True Ease in Writing comes from Art, not Chance,
As those move easiest who have learn’d to dance.
-Alexander Pope, An Essay on Criticism
The Thomas More College Writing Tutorials program is a contemporary response to the traditional emphasis on grammar, logic, and rhetoric in the classical liberal arts. The principal instructor, Writer-in-Residence Dr. John Zmirak, is a widely published author of fiction, formal poetry, and non-fiction books on politics, theology, apologetics, economics, and Catholic Social Teaching. He is also a veteran editor and journalist, with experience at national newspapers and magazines, including Investor’s Business Daily and The National Catholic Register.
In each of the courses, Dr. Zmirak combines lectures on literary works with one-on-one tutorials with students, critiquing their writing and guiding their revisions. Every student is expected to attend conferences on every writing assignment, and complete three drafts before the final version is graded. Equal emphasis is placed on grammatical fluency, logical coherence, and creative expression.
The instruction in these courses follows the time-honored method of learning through imitation; students read selections from great works of the past—by authors ranging from Marcus Tullius Cicero through Dickens to Chesterton and Walker Percy—and craft their own writing in emulation of the classics. Paradoxically, students produce more creative and original works through imitation than they would by themselves. That is why Shakespeare, St. Thomas More, Erasmus, Milton, and other widely venerated authors honed their talents through imitation before proceeding to original work.