* To all of the grammar freaks, spelling fanatics and general people who actually know how the editing process works. *
Put Down Your Pen, Tommy
Clack. Clack. Clack.
Its 12:46 in the morning and you feel a wave of relief as you frantically finish typing the last few words of a major essay for English class. It isnt the greatest thing Ive written, you think, but thats okay because were editing each others papers tomorrow in class anyways. Theyll catch my mistakes and everything will be alright.
Tick. Tick. Tick.
Its English class and you anxiously await the return of your paper. Everyone, with the exception of you and one or two others, is reading each others papers and fixing the obvious spelling mistake here, or perhaps the boneheaded placement of its instead of its a few lines down. You glance over at Tommy who has your paper in his hands and watch as he passionately strikes out a sentence and relentlessly replaces it with something else, something better. Good, says the voice in your head, it shouldnt be too hard to fix this essay. He seems to know what hes doing.
Until he ambles over and tosses your writing down.
Good job. You look up and your editor is already back at his own desk, leaving you in the dust.
Is that all he has to say?
No paragraph three needs a better transition word or try using more imagery?
Good job says he either didnt understand your essay or he just doesnt care for writing at all.
Madly flipping through your pages of rushed effort in hopes of finding that extensive editing you were looking for never found its way to your eyes.
Tommy was your only hope.
But it isnt only Tommy. Its Tommy and Jenna and Bobby and Sarah. These are the people that we, as students, are depending on to help increase our marks. These are the people who are also beating our marks down with battered old sticks of an inexcusable oblivion to their own native language with every missed correction to be made. These are our fellow classmates.
Is it really required of us that we edit each others writing? Having the vast majority of your English class incapable of finding even the simplest English errors in an English paper does not help anybody. The lucky Joes have always been the ones that have their papers edited by the people of the class who have a really nice grasp of the rules applying to the English language. Might I add that there tend to be very few of these English devotees.
Sure, having someone else in the class read through your writing can have its optimistic side. Students can give their perspectives on the subject and open a new door of opportunity to your writing, but this would only generally work with persuasive writing. I dont know too many people at school that care much for Atwoods characters and themes. Plus I only said read through, not edit.
Looking back over the years of our young writing careers, not one incident of story-writing comes to mind where Ive had a classmate successfully edit my piece. I remember the good ol days of lining up at the teachers desk, stories in sweaty little palms, waiting for her to go through our poorly-structured sentences and fix them with her magic red pen. That pen could remove the crust and mould that didnt belong and repair the leak in your faucet. This short parade ended after third grade when the duty of peer editing was suddenly thrown upon us.
Maybe peer editing is such a failure because its just the fact that we have to do it and it isnt a choice.
In retrospect, it would just be nice to not have to spend the extra time on something Ive already disliked writing by pursuing someone else I know with an exceptional English history. Its a total waste of their time to check over what Ive written and what had already been edited. Anyways, I always end up getting my writing back with corrections that either:
a) dont make any sense or
b) need correcting themselves.
Aside from never really thoroughly seizing the ability to incorporate English rules and whatnot into writing, it seems as if all of the different possibilities in writing arent very focused on in school, like creativity. We are taught how to write things, like essays, in such a structured form that when it comes to editing something more creative, or even more informal than formal, the general knowledge is that the writing is wrong and therefore should be incorrectly corrected.
I gist reely don't lyke giving my papier two somewun randome in the class too ed1t becuzz thay never catch n-e-thing odviuss.
So, the solution to this absurdity: eliminate peer editing! If it is of genuine interest to have your paper properly edited, seek out someone else you trust to edit it. Itd be a good idea to make it a teacher or someone you personally know with a strong English background. After all, its about time you left Tommy in the dust.
But hey, lets not totally bash in the peer edit procedure. After all, having random people in your class go through your writing with a pen keeps each other from uncovering embarrassing things youve written about in your paper.
Listening to: In the Hall of the Mountain King-Edward Grieg
Reading: msn conversations
Watching: the screen