e1.d2: Revising to develop

Your assignment for next week is to revise and develop the essay you are writing on John Berger. This might thus be a useful moment to distinguish between the work of revising and editing.

As I use the term, editing is work you do on a document when it is near completion. In editing, your goal is to make sure that your piece looks and sounds the way you want it to. At its most minimal, this involves proofreading for spelling and punctuation, but it also includes reworking sentences in order to make them clearer or more elegant, or to make sure that one sentence flows smoothly to the next, that your sentences cohere into well-focused paragraphs. But editing is almost always work on a micro-level—on words, phrases and sentences.

Revising, on the other hand, is work on  a macro-level, on your essay as a whole. It is when you return to a piece in order to develop your line of thought, to add to or rework your examples, to reorder the parts of your essay, to change or clarify the points you want to make. Revising, that is, is as much work with ideas as with words.

In your second draft, then, I would like you to concentrate on developing and extending the work you’ve done in your first draft. Your second draft should be 1500 or more words long—which, means for most of you, that you will need to add 500 words or so to your current draft. Make those words count. Use them to develop your line of thought, to add to your examples, to make connections to Berger. Indeed, you may sometimes decide that the best thing you can do in revision is to start a piece over, more or less from scratch (although it won’t really be from scratch, since you will have already done much thinking, reading and writing about your subject). I always admire a student who is willing to make such a bold move.

You will have time to edit and refine your essay in its third draft. Indeed I will push you hard to do just that in future weeks. But for right now, you want to make sure that you have a piece worth the hard work of editing and refining.

Post your e1.d2 to your individual Dropbox folder by 10:00 am, Tues, 3/18.   Title your document lastname e1.d2.docx.

Please also post a revision memo in which you point to at least two or three specific moments in your draft where you have significantly added to or reworked what you wrote in your first draft. Identify these moments in your text as precisely as you can; make sure you draw my attention to important work you have done in revision. Your memo should be at least 250 words. Post it as a separate document titled lastname e1.d2 memo.docx.

Good luck! I look forward to seeing how your piece grows and changes!

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