Focus on Clarity
Before writing the final draft, strive for clarity of expression by evaluating the following:
- Does each paragraph contain a topic sentence?
- Does it follow the rules for a good topic sentence?
- Does the writing create interest by using specific nouns and verbs instead of adverbs and adjectives?
- Are technical terms defined?
- Do most sentences begin with the subject close to the beginning?
- Do sentences vary in length?
- Is your writing free from ambiguities?
- Is it focused on purpose and audience?
Evaluating Writing: Development Issues
Writers often spend too much time on side issues and too little time on the main issue.
- Suggestions for Adding Material:
- Use an anecdote or a funnel paragraph in place of a one sentence introduction.
- Explore the history of the topic in your introduction.
- Assess the importance of the topic.
- Make additional points in the body.
- Use illustrations and examples.
- Expand the conclusion
- Suggestions for Deleting Material:
- Put paragraphs into an outline and eliminate superfluous words.
- In short essays, limit introductory materials to the bare essentials.
- Eliminate lengthy anecdotes and needless examples.
*Thanks to Schaum’s Guide on Writing Great Essays for helping me revise my essays
Writers often forget the last step in the writing process, publishing.
- Check for spelling and punctuation errors.
- Check the format.
- Check the works cited.
- Make sure it’s neatly typed, printed, and spell checked.
Now that you’ve improved your writing, it’s time to teach others:
- Instruct students to copy the above information on evaluating writing.
- Instruct students to evaluate one of their own essays and write a paragraph evaluation of it, with specific examples.
- Arrange students in groups of 3-4.
- Have each person in the group do the same for each other’s essay.
- Instruct students to redo the essay based on their evaluations.
Sometimes it’s beneficial to evaluate a published essay from an accomplished author:
- Read a published essay in class.
- Instruct students to evaluate the essay in paragraph form, making special note of good essay writing.
This post is part of the series: Editing
Writing is a process. Editing is the final step in that process. Don’t blow weeks of hard work by editing poorly.