mindmapparent nodes: [audience] | [design for a reader] | [economy] | [expectations] | [External Examiner] | [facts] | [feedback] | [freewriting] | [note-taking] | [obvious] | [organizing ideas] | [quotations] | [research] | [reviewing your essay] | [rules] | [so what?] | [structure]

writer-orientated prose

Writer-orientated writing may be appropriate in a note-taking context, but should be avoided in the context of a university essay, which is expected to be reader-orientated. The requirement in university work to take account of the reader's perspective is one of the main differences from the kind of writing you may have done at school. Typically, when revising, you can improve the effectiveness of your writing by making it more orientated towards your imagined reader.

The tell-tale symptoms of writer-orientated writing may be summed up as a lack of synthesis. Although it may sometimes be necessary briefly to remind your reader of the content of a text you are discussing, if you find yourself taking more than a half a page to describe the plot of a novel, for example, it indicates that you haven't really arrived at any overall view of what the novel is about. In the same way, if you are aware that you are presenting information in a particular order simply because that is the order you came across it yourself, it shows that you haven't really worked out what the significance of the information might be for someone else.

Although it's often a good idea to include an element of review of the literature in an essay, an essay which is merely a descriptive survey of other writers' views also, paradoxically, manifests an inappropriately writer-orientated perspective, as it assumes that the connection between these views is somehow obvious to the reader, whereas in fact these connections belong to the mental picture you have formed of the topic, which you need to find ways of conveying to your reader. In other words, you have to supply the descriptive element of your essay with motivation.