Writing Center Blog


10 Myths About the Writing Center by Dr. Gina M. Sully

posted by Writing Center

Howdy, Folks!

Well, we’re back in Dayton South Residence Hall on Mondays & Wednesdays from 4:00 until 8:00 PM this semester. You can also find us on Monday and Tuesday evenings, from 5:00 until 9:00 PM on the second floor of Lied Library in the back with the Academic Success Center. And, we’ve expanded our Sunday hours, too! We now open at 10:00 AM on Sundays, and we’re open until 6:00 PM.

Our workshop schedules are up, too. You can pre-register for any of our workshops by clicking on the Workshops tab above.

Now that the semester is underway, I’m hearing the same old misconceptions about what we do for writers at the Writing Center. So, this time around, I want to debunk some of the misconceptions and get the facts out to you all. Here you go . . .

MYTH #1: Only bad writers go to the Writing Center.

Actually, some of the best writers on campus come to the Writing Center. We consult with grad students, faculty, and staff. The Writing Center is a valuable resource, free to all members of the UNLV community.

MYTH #2: The Writing Center is staffed only with undergraduates.

Most of our staff are grad students and part-time instructors who teach composition and/or literature at UNLV. Additionally, our Professional Writing Consultant has an MEd in Curriculum & Instruction, and our Assistant Director has an MA in Linguistics. We do have a few talented and knowledgeable undergraduate consultants who undergo the same training in rhetorical theory and practice as the rest of the staff. In fact, any of our consultants can consult on just about anything you throw at them. Come on in and let our experienced, trained instructors and staff help you become a better writer.

MYTH #3: The Writing Center’s consultants work only with specific populations, like freshman taking composition and multilingual writers, or people taking English classes.  

The Writing Center’s trained staff will consult with any member of the UNLV community on any writing task whatsoever. The writing doesn’t even have to be for a class. In fact, the writing doesn’t even have to be for school!

MYTH #4: Writers must have something written to come to the Writing Center.

Nope. They don’t. You don’t have to have written a single word to come to the Writing Center for a consultation. We can help writers at any phase of the writing process. In fact, we can show you strategies to overcome “writer’s block,” or just some ways to get started. You might even leave the consultation with some writing done!

MYTH #5: If an instructor suggests you go to the Writing Center, they’re implying that you’re a bad writer.

If your instructor suggests you come to the Writing Center, you’re not being punished. By suggesting you come to the Writing Center, your instructor is implying that she or he thinks you’re the kind of student who will do what it takes to succeed. If she or he is correct, you’ll come, and you’ll get something out of the consultation that will help you gain more control over your writing. If she or he is incorrect, you’ll come and spend forty-five minutes with a nice person who wants to see you succeed. You’ll probably get something out of it anyway!

MYTH #6: The Writing Center is a “fix-it” shop where writers can find someone to proofread and edit for them.

Our goal at the UNLV Writing Center is to help people become better writers. We’ll show you some strategies for remembering the conventions—and for proofreading more effectively on your own. We won’t proofread or edit for you, but we will help you learn and discover strategies for making more effective authorial choices yourself!

MYTH #7: Writing consultants only work with academic papers.

False. Want to write a letter to an editor? An email to a prospective employer? A love letter that will wow the object of your affection? We can help. The only thing we cannot help you with are legal documents.

MYTH #8: Writers can completely “fix” a paper in one 45-minute consultation.

Usually it takes multiple sessions to read through an essay and discuss the effectiveness of the rhetorical strategies, the organization, and the cogency of the argument, all of which must be considered and revised before proofreading. That means we will go through as much of the paper with you as time allows and look for persistent patterns of error, suggest strategies that can help you find the kinds of errors you make and correct them, and provide personalized supplemental instruction about writing concepts and techniques that can help you more effectively manage your writing tasks.

MYTH #9: Writers can just drop in to the Writing Center and see a consultant.

Unfortunately, from the middle to the end of the semester, you’ll need to book an appointment in advance to work with a consultant at the main Writing Center in CDC-03. While drop-in consultations are sometimes available, you’re better off making an appointment. Writers may have up to three appointments per week.

Drop-in consultations are currently available at our satellite locations in Dayton South and Lied Library. But once we start to fill up, you may need to make an appointment even for the satellites.

MYTH #10: There is no way to get a writing question answered quickly unless you have an appointment.

