note on the draft where the trouble spot is. ¥ Is each fact correct? ____ ¥ Is each fact fair? ____ ¥ Is each point in the right context? ____ ¥ Is every quote accurate? ____ ¥ Does the reader know who is speaking? ____ ¥ Does the reader know who is responsible for the information in the article? ____ ¥ Is the information as specific as possible? ____ ¥ Does the lead give the reader important information right away? ____ ¥ Does the story fulfill the promise of the lead? ____ ¥ Are the reader’s questions answered when they are asked? ____ ¥ Is there adequate evidence to support each point? ____ ¥ Does the story flow gracefully from point to point/ ____ ¥ Can it be read aloud? ____ ¥ Does each paragraph say one thing? ____ ¥ Does every sentence advance the meaning of the story? ____ ¥ Is every sentence a sentence? ____ ¥ Is each word the best word? ____ ¥ Does the punctuation work to make the meaning clear? ____ ¥ Are the nouns concrete whenever possible? ____ ¥ Are the verbs as active as possible? ____ ¥ Is there anything that can be make more simple without oversimplifying? ____ ¥ Is there anything that can be cut out? ____ ¥ Is each word spelled correctly? ____ ¥ Is the story accurate and fair? ____

Reader’s Signature _________________________ Date _______

Argument

  1. What is the writer’s proposition in this argument?
  2. How is the argument structured? Inductively? Deductively? Both? As an accommodation?
  3. What points or reasons does the writer offer in support of his or her control contention? Can you think of additional points that the writer could add in support of his or her position?
  4. What kinds of evidence does the writer use to back up these points? Is this evidence pertinent, reliable, and verifiable? Can you think of additional evidence that the writer could use?
  5. What appeals does the writer use?
  6. Do you find any logical fallacies?
  7. Does the writer acknowledge opposing points of view? Where and how?
  8. How can the writer revise the argument to make it more persuasive?

Comparison

  1. What are the two items being compared?
  2. What is the thesis statement?
  3. Which method of comparison is being usedÑthe A + B or the A/B + A/B?
  4. How many different points are being compared?
  5. Are there any points that are particularly clear and understandable? List any that are vague?
  6. Do any points in the comparison need more development? Indicate where with an asterisk.

Narration
1. What is the dominant impression you carry away from this piece of narrative writing?

2. How does the writer establish the position and attitude of the narrator?

3. What possible conflicts does the writer introduce to dramatize the narration?

4. What event brings the narration to its climax?

5. How does the conclusion resolve the conflicts and confirm the purpose of the narration?

6. What does the writer do that is the most effective?

7. Do any points in the narration need more development? Indicate where with an asterisk.

8. What revisions do you suggest to make the piece more effective?

Description

  1. What is the dominant impression you carry away from this piece of descriptive writing?
  2. How are the details arranged? whole to part? Spatially?
  3. Does this method of arrangement contribute to the dominant impression? How? Why or why not?
  4. What senses does the writer evoke?
  5. What sense does the writer use most effectively?
  6. Are there other senses that the writer could have used but didn’t?
  7. List the images that are most vivid. List any that are vague.
  8. Do any points in the description need more development? Put an asterisk at those places.
  9. What revisions do you suggest to make the piece more effective?

Evaluaton for the Movie Review

  1. Writer makes a clear judgment on the movie. YES NO
  2. The judgment is freshly or unusually stated. YES NO
  3. Review has individual voice: it sounds real, like YES NO

    the life and personality of author comes through.

  4. Includes a summary, but doesn’t dwell on it. YES NO
  5. Specific reasons are given. YES NO
  6. At least one reason is fully supported by YES NO

    examples or evidence.

  7. After reading this review, you have convinced YES NO

    me of your point of view.

  8. From the beginning, this kept reader’s interest. YES NO

    insight I had never considered?

  9. What is the author’s central reason for liking or disliking the movie?
  10. What part do you like the best? Why?
  11. Name specific ways of improving essay (illustration ideas?)

