Those who have gone through the ecstasies and agonies of writing an essay knows the satisfaction (and quite often the sadness) of finishing. Once you’ve done all of the work of finding out what you would like to state, arriving at an arguable and interesting thesis, analyzing your evidence, organizing your opinions, and contending with counter-arguments, you could believe that you have got nothing left to complete but run spell-check, print it out and await your professor’s response. Exactly what spell- check can not discern is exactly what real readers might think or feel if they read your essay: where they may become confused, or annoyed, or bored, or distracted. Anticipating those responses could be the working job of an editor—the job you take on as you edit your very own work.
While you proceed, keep in mind that sometimes what may seem like a problem that is small mask (be a symptom of) a bigger one. A phrase—one that is poorly-worded seems, say, unclear or vague—may just need some tweaking to correct; nonetheless it may indicate that the thinking has not developed fully yet, that you are not exactly sure what you would like to state. Your language could be vague or confusing due to the fact basic idea itself is. So learning, as Yeats says, to “cast a eye that is cold in your prose isn’t only a matter of arranging the finishing touches on your essay. It is about making your essay better through the inside (clarifying and deepening your opinions and insights) and from the outside (expressing those ideas in powerful, lucid, graceful prose). These five guidelines might help.
Read your essay aloud .
We can sometimes lose sight of the larger picture, of how all the sentences sound when they’re read quickly one after the other, as your readers will read them when we labor over sentences. Continue reading “Example and rules Editing the Essay, Part One”