More Experienced Writers Revise to Reach Readers Purpose
They Revise Globally They Revise Globally
They Are Concerned With Unity of Purpose Check purpose statement. Phrase the most important point in a working thesis. Cut everything that doesn't Cut everything that doesn't clearly relate to the central purpose. Thesis
As a new draft emerges, revisers work on developing points that relate to the main idea. They may return to discovery strategies, explore journalist questions, and conduct further research.
Global Revision Check Focus and Authority Create Effective Lead Consider Chosen Genre or Rhetorical Mode Check Organization Consider Pace and Proportion Develop Key Ideas Check in with Reader Perspective Check Voice and Tone Check for Effective Conclusion
Check for Effective Lead Capture Reader Attention Focus Readers on the Subject Establish Expectations
My grandfather died when I was a small boy, and my grandmother started staying with us for about six months every year. She lived in a room that doubled as my father’s office, which we referred to as “the back room.” She carried with her a powerful aroma. I don’t know what kind of perfume she used, but it was the double-barrel, ninety-proof, knock-down, render- the-victim-unconscious, moose-killing variety. She kept it in a huge atomizer and applied it frequently and liberally. It was almost impossible to go into her room and remain breathing for any length of time. When she would leave the house to go spend six months with my Aunt Lillian, my mother and sisters would throw open all the windows, strip the bed, and take out the curtains and rugs. Then they would spend several days washing and airing things out, trying frantically to make the pungent odor go away. My grandfather died when I was a small boy, and my grandmother started staying with us for about six months every year. She lived in a room that doubled as my father’s office, which we referred to as “the back room.” She carried with her a powerful aroma. I don’t know what kind of perfume she used, but it was the double-barrel, ninety-proof, knock-down, render- the-victim-unconscious, moose-killing variety. She kept it in a huge atomizer and applied it frequently and liberally. It was almost impossible to go into her room and remain breathing for any length of time. When she would leave the house to go spend six months with my Aunt Lillian, my mother and sisters would throw open all the windows, strip the bed, and take out the curtains and rugs. Then they would spend several days washing and airing things out, trying frantically to make the pungent odor go away. This, then, was my grandmother at the time of the infamous pea incident. This, then, was my grandmother at the time of the infamous pea incident. FROM: A Plate of Peas A story from NPR’s National Story Project By Rick Beyer
Over the past three decades, organized sports for children have increased dramatically in the United States. And though many adults regard Little League Baseball and Peewee Football as a basic part of childhood, the games are not always joyous ones. When overzealous parents and coaches impose adult standards on children’s sports, the result can be activities that are neither satisfying nor beneficial to children. I am concerned about all organized sports activities for children between the ages of six and twelve. The damage I see results from non-contact as well as contact sports, from sports organized locally as well as those organized nationally. Highly organized competitive sports such as Peewee Football and Little league Baseball are too often played to adult standards, which are developmentally inappropriate for children and can be both physically and psychologically harmful. Furthermore, because they eliminate many children from organized sports before they are ready to compete, they are actually counterproductive for developing either future players or fans. Finally because they emphasize competition and winning, they unfortunately provide occasions for some parents and coaches to place their own fantasies and needs ahead of children’s welfare. Excerpted from: “Children Need to Play, Not Compete” By Jessica Statsky As published in The St. Martin’s Guide to Writing
Check Organization Create a Rough Outline of the Draft Consider Pace and Proportion Develop Key Ideas
Check for Effective Conclusion Some Concluding Strategies: ~Framing: mirrors the style and/or continues the story begun in the lead ~Looping Back: refers to story or character introduced in the lead ~Summarizing: uses a transitional phrase to summarize the main idea and purpose of the essay. Avoids worn phrases like “in conclusion,” “in summary,” “in closing” ~Emphasizing: employs a quotation or repeated element to bring home the main idea ~Issuing a call to action: asks readers to act ~Pointing to the future: prompts readers to think or study further
Experienced Writers Also Revise Locally
Revisers Make Every Word Count Some Syntax Revision Strategies: ~Tighten ~Avoid Redundancy Choose Repetition Choose Repetition ~Design Effective Sentences
Tightening Tightening means: ~cutting unnecessary words ~cutting unnecessary words ~making every word work ~keeping it clear and simple ~keeping it clear and simple
Tightening: Cutting Unnecessary Words along the lines of—like as a matter of fact—in fact at all times—always at the present time—currently at this point in time—now because of the fact that—because by means of—by by virtue of the fact that—because due to the fact that—because for the purpose of—for in light of the fact that—because prior to, in anticipation of—before until such time as—until with regard to—about for the reason that—because have the ability to–-be able to inform us of the fact that—tell in the nature of—like in order to—to in spite of the fact that—although, though in the event that—if in the final analysis—finally in the neighborhood of—about in this world of today—today it is important that, it is necessary that—must on the occasion of—when Look for the following empty words and phrases when editing:
Strategies for Tightening One way to tighten is to combine several short sentences into one sentence. How might you combine the following sentences into one sentence? Last weekend I saw a science fiction film. Three friends went with me. The film focused on the experiments of a mad doctor. He altered his patients' lives by manipulating their dreams. Last weekend I saw a science fiction film. Three friends went with me. The film focused on the experiments of a mad doctor. He altered his patients' lives by manipulating their dreams. (32 words)
Tightening: Combining Sentences Last weekend three friends and I saw a science fiction film in which a mad doctor altered his patients' lives by manipulating their dreams. (24 words)
Tightening: Make Words Work Look for words that do not pull their own weight. Where possible, use verb forms instead of noun forms.
