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Maggie McConnaha

Junior, Consultant since Spring 2016

Advice for writers
Read, read, read. The more you read, the more naturally writing will come to you. Whether you are reading a graphic novel, newspaper, or the most grandiose classic, your writing will almost definitely improve. It can help organization, vocabulary, and structure. After reading, try to find an unbiased peer editor who will not simply agree with you because you're friends -- find someone who will give you concrete advice, tell you what is good and what can be improved, and some strategies for improvement.

How do you get started on a writing assignment?
When I begin an essay, I first try to outline what I am going to work on. This is not an outline with roman numerals and full sentences, but just a few points that I want to hit upon that will answer the prompt. Then I start looking for evidence that could lead me to my thesis, if I don't have one yet. That might include rereading the novel again for evidence, researching secondary sources broadly, or discussing my points of interest with a friend or classmate. After I have gathered evidence, I use my favorite points to create my thesis and guide the organization of the assignment. At the end, I proofread once and then send it to a second proofreader because I always miss something!