We have a new service called Quick Questions. If you have a question about writing we can answer in ten or fewer minutes, just drop in and tell the receptionist you have a QQ. You’ll most likely see someone right away!

Keeping it Real: On Crafting an Effective Opening Paragraph by Mike Velez

posted May 3, 2017, 5:24 PM by Writing Center

Over time, I have come to recognize gaffes students sometimes make when writing the opening paragraph of that needlessly feared behemoth: the college essay. I say upfront that some of these suggestions come from a writing instructor’s viewpoint.  File under: writing tips.

Before we begin, the myth that the writer must begin writing with the opening paragraph somehow persists. Should we blame the (in)famous five paragraph model essay™ so often taught in high schools across the land?  This technique does have its advantages, especially if you feel more comfortable starting with the first paragraph.

But no law states that you have to write this way (though some instructors might). If you prefer to start with the conclusion and write your essay backwards in a working draft, who’s to know? Just ensure that your opening paragraph and thesis statement serves as a “roadmap” for the rest of your essay when you go back and revise.

That said, avoid these hazards when planning and drafting your opening paragraph. These suggestions apply to several collegiate writing genres, including the personal essay.

Avoid overly personal or cutesy openings. Note well if you have been tasked with writing a formal essay such as a research paper. Even as you want to get your reader’s attention as quickly and effectively as you can, tie your narrative hook to the requirements of the essay genre.

Imagine writing a research essay that supports controlling the rate of emission of greenhouse gasses; which opener do you think best sets up a nuanced and creditable argument?

  1. ·         I have detested greenhouse gasses as long as I can remember. It symbolizes everything we should hate about late-stage capitalism….
  2. ·         Imagine you are a baby polar bear desperately stuck on the last floe of ice in the Arctic Sea; alone and cold, you wonder where you will find your next meal. Meanwhile, your stomach growls… grrrrrlllll… 
  3. ·         A looming danger exists on the horizon. We can’t see it, but if the bizarre weather patterns of the last several years suggest the future; we will most certainly feel it….

Did you choose the third option? It does not come right out and state “In this essay, I will argue against greenhouse gasses” (you also want to avoid telling your reader what you are writing about- just write it) but it sets up a curiosity in the reader’s mind that will hopefully entice said reader.

The other two beginnings seem less appropriate for a formal essay. The first gets to the point in a fiery denunciation but a little more objective distance from the topic better serves the requirements of a research paper. It might make a great blog post, however. I’d probably upvote it.

The second example draws on pathos a little too much. I have seen variants of the latter example crop up now and again. While not altogether a bad strategy, it’s easy to overdo it. Also, most readers will sense when their emotions are being played to at the expense of a good argument. Pathos can be more effective when you spoon-feed it to your reader.

 Steer clear of lengthy “throat-clearing” beginnings. I once thought this strategy a connivance of lazy, procrastinating writers desiring to pad their word count.

It achieves word count, if nothing else. But it can become a bad habit.

Let’s say you now have to write a literary analysis of Hamlet. You intend to argue that Hamlet initially only pretends to be insane. His unresolved feelings regarding his family, however, eventually lead to genuine psychotic break. 

Ever since the dawn of time, people around the world and in every corner of the globe, have lived and loved, while seeking pleasure in art. These arts include music, poetry, and of course, the written and spoken word. Words. Think of all the words that have appeared in all of the literary works from ancient history to today’s society. It’s crazy when you think about all the great works of art that have helped so many people in so many distant parts of the globe and across space and time….

If this were a movie, it would appear as an extreme long shot so lengthy there wouldn’t time for a plot; the movie might consist of this one shot and then segue to the end credits due to time constraints! I may exaggerate somewhat, but I have read opening paragraphs filled with similar padding, with nary a mention of the literary work at hand.

Having read such an opener, do you know what literary work the essay is meant to address? If it went on like this, would you ever know? Get to the point. Many think Hamlet to be a work of literary and dramatic merit (my take: and endlessly fascinating as well).

However, this lengthy meditation on the power of art is not only off-topic but generally misleading. Should we expect to read on about art or Hamlet? An essay can address both, but both cannot share the single spotlight an essay thesis throws on its topic.

At some point, I began to realize that students write introductions like this not to cynically increase the word count but because they believe that college writing is supposed to look like this. Or, grimmer still, that college instructors expect such florid prose. If so, let me dissuade you as to the latter! I’ll touch on why later in the conclusion.

 When are too many questions simply too many?

