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Hot Topics in Writing: Rage Against the Writing Machine May 3, 2012

The Hot Topics in Writing team has found a way to talk about prewriting that won’t put you to sleep! In this episode, Matt and Mo explore the surprisingly simple side of prewriting. We discovered that preparing for a paper can be helpful and easy if approached as a simple tool and not as some obtuse writing  machine. We talk to Colin S., a Writing  Center Tutor and Fellow, about ways to make prewriting save you time. Then, Claire Rooney, one of our own Graduate Assistants, tells us about how preparing for a paper can reduce much of the anxiety associated with it. Finally, Matt and Mo debut their new segment called “Off-Topic!” In it, they wrestle with the idea of Grammar Nazism, and how important grammar actually is in our everyday lives. Also, SANDCASTLES! What do we mean? There’s only one way to find out…


Who You Are and What You Say: “Platform” and Writing May 1, 2012

In any discussion of writing (particularly writing in order to be published), the conversation comes back to platform.  You may not have heard that term for it, but “platform” refers to how the author wishes to present themselves.  In the publishing world, this usually means the author’s credentials, where they “fit” into a few conventional categories, and what makes them worth listening to.  You can’t just be a cookbook writer anymore, you have to be Joe Writer, winner of these various national awards and ruler of a social media empire, comparable to this Food Network personality.  “Platform” sounds pretty shallow, but consider the meaning in politics.  Politicians talk about platform all the time to discuss their positions on various issues, and what makes their ideas worthy of your time.  Platform determines how the reader (or the voter) sees you, and affects how they react to your writing.  It’s worth considering, then, how paying attention to your “platform” in academic writing can help you connect with your reader (or professor) most effectively. (more…)