Monday, May 5, 2008

less is more: a lesson for the verbose (like me)

I met w/ two of my colleagues this morning to finish drafting and submitting a proposal to the Conference of College Composition and Communication (say that one ten times fast) regarding the use of the personal in academic writing. We three have formed a panel--I'm listed as "Speaker 3" and my paper deals with revisiting the role of narrative in an academic writing class.

We critiqued and edited each other's drafts, then combined them all into one proposal. We'd missed the snail mail deadline, thus we sent it via email. Doing so required us to do a copy-n-paste rather than submit as an attachment. When we did, we were informed that our proposal could be no more than 5000 characters -- not words, characters. We checked and discovered that we were about 2500 characters over, thus we needed to start cutting (and we'd already done quite a bit of trimming).

So, line by line, we cut every extraneous (is that even the right word? am I using that correctly?) word, words, and/or sentence. It's really something when you see what you can do w/out. It's an exercise that I must try w/ my students sometime. I mean, even that sentence: It's really something when you see what you can do w/out... look at what I can cut from there!

Afterwards, I went to Caribou to meet susan and got more grading done (I am so close to being finished!), not to mention a little "communal writing" -- she's in the process of copyediting her textbook, while I wrote a new scene for the my cafe notebook In between all this, we talked about movies, looked for similes to characterize an unromantic person, and she gave me a tour of Facebook. All in all, I spent about 2 1/2 hours there (Caribou, not Facebook), until I rushed out to make it home in time for Gilmore Girls (again, I say don't ask).

Tomorrow: primary day! I can't remember ever being this excited to vote!


TS said...

Not to bring up my paper again, but I do hope it has some influence on you during the November election :)! Thank you for inviting me to your blog, it has given me a little insight into your life. Now, what exactly is the 17th... it seems to have you a little stressed?

The Purple Panda said...

Come see me at QRB on the 17th -- it's a panel discussion about using alternative media to reach an audience. I'm going to be discussing (drum roll please) blogging!

And as for your paper, it gives me something to think about, for sure.