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Invention and Pre-Writing
Berthoff, Ann E. Forming/Thinking/Writing: The Composing Imagination. Rochelle Park, N.J.: Hayden, 1978.
Writing is a process of making meaning, of discovering how we think and feel about the world as we try to shape our thoughts in language. This textbook offers a series of "assisted invitations" to explore the composing process, from simple observation to forming concepts and writing critically about one's own knowledge.
Brent, Doug. Reading as Rhetorical Invention: Knowledge, Persuasion, and the Teaching of Research-Based Writing. Urbana, Ill.: NCTE, 1992.
A rhetoric of discourse consumption explains how people come to be persuaded by the texts they read and how they decide among texts' competing claims. Assuming that texts can convey shareable good reasons for belief, readers adjudicate among them, granting or withholding assent on the basis of the text's match with what the reader already knows and believes. The richer the reader's repertoire of knowledge and examined belief, the more readily she can learn from reading. This ability to learn from texts is the fundamental academic research skill. It can be taught, even to beginners, by emphasizing that the purpose of research is not to retrieve data but to converse about it, that all texts are biased, that gut feelings of commitment to one text over another can be trusted, and that research is recursive.
Coe, Richard M. "If Not to Narrow, Then How to Focus: Two Techniques for Focusing." CCC 32 (October 1981): 272–77.
The typical advice of textbooks to narrow a topic to one of its parts or to focus on one aspect of a topic may limit students to trivial topics or choke off development of ideas. Instead, students should shape a topic by looking for a contradiction in it and resolving the contradiction as the thesis of the essay.
Comprone, Joseph. "Kenneth Burke and the Teaching of Writing." CCC 29 (December 1978): 336–40.
Burke's theory of language as symbolic action is applicable to writing as an active process. The pentad can be used as a heuristic in the invention stage by focusing on agent and scene as a way to interpret experience and, later, in the drafting stage by focusing on agency and purpose as a way to move the audience. Burke's concept of "terministic screens" can help writers understand the need to translate their worldviews for an audience, and the concept of "identification" can point to persuasive techniques. Comprone restates the pentad as a set of questions for the writer. Cf. Burke [166, 167].
See: Sharon Crowley, The Methodical Memory .
Emig, Janet. "Writing as a Mode of Learning." CCC 28 (May 1977): 122–28. Rpt. in Young and Liu .
Writing is a uniquely valuable mode of learning. It simultaneously engages the hand, the eye, and both hemispheres of the brain. Writing requires an emotional commitment and is self-paced. The written product provides immediate feedback on learning and a record that can be reconsidered and revised at leisure. The stages of the writing process, embodied in notes, outlines, and drafts, also provide a record of the growth of learning.
LeFevre, Karen Burke. Invention as a Social Act. Carbondale: Southern Illinois Univ. Press, 1987.
American composition pedagogy has long been based on the Platonic view that invention is the act of the individual writer who searches for truth by self-examination. This view is supported by ubiquitous myths of individualism in America. Although there is real value in this perspective, a more complete account must recognize that invention is social and collaborative: the individual author has been influenced by society; all human acts are dialectical responses to context; writing refers to an audience, internal or external; and the classical context of rhetoric is explicitly social. Thus, there are four perspectives on invention. In the Platonic view, invention is private. The internal-dialogic view projects a Freudian self made up of contesting inner voices, strongly influenced by internalized social values. The collaborative view follows George Herbert Mead in locating meaning in the symbolic interactions of a group of people. And the collective view follows Emile Durkheim's theory that social institutions and cultural traditions affect individual choices. The social view of invention suggests ways that composition research and pedagogies can go beyond personal assumptions about authorship.
Murray, Donald M. "Write before Writing." CCC 29 (December 1978): 375–82.
Professionals go through an elaborate pre-writing process, for which teachers would do well to allow time. The first stage is delay, when the writer collects information, develops a concern for the subject and a sense of the audience, and feels the deadline approaching. Next comes rehearsal, talking about what will be written and making notes, outlines, and finally a tentative draft. Eight signals—such as genre, the sense that one's writing is fitting into a known form, or point of view, the development of a strong position on the subject—help the writer to the final draft.
Young, Richard E., Alton L. Becker, and Kenneth L. Pike. Rhetoric: Discovery and Change. New York: Harcourt, Brace and World, 1970.
Rhetoric is the study of methods for discovering ideas and changing the attitudes of one's audience about those ideas. Humans render the chaos of external reality intelligible through three cognitive activities: sorting perceptions by simple comparison and contrast with other perceptions, looking at the range of variation among the set of similar perceptions, and looking at the distribution of these perceptions across a range of experience. The subject can be considered in three ways in each activity: as an isolated "particle," in itself; as a dynamic "wave" and as a "field," in relation to other subjects. Out of this nine-part heuristic comes an understanding of the subject as a problem to be solved in writing. To persuade the audience, it is better to avoid an adversary posture and to adopt a three-step method devised by psychotherapist Carl Rogers: (1) convince your reader that you truly understand his position; (2) compare the worldviews that support your position and your reader's, to exploit the similarities between those views; and (3) move your reader toward your position. This textbook, seldom used in undergraduate courses, was a very influential work on invention and persuasion methods derived from psychology and linguistics.
Young, Richard, and Yameng Liu, eds. Landmark Essays on Rhetorical Invention in Writing. Davis, Calif.: Hermagoras Press, 1994.
Nineteen essays arranged chronologically, beginning with Kenneth Burke, "The Five Master Terms" (1943). Essays include Wayne Booth, "The Rhetorical Stance" ; Kenneth Pike, "Beyond the Sentence"; D. Gordon Rohman, "Pre-Writing: The Stage of Discovery in the Writing Process"; Chaim Perelman, "Rhetoric and Philosophy";
S. Michael Halloran, "On the End of Rhetoric, Classical and Modern"; Janet Emig, "Writing as a Mode of Learning" ; Walter Ong, "Literacy and Orality in Our Times" ; James Britton, "Shaping at the Point of Utterance"; Douglas Park, "The Meanings of 'Audience'"; and James Kinneavy, "Kairos: A Neglected Concept in Classical Rhetoric."