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Tutoring Services: Revising

A general guide to common questions about writing and grammar

Quotes About Revising

“In writing, you must kill all your darlings.”
William Faulkner

“I've found the best way to revise your own work is to pretend that somebody else wrote it and then to rip the living shit out of it.”
Don Roff

“That’s the magic of revisions – every cut is necessary, and every cut hurts, but something new always grows.”
Kelly Barnhill


Quick Tips for Revision

1.      Read the paper out loud. Oftentimes spoken words sound differently than written ones, so this process helps you notice any awkward phrasing or typos. 


2.      Make changes between the rough and the final draft. Even if you think that you have written the most perfect paper in the world, there is always room for improvement.


3. These changes should go beyond simple proofreading and correction of minor errors. A paper that looks almost identical to the original is not a final draft; it is a sanitized version of a rough draft.


4.      Don’t be afraid to cut out unnecessary sections from your paper. Certain words, sentences, and even paragraphs just don’t work with the overall concept of the essay. Getting rid of them will only improve the cohesiveness of the essay.


5.    If you have received feedback from a professor, writing tutor, or teaching assistant, make sure to incorporate it into the final draft. Of course, this does not mean that you have to take every suggestion given to you, but it is obvious when you have not even tried to use the feedback. This includes addressing at marginal comments as well as global ones.

Resources/Suggestions for Revising Your Paper

Keep Calm

Follow this advice in this picture from the Chepstow School history department!

Quotes About Revising

“I have rewritten–often several times–every word I have ever written. My pencils outlast their erasers.”

― Vladimir Nabokov  

“What I had to face, the very bitter lesson that everyone who wants to write has got to learn, was that a thing may in itself be the finest piece of writing one has ever done, and yet have absolutely no place in the manuscript one hopes to publish.” 

― Thomas Wolfe

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