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Introduction to Revision

Introduction to Revision

Author: Gavin McCall

This lesson introduces revision as a key stage in the writing process.

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Welcome to English Composition. I'm Gavin McCall. Thanks for joining me.

What are we going to learn today? Today, we'll be learning about revision. We'll look at the role revision plays as a step in the writing process. And we'll talk about how important revision is to writers of all experience levels.

As we should all remember, the writing process is a recursive process made up of a series of repeating steps. The primary steps are prewriting, brainstorming, thesis generation, research, drafting, revising, editing, and proofreading.

Revision, one of the steps of the process that's most commonly overlooked by beginning writers, is the process of re-visioning an essay or other writing project. Literally, to look at it again. This process entails evaluating the text's ideas, evidence and support, and organization, then incorporating whatever changes are deemed necessary into another draft or drafts of the essay.

It's important for us to know and understand the difference between revision and editing, which is that editing focuses on improving language, clarity, and style, looking at the sentence and word levels. While revision is looking at the entire draft. Likewise, revision is also different from proofreading, which takes an even closer lens to the text than editing. Proofreading entails looking for mistakes in grammar, mechanics, and spelling.

These two are the last steps in the writing process for a reason. In order to proofread or even edit, we first need to make sure that the words and sentences that were checked for grammar and clarity are accomplishing the goals of the essay as a whole, which requires revision. And even though beginning writers often overlook revision, it's a very important part of the writing process. And as such, it behoves a writer, any writer that is, to leave plenty of time for it.

Writers can and often do revise many times and produce multiple drafts in the process. In a professional context, a writer may have dozens of drafts completed before a project is published. It all depends on the individual and their process.

As we've seen, revision is a key component of the writing process. After all, revision gives the writer space and time to assess and improve his or her work. It's best to think of revision as getting the big picture and taking stock of their entire project, confirming if all the points support the thesis, if they have selected the best evidence and support and structured the essay in the best way possible.

And because revision is part of the recursive writing process, you shouldn't be afraid to use it several times as you work to improve an essay or other writing project. It can also be a useful tactic to avoid writer's block. Mature writers know that they will have to revise their work, usually many times, in order to bring it closer to unlocking the true potential that's waiting there.

What did we learn today? We learned about revision and how it plays a critical role in the writing process, allowing writers the time and space we all need to make sure our final drafts are as interesting, convincing, and readable as possible. I'm Gavin McCall. Thanks for joining me.

Terms to Know

A key step in the writing process that involves re-visioning an essay or other writing project.