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Sometimes your instructor will give you an idea to begin an assignment, and other times your instructor will ask you to come up with a topic on your own.A good topic not only covers what an assignment will be about but also fits the assignment’s purpose and its audience.
In this chapter, you will follow a writer named Mariah as she prepares a piece of writing. The first important step is for you to tell yourself why you are writing (to inform, to explain, or some other purpose) and for whom you are writing.
Write your purpose and your audience on your own sheet of paper, and keep the paper close by as you read and complete exercises in this chapter.
The cover may interest you, and you may consider global warming as a topic.
Or maybe a novel’s courtroom drama sparks your curiosity of a particular lawsuit or legal controversy.
Later you will learn more prewriting strategies that will narrow the focus of the topic.
In addition to understanding that writing is a process, writers also understand that choosing a good general topic for an assignment is an essential step.The steps in the writing process may seem time consuming at first, but following these steps will save you time in the future.The more you plan in the beginning by reading and using prewriting strategies, the less time you may spend writing and editing later because your ideas will develop more swiftly.After writers think about their experiences and observations, they often take notes on paper to better develop their thoughts.These notes help writers discover what they have to say about their topic.Have you seen an attention-grabbing story on your local news channel?Many current issues appear on television, in magazines, and on the Internet.Different kinds of documents can help you choose a topic and also develop that topic.For example, a magazine advertising the latest research on the threat of global warming may catch your eye in the supermarket.After you choose a topic, critical reading is essential to the development of a topic.While reading almost any document, you evaluate the author’s point of view by thinking about the main idea and the support.