The Dangerous Blog for Grad Students

A How-To Tale

“Understanding Composing” Precis September 2, 2008

Filed under: Precis — deduvick @ 2:55 pm
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Sondra Perl

There are several steps that writers take when they are composing a paper.  On thing is that they are constantly revisiting things that were previously written.  Whether this is one sentence before or a proceeding paragraph or even starting from the top, writers use where they have been to figure out where they are going.  Another thing that writers go back to is their topic or the purpose of their paper.  When they re-fix the topic firmly in their mind, it is easier to decide what the next logical step is.  A final thing is to return to a “felt sense.”  This is what you initially felt when you started the project, before there were any words.  There was just something, some feeling, some emotion in your mind.  An effective writer is able to tap into this and go back as many times as is necessary, until he/she is able to put that felt sense into the written word.

All of this constitutes a “retrospective structuring” and is coupled with another practice that all writers need to adapt, if they have not already.  It is also very important to go back over your text to see if you are accurately conveying your meaning to your audience.  Not just that it is grammatically correct or that you are saying what you are meaning to say, but that you step into your audience’s shoes and consider your piece from a view other than your own.  What sort of felt feeling will it bring in them?  Is that similar or different?  How does that affect your piece?  This can be called “projective structuring” and together the two work in a back and forth motion threaded all throughout the writing process.

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