Dear High School Writers,


For some reason, whenever I read writing by high schoolers, they like to disguise their subject. It’s great that you know who or what you’re writing about…BUT I WANT TO KNOW. And guess what? I’m sure your other readers want to know too. A lot of us don’t realize how important it is to state the obvious. When I’m assessing a situation, the first thing I do is state the plain, stupid obvious. Whenever I’m writing, I like to be very upfront. If I know exactly what I’m writing about, I think my readers will reach a better understanding.

The problem with most high school writing is execution. We’re presented with these AWESOME papers to pull ideas from so naturally, we think we can pull it off. A friend began a story where they talked about their brother; only the whole time, it never says it’s their brother or give us his name. I, personally knew it was her brother, because I’ve met him before, but would others? Most likely not. We all want to be great writers, but we don’t exactly have the skills to pull something like leaving out our subject completely. One example I compared their work to was a paragraph by Tyler Ford. Although he never mentions the subject in his paragraph, when I’m done reading, I know exactly what he’s describing. Read through and see if you can as well:

When you dip her in the middle of the dance floor, it is the color of her dress. When she whispers in your ear, it is the color of her lips. When you make love, it is the trace you want her to leave all over your body. When she places her palm over your heart, it is the color that comes to the surface as her fingertips trail like a sentence that can never be finished. When you see her in your bedroom with another, it is the color of your breath. When you smash the vase in the hall, it is the color that threatens you to abandon the shattered pieces. When you scream at the top of your lungs, it is the color that pierces the atmosphere. When she hears you, it is the color of her pulse. When you look in her eyes for the last time, it is the fading color of your heart falling to your knees. It is not the color you see when she leaves. 

-Tyler Ford


What is his subject? What color is he describing? Many would say that he’s describing the color red. And we know because of his analogies. At first it is a little unclear. The color of her dress could be any color. Yet as it progresses, “the color that threatens you to abandon the shattered pieces,” you see blood. Ford uses these common yet powerful scenes of the color red in order to paint the image and describe the color. I think this piece is beautiful because of its appeal to pathos, yet it’s so clever in the way it uses its scenarios to capture your attention.

Because it focused only on describing the color and then using emotion and passion, this paragraph achieved its purpose. The problem with high school or middle school or writing without a subject, is the lower amount of vocabulary, experiences, and stylistic diction. And I am in no way saying that I did better than my friend or that I write better than my friend. I’m not saying I’m 100% innocent of these problems. I make these mistakes too.

Just because you understand what you write, doesn’t mean others do to. Sometimes I lack the words to convey my emotions. Although I want to write a beautiful and artistic piece, filled with long and pausing sentences, sometimes I just need to throw in my short choppy ones that tell you exactly what I’m thinking.

So writers, unless you can paint the picture of your subject for me, state it. There is nothing wrong with stating exactly who or what your subject is.

-Tree Kats


One thought on “GIVE IT A NAME.

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