Revising and Editing

Revising can be considered to be the most critical stage of the writing process. Revision refers to going through the rough draft and making improvisations or corrections wherever necessary. It may even be repeated three or four times depending upon the satisfaction level of the writer.

One cannot assume that the written draft is completely error-free. There might be some areas, which would have skipped your mind while writing. There might be instances where your draft doesn’t make sense. After writing, you might have a gut feeling that something is wrong about it, but you are not able to grasp what exactly it is. A proper revision helps to sort out all the above problems. Prepare a series of questions, and then check whether your draft fulfils all the mentioned criteria. The checklist can be as follows:

  • Does the draft convey what you want to say?
  • Have you included all the relevant information?
  • Does it make sense? Is it clear what you are trying to say? Can the reader understand it?
  • Does it remain focused on the main point/purpose of your topic throughout or does it deviate from it somewhere?
  • Is there any information that you need to add or remove?
  • Is it well-organized, or do some parts seem to be out of place?
  • Is there cohesiveness between the different paragraphs?
  • Is the style appropriate?
  • In case you have given examples, are they specific and clear?

There are also a few other things you need to keep in mind while revising:

  • Do not start revising your paper immediately after the writing is finished. If it’s a short paper, wait for a few hours, and if it’s a long and complex paper, wait for a day or two. A fresh mind and fresh eyes are the requisites for a better revision.
  • Read through more than once and focus on specific portions each time. For instance, focus on transitions between sentences during the first revision; focus on overall organization in the next, and so on.
  • Read your essays wearing someone else’s moccasins. It is always good to get someone to read through your draft. Often, the person who reads can point out where your draft is lacking, and can give valuable suggestions to improve it further.

After revising, you can edit the draft for grammatical errors, vocabulary, and spellings. This process should be kept at last because you might add, remove, or rewrite content during revising; and, it will just pile up your work if you have already edited it earlier.

Drafting

When you brainstorm and use the other techniques for generating content, you are basically drafting. The proper drafting stage comes when you feel that you have gathered enough information and have a clear idea where you are heading, so it is now time to expand confidently. When drafting, you will often find that much of your planning will change. Drafting is when you put into practice the ideas you generated in the previous stage and see how they work in expanded form. Make yourself receptive to influences that can provide direction and inspiration: keep your topic in the back of your mind in your everyday activities. Read, watch, listen critically, and seize all that is productive for your purposes. Also, be open to serendipity – inspiration through sudden, previously unrecognized connections. Many great scientific and technical discoveries were made accidentally, by sudden awareness of previously unseen analogies. If you get stuck when drafting, do not attempt to complete the draft in one go. Instead, let it incubate by putting it on the ‘back burner’ of your mind and coming back to it later. The time lapse between giving up on a draft and coming back to it could be a few minutes, hours, overnight, or more depending on project deadlines, of course’ In the meantime, you can do something else that, even though it may seem irrelevant, allows your thoughts to gestate. In fact, in professional contexts more often than not you work on many projects simultaneously, so time management – and letting go of one project to move to another – become significant skills.

Significance of Audience Analysis

Your audience analysis will determine your choice of content – what and how much information you need to give – and style – how you will present this information. Style refers to the emphasis you put on certain ideas and the tone that you adopt in relation to the information you present: your overall attitude and approach as this manifests in the language you use. Your style is formed through your word choice and sentence structure. So, following the results of your audience analysis, you may decide to show a lighthearted approach through your writing – or maybe an evaluative, serious, pompous or respectful approach. In all, for a text to be successful, there must be writer-reader complicity. In other words, the readers must feel that the writer is on their side, supporting their interests and respecting their needs. If readers feel that a writer treats them as an example of a general category, rather than as specific individuals or a specific company, they are more likely to resist accepting the information given.

After the Lecture

  • At the end of the lecture, ask questions about points that you did not understand.
  • If the speaker begins to get off topic by telling a story, write it down anyway. Stories help people remember. The story might be related to what you are learning, and may even be on the test.
  • If it becomes apparent that he or she is trying to stress or emphasize something, be sure to get it down, maybe even a couple times.
  • Obviously, the teacher/professor will not write down everything he/she says. Listen for key points and important details that are not written down.
  • When students ask questions, write down the questions and the teacher/professor’s answers. This additional information might answer questions you have as well.
  • Revise your notes as quickly as possible, preferably immediately after the lecture, since at that time you will still remember a good deal of the lecture. Also it is a good idea to reread your notes within 24 hours of the lecture. It may be a good idea to rewrite or type your notes to make them clearer and more organized.
  • Revise it with a class mate or two. Two students see and hear more than one. Your notes will have different gaps than that of your class mates.
  • Review the lecture notes (again) before the next lecture.

Prepare for the lecture

Doing so will ensure that you will be more likely to predict the organization of the lecture. Check the course outline to see if the lecturer has listed the topic or key ideas in the upcoming lecture. If so, convert this information into questions, or structure your notebook according to the headings provided in the outline. If no outline is given, try to structure the presentation yourself when you revisit the notes later.