Selasa, 25 September 2012

IMPROVING WRITING BY MAKING SHORT STORY ON BLOG

IMPROVING WRITING BY MAKING SHORT STORY
ON BLOG


Introduction:
English as an international language has gained its popularity all over the world. It plays a very important role in Indonesia. As a developing country, Indonesia needs to learn more new things from the developed country about new advanced ideas, research findings, and experiments. English becomes important because many branches of science are written in English and students should learn English to get information from them. Beside language as a means of communication, language is also an instrument to make an interpersonal relationship, changing information and enjoying the aesthetics of language in the western culture (Nurhadi, 2004: 200).
Studying English is not easy for many Indonesian students since it is a foreign language. Foreign language is the language that is being learned not spoken in the local community (Cohen, 1998: 4). Although English is a foreign language, it is very important to be mastered, because it is as an international language. For Indonesian education world, English is one of important subjects. It is one of the requirements for Indonesian students for graduating from junior and senior high school.
One of the skills taught to students in the subject is writing. It has always occupied a place in most English language course. One of the reasons is that more and more people need to learn writing in English for occupational or academic purposes. To write well, people must have good capabilities in writing. Moreover, someone who wants to write the essay or story must know the steps in writing process and aspects of writing. The writer must be able to organize the idea, to construct the sentences, to use punctuation and spelling well. Besides, they must be able to arrange their writing into cohesive and coherent paragraphs and texts.
“Writing is learned by writing, and no other way, no instructor can teach you how to write though he can help you learn by being a responsive reader and helpful editor.” (Roger, 1981:29). To be able to make a good writing requires practicing. Practicing here means writing regularly. Making story is an effective way to improve writing, and the story here could be novel, essay, or short story. From all the writing kinds, short story is the easiest way to improve English. And because of that, the making of this paper is to analyze what and how short story can develop writing.


Theoretical Background:

Writing is a group of letters or symbols written or marked on a surface as a means of communicating ideas by making each symbol stand for an idea, concept, or thing, by using each symbol to represent a set of sounds grouped into syllables, or by regarding each symbol as corresponding roughly or exactly to each of the sounds in the language. Writing also is an extension of human language across time and space. Writing most likely began as a consequence of political expansion in ancient cultures, which needed reliable means for transmitting information, maintaining financial accounts, keeping historical records, and similar activities. “Writing is comprehensive ability involving grammar, vocabulary, concept, rhetoric, and other elements. It is connected very much to listening speaking, and reading. It must be integrated with all other language skills.” (Zhang Feng Xing & Chen Shih Jin, 1989:34). Writing, as stated by Gould D. Yanni and Smith (1989:30), is such an effort to create dialogue with readers and it involves exploring our relationships to our reader in much same way that we explore our relationship to people we talk to.
Short story is a work of fiction that is usually written in prose, often in narrative format. This format tends to be more pointed than longer works of fiction, such as novellas (in the 20th and 21st century sense) and novels or books. Short story definitions based upon length differ somewhat even among professional writers, due somewhat in part to the fragmentation of the medium into genres. Since the short story format includes a wide range of genres and styles, the actual length is mitigated somewhere between the individual author's preference (or the story's actual needs in terms of creative trajectory or story arc) and the submission guidelines relevant to the story's actual market. Short stories have their origins in oral story-telling traditions and the prose anecdote, a swiftly-sketched situation that quickly comes to its point. Short stories tend to be less complex than novels. Usually a short story focuses on only one incident, has a single plot, a single setting, a small number of characters, and covers a short period of time.
A blog is a type of website, usually maintained by an individual with regular entries of commentary, descriptions of events, or other material such as graphics or video. Entries are commonly displayed in reverse-chronological order.

