The Shadow Scholar
Today’s article is something more of interest I think in the relation that it has to writers and jobs that writers can get. After reading this article about how he writes papers for students, I find myself terribly wanting this job, if only for a year. Just think if all you’d be able to learn!
The Shadow Scholar — The man who writes your school papers.
The most interesting comment he makes:
After I’ve gathered my sources, I pull out usable quotes, cite them, and distribute them among the sections of the assignment. Over the years, I’ve refined ways of stretching papers. I can write a four-word sentence in 40 words. Just give me one phrase of quotable text, and I’ll produce two pages of ponderous explanation. I can say in 10 pages what most normal people could say in a paragraph.
How good is the product created by this process? That depends—on the day, my mood, how many other assignments I am working on. It also depends on the customer, his or her expectations, and the degree to which the completed work exceeds his or her abilities. I don’t ever edit my assignments. That way I get fewer customer requests to “dumb it down.” So some of my work is great. Some of it is not so great. Most of my clients do not have the wherewithal to tell the difference, which probably means that in most cases the work is better than what the student would have produced on his or her own. I’ve actually had customers thank me for being clever enough to insert typos. “Nice touch,” they’ll say.
Why else do you think that he doesn’t edit his assignments? Because he’d probably realize how much fluff he put into it, not to mention that he doesn’t want it to be too smart. But as legitimate writers who want our name on our product, we should keep in mind that we don’t want fluff and we don’t want to seem too dumb.