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Writing Imitation Practice and Discussion

I have been enjoying imitating different pieces of writing in class, and have decided to post another example of this. I thought it could be good practice for all of us to imitate a passage from The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. I will also post a sample imitation, and you’re welcome to write your own! I would suggest writing about science (an artifact, article, fact, random piece of information etc.), our class, the Scientifically Speaking essay or any other topic of your choice!

Passage from The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks:

“The rest of the day was a blur. As we drove to clover, each time we stopped, Deborah leapt from her car, clutching the new photo of her sister and thrusting it into the face of every person we met; a woman on a street corner, the man pumping our gas, a pastor at a small church, our waitresses. Each time, she said, ‘Hi, my name’s Deborah and this is my reporter, you probably heard of us, my mama’s in history with cells and we just found this picture of my sister!’” (277)

My imitation, written about writing our first essay: Scientifically Speaking.

The whole essay was just confusing. As soon as I got an idea, which wasn’t often, I tried to write, using all of the skills I’ve acquired and all of the sources I could think of; memories, books, articles, personal stories. Every time, I thought, “I hope I can put all of this together, while implying a thesis, so that I have written a good first essay in college!”


There’s my example, I hope that you won’t be too harsh in judging my writing skills and just look at this as a fun practice! I think it’s interesting to try on different styles of writing and see what you can do with them. What do you think of imitating other peoples’ writing styles?

  1. ms
    October 1, 2011 at 9:20 pm

    The idea of imitating the writing styles of other people is a very new one to me. Throughout high school, I was encouraged to develop my own unique style of writing. Never did an English teacher instruct me to use an already existing sentence structure in a formal essay for the class. I really enjoyed your example, It has a great tone to it and adheres very successfully to the passage on page 227.

    Below is an imitation I did in class of Raymond Chandler’s The Big Sleep. I wrote about my topic for the Scientifically Speaking essay:

    It wasn’t real. That made me unhappy. If it had been partly a myth or even not widely taught, that would have been all right. It was fake. It was a complete fluke. I had done some research and some websites weren’t telling me the truth and I was more confused than a cat in a dog house, but I grew more curious. So I continued. Awesome. The reality shocked me as I continued research among books and websites that boggled my mind. I began to see the truth. I slammed my laptop shut and stood up before crying out “science is a fake!”

  2. October 2, 2011 at 8:24 pm

    Yeah I felt the same way about imitating other people’s writing styles, it had never dawned on me as a positive practice yet I feel that I have already benefitted from it! Your example is great too, I want to keep working on this.

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