Broad To Focused Insights

We have been learning that one of the most important values in writing about personal experiences is making sure that the significance of these experiences stands out clearly to readers. The authors of the CEL suggest that one key to writing “more intensive and focused statements” about the significance of experiences is to go back and analyze the first drafts that we write. For this activity, you will create several attempts at “broad, flat” thesis statements that describe the significance of the experiences you are writing about, and then you will revise your statements to be more insightful.


  1. Read over the guidelines and tips for writing about significance in the CEL (p. 49-51).
  2. For this activity, begin by writing a broad, flat thesis statement about your memories using the statements on p.49-50 as examples.
  3. Then, follow up by writing two different versions of your thesis statement that try to make your insight more intense, focused, and relevant. Remember the advice provided in the CEL: “replace broad nouns with more specific nouns,” and “replace linking verbs with active verbs” (50).
  4. When you have two strong sentences, submit your original sentence and your two more intense sentences to this assignment.

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