How acceptable are rhetorical questions in an essay? Do they detract from your thesis? Can they serve as a thesis statement? Sometimes? Often? And why should we care?

Use questions sparingly. Asking too many questions can seem overly general, off-topic, or even manipulative. My advice: include no more than one rhetorical question per essay. And always answer any question you ask; this is just being fair to your reader.

While more a matter of style, my recommendation would be to eliminate such questions entirely in/from both your opening and concluding paragraphs. It’s tempting to use them to highlight a point by framing it as an answer- on a question your reader hasn’t really asked. Let your writing plant questions in your reader’s mind and let it answer them via clear writing and organization. 

 Hanging your opening paragraph on another’s quote or a definition.

First sentence:

As the great writer Voltaire wrote, “Judge a man by his questions and not by his answers;” according to dictionary.com, a question is defined as “a problem for discussion or under discussion; a matter for investigation.”

This seems a weak strategy to frame your essay along someone else’s ideas or a dictionary definition (does any reader seriously need to have the word “question” defined for them?).

Even more so when placed at the very beginning of your essay? Impress your reader with your observations in the beginning, the middle, and at the end of your essay. You can always include such a quote elsewhere if it supports your stance.

(Some students have told me that their junior high or High School teachers required them to include a quote from a famous person in this way, often in the conclusion. Nonetheless, college academic prose seldom, if ever, requires this).

 

Take Your Lessons Where You Can

So far, I decided to go with a list of don’ts here. Search around, and you will find many fine lists of positive advice—the do’s—for writing an opening paragraph.

Finally, I will share some advice that an instructor indirectly offered me.

As a newly minted undergraduate, I loved writing but had seldom been all that challenged by my high school English curriculum. My first college English instructor had a youngish, but intense, style. He held everyone accountable.  My first essay came back with numerous, hand-written margin comments. Looking back, it contained solid advice, far more substantial than the few “nice work here!” comments I’d generally found in my high school papers.

But I hadn’t realized that he expected everyone to read and act on this advice. The first paper came back with a comment along the lines of “please get to your point sooner” written in the margin. The next assignment due date came around. I had worked diligently on this second essay, but I didn’t put myself out too much. I certainly hadn’t thought to review the flow because it seemed to work. I thought I had taken into account of all of the comments from draft one.

Do you sense where I’m going with this? A week later, class met again. Essays are passed back. Mine has a red line neatly drawn down and across the first paragraph. No other comments, save for “Please see me during office hours” written across the top. Fairly disconcerted, I showed up at the designated place and time.

He said hi. We talked some. And then, he seemed to apologize and pointed me to a pile of essays piled at the edge of his desk.

“Right now, I got sixty students. I try to give each essay as much time as I can… I ‘d probably read too many essays when I got to yours. You did that long, rambling opening thing again and I just lost patience Revise it and get it back to me. I’ll read it with fresh eyes.”

This is a true story. It doesn’t often happen, I admit. But the point stayed with me: instructors and professors are not grading machines. This one may well love your quirky style while this other one may roll their eyes at it. This one is a stickler for commas, while this other one seems more interested in how closely you followed the instructions. As you go forward, the instructions narrow. Consider your major and season to taste.

You can—and should—expect this. Indeed, prepare for it. Get your prose clear and impeccable so you can deliver what you really want to convey regardless of the instructor’s predilections.

But avoid pushing your instructor’s patience with a weak, misleading, or incomprehensible beginning. When revising that final draft, imagine that yours will be the last in the pile. Your instructor seems fair, but at this point, he or she might be a little tired. They have read about Global Warming for the 22nd time. They have marked and commented final drafts 22nd times. And maybe, all in a row.

And not just on Global Warming. It could be “Why Gun Control is Needed.”

Eventually, depending on your major, it might be “Best Practices in Designing a Network” or “Case Studies in Juridical Malfeasance” or “A Survey of Hotelier Supply Chains.” Etc.

Now, they reach for your essay. They read your title, nod, and move on to the opening paragraph.

Ponder this possible scenario for a moment. Now, re-read your opening paragraph: is this really the best way to draw them in? Are you getting to the point?

If in doubt, consider leaving it out. Perhaps you can use it on the next essay. The more you write, the more ways you will learn to keep it real: to both the assignment as well as to yourself.

Write well and be heard.

The Perks of Reading Poetry by Shannon Austin

posted Apr 30, 2017, 5:29 PM by Writing Center

Now, I know what you’re thinking. (Well, actually I don’t. I’m not a mind reader.)

