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I love theory

I mean music theory, here. It is funny that what goes by the name music theory would be, in literature, the equivalent of prosody and plot c...

Monday, May 24, 2010

Editing With Julia

Julia was looking over my shoulder as I was grading papers. She noticed: word repetition ("Dad, this student keeps using the word 'intricate' over and over on every page"). Sentence structure (sentences too short, too long, no variation in length of structure; every sentence in a paragraph begins with the same word). "Thesaurus" writing, where the student has reached for a hifalutin word that is not the correct word. Obscure, difficult to understand language. Pomposity, wordiness...

Julia is not yet 15, yet I could hire her to grade my papers for me, or at least go through quickly to point out some obvious flaws. My point here is that a lot of flaws in writing are readily perceptible to almost anyone with a minimal sense of style. You shouldn't necessarily write for a high-school sophomore or freshman, but a smart person in that age group will know if you are not a good writer.

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