Organizing and Revising Essays The Writing Process



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Organizing and Revising Essays

The Writing Process

  • Planning
  • Shaping
  • Drafting
  • Revising
  • Editing
  • Proofreading

Planning: Research and Note Taking

  • Generate ideas
    • Freewriting and brain storming
      • (Focus on your topic if you have one)
    • 5 W’s and an “H”
    • Make a list of topical thoughts/questions
  • Take notes

Shaping: Organizing Your Information

  • Grouping Information
    • Outlines
      • Working outline
      • Sentence outline/topical outline
    • Clustering
      • Grouping
        • General ~> Specific

Drafting: Writing the Essay

  • Introduction
    • Grabs audience’s attention
    • Contains the thesis
  • Thesis
    • States essay’s topic, purpose, point of view
    • May change during revision process
      • Probable that it will

Drafting: Writing the Essay (cont.)

  • Body paragraphs
    • Claim/argument
    • Counterclaim/counterargument
  • Conclusion
    • Ties essay together
      • May restate thesis (not verbatim)
      • May restate main points of essay (not verbatim)
    • Gives a satisfying ending
    • Furthers introduction

Revising: Reviewing the Draft

  • Catchy introduction?
  • Clear and specific thesis?
  • Transitions
    • Transitions for each paragraph?
    • Smooth and free flowing?
    • Tie contiguous paragraphs together?

Revising: Reviewing the Draft (cont.)

  • Topic sentences
    • Make sense when read together?
    • Support thesis?
    • Logical order?
  • Supporting sentences
    • Support topic sentence?
    • Logical order?

Revising: Reviewing the Draft (cont.)

  • Conclusion
    • Complements introduction when read together?
    • Furthers ideas in essay?
    • Ties essay together?
    • Provides a satisfying ending?

Revising: Reviewing the Draft (cont.)

  • General tips
    • REVISION TAKES TIME!
    • Plan to write at least three drafts
      • 1st draft… Focus on the BIG stuff
        • Overall organization of essay
        • May revisit this step several times
      • 2nd draft… Concentrate your efforts
        • Edit
      • 3rd draft… Get nitpicky
        • Proofread

Editing: Punctuation, Grammar, Spelling, Mechanics

  • Check:
    • Spelling
    • Grammar
    • Subject/verb agreement
  • Search for PERFECT word
    • Dictionary
    • Thesaurus
  • Search for strong verbs
  • Cut extraneous material

Proofreading: Final Check

  • Take a break before proofing.
  • Do not rush it.
  • Read your essay aloud.
  • Read your essay slowly.
  • Have an unbiased pair of eyes look your essay over. (The CTL!)

Some General Tips

  • Always take time between revision sessions to distance yourself from your work.
  • Ask instructors/unbiased readers (CTL) what mistakes YOU commonly make and then LOOK FOR THOSE when revising.
  • Use hard copies to revise.


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