Editing: stitching a more fluid essay

In addition to being a poor reader, Victor Frankenstein (Shelley’s stand-in for the creative artist, the writer, the one who toils in the workshop of filthy creation) appears to be a bad editor. Think of it: if he had taken a bit more time to consider the presentation of his creation, the work that he had stitched together from parts (as any creative work is), might he have saved himself some heartache?

This editing workshop focuses on how we control and create the fluidity (often called ‘flow’ by you) of an essay that is not naturally or originally there. It is made, not born. And one key place we control and create this fluidity is through control of our sentences. 

  • Sentence Variation: 
  1.  
    1. look at your sentence length: hit return at the end of each sentence in one or more paragraphs: turn your prose into poetry; the point is to bring out the buried voiced (the origins of poetry, of writing) of your sentences.
    2. we are after variation: not all long/complex; not all short and sharp–a fluid movement between the two.
  • Close-Up
    • Experiment with using the power of shifting to a short, sharply focused sentence as a way to highlight your thesis statement. It is like moving in for a dramatic close-up on your critical vision
  • Transitions
    • between sentences within a paragraph (the point from above), and between paragraphs. Look at the transition sentence (the first sentence of the next paragraph). Work on weaving the reader’s path (or the thread of your thesis) into the next paragraph.
      • use transition signals (think of the way we need to do this with a speech or public presentation): “Yet another example of this irony of dark creation is evident in the creation scene.”  Or by contrast: “Unlike the darkness of creation we see with Victor, the creature presents a vision of light…”
  • Weave your quotation into the paragraph: quotations need to be effective, not just accurate. 
    • consult the close-reading template (don’t throw quotations at the reader)
    • leave the page number for the parenthetical citation; don’t introduce the quotation with the page number.
  • Meta-Commentary.
    • We will be returning to this in later workshops. For now, think about places where you can add in a sentence that will help clarify things for your reader by letting the reader know what you are thinking.
      • “in other words”; “By irony of dark creation I mean…”; “Let me repeat my thesis:….”; “What do I mean by …?”
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