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					                    Editing
From the works of Joseph M. Williams, John R. Trimble,
                and Richard Lanham




            Dr. Theresa Thompson
    To be precise, make (good) choices.
   Be precise: use “vigorous” verbs and SVO.
    –   The president commands the Military, so soldiers listen when he
        speaks.
         Surprise readers: avoid overused phrases (clichés)
   Be concise: readability depends on quality of words, not
    quantity.
    –   Get to the subject quickly, then get to the verb and its object quickly:
        •   “Vincent being an ‘in-valid’ and Irene being a valid you would think a love so
            strong could not form.”
    –   Avoid long subject phrases. Revise a long subject into an introductory
        subordinate clause:
        •   “Irene caring for him and helping Vincent to conceal his identity from the police
            was essential because his arrest would have resulted in a failure of the mission.”
    –   Avoid sprawling subordination; reduce number of subordinate clauses:
        •   “Liz made it very clear to Gorgon that she would never betray him, which was
            broken when she went to his apartment, but he knew the truth and made a smart
            remark by telling her that he would tell her whenever he was about to leave.”
     Use only the words you need to say what
                   you mean.
1.    Delete words that mean little or nothing.
          It is easy to further suspect that Alec draws greater resolve form the
                fact that because his work is completely unknown by the common
                person their dependence is that much more important.
2.    Delete words that repeat the meaning of other words.
     "See, in my line of work you got to keep repeating things over and over and over
           again for the truth to sink in, to kind of catapult the propaganda."—Greece,
           N.Y., May 24, 2005
3.    Delete words implied by other words.
          "Those who enter the country illegally violate the law." —George W. Bush,
              Tucson, Ariz., Nov. 28, 2005
4.    Replace a phrase with one word when possible.
          A multiple of times = many times; in regards to = about
5.    To Avoid Obvious Mistakes, change negatives to
      affirmatives.
          “I don't want to run the risk of ruining what is a lovely recession” —George
               H.W. Bush
        Reduce metadiscourse: DO NOT
          BELABOR THE OBVIOUS.
AVOID STATING:
 writer’s intentions: I will argue that, to sum up, I believe,
     – I will argue that Vincent is a martyr.
   The writer’s confidence: may, perhaps, certainly, must
     – I believe Leamus and Liz shared true love.
   directions to the reader: note that, consider now, as you see
     – Do keep in mind, however, that a similar case could movingly be made
       on her behalf.
     – You can see the deceit in the novel….
   structure of text: firstly, first, finally, therefore, however,as I
    have said,…
     Paramedic Method: Seven Easy
                Steps
1.   Circle the prepositions.
2.   Underline the “is” forms.
3.   Ask: “Where’s the action?” “Who’s the
     character?” “Who’s kickin’ whom?”
4.   Put the verb in a simple (not a compound)
     form.
5.   A diagram to help understand flow.
6.   Start fast--no slow windups.
7.   Read the passage aloud with emphasis &
     feeling.
   Circle the Prepositions.
    – Leamas seemed to have a way with people even though
      he did not speak much; because Leamas seemed to have a
      coercive nature he was able to convince certain people to
      believe things even he himself did not understand, in
      doing this Leamas betrayed himself, his country, and was
      also betrayed by many people.
   Underline the “is” forms (am, are, is, was, were,
    been, be, being); put verb in simple form.
    – An argument that many people make is that if Leamas
      knew what the real assignment was he might not have
      done such a good job at deceiving the person they were
      really trying to get to which is Comrade Fiedler.
   Ask “Who’s kickin’ whom?” Who’s the actor?
    – A love so deep for your country that you would sacrifice
      yourself is known as patriotism.
                   A Diagram Helps
       FIFTY-FOUR Words
 and FIVE Prepositional Phrases???
                                        Ask: WHO’S KICKIN’
The British Secret Service               WHOM?
    goes                                 – Identify the actor and the
1.  by the name                            main action.
2.  of Control
3.  which is all part                   Eliminate unnecessary
4.  of an an effective                   nominalizations.
    elaborate scheme to                 Reduce prepositional
    discredit an effective East
    German spymaster named               phrases.
    Fiedler who is a
    communist spy and                   Break sentences when
    protect his friend Mundt             necessary.
    who is a British agent but
    who is actually                     Use simple verb forms.
5.  in the East German secret
    service.                            DIAGRAM AGAIN…?
         The B. S. Introduction
B.S. = lots of generic statements with no direct
connection to topic or thesis.
As a child we are loved by many. Our family and friends show us
how to be loved and how to love. We are thought also about love for
the unseen. In some households this love could be for God or
Buddha, while in others this love could be for ones country. A love
so deep for your country that you would sacrifice yourself is known
as patriotism. During certain times our love for someone or our
country can be put to the test. Whether it’s trust during a relationship
or loyalty during war, our true and innermost feelings are reviled.
One essentially decides which his true love is; the love for country or
the love for intimacy during these times. Some can enjoy both, while
other must make a sacrifice. Alec Leamas, the main character from
the book The Spy Who Came in from the Cold by John Le Carré, had
to choose between the love of his country and the love of his beloved
Liz. Ultimately Leamas choice resulted in his death.
    To determine “flow,” use a flow
               chart….
 “Flow” refers to how        40
  smoothly a reader moves     35
  through paragraphs.         30
 Vary the lengths and        25
  patterns.                   20
Every group expects its       15
  members to show that they   10
  accept its values by        5
  adopting its voice and      0
  vocabulary…(p. 69)




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                                       5

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                                                9
                                   Chart sentence lengths.
Start fast--no slow windups. Just
              do it…
Eliminate “blah blah is that”  Eliminate slow-mo
   metadiscourse:                openers.
 My contention is that…
                                There is…
 What I want to make clear is
   that…                        There are…
 The first is that…
                                The reason why is…
 The point I wish to make is
   that…                        The reason I did this is

 My opinion is that…            because…
 The fact of the matter is     As I already stated…
   that…
             Edit? You DO need to edit.
   Because that is what Victorian Society
    bred into the minds of men, young and
    old, plus society could have warped his
    intentions beyond that of a loving
    husband and more into what one must do
    to maintain face? [Huh?]
   Another example is the way control lies about
    not knowing about the death of Riemeck when
    it was control who had planned it to help keep
    Mundt a secret because. [Huh?]
   Sentence-clarity matters.

				
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