a tree sapling emerging from the stump of a cut tree

Rewriting: Words in Bloom




As I was diving through this week’s readings, I couldn’t help but to reminisce on my writings during high school and undergrad. I can still see the markings on my papers, A big red X over a word, a phrase circled with a single word comment “rephrase”, a lone question mark over a sentence. Thinking about this made me remember my past revisions only focusing on words. Rephrasing, finding synonyms, never looking at the bigger picture. BUT the thing is those small synonymic revisions got me the grade (until they didn’t).

Nancy Sommer mentions in her article Revision Strategies of Student Writers and Experienced Adult Writers that the students writers only modified ideas, and not words, in their introductory paragraphs “because the students have been taught in another version of the linear model of composing to use a thesis statement as a controlling device in their introductory paragraph”(382). As my eyes hit the period at the end of this sentence, the thought of 5 paragraph essays hit me like brick [unpleasant] and all of our conversation in class about them and their futility [pleasant].

Sommer quotes Roland Barthes “Writing develops like a seed, not a line” (384). This line encompasses the introduction of this article perfectly. since she mentions that you cannot revise during a speech, you can only add more words to clarify. This aspect of writing is my favorite, not only because I’m introverted and don’t like to speak much, but because once you speak a word into existence its out there. you cant retract it, remove it or undo its effect. Words said in anger that you did not mean, or promises made in joy you cannot keep. Revision and writing allow you to formulate your thoughts and rework them until what you said is perfect.


One response to “Rewriting: Words in Bloom”

  1. Chris Friend Avatar

    “A big red X over a word, a phrase circled with a single word comment ‘rephrase’, a lone question mark over a sentence” — Are these examples of non-feedback to blame for developing your reluctance to revise? What should feedback look like if it were to encourage true revision?

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