Developing a Trusted Process of Writing and Revision
Writing Better Essays - A Rhetorical Guide to Writing and Revision (Second International Edition) - David L. Rogers
David L. Rogers [+]
Kingston University, London
The Introduction explains the key premises of the textbook to students, beginning with an understanding of the importance for writers, at all levels, to develop a process for creating and developing their writing that they can trust. It then recommends a specific, staged process for them when writing argumentative essays, specifically, but one which will also help them in any form of non-fiction writing. To simplify that process, the introduction encourages students to adopt an approach to drafting their essays that, from the author’s experience, seems to come most naturally to developing writers. The approach amounts effectively to an approach of ‘direct writing,’ as characterized by Peter Elbow, among others. The book introduces this approach to students as the “I’ve started so I’ll finish” approach and attempts to convince them of the potential advantages of allowing themselves to follow the train of their thoughts, generating good, often unexpected ideas, during the act of writing, as long, that is, as they do not attempt to stick too doggedly to any preconceived plan. Their emerging drafts will almost always be flawed, underdeveloped and overly general, in most cases, but the subsequent chapters, the introduction explains, will give them the knowledge and skills to identify those flaws and to fix them during the stages of revision that comprise their overall process. The key, as the introduction makes clear, is their commitment to revise and a willingness to learn what they need to revise to constructively develop their initial drafts and how to use a few key techniques and strategies, all of which are the subject of later chapters. The introduction briefly summaries the aims and content of those chapters before providing a figure depicting the main parts of the circular and reiterative structure which the book recommends for argumentative essays and which its staged process is designed to help them develop.) The last section of the introduction then sets that persuasive structure into the natural pattern of conversation and the history of rhetoric.