14 feb. 2008

When I am not concentrating quite as well, at the end of a writing session for example, I will write some "placeholder sentences." These serve to mark the place in the text where the real sentences will go later on. Here, for example, is a transition placeholder I wrote this morning:

I began this chapter by looking at translation theory, but I have not looked at translations themselves. I am more interested in the overall transformation of Lorca's work into its relation to the American cultural paradigm than in individual versions of Lorca's poetry. However, those are also worth a look.

This is enough information for the Jonathan of tomorrow to use to write some better prose. I'll usually put those kinds of sentences in brackets to signal to myself that they are simply notes to myself. I'll even write "[insert sentence about x here]." Toward the beginning of my writing this morning I was writing sentences at the "penultimate level," that is, decent scholarly prose that might need to be rewritten only a few more times before going into the final, pre-copyediting phase. For me, a sentence won't really get into penultimate form on the first try unless I am really on my game. The beauty of it is that a day's writing will include sentences of all types, as well as revisions that bring the sentences up one level. Once the whole chapter is more or less in antepenultimate form, then I can bring it up to penultimate form and then to pre-copyediting final form.

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