Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Our Favorite Revision Strategies

With deadlines fast approaching and drafts piling up, we thought it may be nice to share a few of our favorite revision strategies to help you out in the home stretch to the end of the semester.

Lead tutor Jenni suggests a strategy of to determine the clarity of your topic to your audience.

“Here is a revision strategy which has helped me clean up and refocus many papers. After completing a first draft, print out two copies of your paper. Take one copy, and in the margins identify the topic of each paragraph. Limit yourself to no more than three words. Ask yourself what each paragraph is really about, and jot it down. When you get to the end of your paper, go ahead and put those pages away and forget about them for the time being. Retrieve that second copy of your paper; the copy you have not jotted notes on. Hand it to a peer. Without mentioning how you’ve already done this yourself on another copy, ask your peer to read and then write in the margin next to each paragraph what they think is the topic of that paragraph. After your peer has finished, bring your copy with your notes back out. Compare papers and notes. Have a conversation about what you each came up with and why. Do you and your peer agree on what each paragraph is really about? If not, think and talk about how this miscommunication could have happened. What specifically on the page is sending mixed signals?”

Staff tutor Hillary describes a simple fix for voice and sentence clarity.

“One of the easiest and most effective ways to revise your paper is to read it aloud. Read the paper out loud, and pay attention to spots you stumble on. I find that these trouble areas usually just need a quick flip or maybe a different word choice to make them flow better. If possible, have a friend read along silently--You’d be surprised how often you will actually auto-correct your own typed words when you are speaking them.  Often you will say something clearer than you typed it, and BAM!, your brain did the revision for you. This is a tool we often use in the Writing Center, and it can really help smooth out the voice in your writing without much effort.”

Lead Tutor, Dan, has a bit of a different spin on reading your paper aloud, which he calls the “Richard Nixon.”

“Once I've written my paper, I like to read my paper aloud using a character voice, my favorite being Richard Nixon. Because I am focusing so much on the character voice, I  remove myself from my own speech patterns and can find any trouble spots in the paper”

We hope these few suggestions help in your revision process!

Please note the the Writing Center is OPEN Monday and Tuesday 9-5 and Wednesday 9-Noon during Finals week! Visit our webpage to make an appointment!