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One of the most effective exercises in good writing is a free composition.

Free composition is a piece of independent writing (3—5 pages in length). You are free to select the subject, to decide on the pattern of writing (narrative, descriptive, argumenta­tive, expository), and to choose writing technique (keywords, topic sentences, connectives and transitions).

In the process of free composition there are three main points to consider: what to say — selection of a subject and the theme, how to arrange the material in the best order, and how to express your thoughts in the best possible lan­guage.

The theme and subject should be selected with care so that you know exactly what you mean to write about and what is the purpose of writing — is it describing, entertain­ing, persuading or instructing?

"The British Isles" is, for instance, of descriptive nature, "How We Kept Mother's Day" is both entertaining and in­structing, Judy's letters are sincerely persuading.

Composition must be unified and complete. It must have a beginning, middle, and end. It must be coherent; that is, systematic in its presentation, with reference to time, to point of view, and to situation. It must reveal your attitude or judge­ment towards material and characters or towards your reader, or both.

The beginning, or introduction expresses the occasion, the problem, and the purpose. A good beginning attracts the reader's attention, his interest and sometimes his emotions (see the beginning of "How We Kept Mother's Day" or of "A Friend in Need").

The middle or body of the composition in its turn makes the problem clear through narration, description, argument or exposition (compare different passages from this textbook). Usually the middle includes the details. It may have the turn­ing point or climax describing the moment of greatest emo­tions.

The end or conclusion is the result of that clarification. The author provides an answer to the main question. It is usually marked by a summary statement emphasizing the message (compare the final sentences in "A Day's Wait", "How We Kept Mother's Day", "Rose at the Music-hall").


1. Write a composition explaining the message of the passage "Rose at the Music-ball.

2. Write a composition following the eventsdescribed in the pictures on pp. 338-339.

Write a composition describing your visit to a theatre and your impressions of the prevailing atmosphere,

If you have become proficient at writing compositions as an exercise you may turn to teaming how to write compositions as art. Try your hand at writing a composition about the best way to comfort your mother (father, child, sister or brother, friend).

Evaluate your composition according to the main principles of good writing: unity, coherence, and emphasis.

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