The Maker’s Eye: Revising Your Own Manuscripts
“Writers must learn to be their own best enemy”(Murray). Murray explains to us that revising is the key to making a paper great. Murray states that information, meaning, audience, form, structure, development, dimension, and finally, our voice are essential in writing but so is the ability to revise.
Murray’s article is very similar to Anne Lamott’s Shitty First Drafts. Murray is telling us to be our own critic. Don’t wait for someone else to tell you what’s wrong with your paper, when sometimes it is very clear. The need for peer editing comes after you critique your own work. If there is a concept or point you’ve made and it sounds choppy, find another way to write or a different place to put it, maybe you will realize that it doesn’t just doesn’t belong and there is no shame in that. Just remember to edit your work, it’s important.
Revision Strategies of Student Writers and Experienced Adult Writers:
Sommers compares the difference in the way that revising is looked at between inexperienced writers and experienced writers. When inexperienced writers were asked what they thought revising meant most answered rewording. ” The students place a symbolic importance on their selection and rejection of words as the determiners of their success or failure for their composition.”(Sommers) Whereas experience writers say that revising/rewriting is all about the ability to restructure and analyze your work. Experienced writers know that rewriting is a constant thing, the more you write the more there is to rewrite.
I found reading Sommers writing to be far easier than that of Murray because Sommers work is written in a chart like formation. “Revising is not rewording” (Sommers). Replacing words with something more elegant does not mean revising. A word that sounds smarter does not make for a better piece. The ability to take apart what has been written and putting it back together in a different approach is really what is meant by revising your work. Students seem to be afraid of the word rewriting and drafts most just want to write it once, read over it once, change a few words and be done but an experienced writer knows that rewriting isn’t as easy as flipping on a light, it takes time and patience, which inexperienced writers lack.
Murray, D.M. (1973) The Makers eye: Revising your own manuscripts.
Sommers, N.S. (1980). Revision Strategies of Student Writers and Experienced Adult Writers.