The other night, trying to revise the dyslexia passage, I convinced myself it couldn’t be done without adding new content.
So here are two copy edits, one relying on syntax alone, the other relying mostly on added details.
I want to stress that in I don’t mean to be critical, or to embarrass the author. Her essay works as is– the reason I know about it is that a friend of mine liked it so much she emailed it to her friends.
Aidan had started the project in a moment of despair right after getting back his spring grades in ninth grade. They were disappointing. They didn’t reflect how hard he had worked. We were standing in his room at the time. I had pointed to a poster he had tacked up over his desk of successful adults who have dyslexia. “I wonder how they made it?” I had said.
(Aidan’s project is a series of interviews with successful people who have dyslexia.)
|POSSIBLE REVISION USING CHANGES IN SYNTAX
During 9th grade, in a moment of despair, Aidan had started the project after getting back his spring grades. They were disappointing. Certainly, they didn’t reflect how hard he had worked. I pointed to a poster he had tacked up over his desk of successful adults who have dyslexia. “I wonder how they made it?” I said.
|Lots of sentence combining, plus I changed two instances of the past perfect to simple past tense|
|POSSIBLE REVISION USING CHANGES IN CONTENT AS WELL AS SYNTAX
Aidan had started the project in a moment of despair after his spring grades arrived freshman year. They were a disappointment. He had worked hard, and the unrelieved column of Cs and one D didn’t show it. Discouraged, I looked at the poster he’d tacked up over his desk, the one listing “Successful and Famous People with Dyslexia.” There were 80 of them, all told, beginning with Robert Blake—Robert Blake—and ending with Ernest Hemingway.
“I wonder how they did it,” I said.
|Adding details (I found the Robert Blake dyslexia poster on Pinterest) made it much easier to fix the problem of a string of sentences starting with “I,” “they,” and “we.”|
How to turn a list of sentences into a paragraph – 9/20/2016
Get me rewrite – 9/24/2016
Why it’s hard for a memoirist to write non-choppy prose and sound like a normal human being – 9/27/2016