From Beginning to Now; From Abstract to Concrete



Seeing the immediate changes in writing depth, detail, and captivation made by each of the various writers that Beth Johnson has referenced in her work, “Let’s get Specific,” has reminded me of my own writing.  Each writer had started off with a bland, boring piece of writing that would probably make any person stop, put their glasses down, massage their temples, and walk away from the sheer simplicity and vagueness of it. However, Johnson then includes the same work that the writer had wrote, but a version that was more “fleshed out” and filled to the brim with vivid detail and imagery. The gap between both pieces of writing was just astounding. Was this the same exact writer just 30 seconds ago? I actually had to rub my eyes, blink a few times, and lightly slap myself to see if it was a dream.

Looking back at the beginning of the school year, I remembered my very first writing assignment for AP Language & Composition was to write a narrative about a memory I had. Opening up my Google document, I cringed at my writing. Was this really me? Granted, I did receive a decent grade from my teacher, but that was after I had made revisions to my final draft. Where was the detail? Where were the fluid transitions? What is this memory/setting/action supposed to look like? I was upset. I knew I was better than this. And so, I looked at my recent draft for my new essay assignment: to write about a person using a descriptor (descriptive essay). I could not believe the improvement that I had made from then till now. I still used abstract descriptions, but I backed them up with concrete detail. I could prove to my audience that my descriptions could be trusted.

It’s kind of like the antique cars in the photo above: one car looks old, bare, and dull. It’s kind of like abstract writing: very bland. However, the car to the right seems shiny, clean, new, and “fleshed out.” It really captures your attention, like concrete details.


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