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Poetry/Literary writing

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Question
Dear Ted,
I've got a short piece of writing and I'd like to change its style and form more literary and creative. I'd be really grateful if you can help me.Thank you.

Here it is:

The Matrix of Variables

Everything begins with variables (a set of features that make things, animals and humans different). What you are right now is not you. It is a series of variables that are connected to each other and define you. They can change everything. They provide people with many possibilities of being and acting; therefore, you can not easily predict them and their behaviour.

What we are faced with as a problem in TEFL as a field of study is that variables are many and it seems that they are in a matrix which is rotating while all its members are rotating at the same time and influencing each other. So many possibilities can be seen.

It is not clear whether we control variables or they control us. In one sense it is we who manipulate what we want; however, in the other, it seems nonsense, since if we do not manipulate any variables, then can we say that no variables are involved? They are surely there, somewhere. They are like genes, the only thing we can do is to try to be aware of them and predict their behavior; we are not very successful, though.

We are faced with a matrix of variables not just one tiny one. The characteristics of a matrix give the ability to variables to act differently in different situations. For example, variable A (intelligence) can behave in a way in a research in field of teaching while the same variable show different characteristics when it is connected to age or sex …..and then it is different when intelligence and age and learning style are combined. No way to get out unless we unravel this big, big Matrix. Time has come to change the old method of gaining knowledge through research in vacuum on a special case with a special feature in a special area… variables and their characteristics should be defined, very difficult, though, it may be.

Answer
Dear Bob:

I am undergoing treatments for a degeneration of my right eye.  I hope that my vision problem will not affect my answer.  I apologize for any typographical errors I may commit.

****

The Matrix of Variables

Everything begins with variables (a set of features that make things, animals and humans different). What you are right now is not you. It is a series of variables that are connected to each other and define you. They can change everything. They provide people with many possibilities of being and acting; therefore, you can not easily predict them and their behaviour.

*** The first paragraph is excellent, except for one thing.  Your third sentence begins with "It is a series."  "It" is an indefinite pronoun, which is fine to use for conversations or casual writing.  However, in a "literary" essay, you should avoid using.  As your sentence is right now, the very weak "it" is the SUBJECT of the sentence.  Your writing loses some of its literary quality when you make weak words to be subject.  I suggest that you re-write that sentence and send your new sentence to me.  Do not send it as a "follow-up."  Just send it as a new question.


What we are faced with as a problem in TEFL as a field of study is that variables are many and it seems that they are in a matrix which is rotating while all its members are rotating at the same time and influencing each other. So many possibilities can be seen.

**** Another "it" problem in the first sentence.  Do you really need to use the words "it seems"?

It is not clear whether we control variables or they control us.

*** Whether we control variable or they control us is not clear.  [I have re-written this sentence so that the entire noun clause is the subject of the verb "is."]

In one sense it is we who manipulate what we want; however, in the other, it seems nonsense, since if we do not manipulate any variables, then can we say that no variables are involved? They are surely there, somewhere. They are like genes, [semi-colon instead of the comma] the only thing we can do is to try to be aware of them and predict their behavior; [end the sentence with a period and begin a new sentence with "We are not . . . . "] we are not very successful, though.

We are faced with a matrix of variables not just one tiny one. The characteristics of a matrix give the ability to variables to act differently in different situations. For example, variable A (intelligence) can behave in a way in a research in field of teaching while the same variable show [SHOWS] different characteristics when it is connected to age or sex …..and then it is different when intelligence and age and learning style are combined. No way to get out unless we unravel this big, big Matrix. [The preceding words are a sentence fragment; they do not make a complete sentence.] Time has come to change the old method of gaining knowledge through research in vacuum on a special case with a special feature in a special area… variables and their characteristics should be defined, very difficult, though, [remove comma] it may be.

Bob, NOUNS are the names of persons, places, and things.  PRONOUNS, as the word indicates, stand in PLACE of NOUNS.  I know how easy it is to get into the habit of overusing such indefinite pronouns like "it" and "this."  

However, your writing is diminished when you use a "weak pronoun" instead of a "strong noun."
If you have one or two "its," then you are not overusing the word.  But look at how many "its" you have used in your essay!

Also, twice you have uses "ellipses" and you should not.  Why do you add "...." to the end of the sentence.  There is no reason to do so.  In fact, doing so is WRONG.

Now, for the good part:  Your writing is exceptional.  I understood everything you wrote, so I would say that your style is "clear and concise."  Your topic is not an easy one, but you have written about a complicated issue in a cogent and understandable manner.

Fix those "its"!

And get back to me.

Ted

Poetry

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Ted Nesbitt

Expertise

I am a reference librarian and a former advanced placement English teacher. I can help identify poems, and I can define literary terms. In the area of literary criticism or analyses of specific poems, my experience and interests are these: Shakespeare, 18th- and 19th-century English literature, and American literature. I prefer short, specific questions on particular authors, poems, terms, or literary movements. I will not edit lengthy submissions or write students` assignments.

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Masters degree in English.
Highly rated volunteer at the grammar and writing section of Allexperts.com for more than two years.

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