Reading and editing prose
Map your journey for revision and editing
• Start with an idea
• Brainstorm
• Research
• Read and take notes
• Create an outline
based on initial ideas
and notes
• ...
Find your power by learning from your mistakes
• Always remember, no one gets it right the first time.
• While you’re writing, what makes you sweat? What
makes you doubt...
Learn to read and revise your own writing
• Step away and let your writing rest
• Look at your writing as a reader, not a writer
• Consider the big picture:
• Do yo...
• Create a plan to guide your revision
• Revise as you write—in drafts
1. Read your work as a whole with an eye towards th...
Open yourself to positive feedback
• Letting another read our work can be difficult, but it
a second pair of eyes allows us to see our work in a
new light.
•...
Knowing when to cut, rewrite, and re-imagine
• Stay strong and don’t fear cutting out
words, sentences, paragraphs, and/or pages.
• Every word matters, but they don’t ...
• Rewrite sentences, paragraphs, sections, or the
entire essay as needed.
• Careful revision and review will help you make...
• When to cut
• Is it relevant to my
overall
theme, subject, or
argument?
• Does it serve a
purpose other than
padding?
• ...
Are we there yet?
• If you’re writing on a deadline, it’s important to know
when to call it complete.
• Write within a timeframe to stay on ...
What we talk about when we talk about writing
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What we talk about when we talk about writing

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Presented as a guest lecture during a graduate class on theological writing.

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  • Turn to Jonathan and ask what his looks likeAsk students – beginning, middle, and end of their writingDoes your process change? – my colored pens, notebooks, different files, etc.
  • Free writing and board exercise – share ideas and talk about them
  • What we talk about when we talk about writing

    1. 1. Reading and editing prose
    2. 2. Map your journey for revision and editing
    3. 3. • Start with an idea • Brainstorm • Research • Read and take notes • Create an outline based on initial ideas and notes • Write a working introduction to center my ideas • Refer to notes and develop a rough outline or idea map • Begin working on content • Panic and reread notes • Go back to writing and finish draft • Leave it for a few days • Read it and panic again… • On to draft 2 Throughout it all, there is a lot of meandering, walking away from the computer in frustration, avoidance, and eventual settling down to write.
    4. 4. Find your power by learning from your mistakes
    5. 5. • Always remember, no one gets it right the first time. • While you’re writing, what makes you sweat? What makes you doubt yourself as a writer? • What are your grammar woes? • What can you learn about yourself as a writer by being aware of your weaknesses?
    6. 6. Learn to read and revise your own writing
    7. 7. • Step away and let your writing rest • Look at your writing as a reader, not a writer • Consider the big picture: • Do you sentences flow? • Are your thoughts clear? • Does your research support your arguments? • Are there any gaps in your reasoning? • Read your work and consider its value from the point of view of your intended audience.
    8. 8. • Create a plan to guide your revision • Revise as you write—in drafts 1. Read your work as a whole with an eye towards the big picture. • Take notes and create pointers to refer to while editing. 2. Read it again with an eye towards the small stuff. • Look for grammatical errors, awkward sentence construction, weak transitions, punctuation, and more. 3. Give it a final polish. • Make your changes and save it as a new draft. Read it again to polish it up—consider word choice, rewrite your introduction and/or conclusion, refine your ideas. NOTE: Save each draft under a separate file name to avoid confusion and keep your work in order.
    9. 9. Open yourself to positive feedback
    10. 10. • Letting another read our work can be difficult, but it a second pair of eyes allows us to see our work in a new light. • Peer Review helps us get outside of our heads. • Select your reader(s) with care • A reader who is familiar with your style is best, but also one who is willing to give good, honest, and critical feedback. • Critical feedback does NOT = criticism! • Critical feedback seeks to empower and strengthen your writing. It does not tear down, belittle, or try to deny the writer’s voice, but serves to support and encourage better writing.
    11. 11. Knowing when to cut, rewrite, and re-imagine
    12. 12. • Stay strong and don’t fear cutting out words, sentences, paragraphs, and/or pages. • Every word matters, but they don’t all have to be part of your final draft. • Reading and revising in drafts will help you decide what to keep and what to cut without becoming too attached. • NOTE: Save the pieces that you snip in a separate file in case you want to reuse them.
    13. 13. • Rewrite sentences, paragraphs, sections, or the entire essay as needed. • Careful revision and review will help you make sense of what works and what doesn’t. • And working within an appropriate time frame will ensure that you have ample time to rework your draft to produce the best essay possible.
    14. 14. • When to cut • Is it relevant to my overall theme, subject, or argument? • Does it serve a purpose other than padding? • Does it send the reader on a tangent? • When to rewrite • Is there enough information to support the point? • Is it relevant but missing something? • Do the ideas need further development to get my point across?
    15. 15. Are we there yet?
    16. 16. • If you’re writing on a deadline, it’s important to know when to call it complete. • Write within a timeframe to stay on target. • When writing a class assignment (an essay or term paper), a good rule of thumb is to go through two rough drafts and a polish. • Write the first, rough, working draft. • Read and note global revisions (the big picture). • Write and read through the second draft • Get feedback from a fellow reader (if possible). • Apply feedback and consider cuts and rewrites. • Polish the third draft by making local revisions (the small stuff) and call it ready for submission • unless your professor recommends further revision or allows for an essay to be resubmitted.

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