20 Revision Strategies: Make Writing Better

“For me, writing is never linear, though I do believe quite ardently in revision. I think of revision as a kind of archeology, a deep exploration of the text to discover what’s still hidden and bring it to the surface.”

~Kim Edwards

Revision is about going back to your writing to make it better. I was recently going through some old papers from my graduate school days and came across my notes from The Teachers College Reading and Writing Project specifically on revision. Below is a bulleted list of revision strategies compiled to help students dress up their writing to make it stronger and more clear.

  • Add more – look at your writing piece and name two things you can do to make it better.
  • Reread to see if it makes sense – is it clear? How can you make it sound better?
  • What’s the most important thing you want to tell your read about your topic?
  • Write the external and internal story (what you think, wonder, and feel).
  • Observe and reflect.
  • Use your senses.
  • Talk to a friend or writing partner about your piece and then write. Think aloud.
  • Storytell it and then write.
  • Focus in on something small connected to your topic.
  • Zoom in on a moment.
  • Underline an important line and say more about it.
  • Sketch then write.
  • Try starting your piece by writing the lead differently.
  • Play with the form or genre – turn into a letter, a poem, a song.
  • Find a book you really like and see if you can write like that. Model an author you admire.
  • Ask, “What have I left out?”
  • Take a sentence and turn it into a page (lift a line or word).
  • Try starting the piece in a different place, chronologically.
  • Write endings several different ways. Ask, “What do I want my ending to do?”
  • Reread asking, “Is this really what I have to say? What’s the most important thing I want my readers to know?”

 

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