Sym 103sb - Review: Writing and Editing

Dr. Kristi Siegel

Wednesdays: 6:00 – 7:50pm

Office: Caroline Hall 157, #464, 549-3262 (home)

Office hours: Thursdays, 4:00-6:00pm or by appointment


"The great enemy of clear language is insincerity. When there is a gap
between one's real and one's declared aims, one turns as it were instinctively
to long words and exhausted idioms, like a cuttlefish squirting out ink."
--George Orwell, "Politics and the English Language."

Text and materials: Simon & Schuster: Concise Handbook. Lynn Quitman Troyka. Englewood Cliffs: New York, 1992.

Computer disk.

Folder or three-ring binder.

Highly recommended: a good dictionary and thesaurus.

Course Description and Objectives:

Review: Writing and Editing 103, as the course title suggests, is designed to provide a review of the writing process. You will learn to edit your own work to improve your grammar, diction, style, and clarity. Although we will be discussing a number of concepts concerning effective writing, George Orwell expresses the rules of good writing quite succinctly:

Writing Assignments:

There are three major writing assignments. You will also write revisions for the three writing projects. Although you are not required to write in a journal, I highly recommend that you try to do some writing every day. I will also be bringing in examples of writing (good and bad) and encourage you to look more critically at the writing you read (start evaluating the writing in the newspaper, magazines, books, etc.). As an experiment, we may do the cultural critique essay using the Internet Classroom Assistant. After deciding on a topic, the critique would be done on-line (on the Internet) as a threaded collection of paragraphs with the other members of your class.

Grading and Evaluation:

You will receive a grade and considerable feedback on each of your writing assignments. The grades on your revisions will count more than your initial grade since the major objective of this course is to teach the value of critically editing your writing. A revision means a major overhaul, not just cleaning up a few mechanical errors. Literally, a revision means to "re-see"; you are given the opportunity to completely re-focus your paper in terms of style, organization, diction, argumentation, etc. When you turn in your revision, the first draft, along with my comment sheet must be included for reference. If you need individual help on any assignment, I will be happy to meet with you before class, after class or by appointment.

All papers, with the exception of in-class impromptu or exercises, must be typed. Late papers will not be accepted without prior arrangements.

The grade breakdown for the course is as follows:

  • 15% - In-class exercises, workshops and participation
  • 25% - Grades on first drafts of written assignments
  • 40% - Grade on revisions
  • 20% - Final exam

Attendance: Attendance is expected. More than two absences may result in a "no-credit" for the course.


Jan 25 Syllabus. Pictures. Impromptu. Vocabulary and grammar assessment.

** Read chapters 1 & 2 in Trokya handbook.

Feb 3 Discussion of diagnostic assessments. Strategies for improving language skills.

Discussion of quotes from last Wednesday's impromptu.

Read Ken Macrorie, "The Poison Fish." Discussion of "Engfish."

Paragraph revision on overhead. ** First essay assigned (personal narrative)


Feb 10 Discuss techniques of narrative event. Pre-writing handout and "Kippi" cluster.

Description workshop - Sunrise handouts.

Writing groups on rough drafts (focus on narrative sequence, precise description and avoiding ENGFISH!!)

Feb. 17 Personal narrative essay collected.

** Cultural critique essay assigned – Assignment

Discussion of media and advertising techniques. In-class work on Essay #2.

Feb. 24 Work on cultural critiques. Mini-conferences on topic selections. In-class

work and writing groups on cultural critique essay.

Mar. 3 Collect revised personal narratives and cultural critique essays

** Read Chapters 39, 40, 41 and 42 in Trokya handbook.

Stylistics workshop - varying sentence length.

Mar. 10 Assign research paper. Assignment. Discussion of Troyka chapters.

In-class work on cultural critique revision.

Paragraph explaining topic and probable sources.

Mar. 17 Spring break - no class.
Mar. 24 Meet in library.

Collect and discuss research paper topic paragraphs.

Collect revised cultural critiques.

** Schedule conferences for Apr. 7.

Mar. 31 Individual conferences.
Apr. 7 In-class work on rough drafts.
Apr. 14 Research papers due.

Workshop on writing impromptu essays and essay questions.

Apr. 21 Impromptu essay.

Writing groups on research paper revisions.

* Read Troyka handbook, Chapters 3, 4, and 5

Apr. 28 Revised research paper collected.

Practice editing and revising sample paragraphs.

May 5 Discussion and workshop on paragraph revisions.
May 12 Review and discussion. Evaluations.
May 19 Final exam - editing and revising (you will be given two paragraphs to correct, edit, and revise).

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