December 30, 2008

Hi. My name is Art and I'm a chronic rhetoricist.

AP English and my studies in effective, rhetorical writing have taught me that every essay needs a hook, roadmap, thesis, body, and summary.

Sometimes, even when I'm happy with something I've written, I'm compelled to add a hook, or put in more figures of speech. I will rewrite my emails because I don't want the recipient to get the wrong impression. I spend time perfecting and polishing what I write, not just for clarity or grammar, but because I know it will make it sound or read better. In essence, I change my initial, personal reaction to something I think is more palatable to my audience.

Do you think this is dishonest/insincere to myself and my ideas?


Serfy said...

I do much the same thing. If you ask my mom, she will tell you I can take half an hour to write a simple email.

If you revise simply to make sure your intention is understood clearly, I don't think that's being insincere. Wouldn't it be better than blurting something out and having it taken the wrong way?

If you're writing an email to a good friend who won't be offended if you say something completely honest, why waste time making it sound like an AP essay?

I think you are only being dishonest to yourself if you embellish a piece of writing so that your original intention is not easily accessible. Keep it simple!

And yes, I spent about six minutes typing (and revising) my comment.

Mom said...

It's not dishonest to strive for clarity but it could be dishonest if you work to recraft something just to please the audience. The goal should be understanding..on both the "speaker's" and "listener's" part.