Compare-contrast

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creative perspectivesThis week, we're going old-school with our creativity. I'm sure you remember (perhaps with some dread) the compare-contrast papers from your 9th grade composition class. With practice, you should have gone from basic observations to more finely noted details and finally on to the larger ideas that linked your compared objects. But other school distractions--geography homework, soccer practice, the cute boy in trigonometry--likely prevented this from happening.

So let's brush up our comparative skills. Take two things that fit together in a category--fictional characters, bottles of wine, politicians, songs--and prepare to write.

If you're not sure how to start, try simply listing similarities and differences. Get the obvious points out of the way, then let yourself have fun with some of the larger cognitive leaps.

Once you have a list, think about what's important in it and what is interesting. Can you combine ideas from the list into one "treatment" of the subject?

For example, apples and oranges are both fruits, but they grow in different climates, mature in different seasons, and are combined with different ingredients in the kitchen. You could take those points to write about how geography influences what we eat.

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