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POWER Writing

Facilitator: Sandy Chase

Workshop Syllabus

Do you shudder when you envision the demonic red pen, that stalked you through high school or college? Worry that your writing is wordy or weak? Have trouble organizing your ideas onto a cohesive whole? This workshop will fortify you against your worst writing fears, because you'll have POWER! 

In this workshop, we'll look at writing as a process comprised of manageable stages:  Planning, Organizing, Writing, Escaping, and Revising. Tackling small steps instead of battling the whole will empower you to write more effectively as you morph from writer to editor. Plus, you'll have an opportunity to practice your newly-learned strategies and expand your skills through instructor feedback.

Week 1:  The Five Stages of Writing

Session 1 will introduce you to the writing stages.  You will also evaluate your own writing process by completing a brief questionnaire that you can share with your facilitator.  Session 2 provides you with strategies for planning your writing.  You will learn ways to analyze your reader and decide on your purpose for writing.  Exercises will help you generate ideas for the next stage.

Week 2:  Organizing Ideas

You will learn to choose from the following organizational strategies:  categorizing, diagramming, reporter’s formula, and outlining.     

Week 3:  Writing Drafts

The crux of the workshop, “Writing Drafts,” will teach you how to identify the sections of a manuscript or document and analyze the importance of each for unity. You will practice creating thesis statements, which you will compare with topic sentences.  You will also learn how to support your topic sentences and choose and organize the most effective organizational strategy. A session will also be devoted to persuasive writing.  Writing effective conclusions is also included.  You will have ample practice and group feedback, designed to enhance your learning.

Week 4:  Revising

After you have escaped from your draft and have distanced yourself as the writer, you will explore ways to troubleshoot your own and others’ writings for unfocused, incoherent drafts.  You will also revise sentences for incorrect structure, faulty punctuation, and inappropriate voice. 


By the end of the workshop, expect to improve your ability to:

  • ·       Plan your writing to meet your readers’ needs.

  • ·       Write unified, coherent documents, using effective organizational strategies.

  • ·        Edit your writing, using correct grammar and punctuation.

Prerequisites:  Basic grammar and punctuation skills and paragraph development.

Required Materials:  None

About the Facilitator

Sandy Chase has parlayed her love of writing with her training/teaching background into positions as writing director, internal consultant, and human resource communications officer for a government agency.  She has devoted most of her 30-year educational career teaching writing and designing instruction for the University of Virginia, Katharine Gibbs School, and the US government.   Sandy also reviews manuscripts for Berrett-Koehler and Prentice-Hall publishers.

Although she writes for a living and enjoys her job, her real love is creating poetry and prose about life.  To her, writing is like music with its crescendos and rhythms that evoke different moods.  A personal essay about her “new daughter” was published in Real People, Real Stories:  How the Internet Is Touching Lives by Suite 101.com.  Another essay was recently published in Surviving Orphelia by Perseus Publishing. 

Workshop Begins: April 28, 2003
Duration: 4 weeks  
Tuition: $80


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Books recommended on this page are not required reading for participation in the course. Required materials, if any, are listed in the course syllabus.

Writing with Precision
by Jefferson Bates

One of the most popular and respected style guides ever written, this handbook by a seasoned writer with more than forty years of experience offers ten principles and seven axioms that professional writers use to express their thoughts clearly and effectively. For anyone faced with the challenges of written English, Writing with Precision can help readers write more clearly, more effectively, and more precisely than they ever have.