Orbits & Journeys

Revision Strategies

Here’s a handmade response to Nancy Sommers’ “Revision Strategies of Student Writers and Experienced Adult Writers” in Cross-Talk, a text from a graduate class I’m teaching this spring semester of 2011.

In this piece, Sommers describes how students tend to revise according to school and teacher-based rules, in contrast to how experienced writers revise:  in a more recursive mode seeking to discover both form and appropriate style.

Concerning inexperience student writers, Sommers claims

At best the students see their writing altogether passively through the eyes of former teachers or their surrogates, the textbooks, and are bound to the rules which they have been taught (49).

As for more seasoned writers, she argues

The experienced writers see their revision process as a recursive process—a process with significant recurring activities—with different levels of attention and different agenda for each cycle (52).

And she begins her conclusion with this:

It is a sense of writing as discovery—a repeated process of beginning over again, starting out new—that the students failed to have (53).