Star Wars and editing your writing

I’m an enormous Star Wars fan, so I found this video, How Star Wars was saved in the edit to be really interesting (thanks to this Polygon article for recommending it). It’s a long watch, but I think it’s well worth it, because it has some lessons not only for enormous science-fiction franchises but also for scholarly writing (which I’ll comment on below).

One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned over the past few years is just how much of the research process is actually a writing and presentation process. As we do research, we do a lot of interesting work and generate a lot of interesting data that we want to say a lot about. However, I’m increasingly of the mind that research is just as much a process of argument as it is of discovery. That is, no matter how compelling our ideas are or how good our data is, if we can’t present our findings and argue for our conclusions in an effective way, we’re not likely to make as much headway as we would like. So, like Lucas and his team of editors, we have an obligation to cut the fat, rearrange our ideas, and constantly revisit our writing until it does our research justice.

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