Friday, 15 September 2017

Cutting the fat

Does the idea of editing text to trim the fat make you grind your teeth? Yep, it does me too. However, sometimes when we write we add in lots of redundancy that only a REALLY good prune can fix.

The wonderful thing is that, like a good haircut allows others to really see our face, a good copy-edit allows our message to stand out more clearly.

For example, on the Berkeley course I have been doing, we were asked to copy-edit a piece of writing for clarity. The original piece of writing was 204 words long. I rewrote it to 113 words, and I don't think I lost the meaning in the process.

I looked at compacting phrases, reordering and regrouping ideas to clearly show time progression. I looked at paragraph breaks so ideas were complete on their own. I looked at stripping out redundancy and trying to clarify topics. What I came up with was:



Original:
Every single time I had to do a writing assignment, I was always really unhappy and miserable. Due to my complete lack of confidence as well as my total inability to express ideas of mine on paper, I believed that I had to work almost twice as hard as any other student in this world. This included spending hours and hours looking at a blank page and spending more hours editing essays of mine, just to make sure I had really appropriate content, organization, and grammar. Since English was not my first language, I was concerned that I would not do so very well at the university. When I entered the class offered by College Writing, everything changed in a positive way due to the fact that my writing skills increased throughout the semester.

In the beginning of the semester, I had a lot of trouble with my first couple of essays; however, with careful analysis, patience, and my will to succeed, I started to write essays that I was quite proud of. I learned that if I could relate any topic of any essay with my personal experience, I believed that these essays were truly good, and would submit it to my instructor. 


204 words
Copy-edited:
I was unhappy with my past writing assignments, due to a lack of confidence and an inability to clearly express ideas, resulting in spending hours looking at a blank page. I felt I worked twice as hard as others, editing for hours to ensure appropriate content, organization, and grammar.















Since English was not my first language, I was concerned that I would fail at university, but the College Writing class increased my writing skills. Initially, I had trouble; however, I learned to relate essay topics to my personal experience which helped me reach submission standard. With careful analysis, patience, and my will to succeed, I started to write essays to be proud of.

113 words
 
Feedback on what I came up with, and what I missed, would be great!


Sam

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