Writing Books/phrasing


Hello...I am finding it impossible to express this thought with good phrasing for a research paper:
Film often serves as an effective medium for social critique because it consists of an observation of social ills by members of its community…they ingest these problems, and then regurgitate them in a form that is familiar to its viewers.

I'm not usually that bad of a writer, but I have been rewording this for 3 days to no avail & i'm getting frustrated!!! I just want it to sound smooth...Thank you expert!

Hello Julie:

There are almost as many ways for you to express this thought as there are words in it. That's why you're writing and rewriting it, the equivalent of emptying the ocean one spoonful at a time.

Instead, let's look at it from another angle: what's the best way to phrase it? The answer is always "The simplest and clearest way." Writing that flows smoothly is writing that stops the writer asking questions. As it stands, the statement inspires many questions. Let's look closely at it:

  "Film often (really? how often?) serves as an effective medium for social critique (comment or criticism) because it consists (how do you know? Have you seen every film?) of an observation of social ills by members of its community (what community is that? The film community? The community where it's shown? What are you trying to say here?)…they (who's they?) ingest these problems (what problems?) then regurgitate them in a form that is familiar to its (who does "its" refer to?) viewers."

These are not intended to be corrections, they are to point out areas where vagueness has taken over and phrases or words need to be examined to see if they should be replaced. For example: is it really important how often film does this whatever-it-is? Not unless you're working with statistics. So you don't need "often." I think what you're groping for here is film's ability, or potential for effective/vivid/memorable "social critique." Where
you say "it consists" you could say it "portrays social criticism in a form that is palatable to its viewers." (Somewhat like wrapping the dog's medicine in cheese).

Anne Lamont I believe it was, said she writes everything three times. First, to see what she wants to say, then to say it, and last to make sure she's said what she wanted to say. Before you set out to write, write out what you want to say. Then say it.

As in most writing, it's a matter of choosing the right word. You can help yourself by studying words whenever you get the chance. Make sure you know the difference between "choose" and "choice," between "stumble" and "lurch." And remember, just because it's a research paper, it doesn't have to be dull!

I hope this has helped. If it has, a nice rating would be greatly appreciated. I am proud of my "straight 10" record over 140+ questions.

Happy Writing!

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Susan Rand


I can answer questions about the elements of fiction and non-fiction writing: how to get started, writing techniques, re-writing, etc. I will NOT write for you, do critiques except from my website at http://pygmypress.com, or give you ideas. I will not answer home-or-schoolwork questions in any category. If English is your second language, please say so, and I will make an exception. Please submit no more than one or two questions at once, as I tend to go into detail in my answers.


I wrote my first book in 1957 and have been writing and studying writing since. I have a BA in Written Communications, and have taught writing both privately and through adult education for 15 years. Have also edited (fiction books) for an online publisher and edited/wrote more than 100 articles for a teen sex education site. Currently writing web content and mentoring beginning writers.

BA degree in Written Communication

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