Revision Strategies

Strategies Reasons
Throw out the whole draft and start again.
  • Original draft helped writer discover ideas and see the whole territory.
  • New draft needs radically new focus or new structure.
Cross our large chunks and rewrite from scratch.
  • Original passage lacked focus; ideas have changed.
  • New sense of purpose or point meant that the whole passage needed reshaping.
  • Original passage too confusing or jumbled for mere editing.
Cut and paste; move parts around; (then write new transitions, thesis statement, and topic sentences).
  • Parts didn’t follow in logical order.
  • Parts occurred in the order writer thought of them rather than the order readers need.
  • Conclusion clearer than the introduction; part of the conclusion moved to the introduction.
  • Revised thesis statement required different order for parts.
Add/revise topic sentences of paragraphs; insert transitions.
  • Reader needs signposts to see how parts connect to previous parts and to the whole.
  • Revision of topic sentences often requires global revision of paragraph.
Make insertions; add new material.
  • Need to add supporting details: examples, facts, statistics, and so on.
  • New section or more explanation of a specific point needed.
Delete material.
  • Material no longer needed or relevant.
  • Deleted material, though good, went off on a tangent.
Recast sentences (cross out and rewrite portions; combine sentences; rephrase sentences with a different grammatical structure).
  • Passage violates old/new contract.
  • Passage wordy, choppy, or lacked rhythm or voice.
  • Grammar tangled, diction odd, or meaning confused.
  • Passage lost focus of topic sentence.
Edit sentences to correct mistakes.
  • Writer found comma splices, fragments, dangling modifiers, nonparallel constructions, or other problems of grammar and usage.
  • Writer found spelling errors, typos, repeated or omitted words.

Page Last Updated: 12 January 2014