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Laura Pop
Current Residence: this house, on this corner, on theses streets
Favourite photographer: steve mccurry
MP3 player of choice: archos 404
* 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.
It’s 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 isn’t the greatest thing I’ve written, you think, but that’s okay because we’re editing each other’s papers tomorrow in class anyways. They’ll catch my mistakes and everything will be alright.

Tick. Tick. Tick.
It’s 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 other’s papers and fixing the obvious spelling mistake here, or perhaps the boneheaded placement of “its” instead of “it’s” 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 shouldn’t be too hard to fix this essay. He seems to know what he’s 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 didn’t understand your essay or he just doesn’t 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 isn’t only Tommy. It’s 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 other’s 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 don’t know too many people at school that care much for Atwood’s 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 I’ve had a classmate successfully edit my piece. I remember the good ol’ days of lining up at the teacher’s 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 didn’t 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 it’s just the fact that we have to do it and it isn’t a choice.

In retrospect, it would just be nice to not have to spend the extra time on something I’ve already disliked writing by pursuing someone else I know with an exceptional English history. It’s a total waste of their time to check over what I’ve written and what had already been “edited.” Anyways, I always end up getting my writing back with “corrections” that either:
a) don’t 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 aren’t 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. It’d be a good idea to make it a teacher or someone you personally know with a strong English background. After all, it’s about time you left Tommy in the dust.

But hey, let’s 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 you’ve written about in your paper.
  • Listening to: In the Hall of the Mountain King-Edward Grieg
  • Reading: msn conversations
  • Watching: the screen


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Jassillusions Featured By Owner Sep 29, 2008  Hobbyist Photographer
Thanks for fav
ObsoleteChildren Featured By Owner Sep 26, 2008  Hobbyist
thanks for the :+fav:
Photo-Giraffe Featured By Owner Sep 25, 2008
purple-high Featured By Owner Sep 25, 2008  Hobbyist Photographer
thanks for the fave:)