Revision--Whose Vision??


Has your mother ever told you to clean up your room and you simply swept the mess under your bed or in your closet... ?


...Have you ever seen a house whose wood is rotting, and instead of replacing the old wood for a new frame the owner simply paints the outside exterior with a new coat of white?


How many or you, instead or taking a shower, will simply for the sake or convenience spray on some perfume or cologne?


Often times, when we come to the act of revision, we treat it the same way as the scenarios above: we either "relocate the mess" or do superficial exterior editing (correcting spelling, comma errors, etc.) to make the paper "look better," even though major developmental and organizational errors still persist beneath the exterior. Don't be a slob! For a new, revised grade, you're going to have to work-but the efforts are always rewarding. When revising, remember the following:

         Revision is not simply correcting errors of grammar, spelling, and Style. That is called editing, which is very important, but which is only a small part of the whole process of revision. Essays turned in that are simply corrected in terms of grammar and punctuation are not comprehensively revised!!

         My grading standards are necessarily higher when I grade your revisions. You have had longer to work on the essay; you have had the benefit of my comments; and you have taken time to reconsider all aspects of your writing: grammar, mechanics, style, thesis, tone, effectiveness, structure and organization, etc.

         Revision is enormously satisfying! Experienced writers expect their rough drafts to be poor. They write them so that they can get to the fun part of revising. The only way you will know this to be true is to commit yourself to the process of revision. If you do this, you will write better papers, earn better grades, and generally, feel good about the work you've done.


To revise effectively, you must reconsider every aspect of the writing process. Here are some questions you can ask yourself to help guide you through this reconsideration:


1)      Purpose: What do I hope to achieve? How can I achieve it more effectively?

2)      Audience: Who is my audience? Does my writing meet some need or desire my audience might have?

3)      Topic/content: Is my topic interesting? Does it follow the guidelines for the assignment? Have I narrowed it down enough? Too much? Is my topic suited to my audience and purpose?

4)      Organization: How is my essay organized? Are the points arranged logically and coherently? Is each point clearly highlighted in its own paragraph, or have I jumbled points together? Can I expect my reader to understand the transitions I have made from one idea to the next? How can I make these transitions more clear and flowing?

5)      Development: Is each paragraph developed fully with concrete examples or illustrations? Have I avoided generalizations and abstractions? In places where I have had to use them, have I defined them clearly through examples and illustrations? Have I emphasized the right points?

6)      Style and tone: Is my writing clear and readable? Have I avoided slang? Where in my essay can I improve the effectiveness of my prose by using more active verbs and concrete nouns? Have I overused adjectives and adverbs, especially such empty intensifiers as "quite," "really," "definitely," and "very"?

7)      Surface correctness: Have I eliminated all errors of spelling, grammar, and punctuation? Have I proofread for those errors to which I am especially prone?

8)      Please visit UNCís comprehensive website on revising: click here: Revising Drafts