A Plan for Revising In Stages

Previous Page

Here is a plan for revising in stages. When you have completed a reasonably good first draft and are ready to start revising, consider how important your piece of writing is to you. If it’s major project that is going to count heavily, allow yourself enough time for two more drafts, perhaps three. Careful revising takes a lot of time. Don’t undercut you by procrastinating until the last minute and turning it work that isn’t as well developed or carefully considered as it could be. We recommend the following two – stage process.

Stage One : Large Scale Revision

• Remind yourself to stay with large – scale changes. Don’t get side tracked by details or start working sentence by sentence.

• Print out your draft and read it slowly, taking notes as you go. What are the major strengths? What have you left out? What helpful comments have you received from others?

• Look first at the central idea of your work. Is your main idea clearly stated? Have you narrowed your topic to one you can do justice to?

• Define your audience and purpose. What are your readers like? What questions will they have? Are you giving them the information they need? What do you want to accomplish? Have you done that?

• Review your claims and assertions. Have you stated your claim or thesis early on? Have you developed your points?

• Review your organization. Do you have pattern that your readers can follow? Should you rearrange some information to help your readers follow your thesis more easily?

Stage Two : Small – Scale Changes

• Read your revised draft over quickly. Do you need more examples to illustrate your assertions? Would adding charts or graphs help to clarify some points?

• Read your draft paragraph by paragraph. Are some sentences long and rambling? Where can you cut? Do you have too many long sentences bunched together or a series of short choppy sentences? Where could you break up the long sentences? Where might you insert a short, crisp sentence or two to break up the monotony? Where might you insert a short, crisp sentence or two to break up the monotony? Are there places where you could strengthen the writing by adding people to your sentences? (See Chapter On Writing Clearly.) Can you recast some sentences so that they have concrete subjects and active verbs? (See Chapter On Writing Clearly.)

• Look at your word choices. Have you used strong, direct verbs? Have you shown people doing things? Can you rewrite to get rid of some clunky sentences and deadwood nouns?

• Check your writing for unity. Have you written clear transitions between sentences? Between paragraphs? (See Chapter On Holding Your Reader.) Have you followed through on your commitment to your readers and done what you told them you would do?

• Reread your opening and closing paragraphs. Does your opening paragraph engage readers and forecast content? Does the last paragraph tie up all the threads effectively? If necessary, rewrite on or both paragraphs so they meet these criteria. Look at the section on opening and closing paragraphs, (See Chapter On Crafting Paragraphs) to see how (and why) Eleaner Hennessy the author of the model paper on Artemisia Gentileschi revised the first and last paragraph of her paper.

Other Pages in This Section :

  • An Overview of The Revision Process

  • Getting Response from Others

  • When Should You Stop Revising?
  • Successful Writing Index

    From A Plan for Revising In Stages to HOME PAGE