Monday, September 22, 2014

Erica Delsandro on writing as revising and the never-ending work of critical thinking

Erica Delsandro, 
Visiting Assistant Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies

What writing project(s) are you working on right now?
I am working on what seems like a never-ending revision of an article.  It was a dissertation chapter so I needed to cut over twenty pages and focus my argument.  Precision is not my forte, so this has been a challenge.  I also just finished a session proposal for a conference I hope to attend next November.  That was a bit easier but also called for precision.

What do you love about it?
What I love about the chapter I am turning into an article is the close readings of the text I offer.  I believe they provide a new way to read the novel that in turn forces readers and critics alike to understand the novel -- and its place in literary history -- differently.  It has been fun to incorporate the author's satire and humor into my argument, unpacking the humor for my readers and poking fun at the author as well.

What about it (if anything) is driving you nuts?
What is driving me nuts is that it *still* is not finished!

How would you describe your writing process?
My writing process is slow.  I write a great deal, and I tend to verbosity.  So I write and write and write.  Then revise and revise and revise.  I suppose I would say my writing process is actually a revision process.  It is in the revision process, at least for me, that the *work* of critical thinking and critical writing really happens.

What kind of feedback on your writing do you find most helpful?
There are two types of feedback I find most helpful.  Early in the writing process, I benefit from talking about my project: reading my first draft out loud with someone and talking about the ideas, the claims, and the structure.  The global issues.  Later in process, when I've gotten my writing in a more manageable form, I like to read it out loud with a pencil, working closely at the sentence level, making sure my form facilitates my content, especially on the sentence level.
What would you like your students to know about you as a writer?
That writing for me *is* revising.  In other words, I never hand in my first draft!

Erica Delsandro received her doctoral degree in English Literature from Washington University in St. Louis in 2011 with a dissertation entitled “National History and the Novel in 1930s Britain.”  She also received an M.A. in English Literature from Bucknell University in 2005 and a B.A. with honors in English Literature and History from Bucknell in 2002.

Erica’s research interests coalesce around the interwar novel in Britain, gender and national identity, and the intersection of historiography and literature.

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