However, I can make a guess that when most students see the word “poetry,” their first instinct is to groan. “Why do we have to read poetry?” “What use is it?” “No one talks like that!” Even some English majors may find poetry difficult to get into or understand. What most students don’t recognize, though, are all of the benefits to reading poetry, even if the prospect seems challenging.

While most students associate poetry with Shakespeare, Whitman, Donne, or other earlier writers, the structure of poetry is constantly shifting and moving away from the traditional forms and rhyme schemes typically associated with it. Contemporary poetry, especially, explores different ways of using language and questions the very nature of what poetry can or should be. For example, I have read poems formatted as letters, lists, instruction manuals, and even emails. To some, these might not sound like poems at all, but the difference lies in the way each author manipulated the text and made his or her language choices.

Because many students are used to writing essays and research papers, which are often more formally structured, they may not even realize what they are capable of creating with words. Reading any type of poetry can offer a glimpse into the kinds of freedoms one can take with writing…once one has learned the basics, of course. Poetry strips a reader of preconceived notions about syntax, word order, and the functions of certain words.  

Aside from academic benefits, poetry also offers something on the most basic, human level. It deals with thoughts and emotions common to all of us, and it can be particularly useful in those moments when we ourselves cannot voice what we want to say. Many modern poets infuse topical elements into their work, whether it be current events or pop culture references, which can make it easier to understand what the poet is trying to convey.

Regardless, the challenge of reading certain poetry shouldn’t deter students from approaching it. As one of my professors noted, it’s difficult because the subject matter is difficult. Life is hard, and writing about it (and certainly understanding it) is going to be hard as well. That means when one can grasp even a little bit of it, say a line or two of poetry, the reward is more than worth it.

Attack the Page: Slasher Cuts by Ashley Jagodzinski

posted Apr 30, 2017, 5:25 PM by Writing Center

In horror, there’s a subgenre called “the slasher,” in which a killer roams around gleefully murdering people. These movies benefit from our deeply-rooted anxieties about loss and change, among other things. Believe it or not, the act of writing can trigger similar feelings of anxiety, uncertainty, and fear. Sure, we’re not being chased around by serial killers, but for many people, writing is a reflexive activity that is closely tied up with identity. When we are faced with the task of changing a piece of writing, we are also changing a part of ourselves that now inhabits the page. Revision can be scary, so it is not uncommon for new writers to resist or even despise revision.

However, most lifelong writers know that revision is a critical part of improving their writing. Hemingway wrote forty-seven endings to his novel A Farewell to Arms. Nabokov said that he revises so often that his “pencils outlast their erasers.” With that in mind, I want to propose a new kind of revision process that might make for better writing: slasher cuts. Like Hollywood slasher villains, we ought to revel in hacking up our writing.

Slasher cuts are the antidote to some writers’ unwillingness or inability to make major changes to their drafts, even when they can see that those drafts simply aren’t working. To fix troublesome drafts, we should be willing to cut them up, paste them back together, lose sections, add sections, demolish the thing and rebuild it from the ground up.

Since I practice this kind of wild abandon in my own writing, I have started to ask writers to slash at their drafts during our consultations. The encounter usually goes something like this:

ME: “What would happen if we just cut this entire section?”

WRITER: “What, all of it?”

ME: “Yeah. We agree that these couple of pages are problematic and you said you’re not sure how to make it fit with the rest of the draft. Wanna cut it?”

            WRITER: (fearfully) “Uhhh. I mean. I...”

See, the problem is that when most of us talk about revision, what we actually mean is proofreading. Grammar, punctuation, word choice. But revision, as the word implies, refers to looking again, and it often involves making large-scale changes like moving entire sections, slashing away at everything that isn’t useful or relevant, and rewriting large chunks of text.

When I suggest we work on macro revisions, it is not uncommon for writers to give me a look of terror; they are visibly afraid of making major changes to their drafts. But like Hemingway and Nabokov, I know that sometimes higher-order revision is the difference between an ineffective piece of writing and a stellar, I’m-still-thinking-about-it-a-week-later piece of writing.

In writing this blog, I have completely done away with several body paragraphs, moved sections, deleted sections, changed the theme from the Serenity Prayer to slasher flicks, and added a section on famous revisers (revisionists?). Slasher cuts are terrifying, I know, but they can help transform your writing into something better, sleeker, more interesting. So next time you’re writing, give it a go. Slice and splice and see what happens.

