In This Lesson, You Will Learn How to Revise a First Draft for Organization and Content
Writing Process 6
In this lesson, you will learn how to revise a first draft for organization and content.
Before You Begin
When you revise a first draft, you evaluate your paper to make sure the writing is organized and clear and that the paper makes sense.
You completed a first draft (the most difficult part of the writing process) in the previous lesson. Now you must work with what you have already written. If possible, it is a good idea to let some time pass between the first draft and the revision. This will allow you to rest and think about the draft and return to it with a fresh outlook.
This is a good reason not to put off doing an assignment until the last minute. If you wait until the night before your paper is due to write it, you will not have that extra time to revise as it should be done.
The purpose of revising is to produce clear, smooth writing. You've probably heard of an "eagle eye." The eagle has extremely accurate and sensitive vision. This trait allows the eagle to spot its prey on the ground while it soars several thousand feet in the sky. Make use of your "eagle eye" as you begin revising. What are some of the areas you need to evaluate when you revise?
Organization and Content
The two primary areas to focus on in revision are organization and content. At this point, you don't need to be overly concerned about mechanics (grammar, punctuation, spelling, and capitalization). You will tackle those problems in the editing (proofreading) stage in Writing Process 7.
Guidelines and Questions
Here are some guidelines and questions to consider as you revise.
First, read what you wrote. It helps to read the paper aloud, because this can often provide a different perspective on your work. You hear things when you read the paper aloud that your eye might not see when you read silently.
Does your writing make sense?
Does it flow smoothly with each sentence following the one before?
As you read, do you notice any clumsy sentences or gaps in the discussion?
Look back at your stated purpose from your prewriting. Does the paper accomplish that purpose?
Is the writing appropriate for the audience you identified?
Is the writing clearly organized around a main idea?
Are the sentences in logical order?
Does the topic sentence in each paragraph identify and make a point about the topic?
Does each sentence support the topic sentence and contribute something important to the paragraph?
Does each paragraph contain sufficient details and examples?
Is there an effective closing sentence in each paragraph?
Finally, after you have closely analyzed your paper based on these questions, have someone else whose opinion you value read the paper for organization and content. Ask him or her to make additional suggestions for revision.
Below is the first draft of the paragraph about coin collecting from Writing Process 5.
Coin collecting is an interesting and profitable hobby. Wouldn't you be excited about finding a dime that might be worth more than $100? Well, that's what happen to me! I would really like to find an Indian buffalo nickel and an Indian head penny. All coins are not valuable but many are certainly interesting. I have found all kinds of foreign coins and even some subway tokens! The most valuable coin I have found was a Liberty dime, which is worth at least $100. I started collecting coins at my Dad's business when I was about 8 years old. He had a pay parking lot in front of his business and they collected about $50 in
Now, here is the same paragraph after it has been revised. Notice the differences between the two paragraphs.
Coin collecting is an interesting and profitable hobby. Would you be excited about finding a dime that might be worth more than $100? Well, that's what happened to me! I started collecting coins at my dad's business when I was about 8 years old. He had a pay parking lot in front of his business and they collected about $50 in coins every day. I got interested in going through the coins to see what I could find. That was five years ago, and I'm still going strong. All coins are not valuable, but many are certainly interesting. I have found all
An Assignment for Your Student Writing Portfolio:
It's your turn again. Copy the draft you wrote in Writing Process 5 in the space below. Refer to the guidelines and questions in this lesson. Use different colors, underlining, all capitals, etc. to indicate changes you made in organization and content.
Begin writing here: