Revising Process

Priorities

  • Revision Strategies: HOCs and LOCs (Duke): You have only so much time to revise your paper before you hand it in: what should you focus on? This detailed checklist from the Writing Studio helps you distinguish between higher and lower order concerns.
  • Getting Feedback (UNC): You've done all you can on your own: now what? This handout suggests reasons and ways to solicit feedback from others on your writing.
  • Providing Feedback (Duke): Your friend has done all s/he can on her own: now what? This handout suggests reasons and ways to provide feedback to others on their writing.
  • Reading Aloud (Duke): Reading papers aloud is a very simple but powerful revision strategy. This handout provides tips for using reading aloud to help with revision.
  • Introspection and Self-Editing (Duke): There are many strategies you can employ on your own during the revision process.  This presentation by Shannon Adams offers advice on the role of self-editing.
  • Microsoft Word as Editing Partner (Duke): Use Microsoft Word to its full capacity! This handout provides helpful tips for using Word's different features to revise and edit your writing.

Organization

  • Reverse Outlining (Duke): One of the Writing Studio's most frequently recommended methods for evaluating the organization of papers, reverse outlining allows you to take a step back and evaluate "the big picture" of your argument.
  • Roadmaps (Duke): This handout discusses tips for providing clear signals and signposts to readers as you guide them through your argument.
  • Organization (UNC): Learn strategies for successfully organizing (and reorganizing) your essays, from reverse outlining, sectioning, and visualization to avoiding common pitfalls such as plot summary, generalization, and competing ideas.

Revising for Style

  • Improving Your Writing Style (UNC): This handout covers ways to improve your writing style by avoiding wordiness, weak verbs, and "ostentatious erudition' (writing to impress).
  • Clarity and Conciseness (Duke): This handout outlines practical methods for eliminating unnecessary words and phrases from sentences and choosing the most straightforward verb forms.
  • Cohesion and Coherence (Duke): Moving from the sentence level to paragraphs, this handout discusses practical ways to get that elusive thing: flow.
  • Strategies for Improving Sentence Clarity (Purdue): Do you need to improve the clarity of your writing, but don't know where to start? This page focuses on sentence-level concerns, offering ten practical strategies for arranging verbs and nouns for maximum clarity, avoiding unclear pronoun references, and steering clear of passive voice.
  • Paramedic Method: A Lesson in Writing Concisely (Purdue): Adapted from Richard Lanham's Revising Prose, this short guide offers one method for eliminating unnecessary wordiness.
  • A Short Guide to Academic Writing Style (Duke): Get some tips on writing for an academic audience.  These strategies will minimize distractions for readers accustomed to academic writing conventions.
  • Using "I" in Academic Writing (Duke): This handout guides readers through the benefits and pitfalls of using the first-person pronouns I and we in academic writing.
  • Using Tag Clouds (Duke): Tag clouds can be a helpful anaytical tool for eliminating unnecessary repetition in your writing.