Happy slashing!

Hemingway, The Writing Consultant by Jesse Cook

posted Apr 26, 2017, 4:08 PM by Writing Center

If you've ever wondered what it would be like to have a writing consultation with Ernest Hemingway, wonder no longer.



Filling out Forms with Good Form (Hemingway Visits the Writing Center) by Angelo Ligori

posted Apr 26, 2017, 9:46 AM by Writing Center   [ updated Apr 26, 2017, 1:57 PM ]

Angelo, and all consultants, want to encourage you to fill out your Intake Sheet completely when you visit the Writing Center. He has provided you with an example of a complete Intake Sheet and an example of the reports we send to your instructors.





 





A Blog Post by Gabi Broeker

posted Apr 7, 2017, 3:51 PM by Writing Center

A blog. More specifically a blog for the Writing Center. A blog for my job; one that my peers, colleagues, and bosses (gulp!) are going to read. I’m supposed to write down my great ideas, my perspectives, my secret tips and tools; however, I only have one thing on my mind. SPRING BREAK. How can I possibly lecture about things like grammar and sentence structure? And are you even going to be writing over SPRING BREAK? Well, I’m gonna show ya some cool stuff . . . check it out.

 Grammar doesn’t take a break. In fact, grammar is what makes us sound really smart or really not smart. So don’t disregard it when you are meeting new people on the beach, playing games with your family, or just relaxing. Remember, “me and Billy” didn’t go to California . . . “Billy and I” went to California. And you aren’t “doing good” . . . you are “doing well.” No . . . those are not silly rules. Those are intelligent rules, rules that make you sound that much gooder. Oops. See what I mean?

 Don’t overthink it, but remember that when you share your SPRING BREAK memories and stories with your friends, you’ll want them to sound awesome! Here’s a tip, KEEP A JOURNAL. How simple, how easy, how fun. There’s no prompt, no length requirement or formatting. A journal is all you, all the time. Tell us what happened, good or bad (but hopefully good). And you don’t even have to write in a journal! WHAT DO YOU MEAN, GABI? Well, maybe you can tuck some concert tickets in there to remember what a great time that was. Or you can tape those pictures you took at the photo booth on page nine. Even better, slip a few rose petals in the pages to remember the nights you spent with a loved one.

 See, grammar and writing doesn’t have to be hard or difficult. It can be fun. Grammar helps us carry ourselves and present ourselves in more formal ways. And writing isn’t always academic… it can help us remember all our greatest adventures. Plus, it makes it a little bit easier to write that essay when you get back to school . . . minimal hand cramps and blank stares to the ceiling. Trust me, we’ve all been there. So kick back, relax, and enjoy SPRING BREAK 2k17. See ya soon folks!

Just Do It by Vicki Stanley

posted Apr 5, 2017, 5:40 PM by Writing Center   [ updated May 24, 2017, 1:05 PM ]

Writing a paper can feel like an impossible task to complete. Throughout my time in college,
speaking with my peers and other writers, I've noticed that many writers (myself included) have felt constricted when writing, and feel like there is only one correct way to write an academic paper. However, this is not the case. While aspects of your paper such as the topic, format or assignment requirements are fixed, the content has flexibility. Many writers, however, may have difficulty finding this flexibility and in turn difficulty writing their papers. Therefore, finding tips to engage a writer in the writing process is crucial to promote the free flow of ideas when writing. Like many writers, I have also experienced “writer’s block” and have thought that a paper was too insurmountable a task to overcome and complete. To combat this, the list I’ve included below has a few tips and tricks I recommend for overcoming these obstacles and discovering the autonomy each writer has over their writing.

1. Just do it! By that I mean brainstorm. Brainstorming is a key element to completing any paper, whether it’s a one page summary paper or a ten page research paper. Getting any ideas out on paper, even if they seem ridiculous at the time, will not only help a writer decide what points he or she would like to touch upon, but will also divide your essay into much more manageable goals.

2. What is important to you? If you have the option to, choose a topic that matters to you. You’ll most likely experience more ease when writing the paper and produce some of your best writing due to your investment in the topic. If you can’t choose your topic, remember that you have the autonomy to include the evidence that you feel is the most important or relevant when building your argument.

