Revising & Editing – The Writing Process

Proofreading, revising, and editing

Before moving on to the editing and proofreading steps, good writers will go through numerous versions and changes.

In contrast to editing and proofreading, revising demands the writer consider large-scale or global issues in their article.

(A fast method to recall the difference between revising and editing is to look at the illustration to the right.)

To ensure that you can critically examine your essay, you’ll need to put some distance between yourself and your manuscript.

Consider some of the following suggestions:

After you’ve finished the draft, take a rest.

A few hours may be sufficient, but a full night or day is preferred.

Request that someone read and comment on your work.

Make a plan for your draft.

Highlight the essential points that support the thesis and turn them into an outline.

Then look over your blueprint for logical order, gaps, and digressions.

Pay attention to your draft.

Read the draft aloud to yourself, a friend, or a classmate. Record it and listen to it. Have it read to you.

Reduce the amount of stress you’re under.

Don’t try to re-read your entire draft at once.

To help you get started, use the following checklist for global revision:

Is there a query, a problem, or an issue that readers care about in the draft?

Is the manuscript suitable for the intended audience?

Is it taking into account the audience’s understanding of the subject as well as their prospective sentiments toward it?

Is the thesis statement clear?

Is it in a prominent location?

Are there any suggestions that are blatantly off-topic?

Organization and paragraphing

Are there enough organizational clues (such as topic sentences) for readers?

Is the sequence of these thoughts logical?

Are there any paragraphs that are too long or too short to read easily?

Is the supplementary material relevant and convincing?

Which concepts need to be developed further?

Are the components proportioned correctly?

Do important concepts get adequate attention?

Is it possible that some content will be removed?

Is the main point of view – first person (I or we), second person (you), or third person (he, she, it, one, or they) – suitable for your purpose and intended audience?

If you feel you have a decent draft after several revisions, you go on to the editing and proofreading steps.

At the editing and proofreading stages, smaller-scale issues such as sentence structure, word choice, grammar, punctuation, spelling, and mechanics are scrutinized.

The following are some strategies to keep in mind at this stage:

Pause for a moment.

It only takes fifteen minutes to clear your mind.

Slowly read the document, paying attention to what you notice.

If you don’t, you’re more likely to read what you meant to write but didn’t.

Read the draft as though it were your first time reading it.

Put yourself in the shoes of the reader.

Allow a student, a friend, or a family member to read your work.

Even if you decide not to follow the reader’s suggestions, make sure you understand and consider them.

Listen for odd rhythms, repeating sentence patterns, and missing or sloppy transitions as you read the document aloud.

Take notes on what you’ve learned from your personal experiences.

Keep track of the issues that have been raised by others in your prior writing.

Check for the same types of problems when editing.

As you near the end of the publishing process, use this checklist to help you with editing and proofreading:

Are my sentences understandable?

Do my words and sentences convey the meaning I intend?

Is there anything that you don’t understand?

Are my sentences clear and concise?

How well do words and sentences entice and maintain the reader’s interest?

Where does the writing appear to be clumsy, choppy, or boring?

Are there any mistakes in my sentences?

Where do surface flaws obstruct my phrases’ clarity and effectiveness?

Look for sentence fragments, comma splices, verb faults, and pronoun errors in particular.

What do you think of my word choice?

Have I used precise and acceptable language?

Do I overuse words that should be replaced for variety’s sake?

Have I used appropriate transitions between sentences and paragraphs?

Is my punctuation proper and my spelling correct?