Vol. 14:2 (2011) ► pp.188–223
Adapting to the reader during writing
Awareness of the reader and ability to adapt the text to the reader are assumed to be important aspects of successful writing. Models of writing development include the aspect of reader awareness, as a rhetorical goal, that writers develop gradually and that eventually distinguishes expert writers from novice writers. However, developing writers can present an awareness of writing aspects without being able to apply them successfully on task. The role of maturation on the one hand and instruction and training on the other have been put forward as crucial aspects of writing development. Against this background, six writers, representing different levels of expertise in writing, undertook the same writing tasks. Eighteen texts, interviews and stimulated recall protocols are analysed, compared and contrasted with a particular focus on writers’ awareness of and adaptation to the intended reader. Keystroke logs provide a solid and complementary base for detailed analysis of the writing processes, in which revisions relating to a reader perspective are of particular importance. Findings provide support for the theoretical framework, but they also raise questions about the role of knowledge about genre and writing strategies in relation to maturation for successful writing development. Keywords: writing development; reader awareness; reader adaptation; keystroke logging; knowledge crafting; cognitive processes; revision; stimulated recall
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