Revision and Editing

Although you may have been using a workbook, you also need to work on pieces of writing that will be read by other people. It's vital to get feedback on your work. Whether you revise and edit your writing as a result is your decision. Even the most negative feedback can sometimes be useful but, practically speaking, your opinion ultimately matters the most. You are in charge.

As you prepare your work for a reader you will need to think about presentation— word processing, line spacing, sentence structure, spelling, punctuation. Errors can interrupt the flow of reading, and, if you are submitting a piece for publication, will definitely look unprofessional.

Check your sentences. Are they too long, too complicated, weakly structured? Can they be followed first time if heard aloud or do they lose their point? Check your paragraphs. If any paragraph is longer than 150 words, see if you can reduce it or make a new paragraph break. See how sentences and paragraphs work in a piece of writing you would like to have written. Finally, check your punctuation. Find out how to use forms you're maybe less familiar with—the colon, semi-colon, dash.

If you are formatting your writing on a word processor, use double spacing for prose, single spacing for poems. Check that your work is easily accessible to the eye of your reader, with consistent font variations—italics and underlines. To save your early drafts, use the 'Track Changes' facility from the Tools menu on the rule bar.

All creative writing will have an oral quality, written for the voice. Test this out by reading your work aloud. How does it sound? Can it be understood clearly by a listener as well as by a reader? If so, you will have made something significant to you and equally meaningful to your audience.

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