How to Limit the writing topic? Many writers get into trouble because they choose topics that are too broad to treat adequately in a limited space.
For instance, if you were asked to write a 1500 word piece (Six double-spaced pages) in an ancient history course and selected a sweeping topic such as :The beginners of Democracy in Ancient Greece," you would quickly run into difficulties. You would have so many subtopics to cover that you would not have room to supply the anecdotes and details you would need to make the piece interesting and informative.
So, it is important and imperative to limit your scope and write more about less.
One Professor suggests. “Always choose the smallest possible topic out of which you can squeeze the requisite number of words."
This is a pretty good advice.
Deciding how broad a topic you can reasonably handle in a paper of a specific is tricky and will remain so even when you have become an experienced writer. So, Limit the writing topic.
Some rough guidelines may help:
Example - 1:
1000-1500 words (Four to six pages, double spaced): A short paper, probably one of several you would be writing for a course. Some topics that might be adequately developed in such paper are:
• A biographical sketch of Ellen Malcolm, founder of Emily’s List, a political action committee that supports pro-choice women candidates for office.
• The meaning of the green light at the end of the dock in the last paragraph of The Great Gatsby.
• What to keep in mind when applying for credit card.
Example - 2:
2500-3000 words (ten to twelve pages, double spaced): A piece that covers a limited topic in some detail, giving background information and examples. You would not want to tackle, “Women Artists," but you could write on the topic, “Rosa Bonheur, Nineteenth-Century Woman Artist." Some other possibilities are:
• The Heifer Project: A program that gives farm animals to poor families in under developed countries.
• How the discovery of the Chauvet caves in southern France caused art historians to revise about prehistoric art.
• How city taxpayers are subsidizing the giant sports stadiums being built in major cities.Accordingly, Limit the writing topic.
Example - 3:
4500-500 words (eighteen to twenty pages, double spaced): Such a piece allows you to go into substantial detail about a complex issue. It will usually require an extensive research and may constitute a major factor in grading for a course.
Here are some topics that could be adequately treated in such a paper.
• How the women’s suffrage movement started in the United States?
• How the gaming industry has changed the face of gambling?
• The life and the work of Artemisia Gentileschi, a woman master painter in seventeenth century Italy
Potential pitfalls in choosing Topics:
“Hot issues" such as abortion, the death penalty or gun control: The readers are biased that they are not open to argument. It is hard to say anything new.
Current events: It is difficult to locate materials in the library. The Internet may yield too much materials, much of it may be dubious.
Religious issue on which the people have strong views: it is difficult to discuss such topics in critique groups.