Revising

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All right welcome back everyone to our final lecture in the first section.

I’m happy that you’ve stuck with me so far.

I realize that this first part may seem quite elementary to some of you but I know that this is a critical

part to understand the actual writing process when it comes to writing successfully at the college level.

The good thing about this learning platform is that you can bounce back and forth and switch around

and go to whatever lecture you think is most relevant at this specific time period are relevant to the

assignment that you’re about to do in school.

But for this first set of lectures is first section I simply wanted to introduce you to the idea of

the writing process and walk you through it one step at a time.

So we’ve talked about pre-writing outlining drafting and now we’re on to revising.

Lots of students think that revising means to do a final spell check of your paper right before turning

it in.

OK.

Maybe you don’t think that but that’s what lots of students end up doing.

Well I’m going to introduce you to is a more critical and more productive way of revising that will

end up giving you the best possibility to come up with a solid paper and to get the best grade that

you actually deserve.

OK.

So when I talk about revision I talk about revision as a big small process meaning we start with the

big issues and work our way down till we finally get to your last click of spellcheck.

So let me introduce you first to the different steps that I think are necessary in a full revision process.

We have overall unity unity of the body paragraph’s effectiveness of each paragraph.

Correct use of citations sentence style sentence level errors word choice spelling spell check which

you all love way too much.

And finally to read aloud.

So let me talk about each one of these steps in a little bit more detail what I’m going to do today

is to introduce some core questions you should be asking yourself at each step of the revision process.

OK.

And again depending on the amount of time you have for any given assignment and how long you’ve procrastinated

we need to start at the very top of this revision process with the overall unity.

These are the things that professors are looking for first and there they’re also things that will simply

make your paper so much stronger.

So the first one is overall unity for meeting a draft of your paper what is your main point.

Does your introduction clearly state the main point of your paper.

Does each paragraph stay on topic or in line with your main point.

Does any paragraph digress.

I might add here if it does cut it out immediately.

Don’t be afraid to cut out paragraphs even if you worked a long time on them.

If they digress from your main argument or your main point finally does your conclusions show that you

have reached the goal of your main point.

OK so these are simple questions to ask yourself to test whether or not you believe that your paper

is unified around a central main argument or point one key strategy especially for longer writing assignments

is a strategy.

I learned a long time ago and I’ve used for many years now called reverse outlining.

So reverse outlining is where you read your paper backwards.

Not word for word of course but the read each paragraph starting with the last in isolation.

By doing this it gives you the opportunity to recognize whether or not your paragraphs are addressing

the main point of your paper and whether or not they are staying on topic.

So to reverse outline what you do is you read a paragraph and next to that paragraph you write in one

simple sentence with the main topic as if the main topic is not directly related to your main point.

Cut the paragraph paragraph out.

It’s the main topic is not highlighted early on in the paragraph.

You need to revise that paragraph and highlight that main topic of the paragraph.

Early on in the paper.

And finally if you notice that the paragraph introduces lots of different ideas or multiple ideas.

We need to do this.

You need to decide whether or not you want to break that up into into multiple paragraphs.

We’ll talk all about paragraphing later on in this lecture series but I want to introduce you to this

key revision strategy early on the strategy of reverse outlining.

Please feel free to email me with any questions and I’d love to also hear your feedback.

If you try this new See that’s working for you the next one is the unity of body paragraphs.

Does each paragraph refer directly back to and work to develop your argument.

Do use clean transitions or key words to move from one paragraph to the next.

Then move onto the effectiveness of each paragraph.

Do you state the main point of each paragraph clearly and most often in the topic sentence which is

the first sentence of your paragraph.

Do you have any paragraphs that are unusually short.

If so if so you need to consider whether or not you should combine that paragraph with another one that’s

speaking on the same topic.

Or do you need to be more specific and have more clear discussion more support of that main topic within

the paragraph.

Are any of your paragraphs exceptionally long.

If so are you discussing multiple points within a single paragraph.

I bet you or should you separate the paragraph into multiple shorter paragraphs.

Does each paragraph transition well from one from the one before to the one after We’ll talk all about

transitions and the later lecture.

But for the revision process this is a question to ask yourself whether or not you have good transitions

between paragraphs.

And finally does each paragraph focus on a single main point I will highlight this so many times when

we talk about paragraphs exclusively but each paragraph should only talk about one main point.

