Mastering Revision

This topic of revision is a most important consideration for all writing.

Very few writers can sit down and write an excellent document the first time without looking it over and making some changes.  Editing is a very important part of effective writing.

Whether you call it editing or revision, it is a necessary part of writing.

Many students, for lack of understanding perhaps, think that they can simply do a little research and put down their first thoughts - and that will bring them a good measure of writing success.  Not so!

They've done the research and made a few notes on sources and references.  They've even found a few quotations as evidence to support their writing. 

So, what else is needed?  A good dose of revision and editing!

Start with your basic ideas.  If you have a specific message to present with specific points,  make a note of those individual points.  Write them down in any order to begin with.  Use a pen and notebook, or prepare a special page on your computer.

Write a short paragraph about each point.  Depending on the document type and style, you may need to write a little or a lot.

  • Focus on the first topic first.
  • Then, move on to the next topic.
  • Work logically.

Soon, you will have each of the points prepared – in rough – that you wish to present.

Read them again,  and think about what you've written for each and why. 



Revision - checking for accuracy

Now look at what you’ve written.  Check the purpose of the message.  What is the most important point?

Put all of these short sections together in the same order as you started out, but when you give a little more thought, you will find that making changes or edits is probably the best option for you.  

Sort the order so that the main point appears at the start.  What should you start with?  More importantly, what would your reader need to know first in order to understand your message?  Ensure that your reader's needs take precedence.

Change the order until you believe it’s the best presentation. Add a short introductory  section/paragraph to the whole work.  Let the introduction lead into the main idea.

Read through each paragraph.  Consider further changes. 

  • Is the order the best it can be?
  • Is the order logical?
  • Shorten the sentences. 
  • Write in Active Voice. 
  • Make sure that your paragraphs are also short.
  • Learn about MLA format for your references.
  • Be sure that all of your information is properly referenced so that you an avoid plagiarism.
  • Make sure that the first sentence in each paragraph is a strong opening for the topic you present in your paragraph.
  • At the end of the document, add a short closing section/paragraph to finish professionally and completely.

Then again, make your final changes! 

  • Read through the entire document with all the sections. 
  • Are there repetitious words and phrases?  Redundancies?  Get out your Thesaurus!
  • Proofread for accuracy in all regards – spelling, grammar, and punctuation. 
  • Read through for a very good flow from start to finish.
  • Get a friend to read through and get your friend's impression.  Others can often provide valuable assistance that can help to focus your ideas.

Only when you have spent some time writing, reading, and revising will your final copy be the best it can be! 

Writing should not be a chore.  Writing should be a pleasure!

Effective writing!

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