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Revising and Revising Strategies

Revising and Revising Strategies

Author: Martina Shabram

Understand revision strategies and the techniques used to revise for structure, focus and clarity.

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Hello, students. My name is Dr. Martina Shabram. I will be your instructor for today's lesson. I'm genuinely excited to teach you these concepts. So let's get started.

What are we planning for today? Well, we get to think more about revision. We'll review what revision is and why it's so important? And then we'll practice some of the best strategies we know to make our revised essays as effective and successful as possible.

So let's review. Revision is the process of re-visioning an essay or other writing project. This means that it's a chance to re-see our writing, to look back at the big picture of our arguments and ideas in our essay and make changes to form a new draft of the project. Remember, too, that writing is a process, not a product, and thus should have multiple drafts, which are an essay or other writing project that is in development.

A draft may be an early, rough draft, or a late published draft. So how do we get from one draft to the next? After we've finished one draft and before we edit and proofread, we have to revise. So why? Why do we have to revise?

Well, if you revise well and carefully, you can improve your essay substantially, making your structure, focus, and clarity better, stronger, and more effectively presented. Revision can help you get clearer logic, smoother flow between ideas, stronger support for your thesis, a more well-thought out content, and cleaner organization.

All of these improvements will lead to a final essay that is much more convincing and interesting for your reader. So let's look at each of those elements-- structure, focus, and clarity, and practice some revision strategies to target those issues.

When you revise for the overall structure, you are assuring that your essay has all the important and required components present. This means that you might ask yourself, do I have an introduction with a strong thesis, body paragraphs with clear support, and a concise conclusion. Is my thesis stated clearly within the introduction? Does my conclusion effectively provide closure for the essay? And, is it in a format that fits the needs of this essay?

Remember that conclusions can summarize, expand the conversation, provide a solution to the problem. Or look to the future of the issues. You'll want to fit the kind of conclusion you use to the type of essay you've written.

Revising for these issues will ensure that you're meeting the basic needs of your essay project and including all the basic pieces. When you revise for the essay's focus, you're making sure that all of those structural elements-- intro, thesis, body paragraphs, conclusion, support, et cetera-- provide support for the purpose of your essay.

So you might ask yourself, does my thesis still match the content of my essay. And is that still worth discussing? Does each body paragraph provide direct support for the thesis? Inside my body paragraphs, does each supporting sentence do its job to support the paragraph's topic sentence? Have I included details that are irrelevant or unconnected? Do I see any spots where I need more details, evidence, or support? Do my ideas and paragraphs move from one to the next in a clear, logical order?

Do I transition between ideas and paragraphs, effectively, to help the ideas flow smoothly from one to the next. Doing this kind of revision will ensure that all of the elements of your essay are put together well and work towards the overall purpose. When you revise for clarity, you're ensuring that all of the parts of your essay can be easily understood by your readers and that they all communicate what you intend them to.

Lack of clarity can arise from illogical order of ideas, i.e., putting the paragraphs in an unclear order. Major holes in the logic, either because there is not enough support or because you're not addressing an important aspect of the thesis. Inclusion of irrelevant information, which distracts readers, confuses the main idea, and dilutes your message. Tangents that take your reader away from the topic and made point. And transitions between ideas that are either missing or don't clearly indicate the connections as they should.

A clear essay, on the other hand, won't confuse the readers or cause them to misunderstand your point. And won't create multiple possible meanings. Unclear writing will make your reader have to work harder to understand you. And readers might just not be able to process what you've written. In that way, unclear writing will inhibit your ability to meet the essay's purpose. So revising for clarity will help assure that your writing does what you want it to.

So what did we learn, today? We reviewed revision as a stage in the writing process and then explored what questions to ask ourselves in order to revise for structure, focus, and clarity.

Well, students, I hope you had as much fun as I did. Thank you.

Terms to Know

An essay or other writing project that is in development; a draft may be an early, rough draft or a late, polished draft.


The process of re-visioning an essay or other writing project.