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Research Writer Interview With David

Good Writing Is A Good Writing

Good morning, David.



I think you mean, "Good afternoon." It's after 12:00. You're more than thirty minutes late.

[giggling nervously] Oh, yes. Yes, yes, of course. Sorry to keep you waiting. Traffic and all, you know. Well, anyway - good afternoon.

Good afternoon.

[obviously unnerved, shuffling through a series of index cards] Okay, then. Why don't we begin with you and your writing. What kind of writing do you consider to be your forte?

Well, I wouldn't say that I have one specific form of writing at which I excel above others. I enjoy all kinds of writing - from fiction to poetry to dissertation-type research papers. I derive excitement and almost a certain pleasure from each. I just love to write. I'm most at peace with myself when writing custom papers - if that makes sense. And not to sound solipsistic, but I'm an exceptionally good essay writer. And good writing is good writing - no matter what style.

Interesting. A bit conceited, perhaps, but interesting. For now, though, let's focus on expository writing. Not that fiction and poetry aren't just as important in their own right. But expository writing is primarily what would be asked of you.

I understand. That's fine. Well, for me, expository writing falls under three categories.

First of all, there's the "opinion" essay - that is to say, the essay or paper one writes merely to express his or her opinion, usually based on no external source. As a writer, this kind of essay is of the least interest to me. I'm not saying the "opinion" essay doesn't have merit, but once one gets beyond grade-school, this type of writing seems a bit pedantic and elementary. They're mainly exercises to keep the student busy and the teacher from having to exert him- or herself too much by grading such papers.

Secondly, there is the "primary-source" custom essay or paper. These are assigned on a particular text or selection of texts, such as a novel, short story, or other scholarly work - not necessarily in the field of literature. This type of writing utilizes both the student's comprehension of the text on which he or she is writing, and his or her ability to formulate some sort of opinion about it. The primary source is the text on which the student is writing. Quotations from the text are inherently a part of this assignment. I think this second type of expository writing is slightly more engaging than the first - but not much. In my opinion, these essays are often nothing more than glorified book-reports.

Within the paradigm of expository writing, my main interest lies in the third and final category - what I think of as a "critical" essay. These are typically longer, more time-consuming, and require a greater deal of critical analysis on the part of the student. With this type of writing or essay, a student is usually asked to formulate an argument (the student's central point, or thesis) based on the text, and then critique the text from a viewpoint dictated by this pre-chosen argument. The tricky part is finding credible ways defending his or her argument regarding the text. Often, the student's argument is his or her observation or opinion that something within the assigned text (or often its subtext) is somehow flawed. Allow me to stress: I find this aspect immensely exciting. Telling either a high-school or college student that he or she has the right - in fact the duty - to challenge something that has already been acknowledged as "academically accepted" is invigorating and often helps to build the writer's self-confidence. In the type of critical-analysis essay I'm describing, the student not only uses the primary source (the text being analyzed), but also any number of secondary sources - other critics he or she has found through research to support his or her central argument. For me, herein lies the fun. I love to do research on all sorts of texts and discover what other scholars have to say about them - be they positive or negative. Finding appropriate secondary sources to use for any particular essay or paper of this type is absolutely vital. For example, viewing a cornerstone of the literary world such as John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men from the paradigm of feminist theory and critiquing the text as misogynistic is one such idea from which such a critical analysis can begin. (I have a particular interest in feminist and queer theory when examining texts, but these are by no means the only paradigms on which I have been schooled.)

Very interesting. But are you saying that you would only be interested in writing papers for English or literature courses?

Absolutely not. I have written many critical-analysis papers in courses ranging from philosophy to religion sociology - even scientifically oriented courses such as anthropology. I speak in terms of literature courses because this is what I know best. But given the right circumstances and the willingness to access appropriate research materials, I welcome the chance to write well-crafted and well-researched papers in any academic discipline.

Sounds good. But for a moment, let's get back to the first two forms of expository writing you previously discussed. Would you have any objection to writing those types of essays?

None at all. I welcome the chance to help students with any type of writing.

Speaking of which, that brings me to my last question: How do you feel about writing papers and essays that are in essence for someone else? Ethically, I mean.

That's a matter I've given quite a bit of consideration. When all is said and done, however, I think there's a substantial difference between deceit and a type of tutoring. I know that the vast majority of students out there have an extremely tough time getting their thoughts down on paper. This is where I would come in. I view the situation as coming to the aid of a student in need - someone who is not as gifted a writer or researcher as I am. My hope would be that he or she would take what I've written and somehow make it their own. Learn from it, and in doing so, add their own touch here and there, allowing their individuality to shine though. And if this doesn't happen, at the very least they will have gained some knowledge not only about the subject on which their essays are based, but also on the very nature of the arts of writing and research themselves. So, I suppose the answer to your question is this: No, I would not in any way feel as if I were compromising my personal ethics.

Thank you for your candor and the chance to interview you, David. You seem like a very intelligent and intriguing young man.

Thank you for having me. And, just to set the record straight, I don't seem intelligent and intriguing; I am, in fact, intelligent and intriguing. [Light-hearted chuckles from both.]

... I have only been writing thesis, term papers and academic assignments for for about a year, prior to joining the team I had been completing my own study requirements, which took me five years of extensive study.

Random writer: /2/writer-vincent