IELTS Academic Reading Sample 82 – Caveat scripture

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You should spend about 20 minutes on Questions 15-28

Caveat scripture

Let the would-be writer beware! Anyone foolhardy enough to embark on a career as a writer – whether it be an academic treatise, a novel, or even an article – should first read this!

People think that writing as a profession is glamorous; that it is just about sitting down and churning out words on a page, or more likely these days on a computer screen. If only it were! So what exactly does writing a book entail? Being a writer is about managing a galaxy of contradictory feelings: elation, despair, hope, frustration, satisfaction, and depression – and not all separately! Of course, it also involves carrying out detailed research: first to establish whether there is a market for the planned publication, and second into the content of the book. Sometimes, however, instinct takes the place of market research and the contents are dictated not by plans and exhaustive research but by experience and knowledge.

Once the publication has been embarked upon, there is a long period of turmoil as the text takes shape. A first draft is rarely the final text of the book. Nearly all books are the result of countless hours of altering and reordering chunks of text and deleting the embarrassing bits. While some people might think that with new technology the checking and editing process is speeded up, the experienced writer would hardly agree. Unfortunately, advanced technology now allows the writer the luxury of countless editings; a temptation many of us find hard to resist. So a passage, endlessly reworked may end up nothing remotely like the original, and completely out of place when compared with the rest of the text.

After the trauma of self-editing and looking for howlers, it is time to show the text to other people, friends perhaps, for appraisal. At this stage, it is not wise to send it off to a literary agent or direct to publishers, as it may need further fine-tuning of which the author is unaware. Once an agent has been approached and has rejected a draft publication, it is difficult to go and ask for the revamped text to be considered again. It also helps, at this stage, to offer a synopsis of the book, if it is a novel, or an outline if it is a textbook. This acts as a guide for the author, and a general reference for friends and later for agents.

Although it is tempting to send the draft to every possible agent at one time, it is probably unwise. Some agents may reject the publication out of hand, but others may proffer some invaluable advice, for example about the content or the direction to be taken. Hints like this may be of use in finally being given a contract by an agent or publisher.

The lucky few taken on by publishers or agents, then have their books subjected to a number of readers, whose job it is to vet a book: deciding whether it is worth publishing and whether the text as it stands is acceptable or not. After a book has finally been accepted by a publisher, one of the greatest difficulties for the writer lies in taking on board the publisher’s alterations to the text. Whilst the overall story the thrust of the book may be acceptable, it will probably have to conform to an in-house style, as regards language, spelling or punctuation, etc. More seriously, the integrity of the text may be challenged, and this may require radical redrafting which is unpalatable to the author. A book’s creation period is complex and unnerving, but the publisher’s reworkings and text amputations can also be a tortuous process.

For many writers, the most painful period comes when the text has been accepted, and the writer is waiting for it to be put together for the printer. By this stage, it is not uncommon for the writer to be thoroughly sick of the text.

Abandon writing? Nonsense. Once smitten, it is not easy to escape the compulsion to create and write, despite the roller-coaster ride of contradictory emotions.

Questions 15-22

Complete the text below, which is a summary of the passage.

Choose your answers from the Word List below and write them in Boxes 15-22 on your answer sheet.

There are more words and phrases than spaces, so you will not be able to use them all. You may use each word or phrase only once.

Example: Anyone who wants to be a writer should__________

Answer: beware.

People often associate writing with _______15__________. But being a writer Involves managing conflicting emotions as well as _________16__________ or instinct. Advanced technology, contrary to what might be thought, does not make the________17___________ faster.

When a writer has a draft of the text ready, It is a good idea to have a___________________ 18_______for friends, etc. to look at. If an author Is accepted by a publisher, the draft of the book is given to__________ 19______ for vetting,___________ 20.______ are then often made, which are not easy for the writer to agree. However,_________ 21_______ is compelling, even though there are_____________ 22_______ .

Wordlist

editing process beware  readers
first draft glamour a literary agent
alterations profession publisher
challenges writing dictating
research publishing summary
ups and downs roller-coaster

Questions 23 and 24

Choose the appropriate letters A-D and write them in Boxes 23 and 24 on your answer sheet,

23. In the planning stages of a book, …

A. Instinct can replace market research

B. market research can replace instinct

C. market research is essential

D. instinct frequently replaces market research

24. The problem with the use of advanced technology in editing is that …

A. it becomes different from the original

B. it is unfortunate

C. it is a luxury

D. many writers cannot resist changing the text again and again

Questions 25-28

Complete the sentences below.

Use NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS from the passage to complete each blank space.

25. Once a text is finished, the writer needs to get the______________________ of other people.

  1. Some agents may reject the draft of a book, while others may offer________________________ .
  2. Apart from the need for a draft to conform to an in-house style, a publisher’s changes to a text may Include.
  3. The publisher’s alterations to a book are difficult for a writer, as is the__________________________as the book grows.

ANSWER

15. Answer: glamour. The answer is in the first sentence of the second paragraph.

16. Answer: research. The answer is in the second paragraph towards the end.

17. Answer: editing process. The answer is in paragraph 3, the fourth sentence. The phrase the first draft does not fit here, as the sentence would not then reflect the meaning of the passage. Nor is the word writing correctly for the same reason. And it would not fit the grammar of the summary; the article in the summary would have to be omitted, as the writer is talking about all writers writing not specifically himself.

18. Answer: summary. The answer is at the end of the fourth paragraph. Note the word summary is a synonym for synopsis/outline.

19. Answer: readers. At the start of the sixth paragraph, it says that readers ( not publishers ) vet books.

20. Answer: Alterations. The answer is in the sixth paragraph.

21. Answer: writing. The answer is in the last paragraph. The word publishing is not correct, because the writer is talking about writing throughout the passage; publishing comes afterwards.

22. Answer: ups and downs. The answer is in the last paragraph. Note the word roller-coaster is not possible here. It does not make sense. The word does not carry the meaning of the latter part of the last sentence on its own. Nor is it grammatically possible: the summary has a plural verb and the word roller-coaster is singular.

Questions 23 and 24

23. Answer: A. The answer is a paraphrase of the last sentence of paragraph 2: Sometimes, instinct takes the place of market research … B. is the opposite. As for  C., the text does not say whether it is essential. D is not correct, because the text says sometimes – therefore, note the word can in A.

24. Answer: D. The answer is a paraphrase of the penultimate sentence of the third paragraph. A is not correct, because although the text says that a passage may end up nothing remotely like the original, the writer does not say that this is a problem. B is not possible, because the writer does not say the use is unfortunate; he is expressing an opinion when he says, unfortunately. C is incorrect because the problem is not a luxury.

Questions 25 – 28

25. Answer: the appraisal. The answer is at the beginning of paragraph 4.

26. Answer: some invaluable advice/ invaluable advice/ some advice/ advice/ hints. The answer is in the fifth paragraph. Note you cannot give the examples here as there would be too many words. You can use the word hints from the last sentence of the paragraph as it is a synonym, which summarises the advice and the examples.

27. Answer: radical redrafting/ redrafting/ reworkings/ text amputations. The answer is at the end of paragraph 6.

28. Answer: creation period. The answer is in the last sentence of paragraph 6.

Source: IELTS Material