almost final. rip it apart please!

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almost final. rip it apart please!

Postby beta » Thu Sep 01, 2011 11:00 am

please dont quote directly. i would appreciate any help with this piece.

taken down to edit. tls rocks.
Last edited by beta on Thu Sep 01, 2011 1:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Moomoo2u
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Re: almost final. rip it apart please!

Postby Moomoo2u » Thu Sep 01, 2011 11:19 am

Your writing style is great and is interesting to read. My issue is that it reads like a novel without any real substance. You spend the first 2/3 paragraphs talking exclusively about motorbikes and riding them without making any connection to what you learned.

I basically get that you tried really really really hard to learn how to ride a motorbike. Then quicky you mention what I think is the most important part, talking with kids about taboo subjects and the bike's ability to help them open up.

Your teaching experience is secondary to learning how to ride a motorcycle. I think you're trying to use it as a metaphor and it doesn't really work.

I do like how you connected the end to the beginning and the structure of it is good (i.e. A- in medias res action b - flashback to general happenings in indonesia c- conclusion of previous in medias res action). But you really need to demonstrate more of what you learned/your abilities. you focus WAY WAY WAY too much on descriptions of riding a motorbike and not enough on teaching the kids and interacting with the culture (the majority of which is unfairly glossed over). And you never say what these diverse and interesting experiences mean or how they relate to your main point (you pick rice with indonesian women, but then don't say anything about it. how did it make you feel? Why did you agree to help them? What did you learn from it?)

CanadianWolf
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Re: almost final. rip it apart please!

Postby CanadianWolf » Thu Sep 01, 2011 11:29 am

Lacks sincerity. Your essay reads as if it was assembled in a "paint-by-the-numbers" method. This writing does not flow well & feels artificial. Try to write in a more genuine fashion.

P.S. This essay could have been written by almost anyone with a teaching-abroad experience . Try to expose your thoughts in a more vulnerable manner.

P.P.S. On the positive side, this is a well written piece that is interesting to read.

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Re: almost final. rip it apart please!

Postby beta » Thu Sep 01, 2011 12:00 pm

thanks, i definitely see now that it doesnt have enough substance.

how much background do you think it needs in terms of describing the learning process/what the roads looked like (the second, third, fourth paragraphs) just a few lines?

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Re: almost final. rip it apart please!

Postby beta » Thu Sep 01, 2011 12:04 pm

CanadianWolf wrote:Lacks sincerity. Your essay reads as if it was assembled in a "paint-by-the-numbers" method. This writing does not flow well & feels artificial. Try to write in a more genuine fashion.

P.S. This essay could have been written by almost anyone with a teaching-abroad experience . Try to expose your thoughts in a more vulnerable manner.

P.P.S. On the positive side, this is a well written piece that is interesting to read.


thanks for the criticism.
what about it sounds artificial? and any suggestions for changing up the structure?

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Moomoo2u
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Re: almost final. rip it apart please!

Postby Moomoo2u » Thu Sep 01, 2011 12:09 pm

I disagree about the artificial part I just think you spend an inordinate amount of time on description.

On the way to my new home from the airport, I immediately noticed that the streets were teeming with motorbikes. The two-wheeled bikes were transporting everything from pigs to large coffee tables. The males unpredictably switched lanes, varied speeds, and indulged in reckless turns with one hand while nonchalantly smoking with the other. The women balanced unruly toddlers on their bike saddle and effortlessly weaved through congested traffic. Through drenching rain and scorching sun, the motorbikes shared the road with cattle, trucks, and cars alike. The bikers were the pulse of the region breathing life itself into the city. Some bikers wore helmets; most did not. Helmet or no helmet, all bikers sported a smile.

while it's colorful you could boil that down to 2 sentences and not lose very much.

My very first day learning to ride was a futile endeavor. With both hands gripped on my bike, I snaked and looped through neighborhood streets as paranoia drenched me. I barely knew any Indonesian words and could not properly alert people to watch out for me. I felt sorely out of place. After five minutes of abrupt braking to avoid the people and animals milling about the dirt “road,” I dismounted and pushed my bike home. I awoke the next morning even more committed to the challenge. That day I learned how to stop without automatically ejecting myself from the seat. I discovered how to artfully circumnavigate around lounging livestock on the road the following day. As the week progressed, I started to appreciate the wind on my face.

all of that to basically say you learned how to brake correctly.


EDIT: I think your biggest mistake is focusing on the way it sounds/making it read like a piece from the Atlantic Monthly Fiction edition instead of focusing on saying something in the clearest most concise way possible.


hth

CanadianWolf
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Re: almost final. rip it apart please!

Postby CanadianWolf » Thu Sep 01, 2011 12:13 pm

It seems artificial because the superior sentence structure & careful word choices fail to paint a picture of who you are, how you view the world around you and how you developed into that person----hence, my analogy to a painting-by-the-numbers portrait.

An earlier poster noted the artificial nature of your essay by writing "...that it reads like a novel without any real substance."

thederangedwang
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Re: almost final. rip it apart please!

Postby thederangedwang » Thu Sep 01, 2011 12:23 pm

I agree with Canadian wolf. You are a good writer and you can tell that you are a good writer through your ps. But it does sound artificial in the sense that you are "trying to hard" if that makes any sense. All the vivid descriptions about rain and emotions can be overwhelming at times (kinda like a monsoon :)).

In short, although it is well written, you need to focus more on substance than imagery. Right now you have a small cake that is overflowing with icing. In other words, I don't learn more about you, what drives you, motivates you, who you are, and why law school is even remotely appropiate for you.

Take a step back and you will realize that your ps is 90% story, 10% other. You need to trim that to 50% story, 50% other (connections, lessons learned, etc etc).

Just look at your ps generally...ask yourself..how many paragraphs tell a story, and how many paragraphs actually explain/connect that story? I think you will realize that EVERY single paragraph, except for the last one, is story....that is just way too much storytelling and not enough tangible substance

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Re: almost final. rip it apart please!

Postby beta » Thu Sep 01, 2011 12:27 pm

you guys are super helpful. thanks a lot. ill definitely work on what was suggested.




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