Writing and writing again

Everyone has a special place. That place where you feel stressless, powerful, and happy. For me, that special place is on top of a snowcapped mountain in the middle of cool winter. I love winter. I love snow. I love snowboarding.

When I’m there, I feel so free and stressless. I don’t have to worry about the upcoming tests that I have to take, no need to worry about studying, and no need to worry that I will be yelled at for doing nothing all day.

After an exhausting day of snowboarding, what more do I want than to come home to comfort food? I go back to the cabin exhausted and entirely sore and smell the sweet aroma of homemade beef phở. Homemade phở is the best. A steaming bowl filled to the brim with sweet broth, long thin noodles, piled with tons of thinly sliced beef, and a pinch of white onions, cilantro, and green onions. The best comfort food for chilly weather, in my opinion. This perfect world only exists once a year for me, and it is what I chose to base my descriptive essay on.

Photo ©2010 by Alpha [CC BY-SA 2.0]
Photo ©2010 by Alpha [CC BY-SA 2.0]
For English, I’m writing and revising a descriptive essay about Mammoth Mountain. A descriptive essay describes a specific event, thing, or place. Actions aren’t necessarily in chronological order and the whole point isn’t to tell as story, but to paint an image. To make the audience visualize the moment and feel as if they were standing there themselves. Vivid imagery and details are important to a descriptive essay. But I struggled with it because I couldn’t keep the narrative aspect out of it. I couldn’t quite grasp the difference between the two modes of writing. Three revisions later, I finally understand the difference.

Snowboarding is like writing because you’ll never get it correct the first time. You’re going to fall the first time you snowboard, just like how the first draft of an essay is going to fall far from perfection. There are always faults to fix, so practice makes perfect. Before you can smoothly glide down the mountain or master a mode of writing, you need to overcome the twists and turns along the trail and be open to ways to improve.

Thankfully, I received a lot of constructive criticism from my peers on how to improve. My main problem was that I had too much narrative, and not enough description. Three complete revisions of my essay later, only one paragraph has stayed throughout the revisions:

“I dangled fifty feet above the ground with a thirteen pound weight attached to my foot. I admired the view as a bumpy, unstable chair took me up to my destination. My hands were already numb, even with my fluffy new gloves. The pure white landscape, dotted with bright green trees nearly fifteen times my height, had a brown hue due to my new, oversized goggles. I practically shook with excitement.”

snowboard

All my other paragraphs have been scrapped and replaced to transform my half-descriptive half-narrative essay to a complete narrative essay.

Third time’s the charm right?

-Mary

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