The writing process - revising

This page has information and advice about the revising stage of the writing process.

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Once you have written your first rough draft, you are ready to start revising your work. This is a very important stage of the writing process and you may have to repeat it three or four times before you are satisfied with your writing.

The questions below will help you to make your work as good as possible. Not all of the questions apply to all kinds of writing, so you will have to be selective.

  • Does the writing say what you want it to say?
  • Is it what you were asked to do? (- if the task was assigned by the teacher.)
  • Does it make sense? Is it clear what you're trying to say?
  • Is it focused or does it cover many different ideas and topics?
  • Is there anything you need to add or cut out?
  • Is it well-organized, or do some parts seem to be in the wrong place?
  • Is there a strong introduction and conclusion?
  • Do the different paragraphs link together well?
  • Does each paragraph have a topic sentence?
  • Is the vocabulary strong and precise?
  • Does the writing have accurate and varied sentences?
  • Is it interesting and easy to read? If not, what would make it better?

@ It is very useful to ask another student or your teacher to help you revise your work. You know what you are trying to say, but it may not be clear to everyone else. ~ When you get someone to check your writing, it is helpful if you tell them exactly what you would like them to concentrate on, so that you get specific answers.

If you simply ask: Do you like my writing?, you may get the answer Yes, which is not very useful.

Don't leave all the revising for another person to do, however. The goal is for you to become a good writer, independent of other people's help. So you need to be able to answer the above questions yourself. At the very least, read through your work once before giving it to someone else, to make sure it says what you want it to say.

While you are revising your work, you may find that you need to return to the prewriting stage and do a little more research to find extra information. This is perfectly normal.

You may also spot some grammar or spelling mistakes. Although it is tempting to correct them immediately, it is probably better to wait until you have finished revising the writing. It is possible that you will decide to cut out a paragraph or completely rewrite it. If this happens, you will have wasted your time correcting the mechanical errors it contains.

Here is a printable revising checklist (.pdf) that may help you revise your work effectively.

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