What a boring title…rubric-based writing…I am sure this would be a big seller on Amazon: “Buy Now and Save on Fitz’s Narrative Paragraph Rubric!” Frustration guaranteed! Used by hundreds of angry students…
And I could on and and on because I have heard it all, seen it all, and lived it all because anytime I assign a writing piece to a class, it is almost like some law of Newtonian physics comes into play: there is an equal and opposite reaction to my intentions, and you–my young students–will find all sorts of ways to make the assignment seem like horrible, cruel, and useless punishment.
I mean—using a rubric to make our “writing voice” sound natural is like using paint to make an apple look ripe. Maybe I should be fired.
Or maybe you should just man up, read the entire assignment (otherwise known as directions, which I am sure you hope your dentist or surgeon follows) and find out if maybe—just maybe— this rubric thing will help you write a paragraph, essay, or story that really does sound like “you” speaking at your very best.
All writing is artificial. It may be sincere and honest and heartfelt, but it is still fake; you can’t peel the words off the screen and eat them. But— good writing makes a writer and the reader feel more real because the power of the words splayed upon the page helps us experience life in a deeper and more direct way, and therein lies the paradox of writing: if any of us wish to become a more real writer, we need to learn how to make readers feel more real by using the double secret techniques and tools of the writer’s trade. We need to learn how to slowly and deliberately craft our thoughts into words that look, feel and sound real.
Like an acorn or a cat…
I’ve created these rubrics and tweaked them over the years to help you–and me–figure out how to best express our thoughts and feelings in a way that feels alive and natural. There really are no rules in writing. It all boils down to your desired audience wanting to keep reading whatever you are writing–and when that reader is done to have them say, “Yes, that was time well-spent!”
Give them a try. Discard what you don’t like. Add in in what you want.
Every writer is essentially an explorer