Friday, April 2, 2010
Obama's notes: A lesson in expository writing
Not everyone does all of their editing on a wiki page or in the computer.
This image of Obama making edits to a speech comes from Jocelyn Hale, executive director of The Loft Literary Center. It reminds me of what we used to say in composition rhetoric classes back when I taught expository writing while going to graduate school at the University of Minnesota:
• Put everything down and then begin rearranging segments and replacing words
• If it is awkward or grammatically incorrect, pause, step back and rethink your idea
• You discover what you think as you shape your thoughts and research into words on paper
• You may surprise yourself with a changed opinion
• You refine your ideas as you craft and reshape your drafts
• Sometimes it's good to step back from the computer and and add some handwritten revisions
• Think about various contexts for your text: how does it carry over?
• Try reading your piece aloud
• Share it with someone else to see if it works for your intended audience