How to Write and Revise a
Inter American University of PR
Prof. Gladys Cruz
Writing and Revising
Writing a rough draft is a late stage
in the writing process. Before you
get to this stage, be sure you’ve
done a lot of preparation: clarified
your topic, taken lots of notes,
collected as many ideas in writing as
PLAN to do a PLAN to finish your
rough draft and rough draft four or
revise it. five days before
your paper is due
Promise yourself so you will have
you won’t turn in time to revise it.
the very first ideas
you put on paper.
Once you complete the rough draft,
lay it aside for as long as you can
afford, so that you can come back to
it objectively as if you were reading
someone else’s paper.
PLAN to re-read Asyou work,
your paper be sure to take
several times, regular breaks
each time so you will
looking for keep your
something mind fresh and
The First Draft:
Introductions are important. They
arouse a reader’s interest, introduce the
subject and tackle the So What?
They’re your paper’s first impression.
But you don’t have to write them first.
Whatever your style, you’ll probably put
your thesis statement somewhere near the
end of the paragraph and some important
background information directly before.
Contrary to what you may have been taught,
intros don’t have to begin with a “general
statement.” So what are some different ways
to start that first sentence?
Begin with a quotation. Just make sure you
explain its relevance.
Begin with a question.
Begin with an acknowledgement of an opinion
opposite to the one you plan to take.
Begin with a very short narrative or anecdote that
has a direct bearing on your paper.
Begin with an interesting fact.
Begin with a definition or explanation of a term
relevant to your paper.
Begin with an irony or paradox.
Begin with an analogy. Make sure it’s original but
not too far fetched.
First reading: Organization
Underline or highlight the TOPIC
SENTENCE in each paragraph.
(If you discover you don’t have one, write it!)
Read through only the topic sentences in
your paper, or block these into a second
document on your word processor.
• Does each sentence follow logically the one preceding it?
• Do they form a reasonable mini-essay in themselves?
• Do you like the sequence of ideas?
• Are similar ideas grouped together?
• Cut and paste – either literally, with scissors and paste or
electronically, with blocking on your computer.
• Move ideas – whole paragraphs, sentences, parts of text
– around like blocks to improve ORGANIZATION.
To insure overall CONTINUITY among
paragraphs, tell your reader what point you’re
discussing, what you’ll talk about next etc.
Second reading: paragraphs
Take one paragraph at a time and
read it out loud. Then ask yourself:
Does each sentence in the paragraph
refer to the central idea stated in the
• Throw out IRRELEVAN SENTENCES or move
them to a better location.
Consider PARAGRAPG LENGTH
Does each sentence follow the preceding one
Do you give your readers clues (words such
as thus, therefore, first, because, but, etc.)
to help them follow your thoughts?
Rearrange sentences and add TRANSITIONS
Do your sentences sound dull because
they’re too SHORT?
Do they sound complex because they’re LONG? Combine
some; break others up into simple sentences.
Do you repeat the same
words too often?
Do you use words you don’t need? Omit
NEEDLESS WORDS and search the thesaurus for useful
Be sure words convey what you mean.
Circle all VERBS.
Change passive to active voice. Search for
fresh, powerful verbs. For example, change
“Signs were seen by . . .” to “Witnesses
detected. . .”
Read each sentence in the paragraph
aloud to recognize ERRORS IN GRAMMAR,
SPELLING AND PUNCTUATION.
Third reading: Content
Have a friend or your professor read
your paper and give you feedback.
Then ask yourself:
• Do you BELIEVE what you’ve written?
• Do you UNDERSTAND your own ideas and your
• If necessary, reconsider your thesis or discuss your
ideas with your professor.
• Do you tell your reader in the beginning what
• Does every paragraph, sentence and word
serve to DEVELOP YOUR THESIS?
• Speak SIMPLY and clearly to your reader.
• Edit out irrelevancies.
Have you documented with
references all your quotations.
Not too many quotes?
Final draft clean and easy to read?
Check your STYLRBOOK for proper
form. (For this paper you are to use
the APA style.)
Thoughts Unique to
I’ve said everything. What’s left?
At it’s basic level, a concluding
paragraph serves as a summary of the
writing preceding it.
In most cases, however, you will want
to expand on your thesis by revealing
the ways in which your paper’s thesis
might have significance in the world
In an effort to go beyond summary, it might
be helpful to think of your conclusion as
something that might:
Place the paper in a larger context
Serve as a call for action
Set forth a warning or hypothesis
intentionally complicate the issues
you have already introduced
Raise a question or question
Introduce a relevant quote
Tell an appropriate anecdote