Radical Revision Menu

For your Radical Revision due Saturday, integrate the work of at least three (3) revision techniques linked to the Teaching Blog. Choose one (1) each from Column A, Column B, and Column C from the list below. (This is in addition to your Oblique Strategy and other in-class work we’ve done so far.) Some of the techniques below may apply to the whole draft, while others work better in a particular passage. Whichever the case, use them and see how far you can go while still making the draft work. Next week (April 25 and 27) I will put your Radical Revision on the board as you present reflection your work for a 2-3 minute presentation.

Column A Column B Column C
Slow Down and Press Pause Button Change Point of View from First to Second, Third, or None


Turn Your Draft Into a How-To
Second-Guess and Use The Rhetoric of Process Sestina Remix Put Writing in Reverse; Or, Benjamin Button–ize Your Draft


Add Descriptive Paragraph (Leap)


Place Us in Room Where You Are Writing Choose a Oulipo Exercise
Add Descriptive Sentences into a Paragraph Use Research and Rhetoric of Gaps Write Substantial Word Riff, All in One Sentence


Add a Descriptive Paragraph into Your Piece


Place Objective Correlative Into Your Essay  Establish Double Persona
Go Deeper By Adding a Leap/Tangent Use Research and The Rhetoric of Gaps


The Fake Translation
Research One of Your Topics Add Descriptive Paragraph By Interviewing the Author


Employ Cut-Ups Technique
Use Metacommentary  Three-Act Revision Use an Oblique Strategy
Add Descriptive Leap through Research Five-Act Narrative Revision I or II


Comments Off on Radical Revision Menu

Filed under English105Spring2016, Revision Exercises

Introductions, headnotes for your interview: some examples.

If you were to write an introduction/headnote for your interview.

  • Short and sweet: no more than 100 words, no fewer than 50.
  • Tell us who you’re interviewing, but while making a point or observation about your subject, as opposed to merely “I interviewed X and boy is she interesting/intelligent/lively.”
  • If there is a reason why this person was interviewed, or something timely that is happening to peg the interview, say it in the headnote.
  • Tell us how you spoke with your subject: email, sitting down in chairs in Starbucks, on the phone?
  • Give us some tastes, some keywords regarding what your interview’s conversation includes.

One intro style comes from New York magazine’s Vulture website.

One example:

Ellen Page created Gaycation, a new documentary series for VICELAND, with her best friend, Ian Daniel. In it, the two travel to explore LGBT culture, and the state of LGBT rights, in countries around the world. The first three episodes take them to Jamaica, Brazil, and Japan. Our friend John Horn, host of the KPCC radio show and podcast The Frame, interviewed Page and Daniel about the discrimination and violence they witnessed across the globe and the courageous LGBT people and activists who are fighting it.

[86 words]

Four sentences. We could assume we all know who Page, the star of Juno and other films, is. Or we can get to that in the interview. The most important/interesting/timely aspect is her new VICE show. That’s the first three sentences. The last tells us the circumstances surrounding the interview, and a taste/keywording of the interview itself.



Paul W. Downs is having quite a moment — not only does the comedian play Abbi’s boss and now love interest Trey on Broad City (for which he’s also a writer, along with longtime girlfriend-slash-writing-partner Lucia Aniello), he was also just featured on Netflix’s The Characters. We caught up with Downs to talk about Trey and Abbi’s surprising compatibility, putting funny first, and kissing babies.

[64 words]

We need to know who this person is, however. Downs is a new face.

Two sentences. Short and sweet, but with a lot of expository information.

Notice how the kicker/last sentence gives us a taste of what the interview contains.

Another comes from Time Out New York’s Hot Seat interviews, which I don’t think run anymore, at least in their old format, but their interviews are a classic study in headnote succinctness.

One example:

Other than a recent feature in Vanity Fair, James Frey has kept a low profile since his January 2006 televised smackdown by Oprah Winfrey. That infamous episode came, of course, shortly after the muckraking website the Smoking Gun found numerous inaccuracies in his best-selling addiction memoir, A Million Little Pieces, and shamed not only Frey but the publishing industry as a whole. This week, the 38-year-old New York resident will face both fans and foes when he sets out on a tour to promote his new book, Bright Shiny Morning—which Frey unequivocally and absolutely promises is complete fiction.

[99 words]

Reminds who Frey is in first sentence, then zeroes in for the second. The third sentence tells us why we’re talking to him now, along with some expository facts and a kicker that summarizes one subject in the interview.

Now that’s efficient writing.

Another example:

As he gleefully divulges in More Information than You Require, the second in a planned three-volume compendium of fake “facts,” John Hodgman is now a famous minor television personality—and a wealthy one at that. This is notable mostly because of how suddenly it came to be: Almost overnight in 2006, the cult (read: poor) New York City literary hero morphed into a shining beacon for geeks nationwide after being cast almost simultaneously as the resident expert on The Daily Show and as the stodgy PC in those ubiquitous Mac ads. Wearing a shirt he describes as a “very fine Banana Republic single-pocket, single-button polo,” Hodgman, 37, met us for lunch near his home in Park Slope.

The first sentence leads with the peg. The second tells us how we should or may know Hodgman, and the third lets us know the circumstances of the interview, with a nice little detail/quote that didn’t make the interview’s main body.

Comments Off on Introductions, headnotes for your interview: some examples.

Filed under English315Spring2016ProWriting, Interviews and Oral History, Uncategorized

Profile Workshop Roles


  Writer Lead Critic Copy Editor
1 Ty V. Nicole F. Christiane L.
2 Siobhan T. Carolynn B. Johan H.
3 Stephen S. Katie B. Lexi H.
4 Nick S. Tori A. Shannon F.
5 Zack P. Ty V. Nicole F.
6 Christina M. Siobhan T. Carolynn B.
7 Christiane L. Stephen S. Katie B.
8 Johan H. Nick S. Tori A.
9 Lexi H. Zack P. Ty V.
10 Shannon F. Christina M. Siobhan T.
11 Nicole F. Christiane L. Stephen S.
12 Carolynn B. Johan H. Nick S.
13 Katie B. Lexi H. Zack P.
14 Tori A. Shannon F. Christina M.


Read: The “Rules” of a Creative Writing Workshop and Tasks of the Workshop Discussion Leader, Lead Critic



Comments Off on Profile Workshop Roles

Filed under English315Spring2016ProWriting

English 105 Open Letter Revision Conference Times

Email me a request for a meeting by sundown, Friday, April 8. Times given on a first email, first schedule basis. Revise your Open Letter and email me the Word/RTF file by the time of our conference. Meetings are in my office. Come on time. If you don’t show up, it counts as one absence.


Monday, April 11






1:00pm  Ashley B


Tuesday, April 12

10:30am Melanie R

11am Melina K


12:30pm Michelle F

1:00pm Daeclan M


Wednesday, April 13

10:30am Jahnay C




1:00pm Ashley B

Comments Off on English 105 Open Letter Revision Conference Times

Filed under English105Spring2016, Uncategorized

Profile Pieces

“The American Man, Age 10” [Annotated]

“Oops, You Just Hired the Wrong Hitman” [GQ]

“The Hidden Man” [La Times]

“You Belong With Me” [New Yorker]

“Master of Play” [New Yorker]

Comments Off on Profile Pieces

Filed under Uncategorized