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  1. UnstoppableBeast's Avatar

    • Join Date: Aug 2010
    • Posts: 4

    Short Essay Editing Requested

    I've recently composed a short essay for an AP summer assignment and just wanted someone to edit/give me their thoughts.

    The assignment (basically) asked me to Nathaniel Hawthornes, "Buds and Bird-Voices" and Annie Dillard’s “Sojourner“ and, in turn, write my own piece about a place in nature that I find inspiring.

    If you are not already familiar with these pieces, they emphasis using a lot of detail and personification.

    I'll post my essay, without further ado, and let you (the reader) tell me what you think. I'll soon have to post this essay so if you could be quick with your replies I'd really appreciate that.

    (Approx: 500 words)

    Writing has never been my strong suit; I’ve always preferred other subjects, be they mathematical or scientific. “Better than constructing a thesis,” I used to say.

    As much as I would have loved to express my feelings about nature, it does not flow easily from my mind to the paper. Therefore my days have been spent staring into a wooded meadow, gentle breeze stirring the leaves. As my thoughts wander back to the task at hand, I find that I am resting my head on a desk strewn with crumpled sheets of paper and search fruitlessly for inspiration . . . again.

    Nature beckons, her call sweet and melodious. I am drawn outside like a moth is drawn to a fire, the urge is too great to resist. At this point my thoughts materialized into strokes of a pen, and those into words, words which eventually grouped themselves into sentences. At that point the sentences assembled themselves into paragraphs, and so on.

    The very nature which I was so desperately seeking lay heavy in the summer air, it was almost stifling. Yet my observations did stop. I walked further, each step sending a shiver up my spine. There was no need for shoes; the grass was soft, luxurious: almost like the finest Peruvian rug. Tall and mighty Oaks lent their leaf-leaden limbs to me, providing a broad canopy and comfort from the sun, whose rays pierced through even the smallest gaps in the foliage. A quick glance told me it was near noon, but at the height of the sun’s travels through the great, blue sky, it was no warmer than an hour before.

    “Strange,” I thought. The phenomenon seemingly broke the very laws which upheld the universe. I was exaggerating, of course, but it was the only explanation that would’ve made sense to me at the moment.

    My vision was drawn towards a colorful insect; it floated like a butterfly, lazily gliding towards the emerald grass before hastily flapping its wings to make up for the lost altitude. As if aware of my presence it fled into a thick patch of brambles. I strained my eyes searching for any signs of life but I could only catch a glance, every now and then, of its iridescent wings. The patch of plant-life which I had missed in my search for the elusive insect seemed to host a variety of delicious red berries concealed behind a vicious veil of thorns. They beckoned to me but were well-guarded by their spiked guardians; I kept my distance.

    I abandoned the pursuit, content to poke through the brush and see what other beings spent their lives crawling about the rich soil of the forest.

    A frog (or toad, whatever the case may have been) leaped from the curved cap of a mushroom which had been feeding off a long forgotten log and landed on my hand. The sudden shock sent me toppling backwards into a leafy bush, losing the frog in the process. He (as I was now calling him) was sleek, green, and extremely small; the camouflage that he sported made finding him a difficult task. It took minutes of careful searching underneath dried leaves and broad ferns to find the amphibian lurking beneath a n overgrown tree root. He padded along, oblivious to my presence.

    Clouds heavy with the chance of rain rolled in from the east. Their dark demeanor quickly blotted out the sun causing a premature twilight to descend over the rolling hills of the woodland. A drop fell upon my forehead, another quickly followed until the sky was alight with lightning and the clouds boomed with lightning. I had to shield my notebook from harm, as if it was some precious treasure. I was reluctant to go, but my time was at an end.
    Last edited by UnstoppableBeast; 30-Aug-2010 at 22:30. Reason: (Making it easier to read)

  2. Raymott's Avatar
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    Re: Short Essay Editing Requested

    Quote Originally Posted by UnstoppableBeast View Post

    Writing has never been my strong suit; I’ve always preferred other subjects, be they mathematical or scientific.
    I'd leave this introduction out. All you're doing is telling the marker that you can't write. You should let them work this out themselves, rather than subconsciously telling them that you deserve a low mark.

    “Better than constructing a thesis,” I used to say.

    Hmm, I'm not sure why you would say this. It doesn't mean anything. What is better than constructing a thesis? What is its meaning here?

    As much ...
    I'd suggest starting your essay here.

  3. UnstoppableBeast's Avatar

    • Join Date: Aug 2010
    • Posts: 4

    Re: Short Essay Editing Requested

    I see what you mean, I wanted to start the essay in a "quirky" way, I suppose.

    But I agree with you 100%, it would look and sound much better if I just trimmed of that introduction.

    Originally I was struggling for words and (since I wrote it in a notebook first) and wasn't sure if it was or wasn't 500 words. So I decided on some filler which now seems to be distracting the reader from the main purpose of the paper.

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