Poetry Response Sheet

  1. Can I see very specific images? YES NO
  2. Can I hear specific sounds? YES NO
  3. Can I smell specific smells? YES NO
  4. Can I reach out and feel specific smells? YES NO
  5. Can I taste specific tastes? YES NO
  6. Does the author uses ‘fresh’ comparisons? YES NO
  7. Does it successfully uses figurative language YES NO

    to give shape to the main subject of the poem?

  8. The part of the piece I liked the best:
  9. Things I might want to add:
  10. Other changes I might make:
  11. The parts that still need work are:

Evaluaton for the Informal Essay

  1. Evidence of variety (Includes stories, dialogue, YES NO

    quotations, or other ways of making the point.

  2. Uses concrete, specific words and word pictures. YES NO
  3. Essay has individual voice: it sounds real, like YES NO

    the life and personality of author comes through.

  4. Essay focuses on one specific thesis (truth). YES NO
  5. Essay gives me an ‘Ah Ha’ experience. YES NO
  6. The essay shows evidence of reflection (well YES NO

    thought out)

  7. It is not ‘ordinary’ (author takes a fresh way of YES NO

    approaching the subject.

  8. The author came up with an observation or YES NO

    insight I had never considered?

  9. What is the author’s central thesis (main point)?
  10. What part do you like the best? Why?
  11. Name specific ways of improving essay (illustration ideas?)

Typical Characteristics of the A Paper

The paper never strays form its purpose or mistakes its audience. The subject is focused significant, interesteing and manageable.

Not only is the paper organized, but the organization doesn’t seem mechanical or imposed.

Each topical paragraph has a controlling idea, solid detail, and smooth transitions.

The sentences are varied in length and structure according to the author’s purpose and emphasis.

The word choice is almost uniformly good. Words are chosen for precise denotation, connotation, and tone.

Mechanically, the paper is correct except for excusable errors of inadvertence and violations of extrememly technical rules.

Typical Characteristics of the B Paper

The paper has a firm purpose, but may not always affect the audience as the writer expects it to. It is focused and interesting.

The organization is correct, but transistions are sometimes strained.

Each topical paragraph has a controlling idea and good supporting detail.

The sentences are usually varied to suit the writer’s purpose and indicate the writer’s empahasis

The word choice is generally correct. The writer goes beyond the automatic word to find one more precise and effective.

The paper is generally correct mechanically, though there are some problems with complex grammar and punctuation traps.

Typical Characteristics of the C Paper

Though the paper has some interesting parts, the interest is not uniformly maintained. The purpose is not always clear.

The organization is acceptable, though some parts may be slightly awry. The essay has a clear thesis or principle of organization.

Each topical paragraph has a controlling idea and some support, though the support is sometimes a bit vague or weak.

There are very few errors in sentence structure, but the sentences are not varied in length or structure.

The word choice is generally correct, but the range of words is limited, so that the diction is sometimes imprecise and monotonous.

Though the paper contains few major errors, there are mistakes in niceties of spelling, grammar, and punctuation.

Typical Characteristics of the D Paper

Only in a few places does the paper find its purpose and audience. Too often it seems an unfocused exercise rather than an interesting essay.

Some principle of organization is apparent, but it isn’t successfully followed.

The paragraphing is rational, but the topical paragraphs are underdeveloped-often a series of generalizations.

Errors in sentence structure are frequent enough to distract the reader, but are not pervasive.

Words are occasionally misused. Attempts to go beyond everyday vocabulary go awry.

The sentences conform well enough to the grammar of English as spoken by educated, but not fussy people. They often fail to conform to written conventions.

Typical Characteristics of the F Paper

The paper seems to be a mechanical exercise without a purpose or an audience.

There is no apparent principle of organization.

There is no apparent rationale for the paragraphing.

There are frequent sentence structure errors of the gravest sort.

Words that should be within the range of college students are misused or confused.

Some errors indicate a failure to understand the basic grammar of the sentence. Simple words are frequently misspelled. _______________________________________________From : Teaching with a Purpose: Instructors Guide for Writing with a Purpose. Trimmer and McCrimmon. Ninth Edition. Houghton Mifflin Co.1988. Pages xii-xiv.

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