Like most chapters in this book, chapter 3 and its many pieces of advice on revision, has made me realize the incompleteness of my education. Revision is, of course, a part of writing—it involves the words we use and how we use them with some attention paid to our thesis and argument. Great. But, even in college, the idea behind revision—at least for me—was never “okay, look at this sentence—could it be better stated if you removed the unexpected definition and instead inserted a chiamus?” Instead, it was always, “Hmmm… you make an interesting point, but I am still not quite convinced of your claim. Revise this section for clarity and add a bit more here and then you will be fine (for the purposes of this assignment).” So, when I read all in this chapter about the mounds and piles of revision techniques, I was more than a little surprised.
I wasn’t surprised that everything in the chapter existed. No. I knew that figurative language and how we used words all likely had specific titles as far as theory was concerned. But, I was surprised that all the titles and language usages had such an organization to them and that it was an organization that students were expected to learn; perhaps it is because I never completed high-school, but I do not recall an English class, ever, homing in on sentence construction as part of the course. It was always bigger ideas—the “top” of the revision cone on page 57; this whole “editing for style” shtick was something that I learned by myself through copious writing.
If I were a teacher, I would be intimidated at how I would teach all these revision methods. I know these methods but to teach them… that seems like something else entirely, like there is not enough time in the day. In short, it makes one pine for the days of simply teaching literary interpretation. (But, that’s a whole other barrel all-together.)