• Atrik Pujiastuti


DESCRIPTION PREWRITING AND ORGANIZATION In writing 1, you learned about writing narration. In this semester, you will focus on writing description. Narration is writing about events that happen and uses time order. Description is writing about how something (or someone looks) and uses space order. A. Prewriting: Clustering Clustering is a prewriting technique used by writers to produce ideas. When you cluster, you start by writing your topic in a circle in the middle of your paper. As you think of related ideas, you write these ideas in smaller circles around the first circle. The related idea in each small circle may produce even more ideas, and therefore more circles, around it. When you have run out of ideas, your paper might look something like the following model: Clustering Topic: A place from my childhood You can see that this writer had the most ideas about the first house he lived in as a child. When he thought more about his house, he remembered a stairway in the house and a mysterious lady at the top of it. Because of the richness of his ideas about the stairway, which you can see from the large number of circles, he chose it as a topic of his paragraph. Below is his final paragraph entitled “The Stairway”. As you read the paragraph, notice how the description moves from the bottom of the stairway to the top. The Stairway By Toshiki Yamazaki When I was two or three years old, I lived in a house that had a strange atmosphere. 1 I do not remember anything about the house except the stairway. It was dark, squeaking, and quite narrow, and its steps were a little high for me to climb up. From the bottom of the stairway, it seemed like an endless climb to the top. Beyond the darkness of the top of the stairway, there was a middle-aged, elegant lady leaning against the wall. I had to pass her every time I went to my room, for my room was the first room from the stairs on the second floor. The lady wore a beautiful dress with a quiet pattern and a tinge 2 of blue, and her peaceful eyes stared at me every time I went up the stairs. As I carefully climbed up the last step, her eyes became fixed 3 on me. I was scared, yet I was also curious about the lady. She didn’t talk, nor did she move. She just stood there and watched me clamber 4 up the stairs. One day I touched her, but she did not react. Her face did not change expression, nor did she even blink. She just kept staring at me with her glittering 5 eyes. Later, we moved out of the house, and I never saw her again. Now I know that the lady was a mannequin. 6 My aunt, whom I lived with, used it for her dressmaking class. I did not know my mother. Maybe I imagined that the mannequin standing at the top of the stairs was my mother. The stairway with the strange atmosphere has an important place in my earliest memories. 1 atmosphere: mood of place; 2 tinger: small amount; 3 fixed: not moving; 4 clamber: climb with difficulty; 5 glittering: shining, sparkling; 6 mannequin: life-size model of a human used for displaying clothes Questions on the paragraph 1. What does the writer say about the atmosphere of the house in the first sentence? 2. How does the writer describe the stairway? Underline the words that describe it. 3. When he first describes the woman, is he looking up at her or down at her? What does he describe about her first? What does he describe last? 4. Which of the senses does the writer of this paragraph appeal to in his description: sight, smell, sound, touch, and/or taste? ACTIVITY A. Practice the clustering technique. Choose one of the topics from the list below, and write it in a large circle in the center of a piece of paper. Think about the topic for one or two minutes. Then write each new idea that comes into your mind in smaller circles around the large circles. Next, think about the idea in each smaller circle for one or two minutes. Write any new ideas in even smaller circles. You should spend about twenty minutes on this exercise. TOPICS A place from my childhood The view from my window A place that is special to me An old person I know B. Save your clustering paper. You will use it later to write a paragraph. B. Organization Description Descriptive writing appeals to the senses, so it tells how something looks, feels, smells, tastes, and/ or sounds. A good description is like a “word picture”; the reader can imagine the object, place, or person in his or her mind. A writer of a good description is like an artist who paints a picture that can be “seen” clearly in the mind of the reader. Spatial order Just as an artist plans where to place each object in a painting, a writer plans where to put each object in a “word painting.” In a description, writers often use spatial order to organize their ideas. Spatial order is the arrangement of items in order by space. For example, when describing your favorite room at home, you could first describe things on the left side of the doorway and then move clockwise around to the right side. You could also start on the right and move counterclockwise around to the left. If you jump back and forth, it would be very difficult for reader to try to see the room in his or her mind. When you describe a person, you could begin with an overall impression and then focus on the person’s head, then the face, then on one part of the face such as the eyes. It does not usually matter whether the spatial organization is left to right, right to left, near to far, far to near, outside to inside, inside to outside, top to bottom, or bottom to top. It is only helpful to use some kind of spatial order when you write a description. The paragraph “The Stairway” uses spatial organization. In describing the stairway, the writer shows that as a little boy, his first view was from the bottom looking up looking up at the mannequin. Then he climbed up the stairway until he reached the top. Thus, the spatial organization is from bottom to top. When he describes the mannequin, he first gives an overall impression (the way she was leaning against the wall and what her dress looked like). Then he focuses on her face and finally on her unblinking eyes. Thus, the spatial organization is from far to near. Practice: Spatial Order Practice 1 Study the map of Greenhills College, a small private college in the United States. Pretend that you have to describe the campus to a visitor who is not familiar with the campus. Discuss with a partner or a small group three different ways (back to front, right to left, etc.) to organize your description using spatial organization. Number 1 has been done for you. 1. As you walk in through the entrance, you will see the dormitories on both of your left and right sides. 2. 3. Practice 2 Each of the following sentences could be the first sentence of a descriptive paragraph. First, discuss with your partner or group some possible details that describe the place. Next, decide on the best kind of spatial order to use in the description: right to left, left to right, top to bottom, far to near, outside to inside, etc. Finally, write your details on the lines below in spatial order. 1. After my sister has spent two hours getting ready for a date, her room looks as if it has been hit by a magnitude 8,5 earthquake. a. From the doorway, you see nothing but a mountain of clothes all over the floor. b. c. d. 2. The park near my house is full of activity on a sunny weekend afternoon. a. From the gate, you will spot a pink ice cream truck beautifully decorated with ribbons and balloons and in front of it, a little girl is ardently enjoying her throat cooling vanilla sundae while the ice cream seller is busy calling out the next customer. b. c. d. Spatial Order Words and Phrases At the top of Next to Inside In the center (of the) Between Across from On the left Behind In front of In back of In the front of In the back of Above the Around the outside of the Below the Beside the Close to the In the Near the On one side of the On the other side of the Opposite the Under the To the left (right) of the

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© English Letters IAIN Surakarta 2016


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