Activity He is a man who is never on time. It is the breed of dog that is prone to hip problems. Defense counsel made an objection to the prosecution's question. The implementation of the plan was successful.
Activity He is a man who is never on time. He is never on time. It is the breed of dog that is prone to hip problems. That breed of dog is prone to hip problems. Hip problems plague that breed. Defense counsel made an objection to the prosecution's question. Defense counsel objected to the prosecution’s question. The implementation of the plan was successful. The plan was successfully implemented. The committee successfully implemented their plan.
Tightening: Eliminate Weak Verbs Reduce over-reliance on the ‘to be’ verb forms. Fix these sentences by replacing “to be” verbs with active verbs. There were several boys on the team who got caught drinking and were kicked off. It is this kind of sentence that drives grammarians crazy.
Tightening: Eliminate Weak Verbs There were several boys on the team who got caught drinking and were kicked off by the coach. The coach kicked several boys off the team for drinking. It is this kind of sentence that drives grammarians crazy. This kind of sentence drives grammarians crazy.
Tightening: Make the Agent the Subject of the Sentence Make these sentences active: The decision to fire him was handed down by the committee. He was rejected.
Good: The committee handed down the decision to fire him. Even better: The committee decided to fire him. Good: Simon rejected him, saying his music was lousy.
Tightening: Verbs, Nothing but the Verbs Always pick the most precise and accurate verb possible. Eliminate adverbs when possible. He ran down the street. He ran quickly/slowly down the street. He walked across the field. He walked quickly/slowly across the field. What verb might you use to replace “ran quickly/slowly” and “walked quickly/slowly”?
Tightening: Verbs, Nothing but the Verbs He ran quickly/slowly down the street. Fast: sprinted, dashed, zoomed, galloped, flew, sped, raced Medium: loped, cantered, skipped Slow: jogged, trotted He walked quickly/slowly down the street. Examples: trudged, strolled, promenaded., minced, slogged, paraded, marched, goose- stepped
Tightening: Present Participles Use present participles to modify a noun or pronoun: Ignoring his sister, and stepping on one of my feet, Charles repeated his questions. She leaned forward attentively, listening to Saul Bird, trying to understand what he was saying. Honoring “The Boss,” R.E.M.’s Michael Stipe sang his favorite Springsteen song at the concert.
Activity Combine each of the following groups of short sentences into single sentences using present participles. He felt something in his blood. It warmed. It opened. It came to life in arrogant protestation. He turned up the driveway of his own house. He held on to the gate for support.
Combine each of the following groups of short sentences into single sentences using present participles. He felt something in his blood, warming, opening, coming to life in arrogant protestation. He turned up the driveway of his own house, holding onto the gate for support.
Activity Compose a sentence of your own using a present participle. Beware, however, the dangling participle (i.e. a participle with no noun to modify or one that modifies the wrong noun). Bad Example: Erasing the blackboards, the lights were turned off and the classroom locked.
Tightening: Past Participles A past participle is like the form of the verb that will fit in the slot, “Often I have ____.” Seated behind an elevated desk in the high- ceilinged courtroom, Judge Rothwax does not look at all pleased. Her eyes, lost in the fatty ridges of her face, looked like two pieces of coal pressed into a lump of dough.
Activity Combine these sentences into one sentence using a past participle. It vanished. It was sucked into invisibility like a match flame. That highway over there is in good condition. It is over six hundred centuries old. Martians built it.
It vanished, sucked into invisibility like a match flame. That highway over there, built by Martians over six hundred years ago, is in good condition.
Activity Create a sentence of your own using a past participle. Beware the dangling participle. Bad Example: Dazed by their own success, the game was splendid display of school spirit.
Tightening: Nominative Absolutes A nominative absolute is a free modifier consisting of a noun plus either an adjective, a participle, or another noun in apposition. They sat together in the classroom, when they came to class, their arms folded, their eyes beady and undefeated. In the central parade ground sat General Pushkopf, his chest glittering.
Activity Combine each of the following groups of short sentences into single sentences using nominative absolutes. It was old Ginny. Her hair was bound up in big purple rollers. Her nylons were rolled tightly around her knees. Mary Birke sat next to the pool. Her eyes were bloodshot. Her feet were dangling in the water.
