You’ll find all sorts of advice online about writing admissions essays; much of it inaccurate or confusing. As you near the end of your college application process and put the finishing touches on your essays, be careful whose advice you follow, and make sure you know your sources.
We regularly check in with admissions officers from small liberal arts colleges, elite universities and state institutions. We’ve found that regardless of size, status or essay prompt, they all offer similar tips on all college essays:
These three well-written essays create a strong set. The first and the last would have been impressive on their own. Reading them all together magnifies their impact considerably. This student does an especially good job of targeting the school. This student focuses his first essay on his extracurriculars and relates them to why Duke would be perfect for him. He focuses the third on his Chinese background and how it relates to his career goals and academic interests. Then he also relates these interests to why Duke matches him perfectly. His favorite book provided the focus of the second essay. What makes this second essay better than others like it is that the applicant manages to put himself into the question. He does not just talk about the book, he uses it to talk about himself and stress the inquisitive nature of his personality-always a plus.
Hey! Maybe instead of being a writer, I should be a publisher! I could charge each submission about $15 or $20, (G.T.’s rates) publish one story online, and make a mint! ;-D
I’m 16 and i wrote a great alternate ending for an assignment in english, and i wrote a short christmas story on christmas eve, but now i just don’t know what to write about. i have ideas and i have been reading prompts that are good but i just don’t know.
THE TITLES OF PLAYS, NOVELS, MAGAZINES, NEWSPAPERS, JOURNALS (things that can stand by themselves) are underlined or italicized. Tennessee Williams' The Glass Menagerie and Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye don't seem to have much in common at first. If you're using a word processor or you have a fancy typewriter, use italics, but do not use both underlines and italics. (Some instructors have adopted rules about using italics that go back to a time when italics on a word processor could be hard to read, so you should ask your instructor if you can use italics. Underlines are always correct.) The titles of poems, short stories, and articles (things that do not generally stand by themselves) require quotation marks.
Although my frame of reference may be international, it is not particularly Syrian, which is of course my own loss. I have turned to Alomar’s translator, C. J. Collins, to learn what, in Alomar’s Syrian or Arabic heritage, have been the sources of his inspiration, particularly in the short form, and he has given me some interesting insights into the history of the form in the Middle East, both recent and older: there was an explosion of this form of writing in Syria in the 1990s; it became popular in magazines and newspapers as an expression of frustration at Syria’s bureaucracy and corruption and lack of freedom of expression. In an economically depressed time, too, there was a demand for the densest, briefest, most compressed of stories—a longer literary work was in fact a luxury—and these were shared and circulated freely and spontaneously, like personal anecdotes.
You can venture anywhere you wish by writing your own short story.
Short Story Writing English Worksheets for Writing A collection of ideas for short story writing.
One of the best-known contemporary practitioners of the Arabic-language short story is the Syrian Zakaria Tamer, now in his eighties—many of his story collections have been translated into English and are available here. Going back another fifty years, there is the Lebanese literary and political rebel Khalil Gibran, with his formally innovative spiritual stories or prose poems, hugely popular in the American counter-culture of the sixties and an important influence on Alomar (Gibran himself being profoundly influenced by the earlier cosmopolitan Syrian prose poet Francis Marrash, who died in 1873). But the very short form has its roots in various Arabic literary traditions that go back to the Middle Ages and before, one important example being the mammoth story compilation One Thousand and One Nights (whose multi-cultural origins lie in the tenth century or arguably even earlier) and fable traditions like the Panchatantra, a third-century Indian set of linked animal tales imported into Arabic in the eighth century as the Kalila wa Dimna.
The other tradition to which Alomar most obviously belongs—in this case by choice—is that of the very short story. But this tradition is complicated, for within this genre, we have different traditions and different types. While Alomar is working within his own particular cultural heritage, he is of course also sharing in a wider international legacy of the very short story or prose poem, the more contemporary part of which spans more than a century at least: from the prose poems of Baudelaire in the mid-nineteenth century, to those of Francis Ponge and other French poets of the twentieth; the lyrical and nostalgic real-life stories of the early twentieth-century Viennese Peter Altenberg and the quirky numbered “handbook” instructions of the Bohemian / Czech Dadaist and pacifist Walter Serner; the Austrian Thomas Bernhard’s grim and syntactically complex paragraph-long stories in The Voice Imitator; the self-denigrating, anti-climactic, quarrelsome tales of the Soviet Daniil Kharms; the lyrical autobiographical sequence of the Spanish Luis Cernuda; and the pointed philosophical narratives of the contemporary Dutch writer A. L. Snijders (whose term, zkv or zeer korte verhaal—very short story— means exactly the same thing as Alomar’s al-qisa al-qasira jiddan); to mention only a few.
Here you can find printable worksheets for many levels: beginners, elementary, intermediate or advanced.
All these worksheets and activities for teaching Story writing have been designed by English language teachers.
Every year, Wow Writing Workshop’s college application essay experts review many stories just like this one. We send these stories back to our students with tips to help them answer the question, and also stand out in the crowd.