Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=1080019
 
 

Citations (1)



 
 

Footnotes (143)



 


 



Better Revision: Encouraging Student Writers to See Through the Eyes of the Reader


Patricia Grande Montana


St. John's University - School of Law


Journal Legal Writing, Vol. 14, Spring 2008
St. John's Legal Studies Research Paper No. 08-94

Abstract:     
This article recommends teaching strategies aimed at helping students employ substantive re-vision techniques. Despite the time and attention legal writing professors devote to the rewrite phase of an assignment, first-year law students traditionally consider the assignment completed when they hand in the first draft. The rewrite, they assume, consists of making superficial changes - polishing grammar, refining word choice, and improving sentence structure.

Although those tasks factor into the rewrite process, they are relatively incidental. As experienced legal writers know, the objectives of a rewrite are to revise and sharpen the analysis, deepen the sophistication of the reasoning, and communicate these insights in a more accessible way to the reader. But inexperienced or novice writers often lack the ability to substantively revise their own work. That is because to effectively revise a draft, the writer must abandon the traditional linear process of composing, and adopt an integrated recursive approach instead. The key is to let go of the subjective writer-based perspective and to substitute an impartial reader-based view. Only then can writers see the flaws in what they have written.

Drawing from the literature on composition theory at the undergraduate level, the article suggests that most first-year law students treat the writing process as linear and thus never truly review their work from the reader's standpoint. Consequently, they are unable to see areas in their text that need to be omitted, clarified or expanded and instead make mainly superficial edits when they revise. The article explores methods that encourage students to move beyond such word-processing changes so that they produce improved rewrites that meet their readers' needs.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 36

Accepted Paper Series


Download This Paper

Date posted: January 3, 2008 ; Last revised: December 9, 2012

Suggested Citation

Grande Montana, Patricia, Better Revision: Encouraging Student Writers to See Through the Eyes of the Reader. Journal Legal Writing, Vol. 14, Spring 2008; St. John's Legal Studies Research Paper No. 08-94. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1080019

Contact Information

Patricia Grande Montana (Contact Author)
St. John's University - School of Law ( email )
8000 Utopia Parkway
Jamaica, NY 11439
United States
718 990 1389 (Phone)
Feedback to SSRN


Paper statistics
Abstract Views: 1,153
Downloads: 208
Download Rank: 83,505
Citations:  1
Footnotes:  143

© 2014 Social Science Electronic Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved.  FAQ   Terms of Use   Privacy Policy   Copyright   Contact Us
This page was processed by apollo3 in 0.375 seconds