Practicing Imitation and Revising Your Paragraphs
Writing Better Essays - A Rhetorical Guide to Writing and Revision (Second International Edition) - David L. Rogers
David L. Rogers [+]
Kingston University, London
Chapter 6 represents the center of the book structurally and conceptually as it focuses entirely on the classical rhetorical practice of imitation. Once fundamental to the teaching of both oral and written rhetoric, imitation seems now largely out of favour, but its potential value as a learning tool remains. Since it will not be familiar to most students now, the chapter first explains imitation as a practice and advises students on the best ways to receive the maximum benefits from it. It then provides an exercise involving thirty-nine examples of good practice written by a diverse group of professional writers from different countries and representing a range of disciplines and subject areas. It explains the steps of the exercise carefully, both with respect to each individual imitation the students undertake and to the approach they should take to subsequent imitations, since, to extract the most benefit from imitation, students must practice consistently and over a period of time, perhaps with instructors setting assignments weekly. Students should never try to complete imitations quickly or when they are tired. The final exercise in the chapter asks students to return to their on-going draft or to a previous essay and revise all of their paragraphs fully, using what they have previously learned about bridging devices and what they have begun to understand about their own style and ways to better develop coherence from any of the imitations they have performed.