Essay editing has two main steps: essay editing and essay revision. Revising is when the writer examines paragraph order, adds components and/or removes large pieces of information. When revising, it is helpful to reverse outlines, check for all critical components and to use the rubric to check off the parts of the essay. Essay editing is often compared to cleaning a house.
Let’s talk about editing your essay. Now I know, a lot of times you get to this editing process and it’s the last thing you want to do. You’ve spend weeks kind of coming up with your ideas, finding your support, writing your multiple drafts, doing pure revision, all sorts of things. And now you’ve got to sit down and go over your essay, again when really you just want to be done with it.
But I encourage you to do two steps in the editing process, and I really talk with my students about the difference between revision and editing. We use the metaphor of a house. We say, revision is like remodelling your house. You're going to look at structure, you going to look at additions, what you can take out. Look at your support, all those different pieces, so the bigger pieces of your writing.
And then editing is more like doing a deep cleaning of your house. So you’re not actually changing up the structure, or adding pieces, you’re just cleaning it up and making it shine. So when you’re editing your paper, you’re going to look at grammar, spelling, punctuation mechanics. It’s important that those two processes stay separate. You’re going to want revise first and then edit, just like you would remodel your house first and then clean it. You wouldn’t flip those two around.
So let’s talk about some things you can do during both of those processes. The first suggestion that I have in the revision stage, is trying a reverse outline. And a reverse outline is just looking at a completed paper and creating an outline from it. So you’re going to look at the paragraphs that are done, and then you’re going to summarize them into one sentence. And you're going to want to make sure that that one sentence is communicating what you wanted it to communicate. You can even check it against your original outline that you have.
And the other I would recommend, is using your rubric. Going back to the assignment or whatever your grading system your teacher gave you, and going through and making sure that you have all the required pieces and that they’re working together to make your point.
And then the other two steps in editing that I would recommend, is number one, read it out loud. Inevitably, when you read it out loud, you’re going to catch either misspellings, or maybe words you left out, and things like that. It’s a really helpful tool and then just getting multiple eyes to look on.
A lot of times we think we’re being clear, or we skip over errors that we made, so giving somebody else or multiple other people to look at it, really gives us some good feedback.
So hopefully this will give you some guidance in your revision and your editing and you won’t just skip over that stuff.