The next is the correct use of citations.

Are you quoting too much that the quotations are beginning to crowd out your own ideas your own ideas

need to be that the the bulk of your paper.

Right.

So for quoting or citing too many sources and too much it’s going to crowd out your own ideas and it’s

going to make more of a summary of other people’s ideas which we don’t want.

At the college level are any of your quotations too long.

Again do we have like a page long quotation.

If so cut it down.

Pick out the things that are most important and highlight that as the quotation rather than the entire

block.

Have you correctly acknowledged each source that you have used to.

To make sure you avoid plagiarism.

Again we’ll talk about citations later on in the lecture.

But we need to make sure that we’re citing our sources correctly.

And now let me give you one more key strategy of citations or of quoting others materials.

This is a strategy I learned again when I was very early in my undergraduate degree and I found it so

useful.

It’s called The Purpose of Life or The purpose of a quotation.

So we ask ourselves three main questions.

Where did I come from.

Why am I here.

And where am I going.

This is to highlight the need to transition into and back out of the quotations that you’re using.

So here I have John just a tiny goofy diagram really of ramping up into the quotation and then back

into your own writing.

So where did I come from.

Means we need to introduce Serko station who is speaking.

Where is the source from.

Cetera.

Why am I here.

Is the quotation the actual words of the quotation.

And where am I going.

Ramping back down into our own writing is the transition back into our discussion.

K very good and we’ll talk again more about this later on on the sentence style.

Do you vary the length structure and shape of your sentences are some of your sentences unnecessarily

long complex or difficult to understand.

When you have used passive voice have you used it appropriately.

We’ll talk all about passive voice later on.

Again remember this is the introductory first section we’re only talking about the basics.

You can come back to this later on as a guide.

We’ll talk about these things in detail later on.

Sentence level.

Do you have any fragment sentences in other words as does every sentence have a subject and a verb.

Have you conjugated your verbs correctly have you used proper punctuation.

And do you have any comma splices which are when when to complete sentences joined by are joined by

nothing but a comma.

A very very common common mistake word choice is your diction or your choice of words too formal too

casual too scientific or do you use too many jargon words do the words you use express your ideas concretely

or abstractly to use too many unnecessary words.

And finally do you really need all those words to modify or intensify your discussion.

For example kind of a lot really very extremely.

And so on of course here the really in my ascendants that’s in italics is on purpose to highlight how

often we use these type of words.

We go on our spelling versus spellcheck as you all know spellcheck only catches misspelled words it

does not catch things like whether or not you’ve used your apostrophes correctly to show possession.

It usually does not catch things like correct plurals.

Have you mixed up your hominems.

For example they’re there and their spell check will not catch up for you.

Even if you really want it to.

How you capitalize the correct words again.

Spell check will not help you in that category.

Finally after you’ve checked these types of misspellings manually you can now click on the automatic

spell check and breathe a nice deep sigh of relief that you are almost done.

I say almost because the last key critical step of good revision is to read your paper aloud.

I prefer to read it aloud to my wife much to my wife’s dismay.

No actually she does a great job of giving me some good feedback and she catches things that I don’t

catch in my own writing.

But I read it aloud and it helps when the capsule’s final little mistakes was final acts of transitions

those final spelling or grammatical or punctuation errors and I would suggest that you print it out.

I know I’m suggesting a waste paper but it is not a waste it will really help.

Print out your paper and read it on paper and edit it on paper for your final edit your final revision

and then put those into the digital copy and you’re ready to print off the final version and submit

it.

I promise you if you follow this revision process your papers will improve so so much.

And when you don’t have enough time to go through this entire revision process start big look for unity.

Look for your argument whether or not your paragraphs addressed that argument specifically.

Don’t worry about spelling and grammar and punctuation.

Those are the minor things that are often overlooked anyway by a professor a professor is looking for

your strong argument supported by strong paragraphs.

OK so when it comes time to revise if you’re if you’re running short on time if you wait until the night

before or the day before.

Take a moment reread it for unity reread it for the big issues at hand and don’t worry about the small

stuff the small stuff is when you have extra time right.

So we’ll talk about these things in more detail in lectures to come.

We’re now concluding section 1 on the writing process.

Time to get busy with the real stuff.

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