It was old Ginny, hair bound up in big purple rollers, nylons rolled tightly around her knees. Eyes bloodshot, feet dangling in the water, Mary Birke sat next to the pool. Now, create your own sentence using nominative absolutes.
Tightening: Appositives An appositive is a noun or noun phrase that parenthetically re-names another noun (or pronoun) in a sentence. There they were in the flesh, the Rolling Stones, ultimate personification of all our notions and fantasies and hopes for rock and roll. The manager, a thin laconic Frenchman, came to meet her.
Activity Combine each of the following groups of short sentences into single sentences using appositives. The busboy cleared the table. He was a clumsy, unkempt freshman. This was none other than Alunia Alunosna. This was the shopkeeper’s daughter. This was a prostitute with a look of exultation on her timid face.
The busboy, a clumsy, unkempt freshman, cleared the table. This was none other than Alunia Alunosna, the shopkeeper’s daughter, a prostitute with a look of exultation on her timid face. Compose a sentence of your own using an appositive.
Tightening: Eliminate Redundancy Check for repeated words, phrases, or ideas. Redundancy is bad. Repetition is good.
Repetition is Often the Product of Generalization I had to get to my tournament. I went to my tournament and ended up qualifying first. That just made the day so much better than what it already was. I was the top qualifier. Anon.
Finishing as the tournament’s top qualifier ended my day on a high note. (13 words)
Weak Repetition May Signal a Need to Develop with Specifics I had to get to my tournament. I went to my tournament and ended up qualifying first. That just made the day so much better than what it already was. I was the top qualifier. Revised The ball sailed from the tee. Hooking slightly left, just as I’d planned, it landed beyond the flag, bounced once, and rolled the two inches back into the eighteenth hole. Finishing as the tournament’s top qualifier ended my day on a high note.
Weak Repetition May Signal a Need to Tighten for Clarity Activity : This paragraph contains many unnecessary words. How might you revise it? Juliet and Rosalind are women who fall in love. This is one of the few similarities between these two characters. They are different in age, with Juliet being an impetuous adolescent and Rosalind being a mature adult. This difference is illustrated by the manner in which each character falls in love. Juliet rushes into romance and gets married as quickly as possible while Rosalind makes sure of her love for Orlando--a much more rational and logical choice than Juliet's. (80 words)
One of the few similarities between Juliet and Rosalind is that they both fall in love; but Juliet rushes into romance while Rosalind makes sure of her love for Orlando. Juliet is an impetuous adolescent; Rosalind is a mature adult. (39 words)
Repetition Can Be Boring The rooms used for the birthing process of yesteryear sure do differ from the rooms of today. According to my mother there were actually two different rooms in which she had to be in, compared to the one combination, labor and delivery rooms of today. One room consisting of a bed, an end table and a couple of chairs was used for the labor process. The purpose of this room was for the dilation or opening of the cervix to 8 centimeters and then being transported to a delivery room where upon reaching 10 centimeters the child is born. The delivery room in which I was born was brightly lit and had several delivery tables, several chairs and a mirror. Anon (130 words)
According to my mother, the delivery rooms of yesteryear sure do differ from modern birthing accommodations. In her day, the expectant woman labored on a hospital bed in a semi-private area. Upon dilating, nurses transferred her to a thinly covered metal table in a brightly lit, surgically sterile delivery room. (50 words)
Revisers Pay Attention To Repetition Use Repetition Consciously Consciously Rather than Unconsciously
Repetition Can Strengthen Writing Persuade Persuade Create Rhythm Emphasize
I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self- evident: that all men are created equal." I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at a table of brotherhood. I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a desert state, sweltering with the heat of injustice and oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice. I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. I have a dream today. I have a dream that one day the state of Alabama, whose governor's lips are presently dripping with the words of interposition and nullification, will be transformed into a situation where little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls and walk together as sisters and brothers. I have a dream today. I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together. This is our hope.
I’ve known rivers: I’ve known rivers ancient as the world and older than the flow of human blood in human veins. flow of human blood in human veins. My soul has grown deep like the rivers. I bathed in the Euphrates when dawns were young. I built my hut near the Congo and it lulled me to sleep. I look upon the Nile and raised the pyramids above it. I heard the singing of the Mississippi when Abe Lincoln went down to new Orleans, and I’ve seen its muddy went down to new Orleans, and I’ve seen its muddy bosom turn all golden in the sunset. bosom turn all golden in the sunset. I’ve known rivers: Ancient, dusky rivers. The Negro Speaks of Rivers (To W.E.B.DuBois) (To W.E.B.DuBois) poem by Langston Hughes poem by Langston Hughes My soul has grown deep like the rivers.
Whatever Your Purpose, Stay In Control of Your Work
Revisers Ask Deliberate Questions & Make Deliberate Choices. Does my writing have a clear sense of purpose? Is my style authentic and engaging? Is my information organized logically? Have I developed all my points and sub-points? Have I made every word work? Is my language precise and appropriate to the writing context? Are my sentences fluent, tight, and well- constructed? Have I engaged my reader?