The Evolution of Imitation: Building Your Style
This chapter focuses on incorporating imitation practices into a student’s writing toolbox. By encouraging students to look more rhetorically at writing through imitation, they learn to recognize that language is more dynamic, and they can approach writing tasks with more contemplative thought instead of as a dreaded task. Through the use of structural and contextual imitation, students gain more insight into how sentences create meaning, how they can be changed, and how the decision-making process- es relate to putting certain writing elements in certain locations for specific effects. While this article briefly touches on plagiarism as being distinct from imitation, students should recognize that imitation is not mindlessly copying, but mindfully understanding the rationale and effect of sentence structure, variety, and placement. They also learn how words form mean- ing within a sentence and, by extension, paragraphs and the overall paper. Imitation helps student writers realize that the more models, authors, and examples they can imitate, the more diverse and expressive their writing will become. Each time they understand how and why another author’s sentence does what it does, they can use that insight in their own writing, which also increases their confidence.