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Editing and Revision

Page history last edited by Georgie Ziff 1 year, 10 months ago

I'm not a very good writer, but I'm an excellent rewriter.  ~James Michener


The beautiful part of writing is that you don't have to get it right the first time, unlike, say, a brain surgeon.

You can always do it better, find the exact word, the apt phrase, the leaping simile.

~ Robert Cormier


To be a writer is to sit down at one's desk in the chill portion of every day, and to write; not waiting for the little jet of the blue flame of genius to start from the breastbone--just plain going at it, in pain and delight. To be a writer is to throw away a great deal, not to be satisfied, to type again, and then again and once more, and over and over. It is to ring changes, not repeat, not fall onto a dead center. 

 (John Hersey, quoted in The Craft of Revision, by Donald Murray, Harcourt Brace, 1991)


Helpful Websites:

Revision: Cultivating a Critical Eye from Dartmouth College

Grammar Girl's Checklist for Editing

Editing and Proofreading from UNC Writing Center

Editing and Rewriting Process



Check out this short video about how to use the technique of reverse outlining, from UNC.



From Urbana Fuls: Why Proofreading Matters 

The Impotence of Proofreading - Taylor Mali


Powerpoint: Editing and Revision



Twelve Common Errors - an Editing Checklist 

Reading Aloud - handout

Revision Checklist  - handout

Proofreading and Editing handout - pdf


The time to begin writing an article is when you have finished it to your satisfaction.  By that time you begin to clearly and logically perceive what it is you really want to say.  ~Mark Twain

The wastebasket is a writer's best friend.  ~Isaac Bashevis Singer


Click on the links in the editing checklist below to access pages for information

and resources to help you polish your drafts as you revise and edit. 

Can you point to a Thesis Statement in the essay? Is it clearly stated? Does the text carry out the purpose of the thesis statement? If not, does the body of the paper need some paring down or elaboration or does the thesis statement need to be refined to reflect an improved text?
Are the ideas in the essay clearly ordered? If the reader had to, could he or she devise an Outline that would reveal the order of development in your argument? Is there any part of the essay that could be left out to good effect? (If so, could a revised organization "save" that part?)
Are there any serious fallacies in the Logic of your argument?
Are paragraphs adequately developed and is there a clearTransition from one idea to the next?
Is the Introduction clear and adequately developed? Does the Conclusion do what you want it to? Does the conclusion remind us of what the Thesis Statement told us (but not too simplistically).
Is the Tone consistent and appropriate for the audience you want to reach and the subject you're treating? Have you avoided slang and being overly casual; at the other extreme, have you avoided sounding pretentious and stuffy?
Personal Grammatical Issues:
Circle those elements below that might be something you need to pay special attention to in your own writing.
 Comma Usage
 Other Punctuation Marks
 Plurals and Possessives
Pronoun/Antecedent Agreement

 Modifier Misplacement
 Subject/Verb Agreement
 Tense Sequence
 Italics and Underlining
 Using Numbers


Reprinted from Capital Community College Foundation 








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