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What is the most significant difference between your first draft and this final version?

This assignment will give you practice in composing a descriptive and informative essay about a particular person or place.

In an essay of approximately 600 to 800 words, compose a profile (or character sketch) of the individual that you have selected.

The purpose of this essay is to convey–through close observation and factual investigation–the distinct qualities of an individual or a place.

Suggested Readings

Chapter 16: “Profiles”

Remember: “A profile presents a subject in an entertaining way that conveys its significance, showing us something or someone that we may not have known existed or that we see every day but don’t know much about” (191).

Key Features

An interesting subject (already chosen).
Any necessary background/context.
An interesting angle.
A firsthand account.
Engaging details.

To generate ideas:

Visit your subject (not literally, but use technology to your advantage).
Do additional research.
Analyze your findings.
Come up with an angle.
Note details that support your angle.
Decide how to organize the profile.

Composing Strategies

Getting Started. One way to prepare for this assignment is to read some engaging background (context) information about the topic. You can use: media (interviews, television, online), books, databases, encyclopedia, etc. But, you may NOT use Wikipedia.

Subject. Your task is to bring out what’s interesting about your subject–no matter how ordinary (or extraordinary) this individual/place may at first appear.

Drafting. Your first rough draft may simply be a word-processed transcript of your research. Your next step will be to supplement the information with descriptive and informative details based on your observations and research.

Revising. In moving from transcripts to profile, you face the task of how to focus your approach to the subject. Don’t try to provide a life story in 600-800 words: attend to key details, incidents, experiences. But be prepared to let your readers know what your subject looks like and sounds like. The essay should be built on direct quotations from your research as well as factual observations and other informative details.

Editing. In addition to the usual strategies that you follow when editing, examine all the direct quotations in your profile to see if any could be shortened without sacrificing significant information. By eliminating one sentence from a three-sentence quotation, for instance, your readers may find it easier to recognize the key point that you want to get across. In the end, you will have a Workshop (exact date listed on schedule) the class period before the final draft is due.

Extra Credit (required if you missed your workshop for essay one)


Following your essay, provide a brief self-evaluation (must be typed) by responding as specifically as you can to these four questions:

What part of writing this profile took the most time?
What is the most significant difference between your first draft and this final version?
What do you think is the best part of your profile, and why?
What part of this essay could still be improved?


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