28 3. Writing and Revising

I am sure you’re all familiar with English teachers telling you about the importance of revising papers. I am no different. I believe it is one of the most important steps in the writing process. Ideas sometimes come out of our minds in a very confused, disorderly fashion. We need to take a look at those ideas once they are down on paper (or on the computer screen) to analyze their effectiveness and thoroughness, as well as many other writing issues.

I have been a professional writer, working at a local newspaper, for many years. I have learned that revising is very important. When I have the time to look at the articles I’ve written, I can find tons of ways to improve the writing. When I don’t have time (deadline restraints), I often find errors after the article has been published in the paper. By then, it’s too late. I’ve made the mistake and feel terrible about it.

We are going to talk a lot this semester about revising, about the different kinds of things you need to look for in your rough drafts. Revision doesn’t simply mean adding on to a draft because English teachers want more information. Sometimes deleting original ideas can be as useful as adding to them. I want you to look at your drafts and think of many possible directions you could go, not just in looking for spelling and grammatical errors but thinking about being more specific, using stronger words, varying sentence structures, removing redundant or unnecessary information. So much to look for in a rough draft.

So I am requiring that you submit at least one rough draft with your final essay for each out-of-class writing you do. On line, that means you will be sending me two attachments when you submit an assignment: one for the draft (or more, if you’ve done more drafts) and one final paper. I will be looking for the kinds of things you’ve done with your rough draft to reach your final copy. I won’t accept two copies of the same paper. I need to see revisions. We will spend a lot of time talking about revision, so I want you to work on it regularly.

I have included lower in this module a practice on revision, using word-processing. Please take a look at it and see how well you can do. Have fun.


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