I Want an Essay

I Want an Essay

Coming from a student, the words “I want an essay,” sound strange, especially to myself. Public education has always led the student populace to believe that essays are assignments, and nothing more. Essays are tasks to be given out by teachers and cause us misery. Even this essay I’m writing is something I’ve been required. All my life, I’ve dreaded writing essays. I must say, though, this one has me excited.

The word essay is derived from the French verb essayer, which means to try. This form of writing can be traced back to Greece and Rome, though modern essays originated from Michel de Montaigne, who is known as the father of essays and from whom the title essay is derived from (Diyanni). Michel de Montaigne wrote a series of books known as Les Essais, which contain 107 chapters of essays varying in length and topic to a great degree. The common factor between all of the essays is that he tries to explain himself, others, and the world around him. That is what an essay truly is, and attempt to explain yourself or what is around you.

That is what I would like to make this essay about, explaining why I explain. I’ve given you a brief dose of the extensive history of essays, but that has no bearing on why I want to write an essay about why I write essays. Honestly, I didn’t know why until just recently.

I’ve mentioned that I have only written essays for school. I have avoided anything I believed to be related to essays because I found them tainted with deadlines and rubrics. I associated them with school, and work in extensions, (Which I’ve always abhorred, if I am to be honest). When I learned about how vague the definition of an essay truly is, I had an epiphany: Essays are exactly what I’ve needed all along.

I’ve always had a problem with what people will call a language; I see people take English words and change each letter into an Elfish or Dwarfish character and call it a language. It’s not. Every time I see it, it bugs me beyond all reason. Solution: Write an essay about it. It truly is that simple. I feel strongly about something, I write an essay. That’s the whole reason I’m sitting here with 400 hundred words in my rough draft où j’essai pourquoi j’essai.

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Dream Journal – Frogs and Fish

I snapped awake in an instant. Something’s wrong. I could feel a shift in the air. I quickly rose to a sitting position. My tried to grab my glasses in my headboard, but my hand rammed into the edge in my haste. My hand scrambled across insides of my headboard. Of all of the times to lose my glasses. Finally, I felt the cool touch of a lense and quickly shoved my glasses on my face. However, nothing mortifying or awe-inspiring came into focus as my vision sharpened. Well, that was a let-down.

I brushed off the off feeling I had and instead began to change. It wasn’t long before I understood what was wrong. I didn’t see that coming, I thought as I stared at the green frog head poking out of my chest. At least, it looked like a frog. It also looked like it was made of gelatin, but I decided to leave that for a moment. After a moment of shocked silence, the frog head entered my chest and a pair of blue legs took its place.

Hmm. How did that get there? I couldn’t remember an inch long cut. And how did a frog fit in there? Wait, frog? Now that the fact that a frog was inside me sunk in, I quickly stumbled out of my room. “MOM!” I yelled.

She stepped out of her room down the hall. Glancing at my chest she said “Why aren’t you wearing a shirt?”

“Because there’s a frog in my chest!” I shouted. She stepped forward and squinted.

“That’s not a frog. That’s a fish!” She laughed I glanced down to see that a red fish had replaced the blue frog legs.

“It doesn’t matter! What do I do?”

“Pull it out.” She smiled and walked into her room. She doesn’t even care! I looked down at the fish and watched with fear  as it wriggled away and several different colors of frogs and fish filled the cut.

I pinched a blue fish as its head appeared and I gave a small pull. The fish wriggled under my fingers but didn’t come out. I began to pull harder, but the fish still held firm. Come on! Please work. Then, with a mighty yank and a searing pain the fish was ripped out of my chest. Now what?

I stared at the fish as I wondered where to put it. I decided to throw it in the trash in the bathroom.

After disposing of the little thing I glanced down to see that an orange from had appeared. After a slightly weaker pull, though still strong, the frog burst out. I tossed it into the trash and continued to pull out more frogs and fish, each easier to remove than the last. By the time they were all gone I my chest had deflated and was hanging like a beagle on a hot summer’s day. Well, that was exciting. I hope I’m not full of eggs now.

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Revising and Reviewing

A kind review is useless, and a short review is useless. I want it long and painful.

– Me

The revision process is what I consider the most important part of writing. Anyone can sit down and throw out words. However, what separates a writer and a good writer if they revise. What separates a good writer and great authors, however, is how they revise. One of the best ways is to have someone else help.

Only the author can really understand the final direction that the story will take. That means the author must revise, and constantly. One thing that is difficult for an author is the superficial part of the writing, such as spelling and grammar. This is where reviews come in.

When I write, I have several friends that I will go to. They will read my story, and they can easily find errors for me. For instance, I’ve been working on a short story about discovering snow. It’s about an animal that has never seen or heard of snow. Because I couldn’t use the word ‘snow’, I often used the word ‘white’ because that would be how I would describe it without knowing what it is. I used the word white about six times over the course of 3/4 of a page. I thought that wasn’t too much that the word grew hackneyed. My friend, however, immediately turned to me and said, “Use ‘white’ less.”

One problem with reviewing, though, is that it’s difficult. Reviewing isn’t taught very often, so it becomes more of an instinctive process. Here’s something I read once on reviewing:

POISE

Praise. Tell them what works and what is good with the work.

Overview. Give them a general idea of how you feel the work is going and where it will end up.

Issues. Tell them what went wrong and what doesn’t work.

Strategy. Give them and idea of how to fix the issues and how to improve the overall work.

Encouragement. Make sure they go away feeling good about how the work will end up.

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Programming

There are more types of writing than just poems and books, one of which is computer coding.

I learn my coding at Codecademy. Currently, there are seven tracks: Python, Ruby, Web Fundamentals, JavaScript, JQuery, and PHP. There are a lot more languages out there, such as C, C#, C++, HTML5 and D. I have only worked on Web Fundamentals (HTML and CSS), JavaScript, and Python.

HTML is like the framework set up for a building. It is the structure of each web page.

JavaScript is the flesh of a building. This will allow more functionality on a website. This is also used on a lot of flash games.

CSS is the decoration of the house. CSS controls what the website looks like.

The other languages are languages about function, but much more advanced than JavaScript. These are what people used to make advanced games like Halo or Minecraft.

I don’t know about the C’s, D, and HTML5, but this is what Python looks like:

#Variables used in the code

pyg = ‘ay’

original = raw_input(‘Enter a word:’)

if len(original) > 0 and original.isalpha():

   word = original.lower()

   first = word[0]

   if first == “a” or first == “e” or first == “i” or first == “o” or first == “u”:

       #Translates word

       new_word = original + pyg

       print new_word

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Small Things

This is my last post for my Nano Wrimo Prep, and this will be for yesterday and today. All of the main things I have thought of to prepare are done. This post will be just a few small ideas that may help.

There is another Nano Wrimo site, http://www.ywp.nanowrimo.com. This site is for people that want to do 30000 words instead of 50000.

Another outline idea is to write a jacket blurb. This would be what people read when they are looking to see if they want to read the book. If you can get this worked out, then you will have a good outline for the beginning of the story.

Also, when planning your novel, add foreshadowing for twists in the book. For example, if the main character’s best friend is really a spy for the enemy, have him disappear at odd times. This will add confusion and tension if done right.

One last thing. Plan out your November schedule ahead of time, and then plan out how much you are going to write on certain days. That way, you can make sure you do enough that you won’t fall behind on a difficult day.

Have fun, good luck, and don’t give up!

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