Case 3 Revision Workshop--Reading Drafts Aloud to Refine Style
At this point in the semester, most of you have adapted your "rhetorical stance" so that you approach composing academic prose like someone who belongs to Goucher's scholarly community. You assume your best readers are intelligent and bring both value biases and knowledge to the reading of your paper. You assume you can really do something with your prose if you design your thesis and support carefully, and introduce it to your best readers by start from where they are most approachable (usually values and knowledge you share with them). It's getting to be time to turn our attention to style, using the best words to create the best sentences in well-formed paragraphs.
Please bring a real prose draft to class on Monday, not just an outline. Outlines are fine for working out your rhetorical stance, but the text will not help us fine-tune your style. The draft does not have to be totally complete, but it needs to contain enough paragraphs of prose you believe in to be worth using to refine your style. Our strategy will be to read your paper aloud to your workshop partner while the partner looks at the page with you. That will enable you both to hear how the prose is working and where your spoken version might deviate from what is on the page. Your auditory English is more idiomatically correct than your visual English, and combining two people's auditory English will catch a large proportion of the places where the words and sentences would be improved. Be careful as you read. If you stumble even a little, go back and figure out what caused the disruption. If your partner thinks a word or phrase sounded odd, pay attention. We always can find the stylistic mistakes in other people's prose easier than we can find them in our own.