Review: the Maker’s Eye: Revising Your Own Manuscripts by Donald Murray

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Review: The Maker’s Eye: Revising Your Own Manuscripts by Donald Murray

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In the essay “The Maker’s Eye: Revising Your Own Manuscripts,” Donald Murray does a good job in providing advice. Murray explains that very often students feel that a paper is finalized upon conclusion of one or two drafts. Murray says, “When a draft is completed, then the job of writing can begin”. This is a strong statement simply meaning that this should be your mindset when producing a paper, because it will guide you to production of your best possible final draft. However, according to Murray a piece is never finished.

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There is always something that can be improved. Ronald Dahl, states, “Good writing is essentially rewriting. I am positive of this”. Meaning the process of rewriting and editing are very important to the overall quality and clarity of a paper. This is something that most experienced and professional writers believe to be true. Revision and rewriting are paramount to effective writing. Murray explains to the reader the importance of this process and why it is so important. Murray does so by stating that, “The element on which writers may spend majority of their time is development”. This supports the importance of the revision and rewriting because you are constantly developing your piece of writing. That is reason enough to always look for things to improve throughout the drafting process.

Murray also says, “There are however, a few writers who do little formal rewriting, primarily because they have the capacity and experience to create and review a large number of invisible drafts in their minds before they approach the page”. By making this statement Murray emphasize the important of revision and rewriting even for those who are gifted enough to not even have to put it on paper while simultaneously going through the process. This is why critical reading and make adjustment are the most important part of a draft. Murray continues with the essay as he brings up several points which a writer will look for in their draft. The first thing they look for is information. A writer will make sure that it is accurate and specific. Then, the writer will look for meaning, structure and dimension. They will also look for language to convey a meaning. According to Murray, words can have multiple meanings and when used in the right context, these words can express a strong meaning. Towards the end of his essay Murray talks about “the maker’s eye.” He describes how the maker’s eye is constantly analyzing what it sees, how it is never satisfied, and that it always sees room for improvement. Improvement made from revision is what will make the writing piece’s meaning more clear and understandable. To the maker’s eye, there is no such thing as a finished writing piece.

In Donald M. Murray’s “The Maker’s Eye: Revising your own Manuscript,” he accomplished bringing to life just what goes on through any revision process. He stresses the importance of re-reading and then re-writing your work until it is at its’ peak; most of all though, Murray discusses how the first draft is basically nothing but an outline.

I think the purpose of this essay was to inform both student and professional writers on the important of personal revision because no one is more critical than the maker. This on-going process can be used by writers of all ages and it’s critical that aspiring writers understand just how long any given piece of work can take to complete. Murray achieves this process by bringing up many professional authors and discussing the various ways in which they revise and edit their work. His most helpful example would probably be the one about the science fiction writer that waits a year between finishing a written work and then reading it over to revise it in order to partial forget what was written to begin with to hopefully lose some of the bias. I think this is a great example of the dedication and importance of personal revision. I found all of Murray’s work to be well written and each of the points to be useful in their own way. He also used another great example of a Russian writer that says he never reads his work after it has been published because he will always be able to find something else he wished he would have edited. This furthers the idea that revision is not just something that you go through once or twice; instead it is a never ending process.

Overall, I really enjoyed Murray’s essay. I found it very easy to read and all of his examples were very good. I think this essay had a lot of important points that any aspiring writer should know and understand! This essay was able to inform the reader that a piece of writing is never finished. A good writer will continue to revise and improve their work.

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