The authors of “The Craft of Research Reading” introduced the interaction between a writer and their reader as being a social activity. This point set the tone for how I would receive the rest of the authors’ advice on writing. I was enlightened by the idea that as a reader or writer, you play a role that is nearly identical to the one you would play in any other social interaction. This includes acting (or writing) in such a way that will be understood by your reader, which also means anticipating their own behavior or knowledge similar to the way you would in any other social interaction. The concept of treating your writing like one half of a two way relationship provided great clarity to me in regards to the idea of recognizing my audience.
Another aspect of the text that helped me to see my job as a writer more clearly came in regards to its instruction on “managing the unavoidable problem of inexperience”. I great deal of what I’ll be attempting as student in the writing minor is foreign in that I have almost no experience with forms of writing that stretch beyond persuasive essays or research papers. Any fiction, visual arts projects, etc that I aspire to create are beyond my current capacity as far as I am concerned. But in addition to offering instruction on how to attack new forms of literary research, the authors provided comfort with their reminder that the struggle is ultimately, still, a learning experience. I very much feel that the first two points that I have addressed are ones that will help me formulate my approach to my first re-purposing project.
The authors of the text go on to say that “once you understand a source, feel free to disagree”. This statement comes following their emphasis on first fully understanding a source, and being smart enough to know not to use it if you don’t fully comprehend its arguments. Now although unlike the first two concepts I analyzed, I do not think this theory will apply to my fictional re-purposing project, I do believe that it holds great weight in regards to how I will consider possible sources in many of my other classes, all of which require that I use academic sources to present an argument. Their point regarding the importance of understanding your research reminds me of the fact that regardless of the quality of information, my ability to incorporate it successfully will ultimately rest on my understanding of it. I feel that having a firm grasp of the concepts I seek to present in my future essays will undoubtedly improve their overall quality.
Oh and in addition to the “Using Sources” chapter reminding me of the importance of understanding the information you intend to use, it helped me to recall the clutch nature of the citation machine website that I’ve been using since the third grade.
The only aspect of “The Craft of Research Reading” that I think I might have to totally disagree with is its suggestion of “dividing and delegating” or assigning specific jobs when writing as a group. I just feel as if having certain jobs when participating in group writing exercises limits everyone’s creative instincts because they are focusing on only specific aspects of the text. I’d say its a lot like having a basketball team, and instructing one guy to shoot, while another does the ball handing, and the remaining three players handle the defensive load. I see no benefit from that versus allowing everyone to contribute to all aspects of a piece in the works.