Returning to the content and evaluating its conciseness, integrity, and fluidity can tremendously aid the writer in perfecting the work. To revise my papers, usually I examine them shortly after drafting, enabling me to gain a fresh perspective. After that, I correct parts that seem unclear or unnecessary, aiming to preserve conciseness and information flow. However, acknowledging that initial drafts are faulty or unusable can be highly devastating (Lamott, 2005). In this regard, I can easily relate to the challenges described by Lamott; it is difficult for me to concentrate on first drafts, as I feel that my writing is too confusing. Nonetheless, the revision strategy suggested by Bullock et al. (2019) can be especially useful in analyzing the paper’s clarity by ensuring that each paragraph is related to a specific point. I have found this method highly beneficial for my writing, and I intend to use it in the future.
A paragraph from my essay was drafted as follows: “Though the third point for exclusion from such a defense is one of the most debated concerns of automatism, the general concept of the automatism defense exposes a number of issues within such a plea. The strict legal definition of loss of total control cannot be implemented in cases in which an individual may have the capabilities to avoid a crash or some form of injury but cannot do so simply due to the difficulty or possibility of doing so. This means that a court decision to rule out automatism as no total loss of control occurred would punish the defendant for failing to do the impossible. One of the primary rationales of criminal law in most jurisdictions requires punishment to be a deterrent to future acts (Fehr, 2020). However, for an offender to be deterred from an act they have committed prior, it must have been voluntary. As such, cases that are unable to determine the voluntariness of a defendant cannot allow for adequate punishment.”
The demand necessitating complete control over the defendant’s actions is one of the most debated automatism concerns, which exposes several issues within this strategy. For instance, in cases where avoiding injury is impossible due to the difficulty of performing such an action, the strict legal definition of loss of control cannot be implemented. Although the defendant did not completely lose control over their actions, attempting to punish them for the inability to do the impossible by eliminating automatism would be unjust. Another complication is related to one of the primary rationales of criminal law, which requires punishment to serve as a deterrent for future criminal acts (Fehr, 2020). However, enforcing this demand implies that the crime has been committed voluntarily. In this regard, if the defendant’s deliberation cannot be determined, establishing an appropriate punishment becomes impossible.
To improve this paragraph, I decided to focus on the concerns related to automatism, specifically the two issues that impede the application of this method. First of all, I clarified the third exclusion point, ensuring that the reader understands the automatism requirement and learns what content will be discussed. This approach is especially beneficial for creating a topic sentence for the paragraph (Bullock et al., 2019). After that, I added several transitional phrases, creating a smoother flow of arguments. I have also shortened some of the sentences, avoiding lengthy descriptions and specifying why the discussed issue is important for the court decision.
Bullock, R., Goggin, M. D., & Weinberg, F. (2019). The Norton field guide to writing: With readings (5th ed.). W. W. Norton & Company.
Fehr, C. (2020). Automatism and the burden of proof: An alternative approach. Canadian Criminal Law Review, 25(2), 115-122.
Lamott, A. (2005). Shitty first drafts. In P. Eschholz, A. Rosa, & V. Clark (Eds.), Language awareness: Readings for college writers (9th ed., pp. 93–96). Bedford/St. Martin’s.