Editing and Revision, II

salvēte, amīcī! As promised, today we’ll take a look at the Editing and Revision process through the lens of our faithful reader, subscriber, and contributor David H, who has not only contributed stories but graciously agreed to let us use them as examples for editing. Once again, here is the first draft of his first story:

Casa mea pura est, nec sordida nec mucida. In una situla scopae et peniculus sunt. Cotidie pavimentum lavo. Itaque neque muscas neque formicas in casa mea vivunt. Vespas et arenas non amo, et eas quoque in casa mea non vivunt.

Ego quoque matellam habeo. Non barbarus sum! Hahahae! Iocum facio.

Before I could suggest any revisions, David himself made some! Here’s the current version of the story, which you can see here:

Salve! Nōmen mihi Ortellius est. Ego Hibernicus rusticus sum, et senex. Ego in insulā Hiberniā habitō. Dē casā mea tibi nararre volō. Casa mea valdē vetusta est. Casa in quā habitō in silvā densā et obscūrā prope rīvulum parvum et clarum est. Extra casam meam multes arbores sunt.

Casa mea neque ruīnōsa neque turgurium squālidum est. Tecta rīmosā nōn est. Casa mea sicca est. Casa mea quoque nōn sumptuōsa, sed commoda est. Id parva est, sed casam meam mihi valdē placet. Casam meam parvam amō.

Casa mea munda est, neque sordida neque mūcida. In una situlā scōpae et pēniculus sunt. Cotidie pavīmentum lavō. Itaque neque muscas neque formicas in casā mea vivunt. Vespas et arāneolas nōn amō, et eas quoque in casā mea nōn vivunt. Ego quoque matellam habeō. Non barbarus sum! Hahahae! Iocum faciō.

So, as you think of the rubric I shared yesterday and in early February, how would you rate this story in each category?

Acceptable Not Yet Acceptable
Morphology and Syntax Errors, if any, are typographical and require minimal editing. Constructions are familiar to the learner. No new / unfamiliar forms are used. Errors of morphology and syntax are present. More than typographical correction is needed. New/unfamiliar forms are used without clarification, or forms are used incorrectly.
Vocabulary All important words are previously learned (on the master vocabulary list) or clear from context/derivatives. Words are used correctly and idiomatically, or there are only minor errors, easily corrected. New words are included without attention to vocabulary development. There may be evidence of “random dictionary diving.” Some words are used incorrectly or in unidiomatic ways; errors require more than minimal editing to correct.
Storyline Characters’ behavior and motivation is consistent with previous stories. Setting, tone, and other features “make sense” with what has gone before. Characters’ behavior and motivation is inconsistent with previous stories, or with “what a Roman would do” (for Roman characters). Setting, tone, and/or other features “don’t make sense” with what has gone before.

Of course, some categories may be hard to rate. You don’t yet, know, for example, what words are included on the master vocabulary list. You also don’t know exactly where this story would fall – which Lectiō it would be attached to. It’s obviously Not Yet Acceptable for Lectiō I, since it includes a lot of words (and forms) that aren’t familiar at the very beginning. But the Vocabulary and Storyline would be quite acceptable as soon as the learners have encountered infinitives and a few plural forms – even if datives aren’t yet “known” for mastery, a learner wouldn’t be likely to have problems with the few datives in this story. If you had your red pen out :-), you probably made note of the minor grammatical issues, most of which had to do with (1) adjective agreement and (2) use of an accusative where a nominative was needed. If you were going to give David H specific, but positive feedback to help him revise these errors, what would you say? And would you “do it for him” or “show him the problems and let him fix them?”

If I were to write global comments on the story, I’d say something like this:

David, I like this story! It’s grammatically simple and straightforward, but it holds my attention and ties in nicely with the storyline of Lectiōnēs I-V. Where do you think it would “fit” best? (Obviously we need to know a bit about plurals, or have them glossed.) Just a few minor grammatical errors: (1) You might take another look at the word multes in the last sentence of the first paragraph. (2) I see two minor problems with the sentence beginning with Id parva – a gender problem and a case usage problem. (3) I see a similar case usage problem in the fourth sentence of the last paragraph, with muscas and formicas, and in the next sentence with eas. Also, some slightly obscure or vocabulary (like mucida, situla, scopae, matella) might need to be explained or glossed for our readers.

Overall, though, this is a great first effort. Thanks so much for contributing it! With a few simple revisions, it will soon become part of the Tres Columnae Project!

quid respondētis, amīcī?

  • How do you respond to the story?
  • How do you respond to the (small number of) grammatical errors? So often, Latin teachers focus on – and expect – “perfection,” a state which is probably not achievable for most people, and certainly not for most beginning students. High expectations are great, and we embrace them! We also need to remember to have high expectations of ourselves as teachers, and we need to make sure that our expectations, while high, are still attainable by our students or other learners.
  • What do you think of the character of Ortellius?
  • How do you think our Roman characters would respond to him? And what about our non-human characters?

Tune in next time for a response to your comments, and also for a similar exploration of David’s second story. We’ll get back to “primary” Tres Columnae stories on Monday with a series that focuses on the introduction of participles and (non-present-tense) infinitives.

In the meantime, grātiās maximās omnibus legentibus, and please keep those messages coming! Remember, if you’d like a Free Trial subscription, just let us know at this link; space is still available.

Hope to hear from you soon! 🙂

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