Editing other people’s work taught me many things. Let’s look at a few of them now!
1) Rebecca’s paper taught me the challenge of explaining complex topics through an essay to an audience who is unfamiliar with said complex topics. She did an impressive job of relaying a lot of information that I fully didn’t understand and putting it in such a way that it was fathomable. Editing her work made me reevalute my own writing and make sure that I completely explained and gave background on more obscure subjects. Confusing your readers takes away from the quality of an essay.
2) Elizabeth’s paper taught me that thinking of contradicting questions about someone else’s evidence is always possible. When we edited for Stage One, we were asked to try to oppose certain pieces of evidence in the other person’s paper in order to make them think about how to more powerfully present their argument. It worked. While there are two arguments for almost every single quote that you can include, the key to writing a good essay is to explain your quote so well that the reader is convinced of your stance on the issue, even though it is certainly not the only stance available.
3) All the essays that I edited made me think about quoting. Formating quotes, integrating quotes, using clarity when quoting. A quote that you use in your own piece might make perfect sense to you in the context that you use it in, but that may just be because you are familiar with the quote and the meaning behind it. The reader, who is not familiar with all the same concepts and the rest of the context of the quote that you include, may be confused. A quote must not only be used properly, but fully explained. It must be clear to the reader that it has a reason for being in the essay. If not, maybe it’s best to axe it.