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Writing Center

Revising

Revising is another word for re-writing, and all good writing is rewritten.

Some people confuse “revising” with “editing”. Editing is going through a piece of writing to clarify sentences, fix grammar, spelling, and punctuation. Good revising goes much farther than that.

When you revise you rearrange, rework, and rethink. This is hard to do because many of us quickly grow attached to our first drafts. We wrote it, the words are on the page, and we want to stick with it.

And because we are attached to our writing, we often make the mistake of revising by adding language, but never subtracting. Effective revising, however, also has to include eliminating some of what we’ve written; ideas that don’t quite fit in our scope, generalizations we realize we just can’t support, or paragraphs that are repetitious or redundant have got to go, no matter how much we like them.

Investigate these other topics for more suggestions on the revising step.

The fact that good revising should involve deleting big chunks of text is the best argument for waiting until the last step to edit. Imagine spending twenty minutes to choose the perfect phrase, only to decide later that that whole section isn’t really working.

The University of North Carolina writing center offers some specific advice for your revising process.