Reviewing your work redrafting and editing

We are linking the terms redrafting' and editing' in this chapter although, in practice, they are usually thought of as rather different activities. It is usually assumed that redrafting takes place at an earlier stage than editing and that it may involve a more comprehensive rewrite. A first draft could, for example, be a piece of non-stop practice writing in which you quickly write as much as you can of your whole assignment (see Chapter 2). You then rewrite it, and this may involve a lot of change. One way of thinking about the difference between redrafting and editing is that redrafting is usually done by the writer themself when they work towards getting down what they really think they want to say. This may take place throughout the writing process, especially if you are using a computer, which makes it very easy to redraft as you write. Certainly this may be the case if you are the sort of writer who writes in order to find out what you think and where you are with your thinking. Some professional writers say that they redraft many times before they are satisfied. Editing may be seen more as a matter of checking over the organization and style of your work, although you may wish to deal with some content matters at this stage too. It takes place from the perspective of an outsider, even if this outsider is the writer themself. Professional academic writers, offering a paper for an academic journal, have their work read by several referees' on behalf of the editor. These readers count as knowledgeable peers and help determine whether or not the article will be published and, if so, what amendments might be useful. In their reading they may well send the writer suggestions as to what does not work or what should be changed.

You will see from this that the kind of individualistic approach that very often applies in student university writing for assessment is not extended to the world of the experienced academic. We believe that it is extremely useful and interesting for students to discuss their work with each other, including their written assignments. You will remember that we introduced this idea in Chapter 5. You learn both from having your piece read and from reading and commenting on others' work. If you think of handing in your work for assessment as similar to submitting it for publication - the point when you make it public - you will see how important the final stage of getting it well presented is, and how getting feedback from others can help to improve it. This feedback should be seen as an essential part of communicating in writing, yet more often than not it is neglected by both students and their tutors. If you think of yourself as a professional - that being a student is your work for the time being - you will want to produce as professional a piece of work as possible. This means that you need to try to read your work before handing it in as if you were an outsider, to see if it is going to be clear, complete and coherent to the reader. At this stage you will be editing your work. We go on to give you some suggestions about ways of checking through your work both on your own and with a ' critical friend' with a view to clarifying it for the reader.

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