Friday Funnies: Red Ink

Peanuts 1While we tend to think negatively of red ink on a paper, this kind of feedback is one of the best ways to improve your writing. Our motto this semester, “Beyond One and Done,” emphasizes the editing process as essential to quality writing. Like Snoopy, most of us aren’t able to sit down and write a literary masterpiece in one session. Good writing is usually a product of good editing. There are many different ways to edit a paper; you can edit while you write and edit once a draft is complete. You can edit on screen, or you can print a copy and break out the traditional red pen to mark comments and changes. Editing can be done on both micro and macro levels, as well. On the micro level, look for ways to fix typos and grammatical errors, tweak word choice, and improve sentence structure. On the macro level, look for things like overall clarity, paragraph cohesion, and the organization of ideas. Don’t be afraid to move, cut, or change a section of your paper that isn’t working!

The FIU Writing in History program can help you with all stages of the editing and revision process. Schedule an appointment with a writing tutor on our website.

Don’t fear a little red ink,
-Paul Burkart


Friday Funnies: Grammar

Pearls Before Swine 3While Pig is making some obvious (and easily fixable) mistakes, utilizing proper grammar in the English language can often be a difficult task. Good grammar is important, though, because it makes your writing flow better and helps to communicate your ideas more effectively to your readers. Modern word processing programs, such as Microsoft Word, contain grammar check software that automatically reviews your writing for spelling, punctuation, and usage errors. While these tools can be useful, they cannot replace the need for human editing. You can often catch things that the machine will not.

In previous blog entries, we’ve covered using commas, the proper way to include numbers and dates in history papers, and common grammatical mistakes that can be avoided. If you’re still having trouble finding the correct way to word things, or if you’re not sure if your commas and periods are in the right places, then the Writing in History tutors can help! The tutors are available from 9am to 5pm, Monday through Friday, in DM 397. Please visit our website to make an appointment.

Keep writing,

-Paul Burkart

Friday Funnies: Starting Early

Calvin & Hobbes 5Writing a paper for a class can be a stressful, nerve-racking process, even for experienced writers. Waiting until the last minute to start a paper only exacerbates these feelings of anxiety. The writing process is most effective when you have time to plan, organize your ideas, and edit and revise multiple drafts of a paper. Beginning long before the deadline gives you a chance to do this. It also gives you an opportunity to seek help if you need it. Maintain your peace of mind by scheduling an appointment with one of our FIU Writing in History tutors.


Start early and avoid last-minute panic,
-Paul Burkart

Friday Funnies: Stuck

Peanuts Dark and Stormy

Writing is a long process and sometimes you can get stuck with the terrible affliction known as writer’s block.  If you are so stuck, then you might need to walk away from the computer, perhaps grab a drink or walk around, and then come back.  You also can make an appointment with a Writing in History tutor, who can help you get back to work.  They are available Monday through Friday, usually 9am to 5pm.  Learn more and make an appointment on our website.

Best, Dr. Ferdinando

Friday Funnies: A Less Frustrating Writing Process?

History Tutoring-Writing Cartoon

Writing is a very frustrating process for many students. The writing process has a lot of ups and downs, as we see in this cartoon, and as we see in the Writing in History’s motto, “Beyond One and Done.” For most people who want to do well with their academic work, writing out a paper and handing it in will not be enough. One of the many benefits of the FIU Writing in History program is to help avoid a good deal of frustration that occurs during writing. While the tutors might not be able to help with avoiding the feeling after grades that more needs to be done, the tutors are here to help with avoiding pitfalls and addressing difficulties when writing a paper. Visiting with a tutor is an ideal opportunity for discussing ideas, getting an opinion on a thesis, and many other topics. Schedule an appointment as soon as you are able, and let us all work toward more of those, “I rock” moments in writing.

Keep writing,

Jason Daniel


Friday Funnies: Revisions

PhD Comic Final

The spring 2016 Writing in History motto is “Beyond One and Done.”  Far too often, we treat our first finished draft as our one “final” draft.  Rather, we should treat that first “final” draft as nothing but a pencil sketch, showing the lines and contours of our work.  Put that draft aside for a few days.  Come back to it, read through it again, and make edits that add a wisp of color between those lines.  Then, after feedback from friends, colleagues, tutors, and the professor’s dreaded red pen, make more edits and thus add splashes of paint.  Finally, after reading over the paper again, do not forgot to run spellcheck one last time.  You would be surprised how many papers are turned in with spelling and grammar errors that spellcheck will catch.

Do you want help with coloring in the lines of your paper?  You can make an appointment with a Writing in History tutor.  They are available Monday through Friday, usually 9am to 5pm.  Learn more and make an appointment on our website.

Best, Dr. Ferdinando