How to Revise an Essay

Revision is easier than ever with WhiteSmoke online writing software. The best writers revise. And they revise again. Then they revise yet again. So, given that professional writers revise, it would be wise for beginning and intermediate writers to revise, too. One Professor, when asked how students could improve their writing, said these three words: "Revise, revise, revise." It's such a common mantra for writers and artists, that a recent online search came up with over 16,000 hits for the phrase!

Revision means, literally, to see again. There are several stages to revision. WhiteSmoke English writing software will help you revise at every stage.

The first thing to consider is the goal of revision: Writing to communicate. In order to communicate well, here are some guidelines to consider while you revise:

  1.     Don't necessarily include everything
  2.     Especially for academic writing, include a thesis, which is your answer to a (researched) question or your (reasoned or researched) position on a debatable topic
  3.     Include clear markers or transitions, citation of sources, and other help so readers can follow you along the path of your thoughts (argument, analysis, critique)
  4.     Include the mainpoints and the highlights from your research or reasoning, that which supports your thesis, and that which might appear to contradict your thesis except that you, as a "tour guide," will explain why the contradictory material is wrong, and that which readers might reasonably expect, given your subject matter
  5.     Include support and evidence for each mainpoint, which might be logical reasoning, explanations, data, and arguments of your own; or evidence, arguments, and theories from other sources (properly credited)
  6.     Often you should include answers to these questions: who, what, where, when, why, and how about the whole topic; about major sources, theories, concepts; and about major developments related to the topic
  7.     Make sure the result is clear communication that will be understood by your intended audience

WhiteSmoke can help assure that your English communicates clearly. Use its thesaurus software and online dictionary to help you find just the right word. Its grammar and spell check will prevent errors. Its writing enhancement feature will give your writing new life.

Revision gives new life to your writing. The first stage involves going through the draft and reorganizing main ideas and supporting ideas so that they are grouped in a way that is understandable to your reader. Your organization will usually first put forward stronger points (in an argument), earlier information (for a narrative), or background (in many cases). However you organize, your readers need to understand what you are trying to communicate. Use WhiteSmoke English grammar software to be sure they do!

After that, refine your arguments and evidence, your descriptions, and all of the details, so that they give a sense of the writing being of one piece, or a whole. Let one description arise from another, or one piece of evidence support the next. Put all of the pieces in that are needed, and remove those that are not.

Even the most experienced writers make inadvertent errors while revising--removing a word or adding a phrase that changes the grammar, for instance. WhiteSmoke English grammar software will correct your errors as you revise.

Here are some tips to help focus your revision:

  1.     Have other readers look it over; Professor, boss, classmates, colleagues, roommates, friends
  2.     Explain to a few different people what you've written; same group as other readers
  3.     Read more on the topic (new sources, but also revisiting already cited sources)
  4.     Make an outline, or highlight your draft as though it were a reading
  5.     Set it aside for a day or two (longer, if possible) and then re-read it
  6.     Read aloud to yourself
  7.     Read it backwards
  8.     Make a presentation; presenting your paper orally to others often helps shape and focus your ideas
  9.     Write a new introduction and conclusion, then see if the paper fits the new introduction and the new conclusion

The final stage or revision is copy editing, or proof reading. If you've been using WhiteSmoke English grammar writing software all along, then you won't need to do much of this. WhiteSmoke's all-in-one solution works like an editor who's online for you all the time. Its powerful dictionary and thesaurus will improve your writing as you revise. Its grammar check and spell check will correct errors. Its writing enhancement feature will give new life to your old draft. WhiteSmoke will help you revise as you write!