Last week I shared the opening move in my long-term plot of guiding my son toward ways of revising his college-application essay so that it sounds like his own honest, coherent, personal statement. This morning I'm delighted to say that the revision he returned to me was a marked improvement on the first draft. And because several people asked me to continue annotating my strategy, here, forthwith, is my second move:
Reread the essay and choose the paragraph that you think is most interesting: i.e., the least boring, the wackiest, the funniest; the one that includes the best descriptions or the strangest details--however you, personally, in the depths of your heart or ironic mind, define most interesting.Move that paragraph to the top of the page and use it as your opener. Reorganize the remaining information to follow that paragraph, hacking out anything which now seems useless and adding new material as necessary. (Remember to keep avoiding the generalized "we" statements you replaced in your first revision.) Then send your new draft to me.