Listen to a conversation between a student and a professor.
So Professor Tibbits, your notes said that you want to see me … about my Hemingway paper?
I have to say, that grade wasn't what I was expecting. I thought I'd done a pretty good job.
Oh, you did. But do you really want to settle for pretty good when you can do something very good?
You think it can be very good?
Would that mean you'd... I could get a better grade?
Oh, sorry! It's not for your grade. It's... I think you could learn a lot by revising it.
[reluctant] You mean, rewrite the whole thing? I'm really swamped; there’s deadlines wherever I turn, and … and I don’t really know how much time I could give it.
Well, it is a busy time, with spring break coming up next week.
It's your call. But I think with a little extra effort, you could really turn this into a fine essay.
No... yeah... I mean, after I read your comments, I... I can see how it tries to do too much.
Yeah. It's just too ambitious for the scope of the assignment.
[upspeak] So I should cut out the historical part?
Yes. I would just stick to the topic, anything unrelated to the use of nature imagery has no place in the paper.
All that tangential material just distract from the main argument.
I never know how much to include, you know... where to draw the line?
[sarcastic] Tell me about it! All writers struggle with that one.
But it's something you can learn, that will become more clear with practice.
But I think if you just cut out the... emm...
The stuff about history, but if I cut out those sections, won't it be too short?
Well, better a short, well-structured paper than a long paper that's poorly-structured and wanders off topic.
So, all I have to do is to delete those sections?
Well, not so fast. After you cut out those sections you'll have to go back and revise the rest … to see how it all fits together.
And of course, you'll have to revise the introduction too, to accurately describe what you do in the body of the paper.
But that shouldn’t be too difficult; just remember to keep the discussion focused.
Do you think you can get it to me by noon tomorrow?
Wow... emm... I have so much.. er.. but I'll try.
OK, good! Do try! But if you can't, well, shoot for after spring break, OK?