Finding Data
A Diagnosis of Death
Ambrose Bierce

'I am not so superstitious as some of your physicians - men of science, as you are pleased to be called,' said Hawver, replying to an accusation that had not been made. 'Some of you - only a few, I confess - believe in the immortality of the soul, and in apparitions which you have not the honesty to call ghosts. I go no further than a conviction that the living are sometimes seen where they are not, but have been - where they have lived so long, perhaps so intensely, as to have left their impress on everything about them. I know, indeed, that one's environment may be so affected by one's personality as to yield, long afterward, an image of one's self to the eyes of another. Doubtless the impressing personality has to be the right kind of personality as the perceiving eyes have to be the right kind of eyes - mine, for example.'
'Yes, the right kind of eyes, conveying sensations to the wrong kind of brains,' said Dr. Frayley, smiling.
'Thank you; one likes to have an expectation gratified; that is about the reply that I supposed you would have the civility to make.'
'Pardon me. But you say that you know. That is a good deal to say, don't you think? Perhaps you will not mind the trouble of saying how you learned.'
'You will call it an hallucination,' Hawver said, 'but that does not matter.' And he told the story.
'Last summer I went, as you know, to pass the hot weather term in the town of Meridian. The relative at whose house I had intended to stay was ill, so I sought other quarters. After some difficulty I succeeded in renting a vacant dwelling that had been occupied by an eccentric doctor of the name of Mannering, who had gone away years before, no one knew where, not even his agent. He had built the house himself and had lived in it with an old servant for about ten years. His practice, never very extensive, had after a few years been given up entirely. Not only so, but he had withdrawn himself almost altogether from social life and become a recluse. I was told by the village doctor, about the only person with whom he held any relations, that during his retirement he had devoted himself to a single line of study, the result of which he had expounded in a book that did not commend itself to the approval of his professional brethren, who, indeed, considered him not entirely sane. I have not seen the book and cannot now recall the title of it, but I am told that it expounded a rather startling theory. He held that it was possible in the case of many a person in good health to forecast his death with precision, several months in advance of the event. The limit, I think, was eighteen months. There were local tales of his having exerted his powers of prognosis, or perhaps you would say diagnosis; and it was said that in every instance the person whose friends he had warned had died suddenly at the appointed time, and from no assignable cause. All this, however, has nothing to do with what I have to tell; I thought it might amuse a physician.
'The house was furnished, just as he had lived in it. It was a rather gloomy dwelling for one who was neither a recluse nor a student, and I think it gave something of its character to me - perhaps some of its former occupant's character; for always I felt in it a certain melancholy that was not in my natural disposition, nor, I think, due to loneliness. I had no servants that slept in the house, but I have always been, as you know, rather fond of my own society, being much addicted to reading, though little to study. Whatever was the cause, the effect was dejection and a sense of impending evil; this was especially so in Dr. Mannering's study, although that room was the lightest and most airy in the house. The doctor's life-size portrait in oil hung in that room, and seemed completely to dominate it. There was nothing unusual in the picture; the man was evidently rather good looking, about fifty years old, with iron-grey hair, a smooth-shaven face and dark, serious eyes. Something in the picture always drew and held my attention. The man's appearance became familiar to me, and rather "haunted" me.
'One evening I was passing through this room to my bedroom, with a lamp - there is no gas in Meridian. I stopped as usual before the portrait, which seemed in the lamplight to have a new expression, not easily named, but distinctly uncanny. It interested but did not disturb me. I moved the lamp from one side to the other and observed the effects of the altered light. While so engaged I felt an impulse to turn round. As I did so I saw a man moving across the room directly toward me! As soon as he came near enough for the lamplight to illuminate the face I saw that it was Dr. Mannering himself; it was as if the portrait were walking!
'"I beg your pardon," I said, somewhat coldly, "but if you knocked I did not hear."
'He passed me, within an arm's length, lifted his right forefinger, as in warning, and without a word went on out of the room, though I observed his exit no more than I had observed his entrance.
'Of course, I need not tell you that this was what you will call a hallucination and I call an apparition. That room had only two doors, of which one was locked; the other led into a bedroom, from which there was no exit. My feeling on realizing this is not an important part of the incident.
'Doubtless this seems to you a very commonplace "ghost story" - one constructed on the regular lines laid down by the old masters of the art. If that were so I should not have related it, even if it were true. The man was not dead; I met him to-day in Union Street. He passed me in a crowd.'
Hawver had finished his story and both men were silent. Dr. Frayley absently drummed on the table with his fingers.
'Did he say anything to-day?' he asked - 'anything from which you inferred that he was not dead?'
Hawver stared and did not reply.
'Perhaps,' continued Frayley,' he made a sign, a gesture - lifted a finger, as in warning. It's a trick he had - a habit when saying something serious - announcing the result of a diagnosis, for example.'
'Yes, he did - just as his apparition had done. But, good God! did you ever know him?'
Hawver was apparently growing nervous.
'I knew him. I have read his book, as will every physician some day. It is one of the most striking and important of the century's contributions to medical science. Yes, I knew him; I attended him in an illness three years ago. He died.'
Hawver sprang from his chair, manifestly disturbed. He strode forward and back across the room; then approached his friend, and in a voice not altogether steady, said: 'Doctor, have you anything to say to me - as a physician? '
'No, Hawver; you are the healthiest man I ever knew. As a friend I advise you to go to your room. You play the violin like an angel. Play it; play something light and lively. Get this cursed bad business off your mind.'
The next day Hawver was found dead in his room, the violin at his neck, the bow upon the string, his music open before him at Chopin's Funeral March.

