Monday, November 05, 2007

My son had to write a paper for a college English class. Wanting to impress the professor, a demanding but well-liked man, Ben asked me to proof his essay before he turned it in.

What? My son wants me, the writer and freelance editor to proof a college English paper? Feeling proud and a teensy bit smug, I graciously agreed to critique the paper.

Now, my son is an apt student. He did well in high school and so far, has managed to hold his own in college, but this sweet, intelligent, bright boy had no idea how to write a creative essay. So, I fixed it. Quite well. I added descriptions. Sensory details. Even a touch of romance when I included a blurb about his girlfriend.

Ben was a little concerned when he saw the changes I'd made, but I assured him that my suggestions were exactly what his paper needed to earn a good grade. Still dubious but trusting his mom, the writer, he turned in the paper.
A day went by. Then a week. Finally, the long anticipated grade - "C"

What was that crazy, boneheaded professor thinking? Did he not recognize great writing when he saw it? How could he claim to be a teacher of English? I almost drove down to that university, intent on giving the professor a piece of mind...until I read the comments he'd handwritten on the top of the page:

Your overall premise is good. The writing is strong and conflict was evident. However, the assignment was to write a comparative essay on two of the major car companies. I'm not sure that "bitter rivals intent on mutual destruction" was quite what I had in mind. I did think the "soft highlights created in my girlfriend's flaxen hair from the glow of the dash lights" was a nice touch though.

Needless to say, I doubt my son will be asking me to critique another paper any time soon. Unless he's writing a fiction essay...

DISCLAIMER: Don't worry. I didn't REALLY write my son's paper for him. Honest. Nothing in this post is true, remotely accurate, or in any way created to be taken seriously. Well, almost nothing.


Janelle said...

ROTFLOL!!! I can see it now. Ben coming home and slapping that "C" paper in front of his mother with a scowl on his face. Yep. Glad not much of that tale was true. LOL.

Jess said...

Boy, am I relieved! I was concerned from the get-go, especially when you said he asked you to PROOF it and you agreed to CRITIQUE it.

Elizabeth Ludwig said...

LOL! Sorry, Jess. I should have put that disclaimer at the beginning...but what fun would that be???

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