Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Editing fool

I am revising a paper, and I'm in the middle of a particularly thorny section. In an earlier round of editing, I scribbled in the margin that I would like a cleaner presentation of this section; now, I've decided to quit procrastinating and actually clean it. In the process, I've gone from thinking the author is a lot smarter than I am to thinking what was this idiot author thinking? Of course, I'm the author who is the target of this alternate admiration and accusation.

My current method of revising papers involves a fountain pen, a legal pad, and a lot of time writing longhand from a printed page. One advantage of this method is that it's impossible for me to skim, no matter how familiar I am with the contents of the formula; consequently, I catch a lot of punctuation errors, notational inconsistencies, and similar types of mistakes. When I re-write my theorems longhand, I also more easily find places where I've been too loquacious (and my fingers start to ache) or too curt (so that I can hardly decipher what that fool author wrote).

The main disadvantage of this editing method is that I go through ink cartridges quickly. I suppose I'll visit the stationery store when I walk to Soda tomorrow.