Analysis

Concept of writing is to express what is on the writer’s mind. It is about the idea which can be developed as a message or story. Short story works that way. When writer makes short story, he has to express himself and mind to make such a good story. The idea expressed then has to be developed into story. This can make the writer will be accustomed to produce idea that, this state, can help him to make another writing.
Short story itself is not just a note, but it has plot. Short story is interesting and easy to understand. When making short story, the writer will express what is on his mind to make a good story. And, what usually is interesting will be done in times. This can make the writer motivated to make many short stories regularly. This covers the basic of writing that writing just can be developed not by taught by instructor but writing overly.
Otherwise, short story also does not cover all the writing system so it is easy to make for the writer, especially the amateur one. This is because short story, as the name given, is short, not longer like novel. The idea expressed to short story does not require being developed widely. This means everything, including character and plot, does not have to be explained and described more like novel. So this is really proper to amateur writer, for example students, because they can learn to write writing in easier way.
Making short story can also be the way of evaluation. When a short story of a writer is read by another people, they will evaluate the story whether it is good or not. The evaluation includes all the component of writing, such as grammar, vocabulary, plot, and etc. This can make the writer become motivated to improve his skill to write better so his writing will be better.

Conclusion

English today has important role in the world. It stands as the international language that connects every country and people. Many countries apply English as their official language, and some others just apply it as second language. In Indonesia, English is applied as foreign language. Although English is not the official language, English is really important for many aspects, especially Education. Bahasa Indonesia, which is applied as language for education, sort of makes every student in Indonesia hard to master English. However, the fact is they have to master it. In mastering English, student has to master the four basic skills of English itself; Speaking, Listening, Writing, Reading. Writing in English has very important role because it takes part as communication media. Writing could not be mastered just by being taught by instructor but it has to be done by writer himself. Writing regularly can improve quickly the skill, and an easy way to make it is making short story. Short story itself can improve the writing of the writer in particular way, such as the simple and short developing idea in creating it.

Bibliography

L. G, Alexander. Developing Skills: Kanisius. Yogyakarta, 1998
Guth, Hans P. American English Today: McGraw-hill Book Company. USA, 1997
Harner, Jeremy. How to Teach English: Longman. Malaysia, 1998
Wayth, Peter J. Using Microcomputers in the Primary School. England: Gower Publishing Company Limited. 1983
Wallace, Michael J. Teaching Vocabulary (Practical Language Teaching). London: Heinemann Educational Books Ltd., 1982.
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