Selecting a Topic

The purpose English Composition is to help you learn a writing process that will be useful throughout your college and any other writing endeavor.
Through practice and instructor's feedback, it is hoped that you grow and become comfortable and confident as a writer.
The essays you write will be critiqued and graded not so much on what you write about but how you do it; therefore, it would be wise to pick simple
topics that will lend themselves to the rhetorical method being explored.


The purpose of each essay assignment is to give you practice learning how to use the rhetorical methods the shorter writing assignments
and readings present. Here is a summary of the rhetorical methods as they relate to the essay assignments.

Essay 1: Narration, Description,
Example\Illustration & Compare\Contrast
Essay 2: Classification, Cause\Effect
Essay 3: Definition
Essay 4: Argumentation
Research Argumentation


There are several matters to consider before selecting a topic to write about.

Choosing a prompt
Before selecting a topic, you must first decide which prompt to address.
A prompt is a general area from which you can devise a topic; it is so fashioned to guide towards writing in the rhetorical method
of the assignment. For most assignment you are given several choices of prompts from which to choose.
Pick one that lends itself to specifics of the assignment and one from which you can establish a clear specific topic.
For Essay one the instructions state.
"This first essay is a simple narrative\descriptive combination. Make it simple." (could also include example\illustration and\or Compare\Contrast
Therefore you should choose a prompt that will enable you to write a simple essay using the rhetorical methods recently explored in
previous Shorter Writing assignments, and your essay should be focused on this type of rhetorical writing.
Specify a clear specific topic from the prompt
Form the prompt you must specify your clear  specific topic.
The prompt ask " Describe something of value you almost lost and how it occurred " (the general area from which to make a topic)
Topic could be: The trust of my parents. (your specific thing of value you almost lost)
                       OR My wedding ring (your specific thing of value you almost lost)

Is it of appropriate scope & size?
This means, is the topic too large, too abstract, or too unmanageable for a short simple essay?
If your topic is too large or abstract, your essay will be abstract, vague, and full of generalities (instead of real concrete development)
If the prompts asks" tell about a frightening event that you remember," pick a simple event such as:
the care accident I witnessed on my way to school , or the first day of college, or my cousins birthday party that really
got out of hand.
Do you have a lot of knowledge about it?
Before you write anything you must determine what you know about it. You can only write about a topic of which you have much knowledge.
If you pick an inappropriate topic that you don't know enough about, you will end up just making vague unsubstantiated generalities, or
espousing stereotypes or unfounded assumptions.
One student chose "Men's role in a marriage"
Unless you have done research studying this, you do not have sufficient knowledge of this gigantic topic. You may end up simply stating
vague stereotypes or assumptions based on the married men you know. Remember, you are not graded so much as to what you write about
but how you present it, so pick something you know about! Something you have knowledge of will allow you to give good solid Development
for your MI.
Will it be interesting to a reader?
A writer writes to convey a message that readers may find interesting, informative, entertaining, etc... Whatever topic you select, it should have
something in it for a reader. You are not writing for yourself but to convey some message, no matter how small, to our reader.

If you chose the topic: "Losing my parent's trust" from the above prompt:
Describe something of value you almost lost and how it occurred.
Message could be very powerful:
Appreciate parental trust because once it is gone, it may be difficult , if even possible,  to get back"
(You want to make your reader think about consequences of actions and not to treat important assets, like trust, frivolously)
If you chose to write about:
"My wedding ring" from the above prompt: Describe something of value you almost lost and how it occurred.
Message could simple:
Stay focused, and don't take small valuable sentimental items for granted
. A wedding ring, although tiny,  may  symbolizes the seriousness
of the marriage bond, and its absence might be felt for some time."

*If you choose to write about yourself, if the assignment allows first person writing, be aware that self focus may not hold interest for a reader
unless you have a clear purpose\message from which the can reader get something.