3. Breathe. Consider taking a break from writing your paper if you’re feeling frustrated or stuck during any stage of the writing process. This break can range anywhere from fifteen minutes to a day or two. Distancing yourself from your paper can be a good thing, helping you clear your head and sort out your ideas and directions your paper can take. Just make sure you don’t forget to come back to your paper.

As the semester comes to a close, remember when drafting your final essays and anything you may write in the future that you are not powerless when writing. The diction, syntax, voice and ideas in a paper are unique to each writer, resulting in a multitude of academic writing styles and papers. There are many ways to write an academic paper and the writer holds the power over the production of it. So set aside your fears and get started, writing will only get easier if you do. Good luck and happy writing!

The Importance of Reading Closely by Kayla Dean

posted Apr 5, 2017, 5:34 PM by Writing Center

I once had a professor tell me that I should never read a book without a pen in my hand. This works pretty well for me; English majors annotate obsessively. Just one look at my collection of Virginia Woolf novels and you’d know that I had to write a paper about them afterwards.

But if you’re a current composition student (one who’s not required to read To The Lighthouse) you probably get tired of your professors teaching you how to annotate yet again. Besides, you learned this skill in high school, right? Just throw in a random highlight here or there and circle a word you don’t know. That will get you the daily points. Yet this is only a small part of what annotating can do. Your professors notice if you haven’t put in the sincere time and effort to read a piece carefully. Additionally, you shortchange yourself the ability to substantively learn good study skills.

Something I always see with my composition students is that they have less to say if they have not annotated the piece I ask them to read before class. Does this mean that without scribbling all over what you read that you can’t understand it? Not necessarily. But here’s the reason that annotating is absolutely vital to a good writing practice in your composition course: technology is distracting and it’s all too easy to get pulled away from your reading if there’s nothing holding you to the page.

We get it over in the Writing Center: it’s not always easy to read what’s required for your classes when there’s so much distraction in every place imaginable. But there are a few life hacks that actually do make your papers stronger. First, annotate as you read, but take a second pass if you don’t feel like you got everything. Also, look for those little compact paragraphs that summarize the whole piece. Oftentimes, a writer will put their point earlier in the text. Don’t be surprised if it doesn’t look like a traditional thesis. It may not be at the end of the first paragraph, but it will usually tell you what you need to know to read a piece effectively.

Also, take some time to look at the rhetorical strategies in the text. How do they start their paragraphs? Do they use long sentences or short ones? Oh, and what surprised you about the piece? Did you like/dislike the way that the author presented the information? Summarize each paragraph if this last question poses some difficulty for you.

All of this stuff matters. When it comes to your own writing, you will have to make the same decisions.

Yes, we know that you know how to do basic reading. But annotating lets you actually slow down and understand what the writer wants to say. Skipping this step often means that we miss out on key moves in the text. That’s at least part of the reason why you freeze up when your professor asks a question during discussion. If you know the text (or at least have some notes to remind you what you read about), then coming up with an answer suddenly doesn’t seem quite as difficult.

Don't Be Shy by Alex Zenz

posted Apr 5, 2017, 5:28 PM by Writing Center

Many of the consultants in the Writing Center are students, as well as teachers.  All of us remember—or are currently experiencing—what it is like to take classes at a university.  We know what it is like to be wholly confused by an assignment, even by an entire subject.  We also understand that feeling of panic when an essay is due and not done.  The UNLV Writing Center is here to help improve your ability to succeed in a college environment through aiding you in becoming better writers.  We are here to walk you through the various stages and aspects of academic writing, and to help clear up that confusion and panic when we can.

There is a place on our intake forms where you can write down what your specific concerns are.  If you do not know, that is okay.  Really.  We are happy to start at the top and look at your thesis statement, essay structure, and content. 

If you do have questions, though, do not be afraid to ask them up front.  Consultations are more beneficial to you when we know which elements of writing are the most difficult for you.  We only have 45 minutes at a time to help you with those concerns, so it is best if—when you have specific questions—you make sure to ask them up front. 

It also helps if you bring your assignment guide, notes, professor comments, and anything else you used to help craft whatever stage of your work you have brought in.  We have plenty of room at our consultation tables to lay things out and look at them with you.  Although we can’t always know exactly what your professor is asking for, the more information we see, the better chance we have at giving you accurate advice on how to progress through the writing process for your specific writing assignment. 

If you ask us to proofread your work, we will say no.  Any other writing questions you have, though, we will do our very best to answer.  So please, do not be shy about asking; that is why we are here.

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